Thursday, December 15, 2016

Favourite Son

“Is that you Jamie?” She squinted without her glasses. I knew she couldn't make out my face.
I squeezed her hand gently.
“No ma, it's Joey. Don't try to move, you were in a car accident. You're in the hospital now...everything will be okay.”
She groaned and her eyes fluttered.
“Where's Jamie?” She croaked, her voice dry and brittle.
“Don't try to talk ma... just get your rest.”
I bowed my head and stared at the green tile floor. Should I tell her that I was all she had left now? Jamie had died six hours ago in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. I knew somehow she would blame me, she always had; for everything. I'd spent my life apologizing for never being good enough; for never being Jamie. And now he was dead and I was the one left to comfort her.
I swallowed hard and let go of her hand. Maybe it would be better for everyone if she didn't pull through. It would certainly be better for me. The thought sickened me and yet gave me hope. She'd done nothing but make my life hell. Twenty-seven years, and she'd hated me for every single one of them.
I looked around. No one was watching...
She was in bad shape; broken and old. It wouldn't take much.
“Ma... Jamie didn't make it. He's dead.”
It took a moment for it to sink in. Then her eyes opened wide and machines started beeping erratically. She opened her mouth but no sound came out. Cardiac arrest.
Nurses rushed to her and doctors came in as I backed away slowly; watching through tears as they tried to save my mother.
Was I really sad? She'd never loved me. The only one she had loved died today, and now she would join him.
I would go on living. A peaceful life now, with both of them gone.
I should've been grief stricken. I should have been heart sick to the core. Two family members taken from me right here at the holidays.
But my tears were tears of joy. I was free.

©2016 Garden Summerland

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Against His Will

I had been warned.
Never against his will. It would end badly.
But I was willing to risk it, even if he wasn't.

I waited a long time before I moved his body. It had been at least an hour. Within the first ten minutes I'd stopped bleeding and my wound had begun to close. I traced my fingers along my neck and remembered how good it felt to be on the receiving end again. It had been eons since I'd had that pleasure. A dark alley in the early 18th century; there had been two of them. And I'd never been paid. Unless the token of immortality had been my wage. I remembered them fondly. One light and one dark, shredding my clothes and then my skin. It was a beautiful savagery that I would never experience again. Until tonight.

It was after midnight, and the street below was quiet. I sat on the living room floor of the darkened apartment, the light from the bedroom down the hall barely illuminating the scene. There was a growing puddle of blood on the floor and crimson streaks down the wall. And it was on his mouth. Flashbacks in my head... his mouth on my neck, the exquisite pain and then the ecstasy. I'd forced him to feed. He hadn't wanted it. At least not at first. He had fought me, and then he'd lost control.

Frenzied tearing into my throat until I threw him across the room. His head smashed against the wall cracking his skull open; splattering blood across the pink floral wallpaper. He hit the floor with a sick thud and I sat there, shocked at my own brutality. I'd never done that.
He bled out in front of me and I did nothing to stop it. I could have healed him; stopped his transformation. Something.
But the truth...I was overjoyed; his humanity had drained; and it wouldn't be long now.
My feelings had over-ruled my better judgment. I loved him and I wanted him to be one of us... like me.
I'd asked, and he'd said no. But I'd made him do it anyway. And he'd loved it, just like I knew he would.
Would he hate me when he resurrected? Would he finish ripping into my throat? Or would he take me as the humans did to each other? Stripping my clothes away to press his bare body against mine, and inside of mine, trying to become me, to own me. Was it really so different than what I had done?
I stared at his serene face. He looked dead; his face was pale, his eyes closed and darkness creeping in around the lids. I wanted to kiss him. I did not.
He was as perfect in mortal death as he had been in life. I stroked his wild blond hair and caressed the side of his face. He had immaculate features; chiseled cheekbones and a pouty bow mouth that was made for kissing. My eyes traveled over the rest of him; his onyx shirt unbuttoned revealing a smooth chest and a raven tattoo. Even lifeless, his hot body screamed out for my vampiric desires. Who could've resisted?
I'd fed on him numerous times and he was none the wiser. I'd hidden the memory from him; I was nothing more than the beautiful and mysterious woman that lived in the apartment across the hall. Occasionally we'd meet on the elevator or in the stairwell, and he'd look at me with a puzzled expression, waving sheepishly before he made himself turn away. I always returned his glances with an innocent smile, fighting the urge to lick my lips as I remembered his salty copperness. I craved him. And I'd broken my own rule by continuing to feed on him. Once and then move on. But he tasted so damn good, I couldn't leave him. And then I'd really screwed up, I'd allowed it... that feeling.
Love; such a twisted emotion. It makes the body want things the mind knows it can't have; that it shouldn't have. And vampires don't like being told 'no'.
I continued waiting; impatiently for hours until he regained consciousness. Now he was fully awake in his new form. A vampire like me. I smiled at him.
It was immediately apparent he did not share in my elation. He was upon me in seconds, using his new found strength to pin me against the wall. My joy had made me weak.
He didn't know he couldn't physically hurt me, but he sure gave it his best shot.
He was tireless, and the night dragged on with him wailing away upon my body, until finally his anger wore him down.
He would never know how to truly hurt me... the one action he could take that would break me. I would never let it happen. I would revel in his anger and his hatred, the knowledge that he felt something for me.
As long as I could be with him forever, I could be happy.

And maybe one day, he would be happy too. But for now...

©2016 Garden Summerland

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Stupid Beautiful

Ella took another sip of her cafe au lait and looked at her phone. Tom was predictably late, but usually just ten or fifteen minutes. Initially, there had been anger over his thoughtlessness, but it had subsided and her emotions had turned to concern. Reluctantly, she shook it off. Surely there was no cause to worry. They'd been meeting in random coffee shops for almost a year now, and he'd never been on time. Plus, he was worth waiting for.
She waved to the waitress for the check. She looked at her phone again. Nothing.
No calls, no texts. Where was he?
Another ten minutes passed and still no Tom. She was rummaging in her purse for change to leave the waitress when she felt his presence behind her.
She turned in her seat, glaring at him over her shoulder.
Where the hell have you been? I thought... I thought something had happened to you. I was...” she paused not wanting to admit to him how deeply she really cared.
Oh, how sweet, you were worried about me. Well, I just like to see if you'll wait for me.” He smirked.
“So you're testing me? Seriously? I was getting ready to leave. You're coming up on two hours now. I think you beat your own record.”
Come on Ella, don't be mad.” He produced a red rose from behind his back and smiled that dazzling smile that made her heart race; his green eyes twinkling with mischief.
And you think that's all it will take? A rose and a smile?” Her countenance was stern. But she couldn't hold it for long and let out a defeated sigh. “Yeah, okay.”
She took the flower and her face softened. She was fully aware that he was working her but she didn't care. Within the next hour they would be naked and entangled with each other in a motel bed, everything else falling into oblivion. She was slowly becoming accustomed to his lateness, his excuses, and his utter disregard for her schedule and her feelings; and now she couldn't stay away. He brought her the utmost pleasure, and an escape from her husband Mark, an over-bearing, abusive control freak. The tighter he held her, the farther away she had become; mentally and now physically. He was the reason she'd become such easy prey for Tom.
She had traded one master for another, and she didn't even realize it.
Tom was just as controlling and abusive in his own way. He used sex to manipulate her. She enjoyed it but it didn't mean she hadn't fallen into the same trap all over again.
It was easy to call it abuse when Mark left bruises. Or when he openly belittled her in front of their friends, humiliating her at cocktail parties by calling attention to her lack of book smarts. He always turned it off as a joke of course, and she always tried to laugh so no one else realized his true intent; but Ella knew.
Tom was different because he was subtle. He'd been doing this a long time, and Ella was hardly his first. He had perfected the art of skillful debasement.
He was having the time of his life. Ella was easier to manipulate than any woman he'd ever been with, it's what kept him coming back. He could make her do just about anything, and he never even had to ask.
So it came as no shock when she suggested getting rid of her husband. Tom had no interest in pursuing anything beyond what they did in seedy motel rooms, but Ella didn't know that. And he had already felt a twinge of boredom... so why not? Ella would murder her husband in the hopes that with him out of the way, she and Tom could finally be together. And Tom would get to experience the thrill of ultimate control.
He smiled. Yes, Ella would kill for him. She wouldn't kill to save herself, but she'd do it to trade herself into a different kind of slavery to another man. She was beautiful, but quite stupid.
It didn't take long to lay out a simple plan; Mark was to be the victim of a random break in. He'd surprise a burglar and poor Ella would come home from shopping to find his dead body in the living room.
She'd been careful over the years to hide evidence of his anger; no one knew she was a battered wife. No suspicion would fall on her, she adored her husband, all of their friends would confirm it. Ella had renewed hope for her life now; and she was certain she could pull the trigger then play the part of the grief stricken wife.
They planned the murder for the following Friday; she had a week to practice her story.
Tom gave her the gun he'd bought months ago, the day after he met her. He had known he would need it for something. But he hadn't dreamed it would be anything this exhilarating.
Surprisingly, the plan went off without a hitch. Ella played it to the hilt. It would be a closed case soon enough.
She met Tom three days later at a deserted gas station six miles out of town to give him back the gun.
He sat in his car and waited for her, grinning as he watched her pull up and park next to him. She got out of her car, the gun in hand and walked slowly towards him. He rolled down the window, and motioned for her to get into the passenger side. Why not have one last tumble in the sack?
He was still smiling at her as she leveled the gun and shot him in the head. She took his watch and his wallet and left him wide eyed, slumped over the steering wheel of his Mercedes.
Ella was indeed very beautiful, and she wasn't so stupid after all.

©2016 Garden Summerland


Monday, April 4, 2016

Demon Is the New Normal

The doctors told me that Fridays would be the worst. They hadn't said why, but this was my second one as a free woman and I had to agree with them, but perhaps not for the same reasons.
I attempted my usual routine; two black coffees, six cigarettes and then a hot shower. I stood in the bathroom wrapped in a fluffy white towel, but still managed to drip water onto the marbled tile floor. I didn't care, I was in agony. The piercing screams inside my mind had begun again; I fell to my knees holding the sides of my head. I'd missed two doses of medication, now he was back cursing at me and telling me what to do.
Cathan. The demon that controlled my life. Unless I had those little pink pills, my 20 mg. a day, he made me do things. Criminal things. Things no one else knew about. Secret things. Things I loved. Things I craved.
I couldn't lie to myself anymore, I missed him... my demon.
Even though he became abusive when I didn't listen, he had loved me when no one else had. So I didn't mind doing small favors for him. It made a part of me deeply happy.
And all I'd done since I'd been locked up and made to take pills was cry.

I'd lived most of my life with Cathan screaming my name. I was pretty used to it, and even the painful headaches that followed his outbursts comforted me in an odd way. Cathan was normal. Swallowing pills every day wasn't. I was the only one that understood that. But if I hadn't at least agreed to the medication, my family had threatened to keep me locked up indefinitely. Cathan was dying in that institution, and I knew that even though the pills made him sick, he could survive it. We both could. So I'd nodded my head and gotten released. I didn't want the pills, but I didn't have any other alternative. Now I was pretty much on my own again... well as much as I'd ever been on my own. Me and Cathan. It was a love/hate relationship, but the only real one I'd ever had. I knew Cathan and he knew me, inside and out. It was... comfortable.

Now he whispered to me. I think it was the only way he could be sure I was listening. I got really still and rocked back and forth on the floor. The silence made me shiver. And then his voice changed, it was soothing and warmed me all over, “None of this will matter soon.”
Then he told me to get the pills. I reached up and took the bottle from beside the sink. I knew he was going to make me flush them down the toilet. I could do that.
“Join me,” he hissed in my head. He said it over and over again. “Take all of them. Get rid of those pills. You know it's what you want.”
He was laughing. Was it really what he wanted? Was it what I wanted?
“No, I won't do it!” I screamed at him. I threw the bottle of pills and it hit the wall sending a shower of pink tablets down upon me. Then I saw myself picking them up; I was in a frenzy as I ate them. But that wasn't enough for him. I felt myself being dragged to my feet; then opening the medicine cabinet and taking out the straight razor I had hidden there two years ago as a reminder of how far I'd come.

I inhaled sharply as the silver blade sunk into my wrist. I hadn't been prepared for the pain.
I screamed. Cathan was laughing inside my head. He wouldn't be laughing soon.
“Stop. Please, dear god, stop this!” I begged him.
But still I pushed the blade deeper. I didn't know what I was doing, I had no control.

Now there would be no Cathan and no pills. No new normal. There was only darkness consuming me, and then there would be nothing.
It was in the back of my mind... something evil... I could feel it overwhelming me. Then there was more laughter; sinister, twisted, sick laughter. I looked in the mirror, he was standing behind me with his arms around me.

Cathan smiled wickedly; he was holding the blade.   

©2016 Garden Summerland

Friday, February 26, 2016


Ashley ached all over. She sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes; they were swollen and sore.
I could see her clearly in my mind. She was a vision of evil intent wrapped into an exquisitely beautiful package; but not for long.
I centered my focus and began the hex.
She blinked her eyes, unable to register the horror that began playing out as her porcelain skin began to erupt into horrible blisters. In a few minutes they would break open and bleed. The skin underneath would crack and fall away. And then, the true intent of my spell would be revealed; deep wrinkles embedded into her skin. I spoke the incantation as I held the head of a broken doll in my hands Soon her hands would begin to gnarl and twist; the blue-black veins becoming more prominent as her skin got thinner and thinner.
She was aging. I was giving her the face and body of a feeble old hag, while allowing her to keep her youthful, shallow, and cruel mind.
Soon they would laugh at her. She would be sorry for what she'd done to me. She was nothing more than a bully, and the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
I was going to take it all from her. Those things she treasured the most; no more selfies, no young friends to hang with. And worst of all, no more cute boys. She would have no bae, ever again.
She tried to grab her phone, but it slipped from her arthritic hands, falling onto the bed. I laughed and Instagram popped up on her screen. She was aging in her photos too. She tried frantically to delete them. It wasn't working; they were still there. She tried to delete her account. It was no use.
She was getting hit after hit, comment after comment. They all said the same thing.
You're ugly. And old, so very old. Get off Instagram. We HATE you.
The same poisonous venom she'd spat onto me, a complete stranger.

I smiled, knowing it was time. The popular girl was about to become unpopular. Tears poured from her squinting eyes as she saw her follower count dropping. She screamed in agony as she saw her following go from over 7 thousand, down to two; her mother and her sister. And neither of them had logged in for over six months. She struggled to check her other accounts. And it was just what she feared, all of them had zero followers. Everyone had left her; she was nobody.
She couldn't fathom why this was this happening to her. She had always been so... beautiful and popular. She was a Queen B.
Then she heard the laughter. My laughter. She jerked her head around. No one was there. This couldn't be real. She thought she was going crazy. Or dreaming. That was it; it was just a nightmare. She'd awaken soon and everything would be fine. I cackled again.
Her skin began to itch and she clawed at herself. She couldn't stop. Her youth was fading away.
She threw herself down upon her pillows and sobbed until she was out of breath, her last bit of energy spent.
I lit tea light candles and set the doll head in front of them; the ritual was almost complete. Unpleasant minutes passed as I watched the dwindling flames and Ashley coughed as her lungs began to collapse.
“I'm sorry.” The words escaped her lips in a dry whisper. I smiled. She had found redemption.
I smashed the doll head and the spell was broken. I am not so cruel after all.  

©2016 Garden Summerland

Friday, February 5, 2016

Devil May Care

I hadn't seen Seth in days. The last time he'd come to me, we'd argued and he'd left in a huff. He didn't believe that I loved him, and wanted me to prove it. And now it appeared we were going to have the same discussion again. He thought he could break my will, but I knew I was stronger than that. At least I thought I was.
I sat on my bed as he paced back and forth in front of me. I should have turned on the light; the sun had gone down just as he'd arrived, and it was almost too dark to discern his expression. He was going to plead his case again. I rolled my eyes; I'd had enough.
“Do it... for me.” His voice was low, almost a whisper, but his words had a commanding power that gripped my soul.
I fought against them. “No.” I said it flatly, with no emotion, although my breath was shallow and uneven. He had shaken my reserve and he knew it. He was pleased.
“Then you don't really love me, do you, my sweet Alice?” It wasn't really a question.
“What do you want from me? You think I'll agree to murder some random innocent person in cold blood because you say it will prove my love for you?”
“Yes. But hardly random, and certainly not innocent.”
“That's ridiculous. You're.... you're insane.”
“Perhaps, but that's where we're at. Put up or shut up my darling.”
“Absolutely not. I won't do it.” I folded my arms across my chest and shook my head.
“Then I guess we're done here, aren't we?” He tugged on his leather gloves and smirked, his blue eyes darkening as they narrowed ever so slightly.
“Yes Seth, I suppose we are.”
He turned and headed for the door, the cloud of darkness following him like a trail.
I couldn't do it. I wouldn't do it. And he couldn't make me... or could he? My thoughts were swimming in a sea of moral quandary. I didn't want him to go.
He paused at the door.
“Okay!” I screamed it at him. “Are you satisfied?”
Time seemed to stand still; suddenly he was beside me, his leather clad fingers wiping away the tears that trickled down my cheeks. I was losing my sanity, I wanted him to kiss me.
“Um.... no, I'm not satisfied... not just yet.” His sinister laugh filled the space between us as a purplish swirl of smoke surrounded him and he vanished.
A cold chill slithered under my skin like an icy reptile and my heart shivered. Now all I had to do was wait. Seth would tell me who and when, and I assumed provide the means to do it. I had no idea how to kill someone; I'd never thought about it.

Bit by bit, his evil had bled into my soul. Possession. That's what they called it. But there would be no exorcist for me; only a 6 by 8 foot prison cell. There was no way around it, I'd be guilty, and I would confess. And I'd have a ready made defense; the devil made me do it. Of course, no one would believe that it was the truth. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, I lived in a state that had no death penalty. They would put me away for a long time; my sole comfort, that the devil may care. 

©2016 Garden Summerland

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Turning

I tugged my bedroom curtains closed and relished the darkness. It wouldn't be long. I counted in my head, 1, 2....3. Then I felt his hands slide around my neck and he moved them sensuously down my bare shoulders. I turned around, my eyes expectant, but I was still alone.
He laughed.
I squinted in the blackness, I knew he was there... somewhere.
“Are you afraid of me?” His voice was smooth and deep, it soothed me.
“Of course not, I... I...” I stammered, I couldn't say it.
“Oh my dear, loving me is dangerous.”
“Why?” I couldn't fathom feeling anything but complete adoration for such beauty.
“Because you won't care about anything else.”
“But I don't care about anything else.”
“Then it is too late for you.”
He grabbed me and kissed me.
And it was all that I knew, because everything else had already been forgotten.
I forced myself to pull away; the need to gaze upon his exquisite form was overwhelming. My eyes fluttered open as if I'd been dreaming, and he had vanished. I folded my arms across my chest and shivered. I hated when he did that. No warning, no good-byes, he was just … gone.
I paced back and forth, my bare toes digging into the plush carpet as I wondered when I would see him again. I picked up my phone from the night table and stared down at it. I had no way of getting in touch with him.
Almost on cue, the phone vibrated in my hand. He had never called me; how exciting it would be to have him embrace modern technology. I swiped to answer. It wasn't him, it was my best friend, Jennifer.
“You're late.” She snarled.
“We were going to see a movie?”
“What?” I asked again, still lost in thoughts of Jared.
“You were supposed to be here at seven. What is with you? Get over here, now.” She clicked the phone off before I could respond. I searched for guilt. I didn't have any.
I dressed unhurriedly and headed to Jen's. The fifteen minute drive seemed like three as my mind played out erotic scenes with Jared.
I rang the bell and waited, trying to focus on being the friend Jen deserved. Unfortunately, she was in lecture mode as soon as she opened the door. She was no fan of Jared. He'd taken me from her.

“I Googled it... I know how it happens. It's called The Turning. First you'll dream about him, once a month, once a week... then it's every night. He will become all that you think about, all that you want. You will become consumed. It's happening already isn't it?”
“No.” I couldn't believe she was going to be like this. She didn't understand. No one could.
“Don't lie to me. Even that is a sign. Deceitfulness. But I see right through you. Just like I saw right through him from day one. He's evil; you have to see it.” Jen paused and turned to face me. “Have you dreamt of him?”
“No, of course not.” I could lie easily now; to anyone.
“Dammit, don't lie.”
She wasn't going to let it go. I had to come up with something else.
“Yes. Okay, okay... yes I've dreamt of him. But it means nothing. He means nothing. I... I don't even....” I was patronizing her and she missed it completely.
She laughed. “Oh my god, you're lying to yourself. He's gotten to you. He's inside you... corrupting everything you are. He's controlling you even now...”
“Don't be so dramatic. No one has the power to do stuff like that. I think you need to spend a little less time watching those B horror flicks. You're confusing them with reality.” I shook my head and turned from her but she grabbed my arm and jerked me back. I glared at her with such force she stumbled backwards and hit her head on the corner of the glass coffee table; then a hard crack as her skull hit the marble tiled floor. I hadn't meant to do it.
“Oh my god, Jennifer.” I rushed to her and knelt down beside her. Blood poured from a three inch gash on the side of her head as her eyes filled with panic.
“Deirdre, please promise me you'll get away from him.”
“Shh, don't talk... everything will be fine now.” I took the scarf from my neck and held it against her wound. I stared at the cell phone on the table next to us.
She looked over at it too, “911” she whispered hoarsely.
“They can't help you now. No one can.”
I loosened the pressure of the scarf and sat with her until she lost consciousness. Then I called 911.
I knew it was too late. I cried. Why had this happened?
Jen had been right. I dreamt of Jared every night. He'd gotten inside me, my mind and my soul.
Now I was evil like he was. And I was happy for the first time in my life.  

©2016 Garden Summerland

Friday, January 22, 2016


It was a sticky-wet, steamy kind of night. Storms from earlier in the evening had been replaced by a light mist that settled on my windshield obscuring the clear view I'd hoped for. I'd been impatiently waiting almost three hours. I had both of my windows down, but the street stench was practically making me gag. I was thankful I hadn't eaten.
I'd seen runaways, hookers and junkies. I'd watched patrons getting blow jobs in the parking lot, and a couple of guys left with dancers. But she hadn't appeared; even though she was due off work at two. Now it was quarter til five. Two groups of girls had come out an hour ago, but she wasn't amongst them. It would be getting daylight soon. Where the hell was she?
I'd parked on a side street across from the club. The rental stuck out like a sore thumb. If I'd had more time I would've boosted a car from the discount store across from my motel. But I was working on a time constraint.
It had to be tonight. If I missed this opportunity I'd have to wait another month. The ritual had to be done on the first night of the full moon. And it had to be her. Heaven Starr.
I got out of the car and closed the door gently. I lit a cigarette and walked around to the trunk. There was a homeless man with a full dirty-white beard sitting on the sidewalk and propped up against the building. He looked me up and down. I stepped towards him and he looked away.
"Hey old man, you never saw me, right?" I held out a twenty.
He smiled a toothless grin, nodded and snatched the bill from my hand. He was probably seeing two of me anyway. Nothing better than an unreliable witness. I smiled. My power was slowly returning, and after tonight, it would be full strength. Then nothing could stop me. No cops, no FBI... not even their god.
The right wing religious zealots that have been all over the news this month would take the blame for my work. The media had already given their coalition credit for two of the six rituals I'd performed. I'd left clues to my real identity but the cops were still too stupid to get it. I guess it didn't help that we shared the same initials. I laughed. I loved the irony. As usual, they were worshiping the wrong god.
They needed you to spell it out for them, but I didn't have time to play cat and mouse games.
I had a job to do. I didn't want to be caught. I didn't need to be caught, and I wasn't going to be. I'd been psychoanalyzed by the best of them years ago, and they'd been wrong. It had nothing to do with my mother. I'd been called, and I'd answered. And soon, I would be rid of the filth that had surrounded me since birth, and I would ascend to my true place. And they would all worship at my alters. Sinners.
I'd already caused one of the clubs to close. I'd gotten two girls from that one; I knew that was why. It was always something in the numbers, but that was beyond my comprehension. It didn't matter. You didn't have to be a genius to perform the work of the righteous. And I had been chosen. I'd known it all my life.
Heaven would understand.

I unlocked the trunk and retrieved my gloves and handcuffs. I shoved them into the pockets of the army vest I was wearing, and let the trunk lid down. As I turned around I noticed the old man was still monitoring my activity.
"You don't worry about what I'm doing, okay?"
He mumbled something then spoke up, "I ain't seen nothing Mister. You don't even exist."
"That's right old man, I don't."
I flicked my cigarette into a puddle and got back in the car. Just as I closed the door, she appeared.
There was an ethereal glow around her. She was truly my star. I hated to sacrifice her, but it had to be done, didn't it? I'd meditated many hours about it. And now I sat questioning myself; could she be rehabilitated? Could she believe? She was after all, called Heaven for a reason.
I was in awe of her. She was the most beautiful creature I'd ever seen. I wanted her for my own.
It was in that moment that the course of my destiny realigned; I remade the decision I'd been adamant about only minutes before. Everything changed in the flash of her smile. She could rule by my side as my queen; heaven sent and so named. The vision evolved; I could see it clearly now. Even the lowest among us could be redeemed. I would save Heaven, and maybe by doing so, Heaven would save me. The rest of them would go to hell.

©2016 Garden Summerland

Friday, January 15, 2016

Seven Years Off

Casi tapped her foot anxiously. Two hours had gone by. One hundred twenty minutes she could never get back. It was just like all the birthdays and Christmases he had missed. They were gone unceremoniously and unappreciated. And now the train station was practically deserted. She scoffed. This wasn't her first time and it probably wouldn't be her last.
She rubbed her hands together wishing she'd brought gloves. She tugged at the too small cap she wore. The only thing he'd ever sent her. It was seven years old; she'd been seven when she got it.
Her aunt had called her in from the backyard, and she'd come running... tore open the brown papered package. A pink and white striped knit cap with a huge pom pom on the top of it. It had been the loveliest thing she'd ever seen. And it was all hers. The only thing he'd ever given her, the only connection she had.
She'd worn it for years. Knowing that the very first time she saw him, she'd be wearing it. So here she sat, looking ridiculous with a child's cap on her head. It was just seven years later than she'd thought it would be.
She looked at her watch. It was almost six. The last train would be coming in from the city. She felt her heart slow and her throat went dry. He wasn't coming. Again.
She swallowed hard and searched in her bag for a throat lozenge. She took one out of it's cellophane wrapping and held the sticky square in her hand. Honey-lemon. Her aunt knew she hated those. The cherry ones, those was her favorite.
“Casi?” A man's voice interrupted her inner conversation.
She was afraid to look up. Was it him? Had he come after all? Would she even recognize him? She stared down at the lozenge another few seconds... the man didn't speak again.
Her heart raced inside her chest and slowly she raised her gaze to meet his.
An old man in a rumpled brown suit stood in front of her, motionless; an envelope in his outstretched hand.
She let out a sigh of relief and contempt as she snatched the envelope from his hand. Bitter tears streamed down her cheeks as she glared at him.
“What do you want old man? A tip?” She barked it at him, the hurt and rage building inside her.
Then she noticed his hands; they were shaking, uncontrollably. Oh dear god, the old man was gonna have some sort of seizure right in front of her.
“I'm sorry... I'm so so sorry.” She shoved the envelope in her purse & dropped the lozenge.
The old man watched as the lozenge hit the dirty tile floor and he laughed.
“Honey-lemon? I always hated those. The cherry ones are my favorite.”
Casi froze. Something inside her recognized that laugh. It was warm and familiar and just like her own.
She didn't dare look up again; and her voice cracked when she spoke.
“Daddy?” It was a whisper.
The old man sat down next to her on the metal bench and touched the side of her face.
“Nice hat. Maybe we can find one that fits you better now.”
For the first time in her life, Casi cried tears of joy.

©2016 Garden Summerland

Friday, January 8, 2016

Spoke Too Soon

It had been seven days since she'd seen him. And she'd cried every one of those days. A whole week of tears, and for what? To ease her guilt?
She had no one to blame. She's the one that had broken things off. No contact. That was what she'd said. And now she was miserable.
But it wasn't because she was lonely. She'd never been lonely. A husband, two jobs, a lover and two best friends all vying for her attention. Only now, she didn't have the lover. She'd known that it would eventually come to this.
It had to be him or the husband. Had she made the right choice?
She wasn't even sure how she and Sam had gotten romantically involved. It had started innocently enough. David was the one that had introduced them. Sam was one of his childhood friends, and after Sam's divorce, he'd moved back to town and reconnected with David. Then there was the end of summer barbecue, and Sam came alone. He shook her hand when David introduced them and it made her go weak in the knees.
Carly and David had been married for eleven years, and she loved her husband. David was a traveling salesman and although he was gone three weeks out of the month, she knew she couldn't use that as an excuse.
She was fine being alone, that wasn't the problem. She was restless and bored. And she needed the excitement that Sam brought into her life. Late night rendezvous and clandestine meetings. It made her heart race and her skin tingle. Just thinking about him made her giddy. He was tall and muscular, with blond hair that fell into small curls at the nape of his neck. He had deep blue eyes and a Southern accent that made her melt.. He was everything David wasn't.
But then... David got fired. Now he was home all the time, and her unexplained outings were being scrutinized. She had grown weary of the dishonesty. It had been different when he was away, but now she had to face him, look into his eyes and lie. It was more than she could bear.
They had been happy once; years ago it had been David that gave her butterflies. She longed for those times again. But she feared it could never be recovered. She had tasted the forbidden fruit of Sam and now she realized there was no turning back the clock. No matter how much her guilt ate away at her soul, she couldn't shake the emptiness she felt since she'd decided to walk the straight and narrow.
Sam had been her secret pleasure. Not even her best friends knew, and she wasn't about to tell them now that it was over. No, she was going to have to face the facts, and try to rebuild her relationship with her husband. Of course he had been the logical choice, the only one that made sense. And yet... she couldn't help second guessing her decision. She thought it would be easier to say good-bye to Sam and never look back. But looking back was all she'd done. She missed him. And soon the cold hard realization began to sink in. She was in love with Sam.
There was nothing to be done. She was going to have to tell David. Then there would be a messy divorce, and she would lose everything she'd struggled for years to maintain. And for what? The reality was, that life with Sam might not be as thrilling as it appeared. But there was only one way to find out. Was it worth the risk?
She decided it was.
She would come clean that night. She would pack her things, and confess her sins. And by next week, she'd be with Sam.
On her drive home from work, she got everything straight in her head. She would be honest, and succinct. He could have everything, she just wanted out.
Upon her arrival, she found David sitting in the living room in the dark.
“What's going on? Why are you sitting in the dark?” she questioned as she turned on lights in the foyer. He sat motionless in his recliner.
“David? What's... what's the matter? You're scaring me.”
She flicked on the lamp next to him, illuminating his red face and swollen eyes. He'd been crying.
He reached his hands up to her, “Carly, come here.”
She took his hands and knelt at his feet. He must've found out about Sam. She hadn't wanted him to hear it from someone else. This was going to be harder than she thought. But she had no choice now but to come clean. The sooner she got this out of the way, the sooner she could start a new life with Sam.
“David....I...I don't know what to say. I'm so sorry. I wanted to be the one to tell you. And we never meant for it to happen... it's just... you're gone so much... and Sam... Sam has been there for me. And we...”
He jerked his hands away.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“David... Sam and I have been seeing each other for about a year. And.... and I want a divorce. He loves me, and I love him.”
He laughed. Not just a chuckle, but full on raucous laughter.
“Carly... you fool. You are so self-centered, you always were. If only you'd kept your mouth shut. There was a horrible accident out on route 5 this morning. Sam is dead.”

©2016 Garden Summerland