Tag Archive: stories


There would come a time when the boy must die, he thought, but he doubted if he would receive much help on that account.  That they loved him was apparent as he caught a stolen glance of the boy from the window he was passing.  Then again good of any kind always looks more pure when set against as dark a backdrop as recent events had caused.  For now the boy would serve as a figure head, a symbol that peace was not only obtainable but imminent.  His face was a study of calm happiness as he walked through the stone corridors.  The facade he must always keep in place so no one would ever suspect that even he suffered from self doubt, from time to time.  He knew eyes and ears followed him wherever he went, was even use to it, but they wouldn’t catch him falter.  He had been living his lies for so long now he almost believed them himself, but buried under the titles and council position was truth.  He would do anything to stop the destruction of the world he had spent a lifetime trying to create to atone for his sins.

Behind his solid door and heavy table he finally removed the roll of parchment from his billowing sleeve.  All day he had wanted to look but there had been pretenses to maintain.  It was the news he had feared.  He would have liked to call out for strength but there was no religion in this world which could undo what needed to be done.  So instead he whispered, to the shadow in the corner, sending one of his many messengers on their way.  Weariness pulled at him, but this wasn’t a time for sitting comfortably.  This was going to require all of his mental acuity and persuasiveness, or the dangerous game they were playing at was likely to have no winner.  As the door opened he reminded himself that this his grandest performance could have no end, I must wear it as a mantel even unto death.  “Please come in there is something I must ask of you…”

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All rights to HBO Game of Thrones ®

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All rights to Warner Brothers Harry Potter ®

Can you guess who the He is in my story?  I would love to read your guesses and reasoning behind them 8D. I will post the correct answer on Wednesday morning.

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The book

I never knew the story of me, not really anyway, until it was my turn to carry the book.  The book was where my mother kept her secrets, and as it turns out they were numerous.  That large leather bound tome was the only thing we owned that never felt the lean times.  It seemed to constantly expand like mother’s sourdough rolls. 

That was how we survived, mother and I.  She baked and, as soon as I could carry the tray, I sold, but we never lingered any one place for very long.  There was never an explanation just, “Adette, my sweet, tis time,” and we would be off to the next town before dawn.  The worst was when we lived “in the heather” as mother would say.  To me the Black Forest was a terrifying place of hard dirt beds, green leaky roofs, and fear which ran off my mother in rivulets when the next town wasn’t an option and we had to hide to survive.  I never knew why we ran, what made us run, or who might follow, but I went with mother and her book without question.

When I got old enough I started to see the pattern.  While we sold sweet bread, hearty loaves, or flaky pastry we were fine.  I could count on a straw mattress, dinner simmering on the hearth, and a place to call home.  We still stole away in the night with no explanation, but it would just be to the next town.  The second I smelled gingerbread though I knew it was just a matter of time till we were back in the woods hugging the shadows. 

The last time I begged mother not to make me sell the child shaped gingerbread, but she wouldn’t listen.  For two days I came home to the spicy sweetness, but the third day it was emptiness that greeted me.  The door hung crooked on its broken hinges, spices and dark syrups coated the floor, and the hearth lay dark and cold.  I waited…afraid to light a fire.  Night fell full and heavy, its inky darkness a weighty thing in my heart and on my mind, but still my mother had not returned.  So I did what my mother taught me…I ran.

I grabbed what I could carry the most precious ingredients, her well used pans, and as I turned to leave I saw it.  The book lay open and only the moonlight on its pages made it visible.  Part of me wanted to run from that book, which had made gypsies of us and ultimately cost me my mother.  However, the bigger part of me wanted answers so it went into my flour sack with all I had left of her.

I fled into the night and into the forest I dreaded so much.  I didn’t stop for days sure that whatever had chased my mother through our lives was now after me.  Until I stumbled into a small clearing.  There was no telling how long the place had been abandoned.  Its wattle and daub roof had washed away and the few support boards which had framed the cottage crumbled at the slightest touch.  Only the stone hearth remained intact.  Habit had me building a fire and unpacking as if this was like any other time mother and I camped out beneath the stars, but reality washed over me in icy chills when my hand grazed leather. 

I realized for the first time how heavy it was as I brushed a slight dusting of flour from its cover.  Flipping through the pages I smiled sadly remembering the small conversations we had over pumpernickel and cherry cakes till I found the recipe.  I read it twice before the words meant anything.  I unpacked each remaining stoppered glass bottle reading their labels with care. Black Pudding was written on a bottle with less than a fingers width of sticky syrup left within it.  My stomach rolled but was too empty to oblige.  I now knew why we left in the dead of night why we hid in the Black Forest’s shadow, but not why mother couldn’t just have used molasses.

I had no other choice before me, I couldn’t return to any town I knew and there was no map or path to lead me forward, so I stayed.  I stayed and the forest, I had feared so much, provided.  There was wild wheat and nuts to grind for flour, honey and berries for sugar, and gathered eggs.  I used what skill I had to protect myself from harsh winter winds, hard brötchen bricks, sugar paned windows, and a thatched pretzel roof, but nothing could protect me from the book.  Every day I read more of it trying to understand any piece of the puzzle.  My only answers came from the inside of the front and back covers.  After numerous blank pages I found a family tree which, if vaguely, told me where I came from.  It was however, the simple inscription inside the front cover that guided me. 

Waste naught want naught.

I am Adette, and I will never be caught wanting for I make use of all that the forest provides me.

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Water color by Kay Nielsen all rights to owner

I can still remember how magical it was the first time I rounded the bend at sunset and saw it dancing in the setting sun.

Tucker my beagle had yanked me off our normal path through what I had long ago dubbed my trees, not caring enough to look up the actual name of the small wooded area almost exactly one mile east of our farm, following his busy nose onto a much less well trodden path. However, being 13 and ripe for adventure I let him pick.  We must have wandered on that path for over 20 minutes before the trees started to thin, and thinking we had hit the other side we both started to run for the dappled light only to find ourselves instead in a small clearing.

In those first few moments I didn’t wonder who had done it or why I just accepted it at face value.  Here in the middle of my trees stood a smallish fir-tree trimmed for tomorrow’s celebration of Christmas.  The whines and snuffs of Tuck’s detective work didn’t even break the spell; it was as if I had never laid eyes on a live Christmas tree before.  I marveled at the simple glass ornaments, the silver tinsel garland, and the golden star on top until the sun set behind the trees effectively dimming the dazzling reflective light that had made the tree appear to be covered in twinkle lights as well.

I never mentioned the Christmas tree to anyone, enjoying the secret my trees had shared with me that day and perhaps sensing that I had intruded on something private.  However, that couldn’t stop me from returning each day of Winter break to see it again.

It became my Christmas tradition.  Every year I would visit the clearing in my trees from the first day of school break till the last trying to catch the miracle maker either putting everything up or taking it all back down, but I never did.  Though like clockwork the tree would sparkle from Christmas eve till the 31st, that is until my freshmen year of college.

I was just about to the clearing and sun hadn’t even started setting yet so I was untroubled by the lack of silver and gold flashes, that was until I stood face to face with that fir-tree.  It looked so small in the clearing though I could tell it was very old by the size of the trunk, but without the trimmings everything just looked off.  I stood there clutching the nearest tree for support the questions I had never thought to ask rising to the surface; who had done this for so many years, what had it meant to them, did they know what it meant to me, why would it have stopped?  The final question ringing in my ears I ran from my trees and their clearing, distraught at the loss of my tradition, until I found myself at our storage barn.

While I hadn’t planned it, it felt right.  “There,” I whispered to the smallish fir knocking pine needles from my coat, “that’s better I think.”  As I walked away I glanced over my shoulder so my ornaments were plastic, my garland was rainbow colors not silver, and an angel sat where the star had been maybe the idea behind the tradition might not care about those little details.  I would come back tomorrow and see if the tree could still dance in the fading light.

When I returned I found that my tree trimming had worked the clearing again seemed full and alive, but I was unprepared for the note inscribed at the base of the tree in the earth which read simply

Thank you.

Unsure but excited I stooped to leave my own message

Thank you…

But that was years ago, and now I stand looking at the clearing in my trees and see the fir festooned with glitter snowflakes and icicles and topped with a silver star preparing to leave my second message, and while I write I smile and remember the magic of when I first rounded that bend.

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All rights to artist

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It followed her out into the dark of the night.  Growing with each tension filled step.

It hung in the air as her screams died away.  Echoing in ominously empty tones.

It rested on the lips of an onlooker.  Turning a blind eye on an unspeakable deed.

It filled the ears of the madman.  Deafening reason, logic, and sense.

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Julia's Place

The prompt this week is: Silence

The rules:  Now this is a little different as I don’t want you to include the word but write about silence – what it feels like, evokes etc.  As usual you have 100 words. Please keep your piece suitable for a PG certificate. The link will close on 9th Sept.

The Hunt

His eyes were focused on one thing only, even among the crowd.  Her eyes danced quickly around the room trying to hide the fact that she was nervous, but to him it was so obvious.  Taking his time he snaked his way over to her seat at the bar, and leaned over to relay his order to the busty blonde that only seemed to have time for the male customers.  He used the excuse to brush against the nervous girl’s arm.  She noticed him in a quick glance which while assessing didn’t necessarily mean interested.  He smiled to himself as he shook his head slightly, nervous and hard to get.  Perfect.  While he waited on his drink he leaned against the bar and looked out at the overcrowded dance floor which was awash in strobe lights, manufactured smoke, and glistening bodies of both sexes.  Busty tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.  Drink in hand he reached past the nervous girl’s shoulder to leave his tip in the giant margarita glass.  “What are you doing,” he asked her as she turned sharply due to his second venture into her personal space.

“Think I’m supposed to be asking you that,” she said as she straightened her back away from the bar and his outstretched arm.

He just smiled and dropped his folded ones into the glass, “No, I meant why are you here?”  He backed up a step after he asked the question to make her lean into him in order to respond.

“Excuse me,” she asked still sitting straight backed on the stool clearly meaning that he should go fuck himself.

Not missing a beat he continued, “Well you’re not here to dance,” he motioned with his glass, “you’re not here for the drinks,” he pointed to her bottled water, “so why are you here?  The Hunt?”

She thought for a second and then finally leaned in, “Did you say the…hunt?”  She ended her question with a real laugh not the giggly shit drunk girls do to be ‘cute’.  “No I’m waiting for someone,” she said as her eyes landed on a tanned, brunette, in a glittery tank top on the dance floor.  He followed her line of sight and nodded.

“Oh… I see, she’s hunting and called you in for support.”  He rested his elbow on the bar moving maybe half a step closer to her, “How’s that going?”

She opened her mouth to retort shook her head and started over, “Is this you hitting on me?”

His grin split his face nearly in two, “No this is me rescuing you,” he said while motioning for her to look past him.  Sure enough there were at least four guys all paying very close attention to the pair of them.

“Shit,” she cursed under her breath spinning the stool so she faced the bar not the room.

“Rookie mistake,” he said as he leaned in closer, “the girls who want to be bothered sit at the bar the uninterested ones find a table.”

“Thanks for the tip,” she said while craning her neck looking for a table.

“All in a days work, Rookie,” he said as he lifted his glass in salute she just smiled and walked over to the friend.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~¥~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He sat in his booth just off the dance floor and waited.  Sure enough the Rookie walked by, no doubt in search of her much needed table.  He drained his glass and waved for the nearest waitress catching Rookie’s eye at the same time.  Both approached him.  “Rum and Coke,” he said to the girl with the tray, “and Rookie flat or sparkling water for you?”  The girl turned and waited hip out and impatient.

“Long Island Iced Tea.”

“Are we starting to trust one another Rookie?”

“I wouldn’t think so as we don’t even know each others names, but I think its customary to buy a lady a drink when hitting on her.”

“Touche, Rookie.  Though I thought we had established you weren’t here for the Hunt.”

She stayed standing non pulsed. “Alright, alright I was going to hit on you but you weren’t into it, at all I might add, so I gave you a little friendly advise,” he finally offered.

“Well I call bullshit on that as you must have noticed there are no empty tables, but you just happen to have a seat I could use.”

“A little presumptuous, Rookie…”

“Alicia,” she said as she pointed her finger at him.

“No, Cai,” he said pointing to himself and laughing.

She rolled her eyes and sat down opposite of him. “So tell me how this works,” she said as the drinks were set down on the table.

He handed the girl a $50 and waved her away. “If I were you I would go for the straw, more lady like,” he said as he tipped his drink back glee in his eyes.

“No…”

“However you want it to,” he said seriously as he set down the drink. “I bought you exactly one drink, you don’t owe me anything. The way I see it we have three options; you sit and watch your friend we don’t talk, you sit and watch your friend we talk, or we go back to pretending the friend doesn’t exist and see what happens, which I might add seems to have been her plan.”

Alicia looked over at her friend dancing with some young Grecian god then back at Cai. Cai was in a word breathtaking, his dark hair was cut into one of those seemingly effortless but only from a professional styles, he was at least 6’2″, tone judging from the way his shirt stuck to his chest and arms, and he had eyes dark enough to get lost in. She took a deep breath, a sip of her ‘tea’, and went for it “You have the most gorgeous eyes.”

“I believe that was my line, Rookie.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~¥~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The conversation flowed so easily that Alicia didn’t realize how much time had passed till her phone whistled for her attention. Smiling an apology she reached in her bag to silence it. Before she found it, disabled the ringer, and dropped it back in her bag Cai had moved to her side of the booth.

“Did I read that right is it 12:01 in the morning,” Alicia asked looking down at the table for the first time in what must have been hours, as two empty ‘tea’ glasses were pushed off to her left hand side and one three quarters full sat by her right. She blinked her eyes rapidly as the strobe lights kicked into full gear, “God where did the time go?”

Cai just smiled at her, brushed her dark blond hair off her shoulder, and traced his finger along the delicate curve of her clavicle till it met with the flimsy strap of her cotton sun dress. He leaned in closer as if to whisper something in her ear and instead planted a kiss at the junction of her neck and shoulder. The kiss so soft and gentle brought goose bumps up everywhere on her peaches and cream skin and, in direct opposition, ignited molten fire just south of her navel. Noticing Alicia’s shiver Cai wrapped his arm around her, his thumb moving in lazy circles on her shoulder, and locked eyes with her.

“You say something Rookie I got distracted,” he said with a wolfish grin.

“Um,” Alicia tried to remember why the time had been so important, but with Cai so close it was impossible to think of anything other than his eyes, his lips, or his hands.

“Good, because I think talking is over rated,” he said as he kissed her full on the lips his free hand moving from her neck back through her hair. The fire gave way to tingles running up and down every one of Alicia’s nerve endings. She felt herself shift in his arms and press herself tighter against him moaning as the kiss deepened in passion. Cai’s hand fisted in her hair pulling her head to the side allowing him to kiss his way down her bare shoulder.

It suddenly occurred to Alicia that they were in a very public place and as such should maybe consider heading home, but as she started to pull away from Cai his grip strengthened. His breath against the sensitive nape of her neck caused her to freeze in place, “Don’t worry no one ever notices,” he chided as he leaned Alicia back against the booth exposing a smooth creamy expanse of skin from her neck to her cleavage. The mix of fear and desire caused her heart to race and her breath to come out in quick gasps. His right hand fell from Alicia’s shoulder into her lap and moved to the hem of her dress. As he drug his nails gently against the silky skin of her inner thigh she sighed and a flush crept up her neckline.

Cai released his hold on Alicia and sat back as if nothing had happened. Panting in the corner of the booth she watched him finish his drink before he looked her way again. She never said a word, lost again in his intense gaze, but her eyes pleaded with him as they flashed in the changing light. It was all the invitation he needed. Cai’s tongue stoked her all ready high libido, but he drew back just long enough to see Alicia’s eyes had dilated with pleasure. He tilted her head back and kissed the crook of her neck. She groaned in ecstasy as his kiss turned to a biting fire which burned through her till she shattered a million different ways.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~¥~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He left her alive but spent. Smiling at the thought of his Hunt Rookie sitting there in her yellow cotton dress. The only evidence of their encounter would be the blood stains on her sweet-heart neckline, and the sweet taste of her on his tongue.

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All eyes turned to me expectant and doubtful in the firelight.  I had been unable to stop myself, but after being regaled for over an hour with the old standbys, including the man with the hook, who has my golden arm, etc, who could blame me.  I more than any of my, slightly drunken, peers knew the meaning of story telling especially in a group and circled round a fire.  So, I stopped the noisy prattle with a sentence, “I bet I know one you’ve never heard before,” and I did, lots of them.  However, as my grandmother was always want to remind me, “Each gathering has a story waiting to be told, Dianna, you cannot just pick one at random.  If your gifted enough, listen closely enough, the story picks you.”

In the collectively held breath of my captive audience I heard a flutter of wings and the sharp cackle of a crow as a small shadow darker than night rested in a nearby tree.

“So be it.

Many years ago when the woods still teemed with the unknown, and most decent folk feared the dark. A terrible disease ravaged the countryside. The superstitious blamed a small family, the Brenns, who had moved into town as the epidemic claimed its first life. For as time went on the small family survived while the rest of the town burned funeral pyers.

On the same day the Brenns announced the betrothal of their only daughter, Merla, the last child succumbed to disease in the town. Spurred on by fear and resentment the town people rose up and attacked all the merry makers at the family’s celebration. However, Merla was saved by hiding in the branches of the rowan tree in the woods off their property. In one day she had lost everything to the epidemic, her family and her beloved.

For fear of her life the girl hid in the branches till night fall, and then buried her family at the base of her tree. For 100 days and nights the Merla wept upon those graves, and all the while the towns people searched for the girl believing that once the family line was broken the curse of the disease would be lifted. However, while the girl was never sighted among the shadows in the branches all were haunted nightly by her keening.

As the sun set on the 100th day Merla opened her eyes to the sound of laughter. Weary of a trick she climbed lower to get a better look, and saw much to her surprise her family sitting as if for a picnic among a garden of bleeding heart and white chrysanthemum flowers. She quickly joined them, and the family spent the night laughing with no pain of loss to separate them. They were so engrossed in their reunion that the Brenns did not hear the towns folk creeping ever closer. The people were drawn forward to the point where the unearthly sounds of mourning had been replaced with joy, but fear held them from entering the woods till dawn was nearly upon them.

In time with the starting day both the people of the town and the sunlight pierced the shadows below the rowan tree simultaneously. In the light the Brenns family withered away like dew drying upon a meadow. Merla stood with tears streaming and decided she would never run again. With a single heart wrenching sob she threw her arms wide and dissolved into a mass of black wings. In the light of the new day the girl no longer hid among the branches rather 100 crows littered the tree and filled it with their cawing lament.

Something more than disease had taken hold of the town as the crows kept them from rest all day and the family picnic kept them from sleep all night, and so the town folk faded away.

None now live near The Blackbird Woods for it and its inhabitants remember when not so long ago decent folk turned dark.”

Dianna paused taking in the open mouths and confused glances. Her tale had not been scary in the most conventional sense of the word, but she supposed that at least a few of them were recalling, through their drunken fog, that Dianna Brenn was one of the people their mothers had warned them against.

~Reader Note~

Yeah, I have made it to 100 followers thank you for reading and commenting! I hope that I have given you something that at the very least was entertaining, and I hope you liked it enough to continue with me on this literary journey.

Happy reading
~Jess

Closure

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     After two hours at her computer Ann still had no idea why Peter would be the target of grave robbery.  He had died in a car accident not even a month ago after a dinner meeting with then partner Daniel Strauffer.  The hour, after 9:00 pm, and location, The Flats, had made the hit and run a no contest drunk driver casualty, leaving the Widow Saunders with little to no closure.  The case was closed and on a shelf before it even opened, but in light of recent events Ann thought it might be time to talk with Strauffer.

Dream Memory

Blinking and gasping Amanda surfaced from her dream like a drowning man from water.  She sat bolt upright staring at her open doorway, the only source of light at what must have been a very early predawn hour.  Her heart rate suggested long amounts of time spent running at full clip perhaps while being chased by some big cat of the Savannah, but her dogs slept on suggesting that Amanda’s alert came from the nonphysical.  She tried laying down and flipping her pillow but the sense of dread didn’t dissipate nor did the slight pain running across her nose bridge.  Gently lifting her hand Amanda prodded the sore area and her memory.

 

Not typically one to attempt to place meaning on the ephemeral contents of dreams she struggled to make sense of the pieces.  All Amanda remembered could barely fill a sentence.  There had been an awful feeling, akin to terror, as a pillow was smashed over her face, which in a weird way explained the nose, but there were also words.  Unable to recall them she tried her mother’s favorite trick of retracing her steps.  Amanda lay in the same spot as before, closed her eyes, and willed herself to remember.  After what could have been seconds or hours it came to her, “They’re telling me to shoot ’em,” ice ran through her veins, “Was that right?”

 

Phone now clutched to her chest and pacing Amanda made her decision and dialed.  It didn’t even take the ten minutes necessary to make her tea before she could see the blue police lights in her window.  Sitting on her couch, in the dark, facing the her door Amanda waited to hear what they would find across the hall.  That was where Julie lived with her twin boys, Robbie and Toby, and husband Mike, when he was on military leave.  Not two days ago Julie had confided in her that Mike had not been himself lately even around the two-year-olds.

 

Feet thundered up the short stairs, fists berated the door, the threat/promise “We’re coming in” was issued, followed by a door being smashed then nothing.

 

Amanda’s tea cooled to room temperature forgotten in her grasp as she waited.  Sounds of yelling and a scuffle though muted by walls and space reverberated through her very soul.  Without meaning to Amanda moved to the door and opened it just in time to watch Julie and the boys being rushed off then a semiconcious Mike was carried out in handcuffs.  Watching the progress down the stairs Amanda was surprised to see two men standing on her welcome mat.

 

“Ma’am, we would like to ask you a few questions,” the man with dark hair and blue eyes said.  All she could do was nod.  “You were the one who called 911,” blue eyes again, once more Amanda nodded.

 

“How did you know?”  This man had a 4 o’clock shadow and dark eyes, “Miss there were no shoots fired and nothing looked disturbed.”  She met him with silence, how to explain the dream.  “Your call said loud noises,” he checked a note pad.

 

“Must have been raised voices,” she offered as way of explination, “I have dogs.”

 

“Some dogs,” he said but the look in his eyes said more.  Amanda was sure she would see him again.

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Working on Cadaver Alley was many things, intriguing, almost always, entertaining, more than you might think, but never fun.  As an assistant M.E. Phil prided himself on on being un-shockable he had no queasy feelings when they rolled in, anymore, or shaky knees during autopsy.  Perhaps that was because Phil worked the third shift, to thoes in the know this shift was often reffered to as the graveyard shift, and as apropos as that seemed it fell a little short in his mind.  Phil had chosen third for three specific reasons; firstly he was a night owl always had been and he found that working at night relaxed him, secondly his sleep wake schedule gave him a built in reason to miss any family event he chose, and finally though most relevent was that crime happened at night.  What this most commonly meant was that said person would die at night, be found in the morning, catalouged by day shift, then processed by swing shift, and mearly watched by graveyard.  He often joked that he was a highly qualified baby sitter.

But that was before today.

Today at exactly 12 noon Esmerelda J. Wakefield had been struck by lightning from a clear sky and pronounced dead at the scene.  She had been catalouged by swing and now awaited processing.  Due to his so often avoiding processing it took Phil quite a while to A) remember what needed to be done, B) find the necessary tools for the task, and C) actually proccess poor Miss Wakefield.  However, by his first break he had finished prelim and was now well versed in who Esmerelda was from a statistics and measurement standpoint.

With her file in hand he walked out to the break room to warm his hands around a hot chocolate or coffee sludge which ever appeared fresher.  Sitting down on the threadbare couch he tapped off the t.v., a curiously uncharistic motion from Phil, and began going through it aloud.  Having read it cover to cover he was nothing if not confused.  “How does one go and get electrocuted to death by lightening without a storm, huh Esme,” he asked glancing over his shoulder towards the glass wall which separated the morgue from the break room.

His cup slipped from nerveless fingers as Phil shot into the air, “What the …”  Running to the employee entrance he continued to shake his head and swear, but when his hand reached for the key pad just inches from the panic/emergency button everything went still.  He took a deep breath, “What are you going to tell them, when they get here?  She was watching me!  Who the hell is going to believe that?  Just go in there man you probably set the block wrong.”  Three minutes later and with arms in a defensive position Phil entered the morgue once more.

Esmerelda would have been described as having piercing eyes he thought to himself as he once again meet her stare with eyes so deep set and dark green.  A shudder ran through Phil forcing him to step towards her table.  Sure enough her head had slipped.  So after a moment of silent thanks Phil went back to work.  Now Esme rested beneath a crisp white sheet, “You have no secrets from me now my dear,” he said as he walked to the faucet.  Phil knew it was silly and unnecessary but he still warmed the water against his wrist.  Satisfied with the temperature he turned back to Esmerelda in time to see her hand fall gracefully from under the sheet and seemingly point to the floor.  “Not…possible,” he yelled as he moved to garb her arm with one hand and to pull back the sheet with the other unawear that he came to rest where she pointed.

“Not out of secrets,” Esmerelda whispered as the sheet fell away and she grabbed Phil’s arm.

                                                                             ***

Beth screamed bloody murder as Mike grabbed her wrist.  Laughing he let go to protect himself from the barrage of blows Beth was attempting to land on his head.  He stopped laughing and held his hands up in surrender, “Fine, fine I deserve that…but I got you so good,” Mike said still smiling.

“You ass,” Beth said shooting Mike a withering look.  As they both quieted down the night sounds came back locust in the trees, bull frogs on the lake, and the crackel of logs in the fire. 

Then from the cloudless night sky a bolt of lightening.

The Storm

Haley sat in the dark listening to the howling of the wind just beyond the glass. Mesmerized, she follows the flick and dance of the flame along the wick of a lone candle in the nearly empty room.

A sharp crack followed by crystalline crunching sounds suggested that yet another tree branch had fallen from the heavens.

She was nothing more than a darkened silhouette outside the circle of soft golden illumination, frozen in place, deaf to the shattered silence. Haley leaned in, over her crossed ankles, to stare into the bright yellow-red center of light. This close to the candle you could see it; the pain and worry in her eyes, the tension taunt across her hunched shoulders, and even the tiny tremors that rattled her frame.

Finally, she looked away, from the twisted spark, towards the door and the soft ticklish sound of heavy snowfall. Haley’s arms wrapped tight around herself, chafing what little warmth she had into them, as the loneliness and fear set in.

For as the candle light shrank and the dark deepened all she could do was wonder … and wait.

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