Friday, 30 August 2013

At the Gates of Heaven

I’m sure I’ve been here before – maybe in a dream.

“Hello, Amy.” He said.

 I look up at the tall brass gate by the old oak tree.  It’s Spring.  The sun is out and the path through here is worn and very pretty, “Hi.” I look at the man dressed in a nice suit, “Have I been here before?”

“Yes.” He nodded, “But not in the capacity you are now.” He turned and there was a park bench nearby, “Would you like to take a seat?”

I walk to the bench and sit down as he sits next to me, “This is a very nice place; but why don’t I recognise it?”

He avoids my question, “Do you remember how you got here?”

“No.” I look at my hands and find I still have my watch and I’m dressed in my favourite clothes and shoes, “The last thing I remember is going to my volunteer work by car.”

He smiles, “You love to drive don’t you?”

I nod, “Yes.”

He reaches out and touches my shoulder, making sure I’m looking at him, “You know it wasn’t your fault.”

I turn back to where I came from, “Fault?”

“You know where you are, don’t you?”

“No.” I wonder if I’m supposed to remember something.  Did I close up the living room window?  Was my bird fed? Did I leave something on the stove, like the pot of porridge by… “accident.” Tears well in my eyes as I look back at him and I try to stand up, “Holy… I was in an accident.”

He nods, “Now, Amy it’s okay.”

“No it’s not.” I walk away from him. 

Away from the gate, the tree and the path and pretty scene with the Springtime sunlight.  I’m trying to find my way back to where I was before!

“Amy!” he calls out, “You booked a one way ticket here!”

Suddenly his voice is in front of me and I’m walking up to the back of the park bench where he’s waiting for me, “Let me out!”

He stands, “I’m not allowed to.  I’m your guide.  Today was the day you were destined to die.”

“But my bird.  My niece… my family needs me!” I scream.  As my voice echoes around the silence, birds take flight from the oak tree, startled at the sound of my anger, “I had so much to do!”

Holding his hand up, he snaps his fingers and...

...we’re suddenly at a funeral setting.  My family are sitting at the front rows looking at the floor, “They can’t see us.  It’s been a week.”

The pastor looked up from the readings and invited people up to talk about my life and how they knew me.  This man and I stood at the back of the service and listened to people who knew me from all kinds of sources telling stories about me.  There were some stories my family knew about and some that shocked them, but they still thought were hilarious and had them laughing as they shook their heads. 

We stayed until the burial.  Then there was the wake afterwards.  It was lovely… just as I had asked.  Music I loved played as everyone walked around and enjoyed my favourite food and chatted.

“Amy it’s time to go.” He whispered.

“Wait a second.” I spotted my niece who was sitting on her own.  I knew how all this worked as I had been in touch with the dead myself for a while, and so I just wished to be next to her and a moment later, I was.  I took my time, raised my hand and rested it on her shoulder gently, “I hope this works…” leaning down to her ear, I whispered, “I’m sorry I left you alone, but I’m always here for you.”

She raised her hand to mine and turned her head as though she heard me as tears pricked her eyes, “I know.” She whispered back.

“Amy it’s time.” He said touching me, making me let go, “You can’t stay here, your presence is hurting these people.”


We arrived back at the tall brass gate, oak tree and park bench just as the sun was shining through the branches of the tree.  But there was somebody waiting for us; and they didn’t look pleased as they stood from the bench.

“Gabriel, it’s against regulations to take her back.” He said.

“I’m an Archangel, she was under my protection.  Besides, we have to wait until they to walk through.” The man who was with me said.

“Archangel?” I asked, “Are you tethered to me?”

He smiled, “Always have been since the day you were born.” He walked me to the bench, “Now, do you remember this place?”

“Not really.” I said, “It’s as though I do in a dream.”

Gabriel grinned, “Good.  You do remember it.” He clapped his hands together, “You are an Angel, but on Earth you were known as a Sensitive; somebody who could communicate with people who had already crossed over or who were on their way to crossing over.  And you tethered yourself to your niece when we went back.”

“Oh… God.” I looked down, “But I did so many bad things.  I’d be a bad example.”

The other man laughed, “Those things weren’t bad, they were just rebellious… you were okay; and you’re going to be okay now.”

“Why was I killed off?”

“You weren’t.” Gabriel smiled, “The big boss needed your services; and he needed you now.  The fact your life was cut short is just co-incidence.” He turned and pushed the brass gate open for me, guiding me through, “You’ll be fine.  I’ll be here for you.”

As the gate latched, I turned back and looked at him.  He was right about one thing, he was by my side, “If you’re here for me, are you my soulmate?”

He smiled, “It’s the reason why no man on Earth was ever good enough for you.  When your Dad told you that you were a little angel, he was right in more ways than one.”

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Brimstone Canyon

She stood by the grave site under the Willow wondering exactly how all of this happened.  Amber set the clay figurine in front of the section of grass where the new turf began – where her boyfriend has been buried – and chanted the Latin exactly as she had been told to by the Witch.  As she finished the last word, her watch beeped twice.

It was right on midnight.

Just as it was supposed to happen.

All she had to do was wait.

Gregory looked up from Brimstone Canyon where he had been held captive by Lucifer himself – personally – to do some pretty horrible work.  Atomic waste ballooned into the wavering hot, red air as he worked at welcoming damned souls into Hell and then doing what he did best:  C & D.  That was to Captivate and Deceit.  Gregory had to be taught how to do these two things within seconds of greeting a damned soul; and he was getting good at it… really good!  Lucifer was proud of him. 
What he did with the damned souls once they arrived was to stop them from panicking that they arrived in the wrong place.  He captivated them; making them think they were in the right place, putting them at ease.  Then, he deceived them by sending them to their own private Hell… where they’d live what they did over and over until they realised that he had double-crossed them.  But by the time they did, they couldn’t find him, didn’t know who he was and couldn’t get close enough to him because Lucifer would protect him.  
At first, he hated what he did to these people – as a lot of them didn’t mean what they did – but after a while, he didn’t care and just did the job as it seemed to come naturally to him.  And besides, Lucifer wasn’t about to move him from the top job of this.

Then, he heard those twelve syllables of Latin and his boss rushed to his side – his hand on his shoulder protectively – knowing what was happening, “You’re my best man, Gregory.” He whispered in his ear, “Besides, you’ve been here too long.”

He turned and looked fearfully at the blood-red, long fingernailed hand on his left shoulder, “But I’ve only been here a short length of time.”

“You’ve been here thirty years.”

“It’s not that long topside.” He whispered, “Amber …”

“Would have moved on by now.” The voice lied to him, “Found somebody else in her grief.”

“Not my girl.” He shook his head, “Not so soon after my funeral.”

“And like I said… it’s been over two decades.” The voice began to lose its patience and the hand squeezed his bare shoulder hard, burning his skin.

Gregory hissed pain between his teeth as he smelled his own burning flesh for a moment, “Okay!  I understand.”  The hand left his shoulder and he felt the presence of Lucifer leave his side.  But those few words of Latin still rang through his mind as the doors to Hell opened again and – instead of a damned human soul standing there – a shining, beautiful entity did instead, “Wow…”

“Gregory Parker I have searched all of Hell to find you; and knew I’d find you here in Brimstone Canyon – right where Lucifer lives.” The man in a suit reached his hand in, “Take my hand, Amber’s waiting for you.”

“But I was disfigured in the accident.” He said, “I was sent here because I sinned.”

“You were sent to the wrong place.” The man said, “We must go now as time is short and Lucifer will notice you’re gone.”

Gregory grabbed the man’s hand.  As he did, a bright – almost blinding light – filled his world and he woke inside his casket.  But he wasn’t there for long as he heard the sounds of two people digging him up.  One of them was Amber, repeating over and over, “I know it worked, I’m sure it did.”

Sunday, 18 August 2013


The tour of Bran Castle was brilliant.  I had chosen the twilight tour as it was the most creepy; but my friends had opted for the daytime one, so I was alone with only two other people and the tour guide. 
With my camera in hand, we ascended the stone stairs and walked around the place.  The tour guide told us of wonderful facts and some fun myths of the place with this strong Transylvanian accent rolling gorgeously off his tongue; it was almost sexy in a way as his voice bounced off the empty walls of the place, and yet he was older than he appeared.
I took plenty of pictures with the light that there was, and found that the rooms had been sparcely furnished to show how big they really were; and I used the light and the furnishings in my shots to my best as I didn’t want my holiday snaps to feel like just happy-snaps… I wanted them to tell a real story.
“Mina, are you ready to follow us?” Georgio asked at the door, “I do not wish to leave anyone alone in his room.”
“His room?” I asked.
“Yes, this was his master bedroom.” The guide said looking around, “The place where Mina and the Count spent so few nights together…” he smiled a little, “Such a pity the myth is what people believe instead of the right story.”
I gazed at the beautiful mirror, the view out of the window and the huge, four-poster bed, “Yes… pity.”
“We cannot linger.” He said, “I do not like losing people in this place.”
“Okay.” I smiled.
He turned and went across the corridor into the next room as I looked around for a last time, then turned to leave, when I heard a footfall behind me and a soft, charming voice, “Mina, my love.”
I turned and looked around, but nobody was here, “Ghosts.” I turned to leave again, and a cool finger moved my hair from my shoulder! I spun… searching the room in the fading light of the day!
“Mina.” His voice was louder, but still on the breeze, “My dear, you’ve returned to me.”
I turned and found the room had come alive with the Count standing before me.  His face lit up as I stood before him, his arms open to me as he walked toward me and embraced my tiny form.  I didn’t know what to do as he took in a deep breath – smelling my hair – and sighed.
This man was obviously in love with me – well the Mina he knew – and it looked like I had to play along until this little fantasy was over.
“Returned?” I asked.
“Yes.” He drawled, “You have been gone all day and I missed you.”
This guy was nothing like what the myths led me to believe!  He was nice, kind and he led me into the room by my hand, sat me down and asked what I had gotten up to during my day.  No man does for me now! 
Before long, we were seated in our room at a lovely little table by the window eating a meal chatting.  It was the most intelligent conversation I’d had in years; well with a man anyway, and I was totally enjoying myself!  How could people call this man a horrible person?  I wondered about it all through this evening. 
Then, as it became late, I turned toward the door, and heard a few voices out in the corridor calling my name.  They were distant as I pulled open the heavy wooden door that sat ajar and I saw across the corridor, my tour guide who stepped toward me and grabbed my shoulder as I heard the man in the room behind me shout:   “No!  Mina, come back!”

That night, I was looking at my photos on my laptop back at the hotel.  My friends were amazed I had gotten such a great collection.  I went to bed at around 10pm, just as my friends did in the surrounding rooms.  As usual, I kept my camera in the bedside table; where I could lock it up and it was close by and went to sleep. 
But it wasn’t long before a cool finger crossed my cheek, waking me in the night.  Opening my eyes, I looked up to find the man I had seen earlier that evening at Bran Castle, standing over my bed!  I couldn’t move as he leaned down and whispered in my ear, “You cannot escape me, Mina.  I am always here.”
“But I’m not your Mina.” I replied shakily.
Without moving away, he paused for a moment, “Then, I shall make you mine…” Faster than I thought possible, this man held me down, pushed my head to one side and bit into the tender flesh of my neck!  It was painful, delightful and horrifying at the time; and yet when he had finished, I wished deep down he hadn’t, “You will be mine in the end, Mina.”
“No, I won’t.” I said as his vanished into the shadows.
He returned twice more.  By the time the third time he was due, I had found my way to Bran Castle where he met me at the gates, “I told you that you would be mine, Mina.”
“And I told you that I won’t be.” I said, “Leave me alone.”
Turning to leave, I heard a voice in my head, ‘Mina, please stop, my love.’ And I paused a moment, half-turned then kept walking.  This kind of hypnotism wasn’t going to work on me.

My eyes opened in the hospital, and my folks were shocked to see me survive the car crash in Transylvania.  Mum rushed to my side as she brushed the hair from my face, tears wetting her cheeks where they had already been before while Dad raced out into the hall shouting for a doctor.  But I didn’t see them… I saw the man from the castle standing over in the corner.
‘Mina, my love, I shall always be with you.’ He smiled, ‘No matter how many centuries of time separate us, I shall always been here for you, my dear.’
I looked away from him as the doctor came in, “Make him stop talking to me.” I begged.
“Who are you talking about?” the doctor asked.
“The man in the corner.” I pointed.
He turned and glanced to where I was pointing, “What man?”
“The Count, he thinks I’m his Mina.”
The doctor paled, “Oh no, not again… the Count has claimed another mind.”
Dad pointed to a pamphlet, “It’s a myth.”
He looked down, “But it’s not, and there’s no escape for her once he’s made contact…” he inspected my neck, “… and he has.”

This was one of Chuck's great mixtures of genres... there were 20 to mix up and I got 'paranormal romance' and 'time travel'... and I thought Dracula in modern day would be fun!