Saturday, 25 April 2015

She Is The One

This week it's X meets Y - again.  Chuck has us picking from two lists and we're in for fun and games... something I love about this is that we've done this before.  

This time, I picked out Paranormal Activity and The Matrix.


She’s not sure if it was the fact the place hadn’t been rented out for months on end, or that the owners were on the verge of going crazy and being broke due to the weird stories their previous tenants spun about the place scaring the crap out of them.  But she knew for sure she had found a place to call home the moment she walked through the door. It was a lovely, warm, charming place. The colours were just right. The feel was perfect. She just knew she’d fit in well here in this place.

And she’d be perfect company for that snide-looking person on the stairs who was giving her a foul look.

“What are you looking at?” Brett, her real estate agent, asked.
She blinked and the person vanished as she turned and smiled at him, “Oh, nothing, I just wondered what the rooms upstairs looked liked.”
He grinned, “Sure! We’ll start there!” he led the way, moving in front of her, up the stairs. However, on the forth step, he stopped short and shuddered, moving slightly to the left and then proceeded slowly onward. Turning at the top of the stairs, she noticed sweat pouring off him.
“You okay?”
Pulling out his handkerchief, he nodded, “Yeah, I forgot about – um – my blood pressure pills this morning.”
Glancing down the stairs, she saw the person again. They had turned around and had a mischievous on their face, “I have a feeling that wasn’t your blood pressure playing up.”
He looked at his leg, “My leg is cold… I’ve been to my doctors, and they say it’s my blood pressure.”

Before long, Lydia had moved in and found the place was starting to look good.  The back yard had begun to look nice as she attacked it with vigor – turning the weeds into a lush lawn – and then she found she had a few things that began to bother her a little.
But then, she did know she had a spiritual resident… she just hoped they didn’t mind little old her living with them.

Lydia wasn’t going to hurt them.

She just hoped they could live in the same place together.

By the time Lydia was locked out of her house twice for no reason, she knew something was up. Fortunately she always carried a spare key on her at all times in case she did get locked out of any place she did live in by accident (it saved money on calling a locksmith; time on calling in on the real estate agent).
Well, Lydia let herself in as a vortex of wind was going through the place. As she slammed the door, it stopped. All the papers, glassware, her vinlys, dvds and other bits hung in the air for a moment before she raised her hands, “Gently now, go back home.” Lowering her hands, every piece was either placed back on shelves and into the china cabinets and stored away properly, or placed into their respective collections. The newspaper folded itself back up and slotted itself next to the television; ready to be tossed out with the recycling.
Looking around, Lydia could feel this spirit’s anger rising as the window panes shook – threatening to shatter – and the screen doors bashed and slammed open and shut as a temper tantrum raged within their tortured soul, “Okay, are you finished? Because I’m sure if we sit down and talk this out, we can live together in this place… I’ve done it before.”
The young woman fickered into view in front of Lydia; her face filled with rage, with an unspoken need to harm her. Lunging towards her, she raised her hands to throw the young blonde against the wall behind her with enough force to kill her.
Lydia felt her force move toward her and raised her hands up just as it reached her, protecting herself, as it visibly bounced off the shield she had put up, “I see I have to be a bitch about this.” She didn’t know what Lydia meant, and hesitated as she stepped toward her, “Do not fear me child, for I am the one you have been avoiding.” She felt her powers well within her as she raised her right hand.

As her ring began to glow white hot on her finger…

…as she realised she was The One…

“Relax, I will take away your fears.  I will take away your worries and you have a choice to make.” Lydia recited from the script she knew too well, “You can stay here and be peaceful, not worrying anyone. Or you can come with me and I can show you the way across The Valley of Death.”
It was now Lydia heard her voice.  She was a young woman trapped within an old soul, “No! Please don’t make me stay!”
“As you wish.” The room filled with a brilliant white light as she closed her eyes against it for a moment. As it dulled and her living room turned back into what it was before. Sighing, she picked up her mobile, dialed the number for her real estate agent, “Brett, it’s Lydia from that place you got the heebies from – you told me it was haunted and nobody will live here, remember?”
“Oh, yeah… how are you sleeping at night?” he laughed.
“Better now I got rid of the ghost.”
He paused, “You’re kidding… there was a real haunting?”
“Yeah… she was terrified, but we had a chat and she left.”
“Um… left?”
“Yeah.” she sat slowly into my lounge, “But she was a real bitch man… I had to be rough with her.  She was really destructive… fortunately, I put her in her place and showed her who the boss was before she left.”
“What can I say?” his voice sounded hesitant, “Thank you?”

Brett hung up his phone at the real estate agents and sat back in his chair.  He looked at his lunch from Young Chinese Takeaway Restaurant next door, and just didn’t feel like eating it anymore; instead, he stared at his computer and wondered if what he had done was right – setting up Lydia in a place deemed impossible to rent due to its history.
“Hey, Brett, you okay?” Ronda’s cut into his deep thought.
“Yeah… that Lydia Wilson chick just got back to me.” He said, “You know the one you recommended for the haunted place out on Renwick Avenue.”
“Oh yeah, how’d she go?” she asked pulling her chair around and grabbing his uneaten lunch, “May I?”
“Yeah, go for it – my lunch is your lunch.” He dragged it over to her side of his desk, “Well, she got rid of the spiritual problem in that place.”
She paused between bits of spring rolls, “Well, I did say she was the one to get it done, right?”
Rubbing his fingertips over his forehead, he groaned, “Yeah, I thought you were kidding.”
“No… she’s the One… you know… The One.”
“For one for what?” he asked.
“For everything.” She smiled, “She can control everything… like Luke Skywalker in ‘Star Wars’… well, she’s The One like in ‘The Matrix’.” Ronda took a mouthful of food and thought about what she said, swallowed and rephrased, “Not exactly like those movies; but she’s one gifted bitch.”

Lydia’s eyes snapped open.

Somebody was in the house.

She didn’t need to turn on a single light to know where they had gotten into, where they were now and what they were after.
All she had to do was wait and they’d move upstairs to where she knew they’d look for it.

What is it?

Well, the ring of course.

Looking to her bedside table, she could hear it calling to her from the top drawer, so she pulled it open and put it on as she heard them come up the stairs.
The air filled with aftershave and sweat…
“Hello Brett.”
The person stopped moving, “How do you know it was me?”
“I’m gifted in more ways than one.” She said getting out of her bed and grabbing her dressing gown from the glory box at the end of the bed without stumbling in the dark, “That’s the thing about having a gift like mine… you know too damned much.”
“Like what?” he asked.
“Like… you’re not going to get to your gun fast enough and you’re not going to kill me for my power.” She smiled in the dark.
His hesitance told her she was right that he came armed, “Well, if I had your power, I’d be able to get rid of the other ghosts from other houses we’re trying to rent and sell.”
“Killing me will do nothing but send you to prison.” She said looking at his tall, dark form in the doorway. Then, she saw something she hadn’t seen often in life: a number glowing on his forehead, “Oh dammit.”
“Nothing.” She said walking toward him, “You will feel nothing as you walk through the Valley. Do no fear me, child, for I am the one to walk you through to the other side.” She raised her hand and touched his forehead with her fingertips gently.
As his body collapsed to the floor, she heard a voice behind her, “What the fuckin’ hell is going on here!”
Turning, she quickly grabbed his arm, “You died, Brett. You had a number on your forehead that only I could see because I am The One. I can’t change that and I had to take you. It’s my job.”
Wrestling to pull from her grip, tears blurred his vision as he looked down and saw her ring, “Oh my God… you’re the Horseman… you’re the One.”
She had heard this before hundreds – millions – of times; and she felt nothing when she did, “Brett it’s time to go. I must lead you to your guide through the Valley of Death.” As she touched his arm, he disappeared from sight and his anguish, sorrow, sadness and fear went with him.

She hated being The One. 

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Remembering My Death

Chuck had us working on first sentences last week.  This week, we have to work on another person's first sentence and turn it into a 2,000 word story.  I picked out Ashlee Jayde's first sentence. 


There was something not quite right about the headstone.  I stood there in the boneyard looking at it as the hearse drove away, as night drew near, as the cold closed its arms around me.

I still couldn’t see what was wrong with it.

So I went home.

But where was home?  I stopped walking at the gates of the cemetery and tried to remember where I lived, but failed to get my head around exactly where that was.
“You can’t remember where you live, can ya?” a voice said behind me.
My eyes snapped open and I turned at the sound to take in an old man in a suit, “Sure I can.” I lied.
“Leave me alone.”
“I saw you at the grave site.” He said walking up to me, “And you’re trying to figure out something; something you haven’t gotten your head around yet.”
I looked at him, noticing he had a slight Southern accent.  It was nice, kind of comforting.  I shook my head, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I’m Jet.” He stuck his hand out and I noticed a large Class Ring on his right hand.  This was an old-fashioned thing to have in his day, so I knew I was dealing with somebody who had been here for a long time, “Short for Jethro.”
“Nice to meet you.” I shook his hand, finding he took my fingers gently and kissed my hand; another older custom I’d known of, “I’m…”
“Angelina.” He smiled, “We have been expecting you for some time.”
“Yes.” His smile was constant, friendly and comforting; like his accent.
“Who is ‘we’?”
He turned and glanced behind him, “The rest of the stiffs, that’s who we are.” He waited to see if I got his meaning, his drift, what he was talking about.
But I didn’t.
It was impossible.
I couldn’t be!
He saw it happen… the penny actually dropped in my head.
“I’m dead?” I asked.
He nodded, “Yes.  Now, you have to accept your fate and let go of the living world.”
“What happens if I don’t?”
Jethro dropped his eyes and his smile faded from his face, “You end up like us.  You end up stuck here at the boneyard.”
“But that’s not so bad, is it?”
He looked back at me, “What?  Are you kidding?  I thought it would be great to stay here, to see my family come and join me… but it’s not. It’s horrendous.  A lot of them accepted their fate well before coming here. So, you have to ask yourself:  what is keeping you here?” he stepped forward and took my shoulder, “And then, you have to ask yourself: is it worth it?”
I looked into his desperate eyes and realised I really had some thinking to do; serious thinking, “Okay. But I’d like to go back to my house, my family to see them for a little bit before I leave.”
“You need a guide to do that so you don’t interfere with any of them.” He said, “In particular, you need your own personal guide.”
“Well, I never saw anyone on the day I died… so who would that be?” I said.
Raising his eyebrows, Jethro looked down his nose at me, “Well, we’re in a right pickle, aren’t we?  It looks like you are in the need of serious assistance.  Come with me.”
We walked to a tall headstone where there was an Angel carved from marble posed, praying into a book.  He looked up at it, pulled out a fob-watch and then waited for a moment, closed his watch and put it away, “Come on, I know you’re just reading.”
Her eyes moved from the book as her mouth dipped down at the edges, impatience drew its lines on her face, “Jethro.” Her voice was a hymn I had heard in church as a child, “What do you need now?” she looked over at me and her mouth dropped as she lowered her book, “Oh, child, you never received a guide?”
I looked down at myself, “How did you know?”
Climbing down from her headstone, she placed her book on top of where she had sat and walked to me, “I can see it within you.  Your death happened so fast, there was no guide available to be by your side to walk you through the Valley of Death.”
My gut cooled at the thought that my death had occurred so quick, “My death… exactly how had that occurred?”
Jethro looked from me to the Angel, “You don’t remember?”
“No, this is why I want to go home.”
The Angel looked at him, “She tried to leave the cemetery?”
“Yes.  I found her at her own grave site staring at her headstone, not knowing whose name it was on there.” He shook his head, “I followed her to the gates and then brought her here to you.”
“I see.” She whispered, “Your soul needs to go to Heaven, Angelina.  You do not belong here on Earth, and you do not belong in Hell.”
“So, who are you?”
“I’m an Earth Angel who was summoned to look after this cemetery.  It’s not a boring job, but I do come across souls like your own who need a helping hand once in a while.” She smiled, and her kindly face brought my panicking mind to peace immediately, “I will help you Angelina.  And thank you Jethro for helping her; I will put in a good word for you to see if they will let you in where you belong.”
He removed his hat, smiling bashfully, “Oh, thank you so much.”

The next place we found ourselves was a very sterile-looking waiting room.  The Angel hadn’t changed form much, only that it had turned into grey fabric, so she was more of life form than anything else.  She told me to take a seat while she tended to the lady at the desk.
“What do you mean there wasn’t enough time?” her voice sounded tense as I took a seat next to an old man in a hospital gown.
He leaned over and whispered, “How did you die?”
“I don’t know.” I said.
“Neither do I.” he said, “But I’ve been waiting here for ages.”
“That’s not very encouraging.”
The Angel turned looking at me.  She couldn’t hide the disappointment on her face of how much she hated doing this.  Then she turned back, “Listen, this room wouldn’t be here if you people did your jobs right.”
“Hey, you’re only an Earth Angel, and your only job is to look after that cemetery, okay?” the lady at the desk snapped.
“I wouldn’t have to bring some of the souls here and fight for their rights if you sent their guides at the right times.  And you watch your mouth, I still have the powers to smite you, then they’ll have to replace you!”
The woman looked at her smiling, “Yes, with you.”
“Just fix this.  Jethro has been waiting for over a century to enter Heaven, and he’s done right by every soul in that cemetery; especially this one.”
The buzzer on the counter turned red and the lady at the desk turned it off, gave her a smart-ass look, “You can go in now.”
I rose and followed the Earth Angel into the next room, a cramped office with a desk just inside the door and filing cabinets lining the rest of the room.  There was just enough room for us to stand and tiny path to get around the desk to where a little man dressed in a cheap suit sat in an old, cracked, leather high-backed chair. Looking up, he knew exactly who I was, “Ahh, Angelina Stirling… where have you been?”
I looked up at the Earth Angel, “You tell me, one minute I’m at home and watching television, laughing at a comedy show… the next I’m staring at my own grave site.”
His face dropped, “You mean to say, you don’t remember anything from your death?  Your guide didn’t tell you anything?”
The Earth Angel leaned on the desk.  It creaked under her weight, “Angelina didn’t get a guide.  She had no idea what happened to her, so nobody to walk her through the Valley.”
The little man looked up at the Angel, “Okay, then, it looks like you died so quickly that a guide couldn’t get to you fast enough.”
“So, what’s going to happen? How long has it been?” I looked around for place to sit down but there wasn’t any chair, so I leaned on his desk, shoving a pile of paper in his direction to make room.
He spotted me doing that and paused, “You know, I could get you a guide right now.  It’s only been a few weeks… and you really do need help.”
“What about Jethro?” the Earth Angel asked.
“No.” he said.
“Why not?” I asked.
He looked at me, “You don’t know who he was in life, Angelina, so no.” he turned to the Angel, “And you damned Angels always see just the good in people… never ever the bad.  You’re so naive.” He opened a large book and thumbed through the pages until he came to the back of the book, read the last few paragraphs and looked up, “You really don’t remember the last week of your life, do you?”
“No. I don’t, how many times I do have to say this?” this was really getting on my nerves.
The little man paused as he frowned, “And Jethro didn’t just show up by chance, Angelina.  He wanted to see you for a reason.  Go back and find out why, and your guide will show up.”

We showed up at the cemetery as the blooms of Spring were about to burst open.  The Earth Angel looked around, “We’ve been gone longer than I thought.”
“So, how did it go?” Jethro’s voice called from another headstone.
“Well, you better tell me.” I said, “And this time, tell me the truth of why you approached me.  Because they’re not letting you anywhere near Heaven, no matter how good you are here.”
His face dropped as the Earth Angel watched him carefully, “And Jethro, you better tell us both what is going on.  You’re the one blocking Angelina’s guide from her.”
“Okay!” he snapped, “I’m here to see you because I was an old gunslinger from the Wild West… not very well-known, but I did kill twenty-five people, held up three coaches and robbed four saloons and six banks in my life.  And I was killed by a sheriff of California while I was on the last bank robbery; he knew who I was and planned the whole thing just to corner me.” He shook his head, “I’m stuck here for my crimes; Heaven won’t take me.  Lucifer was one of the bank managers I robbed, so he won’t accept me either.” He blushed a little, “But I was a man who got around with the ladies, and so I had a few children out there.”
“Man, I don’t want to know your sex life.” I groaned.
“This has to do with you.” He said, “My Great-great-great-grandson shot you in bank hold-up in California.  He fell into the same damned trap I did – it was heist put on by the sheriff of the state, who was the Great-great-great-grandson of the man who caught me.” He leaned against the neighbouring headstone, “Now you know, I’ll let your guide through.”
From down the path walked a young lady.  She looked at the old man, “Jethro, you again.” She snapped, “I told you to stop doing this to people.”
“Stop hiding their guides.” She said, “It’s confusing for them.”
He looked at me as the Earth Angel climbed back onto her headstone, picked up her book and started reading again.  Before she turned back into marble, she whispered, “You wouldn’t think those two were related, would you?”
I looked between them, “How?”
Jethro sulked, “We were married.”

Saturday, 4 April 2015

The Witching Hour

This week Chuck got us to check out each other's images we have to upload and write a story about an image we have picked out... I've chosen the Standing Stones.  


Thunder cracked overhead.

It was time.

Erica watched as the moon moved overhead. 

The dagger poised above the struggling white rabbit as the eclipse was almost done, the moon was almost blood red, time of opening the pathway home was to happen.
But would somebody here stop her before she could finish the ritual, or would she be able to do it right?
Lightning flashed across the low, dark clouds; illuminating the open fields surrounding her as rain poured from above.  This was time, the right time, for this to happen!
Erica plunge the dagger into the chest of the rabbit, feeling its pungent fear fill the air as her arm came down, as its blood first oozed over the blade, then ran more freely as the tip struck the stone she was holding it onto. 
Tears filled her eyes as she felt and saw its life slip away, knowing she had killed something she wished she didn’t have to, ‘Oh, dammit, you big sook, let’s just get on with it.’ She muttered as she bent over the rabbit, opening the tiny carcass up and cutting out its heart for what she needed to do.

The massive dark stones stood nearby, blackened and slick by the rain now pelting down from the skies around them.  This made them terrifying.  But 1650 was no time for Erica to be in – especially seeing she was a practicing Witch back home in the Twenty-First Century; the witch hunts were just beginning around this part of the country and if she was caught, she’d be burned at the stake, or worse, and never get back to her own time.
Besides, the Wise Woman had told her about these Standing Stones and given her directions to them – even walked her to this very spot two weeks ago – and told her about the ritual she had to perform to get back home.  So, here she was, doing this very thing…

…praying to the Gods above that she wasn’t going to get caught…

…hoping that this worked…

…wishing she didn’t have to kill an animal to get back home…

The clouds cleared for a moment and she found the moon was completely red.

It was time to use the animal heart!

She knelt right by the stones with the heart in one hand and the bloodied dagger in the other.  As the rain poured down, she quoted the Latin the Wise Woman had been teaching her for months and drew the pattern in the mud hoping this would work.

Then, she heard it… a rumbling beneath her… behind her…
‘No… it can’t be.’ She turned from her spot with the dagger still poised and the tiny heart in her hand to find the hilltop behind her lined with torchlight.  Lightning flashed and it lit up the township of people who lived over the hill, ‘Oh crap… they’re gonna kill me.’ She turned back to her ritual and started to speak faster, draw faster.  As Erica did, something amazing happened!
The drawings in the mud began to show silver and glisten in the darkness.  When she spoke faster, it showed the diagram she was drawing, until she no longer needed to draw it; instead holding the dagger up to the heavens with the tiny heart as it began to beat on its own.
This was what the Wise Woman said would happen!
Erica smiled as tears of happiness blurred her vision and she felt positive that she was going home!
At long last, she was going to be able to watch television, listen to modern music on the radio and watch YouTube!  Yes!  This was starting to sound like a wonderful reality!

In the next flash of lightning, she heard the people from the township screaming, thundering down the hillside. 

Fear tightened in her gut as she looked up to find the doorway between the massive black stone light up, and she saw daylight!
Rising from her knees, she stepped over the diagram, kept a hold of the rabbit’s heart and dagger and walked through the brightly-lit doorway.

As soon as she was through, she felt the sun on her face, the warm breezes of a nice Spring day and she looked at her hands where she still held the heart and dagger. 
Turning, she sliced the heart into four, chanting a closing mantra, stabbing the dagger right in the middle of the doorway.  Then took two pieces of the heart in both hands and smeared them into the rockfaces as hard as she could from top to bottom.  As she did, a brilliant flash emitted from the doorway and the storm that had been occurring in between those stones before was now gone.
Erica sat on the ground soaked to the skin, her hands and arms covered in blood looking at the dagger.  She had to leave that there.  So, with all her strength, she shoved it into the ground up to the hilt… hoping it would stay there.
Turning, she looked around.  The hillside was exactly as it had been hundreds of years ago… so had she been sent home?  Looking over the valley, she rubbed her hands on her long dirty dress, wondering if it had all been a bad dream… wondering…
‘Erica?’ a familiar male voice called out behind her.
She turned to find her boyfriend running up to her from the hilltop, ‘James?’
He pulled out an iPhone, ‘Hey, yeah, I found her… she’s covered in mud and muck, and drenched as though she’s been in a storm, but she’s here!  We need the trucks… we’re at the Standing Stones, dude.’
‘What year is it?’
‘I just came from 1650.’
He took a few steps back, ‘Well, we’ll have to get you checked out then.  And the year is 2015.’
‘Are we together?’
‘Of course… why?’
‘When I left, you were mad at me.’
‘About what?’
Looking back at the stones, Erica wondered what the hell happened to change their relationship, ‘In what way are we together?’
‘We’re married.’ He looked at her hands, ‘And who’s blood is that?’
‘I had to kill a rabbit to get here.’
He turned away, ‘Dude, we have a witch… it’s burnin’ time.’