Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Full Snow Moon-Part I




























The wind was howling outside the small shack.  Gerda buried herself deeper under the covers, trying to keep the cold out.  It had snowed for three days straight.  If it didn't stop soon she'd be unable to get more wood for the fire.  She peeked above her quilt at the embers dying in the hearth, sighed, and tried to sink amongst the blankets when a strange sound caught her ear.  A long, painful cry rose above the din of the wind.  Gerda sat up in bed.  There it was again!  A wounded animal?  It would never survive a night as cold as this.  Compassion over came common sense, and Gerda rose out of bed, threw on her boots and coat, and opened the front door.


 The snow had finally stopped; the full moon illuminated the small farm.  Gerda stood on the threshold and strained her eyes and ears.  Surely  it wasn't her imagination playing tricks on her?  Living alone in the woods could make a person funny after a while.  She waited a few moments more and started to move back into the house when something appeared out of the corner of her eye.  Over there, by the well. The sound of something quenching its thirst.  She started to  move across the yard  to get a better look, then stopped as she saw what it was.  A large, unkempt creature, hair matted, its flesh torn and ripped.  It looked like a man, it was wearing some sort of uniform.  Claws extended from its hands,  long pointed ears protruded from its head.  It was a ghastly sight, not quite human, not quite animal.  Gerda held her breath and started to walk as quickly and as quietly as she could backwards towards the house.  She had almost reached the door when her heel slipped on a patch of ice; she fell with a large thud and cried out instinctively, then clasped her hand to her mouth.  The thing at the well had noticed; it stopped drinking and moved towards her.  Gerda  rolled over and tried to get to her feet, but they kept slipping out from under her.  She screamed as she felt the thing's hand on her neck, felt the weight of its body on top of hers.  She closed her eyes and said a quick prayer, certain that her time had come.







"Feed me woman.  Give me shelter and I won't kill you."








Gerda squeezed her eyes tight, hoping it would be quick.








Edwards rolled the woman over and slapped her across the face.  Stupid cow, he was hungry, his leg was ablaze with pain.








"Open your eyes, damn it!  I said I need food and shelter.  NOW!"








Gerda opened her eyes and bit her lip to keep from screaming.  Cruel, evil eyes stared back at her; she could only nod mutely.  Edwards grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to her feet, pushing her towards the house.  She stumbled towards the door, Edwards close on her heels.  He needed to regain his strength, he needed rest.










Pryor would have to wait.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Don't Forget Your Reindeer










"Reindeer?  Where am I going to get reindeer at this time of year?"

"RAIN GEAR, NOT REINDEER."

"Why are you shouting at me?  I'm not deaf, dear."

Maggie took a deep breath.  Having Colin's mother move in with them seemed the right thing to do.  The idea of her living alone in a home seemed dreadful.  Now she wondered if they hadn't been too hasty in their decision.  They had just gotten the last of their children out of the house; this was supposed to be their time.  Now it was like going back to the beginning.  Mother wasn't completely dependent on them, so in theory they could come and go as they pleased.  It just didn't always work out that way.

"Mom, do you need me to pick anything up for you while I'm gone?"

"I don't think so dear.  I'll just putter around in the garden until the weather breaks."

"Don't do too much.  I don't want to come home and find you've pulled out a stump like last time."
"Oh, I had Jamie and his friend Harry do that.  I needed room for my asters."

Maggie smiled.  Mom had a way to charm any man, no matter what age, to her desires.  She always wondered why mom hadn't remarried.  Mom had once said the true love of a good man could sustain you for your entire life, even after he was gone.  Maybe she didn't need to.

"OK then, I'm off.  Your slicker and wellies are in the mud room."

"I know where the reindeer are, dear."

Maggie laughed softly.  Reindeer indeed.
 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Gutted



Vince was fixing the lawn mower for the umpteenth time when he realized he had an audience.  Tina's sister's little boy was sitting on the top step of the stoop watching his every move.  The little kid followed Vince every where, mimicked all his mannerisms (much to Tina's displeasure).  It got annoying at times.  Tina told Vince he had to be patient with him because the kid had been having problems adjusting to his mom being away.  The kid was going to be around for at least a few years so Vince better get used to him.  Tina had been hinting very aggressively that it was time for Vince to propose and give the kid a taste of stability.  Vince wasn't sure he was ready for stability.  He wasn't sure he even liked kids.

"Tell me about the day I was born."


"I wasn't there.  Ask your mother."

"But you're my dad, why weren't you there?"

"I'm not your dad.  That's somebody else."

"Who?"

"Damn it kid, quit asking me so many damn questions!  I told you, ask your mother!"

"But she's not here.  She's away until next year.  You're all I got."

The little boy began to cry, unable to conceal his frustration and fear.

Vince threw his cigarette down and took a sip of beer.  It was warm and flat; he spit it out on the still smoldering bud.  He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, then held it out towards the sobbing child.

"C'mere."

The boy stayed in place, snot running down his lip.

"C'mere, damn it!"

Vince sat down next to the boy and pulled him closer.  He settled him onto his lap while he pulled a rag from his back pocket, wiping the kid's face.  He sighed and looked out towards the wreckage of the overgrown yard.  Damn this place looked like crap.  He looked at the whimpering child and shook his head.  What the hell was he going to say?

"Look, kid.  I'm sorry I'm all you got.  I don't have the answers you're looking for."

The kid tried to talk, but a sob wrenched out of his throat instead.

"I'm a little kid and grown ups are supposed to take care of little kids not go away and leave them without someone to take care of them."

Vince looked at his watch; where the hell was Tina?  He didn't know what to say to this kid.  Sorry your mom is a crack whore who allegedly robbed a gas station.  Sorry no body bothered to find out who your dad really is.  He looked once more at the now silent child.  He'd fallen asleep against Vince's oil stained flannel shirt.

The two of them were still sitting there an hour later when Tina finally came home from work, the lawn mower still gutted at the edge of the unkempt lawn.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Figment

I love him, I say.

You don't, is the reply.

I do, I insist.

You can't. He's not real.

He is.

Yes, but not to you. He exists, but the he you love is a figment of your imagination. And the he that exists, doesn't know you're alive.

He does!

But not enough to reply back.

That's cruel.

That's love.

Then why do I bother?

Because he is safe, and can never reject you.

But he did!

Exactly.

So it's love?

Only in your mind.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Sweetest Thing

She was bent over a stack of cakes and pastries when she felt a presence next to her.  She raised her head, ready to put on her fake customer service smile, when she realized who was there.  He smiled,  slightly disheveled in a wrinkled oxford shirt and old jeans.  They had reconnected via social media (didn't everyone) and he had mentioned he was moving near where she was living now.  She stood and tried to think of something intelligent to say.

"My God."

"No.  Just his emissary."

"I always thought you'd make a good angel of death."

She looked down at her hands, cringing at her uniform of apron and company cap.  She gave an embarrassed shrug.

"I look a mess."

"You look tired."

She smiled. He always said the obvious.  There was never any subterfuge with him. Straight and to the point.

He  put his arms around her, enveloping her in a big hug.  She sunk into his embrace, surprised how the tension in her body dripped away.  The two of them stood there, oblivious to the crowd and activity around them.  She didn't care if her supervisor saw them.  She put her head on his shoulder,  wondering why she never realized before how well they fit together.

"How's your boyfriend?"

She jumped slightly and looked up at him.  He really was quite handsome, his beard and hair lightly flecked with grey.  She remembered how scrawny and awkward he had been in college; he was definitely someone who improved with age. She pulled away and crossed her arms in front of her.  The tension began to creep back into her shoulders.

"How did you hear about that?"

"You can't keep anything from me.  I am omnipresent.  I know all."

He said the last bit in a funny, mock scary voice, but his easygoing manner was clouded by his eyes.  A look of concern filled them like tears.

She tried to laugh it off, but the pain was still there.

"Then you must have heard.  He's in a relationship.  Seems everybody else knew.  I spent all summer hoping we'd take it to the next level and he's all ready done that with someone else.  I'm not getting any younger, I can't afford to waste time with men . . ."

She stared off into the distance, her voice catching slightly.  She took a deep breath and gave him a cynical smile.

"At least I didn't sleep with him.  I guess I'm not so dumb after all."

He looked at her with such sympathy.  How could anyone as wonderful as her think she was stupid?  He'd give her the moon and the stars, walk barefoot through coals to make her happy.  He moved closer to her, letting his lips brush gently against her ear.

"It's a known fact, my darling, that you have lousy taste in men.  At least, American men.  I think it's time you came over to the dark side, and gave in to your desires for a slightly worn, but devilishly sexy Englishman."

She laughed, the first happy sound from her soul in months.  She wondered why she hadn't seen this earlier.  Maybe she had, and been too afraid to accept such a loving gift.

"I'm done with my shift in ten minutes.  Can you wait?"

He smiled and took her face in his hands.  For once his desire wasn't overshadowed by fear of rejection.

"I've waited twenty years, love, I can wait ten more minutes."

"You know that sounds like a cliche, don't you?"

"God, you're a pain in the ass.  Let me have my leading man moment, just once."

"I'll let you have it what ever you want."

"Now who's being a cliché?"

He kissed her, right in the middle of the bakery section, amongst the cakes and pies.  It was the sweetest thing he'd ever tasted.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Full Wolf Moon-Conclusion

"You look like hell."

"I'm dead.  What's your excuse?"

The two men stared at each other, then burst out laughing.  Cassandra shook her head.  She walked over and examined the wounds on Pryor's body.  Deep holes pocked his body; some of the bullets had gone clean through, leaving an exit wound, others were still lodged deep in the flesh.  A strange, pungent liquid oozed from each.  Its viscosity was thicker than human blood.  Cassandra wiped a drop up with her finger tip and brought it towards her nose and flinched; a quick taste made her spit.  It tasted rancid, like poison.  She spit again and looked towards her companions.

"We need to leave."

The two men looked at her and composed themselves.  Glover reached his arm out towards Pryor.

"Can you walk?"

"Not sure."

Pryor moved his stiff legs over to the edge of the slab.  He rose to his feet, trying to find his balance.  He felt hollow.  His hearing and sense of smell seemed sharper.  He looked around the room until his gaze fell upon Edwards.

"What happened here?"

Glover spit and started to walk to the door. The sooner they left this place, the better.  They needed to finish the mission and meet up with the others.

"The little man knocked him out and hooked him up."

Pryor walked over and looked at his commander.  Edwards' body twitched.  He pointed to Glover's face.

"Did he give you that?"

"Yea, he was trying to help me find you.  Cassandra!  Move out!  Place explosives in the corner's of the room and let's get out of here.  We've got a work to do."

Pryor reached out and grabbed Glover.

"What are you doing?  We can use these men.  This is an unstoppable army."

"This is an unpredictable mob.  We don't need any more trouble.  We need to finish what we came to do and get the hell out of here."

Glover turned and started for the door.  Pryor moved in front of him and started to growl.  Glover maneuvered his weapon into position.

"We've run out of time, Pryor.  The others have broken camp and moved on.  We need to finish what we were sent to do and then try to rendezvous with them."

Cassandra appeared at his side, nervously looking at Pryor.  He looked like something out of the stories her grandmother used to tell her, stories about the dead walking the earth.  She started to move towards the door, calling back over her shoulder.

"The charges are set for three minutes.  I suggest we finish this conversation outside."

Glover followed,  quickly moving past Pryor.  Pryor charged after them. The fools!  Throwing away an opportunity like this!  Cassandra and Glover were all ready down the alley when Pryor hit the street.  He started to follow them when a burning sensation began to overtake his body.  He looked down at his bare arm.  It was bathed in moonlight.

He doubled over and began to groan.  He dropped to his knees and began to pant, he felt his bones break and reassemble, his skin melt off his body and then knit together, only now it was covered in thick fur.  His jaw snapped and elongated, his teeth extended into sharp points.  Pryor tried to stand up straight but lost his balance; a long bushy tail waved excitedly behind him, trying to steady his equilibrium.

Cassandra started to run towards Pryor, or to the thing that was Pryor, when the charges went off.  The explosion knocked her back onto her ass;  her ears were still ringing as Glover knelt next to her.

"You all right?"

Cassandra winced as she wiped a trickle of blood from the side of her mouth, coughing up dust and grit.  A piece of metal was lodged  in her bicep.  Glover pulled out his knife and dug it out, doing his best to stop the bleeding.  She looked at the wreckage of lab in front of her.  Smoke and flames swallowed up the building, limbs and body parts were scattered amongst the ruins.

"Where's Pryor?"

Glover ignored her and kept working on her arm.  Cassandra pushed him away and tottered to where she had last seen Pryor.  She fell to her knees and looked at the snow on the ground.  Splattered around the piles of flesh and blood were tracks.  Wolf tracks.  Cassandra pointed towards them.

"This way.  He went south, towards the woods.  We have to find him."

Glover walked over and stared in disbelief.  None of this made sense.  He grabbed Cassandra by the shoulder.

"We have a job to do.  We need to finish the mission and meet up with the others."

Glover turned and started back down the alley.  Cassandra watched him leave, then rose to her wobbly feet.

"To hell with you!  To hell with the mission!"

She started to follow the tracks, straining to listen.  Off in the distance she heard a howl.  She moved onward, the light from the full moon illuminating the tracks on the freshly fallen snow.


                                                       ***********************

The fire was smouldering as the lab lay in ruins.  Rubble was piled deep.  A dark figure pushed its way from beneath its premature tomb.  Its clothes were tattered, its skin cut and flayed.  It crawled out to the street and collapsed, gasping for breath.  It lay on its back and looked up at the full moon.  It laid there until the moon began to wane and the sky in the east began to turn pink.  It rolled over and pulled itself to its knees, trying to focus on the two sets of tracks in the snow.  One human.  One lycan.  It took a deep breath, startled at its heightened sense of smell.  Edwards smiled and pulled himself to his feet.  He'd find them.  He'd find them both.

Friday, September 13, 2013

I suppose the point

Is to keep trying.

Even when,

Especially when,

You feel

 Like

 A

Complete idiot

Because

You

Keep

Trying.