How Mary Spent Her Summer Vacation

​Oh. My. God.  The summer had been soboring.

No friends, no sun, no warm summer sand and cool blue water.

Just gray walls and boring, boring,boring.

Mary’d just about gone out of her mind with all the nothing that had been going on around here all summer.  She’d just been hanging out, watching people through the windows, driving down the streets, walking past on the sidewalks, but never coming in to visit.

Up and down the halls, walking, walking, looking out all the windows, waiting for someone to notice her there.  Maybe, if someone had just looked up, just seen her at the window, maybe they would have come to let her out.

But they never looked up.

I mean, c’mon, just one??  Not even out of curiosity?



But that was about to change.

Because the summer was over, and school was about to start again.

Finally, Mary thought to herself. Someone to talk to.  Someone to hang out with.

God, this summer’s been boring, I’m so glad school’s in again.

Tonight was move-in night at the dorms, and Mary was ready for the new students, fresh meat.

But she knew… they probably wouldn’t be ready for her…

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…

-Feb.24, 2014

Blue Moon

​Tonight was the night of the blue moon. The fourth full moon this season, when normally there were only three, and Jess was so not going to miss it. No matter what her mom had to say about it.

And she’d had quite a lot to say earlier that night.

“Jessamine Langtree, you have been running with that crowd of yours entirely too much! I won’t have it said that I’m raising some kind of ‘wild animal’, and have you talked about behind our backs! You will stay home tonight, if I have to lock you in your room and take the key!”

Mom had been on a royal rip all week, slamming cabinet doors and ranting about the state of Jess’ hair and makeup and clothes. Seemed like she couldn’t do anything right, lately, so she’d stopped even trying. Jess didn’t see the point of pretending to be something she wasn’t, and she definitely wasn’t her mother’s ideal daughter.

So, now she sat, alone and angry, in her bedroom. The door had, indeed, been locked behind her, and she could hear her mother pacing and muttering just outside her door, occasionally stopping to stomp her foot in frustration, or to bang her hand on Jess’ door for dramatic effect. Jess rolled her eyes as her mother went on and on about the “sort of heathens” that her daughter ran with. If only she really knew…

A faint scratching noise brought Jess’ attention swiftly to her window, and she saw her best friend, Miranda, at the window. Grinning like the Cheshire cat, her eyes aglow with mischief, she gestured for Jess to open the pane separating them and come outside. Jess smiled back, took one look at her bedroom door, and made up her mind.

“Fine – Mother, I know you’re mad and all, but could you keep it down now? I’m going to go to bed, and you’re keeping me awake.” Stifling a giggle, Jess knew that this would send her mom into a tizzy, but it would get her away from the door in the hallway, and off to her own room for the night.

And it worked. “Well! Good! I’ve had about enough of your attitude, anyway! I’m going to bed, and I better see you bright and early tomorrow. I don’t care if it is Saturday, you’re going to get up early and clean house with me. You live here, you’re going to help out with some of the housework, young lady!” Stomping off, Jess’ mom headed down the hall and could be heard to go into her own bedroom, not quite slamming the door, but absolutely shutting it… firmly, and with finality.

Quickly, Jess grabbed her light summer jacket from her chair and tiptoed to the window, sliding it as quietly as she could up the track. Miranda backed up and away from the second-floor window, maneuvering her way back into the handy tree that grew right next to Jess’ side of the house. There was a reason why Jess had picked the smallest bedroom when they’d moved in. That tree had been a very kind friend to her, allowing her up and down its branches, without letting her fall, for well over a year now. And Jess, in return, made sure to keep the tree well fed, fertilizing around the roots every year, and pruning away the dead branches. Her mom had always been puzzled as to why Jess took such pains with this one tree, and pretty much left the others in the yard to their fate, but Jess just told her that she didn’t want anything to happen to the tree, since it shaded her window on the hottest days of summer. Her mom had totally believed her, and let it go.

Jess was now, a silent ninja, as she snuck out onto the roof, and hopped into the tree’s branches. With plenty of practice at this, she’d gotten to the point where she knew just where to place her hands and feet, to get away quietly. Her mom had never known about any of her “escapes”, and she meant to keep it that way.

Shimmying down the tree, the girls didn’t speak, knowing that sound traveled better after dark, and her mom might be in her bedroom, but her window would be open to the night breeze. They were off like a shot, and once they reached the corner of her street, they burst into the laughter they’d both been holding in.

“Oh, wow, Jess! Your mom was a real whirling witch tonight, wasn’t she! I thought she was going to shackle you to your bed!” Miranda doubled over, laughing and out of breath.

“Yeah, well, let’s just get going, shall we? I don’t want to miss the moon tonight! This one’s special, and I have all the ritual stuff waiting at the clearing. We need to be ready at just the right time, or the spell we found won’t work!” Jess grabbed her friend’s arm and started tugging her down the street toward the woods. She’d been back and forth from the house to the woods every chance she’d gotten this week, getting things ready for this occasion. It was all set, and she was totally pumped for the ritual to go well. She’d put in so much hard work, she didn’t want it to go to waste.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Jess to become what she was truly meant to be, and she would have it. The blue moon was a time of change, which would… or could, at least, become permanent. And Jess was ready for change. She’d played human long enough. Looping her tail over her arm, she gripped Miranda’s arm tightly in her claws and started running, letting the smell of the night fill her nostrils.

Tonight was going to be epic, and no one would ever forget it. Tonight, the blue moon was going to change Jess’ life…. forever.

-Feb. 20, 2014


​Genna’s chai was cold.

And chai was not improved through cooling off.  It was always better when it was scalding hot, with just a touch of honey in with the milk and spices.  If you could gulp it down, it wasn’t right.  It should be sipped slowly, almost painfully, in order to really be good.

But it had been sitting too long.

Just like Genna.  And she was rapidly moving in the opposite temperature direction from her tea.  From cool, calm and collected – to scalding hot and ready to blow up.

Jerks,”  Genna blurted in a loud exhalation of breath,  “They’re superstitious jerks, both of them.”

Grabbing her bag and her tea, she stood abruptly, making the chair protest by squealing against the tile as it was pushed out.

Just because it was Friday the 13th, the world had to stop?

Genna had set up this coffee date with 2 of her best friends, Naomi and Mark.  Both had said yes, but obviously they hadn’t noticed the date on the calendar when they’d done so.  Genna knew what day it was, and that usually everyone stayed behind closed doors on Friday the 13th.  It was silly, really.  It was just another day, after all.

I mean, really.

Nothing was going on here.  She was the only person in the coffee shop, except the coffee dude.  He was back there, busily mixing potions for coffees and teas behind the counter, frothing milk and…. putting hot dogs in the microwave?  Wait… what?  They didn’t serve hot dogs here.

As he wandered into the back part of the shop, Genna moved up to the counter to put her tray down, and snuck a glance at what was on the other tray sitting in front of the small microwave.  The coffee shop used it to heat up things like cookies and specialty sandwiches, but they didn’t serve things as mundane as hot dogs.

Hot dogs…no… hot dogs don’t come with fingernails.

The hair stood up on the back of Genna’s neck, and a shiver ran down her arms as she realized what was going on.  Taking a step back, she bumped into another person.  The coffee guy, whose breath was hot on her neck.

“You should have stayed home today, ma’am.  Most people are bright enough to be afraid and stay out of our way on the 13th.  But I guess you’re just not that smart.”

The coffee shop opened bright and early on Saturday the 14th.  The floor, spotless, not even really showing where the blood had stained the grout between the tiles.

Jerry, the coffee guy, smiled as he watched the customers meandering in for their morning caffeine fix.  Yesterday was over, and it was a new day.  Time to make the coffee.

-Feb. 10, 2014

Forever, Ever After

​Over there near the window.

Six lonely daffodils stood in a vase.  The breeze from the window causing them to nod their bright yellow heads like old ladies in church with their hymnals.  Serena watched them, almost hypnotized by their languorous movements.

Seductive, almost.  Sensual, definitely.  She wanted to reach out and feel the – almost plastic-ness of the petals, curve her fingertip over the edge and smooth it over the bumps in the rim.  She knew exactly how it’d feel, but she wanted the tactile sense of this moment, to be a part of that small dance of flowers.

“I just wanted to taste it once more, you know,”  She said to no one in particular.  “Just to know it again, feel that first rush, that first excitement, that jolt of passion.  It’s been so long, and I’m so old now, I never thought it’d happen again.  I just wanted…”

“I know,” he whispered, letting his hands alight gently on her shoulders as she continued to stare at the flowers, fingers reaching, but not quite touching yet.

“Then why was it so wrong?”  Serena laid her head down on her arms, resting on the table, the blossoms inches from her reach, untouchable.  “Why did it all have to go wrong?”  Tears sprang quickly to her eyes, tracking down her face, falling silently on the wooden surface.  “It was all so happy, so good…. until that moment.”

“……”  He had no answer for her, just a gentle squeeze of her shoulders, and a carefully placed kiss on the top of her head before he stood back up again.

Serena lifted her head slowly.  She’d known that Death had come for her when the horrid pain in her chest had miraculously stopped, much too quickly.  She had known for a long time that He would visit her soon, there were too many hints along the way.  The twinges, the shortness of breath… but she’d pushed them all aside for him.  To be in love again, she didn’t want to spend those magical days of beginning in hospitals, with wires and tubes.  It would’ve spoiled it all.

And it had worked.  They were happy, so happy, she and her knight in shining armor.  He who’d showed her it was possible to fall, one more time into that passion, that fervor of emotion.  Who’d shown her that, even in the later years, it was possible to feel like a child, once more.

But she’d known all along that Death was waiting, just around the corner.  And, in an odd way, she’d prepared herself for that too.  Tried to prepare him.  Of course, he was having none of it.  They were going to “live forever ever after”, as he put it.

“Naïve innocence”, she’d say, and shake her head and laugh at him.

“Eternal optimism”, he’d fire back at her, and laugh in return, grabbing her up and kissing her soundly.

And now it was time.

Serena sighed heavily, knowing she couldn’t put off the inevitable, hesitant to let even this one, last moment go.

“I just wanted to love, one more time, to be loved in return.  And now, it’s all gone.”

“Not all,” came the voice, a little stronger, from behind her, and Serena lifted her head, unsure if it could truly be.

“No…” her cried denial, voice cracking, “No!”

Turning slowly, Serena expected Him to be cloaked in black, pale as chalk, and ready to lead her past the Veil… instead, an outstretched hand-

“Beloved, let’s walk, shall we?”

“Yes, I’m ready.”

-Feb.2, 2014

Roses Red

​The roses were Gerald’s pride and joy. Full bloom, bud, cane and leaf, he loved them as if they were his own children. And, in a way, he supposed they were. He’d given so much of his life to them already…

It had started with his mother’s death.

When she passed away, he had inherited the house, and surrounding garden. And a sad little garden it had been at that point. Mother’s health hadn’t allowed her to do much with her flowers, but she’d refused to let anyone else care for them – not even Gerald had been allowed so much as a chance to weed or water the blooms that surrounded and perfumed the whole yard.

Roses, roses everywhere.

Blossoms that ranged from tiny, miniature plum-sized blooms, to the crawling, clinging vines of mid-sized lovelies, and on up to the ponderous heads of the double-sized variety.

And Mother had left behind some curious instructions as to their care.

Mulch wouldn’t work, Gerald was told. It didn’t provide enough of the nourishment they required. Fertilizers burned the ground, making it inhospitable in the amounts that would have been necessary to care for these beauties. Don’t use them.

“They’re man-made chemicals, Gerald, so don’t you be using them on my babies, now. These roses need LOVE, love and natural food, mind you. You make sure you give of yourself, you hear?”

Mother’s voice rang in his ears, clanging against his brain as it reminded him, once again, that she was gone, and would never be there to tell him exactly how this was to be done.

But he’d learned. It had started to become clear one day when he’d been pruning the dead and browned heads from the plants, and accidentally nicked his finger on some thorns.

Oh yes, he’d learned. The roses had taught him what they needed from him. And he gave it. Every day, a little more each time. And as he watched the plants flourish under his care, he wondered how his mother had been able to even keep them alive at all… considering…

But then again, maybe that’s why…

No, stop that thinking, Gerald pushed it out of his mind. He couldn’t, wouldn’t let that stop him. The roses were too important. And now, they needed more than he could provide.

That little nick on his finger had given him the clues to raising his roses – red and healthy and beautiful. Blood. Blood dripping down his hand from the cut, it had stained the leaves and canes of the roses he’d been pruning, and they’d practically exploded after that.

Blood. That’s what they needed, thirsted for, flourished on. Tendrils of green wound around his ankles as he worked in the yard now, pricking his skin and pulling the life-force from him as he trimmed, watered, weeded.
The roses had drunk thirstily of his blood for too long now. He was weakening, he could feel it, strength slowly ebbing every day. It was too much, he needed help. And he’d take it, unwilling, if necessary, to feed his children, his roses red.

Shears in hand, Gerald hiked his bag over his shoulder. Inside, he’d packed plastic sheeting, to capture the necessary fluid. And plastic bottles. Must make sure he could carry enough home, so he didn’t have to care for his roses alone.

The rest of the city didn’t know it yet, but they were all about to join his garden of roses red. And it was time to do some pruning.

-Jan. 19, 2014

A Matter of Timing

​”But, Em… don’t you see? It’s not about being afraid, it’s about not wanting to, that’s all,” the redhead spoke passionately, tracing circles in the air with her long-fingered hands. “He simply doesn’t want this enough, and I’m not about to force him into anything. God knows that I’ve had enough of being forced to do shit I didn’t want to.”

Emily Seston watched her volatile best friend’s face, seeing the frustration and the futility she wore at this moment. She knew that Lani wouldn’t have shown this side to just anyone, and was proud that she was among the select few her guarded friend allowed into her “inner circle”. Independent, strong, resilient, were just among a handful of the words used to describe the flame-headed woman sitting across the table from her in the little cafe’ where they’d chosen to meet today. It normally took too many words to describe her to people, it was one of those things where you had to meet her and get to know her in order to understand who she really was. Otherwise, the words people used who didn’t know her were more along the lines of cold, hard, bitchy, unfeeling…

Emily watched as a hint of moisture gathered in Lani’s already glittering sky-blue eyes, and was just as quickly blinked away. No, she’d never call Lani unfeeling. Just the opposite, in fact.

“I just don’t get what went wrong, Em,” Lani expelled a sigh as though it were poison gas, almost gasping for her next breath. “Everything seemed to be just fine, and then poof! Gone! Smoke… mirrors… no nothing. And I can’t bring myself to force the issue, you know that.”

“Yeah, I know, Lan…” Emily nodded her head in compassionate agreement, “I really don’t know anything either, and it’s infuriating. He hasn’t even talked to any of his own friends about it, to my knowledge, and we both know most of them well enough to ferret out the info from someone! I mean come on, if I can’t get the information from Danny…” Emily batted her eyelashes and pouted her perfectly pink lips in mock adoration.

Lani chuckled, her low, scratchy voice making it sound like that of some evil super-villainess watching the hero fall to his knees before her. Emily had always envied her friend that voice. Able to drop men with a single laugh, Emily knew it for the superpower it was, although Lani never thought anything of it. It was just a part of her… a butterscotchy, whiskey, phone-sex ready, kind of voice. Unfair, totally unfair to pair that voice with that hair and those eyes, Emily whined to herself. Knowing that Lani would heartily disagree with that whole statement, totally discounting most, if not all of Emily’s assessment. Vain – was never a word used to describe her best friend.

“Oh, Em, thanks for that. I needed a laugh, even if it is true. If there ever comes a day when you can’t get intel from some guy, just by blinking those big hazel greens… I’ll hang up my ass-kicking boots and we can both run off and become nuns, hunh?” Shaking her head, Lani swirled her chai tea in the oversized cup and took a quick sip. “I’ve always been jealous of how you do that, you know that, right? You bat your eyes, smile that innocent ‘oh, just tell me, it won’t hurt a bit’ grin you’ve got, and they melt like jello in your hands. It’s a gift, I tell ya, a gift! And it doesn’t hurt that you’re small enough, damn near, for them to put you in their pocket like some kind of adorable chihuahua. Just once, I wish a guy would tuck me under his arm and I’d be able to fit there without hunching up like that dude from Notre Dame. You’re just too damn cute!” Grinning wickedly to take any sting from her words, Lani tilted her head to one side and pointed at Emily, jabbing her finger in the air emphatically.

“That perfect hair, like chocolate, those hazel green eyes you’ve got like lasers when you see something that interests you, you just take over a room when you walk in, you know? Bitch, I think I hate you now, stealing all my spotlight!”

Emily almost spat her coffee out her nose, the surprise catching her in mid-sip. Coughing and choking, she grabbed up a napkin and wiped her face, making sure she didn’t have coffee dribbling down from her eyebrows. Then the laughter took over, and she stuck her tongue out at Lani. “Spotlight, my ass! Lan, you know you hate attention! I’m just saving you the trouble of chasing guys off all night whenever we go anywhere, and you know it!” Heaving a large, mock sigh, Emily placed the napkin precisely on the table, making sure she refolded it exactly how it had been. “Try to do a girl a favor… I tell ya…”

“Well, whatever, Em, If it makes you feel better to do charity work, I guess I can’t stop you.” Lani pulled a grimace and swirled her tea again, uncomfortably, this time. Emily knew the signs, she was headed for the big breakdown now. And Emily knew she wouldn’t want to do this in public. Time to take this discussion elsewhere.

“Hey, Lan, let’s get out of here, I think that last spit-take did me in on coffee, hunh? How bout we just take this back to my place. I have better stuff there… you know, the grown-up stuff. The tequila stuff, if you get my meaning?”

“God, yes,” Lani exhaled, “The tequila stuff… by all means, let’s go get into the tequila stuff.”

As the women grabbed up their bags and wandered out of the coffee shop, neither one of them noticed the man who’d sat at the table next to them, tucked neatly away behind his newspaper. But he rose, leaving the paper folded neatly, and followed them out. He already had his equipment in place, and if he hurried, he could be in position before they reached the brunette’s place. The red-head was just about ready for him to make his move. And when he did, she wouldn’t have a chance to escape. He’d been planning this for months, and everything was going perfectly. It was just a matter of timing.

-Jan. 18, 2014

Fog Day

​The fog was thick this morning, swirling and rolling in huge clouds down the streets, gliding in between the trees and houses. It hung, motionless in the low-lying areas, pooling in thick, opaque sheets to obscure the vision.

Not that Abby cared in the slightest.

Today was her day to curl up, warm and cozy, in her favorite fleece blanket, cuddled up in the window seat with a good book, and while away the day… reading and watching the world go by.

In fact, the fog only added to the perfection of the moment.

Abby had always loved fog. The mystery of it, the spookiness of what could lie hidden, waiting, within the fog-bank. It was both an enticing draw, and a fearful deterrent, making her want to go wander in it – and hide from it – at the same time.

From her second-story window, she could just make out the rooftops of a couple of the houses across the street, the fog was so thick today. And the sun was nowhere to be seen at all, she decided. Drab, murky, and perfectly “stay-at-home” weather.

Just then, movement from across the street caught her eye. Dark shapes started to ooze through the fog, ominous and foreboding… large shapes, that didn’t really resemble… people?

Abby turned her head a little to see better, without making herself obvious to whomever was down there. She knew that she was visible in the window, and it had never bothered her, till now. Now, she was all too aware of her position, exposed and vulnerable, up there in her big, bay window. Anyone looking up would see her, perched there like a fuzzy voyeur.

Looking, without really looking wasn’t easy, but she could now make out what seemed to be Mr. Granger’s pickup, sitting in his driveway across the street. What was he doing home so early in the day? He worked downtown at the restaurant, head chef of La Vie En Rose’, not really a French restaurant, but it tried to act like it. The food usually wasn’t too bad there, if you liked fake French-sounding dishes that were really just Mom’s homemade, dressed in it’s “touristy best”.

Living in “tourist-trap-town” had its ups and downs. One of the ups was all the new people you could meet, and that brought good money to spend in the shops along the shore. The downs was all the new people, bringing their “tourist trash”, and their out-of-towner habits and expectations. It got old having people expect you to act in a certain way, or look a certain way, as though you were part of a carnival freak show.

That’s why Abby loved her “Fog Day” times so much. She could hole up at home, pretending like she was the only person left in the world, and could do just whatever she wanted.

Watching the movements in the fog, Abby noticed that the darkness was getting thicker, closer together – solid, almost, and the light patches were getting smaller, and none of them looked like people… at all.

Turning completely toward the window now, she realized that she could hear a siren, faint, but growing louder. It was the warning siren, the one that her Papa had told her to always listen for, and if it ever went off… to hide.

“Take your blanket, the big one, and high-tail it to your closet, young lady,” Papa would say. And Abby would nod her head and smile, knowing that the siren would never go off. That was just an old myth, the stories the old-timers would tell about the “Fog-Monster Siren”.

Junior, down at the barbershop, told it best…

” ‘Bout 50 years ago, it was, last time the Fog rolled in, thick as soup and twice as heavy, and when it rolled back out again, near everyone were dead. Only those what holed up at home, hiding from the fog, not letting it in the houses, were saved. Among them, myself, who my Mama had hidden in a cupboard in our basement, frightened like the child I was.”

Abby loved to listen to the old stories, but never believed them. But, looking out at the fog, with the darkened masses of shapes looming over everything, Abby could almost believe.

Nah. Old men’s stories, was all it had to be. But… just to be safe, Abby grabbed her blanket and dove for her closet, scooping up a pillow from the window seat as she went. Dark and warm, she soon fell sound asleep, curled up on the floor of the small, sealed room.

The next morning, Abby wandered all over town, looking for someone to explain what had happened, only to realise she’d gotten her wish… she was the only one left in town. And the fog… was gone, burned off in the sunlight of the new day.

-Jan. 12, 2014

Tabletop Gods

​”This was a lot easier when we could actually do real shit, you know,”

“Yeah, yeah, I know… quit bitching and get over here.”

“Fine. I’m just saying,”

“Well, quit ‘just saying’ and start doing,”

“God, you can’t catch a break anywhere, anymore,”

“Stop with the flattery, neither of us fits that moniker anymore, Zeus, and we need to remember that.”

“Hmpfh, whatever. So, Minnie? What’s the job today?”

“Call me Minnie again, Thunder Jaws, and I’ll have you busted down to de-staticking the cat. My name’s still Minerva. Use it.”

The statuesque brunette glared at Zeus over the top of her clipboard and pointed to the next item on the checklist.

“WHAT? NO! You’ve got to be kidding, right?”

“Nope. It’s your turn, Lightning Boy. Now get to work.”

“Ah, shit. I wish I’d gone fishing with Poseidon and Loki today. At least they can take a joke. But noooo… I’m on ‘Birthday Party Magician’ duty… dammit. What I wouldn’t give for a good old-fashioned virgin sacrifice right about now.” Zeus snapped his fingers and vanished in a flash of static displacement.

Disgusted and fed up with self-important, devolved deities, Minerva, former goddess of wisdom… now approximately 5 inches tall, and still smarter than the rest of those idiots in the display cabinet… whistled the triple-tone signal and waited for Pegasus to pick her up for her lift back to the counter over the kitchen window.

The boss would be home for lunch, soon, and it wouldn’t do to be out of place when she got there

-Jan. 12, 2014

Tempus Tripudio

​It was only a matter of time.

Dawson knew that he had the right one this time, no doubt about it. And here she was, walking calmly down the exact street she was supposed to be on, at exactly the time he’d finally figured out she’d be here.

Ah, the synchronicity of perfect timing is a beautiful thing, he thought to himself, reveling in the logic and dance of it all. Just one second, here or there, and you threw the whole thing off, tossing the dancers into the whirlwinds of chaos.

And Dawson liked order.

Drawing his hat down, rim balancing just above his brows, he watched her, strolling slowly along the sidewalk, peering into the shop windows, chatting with the man at the newsstand. So unaware, she was, so secure in her innocence. So oblivious to the fact that death waited, just around the corner.

Sunshine on honey, her hair bounced gently on her shoulders.  A happy punctuation to every step she took. He briefly wondered what it smelled like – flowers? Shaking the nonsense from his mind, he pushed himself up from the bus stop bench, keeping his head low enough to not really be noticed, but his eyes on the prize. Shadowed eyes under a dark, slightly grimy baseball cap, nondescript jacket over jeans and mottled brown cowboy boots, he was totally unnoticed in the stream of people shifting along the sidewalks. He was simply a part of the scenery, as far as anyone else was aware. Totally unremarkable.

She was moving again. Stopping briefly at a flower seller’s cart, she picked up some soft yellow tulips, smiling brightly at the merchant, laughing as she waved and started walking again.


The moment. That perfect slice of time. It was coming, he thought. And then he’d know, finally, he’d have that answer he had been seeking for so long. This was his moment, and it wasn’t going to escape him again. Not this time.

Speeding up slightly, he got within 3 people of her, to better witness the moment, without her being aware of him. That would spoil the results, spoil the answer, and he couldn’t have that. It all had to happen, exactly the way he remembered.

And, just as they both rounded the corner, and she started to cross the street, it all came to pass.


A voice called out, and the blonde young woman turned, smiling, just as the drunken driver careened down the street, that perfect, shining, exquisite moment.

Dawson sped up now, knocking people carelessly out of his way, and grabbing the young woman by the arm, spun her around and tossed her back to the sidewalk, tulips spraying up and out, falling broken to the ground surrounding them.

And then he stood in her place as the drunk crashed into him. Death, staring back at him, shock and horror, shining in his face.

As he breathed his last few breaths, Dawson heard the drunk scramble across the tarmac toward him, falling to his knees, sobbing loudly.

“You! Who are you? What?” he cried loudly, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, the smell of alcohol wafting strongly over him.

“Shut up, dumbass. Listen…” Dawson rasped, coughing blood, as he reached up to grab the man’s shirt and pull him close, and tucked a small something in his pocket. “Listen… I put….. thing in your pocket. Use it. That woman, she… don’t let… right thing. Do it. Dance… Death.”

“Oh, God! Why was he in the street? What? Who is he?” The drunk staggered up, lurching back to the hood of his car, as the awfulness of all of it hit him. Turning back over the side, he threw up, hurling and crying everything within him.

When the cops showed up, he sat there, numb, answering every question in a dead, dull voice. Years in prison stretched out before him, drunk driving, involuntary manslaughter, the words meant nothing.

The only meaning was the small object in his pocket, engraved with the words: Tempus Tripudio – Latin, he knew, for Time Dances. And the dead man, lying in the road, wearing his face. Dawson knew, nothing would ever mean anything again. Not until he had the answer. And until he learned to dance. In time.

-Jan. 7, 2014

Out The Window

​I told Joan that I had to study tonight, when in reality – I was sitting home, again, on a Friday night, alone. Rearranging the music on my mp3, and watching the world go by, out my window. Wild child, that’s me.

Curled up on the window seat, I at least had a view of the street 2 floors below, and I could see down to the sidewalk, people coming and going, lights changing, cars cruising with music blaring out the windows. Screen open, I could smell the fumes of the passing cars, and the aromas from the restaurant up at the corner. God I was hungry. Well, just a few more minutes, and I’d go get something to eat. Maybe some curry…

A far off sound of sirens pulled my head up, only to shake it off as being too far away, and not worth worrying over. It was way over by South Broadway, no trouble there, nothing to fear.

And yet.

Then… another siren adding its voice to the first, this time, an ambulance, no… fire and rescue. A different tone, different cadence than police, which was a short, sharp siren, whooping quickly. Fire and rescue was a more depressing tone, long, sad, drawn out as though to tell those in the way “here come those that arrive after, those that clean up after the crash”. I’d always hated that long, mournful siren’s voice.

“Marne!” A suddenly loud voice, calling from the sidewalk, shattering my reverie about the sirens. Looking down, I see Joan, looking up at my face pressed up against the screen window. Standing with her hands planted on her hips, she cocks her head to the side and shakes it.

“Get your ass down here, now, girlie! I knew you were lying earlier, you aren’t studying. You’re playing with your music again, aren’t you? And ignoring the fact that you’re hungry, right?”

Blushing, and knowing she can’t see me clearly, my face just a familiar shadow visible from below, I still pull back from the window a bit, just to push the screen out so I can stick my head outside to answer.

“Alright, I’ll be right down. Just hang on while I shut my laptop down, and shush, you’ll piss off the neighbors!” A hurried attempt at placation, I wave my arm out the window and shut off my computer, watching the glow fade from the screen, the music cuts off in the middle of Godsmack’s “Saints and Sinners”. Ah, how right, how true.

I pull the screen closed, and slide the window into place, locking it tightly. No need to let in anyone that doesn’t have a key. Wouldn’t want trouble. Conscientious, that’s me.

And I hurry to get downstairs to meet Joan for a bite. Fangs flashing as I grin, I go out to be one of those sirens of the night. Wailing mournfully as the rescue tries to reach us in time, knowing it will never beat the hunger.

-Jan. 6, 2014