Interview with S.E. Issac!

thunderclapAs part of the A Guide to Claiming a Scaredy Cat Anthology I’ve met some really great people and amazing authors.  One of them is S.E Issac, who has a blog named Monster in the Cookie Jar.

This is one amazing lady, lemme tell you.  I don’t know her all that well yet but I’ve spoken to her several times and I can say that she is upbeat, helpful, positive and cheerful. 

She’s a child of military parents, a veteran herself, and been through a whack of crap that life has a habit of throwing at you.  

And I was lucky enough to be able to be interviewed by her.  

You can read it over here at Monster in the Cookie Jar: Spunk & Honesty!

Have a wonderful day!  I am going to do a bunch of math review and make ginger snap cookies.  

I have a craving.

Muah!   

PS  Don’t forget to head over to support our Thunderclap!  

ALSO!  We now have pre-order links!  Check it out!  Buy!  

Pre-order

Amazon Global link: https://getBook.at/AG2-CaSCAntho
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079MHWBZ4
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079MHWBZ4
DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B079MHWBZ4
CA: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B079MHWBZ4

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940155393610
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1339522410
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/…/eb…/a-guide-to-claiming-a-scaredy-cat
Universal: https://www.books2read.com/u/b6r0JM
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/…/38396498-a-guide-to-claiming-a-…

Okay, now, I’m off.  Muah!

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Demon Plague is LIVE!

Good morning, folks!

I am pleased to bring you the second book in my Highland Wolves series:

Demon Plague

Just look at the cover!

HW2 book cover copy 2.jpg

I know the back is a tad difficult to read but it is readable.

Isn’t it gorgeous?  I love having vibrant, compelling covers.

I say that with zero modesty and a whack of pride.  I spent hours on it a few days ago.   Cried over it even.  

I have to tell you, even though I publish through Amazon/Kindle it is so exciting to see my books available for public consumption!

It’s a lot of hard work to get them there.  The research, planning, character development, writing, editing, editing, editing, editingformatting, cover planning and development.  I could hire someone to do the cover, I suppose, but I like seeing it come together.  

Just in the writing, it’s a huge relief to write THE END at the end of the document.  It’s a milestone but now, to see it for sale (and soon to see it in print), it’s breathtaking.  

Sure, a traditional publisher picking up my books would be wonderful, (or heartstopping) but for now, I will continue to do it this way.

You can see HW2 in print here and on Kindle here.

I hope you enjoy them!  If you missed the 5 day promotion in which HW1 and Lizendale were free on Kindle I’m so sorry but you’ll have to purchase them now.  😉   Both books are also in print, of course, (Highland Wolves 1 can be found in print by clicking on “See all formats” or by clicking here).

You can look at all my books on my Amazon Author page.  

What’s next?

Next, I will be diving into the research for HW4 and I will be editing A Year in the Life of S. Claus.  I am seriously considering submitting it for publishing at Sterling and Stone because of a little book I read put out by them called SANTA: EXPOSED by Guy incognito.  There was a line in the book saying “what if Santa has deals with all the toy companies al over the world?” and it made me want to give them Ari.  First though, it needs at least one run through.

I will begin plotting for NaNo too, I think.  Or at least, I’ll start looking for ideas.   The YA tiger shifter is too short to do it as November’s NaNo, unless I make it a series of 2 or 3 shorts.   Something to consider.

Plus!  I have a college application in for Fanshawe’s online Business Program.   Busy busy, just the way I prefer it.  

I am out of here!  Have housework to do and some rest (it’s been a busy, toxic last week and I’m exhausted) while I plot out what’s going on over the next few months.  

Have a wonderful day!  

Muah!

 

Everyone Loves Free Books!

Good evening!

Since I will be publishing Demon Plague: The second Highland Wolves Book on August the first, I have decided to put the ebooks Witch Hitlist, the first of the series, and Lizendale, a stand alone, very dark paranormal drama up for free!

Phew, that was a long winded sentence.  Sorry about that but you get the point.

FREE BOOKS! 

Which is a good thing, right?

That, dear readers, is my gift to you.  They are for free, across Amazon/Kindle in Canada, the US and the UK.

I do want you to love the first book so that you’ll want to read the second.  And I want you to love my writing so you’ll want to read any book I write.  

I am a writer, after all.  😉

I do hope you enjoy them because the simple fact is that I write to evoke emotions and paint pictures in my readers’ minds.  Not to make a pretty penny, that’d just be a major bonus.  

The links below are the Canadian ones.

Witch Hitlist

Lizendale

Have a wonderful night!

Camp Day 18

Hi!

Grrrrrr   This story pissed me off.

Not being able to write at all pissed me off.

However, my brain is working on the vlog I wish to start.  So I’m going to do that.

April is NOT a good month for braining for me.  The competitions and the changes in weather really screw me over.  

As I said, I’m going to work on the vlog.  It’s going to be about living with chronic pain.  Not the effects of it; people who live with pain know that it fucks up their sleep, their lives, their relationships and their brains.  I want to talk about how to live with all that and how to build a life worth living, a life that is happy and positive and worthwhile.  I will be posting about the vlog more as it gets closer to the inaugural video.

My total word count is 26,011.  I don’t know if I can get further than that.  Maybe I’ll look at my notes and see if anything inspires me.  

I can’t even brain enough to figure out how to end the story.  This was a very weird premise to begin with.  

I am sorry to disappoint but I promise that when I write another addition to the Alphabet of Death, you’ll be the second to get a copy!

Muah!

 

Kicking Ass and Slaying BWitches

 

“What is Keraunophobia?” Josie leaned on the rake she was using and finally asked the question that had been bugging her since the Truth & Dare game they’d played the night before.  Neither of them cared that they acted like silly teenagers on a sleepover.  On the rare occasion Josie managed to get away from work and her family, they were silly teen girls.

Kate Keighley, who had been expecting the question, smiled sheepishly.  “It’s a fear of thunder and lightning.  It’s terrible, right?  Sounds like something a five year old would suffer from.  Or your dog.”  She chuckled at the large dog playfully hunting squirrels around her acre and a half.   Not that the squirrels knew Ralph wouldn’t hurt them, they didn’t know he was just enjoying the unseasonably warm early spring day.  The vegetable garden they were clearing took up a solid half of the acreage, her small cottage was tucked into the middle of her land and all around there were flowers, berry baring bushes and fruiting trees.

Josie stared at her friend of twenty years.  “Seriously?  You’re afraid of thunderstorms?”  There was none of the judgement Kate generally heard, Josie was genuinely curious.  “How come I didn’t know this?”  They’d known each other since the first day of college.

“Yeah, and because it’s humiliating.  ” Kate stopped raking out the flowerbed she was working on.  She knew there was another frost due but she wanted to uncover the spring bulbs just a little bit, so they’d have a chance to soak up the sunshine due around the side of the house in about an hour.  “There’s one due tonight.  I’m hoping to get all this done before the rain soaks the ground.  I’m sure there’s one more frost due before winter is done with us completely.”

Josie helped with enthusiasm because, when the harvesting began, she always got a share to eat and to sell.  The pair had done a ritual for Ostara the night before, thanking the God and Goddess for the return of the light and asking for blessings on their endeavours over the next few months.  They were each solitary witches but they liked to do the Quarter rituals – the Equinoxes and Solstices – together.  Ostara and the Spring Equinox are closely tied and they combined the rituals with the rise of the full moon.

Later, long after Josie had gone, and they had made a date to go hiking in the woods nearby, and the moon had risen on its third night of being full, Kate stood skyclad in her backyard.  A small fire burned brightly, warming her naked body from the front as the mists cooled her from the back.  She lifted her arms and called her prayer and spell out to the sky.

“I call to thee, the Sisters Three –

Badb, Macha, and the Morrígan.

Strength I need, the power I seek

To guide the seed, the plant, the fruit.

 

I do not do it all for me

For families in need and Sister Josie.

Grant me what I ask

For me, for three, for charity.

 

For what I sow, what I reap

I shall not all keep.

I beg of Thee, bless the

Till and toil, the seed, the soil.

So I will it, so mote it be!”

Energy surged through Kate’s palms, down her arms and through her chakras, making her gasp and writhe with pleasure.  She stood there a moment longer until thunder rolled in the distance.  She barely contained the shriek that rose to her lips and studied the sky.  It was clear as far as she could see so she relaxed and took it as a sign.  It was the first time she’d ever asked for help like that but the lands around her, including the garden, had taken a hard with the shifts in weather and she wanted to ensure the plethora of fruits and vegetables she was used to.

Her garden did indeed grow.  She had staggered the growing of plants such as lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, forcing the first wave to bloom and fruit early.  She preserved much of it, shared with Josie all that she could take then after keeping some, she sold most, both preserved and fresh, and gave whatever was left after the farmer’s market each weekend to a battered woman’s shelter.

Harvest came and she and Josie cleaned the plots of the last of the growth and performed their Mabon ritual, thanking the God and Goddess for all that was given.  Later, Kate again had a bonfire, this time she thanked Badb, Macha, and the Morrígan for their aid, though she somehow managed to take almost all the credit.

The Morrígan stood on the edge of Kate’s property as Nemain, Badb and Macha.  “The wee girl thinks to take the whole of the credit for her bounty this year. Reckless human.  How dare she?”  Nemain lifted a hand to punish but Badb laid a hand on her wrist.

“Hold, Nemain.  Wait until the harvest next.”

Nemain stared at her sister.  The sister who encouraged confusion and fear in battle, the one who encouraged battle.  “Badb?”

“She is high on her success.  Give her a year.  She pays us tribute and has been loyal thus far. Even if she does not share her worship with the one she calls sister, she is still worthy of our patience.”

Macha nodded in agreement.  “Aye, Sister, let her be.  For now.”

So the sisters faded away.

The next year went on as this one had.  And if, during the second half of the season, thunder rolled more often in a clear sky, the crops were still abundant.  Once more, Kate stood under the Mabon moon, skyclad before a fire, as was her wont.  She spoke conversationally to the triple Goddesses.

“I thank Thee, Babd, Macha and the Morrígan for bestowing such blessings upon me!  My magic, my abilities and affinity for the earth, gave us so much we could barely keep up.  It was wonderful.  The larders here and at Josie’s are full, the shelters and food banks are happy.  I am so glad to be such a powerful witch!”

Nemain growled and even Babd, who felt that there was a time and place for battle, was furious.  But it was Macha, the goddess of war and sovereignty, who held them back.  “There is a time and a place,” she reminded them.  “There are better strategies and ways to teach a lesson than merely smiting her where she stands.”

After a moment, the sister grinned at each other in dark delight and once again faded away.

It was nearing the end of July and Kate stood with her friend and stared at the garden.  “I don’t understand it.  The last two years of have been so lush, what’s with this mess?”

Josie took in the thin, scraggly plants that each held only a few, tiny vegetables, and the choking weeds and shrugged helplessly.  “I don’t know, Kate.  It’s so weird.”

“I’ve tried so hard to keep up with the weeds but they’re still…” she waved a hand.  “Look at them!  It’s impossible.  I swear, every time I pull out a seedling weed, two spring up full grown in its place.  It’s like, well, magic.”

“Did you piss Someone off?”

“I don’t think so.  I have left offerings and thanks and the Solstice went off without a hitch.”

Josie nodded, remembering.  They’d had a little too much wine and, well, it was a good thing her husband was familiar with and accepting of the depth of her relationship with Kate. “I don’t know… It kind of looks like you did.”

“Lammas is coming up in a couple days, maybe I can make things right.”  She paced, thinking.  “There’s a weed killer potion I could try too.  I’ll need to go up the mountain for some of the ingredients.”

“I think Dale will let me out tomorrow.  He’s home with his friends tomorrow, watching baseball.  He and some of them are betting on one of the teams while the other half are betting on the other.  Or something like that.”  Josie grinned.  “If I make them enough food, I could probably stay the night to help you prepare.”

“Oh that would be great.  Meet here at ten?”  When Josie agreed, Kate looped her arm through her friend’s and walked her back to the car.  “If you need any help with the cooking, let me know.”

She paused as a thought popped into her head.  “I have a jar of those pickled cherries Dale likes so much.  And I’ll even give him a jar of pickled cherry tomatoes.”

“Oh, now he’ll now you’re bribing him but he’ll love it.  They love those pickled cherry tomatoes on sliders.”  Josie grinned as she opened her car door.  She leaned forward and kissed her friend smack on the lips.  “I’ll see you tomorrow at ten.”

That night and next morning, Kate checked the weather forecast carefully.  She checked the government site and her own weather radars, placed on the mountain near here where she took her hikes, and found that there were no storms due for several days.  She sagged with relief for she would not go out if there was even a hint of rain in the schedule for the next twelve hours.

At 9:45, as she was packing water, snacks, and the containers and bags she needed for collection in a bag she got a call from Josie.

“What’s up, buttercup?  Shouldn’t you be leaving?”

“DJ started puking suddenly an hour ago.  She’s complaining of a pain in her side and her temperature is up.  Her appendix looks about to burst to me and nothing I am doing is going to stop it.  We’re on the way to the hospital.”

“Okay, Jos, I’ll come down as soon as I get the things I need.”

“You shouldn’t go alone!  You know that I hate it when you do.”

“I have a spare battery and GPS messenger beacon, like I always do.”   There were the sounds of vomiting and whimpering in the back.  “Bye, Josie.  Love you all.”  She hung up, knowing Josie had forgotten her.

Kate drove up to the national park and waved her membership card at the gate’s sensor.  It opened and she drove on up to her favourite parking spot.  Opening her door, she exchanged her running shoes for hiking boots then stood up and applied her favourite, homemade bug repellant.  She’d have to apply it again once she sweated it off, but she figured that didn’t matter for commercial, chemical laden sprays were far worse for their ability to cling to your skin through the sweat of the day.

Her backpack was strapped on, belt around her waist and all.  It was a little heavy but it’d lighten up as she drank the water.  Of course, she’d only fill it up again with her collections.  The padded metal frame rose above her head with a light sleeping bag attached to it.  She grabbed her favoured cedar walking stick and locked up her car.

Something rumbled in the distance and she looked up sharply as she suppressed the slight shudder of fear.  The sky was clear and bright.  She double checked the radar app on her phone and there wasn’t a storm or even a cloud in sight.

Kate shrugged, decided it must be a truck in the distance, and set off on her hike.

Again and again she heard the rumbles of thunder.  Again and again, she checked her app.

Suddenly, the sun dappled woods became dark and heavily oppressive.  Kate looked up and screamed.  The sound was short and cut off abruptly.  She gave a shaky laugh. “It’s ridiculous.  There was nothing on the radar.  It can’t be about to storm.”  She stared up at the clouds with a mutinous expression.  “You are not real.”

A fat rain drop hit her right between the eyes as lightning lit up the woods so bright Kate was seeing spots whether her eyes were open or closed.  Thunder ripped through the woods, so loud it tore through her skull from one ear to the other and she felt it in her bones.

Kate screamed in fear and crouched, her arms wrapped around her head.   She stayed like that, shivering and tense with anticipation until she realized that her eyelids were red with light.   Opening one eye cautiously, Kate was shocked to see that the sun was out and there was no storm cloud overhead, no evidence that there’d ever been one.

“I need to eat something, obviously.”  She found a log and sat down on it after removing her pack.  She pulled out a bottle of water and a bag of homemade trail mix.

After a brief rest, she set out again, looking for a specific plant she knew was on her trail.  Lightning suddenly forked out of the sky and struck a tree several yards in front of her.   The tree exploded and with the light having blinded her she wasn’t able to duck as splinters and shards of the tree came flying at her.  Small bits struck her face, embedding themselves under several layers of skin.

One thick piece stabbed her in the thigh and knocked her to her knees.  Kate cried out as she fell.

 

And the Morrigan continued to torment Kate until she was driven near mad. 

April Camp Day 4

Good morning! 

Yes, I realize it’s the fifth and not the fourth of April but I was having severe migraines yesterday and couldn’t see worth a damn to write.  

So here is yesterday’s offering (and I apologize for the title, really).  It is a long short story and takes a bit to get to the horror part.  I think that Earnest’s story will be quite a bit shorter.  Desmond’s story is a little over 4,300 words long and I am at more than 11,000 words of my intended 50k.  Yay me!

Enjoy!  (and please, remember, NaNo posts = first drafts = no editing)

Muah!

 

Djya say DJinn?

 

A hand shot into the air from the back of the class.  “Professor!  Is it true that you’re the one who discovered Rapunzel’s tower?”

Professor Desmond Dedrick smiled the charming smile that had by now graced so many magazines he’d lost count and heard several of the female students sigh with pleasure.  “Yes it is, Bobby.”

The University of Glasgow students leaned forward expectantly as he preened a little before speaking.  He knew he was good looking.  He was 6’3” and swam religiously to maintain the sleek body he knew most women preferred.  He lifted weights for practicality, most of what he did in the field was labour intensive.  His hair was thick, a dark blond and, he thought, his second best feature.  His first was not best shown to the general public.  His teaching voice was carefully modulated to be masculine but almost lyrical.  His students loved him, when he was there.

Desmond told them the tale of stumbling on Rapunzel’s tower when he was looking for something else entirely.  He was so used to telling the story that his mind turned to his current project – Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.  He was pretty sure that the cave lie not in the Arabian Desert, as the story insisted, but across the Red Sea in East Africa, Eritrea, specifically.  He felt the cave was buried in the Emba Soira mountain range in Eritrea and he had a really good idea where. 

He had wasted a lot of time in the Jabal an Nabi Shu’ayb range until he realized that the cave systems were too open, too obvious, just as the story seemed to make it.  If there was one thing he’d learned from solving the Hansel and Gretel story, not everything was as pretty and in your face as the story tellers would have you believe. 

After a lot more research, Desmond came to believe that the forty thieves of Scheherazade’s stories were pirates.  They docked, he felt, in a cove near the Jalua Volcano and made the forty kilometer trek inland to hide their treasure in a cave accessed through tunnels that may or may not begin in the foothills.

“Professor?”

“Yes?  My apologies, my brain wandered away on its own.”  Desmond smiled at the young man who had spoken before. 

“There’s someone at the door.  They refuse to come in.” 

“Thank you, Bobby.  Class dismissed!  I will be gone for at least a week.  Your senior TA, Juliette, will be handling all questions regarding next month’s exam and the final project you have due.”  The class was a group of second year students either just getting serious about archeology or still waffling about their major.  “The project will help me help you decide which of you will move on to third year and which of you will not.  Good afternoon!” He called over the bustle of everyone getting together.

The man outside the door ducked his head down, hiding behind his hat and the file folder he held in his hand as the students passed by him.  He cursed the professor for emptying the classroom instead of coming out to him but at the same time, he was pleased. 

Desmond appeared at the door and waved the man in before locking the door.  “What do you have for me, Donovan?” 

Donovan handed over the file.  “We found the remains of a ship and a small village, right where you said it would be.  That folder contains the GPS co-ordinates, your tickets to Asmara and the information about your guide from there.  Make sure that you treat your guide with respect and care.”

Desmond laughed that big laugh that his students found infectious.  “Don’t I always?”

“No,” the other man said quietly, “you don’t.  But you absolutely MUST with this one.  There will be hell to pay if you don’t.”  Donovan gave his friend a serious look.  Only when Desmond nodded in agreement did Donovan smile and slap his hand on the back.  “Let’s go, your flight leaves in two hours.  I took the liberty of having Catherine pack your bags.”

Desmond’s eyes turned smoky at the mention of Catherine, Donovan’s assistant.  He was a collector of woman and she steadily refused to succumb to his advances.  “You know, I could probably use another set of hands on this trip.”

Donovan laughed.  “Forget it, I need her at the office.”

Some seventeen hours later, Desmond landed in Asmara and immediately began sweating.  He grabbed his bags from the carousel and looked around for any sign of his guide.  There was no one so he went into the washroom and washed up quickly in the sink.  Donning a lighter shirt, he repacked his bag and stepped out, nearly treading on a dark skinned man almost his size but half his age.  “Excuse me,” Desmond said, not altogether politely.

“Pardon me, my fault entirely.”  The young man gave a little bow.  He was dressed in a loud Hawaiian style shirt, long khaki shorts with thong sandals on his feet.  He was also holding a sign with the word “DEDRICK” on it dangling from one hand. 

“You’re my guide?” Desmond asked with some disbelief.

“You are Professor Dedrick?” The man’s face lit up with a smile then he reached out and grabbed Desmond’s right hand, mercifully free of bags, and pumped it up and down.  “I am so pleased to meet you!  My Rezantos, Ramses, will be so pleased!  I am Ammon.”

“Uh… Yes, I am.”  Desmond looked bemused as he was relieved of his bags and ushered, almost herded, out to an old Jeep.  He knew, from studying the file, that Ramses was the leader, nearly king, of the Saho tribe that would be assisting him with this dig.  Even with his gift of languages, Saho was too confusing for him to pick up.

“In, in!  I will take you to your base camp.  The Rezantos awaits!”  Ammon ran around the side of the Jeep, tossing Desmond’s bags in, making the professor left and lower a hand as he bit back the expletive and simply prayed his equipment would be in one piece.

The ride was bumpy, hellacious and left Desmond sweating, swearing and sick to his stomach.  Once they stopped, he hurtled himself out of the car and onto his knees.  He heaved great gulping breaths, trying not to hurl the bile in his stomach, which was the only thing there.  It had been hours since the lousy meal on the plane but he was pretty sure he was about bring it back up. 

Two women rushed to his side.  “Professor!”  The rest of what they said was in the Saho language and incomprehensible.  One helped his feet and another offered him a skin bag he assumed was water.  He grabbed the bag and drank greedily until they urged him to stop.

“I am sorry, Chief.  Roads are bad.  Too many twists and turns and bumps.”  He slapped Desmond on the back.  “Come! The Rezantos, he wants to meet you.  He is eager to see what you are doing.”  Desmond straightened up, offered his charming smile to the two women who had brought him water and let Ammon lead him to Ramses.  There was dinner and dancing and a huge fire in the night.  He staggered into a tent and fell face first onto a bed that was made of a cot, a piece of foam and several heavy blankets to protect against the freezing temperatures of the desert night.  He didn’t notice the woman taking his boots and socks off.  He didn’t notice him removing his shirt and smoothing a thick cream into his shoulders and the back of his neck or how she finally tucked him in. 

The next morning, he woke at dawn, feeling energetic, refreshed and ready to go.  He dressed, shaved and strode from his tent and, once again, ran smack into Ammon.   “This is becoming a habit,” he said with amusement as Ammon apologized again.

“My Rezantos wishes to see you before you begin this morning, Chief.”  Ammon herded Desmond towards the leader’s home.  There he acted as translator for Desmond and Ramses until both were satisfied.

It took three days of walking and searching in a half circle wedge pattern that ranged out from the discovered village remains before Desmond found the cues he was looking for, deep in the foothills.  Each wedge of the search pattern had been fifteen kilometers long but on this day, Desmond had continued after dark. 

“No, no!  You must not!” Ammon insisted.  “There are ghosts in the dark.  And many large animals that come out to hunt.  It is safer with the fire.”

“Then we will make torches and burn them brightly.”  Desmond laid a hand on Ammon’s shoulder.  “I cannot leave without knowing for certain.”

“Leave?  We were led to believe you would be here for a full seven days.”

Desmond shook his head.  “We are already outside where I thought it would be.  If I don’t find it today then I will have to leave.”  He watched as Ammon argued with, and shouted at, the men with them.  All but one left as Ammon shook his fist at their retreating backs.  When Desmond gave the other man a questioning look, he straightened his back and thumped his fist on his chest, as if to say that he wasn’t afraid.

Together, the three men made torches out of dead tree branches, bark, strips from the bottoms of their shirts, and the wire and fuel that Desmond carried in the pouches on the belt he always wore.  Donovan always made fun of it, calling it a Batman utility belt wannabe.  Now, Desmond snorted at the memory, as he always did when the belt was useful.  He pulled out his lighter and lit each torch carefully.

He took a moment to center himself and reached out with his senses.  He just knew that cave was nearby.  It was the same way he’d found everything else.  He called it instinct but it was more.  He only used it when he was incredibly frustrated because it felt like cheating to him.   This time, Desmond’s gut feeling pulled him to the north and a little west, deeper into the foothills.

They walked for another two hours before there was a glimmer high on one of the stone walls that surrounded them.  Desmond held his breath as he ran, stumbled, tripped to get closer.  The glimmer is a sigil, one that he’d found in his research.  “Look at the walls!  Find another one!”

It took them another hour before they found the largest one.  It was on a cave wall that seemed to be smooth and whole.  Desmond handed his torch to Ammon in order to study the wall and the nearly invisible cracks along it. Suddenly, he flung his arms up and shouted, “Open, Sesame!”

The three men held their breaths for a long moment before, with a loud CRACK! a portion of the wall pushed out then slid to the side.  It stopped after only a couple of meters.  It took quite a while before the three were brave enough to step inside that cave. 

It took a moment for Desmond’s eyes to adjust but when they did they nearly bugged out of his head.  Piles of gold, pottery, silver, silks and treasure of all kinds, were in piles here and there, some of them piled haphazardly.  Suddenly, trail of flame raced along the walls and brightened the room so that all that glittered became blinding.  He turned to find that Ammon had touched the flame to a pool of oil settled in a small basin by the door.  Ammon shrugged an apology but Desmond didn’t care. 

All that mattered was that he was right.  He’d found the caves of the forty thieves!

The Saho men stayed by the door, too afraid to move further but Desmond explored the cave, touching this and that.  He poured jewels from one hand to another, rubbed silks on his face.  He found an old lamp and, for some reason, carried it with him.  He found a cache of weapons and tucked an old dagger under his belt. 

“Come, come!  It’s time to go back,” Desmond said excitedly.  “I need to tell Donovan that I found it!”

As soon as they were clear of the cave, and he’d closed it, he wrenched the sat phone off his belt and was surprised to see the lamp still in his hand.  “Donovan!  I found it!”  He listened to the excited chatter on the other end.  “Yes, yes…Yes! …No. It’s bigger than I thought.  I’ll need at least The MaryAnn and twenty men.”  He named his ship, a large research vessel he’d had to have retrofitted to contain his gear, tools and storage compartments.  “Call Mr. Hakimi over at the Cairo Museum and Mr. Singh in London.  They’ll both need to come down.  I’ll send my friend here to pick them up from the airport.”  He smiled at Ammon.  That little bit of evil was his own, for the trouble each man has caused him in the past.  “We’ll deal with the Americans when the time comes.  Is there anyone in Africa who needs to be notified? …Okay, call him too.”

Desmond hung up his phone and, with renewed energy, set off at a jog back toward the small tent village. 

The next morning, he woke up rejuvenated, again, and realized that he was still holding the lamp.  He sat and studied it.  There was an inscription on it he couldn’t read for the dirt encrusted in it.  He had been quite surprised to find such a thing among the glitter in the cave.  He rubbed at the inscription with a piece of soft cloth.  As soon as the cloth touched it, the lamp shook slightly.

Startled, Desmond stopped.  He stared at it for a long moment then tried to set it down.  It was stuck to his hand.  He began to sweat when, after opening his hand as wide as he could, with fingers at full extension, the lamp stayed stuck to his hand.  He took a long deep breath and decided that the lamp wanted to be taken back to the cave, so he would do that.  He dressed quickly, if awkwardly, though the lamp did seem to adjust itself to get through his sleeves.

He stepped out of his tent to find a small group of people waiting for him, with Ammon at the head.  As one, the group gasped and took a step backward.  “What?  What is wrong?” 

“You… You do not look the same as you did yesterday morning, Chief.”  Ammon almost looked horrified.

“What?  What do you mean?”  Desmond didn’t feel any different.  Ammon snapped out a word and someone scrambled to hand Desmond a mirror.  He lifted it to his face as his stomach clenched in the first real fear he had felt in years.  He loved his looks, used them often.  He had known he was good looking from the age of four.  Women and little girls fell all over themselves to make him smile.  He focused on his image and gave a wordless cry.  

“I am so sorry, Chief!” Ammon sympathised.  He turned to listen as one of the village’s women elders pointed at Desmond’s hand and spoke urgently.  He looked back at Desmond with some consideration.  “She says that there is a legend attached to the lamp you hold.”

Desmond almost threw the mirror away but instead studied his image again.  He had aged ten years overnight.  The sun bleached streaks that were woven into his dark hair had turned white.  He had crow’s feet around his eyes and lines bracketing his mouth.  He turned his head side to side, examining the look.  He decided he could work with it.  However, as he studied his face, new wrinkles and more white appeared in his hair.  Terrified, he threw the mirror away.

“What?   What is the legend, man!?” Desmond grabbed Ammon with his free hand.

Ammon hastily freed himself.  “It is said that the lamp will lay dormant for many years, centuries even, but as soon as someone such as you touches it –”

Desmond interrupted. “Like me? What do you mean like me??”

“Someone who is healthy and has a strong, vital life force.”

“What does it do?”  He looked panicked and reached for Ammon again.

Ammon backed up a step. “It will suck the life force from you in order to revitalize the genie inside it.”

Slowly, Desmond lifted the lamp to stare at it.  It seemed to stare back at him.  Finally he lifted his hand to rub it.  He stroked it once with his sleeve and a sense of urgency came over him so he scrubbed hard at it.  The lamp rattled and shook and began to hiss and yet he could not stop rubbing.  Smoke began to spew from the spout to pile on the ground and shape itself in a way that reminded him of the old show I Dream of Jeannie.  Only when the smoke stopped was he able to stop rubbing.  He watched the smoke firm itself and coalesce into the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

She had sun kissed skin, an hourglass figure and thick, wavy black hair that tumbled around her shoulders.  He found himself gazing into chocolate brown almond eyes set in a heart shaped face. She had a perfect, straight nose and the incredibly kissable lips that were curved into a smile.  A slim chain adorned with lavender pearls draped her head with a length running down her part to divide and curve over her forehead and bow towards the back of her head.  She was draped in gauze with three scarves as a belt and hammered gold cuffs around her wrists and ankles.

Desmond didn’t hear the screams and cries and shouted prayers of the villagers.  He didn’t hear Ammon’s desperate pleas for him to step away and not say anything.  He didn’t notice that the lamp was taken gently from his fingers until he saw it cradled in the woman’s fingers. 

“Good day, my master,” she said in accented but perfect English.  “I am a Djinn and my name is Sheherazade.  I am pleased to meet you.”

“Sheherazade?”  Desmond’s mouth dropped open in shock.  “Are you not the woman of a thousand and one tales?”  At once, his fear turned into curiousity.

“You have heard of me?” She blushed and looked at the ground.  “Do the stories displease you, master?”

“No, I… Wait, why are you calling me master?”

“You have freed me from my slumber, I am yours to command.  Thrice you may command me.  If you choose, you may free me from my lamp forever.  I must give you whatever you wish for.”

Immediately, Desmond’s greatest wish popped into his head and out of his mouth on a wistful sigh.  “I wish I could understand all languages, written or spoken.”

“As you command.”   She touched his forehead and immediately it seemed as if everyone around him was speaking English.

“Wait!  I didn’t meant to ask for that.”

“I did warn you, my master.”   She smiled gently. “You may command me but twice more.”

“Ch-Chief.” Ammon approached him cautiously.  “The telephone on your belt has been ringing.  And,” he bit his lip, “you have aged again.”  As Desmond whipped the phone off his belt, Sheherazade gave Ammon a look that had him quaking in his boots but he stood firm.  “I have heard of you,” he said.  “I will not let you take this man.”

  The Djinn smiled coldly.  “You have no say in the matter.”  She disappeared and reappeared right in front of him, chest to chest.  She gripped the back of his head and pressed her lips to his.  She sucked the life out of him.  Twenty-one year old Ammon aged then shriveled and turned to dust.  Sheherazade licked her lips and stared at the rest of the villagers. As one, they turned their backs on her and ignored her.  She smiled smugly, pleased, and returned to her place by Desmond’s side. 

As he hung up the phone, she touched his arm gently.  An electric shock jumped from her to him but she soothed it with a stroke and he ignored it.  Smiling, she asked, “Master, would you not like to see the cave of treasures again?  I can transport you right there.”

Desmond gave her a cautious look.  “Would that be a wish?”

“Oh, no, of course not.  I have offered to do it for you.”

“Then yes, I would.”  He turned, looking for Ammon.  “Where is Ammon?”

Sheherazade shrugged delicately.  “I do not know,” she said in a soft but sweetly sad voice.  “He said that he would not work with you if I was around and left.”

Before he fully understood what he was doing, he spoke in Saho to the nearest person.  “Tell Ammon that he needs to pick up those men at the airport around midnight.”  As he waited for an answer, Sheherazade wrapped her hand around his wrist.

With a sickening wrench in his gut, he found himself standing in the cave.  “This is wonderful!  All this history!  And I proved that Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves is real!  This will be the crowning achievement of my career so far.”

“I am happy that you are so happy, my master!” 

Desmond stretched his back and noticed an ache in his lower spine and his hips.  “I need to explore this cave. It looks like a system of caves.”  He went from the large front room to the back and found several corridors.  The Djinn trailed after him. 

Desmond began to move slower and slower.  He explored a room full of silks that were miraculously intact.  Not a single moth hole in any of the fabrics.  He moved on and found dishes made of bone and ones of delicate china that was beautifully hand painted.  In another room, he knelt to look at a stack of Persian rugs and found he had trouble getting up.  Sheherazade helped him to his feet and he groaned at the effort and the amount of pain it took. 

“Come,” she said, “You should rest.  You have been at this for hours.  There is a room with furniture in it.  I know there is a comfortable divan.  I will provide food and wine.”  She led him to it and settled him into the seat.  A table held a tray with a plate, a knife and fork and a goblet.

He smiled at her.  “Thank you, I don’t know what I would do without you.”

Sheherazade smiled.  “Let us pray you never find out.”  She handed him a silver goblet and turned to get the pitcher of wine.

Desmond lifted the goblet and twisted it to look at the engravings.  He caught his reflection and howled in dismay.  “What have you done to me?  I am an old man!”  His cheeks were sunken and his eye sockets nearly hollow.  His skin hung limply from his skull.  It was then that he noticed the paper white, frail skin dotted with liver spots.  He grabbed the knife from the tray and plunged it into her neck. 

Hot blood spurted all over and Sheherazade screamed.  He twisted the knife and left it in there, holding on grimly while she fought him.  As her blood coated him, he began to feel stronger.  She fell, limp and bloody, to the floor and he stared at her corpse, aghast. 

“No, no, no!  What have I done!  I cannot live without you, Sheherazade!”  The knife was still in his hand and he used it to slash his wrists.  The declaration and action shocked him but he could not stop it.

As his blood joined hers, he began to die.  “I wish I had not done it!  I wish I had freed you instead.  We could have made a life together.”  With his last breath, he watched her spring to her feet. 

She waved a hand and closed his wounds.  She took the knife from him and leaned over him.  Her eyes were black pits with fire burning in them.  “Fool,” she spat.  “I am immortal.”  She stood and stared down at him as the lamp appeared in her hand. 

Sheherazade smiled.  “The lamp must have a captive.”  With a wave of her hand, she wrapped him in magic and restored him to himself at his most handsome and charming.  “A gift from the lamp, your youth and your looks.”  She put the lamp on the floor near him and waved her hand again. 

Smoke crept from the lamp to circle Desmond’s feet.  He struggled but her magic held him.  The smoke burned as it climbed over him, changing him until he was nothing but a pale grey fog. 

“In you go,” she said.  The smoke reversed and sucked Desmond into the lamp.

He landed in a posh living center that, again, reminded him of I Dream of Jeannie. He wondered suddenly, if there had been another lamp and another victim and another Djinn freed, who decided to make light of it.  “No!” he shouted.  “You can’t keep me here!”  He climbed on the couch that rimmed the edge of the lamp and banged on the walls.  “Let me out!”

Sheherazade picked up the lamp and smiled at it.  “And as a gift to me,” she said, knowing he could hear her, “the lamp has given me your life.  My name is Davina Dedrick and I am the greatest archeologist of all time.  You will have two hundred years to think before anyone will begin to think of searching for the cave you will be buried in.  Good bye, Desmond.”

The lamp winked out of Davina’s hand and reappeared halfway around the world, stuck in a pile of ice, while Desmond screamed into the silence. 

April Camp Day 3

Good morning!  

Today’s story is Clara.  The story took quite a different turn than the way I expected it to go.  I expected that she’d do some channeling and the spirit she was channeling would take her and hold her prisoner and that the story would be about her confinement.

Nope.  I’m scratching my head over this one but I think it was successful.  The thought of these things happening to me scares me silly so I’m calling it horror.

Read on, Macduff!  And do keep in mind that these are first draft stories, hot off the presses.  No editing has been done.  Yet.

 Have a wonderful Sunday!  

Muah!

 There are triggers in the story (rape and forcible confinement).  If either of these things cause you PTSD flashbacks at any level, do not read past Clara leading Vladimir into the consultation room.  

Californian Spirituality

 

Twenty-seven year old Clara Clifford sauntered down the street in the little seaside town she lived in.  It was a tourist town full of quaint little shops running the length of a steeply angled main street that ended on an ocean beach.  A few streets branched off the main thoroughfare with more shops, each with tourist rentals above them.  Expensive looking cottages lined the beach, most of them on pillars with long staircases that jackknifed back and forth or descended in stages with tiny decks breaking up the long descent.

People turned to look at her as she walked and she smiled at each of them.  “Blessings of light on you.” 

She spoke those words to a young family and the girl, whom Clara estimated to be about six years old, asked, “Why do you say that”

Clara got down to her level, the bells on her scarf belt jingling softly.  She clucked the girl under the chin.  “The light is better than the darkness, right?” 

“I guess so.” The girl’s voice was doubtful. 

“In the light, you get to smile and play.  You feel good and love is everywhere.” 

“Does that mean that the dark is bad?”

“Do you mean night?”  When the girl nodded Clara smiled and said, “The night is a good thing, it’s necessary, for everyone needs the opportunity to rest and dream about the day.  But the Darkness,” and the little girl could hear the capital D, “is a bad thing, more often than not.  It causes pain and illness.  We need both Light and Dark, so that we appreciate the Light and the love of our friends and family better.”

The little girl thought for a moment then nodded.  She reached out and touched the scarf on Clara’s head.  Immediately, her mother admonished her, “Clary!”

Clara glanced up at the mother to let her know it was alright then she smiled more brightly at the little girl.  “Wow!  Your name is Clary?  Mine is Clara.  It is a real pleasure to meet you.”

Clary stuck out her hand, as she’d been taught.  “Hi Miss Clara.  I like that our names are almost the same.  You’re pretty and you sparkle.”  Clary was referring to more than the sun glinting on all the beads and gold and silver Clara was wearing.  “But how do you know when the Darkness is a bad thing?”

“Well, I think you know that because your tummy tells you.  It will tell you to leave it alone.  Sometimes it will tell you to run away.  When it does, you should listen.”

“How do you know?”

The question triggered a memory of her ex-husband giving her a concussion with a very expensive bottle of wine.  The only two people who knew she was still alive were her parents, even if she could never see them.  Her father was Bruce McDonnel, America’s number one mature hottie in Hollywood.  “Once upon a time I stood still while the Darkness swirled all around me like tornado.  I saw the Light flickering in the distance and I ran toward it as fast as I could.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Clary’s mother said.

Clara rose to her full height and noted (and ignored) the husband admiring her curves.  She smiled gently at the mother.  “Thank you.  I had the spirits to help me and guide me through troubled waters.”  

Literally.  Clara had an affinity for ghosts and spirits.  She spoke to them often and they had helped her escape her marriage by stirring up the waters around her ex-husband’s beloved boat until a storm capsized them and broke the boat to pieces.  Clary had lashed herself to the sailboat’s mast and the spirits took her as far away from there as they could.  They helped her because she helped them and had developed a good relationship with the Otherworld all her life. 

Clary reached up and touched a pendant that was made of sea glass wrapped in copper wire. Her fingers stroked over then move to a vial holding a red liquid.  “Is this blood?” she asked.

“Clary!” This time it was her father that was shocked.  Nevertheless, both parents waited for the answer. 

“No.” Clara chuckled.  “It’s sap from a tree called the Dracaena cinnabari, otherwise known as the Dragon’s Blood Tree.  It has healing properties.”

Both parents visibly relaxed.  Clara unwound a leather bracelet from her wrist and looked at the parents.  “Do you mind?”  She waited as the pair looked at each other then shrugged and looked back at her before shaking their heads in unison.   Kneeling down at Clary’s level, she held up the long bracelet.  It was covered in pretty stones and little doodads, including a pentagram, a fairy and a dragon.   She tied the bracelet behind Clary’s neck. 

“I,” she said, “having been waiting for the person who owns this necklace to find me.  It is very glad to be protecting you.  Your Grammy tells me that you are a super good little girl.” The mom gasped.  “This necklace will help protect you from the Darkness but you have to do to things in order for it to be always working, do you think you can do them?”

Clary stared at the necklace in awe.  “Yes!”

“You must hang it up in your window whenever there is a full moon.  And you must always listen to your tummy when it tells you that something is bad and you have to run away.  Always listen.  The necklace will help you.”  Clara looked at Clary gravely.  “Promise me that you will do those two things.”

“I promise.” Clary’s voice was solemn.  Then she threw herself on Clara.  “Thank you!”

Clara hugged the little girl then untangled herself and stood. 

“What are you?” asked the mother, forgetting her own manners for the moment.

“A clairvoyant.  You may also call me a medium.”  She smiled that the two parents.  “Your mother says that the new child will be a handful and that it serves you right.  Then she laughed.  She wants you to know she loves all of you and she’s glad to see that you are treating the house well.”

Tears welled up in the mom’s eyes.  “Thank you, thank you so much!”

“You are welcome.”  Clara’s skin turned to ice and she glanced over her shoulder.  She saw a dark shadow heading towards her.  “I need to go now.  Have a beautiful life in the Light.  It was nice to meet you, Clary.”    She skirted around the small family and headed towards her shop, a half a block away, at a good clip.

The dark shadow bore down on her quickly and she was almost running by the time she reached her shop.  She darted in the open door and stopped.  She turned around and watched the entity bounce off the barrier of her protections.  Clara smiled.  “I will never let you get me.”  She turned away from the door.  “Never again,” she whispered.

“Clary!  I’m so glad you’re back.”  Brandy, her shop assistant, hurried over to her.  Brandy was in her forties and looked like she was stuck in the 1960s. Brandy booked appointments, handled payments and kept the storefront, which carried all things necessary for protection and divination, stocked and selling well.  “There’s a client coming back soon who is insisting on a reading.  I don’t like the looks of him.  He smells like patchouli and he squints.”  Brandy shook her head.  “I don’t think you should do it.”

“Of course I will do it.  You know we don’t turn away readings.”  Clara hugged Brandy.  “I am so glad I have you.”

Brandy relaxed into the hug but muttered to herself.  “I just don’t like it.”

Clary let go of the other woman and looked around.  “I see the big resin dragon is missing.”

“Yeah, a teenager with obviously rich parents and an obsession about dragons bought it.”  Brandy laughed.  “I mean he was obsessed! This kid knew everything there was to know about dragons and every TV show or movie they’d been in.  He almost bought the jade one too but stopped because he figured his dad would ‘have a cow’.”  She mimicked the kid’s voice and grinned when Clary chuckled.

“I’m sorry I missed it.”

“You should be!  I–” she broke off as bells rang by the front door.  “See,” she hissed. “I don’t like this guy.”  The bells were charmed to let them know when exceptional Darkness crossed the threshold.

“Shush.”  Clary turned to the newcomer.  He was dark, with thick black hair, a heavy brow and thick eyebrows that overshadowed eyes so deep and dark Clary wasn’t sure he was looking at her.  A big, hooked nose and thick lips reminded her of Eastern Europe.  She estimated that he was in his mid-fifties.  “May I help you?  My assistant says you are looking for a reading.”  All around him she could see spirits that lingered.

“Da. I want you to help with this thing that makes disaster happen around me all the time.”

“What thing would that be?”

“I don’t know!” he shouted.  Crystal rattled on the shelves and he immediately apologized.  “I just know that nothing goes right,” he said in a softer tone of voice.  “No spells, no healing, nothing I See.  It started six months ago and I have been searching the world over for the one who can help.”

Clara spread her hands, palms up, as she watched the spirits at play around him like ghosts in a Casper movie.  “I am not sure what I can do.”

“Bah. You have power. I can see.  Where is your table?”  He slapped five hundred dollars down on the counter.

“I don’t know.  I have not encountered anything like you before.”   She ducked a little as two of the spirits flew at her.

“Playing hard to get?  Okay.”  He stuffed a hand in his pocket and pulled out a thick wad of bill that made Brandy sigh in envy.  He peeled off another five hundred dollars.

“No!  That’s too much!” Shocked that he’d offer so much, Clara tried to push it back but Brandy swooped in and snatched it.

“She’ll do it.”  Brandy smiled sweetly at Clara.

Clara stepped around the counter and headed to the doorway covered by a heavy curtain.  “This way…”  She left the end of the sentence open for him to leave his name.

“Vladimir.  Thank you.”  He reached over and dragged the curtain open, held it for her.

The bells rang again at the front of the shop but she ignored it as she led the way to the small round table.  The doorway was charmed to keep anything that would harm them out.

 “Have a seat, Vladimir.” Clara gestured to the smaller chair.  She ignored the trappings she used for tourists.  There were those who needed the table thumps, ghostly noises and flickering lights, but she didn’t think Vladimir did.   And, frankly, there were days when she needed to use them because the spirits were stubbornly quit.

Obviously, this was not one of those days.  She grimaced at the spirits lazily floating around Vladimir.  They looked expectant. “What do you need today, Vladimir?”

The man pulled out the dainty, purple velour covered chair across from Clara and grimaced at it before gingerly planting his ass.  “Already said I need you to fix the problem.”

Clara sat in her own chair, one that reminded her of the chairs Buddhist Rinpoche sat in when presiding over Temple gatherings.  Brandy had insisted on it, saying that clients would expect something royal-ish.  “I’m not sure I understand the problem.”

Vladimir stared at her for a long moment and she met his eyes.  She felt as if she was being sucked in, deeper and deeper into an endless void.  She forced herself to close her eyes to cut off the feeling and gave herself three deep breaths to return to some sort of equilibrium.  She opened her eyes as Vladimir said, “I do not know why I keep having so many problems.  It is like I am being sabotaged.”

Behind him, one of the spirits appeared to giggle.  Clara resisted the urge to smile.  “Do you know that you carry spirits with you?”

Vladimir nodded.  “Da. I do.  They are family.  They help me.” 

She looked at him, met his eyes.  “Are you sure they’re helping you?”  

He looked offended but, still, maintained eye contact.  “They would not do such a thing.”

Clara felt as if she was floating.  “Is there… ah… Is there anyone who died recently who may have a grudge against you?”  There were stars in his eyes.  The blackness began to gently cradle her.  Her scalp felt as if someone was running icy fingers through her hair and she jerked herself backwards in the chair and turned her gaze to the print on her wall, let herself be soothed by the soft water lilies.  “I’m sorry, I seem to have missed your answer.”

“My wife.  She always seemed to be mad at me.”

Those icy fingers returned to Clara’s scalp and she shivered.  “Excuse me a moment.”  She moved to rise and Vladimir’s entire demeanor changed. 

“Sit. Down.”  The order was issued quietly but with such malice that fear turned her stomach contents to churning acid.  “Good girl,” he said when she lowered her behind back into the chair. 

His spirits flew at her and she opened her mouth to scream.  He merely pointed a finger at her and her voice disappeared.  The spirits bound her to the chair.  She tried to scream again and again.   The talismans that rose up at her distress and obvious danger quieted themselves and with a slash of his hand he undid all her warning systems and protections. 

Clara whimpered as they all broke.  She could feel each one disintegrate, if felt like someone pulling a hair out by the roots.  The largest felt like a kick to the gut.  Tears began to stream from her eyes and she tried to scream again.  She watched as he moved to the door and wove a complicated spell in a language she could not understand, using gestures she recognized as very old and very old world. 

He returned to the table and sat down again.  “There now, my dear, you can make all the noise you wish and no one will hear you.” He gave a small nod in her direction and all her silent screaming became audible. 

The high pitched sound bounced around the room and she could see the spirits that weren’t holding her trying to get into the energy stream of her fear.  She stopped screaming when her throat began to feel like glass shards rubbing together.  “What… What do you want with me?”

“My beloved Mama died many years ago and since then she and I have searched all over the world for someone powerful enough to host her essence.  Someone who would not fail to support her and all her power.  Someone whose power could compliment and add to her own.”  He leaned forward, folded his hands on the table and smiled at her.

With his deep set, inscrutable black eyes and shiny white teeth, Clara was reminded of a shark.  She shook her head violently.  “No. No no.  I am of the Light.”  She started talking fast. “I am too Light, too bright to take in a dark one.”

Now, he looked offended.  The icy hands that hand been holding her began to pinch and slap.  “My Mama is not dark.”  He leaned back and smiled again as the dark presence that had followed Clara all her teen and adult life came into the room and hovered behind him.  It slowly formed into the black and white shape a woman in her late thirties.  She stroked his hair and smiled at Clara before leaning down to whisper in his ear.   “She tells me that she found you when you hit puberty.  The flash of light was so bright she could see you half a world away.  She came to investigate and found you.”

The spectre of his mother moved through the table to stand in front of Clara.  She reached out to stroke Clara’s face and she jerked her head back so hard she swore she gave herself whiplash.  “Don’t touch me!”  As the hand kept reaching for her, Clara said it again. “No!  Don’t touch me!”  The hand slid down her cheek and she moaned.  “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.”

“You were perfect, she said.  You would grow up into a beautiful woman.  We continued to search, just in case something happened to you, but she was right.  You are perfect.”  Vladimir got up and moved around the table.  He pulled her to her feet.  The spirits restraining her wrapped themselves around her and encased her in ice when she tried to slap him. 

He held her in place with a hand tightly knotted in her hair at the base of her skull.  With his free hand he caressed her face, traced her lower lip with his thumb.  When she tried to bite him he slapped her.  Her head whipped to the side and she cried out as both her face and her scalp burned with the pulled.

“Ahh… I am sorry, Mama, of course you are right. I should not damage your vessel.”  He leaned down to press a kiss to Clara’s sore cheek and she screamed again, hurting his ear.  Vladimir wrapped his hand around her throat and squeezed.  “Scream again and I will silence you again.”

Clara shut her mouth and merely whimpered as his hand traveled down her body.  He tore the gauzy blouse from her then cupped her breast in his hand and feel the weight of it.  He brushed the nipple with his thumb and watched it spring to life.  “So beautiful, such perfect skin. Look, Mama, how responsive the body is.”

He bunched her skirt at her hip and pulled it up.  “Hold her,” he commanded the spirits.  Once they had her held up without his help, he released his own hold on her and knelt before her.  He slid both hands up her legs from her ankles to her hips.  “Such soft, beautiful skin.”  His fingers slid along those most private folds and he looked up at her in surprise.  “She is aroused, Mama.” 

Vladimir tipped his head, obviously listening.  “Ah, that is why.  It has been too long since you felt a man’s touch, has it.  We can fix that.”

“No!” Clara spat the word at him furiously as he pulled his belt open.

“Yes.  I, too, have been too long without a woman.”  He removed his shirt to reveal a well-muscled torso sprinkled with dark hair.  He draped it over her chair and removed his pants and undergarments.  He returned to stand before her and stroked his already half hard shaft.  He was impressively large.

“No! I will not allow this!” She began a desperate, made up on the spot, chant to remove the spirits and one reached in to press her tongue down.  She struggled violently, gagging on the fingers.

“To her knees.  If she wants to use her mouth, let her.”  He watched as they brought her down.  “If you bite me, solnishko, I will break your jaw.”  The spirits forced her mouth open and he slid over her tongue.  He looked down at her.  “Worship it.”

His mother’s spirit moved behind her and grabbed her by the head, forcing her to move.  She moved Clara’s head back to the tip and down all the way to the base, ignoring the way Clara gagged and fought.   This went on for several long minutes, until Clara was doing it on her own, just to get it over with.

Vladimir groaned.  “See, it is much better when you co-operate.”   He pulled away from her.  “Put her over the table.  Spread her legs.”  Soon Clara was bent face down over the table with her legs wide open.   He gazed at her. “You are so pretty.  Mama was right, you are perfect,” he repeated.

His Mama knelt below the table and spread Clara’s most intimate lips apart and pinched her clit.  Clara screamed at the icy fingers and the electric jolt.  “No!  Let me go, please!” She squirmed violently but the spirits held her fast at the wrists and ankles. 

“We have established that it isn’t going to happen.”  He knelt behind her and studied her more closely.  “But I must taste you.  You will enjoy it, I promise you.”

And to Clara’s utter dismay and humiliation, she did.  She came twice, screaming both times, as his hot tongue laved her inside and out and his mother’s icy one sucked on her clit. 

“Now, to business.”  Vladimir rose, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.  He placed a large hand on her lower back and another on himself.  He placed himself at the entrance to her core.  “Scream for me, my pretty.” 

He sheathed himself within her in one stroke and as she screamed her pain and fury his mother’s spirit entered her through her open mouth. 

As he continued his assault on her body a war waged in her mind.  It didn’t take long until Clara found herself in a glass box in her mind.

I think I will allow myself to hear you for a little while, young one. You may amuse me yet.

Get out of my head, you bitch!

Now, Clara, it is only proper to be polite. My name is Valentina.  You may call me that, or Ma’am, but if you call me anything else you will pay, like so.  Clara screamed as her entire self turned into nothing but electric, burning pain.  It cut off as suddenly as it started.  Do we understand one another?

Yes… Valentina.

Good girl.  You may watch. 

Vladimir moaned in pleasure as Clara’s body suddenly began to push back against him.  “Ah Mama, there you are.”

The spirits released Clara’s body and rejoiced as mother and son were reunited in the body of a young American woman.  Inside Valentina’s new mind, the conquered spirit sobbed wretchedly, almost totally broken.

A little while later, Vladimir and Valentina left the small room.  Brandy smiled as the came into the storefront.  “That was a long session!  I hope it was successful.”

Valentina smiled at Brandy with Clara’s mouth.  “It was, very successful.”

Boo-yah!

chemical-genie-in-th-14-hp-120

Genie in a bottle

This morning I finally finished the A-Z weapons list! 

Partway through, I realized that ‘duh, I’m writing horror and not all weapons should be WEAPONS.  Some of them should be accidental or incidental and definitely paranormal.  

So some of the weapons are coming about because people get thrown back in history; or the story has inspired by things like Night at the Museum.  (Inspired? my Muse says.  HA! Like ripped it off.)  Alright, alright, so Earnest and the Elephant Goad are a NatM rip off but believe me, he’s going to deserve it.  

It was Desmond that amused me the most.  I first thought that the man would be decimated by desert vipers (snakes, yes).  And then this morning I was in the shower, drying off with one foot on the edge of the tub, the other still in the draining water when my brain yelled, “DJINN! Desmond can be killed by a wish gone wrong!”   

Sure, it’s probably been done before.  Wishes go wrong all the time.  The trick is to make it as original as possible AND as creepy, scary and intense as possible.  

You know me.   No problem.  

I hope.

Here’s the list.  Some have notes on stories ideas.  Some don’t; they’re simply things I liked when I ran across them, (like Zillian’s zumbooruck.  There’s an idea percolating but I’ll be damned if I know what it is yet).

Amy who was felled by an arrow shot from an Arbalest

Basil who was poisoned by a dart from a Blowgun  (a scientist-soldier-writer in the South American jungle, arrogant but witless, )

Clara who was cleaved by a Cinquedea

Desmond A Djinn discovered on a dig/during research – 40 Thieves story.  Other fairy tales and such were proving to be true

Earnest gutted by an Elephant Goad he works in a museum and it came to life (one section, a la Night at the Museum but darker)

Fanny flagellated by a Flail  (at a Renaissance fair or one of those revival dinners, display armour comes to life when she touches it) 

George who is surprised to be run through by a Glaive

Hector who is horrified to be held prisoner on a Hellburner

Ida who was beheaded by an Igorot Headhunting Axe  (Ida will be studying the the Austronesian collective of mountain dwelling peoples in the mountains of Luzon.  Forced to participate in a dance, ends up being hunted through the forest)

James  who was killed ignominiously by a Jagdpanzer  (showboating while supposing to be on look out on the front and falls off?)                       

Kate killed by a dart slung from a kestros

Leo levelled by a Lundri Chenm patag  (Not sure I like this, frankly, although I do like the weapon.  I’m fond of blades.)

Maud who died while disposing of munitions for the FBI

Neville who was tortured by nanobots.    Messed with auditory nerve to play the carousel song… a few seconds here and there at first, longer bursts more often, until finally it’s all the time.  Goes mad

Olive offed by Orange Glazed DrumChuks and an Onager  (the DrumChuks are a weapon from an MMPRPG)

Prue the pilot gunned down by POPRAD Polish self-propelled anti-aircraft missile launcher firing Grom missles

Quentin with a quarterstaff

Rhonda who became Rhadamanthus by accident  (A Greek mythos character and judge of the dead)

Susan whose demon summoning skills were not up to par

Titus totalled by a toad (poisonous ones, of course)

Una  uraemia complications

Victor whose vulcanization went wrong (Supernatural creature)  {Vulcanization:  a chemical process for converting natural rubber or related polymers into more durable materials via the addition of sulfur or other equivalent curatives or accelerators.)

Winnie who was shredded by Wind and Fire Wheels

Xerxes dies accidentally due to xenophobia inspired issues  (wakes up in another country with nothing but a note informing him of the reasons)

Yorick  messes with ytterbite

Zillian zumbooruck (a camel calvary)

I know that some of these things are on the obscure side.  And there are a few I’m not totally in love with (like Una’s uraemia complications, but I might know a way to make that work.  Maybe.) but over all, I like the list.  I’ll tweak it as I plot it.  My two page document is about to become a twenty-six page document as I give each list it’s own page. 

I am having some major fun with this.  

Speaking of fun…  Have you ever seen Lip Sync Battles on Spike?  If you haven’t, you should.  Yesterday, I watched a dozen or so clips on Youtube yesterday.  I was having fun.  I don’t have enough fun.  I was singing (off key) and lip syncing and dancing.  It was great.

So, because it’s Monday, I’m going to leave you with a couple of my favourite clips – the episode with Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum.  

Have a fantastic rest of your day.

Muah!