BreakEven (1# BreakEven Saga) short story

So sorry it has been so long since I’ve posted something, it has been a pretty busy month what with the holidays and I know, I know it’s no excuse plenty of people still found the time to post multiple items per yet I couldn’t even produce one! Very lazy of me, yes? Well too bad! Some people are better at managing their time than others… so there. No but really I apologize so in turn I have come up with a story that just thrashed its way into my imagination and I hope you all enjoy and will kindly leave some sort of remark on something that you like or if it lacked something. This would really help me because I can’t really judge for myself whether it’s good or bad. So, it would really mean a lot to me.

Synopsis

This story was inspired by an awesome song called “Breakeven” by The Script. Summary: A man will do anything to keep his love happy, satisfied, pleased. Promises are kept- held fastly to his breast, but is there such thing as obsession? Is there such a thing called “Too Much Love”? Dam finds himself struggling with the reality of his once beloved Anya\’s moving on, romantically, to another man, named Stan… He wants- even feels it as a need- to have her back, and goes through torturous memories only to be swayed by his friend- a man who may indeed have a questionable past himself- who suggest the only solution to a fair break. Murder.

Spinning… twirling, skins touching, laughs breaking through massive ranges of natural silence forced in to a wheat field in the middle of spring time.

Dancing waist, clasping fingers, locking lips, and desperate hands play across bare flesh exposed not so accidently than you might think; and we laugh heartily, at nothing at all.

Lustful stares, and daring kisses hissed into one another’s ear.

“We’re alone, Dam.”  she says; so soothingly- she pulls me close.

A smile in to her ear with a breath of nothing but lust in the mist.

“Are you daring me, Anya Deaucate?” I countered with my own dare.

And the sweetest of  giggles splay from her cherry kissed lips as she holds me closer in her warm, smooth embrace that one man could only dream of in sin and never mind the comeuppance he would later receive for it.

“If it were, would you play?” she drew me with a growl.

Oh, she was a daring one, Anya was. She dared my heart on several occasions, sometimes with trinkets, sometimes with sex, but she never dared to leave me. She loved me.

Past tense was never my favorite.

It is a vile attempt to rekindle a past that was never meant to play any part in your future. The past is full of pains and mistakes that forever bombard your imagination and conscience. Forever… and forever is a long time, for I remember events like these daily- hourly at the most, and it gives me a headache in more than one form, mind you.

But she was my one, that laugh- the one I miss so dearly it hurts my heart to even think of it, and I think of it every day- that laugh that played thievery in my ear and those hands that had done me pleasure with just a caress upon my cheek, and a kiss on my lips.

I love her.

Present tense; and that will never change, mind you. She is my addiction; my forever mi amore.

So, I will ask you one question: If this woman broke your heart, left you for another man, and never so much as turned around and said she was sorry- said that she sympathized with you; that she felt the same way as you, but it would never work and it pained her to say so; if this woman stood by with a smile on her face and held another man close to her side- let him kiss her!- with his filthy, crusty, sap sucking lips; wouldn’t you kill him too?

With an angel’s laugh playing and replaying in your conscience… as you watched the only love you’ll ever know let her body close to another’s in love’s embrace; she is happy-  and that, in itself, should have been enough, no?- she is happy with this man, and she feels nothing for you. And it is your fault.

Who do you blame?

Do you blame a God you never believed in?

A man you have never met whom takes greedy pleasures in running his hands all over your love?

Allah, then of course, no?

Who is to blame!

The rosy cheeked dame, whose long silver hair and eyes the color of a bleeding Violet, mocked you in your dreams every single night?

“Dam,” she whispered me as she lie in my arms; her skin touching mine- this being no accident- and her hair lay as a blanket upon us, tickling my chest and face, “if I ever left you, would you come after me?”

“Yes, I would.” And then, “why do you ask me this?” my heart fluttered at the very mention of her even hinting at wanting to leave me.

“Hypothetical reasons, nothing more.” She utters, “I would never leave you, you know that.”

And I believed her.

“And I would never let you go.” I said to her.

She never knew how true that statement would be.

Is it love? Or a Disaster in disguise?

“I never said I was cheating on you, Dam.” She explained. At this point she had been talking, and talking; no action of course, just that blasted talking! “I never, ever cheated on you…”

“…until recently.” I finished for her.

“But until then I had never done it!” she impressed.

She sat across from me in a diner we found ourselves going to for “important talks” every… single time. I loathed this diner, very much so that I now hate it to this day. Her body was awkwardly adorned in what is called a “Boyfriend shirt”, which is ironic now particularly because I had no idea who her boyfriend was or if she even had one and why she would possibly want to wear one during a break up session was beyong even my comprehension. Her eyes were raised above her cheek bones by bags, which indicated either a sleepless night due to our break up… or other, rather, productive occupations. Her hair blonde- silver hair was tied into a messy bun and she didn’t bother to raise the glasses that sat low on the bridge of her nose.

I leaned over, suddenly to her, and pushed them gently upward for her. She was taken aback only for a moment before the glasses slid back down at the same time she suited herself, as if indicating that she was now calmed down to her normal state just by the sliding of her glasses.

“You’re obviously leaving me,” I stated plainly, “why should it matter whether you cheated on me now or then?”

She scowled lightly at me: “Don’t be so sour, Dam.” And yanked her gaze away from mine, which was evenly placed on her, impenetrably.

“Sour is for grumpy old men who’ve stubbed their gout toe against the coffee table.” I countered. “ No, I’m pissed…and…horrified. Who is this guy?”

She sat back in her glossy red booth and folded her arms defiantly over her chest; the chest that rose and fell with ever intake sweet oxygen.

“What’s it to you?” she countered back.

I raised my hands in surrender: “No. Forget him. What happened to us?” I gestured between she and I.

Her arms slowly unfolded and her countenance shifted from that of someone who was angry to someone who felt nothing.

“We grew apart-“

“You… grew apart. From me.” I corrected.

“I don’t have time for this,” she began to stand and so did I, “I have to go meet Stan-“

“Stan is it?” I returned quickly, “Couldn’t find a guy with a spicier name?”

She gauffed: “What, like Dam?”

I winked at her.

She gasped a laugh and shook her head.

“You…” she wagged her finger at me, “you are- “

“Not letting you go.” I finished for her.

Her finger dropped as did her expression and she hoisted up a rather large pocketbook that looked as if it weighed half a ton.

“-impossible.” She turned to leave but I took her hand in mine. She looked at it as if it were covered with germs and spittle.

“I can’t let you go.” I told her again.

She stopped glaring at our hands and held my gaze with a neutral look.

“You don’t have a choice.”

“And what if I did?”

She was taken aback by my response.

“What if I didn’t want you to throw away four years of magic? Four years of this miraculous thing we have together.”

She took her hand out of mine and began stepping backwards toward the door.

She shook her head: “Had, Dam.” And she turned away and toward the door; opening it swiftly before exiting without even a good bye.

One month later… And a hernia

“Dam!-Jesus will you- no don’t throw that!”

But of course it was too late, I had already thrown his “Velvet Rope” album out the window.

“Bastard! You could have at least thrown it on the bed.” He scratched his head. “She still not talking to you.”

“Argh!” A chair went out the window subsequently.

“I take that as a no.”

I turned to him, my face was dripping with salty sweat from my… eh… heated activity.

“She won’t even text me.” I told him. “Or Poke me on Facebook for that matter!”

He squinted at me: “Dude, nobody Pokes anymore.”

I was pacing and even that had been stopped by the then and very sudden and blasphemous words that had escaped his mouth.

“Really?”

“Really.”

I wiped the sweat from my forehead and lip and dropped myself on Cray’s bed. This young fellow  has beenby my side since even before Anya so that i now consider him my best friend. He is twenty-three years old and still lives with his mother which, in term, has left him alone without any such handsom suiters coming and going at all hours of the night such likes your modern bachelor. But, he is a good fellow- trustworthy, and kind; he has done very much for me, which is why i knew he would forgive me for throwing his items out the window.

“Dam, I may- may not be in, you know, the right position to say this, but you need to get layed-“

“No!” I shouted before he could finish his sentence.

Cray shrugged his bulky shoulders: “It was an option.” I glared at him, “I was obviously kidding.” he added.

I gaped out a sarcastic laugh and searched his room for some other pointless artifice of his I could throw out the window.

“H-hey stop that!” Cray demanded, “You are not throwing anything else out the window.”

And I started to cry, which is when Cray threw his hands in the air.

“Dam, I think she really is ready to move on. You can’t force her to take you back, it won’t work. Stop trying.”

I shook my head: “No, no I can’t do that… I told her I would never let her go.”

He clapped a burly hand on my shoulder : “I think it’s about time you have…”

I continued to shake my head.

“Cray, you know what this feels like.” I quietly stated, knowing that there was nothing but plain truth in my words.

He released my shoulder and dropped himself down heavily on the bed next to me.

“Yes.” Was all he said.

“So don’t stop me.”

He looked at me, but said nothing. His grey eyes had gone dim and his body seemed smaller than its usual largeness. He was thinking about Raven; a girl who long ago had broken his heart to be with her best friend, who was a girl. Pity, she was adorably subtle and charismatic when the need arose, quite the toy as well, at least that was what Cray had told me.

I yanked out my phone while Cray tortured himself with reveries and dialed Anya’s number.

It rang: one, two, three, four- an answer!

“What, Dam?” she said tiredly, there was a lot of indifference in her tone, as well as malice.

“H-how are you?”

“You don’t really want to know that do you?”

She was right, I could care less. What I really wanted to know was where Stan was and if he was at a small enough size for me to throw him out Cray’s window without throwing my back out.

“I-I do, really.”

“You’re lying, Dam.”

“How would you know that!”

Silence.

Then a sigh.

“You stutter when you lie.”

I could feel my cheeks heat up.

“Have I always done that?”

“Yes.”

“And you’re just now telling me this why?”

I could hear her shrugging her smooth shoulders.

“Didn’t seem relevant at the time.” She said.

“Right. Anyway, where are you?”

“Uh… if I tell you that-“

“Never mind.”

“You don’t even-“

“Yeah I do.”

“Then why did you ask-“

“Because I am really bored and tortured and I wanted to hear your voice.” I told her quickly, “I miss you, Anya.”

Silence again.

I could feel the tension on her; hear it through the slightly bothered signal.

“Dam.”

“Yes?”

“Stop calling me,” she said, “it annoys Stan.”

I mimicked the name Stan silently with what had to have been a very dramatically over produced facial expression.

“I don’t care about Stan.” I quietly told her.

“What?”

The line started crackling.

“I-I don’t care about Stan!” I practically yelled.

“I can’t hear you your phone is breaking up.” she nearly shouted into the receiver

I exhaled heavily.

“Stan can kiss my ass!” I bellowed before hanging up. “Goddamn cell phone service!” I hissed as I threw my cell down on Cray’s bed.

Cray looked from me to the cellphone to me again.

“Okay, now how come you didn’t throw that out the window?”

Two months later… And absolute insanities commence

Psychology could tell you that any man in love would do anything for his beloved. This is not an overstatement, an hyperbole, or an exaggeration.

I would have killed for Anya, and served that lifetime in prison if it meant seeing her every day; feeling her skin on my cheek, my back, my neck- my arm. Her lips…

Her Violet eyes on mine alone, a gaze that was only meant for my own.

“Dam, I- I can’t believe you did this, for me.” She is mesmerized by the garden house I had built for her myself in her small but comfy backyard. “This is so beautiful- but it must have cost you a fortune.”

I smile at her and shake my head, taking her hand- her softly slightly jittering hand- in mine; leading her slowly into a greenhouse filled with Rhododendrons, Lilies, Oleander, Birds Of Paradise, Tulips. Yet there was not a Rose in sight.

“No Roses?” she asked me curiously.

“Why? Such an odd question coming from the Rose herself.” I return her.

And she smiles at me, with red lips and bright eyes. She grasps my hand more tightly; with love- nothing but love traveling through her fingertips to mine, and into my heart, forever warming it as it beats.

Now… Now I walk along these streets alone, watching couples ogling at one another, and do they truly love each other? Would they stay?

A lovely Brunette strolls by me; she is alone as well, and she seems so busy with herself- chattering on her little cellphone- swaying her hips as if she dares the first young fellow that spots her to come to her; come speak to the pretty dame mocking you this very instant.

Then she does something I had not expected. She turned around once- oh!-she double takes and her eye catches mine. She was, truthfully, very pretty, yet I could not have cared less. She smiled a neutral smile at me, seeing my gaze on her just the same- only in different degrees of course- and she turns back, reluctantly, and continues on her mysterious journey down the noisy sidewalk by the busy streets.

I assure you if a heavenly light had shone upon her I would have missed it. Not even God’s most Angelic broad could distract me from the one I truly wanted. Truly loved, and needed.

Suddenly a shoulder crashes against mine from behind.

“I’m sorry.” The silvery blonde muttered to me.

A man following behind her like a dog turns around to me with his hands in the air gesturing something that I suppose was supposed to have been some bodily apology.

“Sorry, man, she’s rather in a hurry.” He smiles kindly.

And I know right away who this dismal walking disaster is.

“Anya.” I said in a low, rather pitifully cloaked hurt tone.

She heard me, surprisingly, and turned around. Hanging up her phone without so much as a TTYL to her recipient.

“Dam…” I saw her lips form. Then she did something I had not expected. She smiled. “Dam! This is Stan!”

She tossed her phone into that giant bulk of fabric she calls a purse and leans almost all of her weight on to Stan’s skinny little arm.

“Wow! It’s been awhile.” She said excitedly. I looked about her to see if there was some subtle hint of satire in her tone. There was not.

I shrugged.

“Yeah… well, you told me never to call you again.” I reminded her halfheartedly.

Her smile only faltered a hint before she caught and held it, fiercely.

“Wait,” Stan finally breaks in, uninvited, mind you, “you’re Dam? The Dam?” he did a quick swipe of palm against his trousers before presenting it to me for a handshake.

But why would I take his hand?

“Yes,” I told him slowly, ignoring his outstretched hand, “I am

The Dam as you put it.”

He cleverly took his hand back and ran his fingers through his hair with the hand that would have graced the presence of my right hand: “Right,” he said, “I’ve heard so much about you.”

My eyebrows rose automatically to this: “Really now?” I wondered, “What has she told you?”

“Oh- well, she-“

“Dam, what brings you out on this fine day?” The way was particularly cloaked with dark gray clouds and a sprinkling atmosphere, just so you know.

“A walk,” I blatantly told her. I very much wanted to hold her hand, though. And I wanted to tell her this. I wanted to shove Stan away from her and kick him into the streets. “never can get too much exorcise.”

She nodded, indifferently, but with that ingenuous smile still plastered on her face: “Right, yes. Never enough…” she looked off into a random direction. She was uncomfortable. And that, somehow, made me a little more comfortable. “Stan, darling, tell him the news.” She suddenly broke a much more genuine smile. One that I remember dearly. One that at more than one occasion was focused on me, followed by her body hugging my arm, like she was doing now… with Stan.

“What news?” I dumbly asked.

“Ah!- yes! The news.” He looked at her uncertainly. Then, with a subtle nod of her head he straightened into a surer position. “Yes, Anya and I are to be married!”

Somehow I managed to choke off of nothing: “Really!” I bellowed, “Fantastic!”

And seeing as how I was choking I couldn’t bring myself to say another word. So, I did what any sane man in his mid twenties would do; I turned around and ran.

And quite impressively quick, if I might add.

*

I cannot remember how I got to this place, only that I was with my mother’s friend, Vain- I think his name was- though I can’t see how I could forget him, after all, he will later play a large role in this story.

I had run for some time after hearing such “fantastic news”. I know I was out of breath, and…crying- sobbing for use of a better word. No one loves a sugar-coater.

“Dam, my boy! What brings you here-“ Vain, oh  Vain, he is a sweet old man, of, possibly, sixty-two, and I’ve gone to him on more than one occasion to ask this well-seasoned man for romantic advise. He had never failed me. Which leads me, now, to believe that he was the one who our love together; like glue holding the Ming vase together. Vain now sees a bothered young man sobbing his eyes out in what is now a dreadfully wet evening. He quickly glanced about the grounds around his warehouse and tucked me under his wing into a dryer yet even darker interior.

There are no lights on in this room, I see nothing- hear nothing except my own ragged breaths and his calm one. I can feel the thick layers of dust floating about the room kiss my skin, my face and arms, as he leads me through a black maze.

“Dam,” I heard him say in the dark, “what has happened to you?”

I sniffle like a fool in answer to him.

“It is not Anya?” he wonders aloud.

Suddenly a single light comes on and I see an old square table that I could describe as being used for various card games or tentative discussion.

He sat me down gently in a rickety chair and sat himself down across the table from me in a similar one.

“Speak to me, Dam.”

But I couldn’t. My head was spinning and my stomach felt…. Indescribable: my stomach fluttered with violent butterflies; my head obscured my vision with dizziness and nausea; it was… hot, claustrophobically hot; I was sweating nearly uncontrollably.

I shook my head.

Vain leaned back into his chair, rubbing the thin stubble of graying beard on his chin.

“She left you.”

I scoffed soundly: “Well obviously!”

He raised his hand to calm me.

“Speak to me,” he slowly uttered, “don’t punish me.”

I fingered my hair, nearly pulling it clean out of the roots on my scalp, and I rocked- slightly on the chair; hearing it scringe, scringe, scringe.

“I didn’t think it would be this hard…” I said, “I didn’t think it would hurt this much.”

He watched me distantly with knowing eyes- eyes that burned with something I had never seen before. I had known Vain to be a calm, peaceful man. My mother had met him at one of her AAI meetings, twenty years ago. While she, herself, is only forty now; this old man had played quite a game over her eyes, she could not part with him since.

“Vain?” his foot was tapping rapidly on the dusty stone floors.

Then a sudden focus came into his eye; the fire extinguished.

He let out an exhausted sigh and flung his hairy, mass-tamed arms into the air.

“It is supposed to hurt, Dam,” he said, and then, with more sorrow in his voice I know he never meant to reflect me, “it always hurts…it never goes away.”

We sat silently across from one another in two rickety chairs in front of an old poker table. I heard his foot, the Tap, Tap, Tapping of an honest man’s nervous foot as he played with his oddly shrill fingers.

“She was not supposed to find him, Vain.” I suddenly said, “I can’t be the only one left to suffer.”

His gaze snapped back to me: “Who says she is not suffering?”

“Have you seen her Facebook?” I practically shouted.

Vain only sat there, looking confused, and amused.

He smiled: “Facebook is where storytellers bread with their imaginations, Dam,” he quietly said.

I ran my fingers, once again, through my now damp, dark locks, and let my foot force my chair back on to its two back legs.

“The point is,” I explained slowly, “that she is happy, with him… in her arms!” I dropped my feet and slapped my hands on the table; feeling the prickling sting of the impact from the wooden surface against my palm and fingertips.

Vain sat still across from me; his soundless foot no longer tapping, and yet a smile continued to play across his face.

“Then, my friend, you break your heart in two,” he said, “and give her half- give her half of your broken heart. And you will be even.”

My gaze rose to his after first examining my burning, red palms: “And how,” I defiantly asked him, “do you suppose I do that, Vain?”

He looked at me as I had asked the dumbest of questions.

“Break her heat-“ he stood, “-kill Jamberee.”

“Hi-his name is, Stan, Vain.” I corrected him.

“Whatever!”

I dropped myself into the chair shoved slightly further behind me than before, and stared into nothingness; not believing what Vain had just suggested.

“And I can’t do that?” I told him after some time of impenetrable silence, “Wo-would you do it.”

He looked at me sternly, unwaveringly: “I have done it,” he said, “but do I regret it?” he gradually lowered himself back into his chair, obviously removed from his sudden spur- of- the-moment hype, “I don’t.”

We watched each other intently; playing lost reveries for one another in each other’s eyes.

Vain had never told me of his own past loves, and I wondered if this was reason why.

My mother’s best friend was a murderer.

He cleared his throat: “Dam, have you… ever wondered why I hardly- if ever- see your mother?”

I shook my head.

He nodded curtly: “Good.” He stood again, “lead the way, Dam.” He gestured at the door.

“I-I can’t do it, Vain.” Though, I knew I was lying to myself. I could kill Stan, I wanted to kill Stan. Stan took everything from me. Stan… was Stan.

“You’re lying to me.” He stated.

I sighed exasperatedly: “I know, I know. It’s the stuttering.”

“Not likely, the lie is in your eyes.”

I stood with him: “If I do this,” I reluctantly asked him, “will she take me back?”

He smiled a pitying smile: “if a woman killed your love in the hopes of your falling back into love with her,” he said, “would you take her back?”

I yanked my gaze away from his.

Why did he want me to do this?- you must want to know.

Because: a heart breaks evenly, one cannot feel pain without the other feeling it too.

But could I risk her never speaking to me again, just so she would feel the same pain I felt?

No, no I have to admit I could not. Not now, anyways. But then, I would have done anything to make her suffer like I had suffered; to make her feel those violent butterflies every time she saw me like I did for her.

Stan was in the way; Stan was my barrier; Stan kept her from me.

Stan needed to go.

“What do I get out of this?” I whispered to the dusty air around me.

“Satisfaction.” He simply answered.

But would it satisfy me?

For The Love Of Lycanthrope

This is just a little story I had fun writing… So grammar and typos weren’t exactly on the top of my list but it still made me laugh while writing it and I hope  it will make you guys laugh a little ( slight giggle?)

Summary:

 Two brothers born into the world as humans only to be changed into werewolves by a man named Banks to take refuge in a large manor with other changed characters. In the eyes of other’s these two brothers would be seen as Light and Dark, Completely different with different priorities. Dante is in love with his wolf side and attempts to find a way to stick it, permanently. Whereas Jace is in love with a human girl named Annalisa and desires human form more than ever and has even found a witch doctor to remove his wolfism, permanently, of course. Dante does not agree with Jace’s choice in priorities, and attempts to persuade him to stay a werewolf. By any means necessary.

Dante

There is nothing like the forest under your paws; the leaves breaking under your weight, the wind silencing the noisy breach of the broken leaf for your stealth.

As you hunt, you feel invisible, invincible, deadly and kingly like an Alpha should. No one can take this away from you without a fight. No one would dare try to steal my rightful position.

Except Banks, of course, he made me, he’s the Omega.

Banks- my father gave me the opportunity to take this rank from his right hand. Betrayal, maybe? I wouldn’t call it that. I would just call it- “Giving to me what was meant to be mine”- nothing wrong with that.

That is why I understand completely why he didn’t give it to Jace; that would have been the death of the pack. He was too weak- feeble minded. He was too…human.

And naïve if not foolish.

He shames the pack, in my own personal opinion of course. I would never share this opinion with Banks, that wouldn’t exactly end in my favor. Not that Banks would kill me, he just loves his little Jace, like his own flesh and blood. The blood part is actually an accurate analysis describing our relation. Neither of us were made the way pups are usually made. We mate but we are sterile. Banks found Jace and me. The way it works here: you either bite or your transfer blood…wolf blood-into the human’s veins. They are both dangerous and I myself would probably never try it on a premature infant like myself, at the time. I wouldn’t have changed Jace at all, though.

He was a mistake in my eyes, or- out of sheer pity- some hopeless kid left behind by uncaring parents.

Jace should have stayed behind.

Jace

God, I never want this to end.

I never want to leave this moment.

I don’t want to change…

I want to stay here, with her.

Those eyes… her eyes… are like magnets, they just keep drawing me deeper in to those shocking blue eyes.

Her soft hands caressed my cheek, her eyes unfaltering.

“I love you, Jace, but I can’t keep waiting for you like this,” she said to me, “I can’t keep wondering and wondering where you go for weeks-sometimes months without even saying goodbye. Jace. Jace?-listen, I’m not breaking up with you, I’m just letting you know that this needs to stop. I can’t handle it.”

She’s talking about my leaving, after I shift.

Something I cannot control.

Something I hate.

I never wanted it and I wonder why Banks even bothered to change me. I would’ve been happier with two legs for the rest of my life.

I refuse to let the tears well up in my eyes, as I prepare to lie to her again.

I can’t keep doing this either…

“I know… and I’m sorry.” I said, “I..it’s complicated.”

Just forcing the words from my mouth was a challenge, lying to her was like slowly drawing a blade up my forearm creating a large gash.

I needed to be cured.

Was that even possible?

Annalisa sits across from me in the booth of our favorite diner, Tate. Yes that’s actually the name of the diner; Tate.

Her hand was still on my cheek when I answered her but her eyes were filled with disappointment. She wouldn’t understand if I told her the truth. Would she?

I don’t want to take the chance and find out.

I just needed time to find a cure for this…this thing. I just don’t want this, I never did and I never will.

I just want her.

Dante

This is a bad day for me.

I’m human, for one. And Jace is nowhere to be found.

“Banks!” I called.

Nothing.

Was I the first one to shift?

Did anybody live in this house anymore?

“God! now I have to do the laundry.” I groaned

“Oh! No you don’t!” yelled a familiar yet irritating feminine voice. “You are not touching my underwear, ever again. Don’t think I don’t remember the last time I caught you with them.”

Milan.

Okay, this is not what it sounds like. I was merely glancing at the fantastic lace work and intricate seams.

“That… was an accident.” I said with what little dignity I now had left.

“Yeah-sure-whatever just don’t touch my clothes again,” she said, “I’ll do my own laundry.”

“Fine by me.” evil bitch.

She glared at me as if she read my mind.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if she had.

“Oh, by the way, where is Jace?” I asked evil bitch.

“He went out with Annalisa.” she said nonchalantly, which pisses me off, actually, because that girl is the worst in my book… too clingy.

I sighed and pushed my fingers through my slightly matted blonde hair.

“Thanks” I muttered.

“Yeah.”

I went outside and kicked over a trashcan.

“Whoa whoa, sup with you, man?” said Tyse. He was made about a year after Jace and me. And I felt that he deserved it way more than Jace did.

“Jace.”

“What is it now?” he asked with false exasperation.

I smiled a bit at the joke.

“He’s out with her again.”

Now it was his turn to go dark. He hated the relationship more than I did now.

“Dammit! I thought you took care of that.”

“I’ve been busy.” I said.

“With?”

I smiled again.

“I found something big. That’s all I’m saying.” I chuckled.

“Nah nah that ain’t right. You got to tell me something.” He had a point, though the point was mute to me at the time. I just needed the details to stay close to home.

“I’m looking for a way to stop the shifting… in wolf form.”

His face was blanker than a sheet of paper.

“You want to stick the wolf…”

I nodded slowly, a grin creeping wide onto my face.

“That’s crazy-impossible actually. How exactly were you planning on doing this?

“That… I cannot tell you.”

“Because you don’t know-”

“I know enough to- wait… he’s here.”

We both turn around to see Jace skulking up the drive. His posture said pitiful; his expression said hopeless.

“Have another fight?” I chuckled lightly.

He grimaced and shook his head.

“I just want her…to understand.” he said quietly.

Now my face went blank.

“You’re not telling her.” said Tyse.

“I don’t think I’ll have to.”

“What are you talking about?” I said.

“I found… a witch doctor not too far from here. She thinks she can help me out of this…this thing.”

Tyse and I both bristled.

“That thing was given to you… in all intense and purposes, he didn’t have to give it to you. You were made for this pack and the members of this pack are grateful for what they were given.”

“I never asked for this and you know it, Dante.” he said, he was shaking, not out of fear like I would have expected, but out of anger. Bravo, Jacey.

“It doesn’t matter if you asked for it, Jace, you wouldn’t be here if he didn’t do it.”

He pinched up his face and shoved passed Tyse and me into the house, and slammed the door.

“It’s the bitch.” I growled.

“Obviously.”

“Kill her?”

“What?”

“Just a thought…”

“Stupid thought.”

Jace

Why does it seem like so much to ask for?

I just want to be human, lead a human life.

Why is that so difficult… so despised by them?

I took my hair out of its ponytail and let it free. I felt restrained when it was back.

I felt the need to call Annalisa, but, somehow, I knew she wouldn’t want to talk to me. I dumped my body onto my bed and mused.

I was an eighteen year old werewolf…against his will. What do I do?

Obviously witch doctors were frowned upon, but Banks…maybe Banks would understand. Maybe somehow he would hear me. Let me go to the witch.

But the thinking about him, and the witch’s remedy, I felt like I was betraying him.

Dante was right about that part: he didn’t have to change me.

But he did.

And it saved my life. But this life is not me, the woods the hunting the pack itself was pointless to me. And the ranks were ridiculous. This world is not a world I want to live in.

A world without Annalisa.

A world without Annalisa was impossible to live in.

I need her more than I need this pack.

She’s full of love and beauty… she loves me for me despite my sudden shifting.

The shifting she doesn’t know about.

I want to keep it that way.

I never want her to know about this thing inside me. This monster.

There’s a knock on the door.

“Come in.”

It’s Milan.

“Hey,” she said. “I… heard what happened… outside. You know you guys aren’t exactly subtle? Needs some work.” She tries to chuckle a little; lighten the mood. But my mood is too conflicted.

“I don’t know what to do, Milly.”

Her gaze is sympathetic, that’s what I like about her. She “gets” things no one else bothers to understand.

“You know what to do, babe, you just need to…”

“Stop being a coward?- yeah I know.”

“You’re no coward, Jace.” she said. “If you were you would’ve listened every damned thing that bastard down there said to you.” then she looks away; combs her fingers through her hair. “I never asked for this either…I don’t have what you have to think about but- I don’t want this. Don’t get me wrong I love Banks and Jade…she’s like a mother to me, but this isn’t me. For one: I hate eating deer, it’s gross. And two: I feel violated. All these wolves in my head… it’s just not right.”

“Jade would have a field day if she knew this you know.”

She chuckled again more freely this time.

“Yeah… I know, but it’s the truth.”

“And the truth shall set you free…or bite us in the ass.”

We both laughed and agreed to this statement.

“Jace, why don’t you just tell her?”

“Do you think she’d believe me?” I try not to yell. “She wouldn’t… she said she loves me but I don’t think she would if she knew.”

“I think she would.”

“Do you want to tell her?”

She looks at me as if to say that I am an idiot.

“Okay never mind, bad idea.”

“Uh huh.”

I smile up at her.

“You have some way with words.”

“Oh I try.” she feigns humbleness.

“I’m sure you do.”

Annalisa

I don’t think I can do this anymore.

It’s too hard!

“One more, Lisa! Come on! You can do it.” Shouts my mother on her hands and knees bombarding my personal space.

We have been work out buddies for three months four days a week, and it is not fun. At all.

“Thirty!” I struggled to breathe and fall flat on my back as tackled my thirtieth sit-up.

My mother shakes her head and clicks her tongue.

“You need to work on those, thirty is not acceptable.”

“It’s… acceptable… when you…you’re being screamed at… in the process!” I said… sort of.

“That’s no excuse, darling. An eighty year old could easily push fifty.”

“An eighty year old on steroids!”

My phone rings and I jump up to rush for it.

It’s Jace.

And all the dread I felt before comes back, filling me sadness and disappointment. The hurt.

“What is it, Jace.” I said, not quite in a questioning tone.

“I need to talk to you.” He said in his sad little voice.

“Are you going to tell me-”

“I- Anna… can I come over?”

“Fine.” I close my phone before he gets the chance to say anything else. Anything else to excuse the inexcusable.

“Jace?”

I nod.

“I’ll get started on dinner then. Give you two some privacy.”

I just nod my head again. Too afraid to say anything. Too afraid because I might cry, again.

This feeling so totally wound up in my chest just aches with the idea that Jace is cheating on me. I know he is. It couldn’t be anything else. Unless he was dying-but I wasn’t going to think about think about that. That hurt more than the cheating theory.

There’s a knock at the door, which makes me start.

I go to open it and of course it’s Jace.

I make sure my face is completely blank.

“What do you want to talk about?”

He peers over my shoulder and sees my mom rummaging around in the kitchen.

“Can you come outside…”

I sigh and step onto the stoop.

“What is it?” I asked exaggeratedly.

He shoves his fist into his pockets and rocks back and forth on his heels.

He looked tired and…scared almost. The cool winter air makes me regret coming out without a sweater at least. He doesn’t seem to be bothered by the cold. Then again, he has on a big black windbreaker and fingerless gloves. His long dark hair is pulled back into it’s usual low ponytail. Framing his face nicely and making his beautiful green eyes pop. Almost animal like are his eyes, but they are wonderful to look at, either, human or other.

“Anna…”

I wait, trying to get him to hold my gaze. He keeps looking away. And I give up.

“Look, just forget about it. I gotta go.” I said after what felt like hours after watching him roll around on his heels.

He grabs my wrist before I can get to the doorknob.

“I’m a werewolf, Anna.”

Dante

“Does that boy ever stay in this house?”

“He went to see his girlfriend, Dante. I’m sure if you had an inkling of a heart yourself you might have one too and wouldn’t be around so often to wreak your disgusting havoc.”

“That was an accident!”

“Never said it wasn’t.”

I need to get out of here. I need to shift and I need to shift now.

“Don’t do anything stupid.” said Milan.

“Who’s the pervert now?”

“You know I can’t read your mind in my human form.”

I should just…not talk to her… anymore.

“I’m outta here.”

“As well you should be.”

I throw invisible knives at her with my eyes and head out the door.

“D.”

No peace… there is no peace in this form.

God I am so agitated. I just need to get into the forest and I’ll be fine. I’ll be good.

I’ll be close enough to good…

“What, Tyse?” I sighed.

“Whoa, somebody needs a good shift.”

“Yeah. What do you want?”

He smiles a bit before shaking it off.

“Milan told me Jace went to go tell his girlfriend… the truth. Everything.”

I’m sure my pupils dilated because Tyse backed away from me.

“She’s a gossip queen, you know that.”

“Milan?-uh as much as I would love to agree with you. She’s one of the straight ones around here.”

“Dammit!”

“My words exactly…”

I blow out a gust of internal air and scratch at my scalp. Nervous habit.

“What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know yet… do you know if he’s still going to the witch?”

“He might… Most likely. Why?”

I grimaced.

“That…That is not going to work for me. I need to carry out this plan quicker than I thought.”

“What plan?”

“The plan that will instill our wolf form.”

“I don’t think anyone wants that…”

I glare at him.

“That’s the only way to keep him in the pack. That damn witch might kill him if she does what I think she’s going to do.”

“Wolfs bane…”

“Injected.”

“Shit…”

“Uh Yeah.”

“Does he know the risk in that?”

“He’s Jace…”

He thinks about it for a moment.

“Okay what do you think we need to do?”

“I don’t know… I’m not sure how much time I have.”

We pace around each other. The snow underneath our feet crunching with every puncture of our steps. The wind picked up making the air a blast of freezing breeze. Like knives attacking your face. The night sky overshadowing the wood not too far from the manor lies still; stiff with unmovable thick branches.

Then it hit me.

“Transfer…”

Tyse stopped pacing when he heard the word.

He turned to me with a look of half astonishment and shock.

“That could go both ways, D.”

“I’m willing to take that risk.”

“But she’s not!”

“Oh… you don’t know that. She might like the idea of joining her mutt mate in the woods on all fours.” I grinned.

“That’s too crazy, Dante, you could be faced with a murder.”

I look at him, thoughtfully.

“I’ve done worse.”

I saw the gasp from the wisp of fog that floated around in front of his mouth.

“Alright, Tyse… In or out?”

“Do you know how dangerous that could be!”

“Do you know that she wouldn’t be the first for me?”

Ah another shocked look from the big guy.

“Did you…”

“It was unfortunate.” I said nonchalantly.

“Jesus, Dante.”

“Not even close. Now… in or out?”

Jace

She may have fainted when I told her I was a werewolf; she may have fainted when I shifted.

In front of her.

I don’t know.

I nudged her cheek with my nose.

Nothing.

I hear myself whimper and I try to will her awake with my nonexistent subliminal messaging powers.

Nothing.

I sigh.

“Lisa?”

Her mom.

“Lisa, are you okay?”

Jesus. Talk about bad timing.

I reluctantly leave Annalisa there, on the stoop, and dash into the near by wood around the side of the house. The snow feels almost like under my paws as I run buoyantly over the snowy plane.

“Oh my God! Lisa!” I heard Ms. Valour scream.

I wished I could have stayed with her, but it would’ve looked bad. And I probably would’ve gotten shot. This is, after all, Scarlet, Maine. People around here tended to let off a few rounds if they were frightened.

Or bored.

I try make my way…anywhere.

Anywhere but here. At lease until I shift back.

And I don’t know even when that will be.

I look into the sky and see a half moon. Not full.

So why did I shift?

Maybe it won’t last as long.

How did I not notice it before? It seems an awful lot to miss on a black night like this.

I run out into the street by accident and a stranger in a car honks at me. Swerving around my large frame and back into it’s proper lane, they continue to speed down the street like thieves.

Jesus, anybody know how to use a break anymore?

Dante

Stupid mutts never know how to stay out of the streets.

I was just forced to swerve around some dog to save it’s stupid life.

God, teach these animals some common sense or take ’em into your bosom.

I sat alone in Jade’s old little Honda. Without Tyse. He seemed to think it would be “ridiculously effed up” if I transferred my blood into Annalisa’s.

Yes of course it might kill her. But it may also save my damn brother. What choice did I have? Banks always treated us like twins, losing one would be like losing both and that might take my rank away. And I was not going to let Jace take the pack away from me all because he wanted a little booty. No!

I worked for that damn spot- killed Bank’s best friend for it, I am not giving it up so he can be with some chick. She’s probably a blonde. I know it…she’s a blonde.

I noticed my grip was a little tight on the stirring wheel, making my knuckles turn white, and my speedometer was well over the actual twenty-five mile speed limit.

But I didn’t care.

I just needed to find the girl.

Annalisa

I feel like Bella Swan from Twilight.

Except my boyfriend doesn’t sparkle and I don’t have a speech impediment.

He is a werewolf, though.

That doesn’t happen…ever!

He must have been lying, or joking, or-or something. That just isn’t possible.

“Lisa, do you want some water, sweetie?”

“No, mom, I’m-I’m fine.”

“I’m sorry for working you so hard- I didn’t think you were so out of shape.”

“It’s okay, mom, just- can you give me a minute?”

“Okay, honey. I’m really sorry. I’ll make your favorite peach cobbler for dessert.” She skips out of the living room, literally, and into the kitchen to make the blessing in a dish.

I lounge lazily on the couch listening to my mother toss and turn and stir around the kitchen. I can’t stop thinking about Jace.

On some level I feel like he was telling the truth.

I had a weird dream about a dog poking at me with it’s nose.

Was that even a dream?

There is a knock on the door and I shouted my notice that I would answer the door.

I open it a crack.

“Oh my God…”

A grin so… messed up is aimed towards me and slight black eyes with a hint of red bore into my own bright blue ones.

“Annalisa?”

It was him…Jace’s brother. I knew he was… different but not much so, or so…literal.

His grin only broadens with the panic I hadn’t even known was there nor did I know I was capable of producing.

He was so handsome in devilishly beautiful way: short Blonde hair spiked at the tips and a bit of stubble.

“What’s wrong? Am I not suiting your expectations?” he asked me with feigning his hurt feelings around his cheeks; very tall… lots of muscle.

“Y-you’re-”

“Dante?- yes I am. I see Jace has told you a little bit about me…” He cocks his head to the side…like a dog, his eyes roam over me, violating me with his gaze. His eyes grow darker and his grin falters as he steps into my house, backing me into the narrow hallway, before closing the door behind him. “What else did he tell you?”

Deliver Us From Mary

On the day Mr and Mrs Forester plan to have a family lunch with their daughter, Kitty, and meet at a diner near his firm. Plans go array when little Kitty’s excitement gets the better of her, leading her to snatch her hand from her mommy she then runs across a busy intersection in the hopes of reaching her father. Meanwhile Mrs. Forester is forced to run after her except, unlike her daughter, she was unsuccessful in reaching her husband.

This day is cloudy-overcast with dismal gray blankets, disabling the sun of its warm luminous rays. Days suchlike this one tended to have a formidable effect on me; like a warning telling me to stay at home; close the curtains; protect your child from the wanton ways of this foreboding day. But, I feel, it was nearly impossible to avoid. This was the week my husband started working longer hours at the law firm, where he was basically consumed with several cases at a time for no discernible reason besides the fact that there were fewer lawyers available since the massive cuts they had to make in the past month. I hardly every saw Keith, I missed him so much and so did Kitty, my daughter, she is two years old and claims my world in the most miraculous of ways.

My husband and I made it a rule to have lunch together, as a family, every Wednesday in this little cafe/diner near is firm. The time of day would be five, my most hated time of day; too much traffic and drivers never have the sense to slow down. They keep moving-never stopping the pursuit that dominates their life cycles.

“Mommy, are we going to daddy?” my little Kitty asked me. I held her soft hand in mine as we walked along the sidewalks surrounded by screaming horns and screeching tires.

“Yes, darling.” I replied.

The biggest smile lights up her face and I know she is happy. She hasn’t seen her father in four days because of the late hours and the early morning departures. Her happiness is palpable and I feel myself feeding off of it-letting it enter me through our intertwined fingers.

I see my husband before Kitty does and I wave at him and he waves back with his tired smile and handsome eyes. He is a fairly tall man so he was not hard to miss in the after work bustle. His body was wide with the muscles of a surprisingly fit man and thick luxurious chestnut hair smoothed back into a wave. I thought it made him look maturely boyish, adorable.

Kitty sees him now and she does something that shocks me out of my mini musings. She yanks her hand out of mine and darts into the street daring the passing cars with her naïve challenge.

“Kitty!” I hear Keith scream. He shakes me out of my shock and I run after her. Cars are screaming and swerving, hitting each other with the slightest maneuvers because of the narrow lanes. I try not to scream her name for the worry of her stopping in the middle of the street. So I run, as fast as I can for what seems like forever to catch her even though it may have been no more than three seconds. I hear Keith scream her name again and he has already run into the street after her while Kitty continues to run towards him flailing her arms ignorant to the fact that her life was in danger.

Keith reaches her before I do and scoops her up. I slow my pace a bit to let my heart slow down its painful pounding.

I hear the loudest blare of a horn I have ever heard.

And I am knocked off of my feet into a darkness so bleak. I cannot breath and I feel the worst pain in my neck and thick liquid is everywhere from what I can feel.

There is light, everywhere there is light.

Screaming.

Horns blaring and screaming with indignation.

I feel nothing. I see only light. I smell burnt skin and old pennies.

“Oh dear… she was such a lovely woman. Pity….” said a light voice, male. Elderly? “Such a shame… so pitiful.”

I open my eyes and I am standing on the sidewalk where I was before I ran. Everything is bright in contrast and soft around the edges. The passing bodies of passersby leave speed trails behind them, like a fastly passing car you can still see the car’s body trailing behind it despite the fact the it passed by that spot only a nanosecond ago. It is like the world is going too fast yet I am seeing it in slow motion.

“It is amazing isn’t it?” said the light voice. I look to my left and see a short elderly man in baby blue robes observing what looks like an accident in the middle of the street.

I do not answer the old man, I only stare at the spectacle before me. There is a large rig with a tanker on the back-maybe a petroleum tanker. And there are spectators everywhere- all looking in the same direction; not looking at the truck but below it. I move-or rather glide, as it seems, closer to the scene and I…I see body, wrangled and bloodied- her neck is twisted in the most grotesque way. But I feel nothing and it is only when I recognize the woman when I see lying on the unsubtle concrete stage.

It is me. My body. Ruined and dead and horrifying!

I felt a little pull in my stomach that suggest nausea but it goes away almost instantly and I glide closer. My eyes are still open-nobody had the decency to close them, protect my spirit.

I kneel down and reach out towards my face- wet now from the rain that must have started falling while I was in the dark- but my hand went through my face, touching the concrete instead.

A hand touches my shoulder and I look over it to see the old man staring down at me, sympathy-pity in his eyes, the palpable fix is obvious to me and I shrug his hand away.

“It is ordered of me to send you away from here.” he said.

“Why…” I said bitterly, non questioningly. I am angry-yet I am scared now because a thought just trickled into my mind.

Kitty.

I saw Keith scope her up but I did not see them in the messy blur of the people.

The hand touches my shoulder again, this time pulling me up, back, away from the scene.

I let him.

He told me to be calm, be still. I am okay, he says, I am but a spirit in purgatory.

“Purgatory?” I asked.

“You have not passed on…unfinished business.” he said.

He never told me his name only that I was to call him the Elder and that he was my chaperone until I figured out what it was that kept me from passing.

I stayed in this white box for some time listening to his preachings- knowledge of the deceased. The purity of natural demise.

It felt as if I were in school again as a child, listening to my teachers go on and on about a particular subject that would never be useful to me in the real world. I felt just like that now. I felt like I was receiving useless information, I felt restrained. I wanted to know what happened to Keith, and my little Kitty. He would never tell me, he only said that I was not ready to see them. He told me the power that I have as a ghost were to tempting to leave me with alone, even as an observer of the living world. I barely understood his protest but I made myself content with it. Hardly.

He was teaching me the rules of moving solid objects when I felt my patience for pedantic lessons in special ed ghost living reach its peak.

I snapped.

“I have to see my daughter!” I screamed at him.

He hardly flinched and merely smiled as I continued on with my outburst.

“I need my baby! I want my husband! I need- do you hear me?!- need my family! I don’t care if I can’t touch them or speak to them! I just want to see my family, Elder!”

He nodded his head once and clapped a slow rhythm as if he was proud I finally stood up to him.

“What!” I demanded.

“You are angry.” he laughed.

If I weren’t dead my face would have turned a heinous scarlet.

“Elder…” I said exasperated by his nonchalance.

He holds his hand up to stop my demands.

“You are ready.” he said. “But I must warn you: several years have passed- no no, listen- several years have passed and things are not like what they used to be. They may even frighten you. Their light is gone and their world is now in a dark place.”

“What happened?”

“I will let you see for yourself. But let me remind you now,” he said sternly, “you are not to play guardian angel or interfere with their lives in any way, you will be stripped completely of your ghostly inheritance and sent to a place very close to another where, trust me, you would never want to be.

I nodded.

“Please take me down.”

“You will be tempted…”

“I promise, I won’t interfere.” I said quietly.

He waves his hand the white box falls away to a dark starless night. No luminescent moon to shine light upon the dreary world, not a wishful start blemishing the face.

Elder and I are in front of a one story house with a weed infested lawn that begged to be cut and trimmed and treated to with flower bushes here and there and a small apple tree. The shingles were old and rusty on the roof and the spots that lacked a shingle now lay in the overgrown lawn lost to the world as they passed it by.

There were lights on in the house even though it had to be close to midnight. The air was cold and trees lacked leaves. It has to be winter.

“Go on.” said Elder. “I will follow.”

I walk-glide unsure up the badly paved driveway and through the old paint chipped walls.

The TV is blaring gun shots from some action movie and since the TV is on I go to that room first. I enter a small living room and it wreaks of old food, mold, and sweat. There is a Lazyboy recliner in front of the TV and a loveseat against the wall diagonal to it. The coffee table is littered with plastic cups and pizza boxes and- and a….a box, opened, inside are several syringes.

In the recliner sits Keith, he is no longer the handsome man I had fallen in love with and died with his image in my mind. His stomach overlapped his waistband by several inches and he now had a full beard and his beautiful chestnut hair is now streaked with a little gray and is disheveled. His brown eyes are glassy and dreamy and I wondered if he was dead for a moment before I noticed that his chest rose and fell still.

“Keith…”

“He lost his job two months after you died.” Elder explained. “He couldn’t focus and he-he had a nervous break down, nearly went to an asylum diagnosed with insanity. His mother got him out though, Mrs. Forester, a lovely woman.”

I nodded.

“Yes, she was a wonderful woman, I miss her dearly. I should see how she is when I am finished here.”

Elder holds his head down.

“She died two years after you, stroke.”

I squeeze my eyes closed knowing still that I would never cry again. Kitty…without a mother figure for who knows how many years and her father…. a j-j- oh I can’t even think it. I never would have thought this would happen to him. Not my Keith, not that man.

“How long has it been, Elder?”

“Fourteen years…”

“Fourteen!” I shouted and I could have sworn I saw Keith flinch, his eyes became more aware and he tried to mumble something.

He jumped out of his recliner and turned violently around in circles.

“Mary?”

My breath caught, though I haven’t had a breath in years.

“Mary!”

He said my name that night, called me in the night. Begged me to come to him and hold him, rock him to peace again.

I wanted so badly to cry that night but times frozen for me and it is impossible. I glided towards him and reached out to him. Elder took my wrist before I could touch Keith and pulled me away.

“Keith…” was all that could escape my lungs before Elder had us back in the box again.

“I told you.”

“I don’t want to hear that… I want to go back.”

He shakes his head. “You need to calm yourself first.” he said, “He heard you. That!- was not supposed to happen! They are not supposed to hear you.”

I smirk.

“Since when were there rules about what is supposed to happen or not?”

He glared at me and turned away, his robe turning with him in an elegant swirl of blue.

“I want to go back.”

“No! I need to speak to Him first. You stay and calm yourself before you get us both in trouble.” he snapped, he was shaking so badly and his forehead was surprisingly dotted with beads of perspiration.

He left me in the box alone. And it seemed like the light went with him. I was alone and my heart ached the faintest ache I had ever felt in a long time.

It was some time before Elder let me out again.

He made me swear not to speak above a whisper and to keep my hands to myself lest forcing him to bind them behind my back, he would have been happy to do that, what with all the trouble I had cost him the last time.

“How long?”

“Not long, only five months.”

I nodded and went through the wall.

The day was a bright and cloudless afternoon and the house felt empty.

“Where is he?”

“They are sleeping.”

“Doesn’t Kitty have school? How old is she now?”

“She dropped out last year. And she is sixteen now. She works at DC Burgers part time. But Mary-”

There was a crash behind a closed door, like something falling onto tile, glass.

Elder and I glided over to the sound’s destination and a door swung open on the right before I passed it and a young girl stomped out and down the hall to another closed door. I stop moving and just watch her. She bangs her fist on the door.

“Keith!” she shouted, she bangs on it again.”Keith, get your fat ass out of the bathroom! Are you messing with my stuff again!” She bangs on it again only this time she shoves open the door herself and Keith is on his hands and knees, blood on his hands, picking up the broken glass.

The girl scoffs and shoves Keith out of the bathroom and slams the door behind her.

Keith’s hands are cut with deep gashes from the glass and I can see his veins under his pale hairy skin.

I glide over to him as he lay still on the floor. I want so badly to touch him but I can feel Elder’s gaze burning into my head threatening me with images of tightly bound wrist in chains.

I restrain myself.

Keith coughs and brings himself slowly to his feet and starts towards the kitchen. I let him go and instead stare at the closed door of the room he was just evicted from.

Kitty is in there.

My baby.

She has grown so much- looks so different. Her hair is a dark-dark red and she is so pale and thin. I hear the toilet flush and Kitty comes out of the bathroom wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. That is when I get to see her face. I glided through the walls into her room and see Kitty for the first time in fourteen years. She looks just like her grandmama: little mouth, big green eyes, high cheek bones. My beautiful baby girl.

But she is sickeningly skinny now that I see her. She starts to change and I start to turn away to give her privacy but then I see a cut on her waist, and her arms and her chest. I glided over to her so fast I disturbed the air and a paper fell. She turned around and faced me head on with me only a foot away. I see the cuts more clearly now as she stares through me at the fallen paper, knowing there is no breeze in the stuffy room.

Some of the cuts are self-self inflicted. Others are-they look like battle scars.

Kitty…what have you been doing, baby.

She turns away and so do I and face Elder with a questioning look.

He shakes his head sadly and turns away as well and glides out of the room. I follow him but he has gone. He left me here alone or only made himself scarce to me.

I turn back to Kitty’s room but decided against going in. I don’t want to see those scars again.

I, instead, go into the kitchen and see Keith with a band around his arm and a needle in his hand. I stop suddenly and watch him. He stabs his arm with the vile concoction and I try- I really do try- to hold in my shriek, but I can’t, and I let it go.

Keith drops his needle and Kitty runs out of her room half dressed.

“What the hell?” she said.

“Mary?” said he.

“She’s dead, you idiot!” she yelled at him, only making me want to scream again.

“Shut up! Just shut up!” Keith yelled back, covering his ears with his hands and rocking back and fourth.

“You crazy old bastard!” she screamed.

I flinch at her language and I can feel the shriek building inside me. Kitty slams her door again and Keith sinks to fetal position and rocks back and fourth still covering his ears.

Kitty yanks her door open again and stomps down the hall into the kitchen, Kieth is blocking the refrigerator and she kicks him out of the way. And he lets her, only to roll into a ball on the floor.

It is still building, I can feel it, I know it’s coming.

“Bye, Keith,” Kitty quietly said.

Before she was out the door Keith yelled after her, “It’s all your fault!”

I’m in the box screaming until the need to scream finally ceased and all the while Elder watched me, arms folded, and leaned against the wall with a weary expression and a hint of annoyance.

“I think you underestimated the situation, Elder.”

He shrugged and continued to stare.

“What happened to their guardians?”

“She was vanquished when their world was consumed.”

“By what!” I demanded.

“By free will, darkness, bad choices. She couldn’t survive there, Mary.” he said quietly.

“Kitty…”

“Kitty is…disturbed. Keith is hopeless, He lost his mind years ago,” he said, “a broken heart will do that to a man in love…”

“He wasn’t suppose to-”

“Fate is odd sometimes, what happened has happened and you are only a spectator of these current events. You seem to forget that when you are around them.”

“What do you expect! They are my family, Elder!”

He glares at me, forcing it, I know he never wishes to threaten me unless it is truly necessary.

“They were your family, not anymore,” he said harshly, his voice cracked and I knew he wanted to hold me, heal the pain he had just inflicted upon me.

That was the first time I felt a tear stain my face.

“I want to go back.”

He sighs and waves his hand.

“I think it is time you come to the realization that they are doomed. Beautiful humans consumed by dark fate. There is nothing I can allow you to do and you are not to help them. They are not your family anymore.”

“I know that!” I hissed at him,“I just want to see them…”

He nodded his head and the walls fell away.

We stood alone in the kitchen, the house was dark and quiet, the smell was not as pungent as it had been the first night I arrived and I wondered if that was because they cleaned or I am just immune.

I glided down the hall, taking my time to ingest my surroundings. The house was still a wreak and there was a dried puddle of blood left behind in the kitchen from where Keith had lain in fetal desperation. And Kitty just left him there. I hoped fiercely that he hadn’t lost a fatal amount of blood.

I continued on to the back of the house towards the bedrooms and spotted a closed door. I went through.

The room was painted black and the walls were covered with photos; drawings tacked up; armature paintings hung.

Photographs framed.

I saw a drawing tacked and I knew immediately who the artist was. It was a drawing of Kitty and her daddy holding hands in what looked like a little garden. And there was another next to it of a dark haired woman lying in a box with red smudges on her face. My stomach knotted and I turned away it.

A photograph caught my eye and I see myself, and Keith and Kitty all squeezed together so Keith could take the picture with his free hand, the other being around my waist pulling me closer while squishing Kitty to the point where she squealed her sweet little laugh. I could hear her laugh echo in the silence of the night.

I looked away and started to leave before I saw the picture hanging across from me. It was Keith and I…our wedding-smiling happily with bright love in our eyes. I could literally see the sparkle in his eyes from where I stood and I moved closer to it. His smile was so beautiful, boyish and handsome like the last time I saw him with my living eye. And myself-with my arms wrapped around him- I have never seen myself so happy.

“Pity..” said Elder as he gazed at the photo over my shoulder.

I can’t do this.

I can’t forget my family and leave them here like this. Leave Kitty here with those marks. Leave Keith here with his pain.

I went out of the black room and into Kitty’s, she lies asleep in her full sagging mattress. Her sheets are filthy and the odor is nearly impossible to ignore. Her lamp was still on and a book was laid out over her belly. I looked more closely and found that it was her journal. I inconspicuously glanced over my should to find Elder but he was nowhere to be seen. I lifted the book, without touching it, off of her belly and flipped it over so I could scan her recent entry.

I needed to know what was going on and how this happened.

I can never forget. I will never forget. No matter what Elder said.

Dear Diary

Today is Wednesday and I can remember everything- everything from that day so many years ago. I Hate Wednesday! Why does this day have to exist. I just want to forget, but God won’t let me. Keith won’t let me. He still screams at me that it was all my fault; that I was so stupid, that I was so stupid, that I was so stupid!

Why won’t you let me forget! Or kill me yourself! I have tried so many times but I just can’t do it. The blade wont go as deep as I need it to. I need to just suck it up and do it. Keith wont miss me. He will be glad I’m dead, one less thing for him to deal with. Not that he deals with anything anymore, the crazy bastard. I want to kill him sometimes, make him feel the pain he causes me. Let him join up with Mary in hell where he belongs. They both can go to hell! Oh! It well never be Keith’s fault… it was always mine. Why did I run? Why was I so stupid! Why did you make me do that! I just want my mommy; I want my mommy; I want my mommy.

I’m sorry mommy.

I’m so sorry.

I looked up- away from the contents of the journal and into Kitty’s eyes as she sits up in her bed staring, frightened, at the floating book.

She can’t see me.

But she can see the book in the air. She watched it move as I moved to her nightstand, take her pen. She continues to stare as I write in her journal:

IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT, DARLING…

“Mary!” screamed Elder. Kitty jumped and I drop the book in her lap before I whirl around to see him facing me, a look of disgust and indignation plastered on his face. “What have you done…”

I hold my chin up.

I owe you nothing.

“Answer me!”

I hear Kitty squeal… she is trying so hard not to scream.

My brave baby.

I turn to her and reach out my hand. She does not see it, instead she turns her journal over and sees my message.

Elder clutches my wrist but I yank it out and push him away somewhere through the wall. I turn towards Kitty again and I touch her cheek gently with my hand.

Kitty looks up, her eyes widen, she touches my hand.

“Mommy…”

She sees me. A tear streams down her cheek.

“Kitty.”

She chokes on her tears which are now pouring and she tries to clutch my hand tighter but it only falls through and touches her own cheek.

“Mommy!” She squeaks. Her voice is still sweeter than sugar, easily broken by broken love. I’m sorry, baby.

Elder yanks me away from her draggingme back into his white prison.

“You have gone too far!” he bellowed

“I haven’t gone far enough!” I screamed at him, “Let me back down!”

“No, you’re done.” he glared at me. This old man I have never seen so full of hared and disgust. He looked neither hurt nor sympathetic.

“I had to do it, Elder.”

“That was not your job! You upset their fate!”

“I. Had. To.”

“And you knew your consequences…”

“She needed to know!”

“She was meant to suffer!”

My heart ached more painfully than I had ever felt, even when I was alive.

“She is a baby, Elder.”

“Babies need to suffer too.”

The ache came again.

“You… are so wrong.”

“I’m not the one going to Hell, Mary.” he looks me up and down and turns around shimmering away.

The ache in my heart is unbearable and I fall, face first, and roll onto my back clutching my chest. I hear his voice, so far away, from the day I died and so many others.

“Pity…”

“Sad…”

“Poor lady…”

“Oh my God!”

“Somebody help!”

“Mary!” Oh! Keith.

“Stand back!”

“Mommy?” Oh!

“Mary!”

“They are no longer your family, they are doomed. I think it is time you face this realization…”

“You… are so wrong.”

“I am not the one going to Hell…”

I rolled onto my side and I see Elder with the man in Red come to me take into his dread, never leaving an ounce to shed for he does not care for what is said…

“I’m already there.”

The night Mary Forester revealed herself to her daughter was the night the fate of the remaining Forester’s lives would change, for the better.

Kitty never told her father what happened that night but the weight of the blame was lifted miraculously from her shoulders enabling her to change her perspective on life and her future. The dark overcast of shame and regret simultaneously shimmered away as the bright light of love and expectations filled her cylinder.

Kitty Forester continued to work at DC Burgers but only to raise money to help her father cleanse himself, and with that cleanse her father’s mind seemed to slowly rotate back to natural reality. He no longer shouted his wife’s name nor did he scream at his daughter.

A chain reaction had been set by the brave risk Mary Forester took.

She healed her family as much as she was able to and even then the healing that she procured made a dramatic change in her husband’s life.

He changed himself, for his daughter as well as for his own well being. He was able to work into getting a degree in psychology so that he could become a mental health doctor for widows dealing with the deceased lovers.

By the time Kitty turned twenty-five she had her first child, a little girl named Mary, and a job she cherished being a social worker; working most cases involving troubled teens who lost their parents to drugs. She was married to a doctor Mathew Jade; she met him in her third year of college and couldn’t stop herself from falling in love with him.

Although Keith was clean and working again he still occasionally fell into reveries his wife and himself had made together over the years. He would hold her picture in his hand and cry tears of joy or sadness depending on the reverie that overtook his thoughts. He praised Kitty’s marriage to Mathew and was overjoyed when he was named Godfather for little Mary Jade. He loved Mary more than anything, as if she were his own baby girl. Mary seemed to be the only living being that could make Keith so happy and sedate.

Mary Forester never got to see her family after that night. She was condemned for eternity for her disobedience. But she felt the elation in her family’s lives. She knew she did what was right, and would do again without hesitation.