Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Don't Forget Your Reindeer

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I know where the reindeer are, dear."

Maggie laughed softly.  Reindeer indeed.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


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

"Tell me about the day I was born."

"I wasn't there.  Ask your mother."

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

"C'mere, damn it!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 21, 2013


I love him, I say.

You don't, is the reply.

I do, I insist.

You can't. He's not real.

He is.

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

He does!

But not enough to reply back.

That's cruel.

That's love.

Then why do I bother?

Because he is safe, and can never reject you.

But he did!


So it's love?

Only in your mind.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Sweetest Thing

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

"My God."

"No.  Just his emissary."

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

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

"I look a mess."

"You look tired."

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

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

"How's your boyfriend?"

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

"How did you hear about that?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Now who's being a cliché?"

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

Monday, September 16, 2013

Full Wolf Moon-Conclusion

"You look like hell."

"I'm dead.  What's your excuse?"

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

"We need to leave."

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

"Can you walk?"

"Not sure."

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

"What happened here?"

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

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

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

"Did he give you that?"

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

Pryor reached out and grabbed Glover.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"You all right?"

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

"Where's Pryor?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Friday, September 13, 2013

I suppose the point

Is to keep trying.

Even when,

Especially when,

You feel



Complete idiot





Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Cake Lady and The Banana Man

She picked out the wrong cheese.

She crinkled up her nose as she realized her blunder.  What she thought were slices of mozzarella were actually slices of feta.  The thick, white rectangles were all ready crammed into a container and couldn't be put back; she contemplated just leaving them on the ledge of the cheese and olive bar, but felt guilty about wasting food (even nasty tasting cheese) so she dropped it into her basket and moved to the correct fromage.  She was snapping the lid on the new container when she felt a finger softly caress her arm.  She cringed; she hate being touched, especially in public.  She turned her head and found him standing next to her, confusion clouding his face at his blunder.  A bunch of bananas rested quietly in his shopping cart.



"I'm sorry if I startled you.  I didn't realize you were in such deep thought over dairy products."

She smiled.  She liked his cheeky sense of humor.

"I'm hypersensitive to people putting their hands on me.  It brings back bad memories.  I'm trying to get a better handle on it."

He was uncomfortable with her honesty.  He could imagine the bruises covering her face and body.  It made him second guess every move he made around her.

"Done for the day?"

"Yes, no more baking for me today.  I just want to go home and soak my feet."

He thought he should say something else but felt his throat tighten.  The two of them stood awkwardly together, each wondering why the other didn't leave all ready.

"See ya tomorrow?"

"Yea, sure, I'll be in the bakery bright and early.  Those cakes won't bake themselves."

They both laughed at the inanity of that comment, then went their separate way, bananas to the left, cheese to the right.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

He went to rearrange the flower display outside the grocery store and found her sitting on a bench waiting for her ride home.  She smiled at him and said hello; he said 'hi' back, then tried to think of something else to say to keep her engaged.


"It's really nice out today, but I have to watch when it's too sunny, my head burns, because, you know I'm bald."


He turned his attention to a group of asters, disappointed by the lack of a response, when she softly said, "I think bald men are sexy".


The potted plant slipped out of his hand and crashed to the ground.  He crouched to pick it up, a broad smile spreading across his face as she got up and walked towards the car at the curb.



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Hey, good morning!"

She forced a smile and mumbled back as he passed.  Three months of  'hey, good morning', EVERY morning.  Nothing more; she waited for him to follow up his salutation with conversation, but he always sailed past her before she could respond.  She kicked her foot against the counter in disgust at her stupidity.  Was she really that desperate for attention that she misconstrued a friendly greeting to be an overture to romance?  An invitation to a relationship?  She finished wiping the counter top and threw a wad of used paper towels in the trash, turning away before she could catch him looking back at her, struggling to contain a pout as he was once again rebuffed.  What does it take, he thought, to get her to engage in conversation?  For three months he'd greeted her, EVERY morning.  He shrugged, and went back to work.

Friday, August 30, 2013

I had a dream last night we were taking a bath together.

Curious way to start an e-mail, he thought, especially from a casual acquaintance.  They had met at a writer's workshop in New York and wound up spending time together.  Nothing serious; drinks, dinner a few nights.  One night they had gone to The Bronx to see the Yankees.  The specter of no strings attached sex had floated around them during a particularly intense drinking session, where they had taken turns making up opening lines of stories.  She probably would have gone back to his room with him that night, if he had asked, but decorum and an old fashioned sense of propriety had made him escort her back to her room with nothing more than a good night kiss and some gentle grinding at her door.  The next morning they said their goodbyes  and promised to keep in touch, which they had with the occasional e-mail or comment on each other's writing.  He certainly had no reason to anticipate this type of message.  He studied it a moment, trying to decide how to respond.  He took a sip of coffee, the serene morning suddenly less tranquil.

Was it fun?

He went back to his writing, wondering how she would reply.  He tried to keep his mind on his work, but felt himself starting to tense up waiting for her to answer.  He jumped when the computer 'dinged' her response in his mailbox.

It was comfortable, like we were an old married couple and we'd been doing it for years.  You were smoking a cigar. :(

He chuckled.  The only thing she had complained about was his love of a good cigar.  It wasn't a problem out here on the prairie, but it had proved problematic in Manhattan.  He tried to stay down wind of her when they were out on the street, but that often conflicted with his need to be a gentleman and walk near the curb.  Thankfully, she was almost a foot shorter than him, so he was able to keep most of the smoke away from her face.  He smiled at the memory.

No body's perfect.  What happened next?

As soon as he hit SEND he thought maybe he'd pushed it too far.  Did he want to know what happened next?  She was a master at the art of erotic fiction, fearless in her ability to write about sex without blushing or flinching.  What if her dream had proceeded in a pornographic episode, or worse, a moment of mortifying embarrassment for his inability to perform?  He got up from his desk and called for his dog, thinking it was time to go for a walk.  He was just about to close the front door when he heard the computer 'ding' again.  He hesitated and looked longingly at his lap top.  He could always access his account via his phone.  His dog pulled at her leash, pleading with him to hurry up.  He closed the door behind him and let her lead him away from her answer.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It's A Girl

"Do you remember that Thanksgiving dinner when you left the turkey on the table and the dog jumped up and ran away with it?  And Scott just told us to get dressed and he took us to get a Chinese dinner?"

"Yes,  Mom, I remember."

"Scott was so handsome, he had so many girlfriends in high school.  I mean he was so popular, class president and head of the student council.  You were so lucky, Jenna to be married to a man like that."

"Yes,  Mom, I know."

"I miss him so much.  It's so unfair for a parent to have to bury her child.  At least I have you, to help me remember him.  It's almost like he's still here, a little bit.  Of course, a daughter-in-law isn't the same as a child, but you're a good girl to come visit me like this."

"I'm glad it makes you happy Mom.  It's getting late, I have to be going now."

"Will you come back tomorrow?  And bring Scott with you."

"Scott can't come, Mom, you know that."

The old woman's face went blank, as if she was trying to remember something, then sullen as the words sank in.  Jenna kissed her good bye, and started to walk out of her room.  The distinct smell of death and disinfectant wafted through the hallways of the assisted living facility.  Jenna heard the old woman call out after her, followed by sobbing.

"You got your girl.  I hope you're happy!"

Jenna let out a sigh and shook her head, doing her best to dislodge the accusation.  As she waited for the elevator another woman appeared next to her, offering a sympathetic smile.

"It's not easy, is it?"

"No, not easy at all."

"You're good to visit.  So many of the residents don't have any one.  I'm sure your mother-in-law appreciates it in her own way."

Jenna laughed.  She didn't think her mother did.  She fiddled with her purse.

"Were you married long?  It's so hard losing a spouse."

Jenna shook her head and rolled her eyes.

"My husband is still alive. That woman isn't my mother-in-law, she's my mother."

The other woman looked confused.

"I'm sorry, I thought she said you were her daughter-in-law."

Jenna started to shake her head back and forth.  What was the point of explaining all this to a to a total stranger?

"I'm my mother's first born.  She wanted a boy first, but her mother-in-law wanted a girl.  She gave my mother a beautiful pink layette set for Christmas, and my mother refused to take it home.  When I was born in February my grandmother went to visit my mother in the hospital, and when she peeked her head into my mother's room, my mother screamed, 'You got your girl, I hope you're happy' and then burst into tears."

The other woman was still trying to wrap her brain around such irrational thinking.

"But who's Scott?"

The elevator door slid open.  Jenna walked in and pressed the down button.

"Scott was supposed to be my name if I was a boy.  My mother thinks he's dead.  I finally bring her some joy because I remind her of someone who never existed."

The elevator door slid close.  The sound of sobs still echoed down the hallway.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Just A Cup Of Coffee

He reached for the phone, his eyes squinting to read the clock.  12:45. AM. He made a quick mental note of all the people who might call at this hour; his mom about his dad, his dad about his mom.  His brother about their parents.  He pulled the phone to his ear, prepared for the worst.

"Hi.  I'm sorry to call so late."

His eyes opened wide as he heard her voice.  She was the last person he expected to be on the other end. He sat up slightly, clearing his throat of sleep.

"No it's OK.  Are you all right?"

He heard her voice catch a little, which made him sit up even more.  She was a woman who wouldn't even let him buy her coffee at work in the morning.  She was always polite about it, saying she didn't like coffee, but it always made him feel annoyed.  It was just a cup of coffee.  Her rejection was habitual  And hurtful.

"Um, no.  I was coming back from work and I got hit by another car.  I'm sitting in the emergency room." 

He heard her struggle to maintain her composure and fail. He could tell she was distraught, heard her try to regulate her breathing.  He turned on the light and got out of bed, grabbing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt from the dresser, trying to balance the phone between his ear and shoulder as he pulled on socks and shoes.  He picked up his keys and was all ready out the door by the time she was able to speak again.

"I'm banged up a bit, nothing's broken, but my car is totaled, and I need a ride home, so I was wondering if you could come pick me up?"

He was behind the wheel of his car, putting his blue tooth into his ear and turning on the engine before she had finished her sentence.

"What hospital?"

"Princeton-Plainsboro.  It's on Route 1; they moved it, it's no longer in Princeton."

"I know where it is.  I'll be there in 20 minutes.  Are you going to be OK?"

Again her heard her voice catch as she took in a deep breath.  She sounded so young and vulnerable.

"Yea, I'll be fine.  Thank you, I really appreciate this."

He smiled.  It felt good be needed.  He turned the radio on as he pulled onto the street.

"Sit tight.  I'm on my way."
"Thanks.  I guess I owe you a cup of coffee."

The call ended.  He turned the radio up, and sang all the way to the hospital.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


It was supposed to get easier as one got older.  I was a woman of the world. Confident. Experienced. Seductive.  A woman unable to produce anything more than a half strangled "hello" or "good morning" whenever I passed him in the hall.  A woman painfully aware of her flabby stomach, graying hair, the stench of unfulfilled dreams wafting around her like stale perfume.

 And yet, he always smiled at me and said "How are you" every morning, and on several occasions I caught him gazing at me, at ME, from across the room. So I will do my best to bid farewell to self doubt and insecurity.  To take a stand against those who indignantly state, "you've had your chance, you're too old for such a gift".  Because it may never get easier.   But if it were easier, it wouldn't be so highly prized.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Step Up

It's complicated,

he said,

being married

to a woman

who refuses

to live with you.

He took a sip of whiskey

and stared into space

as I twirled the straw

in my drink.

I thought he was


A co-worker

had set us up.

He'd been a clown

with the circus.

(No really, a graduate

of Clown College)

and now

he was

an actor.


I thought,

was definitely a

step up


abusive alcoholic.

At least,


I saw him smile,

then turn his

gaze back

towards me,

as I let my

bare foot

brush against his


A gentle,



Enough to show interest

without arousing

immediate rejection.

I felt the embers of


long dormant in my groin

begin to flicker.

Just slightly.

I smiled back

and waited for

the moment

to breach

the awkward reality


It's complicated.

Full Wolf Moon-Part Eleven

"The moon is full."

The little man scrunched his face in confusion.  He glanced up towards the skylight; the moon's soft glow drifted down like a soft snow.  He returned his attention to his work.  He needed to complete the task, needed to complete his army.  He shoved needles and tubes into Edwards  body, finally flipping a switch.  Edwards flaccid body stiffened, then joined his brethren in their twisted, contorted dance.

Glover glanced at Cassandra and motioned with his head to follow him.  He didn't know what the hell was going on, all he cared about was getting Pryor and getting the hell out of here.  The two of them made their way through the sea of corpses towards where Pryor lay; Glover studied the web of tubes and wires, then gave a quick look back to the little man's feverish ministrations.  Glover shouldered his weapon.

"Cover me.  If that crazy man moves towards us, shoot him."

Glover let his eyes drift over the room.

"Shoot any of them if they move towards us."

Cassandra nodded and kept watch as Glover began his work.  His agile hands disentangled his friend from their spidery web.  He bent over and put his ear to Pryor's chest and tried to listen for any signs of life, holding his arms over Pryor to stop his convulsing.  He strained to hear over the howling and groaning that enveloped the room.  He stood up and let go of Pryor's body; Pryor began to shake and writhe.  Cassandra looked back at them.

"What's wrong?"

Pryor shook his head, then reached down and opened Pryor's right eye. The pupil was fixed and dilated

"There's no heart beat.  He's not breathing.  Yet look at him, he can't keep still."

The two of them jumped and aimed their weapons as they heard the little man behind them, his voice raising like a phantoms.

"I told you, he's dead but not dead.  There's no heart beat, no respiration.  He's unable to die. Ever.  They all are.  Once I've reanimated them, they'll be unstoppable, an army that can't be beaten."

Glover still had his weapon trained on the little man when a scream from the depths of hell erupted behind them.  The old man jumped as they turned and stared at Pryor.  He was sitting up, his hand clawing at his skin, his eyes staring blankly in front of him as he howled in pain and agony.
Cassandra kicked the little man to get his attention.

"You said he was dead! Why is he howling like that?  Why does he sound . . ."  She stopped herself as she realized what she was about to say.  The old man finished her sentence as he hopped on the slab to examine Pryor.

"Like a wolf?  Because of the Lycan blood flowing through his veins, stupid girl.  It flows through all of them."

Pryor stopped his unholy growls and began to pant.  He seemed to struggle to catch his non existent breath, sweat dripping down his face and chest.  He slowly turned his head towards them, his dead eyes fixing a predatory stare on Glover and his weapon.  Glover inhaled as he felt his finger slide towards his trigger.  Pryor lunged forward towards them; Glover let a volley of bullets fly into his friend,  catching the old man in the back.  The old man screamed as his body twitched and jerked.  He slumped down onto Pryor's lap.  Pryor's chest was pock marked with bullet holes; he was still upright, his mouth open and twisting.  A low guttural sound emerged from his lips.

"Don't waste your ammunition, Glover.  The old man was right.  I can't be killed.  Again."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Full Wolf Moon-Part Ten

 Cassandra opened her eyes, then bolted upright, covered in hay.  Where was she?  It took her a minute to remember all that had happened;  the bar, giving the message to Pryor, returning to the camp, Nolan raping her, leaving with Glover.  Where was Glover?  She peered through a crack in the wall; a light snow covered the ground.  She checked her watch.  She'd been asleep for almost six hours.  How would she find Glover?  She checked her weapons and slid quietly out of the loft.  The sky was begining to darken, the streets were starting to empty.  She began to walk, not sure which
 way to go.  She took a moment to remember the way to the Limber Nymph, then began her search.

Cassandra wandered around, trying to get her bearings.  She started down one street but it turned into a dead end. It was still early; would the bar even be open at this hour?  She came to an alley that looked familiar and began to enter it,  then stopped as she realized it was another dead end.  She back tracked and returned to an open square.  Now which way?  She stood still and listened for a moment.  A howling sounded in the distance.  Wolves?  Here within the city limits?  How could that be?  She listened again; yes, it was definately a wolf pack.  Her curiosity got the better of her.  Glover could wait.

She followed the sound down dark, foreboding streets.  It was a strange howl, one filled with pain.  She began to move quicker, running blindly down streets.  The noise grew louder as she came upon an old building.  She ran towards it, then fell over something in the alley.  She cursed as she crashed into the pavement.  She started to get up, rubbing her elbow as she looked around to see what had tripped her up.  A man was leaning against the side of the alley, his face a carved mass of flesh.  She bent forward to get a better look, then cried out as she recognized him. It was Glover!

Cassandra knelt next to him, gazing at his cheek.  He had heated his knife in an attempt to cauterize the bleeding. The smell of burnt flesh still lingered in the air .  She reached into her sack to look for some sort of bandage.  She found her canteen and offered it to him.

"What happened?"

Glover took a swig of water and then spit it out.

"I followed a group of soldiers to that building at the end of the alley.  Someone didn't like me nosing around.  I told him I was looking for the Limber Nymph.  He decided to give me directions."

She looked at his left eye, the lid sunk deeply into the empty socket.  Was there any way to save it?  She made a quick sweep of the ground around them, looking for the missing orb.  Glover grimaced.

"Don't bother to look for it.  He tried to make a meal of it.  There's not much left of it. Or him."

Cassandra looked over to where Glover waved his hand; a dead rat with his head shot off  lay on the other side of the alley, Glover's eye still clenched between his teeth.  Cassandra swallowed hard to keep from throwing up.  She took a deep breath and was about to speak when the howling erupted again.  The two of them looked towards the building.

"What the hell is that?"

Glover struggled to his feet, slowly moving down the alley, Cassandra following close behind.  The noise grew louder; what ever was in there was in an enormous amount of pain.  The two of them stood at the end of the alley, gazing at the structure.  A strange glow emanated from a skylight, while the entire building seemed to be bathed in a strange light.  Glover looked up towards the sky at the moon.  Cassandra followed his gaze, her voice low and soft.

"They led me here.  It's how I found you. That's a full wolf moon. They howl because they're hungry."

Glover turned his eye back to the building.  What ever was inside wasn't happy.  He pulled his hood back over his head and started to walk forward when the door to the building flew open.  A wave of pain erupted onto the street; Glover and Cassandra melted back into the alley, seeping into the shadows.  Two figures appeared in silhouette against the bright light, one small and frightened, the other large and angry.  The larger of the two paced back and forth in frustration.

"You said he'd turn!  You said Pryor would be turned by now!"

Glover and Cassandra stiffened at the sound of their comrade's name and at the sound of the man's voice.  The man she'd stabbed, the man who'd carved up his face.  They held their breath as the man continued to vent his anger, the smaller man cowering before him.

"I said I wasn't sure.  I tripled the drip, I can't guarantee it will work."

Edwards turned and punched the wall.  The old man was a fraud, he'd been lying all along.  Edwards needed this to work.  His head was swimming from lack of sleep, he could feel his knees start to buckle.  He dropped to the ground, trying to stay awake.  The little man moved quickly; he pulled out a syringe and plunged it into Edwards' shoulder.  Edwards howled and tried to grab his attacker.  The man jumped nimbly out of reach and waited; moments later Edwards collapsed on the ground, unconscious.  The little man approached in a servile manner, then boldly kicked Edwards in the ribs.

"Stupid man.  I should leave you here in the street.  But that will attract too much attention. Where are those stupid soldiers when you need them?"

The little man looked up and down the deserted street.  Glover grabbed Cassandra's arm and pulled her towards the building.  He motioned for her to shoulder her weapon as he concealed his inside his hoodie.  He held up both hands as he approached.

"Need some help, friend?"

The little man jumped at the sound of the voice, afraid one of Edwards' men had discovered what he'd done.  He peered at the two figures; they weren't soldiers.  There was no way he'd be able to pull Edwards' cumbersome body back inside by himself.  He'd use these two for his own use and then dispatch them quickly.  He motioned towards Glover and Cassandra, a sick, morbid smile appearing on his face.

"Yes, yes, come help.  My friend is ill, he needs to rest.  Help me bring him inside."

Glover moved towards the prone body, vengence rising like bile in his mouth. Cassandra held back;   the smell of death wafted out the door. Glover glanced back and motioned for her to take his legs.  She bent down and grabbed his ankles as Glover and the little man lifted his arms over the threshold.  The three of them dragged the body inside;  Cassandra dropped her end as she saw the rampage of bodies, writhing and convulsing on their slabs, muscles straining against restriants.  Glover and the little man managed to place Edwards' body on a slab.  Glover stepped back and began to scan the room, doing his best to recognize Pryor.  Towards the back of the room he stoppped; Pryor was hooked up to some sort of machine, his body contorting in pain.  He turned back to the little man, who had begun to attach wires and tubes to Edwards' body, a manical look twisting his face.  He was muttering to himself.

"Now who's the big man?  Now who's the alpha male?"

Glover moved back towards Cassandra and drew his weapon.  How to get to Pryor?  The man looked up and smirked at him.

"You think you can stop me?  Think you can keep me from victory?  Pryor said he'd lead my army."

Glover held his aim.

"Pryor needs to come with us, friend.  He has unfinished business to attend to.  Unhook him and let us leave."

The little man smirked at Glover.

"What business can a dead man attend to?"

The two of them stared at him.  Cassandra looked over towards Pryor's body, his body still straining against his restraints.

"How can he be dead when he's moving?"

The little man spat contemptously at Cassandra as he continuned to work on Edwards' body.

"Stupid girl!  He's dead but not dead.  He'll be reanimated when the moon is full.  They all will."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Full Wolf Moon-Part Nine.

Glover moved silently, keeping his head down, his eyes and ears searching.  He wandered towards the center of town.  Which way to the bar?  He leaned against a wall, trying to get his bearings when a group of soldiers appeared around the corner.  They were quaralling amongst themselves. He let them move down the street, then began to follow, making sure to keep them in sight.

He followed them around the town, down narrow, dismal streets.  After about ten minutes he saw them stop in front of what looked like an abandoned building.  The one who appeared to be the leader knocked at a door; it opened, but Glover couldn't see who or what was inside.  Two of the soldiers went directly in, but one hesistated.  The leader reappeared in the threshold and began to rip the other man a new ass.  The man outside the door continued to waffle; he turned away for a brief moment, looking behind him down the street. The leader lost his patience, drew his revolver and shot the man in the back of the head.  He dropped to the ground.  The leader returned into the warehouse;  Glover could hear voices from within.  Two figures materialized at the door, grabbed the corpse by the ankles and pulled the body inside.

Glover waited, trying to decide if it was worth his time to investigate further.  He looked around; the alley was still empty.  He started to move closer to the building when he felt something behind him. The barrel of a gun pressed firmly against his temple.

"Going somewhere, friend?"

Glover held his ground.  He slowly put his hands up, turning his head to see who had got the drop on him. He smiled.

"I'm new to this town and I seem to have gotten myself lost.  An old buddy of mine told me to check out a club called The Limber Nymph.  He said the women there were luscious and more than willing to be friendly for the right price."

Edwards pressed the gun harder into this stranger's head.  What sort of bullshit was this?  The Limber Nymph wouldn't be opened for another six hours.  He brushed the man's hood back with the nozzle of his gun to get a better look at his face.  The man returned his gaze without breaking a sweat.
Glover shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, trying to assess the situation.  What had he stumbled upon?  What ever was inside that building must be pretty important. Is that where he'd  find Pryor?  He smiled harder.

"Look pal, I'm just trying to get laid.  I know how to mind my own business.  Just point me towards the club and I'll be on my way."

Edwards hadn't slept in two days; he was having a hard time thinking straight.  He was running out of time; the moon would be full tomorrow night and he still had to deal with Pryor.  He considered his options and lowered his weapon.  He holstered it and pulled out his knife, holding it in front of Glover's face.

"No problem friend.  The Limber Nymph's not too far from here. Let me give you directions so you'll never forget."

Edwards pushed Glover back, bracing his body against the wall.  Edwards spoke slowly and deliberately, using his knife to carve the directions onto Glover's face.

"You go down this street three blocks, then make a left when you get to Madame Marie's.  She's a fortune teller; they say she has a third eye.  Maybe you should give her this."

Edwards dug his knife into Glover's left eye, carving out the orbit.  Glover screamed and dropped to his knees, the freshly carved spherical body rolling lazily at his feet.