Chicky, drama, Heavenly, love

Darling

darling

The redolence of centuries old inks and dust rose to my face as I opened the aged, leather-covered grimoire that had been handed down by my ancestors for eternities. I took in the essence of all the women before me, as I turned the thick hand-made pages until I reached the first blank page. Flattening the book open with the pressure of my hands, I took in a deep breath and focused on Mother before inking the quill. The golden glow of the bricked firepit along with the candle nearby gave off enough light to begin my message.

   Mother,
                           I miss you. Today, of all days, I wish you were here.
                          It did not work. And so, today, I will be setting him free.

I placed my hand over the written message, cleared my mind, blocked the echo of the dripping water behind me, and allowed the written thoughts to go to Mother, wherever her spirit may have been at the moment. I hoped, sitting with me.

The scent of roses drifted up from the book. The message was received.

I softly closed the book, said thank you, and stood to tuck it into the cellar wall amongst the rest of the tools I use to practice my craft, hidden from view for reasons of forbidden witchery. I ran my finger down the empty bottle that just yesterday housed my newest possession, one very expensive cinnamon stick. My head lowered to mimic my heart, for I used it to create a potion yesterday to make myself beautiful for he who did not show.

Accepting my fate to never find love, I begrudgingly made my way up the cellar stairs and into my bedroom. I pulled the box from under my bed, sat on the floor and opened it for the first time in twenty-nine years. Inside it was a folded sheet of parchment paper that instantly brought me back to this very room where I sat with my mother on a smaller, child-sized bed…to write my very first ever spell.

Mother sat next to me holding the candle above the paper that sat upon my lap.

“What do you want your husband to be, dear?” she asked six-year-old me with an excited smile.

The embarrassment came up and out of me with an uncontrollable giggle.

“Handsome,” I said, which came out more like a growling troll saying “Hnsm”.

“Write it down, Dear.”

As I sat with my memory, next to my bed, I opened the paper to reveal the five words needed to complete the spell. All in red crayon:

HANSUM
TALL
MAJICAL
KIND
DARLING

It was the last one that tugged at my chest.

“Darling?” Mother asked with a sly smile. “You want someone to call you Darling?”

“Yeees,” I said looking at the paper so I wouldn’t have to look at her.

“Why would you want that?”

“You know!”

“Because your father calls you Darling?”

“Ye-heh-es,” I said, the word separated by uncomfortable giggles.

“Well, then, Margery, write that in there!” Her arm around my shoulders gripped tighter for a moment. “Now,” she said, “repeat after me.” She paused until I looked at her. “And, so it is done.”

“And, so it is done.”

“Fold it up, put it in this box that has been handed down from my mother and her mother and so on. You will meet your husband on your thirty-fifth birthday.”

The name Darling always brings the memory of my father forward in my heart.

*****

I stood, looking over the bridge to the calm water below. It was my duty to release this man to whomever he had chosen over me. Life had intervened and given him to someone else, and in order for them to be happy, I had to release the spell to the river. This act would break the energy chord that had quietly connected us for twenty-nine years. My heart hurt as I released the paper and turned to walk away.

Despite the reason I was there, Heritage Park was quite beautiful that day. As I walked the trail, the breeze gently cleared the saddened energy I had carried with me since midnight, sixteen hours ago. Birds sang their own love songs. A song that I had accepted would not be mine. I looked up at the full trees as their leaves danced back and forth. The wind picked up with a large gust going one way and then another and then yet another, causing something to float past my face and to the ground. I lowered myself, adjusting my long skirt, to pick it up. It was a folded sheet of parchment paper. I began to open it and saw five childish words in red crayon, but they weren’t mine. Then a set of black boots and tanned breeches stood before me.

“I apologize, Darling, but the wind seems to have taken my note and passed it to you.”

My heart skipped. Could it be? I thought to myself. I slowly lifted my face to look to his. The arch in my neck confirmed that he was certainly tall.

“My goodness. You are quite lovely, aren’t you?” He said as he offered his hand. Once I stood, the most handsome man I had ever seen handed me a note. “I believe I got your note as well.”

“Thank you,” I said, feeling the heat fill my cheeks.

“Cheeks like roses and eyes as blue as the ocean,” he said, gently touching my face.

I shied my head down. Realizing I still held his note, I offered it to him.

“Please, read it,” he insisted.

I looked at the words written by a child that read:

BEUTIFULL
BLU
NICE
ROZE
LUVLEE

“It would seem, Darling, that our love spells have crossed paths,” he said with a smile. “Is today your birthday, Lovely?”

“It was yesterday,” I said as I swam in his deep brown eyes.

“Happy belated birthday, Darling. My birthday is today,” he said with a smile as he took my hand and we continued our walk together for the rest of our years.

….end…

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fantasy, horror, thriller

Seven Days – Part 1 (Horror)

Seven Days – Part 1

It had only been fifteen minutes, but Karen was already wiping a layer of dirty sweat and humidity from her braless chest. She had run from the house while still in her pajamas, her eyes bruised from last night’s makeup, hair a mess, and head pounding from her alcohol exploits. It was the phone call at 11:15 am that sent her straight from bed to the car within seconds…the phone call asking if Connor and Kenny stayed over last night. It was that phone call that let her know that her daughter Elizabeth was not at Connor’s where she said she would be. By 11:45, the parents, along with police and what seemed to be the entire neighborhood, were trudging through the woods a mile away. Boots slapping and sticking in the earth that was trying to dry after the seven days of rain had finally ceased.

It was a night alone with Tom, and now she felt guilty. She cherished the nights Elizabeth would stay with a friend. Freedom. Sex with Tom the way it used to be, alcohol, maybe a joint, staying out until she damn well chose to come home. Whenever the opportunity arose for Elizabeth to stay at Connor’s Karen took it. She knew it had been raining for days, but refused to count how many. Because if she had counted, she would have known it was seven, and that it would have been safer for Elizabeth to stay home that night. And now Elizabeth was missing. This was her fault. Her selfish fault.

Everything in her body told her Elizabeth was gone. “Elizabeth! Connor! Kenny!” She yelled every so often into the woods that surrounded her. Every time she yelled, she felt the squeeze of emptiness grow tighter around her body, strangling her with the thought of never seeing her daughter again. The “reassurance” from people walking around her was not reassuring at all. The three best friends have pulled stunts like this before. But they have always been sure to be home on time, if not early, to minimize the scolding.

She saw something blue in the distance. The top of the kiddie tent Elizabeth used when she was younger.

“Tom!” Karen could barely yell out as she ran toward the tent. “There!”

Tom and the mob followed Karen’s direction until there was a sudden stop. No one moved, and silence echoed between the people and the trees that surrounded them. A crow cawed in the distance. The police were the first to move toward the body. Only the sounds of their mud-smacking boots and rustling, pocketed pants filled the air. Karen couldn’t move, didn’t want to move. It was Elizabeth. She recognized her brown wavy hair and the Detroit Tigers pajamas. She was face down with her arms sprawled out as though she were lying in their king-sized bed. Her legs…her legs were… She moved up just a little, just enough to see that Elizabeth’s legs were missing. No, that wasn’t right. She moved a little closer. They were in the ground as though Elizabeth had been standing and the earth had formed around her, stopping mid-thigh. And the rest of her body, toppled over the earth silent, still, lifeless.

***

A loud bang stopped Kenny from finishing his story about why his mom took his phone away for the day, something about ignoring her when he was on it. Him and Elizabeth looked up to see a muddy handprint on the window, raindrops already creating trails that ran through it. The camper door opened, and Connor stood in the doorway with his face covered in mud.

“They’re coming!” he growled. “They’re going to eat us alive! First our feet.” He stomped into the camper. “Then our legs!” He did his best decrepit walk towards Elizabeth. “Then our…ouch!” He rubbed his head where the basketball bounced off, courtesy of Elizabeth.

“You’re an idiot, Connor” she said.

“It is day seven,” Kenny said, bouncing closer to Elizabeth on the couch before grabbing her in his arms. “I’ll protect you!”

She looked down at him. “Yeah, if anything happens, more like I’ll be protecting you two.” She rolled her eyes while pushing Kenny off of her. At age eleven, it was only natural that she was the tallest of the three. She was also better at basketball, baseball, and throwing crab apples at the other neighborhood kids.

Connor pulled her to her side, looping his arms around hers from the back and pulled her to the ground. “Get her!” he yelled to Kenny. Kenny straddled her and began tickling her stomach.

“Stop…”, she laughed, “…stop…I’m gonna…”, she screamed and kicked. “Stop it!”

Kenny stopped and held his hands above her, taunting her. She felt like she was going to vomit, but in a good way. She threw up once after going on the most amazing carnival ride ever, and compared her feelings for Kenny to that. Nauseating, yet amazing. “Get off me!”

Kenny and Connor looked at each other for approval before letting her go. She pounced on Kenny, knocked him to the ground and then straddled him, holding both his shoulders down.

“Help?” he said to Connor who was in the corner of his parent’s camper, laughing.

She sucked together a wad of spit and let it slowly drip from her mouth, then slurped it back up right before it landed on his face. Drop, slurp, repeat…it was a loogy-yoyo, and a pretty fine one in her mind.

Connor interrupted the torture with, “We should sneak out to the woods tonight. See if the Murmer Men come.”

“What?” She climbed off Kenny. “Are you serious?”

“It’s been seven straight days of rain. If the stories are true, they will come out tonight to feast on human flesh. I want to see what they look like.”

“They aren’t real, Connor,” Kenny said. “It’s just a fairy tale. There is no such thing as men made out of mud that eat humans. That’s ridiculous.”

“Oh yeah? Then there should be no problem hanging out in the woods then.”

Elizabeth could see a flash of fear in Kenny’s eyes, and felt one in her own. Unwilling to play the girl, Elizabeth said, “Done. I’ll grab my tent from when I was little that my mom refuses to throw away. We tell our parents that we’re staying over each other’s houses?”

“Yep,” said Connor. “Kenny?”

“Yeah, why not. Nothing’s going to happen anyways.”

***

Elizabeth reached to the bottom of her nightstand drawer and pulled out the picture of Kenny that she cut from last year’s year book. Her cheeks rose high as she took a breath in and held it to her heart. With an exhale, she pulled it from her chest and took in every last pixel of brown hair and brown eyes before placing it back in the drawer.

“What are you doing with that tent?” her mom asked. Elizabeth did realize it was a little odd, grabbing her tent she hadn’t played with since she was five. And, honestly, what would an eleven-year-old do with a baby tent anyway.

“Oh, I told Connor I was going to give it to his little sister.” Her mouth lifted with a charity-filled smile. In her mind, she heard a ding while a sparkle formed on her teeth…an Orbit commercial at its best.

“Are you sure? You may want to play in it again one day.”

Elizabeth smirked while raising her eyebrows. “Really, Mom?”

Karen sighed. “Go have fun. You sure you don’t want me to drive you over?”

“Nah, I can walk. It’s just rain.” She slipped into her poncho and threw the tent over her shoulders before leaving the house.

Kenny and Connor were waiting at the corner of Lindell and West Street. Each had their own items to lug. Kenny carried a backpack filled with sodas, cookies, jerky, flashlights and any other small items of necessity. Connor carried a garbage bag that held two blankets. Based on the size of the tent, though, they would only be using one.

They learned from their last adventure to take side streets to the woods. Last time they were caught walking down one of the main streets after dark, a concerned citizen thought it would be helpful to question them and then call the police to escort them to their homes. Their homes, of course, had very angry parents to greet them. That mistake would definitely not happen again.

The steady raindrops hitting their ponchos chilled as the night sky crept in, letting the children know that it was only a few hours before midnight. A few hours before the Murmer Men would finally rise for their feast.

“How far in should we go?” asked Kenny as they stood just outside the forest.

“Right to the middle. I want to make sure we see them rise from the mud,” said Connor before seeking his way ahead.

End part 1.

PART 2

thriller

The Seeing – flash fiction-thriller

Mom used to see a psychic when I was young. Dad thought she was nuts. To tell the truth, so did I, yet here I am, twenty-three years later, knocking on her door. I’m covered in day-old sweat. Scratches cover most areas of my skin that are showing; bruises continue to form on most of the areas of my body that are not showing. The lump on my forehead, I’m confident, will be noticed by her. She will ask, and I will avoid giving her the answer. I am here to ask her questions, not the other way around. I never considered, though, that she may know the answer as soon as she sees me. If she is truly psychic, she will know…everything. I should leave, but before I can turn to walk away, she is at the door.

“Danny,” she says with a smile. She is a short woman, no taller than five feet. Thin, and dressed in layers of decorated cloth from head to ankle. On her head, strands of gray hairs are pushing their way out from under the drapes. The piercing in her nose does not surprise me. I should have known Mom would only go to a true Gypsy. “Your mother spoke quite well of you, dear. Come in, have a seat.”

As I entered her small home, she gestured ahead to a small table with a crystal ball placed perfectly in the middle. I took my seat, peering into the ball hoping to catch a glimpse.

“Let me look at you, dear.” She grabs my hand and my heart begins to race. Is she going to know? Can she read my mind? What exactly do psychics know? “Oh yes, you look just like her. I’m so sorry she’s gone.”

“Thank you,” I respond without making eye contact. I should just leave right now.

“Cards, crystal ball, or palm reading? Which do you prefer, Dear?”

My hands are covered in sweat. Definitely not a palm reading. “Cards, I guess.”

“Great choice,” her eye gets lost in her wrinkles as she winks at me. She reaches behind the chair she is sitting in and pulls out a black cloth, which she opens to reveal Tarot cards. After a slight shuffle, I cut the deck and then she deals. She turns the cards over slowly as if not to give away any secrets before she is ready. She then explains to me that the cards are merely a tool she uses to pull messages from the spirits that come to her in visions.

Card one. “You are in danger.”

Card two. “Someone is seeking justice against you.”

She stops before turning card three. She places the cards on the table, along with both of her hands and slowly looks up at me. Oh God, she knows. “Why are you here, dear?” she asks.

“I…I’m in trouble,” I say.

She nods her head. “And?”

I look at her mouth and then her ear as I speak, “and I’m hoping you may see a way that I can get out of it.” My gaze finally finds safety and rests on the cards. I know the minute I show her my eyes, my soul, she will know.

There is silence. Silence, and I feel her unwavering gaze peering at my soul that refuses to peer back. I start to back my chair up in an effort to leave.

“Stay,” she says firmly. “I will look.” She hovers her hands over the clear ball and begins to hum. Her hum falls silent. “Who is Brian? Is that your brother?”

I sit quietly. I want to answer. I was asked a question and the correct thing to do is answer, but I don’t. If I do, she will know.

“Yes, I see him. Your brother did this to you,” she says as her eyes take in my scratches and bumps. My eyes divert back to the ground. “Why would your…” I look up at her as she looks back to the globe. I want to push it off the table. I lift my hand to slide it off but see her head slowly rising up. The stare that was once on the globe is now peering down at me as she stands up from her chair. I am now looking directly into her eyes, if only out of pure fear of what is going to come out of her mouth next. “How could you?” she growls in a deep whisper.

I jump up from my chair and stumble towards the door that slams shut before I get to it. There is no one at the door that could have shut it. Only me and the gypsy are in the room. I turn to look back at her to see her eyes have turned gray. Her head is tilted back so she can look down her nose at me even though I am two feet taller. Her eyes tell me she knows everything, has seen everything. “Your mother was a wonderful woman. I watched you kill her,” she continued to growl. I turn back to the door and try to get out, but the nob won’t turn. “I will set you free…to your death. Take your fortune with you,” she says while holding out a piece of paper. “Take it!” she demands.

I grab the paper and am then able to open the door. I run from the house to the street that is unusually vacant for a weekend at noon. I run a few houses down before looking back at hers. She is nowhere to be seen. I continue to walk down the middle of the street while opening the paper she handed me. There are two words: Look up. I look up and see nothing, but I do hear a noise to my left. As I start to look left, I see a car in my peripheral vision coming fast at me. There is no pain. Only blackness and then nothing.

~~~

Written by Sheryl Marasi (pen name)

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