Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Remedy




“Here, drink this.” It was my third attempt in an hour.
Solomon shook his head, “No. It smells funny. Take it away.”
“Come on Sol, take your medicine.” I steadied the spoonful of red sticky liquid and held it to his lips. He knocked it out of my hands.
“Dammit Sol. This stuff is expensive. You can't keep doing this.”
“I'm not sick anymore. I told you, I'm getting better. I... I took care of it.”
“Sol... really? What'd you take this time? That last 'herbal remedy' you took put you in the hospital for a week. I pay good money for the best medical care in the city. I promise, you will get better, but you have to take the medicine prescribed for you by an actual doctor. These snake oil sales pitches that sucker you in are ripping you off, and making you sicker.”
He leaned back and smiled.
“Just fluff my pillows and bring me soup Jillian. No more saccharin pharmaceuticals, okay? I told you, I took care of it.”
“You're crazy. And I can't take it any more. I have been here through it all... the hospitals, the tests, the transfusions... I've bathed you and fed you and changed you... but if you won't do what you are supposed to do, geez, if you won't help yourself, then... I'm done.”
He patted my hand.
“It's okay Jilly. You'll see. I'll be up and dancing in three days.”
Tears rolled down my cheeks. He was a breathing skeleton. In three days my only brother would be dead.
But in three days, sure enough, Sol was up dancing around. And I could have sworn he looked ten years younger.
“Oh my sweet Lord, Sol.... what have you done?” It was a miracle.
He smiled at me, grabbed my hand and twirled me around. It made me dizzy and giddy. I was thrilled. For the moment.
“I'm well Jilly. I've been cured.” He paused and a sly grin crept across his face. “You know, you don't look so good sis. I hope you're not getting.... sick.”
All at once, I felt weak as his face twisted into an evil contortion. My skin was feverish and then ice cold.
I screamed at him. “Solomon, no... how could you?”
He sighed, and a relaxed expression returned to his face. He was Solomon again. But no, he wasn't. He spoke in a gravelly whisper. “It was easy. You see, I wanted to live, and in exchange... all I had to do was offer up the three people I loved the most. You, mom and dad. A tough sacrifice Jilly, but now I'll live forever. I'm sorry Jillian... I truly am. But I just couldn't be sick anymore. It really wears you down. I was given a choice, and well, I chose to live.”
I didn't want to believe it, but I did.
“What? A choice? Who gave you a choice like that? Sol... really... who? What... It's not possible...” My head was spinning and my voice trailed off. I felt ill, suddenly not just heart sick, but physically sick, in the pit of my stomach. I ran towards the bathroom, but didn't make it. I vomited twice in the hall.
Sol was right there with me; he pulled back my hair and wiped my mouth on the sleeve of his shirt.
“Don't worry Jilly... I'm here for you. I'll take care of you like you did for me. And you'll get through it just like I did. But you'll take your medicine won't you? And you'll get better, just like you said I would.”
I couldn't fathom what was happening; it just didn't register in my mind. No....he wouldn't have, even if he could. His own family? I was his only sister, he wouldn't have bargained me away to... to what? He hadn't even said.
He stroked my hair.
“Don't you worry Jilly, you have a choice too. I know the remedy, and it won't cost you a dime.”


©2017 Garden Summerland


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Favourite Son







“Is that you Jamie?” She squinted without her glasses. I knew she couldn't make out my face.
I squeezed her hand gently.
“No ma, it's Joey. Don't try to move, you were in a car accident. You're in the hospital now...everything will be okay.”
She groaned and her eyes fluttered.
“Where's Jamie?” She croaked, her voice dry and brittle.
“Don't try to talk ma... just get your rest.”
I bowed my head and stared at the green tile floor. Should I tell her that I was all she had left now? Jamie had died six hours ago in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. I knew somehow she would blame me, she always had; for everything. I'd spent my life apologizing for never being good enough; for never being Jamie. And now he was dead and I was the one left to comfort her.
I swallowed hard and let go of her hand. Maybe it would be better for everyone if she didn't pull through. It would certainly be better for me. The thought sickened me and yet gave me hope. She'd done nothing but make my life hell. Twenty-seven years, and she'd hated me for every single one of them.
I looked around. No one was watching...
She was in bad shape; broken and old. It wouldn't take much.
“Ma... Jamie didn't make it. He's dead.”
It took a moment for it to sink in. Then her eyes opened wide and machines started beeping erratically. She opened her mouth but no sound came out. Cardiac arrest.
Nurses rushed to her and doctors came in as I backed away slowly; watching through tears as they tried to save my mother.
Was I really sad? She'd never loved me. The only one she had loved died today, and now she would join him.
I would go on living. A peaceful life now, with both of them gone.
I should've been grief stricken. I should have been heart sick to the core. Two family members taken from me right here at the holidays.
But my tears were tears of joy. I was free.


©2016 Garden Summerland

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Against His Will




I had been warned.
Never against his will. It would end badly.
But I was willing to risk it, even if he wasn't.


I waited a long time before I moved his body. It had been at least an hour. Within the first ten minutes I'd stopped bleeding and my wound had begun to close. I traced my fingers along my neck and remembered how good it felt to be on the receiving end again. It had been eons since I'd had that pleasure. A dark alley in the early 18th century; there had been two of them. And I'd never been paid. Unless the token of immortality had been my wage. I remembered them fondly. One light and one dark, shredding my clothes and then my skin. It was a beautiful savagery that I would never experience again. Until tonight.

It was after midnight, and the street below was quiet. I sat on the living room floor of the darkened apartment, the light from the bedroom down the hall barely illuminating the scene. There was a growing puddle of blood on the floor and crimson streaks down the wall. And it was on his mouth. Flashbacks in my head... his mouth on my neck, the exquisite pain and then the ecstasy. I'd forced him to feed. He hadn't wanted it. At least not at first. He had fought me, and then he'd lost control.

Frenzied tearing into my throat until I threw him across the room. His head smashed against the wall cracking his skull open; splattering blood across the pink floral wallpaper. He hit the floor with a sick thud and I sat there, shocked at my own brutality. I'd never done that.
He bled out in front of me and I did nothing to stop it. I could have healed him; stopped his transformation. Something.
But the truth...I was overjoyed; his humanity had drained; and it wouldn't be long now.
My feelings had over-ruled my better judgment. I loved him and I wanted him to be one of us... like me.
Forever.
I'd asked, and he'd said no. But I'd made him do it anyway. And he'd loved it, just like I knew he would.
Would he hate me when he resurrected? Would he finish ripping into my throat? Or would he take me as the humans did to each other? Stripping my clothes away to press his bare body against mine, and inside of mine, trying to become me, to own me. Was it really so different than what I had done?
I stared at his serene face. He looked dead; his face was pale, his eyes closed and darkness creeping in around the lids. I wanted to kiss him. I did not.
He was as perfect in mortal death as he had been in life. I stroked his wild blond hair and caressed the side of his face. He had immaculate features; chiseled cheekbones and a pouty bow mouth that was made for kissing. My eyes traveled over the rest of him; his onyx shirt unbuttoned revealing a smooth chest and a raven tattoo. Even lifeless, his hot body screamed out for my vampiric desires. Who could've resisted?
I'd fed on him numerous times and he was none the wiser. I'd hidden the memory from him; I was nothing more than the beautiful and mysterious woman that lived in the apartment across the hall. Occasionally we'd meet on the elevator or in the stairwell, and he'd look at me with a puzzled expression, waving sheepishly before he made himself turn away. I always returned his glances with an innocent smile, fighting the urge to lick my lips as I remembered his salty copperness. I craved him. And I'd broken my own rule by continuing to feed on him. Once and then move on. But he tasted so damn good, I couldn't leave him. And then I'd really screwed up, I'd allowed it... that feeling.
Love; such a twisted emotion. It makes the body want things the mind knows it can't have; that it shouldn't have. And vampires don't like being told 'no'.
I continued waiting; impatiently for hours until he regained consciousness. Now he was fully awake in his new form. A vampire like me. I smiled at him.
It was immediately apparent he did not share in my elation. He was upon me in seconds, using his new found strength to pin me against the wall. My joy had made me weak.
He didn't know he couldn't physically hurt me, but he sure gave it his best shot.
He was tireless, and the night dragged on with him wailing away upon my body, until finally his anger wore him down.
He would never know how to truly hurt me... the one action he could take that would break me. I would never let it happen. I would revel in his anger and his hatred, the knowledge that he felt something for me.
As long as I could be with him forever, I could be happy.

And maybe one day, he would be happy too. But for now...

©2016 Garden Summerland

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Stupid Beautiful


Ella took another sip of her cafe au lait and looked at her phone. Tom was predictably late, but usually just ten or fifteen minutes. Initially, there had been anger over his thoughtlessness, but it had subsided and her emotions had turned to concern. Reluctantly, she shook it off. Surely there was no cause to worry. They'd been meeting in random coffee shops for almost a year now, and he'd never been on time. Plus, he was worth waiting for.
She waved to the waitress for the check. She looked at her phone again. Nothing.
No calls, no texts. Where was he?
Another ten minutes passed and still no Tom. She was rummaging in her purse for change to leave the waitress when she felt his presence behind her.
She turned in her seat, glaring at him over her shoulder.
Where the hell have you been? I thought... I thought something had happened to you. I was...” she paused not wanting to admit to him how deeply she really cared.
Oh, how sweet, you were worried about me. Well, I just like to see if you'll wait for me.” He smirked.
“So you're testing me? Seriously? I was getting ready to leave. You're coming up on two hours now. I think you beat your own record.”
Come on Ella, don't be mad.” He produced a red rose from behind his back and smiled that dazzling smile that made her heart race; his green eyes twinkling with mischief.
And you think that's all it will take? A rose and a smile?” Her countenance was stern. But she couldn't hold it for long and let out a defeated sigh. “Yeah, okay.”
She took the flower and her face softened. She was fully aware that he was working her but she didn't care. Within the next hour they would be naked and entangled with each other in a motel bed, everything else falling into oblivion. She was slowly becoming accustomed to his lateness, his excuses, and his utter disregard for her schedule and her feelings; and now she couldn't stay away. He brought her the utmost pleasure, and an escape from her husband Mark, an over-bearing, abusive control freak. The tighter he held her, the farther away she had become; mentally and now physically. He was the reason she'd become such easy prey for Tom.
She had traded one master for another, and she didn't even realize it.
Tom was just as controlling and abusive in his own way. He used sex to manipulate her. She enjoyed it but it didn't mean she hadn't fallen into the same trap all over again.
It was easy to call it abuse when Mark left bruises. Or when he openly belittled her in front of their friends, humiliating her at cocktail parties by calling attention to her lack of book smarts. He always turned it off as a joke of course, and she always tried to laugh so no one else realized his true intent; but Ella knew.
Tom was different because he was subtle. He'd been doing this a long time, and Ella was hardly his first. He had perfected the art of skillful debasement.
He was having the time of his life. Ella was easier to manipulate than any woman he'd ever been with, it's what kept him coming back. He could make her do just about anything, and he never even had to ask.
So it came as no shock when she suggested getting rid of her husband. Tom had no interest in pursuing anything beyond what they did in seedy motel rooms, but Ella didn't know that. And he had already felt a twinge of boredom... so why not? Ella would murder her husband in the hopes that with him out of the way, she and Tom could finally be together. And Tom would get to experience the thrill of ultimate control.
He smiled. Yes, Ella would kill for him. She wouldn't kill to save herself, but she'd do it to trade herself into a different kind of slavery to another man. She was beautiful, but quite stupid.
It didn't take long to lay out a simple plan; Mark was to be the victim of a random break in. He'd surprise a burglar and poor Ella would come home from shopping to find his dead body in the living room.
She'd been careful over the years to hide evidence of his anger; no one knew she was a battered wife. No suspicion would fall on her, she adored her husband, all of their friends would confirm it. Ella had renewed hope for her life now; and she was certain she could pull the trigger then play the part of the grief stricken wife.
They planned the murder for the following Friday; she had a week to practice her story.
Tom gave her the gun he'd bought months ago, the day after he met her. He had known he would need it for something. But he hadn't dreamed it would be anything this exhilarating.
Surprisingly, the plan went off without a hitch. Ella played it to the hilt. It would be a closed case soon enough.
She met Tom three days later at a deserted gas station six miles out of town to give him back the gun.
He sat in his car and waited for her, grinning as he watched her pull up and park next to him. She got out of her car, the gun in hand and walked slowly towards him. He rolled down the window, and motioned for her to get into the passenger side. Why not have one last tumble in the sack?
He was still smiling at her as she leveled the gun and shot him in the head. She took his watch and his wallet and left him wide eyed, slumped over the steering wheel of his Mercedes.
Ella was indeed very beautiful, and she wasn't so stupid after all.



©2016 Garden Summerland

  

Monday, April 4, 2016

Demon Is the New Normal




The doctors told me that Fridays would be the worst. They hadn't said why, but this was my second one as a free woman and I had to agree with them, but perhaps not for the same reasons.
I attempted my usual routine; two black coffees, six cigarettes and then a hot shower. I stood in the bathroom wrapped in a fluffy white towel, but still managed to drip water onto the marbled tile floor. I didn't care, I was in agony. The piercing screams inside my mind had begun again; I fell to my knees holding the sides of my head. I'd missed two doses of medication, now he was back cursing at me and telling me what to do.
Cathan. The demon that controlled my life. Unless I had those little pink pills, my 20 mg. a day, he made me do things. Criminal things. Things no one else knew about. Secret things. Things I loved. Things I craved.
I couldn't lie to myself anymore, I missed him... my demon.
Even though he became abusive when I didn't listen, he had loved me when no one else had. So I didn't mind doing small favors for him. It made a part of me deeply happy.
And all I'd done since I'd been locked up and made to take pills was cry.

I'd lived most of my life with Cathan screaming my name. I was pretty used to it, and even the painful headaches that followed his outbursts comforted me in an odd way. Cathan was normal. Swallowing pills every day wasn't. I was the only one that understood that. But if I hadn't at least agreed to the medication, my family had threatened to keep me locked up indefinitely. Cathan was dying in that institution, and I knew that even though the pills made him sick, he could survive it. We both could. So I'd nodded my head and gotten released. I didn't want the pills, but I didn't have any other alternative. Now I was pretty much on my own again... well as much as I'd ever been on my own. Me and Cathan. It was a love/hate relationship, but the only real one I'd ever had. I knew Cathan and he knew me, inside and out. It was... comfortable.

Now he whispered to me. I think it was the only way he could be sure I was listening. I got really still and rocked back and forth on the floor. The silence made me shiver. And then his voice changed, it was soothing and warmed me all over, “None of this will matter soon.”
Then he told me to get the pills. I reached up and took the bottle from beside the sink. I knew he was going to make me flush them down the toilet. I could do that.
“Join me,” he hissed in my head. He said it over and over again. “Take all of them. Get rid of those pills. You know it's what you want.”
He was laughing. Was it really what he wanted? Was it what I wanted?
“No, I won't do it!” I screamed at him. I threw the bottle of pills and it hit the wall sending a shower of pink tablets down upon me. Then I saw myself picking them up; I was in a frenzy as I ate them. But that wasn't enough for him. I felt myself being dragged to my feet; then opening the medicine cabinet and taking out the straight razor I had hidden there two years ago as a reminder of how far I'd come.

I inhaled sharply as the silver blade sunk into my wrist. I hadn't been prepared for the pain.
I screamed. Cathan was laughing inside my head. He wouldn't be laughing soon.
“Stop. Please, dear god, stop this!” I begged him.
But still I pushed the blade deeper. I didn't know what I was doing, I had no control.

Now there would be no Cathan and no pills. No new normal. There was only darkness consuming me, and then there would be nothing.
It was in the back of my mind... something evil... I could feel it overwhelming me. Then there was more laughter; sinister, twisted, sick laughter. I looked in the mirror, he was standing behind me with his arms around me.

Cathan smiled wickedly; he was holding the blade.   


©2016 Garden Summerland

Friday, February 26, 2016

Cruel


Ashley ached all over. She sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes; they were swollen and sore.
I could see her clearly in my mind. She was a vision of evil intent wrapped into an exquisitely beautiful package; but not for long.
I centered my focus and began the hex.
She blinked her eyes, unable to register the horror that began playing out as her porcelain skin began to erupt into horrible blisters. In a few minutes they would break open and bleed. The skin underneath would crack and fall away. And then, the true intent of my spell would be revealed; deep wrinkles embedded into her skin. I spoke the incantation as I held the head of a broken doll in my hands Soon her hands would begin to gnarl and twist; the blue-black veins becoming more prominent as her skin got thinner and thinner.
She was aging. I was giving her the face and body of a feeble old hag, while allowing her to keep her youthful, shallow, and cruel mind.
Soon they would laugh at her. She would be sorry for what she'd done to me. She was nothing more than a bully, and the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
I was going to take it all from her. Those things she treasured the most; no more selfies, no young friends to hang with. And worst of all, no more cute boys. She would have no bae, ever again.
She tried to grab her phone, but it slipped from her arthritic hands, falling onto the bed. I laughed and Instagram popped up on her screen. She was aging in her photos too. She tried frantically to delete them. It wasn't working; they were still there. She tried to delete her account. It was no use.
She was getting hit after hit, comment after comment. They all said the same thing.
You're ugly. And old, so very old. Get off Instagram. We HATE you.
The same poisonous venom she'd spat onto me, a complete stranger.

I smiled, knowing it was time. The popular girl was about to become unpopular. Tears poured from her squinting eyes as she saw her follower count dropping. She screamed in agony as she saw her following go from over 7 thousand, down to two; her mother and her sister. And neither of them had logged in for over six months. She struggled to check her other accounts. And it was just what she feared, all of them had zero followers. Everyone had left her; she was nobody.
She couldn't fathom why this was this happening to her. She had always been so... beautiful and popular. She was a Queen B.
Then she heard the laughter. My laughter. She jerked her head around. No one was there. This couldn't be real. She thought she was going crazy. Or dreaming. That was it; it was just a nightmare. She'd awaken soon and everything would be fine. I cackled again.
Her skin began to itch and she clawed at herself. She couldn't stop. Her youth was fading away.
She threw herself down upon her pillows and sobbed until she was out of breath, her last bit of energy spent.
I lit tea light candles and set the doll head in front of them; the ritual was almost complete. Unpleasant minutes passed as I watched the dwindling flames and Ashley coughed as her lungs began to collapse.
“I'm sorry.” The words escaped her lips in a dry whisper. I smiled. She had found redemption.
I smashed the doll head and the spell was broken. I am not so cruel after all.  

©2016 Garden Summerland

Friday, February 5, 2016

Devil May Care





I hadn't seen Seth in days. The last time he'd come to me, we'd argued and he'd left in a huff. He didn't believe that I loved him, and wanted me to prove it. And now it appeared we were going to have the same discussion again. He thought he could break my will, but I knew I was stronger than that. At least I thought I was.
I sat on my bed as he paced back and forth in front of me. I should have turned on the light; the sun had gone down just as he'd arrived, and it was almost too dark to discern his expression. He was going to plead his case again. I rolled my eyes; I'd had enough.
“Do it... for me.” His voice was low, almost a whisper, but his words had a commanding power that gripped my soul.
I fought against them. “No.” I said it flatly, with no emotion, although my breath was shallow and uneven. He had shaken my reserve and he knew it. He was pleased.
“Then you don't really love me, do you, my sweet Alice?” It wasn't really a question.
“What do you want from me? You think I'll agree to murder some random innocent person in cold blood because you say it will prove my love for you?”
“Yes. But hardly random, and certainly not innocent.”
“That's ridiculous. You're.... you're insane.”
“Perhaps, but that's where we're at. Put up or shut up my darling.”
“Absolutely not. I won't do it.” I folded my arms across my chest and shook my head.
“Then I guess we're done here, aren't we?” He tugged on his leather gloves and smirked, his blue eyes darkening as they narrowed ever so slightly.
“Yes Seth, I suppose we are.”
He turned and headed for the door, the cloud of darkness following him like a trail.
I couldn't do it. I wouldn't do it. And he couldn't make me... or could he? My thoughts were swimming in a sea of moral quandary. I didn't want him to go.
He paused at the door.
“Okay!” I screamed it at him. “Are you satisfied?”
Time seemed to stand still; suddenly he was beside me, his leather clad fingers wiping away the tears that trickled down my cheeks. I was losing my sanity, I wanted him to kiss me.
“Um.... no, I'm not satisfied... not just yet.” His sinister laugh filled the space between us as a purplish swirl of smoke surrounded him and he vanished.
A cold chill slithered under my skin like an icy reptile and my heart shivered. Now all I had to do was wait. Seth would tell me who and when, and I assumed provide the means to do it. I had no idea how to kill someone; I'd never thought about it.

Bit by bit, his evil had bled into my soul. Possession. That's what they called it. But there would be no exorcist for me; only a 6 by 8 foot prison cell. There was no way around it, I'd be guilty, and I would confess. And I'd have a ready made defense; the devil made me do it. Of course, no one would believe that it was the truth. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, I lived in a state that had no death penalty. They would put me away for a long time; my sole comfort, that the devil may care. 

©2016 Garden Summerland