Friday, March 25, 2011

My dear, Relentless

He took another drag from the cigarette and watched the birds cross the sky. Their black bodies, headed for the south, were dots on the blue backdrop. Caleb sat his shot gun on the ground. He enjoyed watching nature, namely birds. They were innocent. It was almost as soothing as his smoke-almost.  paused and caught a whiff of something putrid. He looked to his left and spied a banana peel covered in flies. Turning his head to the right, he saw the bag. It lay neglected on the winter ground. He was simply at his wits end trying to stay sane and the predicament which had befallen him wasn't helping. His wits weren't as good now a days either.

Caleb was 75 and he could feel all those little years knawing away at the joints in his legs and arms. He felt death approaching, but he still wasn't sure if he was ready. Why, who the hell was ready for that, anyway? Caleb chuckled and brought the cigarette to his cracked lips. He pulled deeply. It came again, racking his brain with an odd warmth.

Caleb felt the whole world get bigger as another one died somewhere far away.

"Damn, this never ceases to startle me."

 Standing slowly, Caleb's knees creaked and his wispy grey hair fell in his eyes. He looked down beside him at the garbage bag. He cringed. Caleb had a gift it seemed. Sometimes, when a person died, Caleb could feel it. Caleb had sensed the gift as a teen when one of his friends killed himself. He didn't like the feeling then and he damn sure didn't like it now. Hundreds of times in the past, Caleb acted as a morbid receiver of death. It was an odd moment when time stood still, reversed and then restarted, Caleb was convinced. He just accepted the gift as something that could not be explained. When it happened over and over, Caleb accepted it as a portion of his daily routine. When Caleb lost Pepper, he realized how empty his world would always be.

"Poor old Pepper, he was a good dog." Caleb spoke to no one in particular.

 His eyes closed taking in the stale air.  Caleb flicked his cigarette but into the soft dirt behind him and stared at the dirty garbage bag. He stared at the bag and frowned. Pepper had been with Caleb since he was a puppy, and he was a damn good dog. Pepper was clean and smart, hell, he didn't even bark all that much.

But then, about a week before his death, Pepper started acting strange. The dog paced back and forth in front of the door whining. As time went on, Pepper began writhe on the floor. First it was a few times that only lasted seconds, then it came in more frequency.  As soon as the strange writhing began, it stopped.

While Caleb cleaned his gun in his favorite recliner, Pepper sat at his feet. Caleb reached down and scratched between Pepper's ears and started talking to him. Just silly words really, but an obvious expression of love from Caleb to an obedient dog. But this time it was different. Pepper spoke back. Pepper started to speak simple words.

"Caleb." Pepper spoke Caleb's name clearly.

Caleb was frozen by what he thought he heard. And he was right, because Pepper said it again.

Caleb looked harder at Pepper as if he knew he would soon wake from a dream.

 "Pepper, did you talk to me, boy?"

Pepper spoke again. This time he made a statement. "Caleb, it's me."

Caleb's eyes grew large and his heart rate increased "Oh my god!" Caleb gripped the arms of the recliner and prepared to stand.

 He thought it would be better to get out of the room a moment and think about what was going on. Caleb firmly believed in demons and possession and he had seen one too many possessions for his spirit.

"Uh...who is speaking to me?"

It seemed like Pepper smiled. "It's me Caleb, Patricia. I came to take you home, dear."

 Pepper scampered forward and jumped up on Caleb's leg. Caleb gripped his shot gun tightly and tried to calm his heart. He remembered what the preacher told him all those years ago. 'Don't consort with the devil, he will get in your mind.' The words gripped Caleb with terrible fear. He couldn't imagine what this demon could do to him. It just kept coming, she just kept coming. Caleb felt faint.

Pepper wagged his tail. "Caleb, I love you. I am so happy to see you again."

Caleb instinctively pulled the gun forward and pushed it toward the dog. Pepper drew back in fear crawling off Caleb's leg. The dog shook. He cowered staring with dark shiny eyes. Pepper’s fur stood on end and his tail stopped wagging. Was the dog crying? Caleb tilted his head and puzzled.

 "Damn dogs can't cry, you demon!"

"I know what you are, demon, and you won't have my soul." Caleb cocked the gun and waited for the demon to speak.

Pepper opened his mouth but no words came out. Unfortunately or fortunately, Caleb's body couldn't quit shaking. His bad trigger finger habit ended the dog’s life in a messy pop. The dog's last words were never spoken-lost in the loud bang. Caleb was still for a long time before he realized that he had killed his dog. Now that it couldn't talk it seemed more like a dog to him instead of a demon. Caleb sat in the bloody mess for hours trying to understand what he had just witnessed. Then for hours afterwards, he grieved for Patricia. When he came back to reality, he looked around and bellowed. HIs body shook, he grasped the collar of his shirt and pushed up onto his feet. IT was time to do what he always did, make things respectable.

Caleb picked up the garbage bag and bent to get the shovel. He had a nice spot for Pepper, out back by his wife's pear tree. This would be the perfect place to bury Pepper-the perfect place to bury Patricia-that old demon.

He couldn't do it, you know. ...digs... One half of his life with Patricia was enough. How many times he had gotten rid of her. ...digs... Now he knew that she could come through the animals as well. It was truly over for Caleb. Guess this meant a new form of loneliness...digs.

 First, she used their children, then Caleb's new wife. His life became a dark and dismal place. ...digs... After Caleb moved out on his own, out into the darkness of the deep woods, she found him. She even came through a hunter or two.

Caleb dropped the bag in the shallow hole and looked into the sky. One black bird flew back towards the farm. As it grew closer, Caleb pulled another cigarette from his pack.

"I see you Patricia."

Caleb sat down and picked up his shotgun.

"I see you."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Reason 4

I didn’t leave. I couldn’t leave.

I saw him as he closed the back door and silently slipped into the darkness. He entered a small trail behind the little church leading into the woods. How convenient. My mysterious man had an escape route. As Pastor Tim embarked upon his journey, he glanced over his shoulder and frowned. Could he sense that I had not left?

I waited silently behind a car parked on the opposite side of the street. I waited until he was out of sight and then I moved. My hand never left my purse and my fingers held tight to the cold gun within. If I shook from fear or if it was the chill in the air; I would never know. My heart pushed me toward the mystery which lay ahead of me.

Silently on cat feet, I approached the church steps and peered around the corner. It was dark beyond the street lamp except for the light of the full moon. Beyond the rear of the church; the opening of the forest trail stood beckoning. The lump in my throat did not go down so easily, so I tried swallowing again.

“Damn, this is crazy.”

Minutes slipped by as i reconsidered my lunatic notion of following the preacher; but of course, curiosity won over. I slid along the exterior wall of the church ninja style and peered into the woods. It stared at me with its natural eye of the unknown. I shivered. As I reached the back door, I stopped and waited for my heartbeat to slow. The night birds sang and the crickets chirped but it did not soothe me. Were they warning me to stay away? Sure they were, and why didn’t I listen to them?

Clearing my throat, I straightened my blouse and took the first tentative steps into the moonlit dappled trail. No matter how hard I tried, the twigs stilled snapped under my feet and the leaves still rustled. I could never be a ninja.

I was suddenly amazed at how many thoughts raced through my head. Even though I feared for my life, I could not stop thinking about little trivial things at home. ‘Rayanne, did you turn off the stove? Rayanne did you call your mother? Rayanne, have you lost your mind?’

The last thought was interrupted by a sound; and unfortunately it sounded exactly like what I feared it might be. You only hear those sounds in the movies. A long howl lifted, gained volume and trailed off in the distance.

“Oh dear God…seriously..have I lost my mind?” I mused in fear. My hand gripped the gun so hard that I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore. I was hoping that I was going to be proved wrong tonight.

A second howl followed the first and ended with a scream. The scream came from someone else and I realized what was happening. He was killing someone and there was nothing I could do.

I picked up pace and sprinted toward the coupled noises. Realizing how completely insane I must be, I laughed. “White people are all the same. when we hear danger we do not run from it. We run to it.” I smiled in spight of the slapping branches cutting into my face. Shaking my head, I continued clawing my way through the rabbit brush. After several feet of clearing the undergrowth, I stopped and gasped.

He was standing over the body of a woman and he held a severed arm in his paw. Upon further inspection I realized that she was someone I knew. A woman from church who I admittedly had enmity towards. But this was no time to smile over her misfortune. Blood covered the beast’s furry face and body. He was a monster. I starred in wonder at the gruesome sight before me. The man, I knew as my mentor, was standing before me as a brown fur covered beast….a werewolf. His sheer height and build dwarfed that of his human guise. He was huge. As he growled his chest rose and fell rapidly. I saw his eyes and they frightened me fore they were yellow and almost catlike . He surveyed the damage he had done and his rapid movements made the severed arm flopped in his grip. The creature dropped the arm falling to all fours and he lowered his head.

I gasped without thinking then shoved my fist into my mouth. I just couldn’t contain my shock. My sounds alerted him that he had an onlooker. He looked in my direction and lifted his muzzle. As the wolfman sniffed the air he opened his mouth slightly. He could taste my presence.

His face grew soft and the creature whined. I noticed how he changed in the moment he picked up my scent. My brown eyes met his yellow ones and his yellow eyes turned brown. They were soft and inviting. He howled once more and pawed at the ground. As he noticed his own carnage he put his head to he ground sniffing. The wolf began to whine and emit horrible noises. Was he mourning what he had done or was he mourning what he had become?

Being brave or simply stupid, I walked through the brush and stood before him. Only feet away the werewolf seemed to take no notice of me. I squatted and looked at the monster as he wept before his kill. Tanith lay before me crumpled and broken; discarded like a used lover. She had been ripped open from her throat down to her stomach. Her ribs arched toward heaven and her bloody stump glistened with fresh blood. My stomach lurched at the sight of the monster’s meal. Even though I was secretly jealous of Tanith, I still felt great sorrow for her-or did I? Her face was slack with death as she stared upward. I imagined her mouth wanting a kiss with its wide open lips. Another wave of sickness brought me back to the present and I noticed he was watching me. As he turned his face toward mine, he lifted onto all fours. Then with no warning he huffed blowing hot breath toward me. Seeing my amazement he stood quickly on his hind legs and the movement caused me to stumble backwards bumping into a tall pine.

Clawing at the thick bark, I dug my nails into the flesh of the tree and sprinted around it. I ran fast into the briars and dense undergrowth of the forest. I was numb and the branches tore and thorns ripped my skin but I still felt nothing. Fear pumped me as I ran tripping of logs and falling into the leaves on the forest floor. The drum of my heart beat pushed me to get up and run again but I realized I was lost. “Oh my god…where am I?”

Whipping my head back and forth, I looked for the beast. I felt he was right behind me but when I turned there was no one there. Only the soothing sound of the night bugs kept me lucid. I began to sob and long trails of tears fell down my cheeks and into the collar of my blouse. My hair was stuck to my face and my sweat burned my eyes. As I fell to my knees I began to pray.

I pulled myself up and opened my eyes. He stared at me with depth less brown eyes. Moisture glistened under the moonlight as it clung to his fur. He stood motionless for a moment before shambling toward me. I cringed and closed my eyes once more. I could die right now and the last memory I would have was of the eyes of my killer.

Another wave of sobs broke my body and the wetness ran down my face. A soft paw touched my face and I screamed. “No…please…oh god help me!” He did not harm me instead he wiped the tear away and stroked my cheek. Small gasps of breath left me as my lips parted. I opened my eyes. I fell into those deep brown eyes of the beast. His misshapen paw moved down the length of my face and into my long red hair. It felt strange.

My mouth opened and i whispered. “Tim is that you?”

He closed his eyes for a moment then returned his gaze to me. All the while he stroked my hair lovingly. A strange feeling washed through my body sending pleasure signals to private places. Reaching up, i took his paw in my hand and brought it to my lips. As I kissed his claw, I tasted the blood. It was warm and coppery and a pain ran through my tongue. I licked my lips and traced the edge of my mouth with his paw. I watched him exhale and whimper as he bent to wrap his huge arms around me. I could not move; there was nothing I could do.

The reason 3

Holding my breath became quite painful for me. What was only minutes seemed like hours and I was so afraid that my knees had begun to shake wildly. Beside my camera, deep within my purse I found my hand gun. It was a contrast of cold next to my heat emanating body. I would use this little gun it if I had to.

“Rayanne, I know you are in there.” He smiled and rubbed his chin as he called me out.

My throat seemed to close and my eyes watered as if they were ready to spill over. I was not coming out of here, damnit, he could not make me. Fear gripped my reality and reminded me to look at my watch. It was 9:45. But what did that mean? When exactly did they change? My hopes were leaning toward midnight but my fears were leaning on ‘get out of here because he could change any minute’. But , how could I escape? He was between me and the door.

Pastor Tim looked impatient and his eyes demanded that I vacate the bathroom or there would be dire consequences. But for some strange reason, I had a feeling that he could not harm me.

In a sudden explosion of breath, I exhaled and my finger accidentally took a picture in my purse. Gripping the door handle, I steadied my footing. “Crap! He definitely knows I am in here now.”

The creepy evangelist walked over to the front row of pews and sat down. He crossed his legs man style and cleared his throat again. As if it were just another ordinary stalking, he spoke to me. “I need to talk to you my dear. Please come out; I have to leave soon.” He turned toward the bathroom door and smiled as he picked at his manicured nails.

It was either stay in there all night and possibly be ripped apart or come out and take a risk. At least out there I was closer to the door and could escape easily. Inhaling deeply, I grasped the door and pushed it outward. Tim’s smile grew larger when he saw me in the doorway. I realeased the small hand gun that I gripped ever so tightly. I decided to play brave girl.

“Ah, there you are little red. I was wondering that maybe you were spying on me.” Tim’s warmth portrayed no furry monster in disguise as he spoke softly to me.

Stuttering and fumbling for the right lie and excuse, i managed to speak. “I…I was just refreshing my make up and fixing my hair. I am sorry I was holding you up Pastor Tim. I will be going now, if you don’t mind.” With speed in my step I attempted to whisk past him. My skirt clung to the sweat on my legs and my long red hair was stuck to my neck. I had not realized how hot that bathroom was. Or maybe I was really that scared.

“Wait!I said I wanted to talk to you. Do you have a minute…or two?” I felt his hand on my forearm as he grabbed me and stopped me in my tracks. His hand was strong and there was no way I would pull free from his grasp. He had me captive for the moment and all I could say was…

“Yes, Pastor Tim. But just a moment. I have another engagement.” I was no good at lying and I wondered did he know that.

“Sure Rayann. Just a moment. Have a seat.” Tim spoke with eloquence and rubbed his hands together nervously. “I hear that you have a gift and I would love for you to share with me, about your gift.”

Shocked, I sat down and looked at my lap. I rung my hands as I often do when I am very nervous. I did not know how to respond to the observation so I just shrugged my shoulders.

“It is ok Rayanne. You can tell me and I will believe you. I promise.” His voice became almost silken with its quiet melodic tone. Out of the corner of my eye I saw his hand move to push the hair from my face. I jerked and drew back in horror.

“What are you doing?” I commanded drawing away from his too familiar hand.

His laughter caught me off guard. I was having a roller coaster of emotions play ping pong in my head. Yes, there was alot of activity going on in my brain at that moment. I glanced at my watch. It was 10:00.

“You should relax, we are safe here. There is nothing here but the glory of God. When you are in his presence, no evil can harm you, my dear. So you should not be afraid of me. He sat back and looked at me admiringly. “Now, out there beyond his glory and if his hand is not on you, then you are in a heap of big trouble girly.”

The statement horrifyed me considering I was thinking of the dream again. “I am sorry Pastor. YOu just make me nervous is all.”

” I understand.” He dropped his head and glanced at his watch.” Oh, would you look at that. I told you a lie sweetheart. I have to be leaving now. Duty calls.”

“Do you have a night shift job, Pastor Tim?” Bravery pushed me to ask the question and bravery was the only thing that glued me to that spot.

Tim’s smile faded. He grabbed his suit coat from the back of the pew and threw it over his shoulder before speaking. “I have an appointment with a long lost friend, if you must know.” His lips curled back into a smile but his eyes said he concealed much more. “Come on now, I have to lock up.”

I stared blankly as he motioned for me to leave before him. “But what about my gift?”

The strange evangelist tilted his head and pouted. “Why you are the only one with a gift like yours my dear..that I know at least. I have ministered to many people in my time and your gift is rare. It is as if you can look into the souls of man and know what lies within. I need you here and with the tough crowds that I get…why you just might be my only hope.” Tim put his hand on my back and guided me toward the small front door. “Goodnight my dear. Oh and watch that last step. It is a little tricky.”

I shivered and left the building. I did not look back but I felt his stares

I heard the door shut and the lock click. I wiped the sweat from my forehead as I fingered my gun.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Reason 2

I decided not to talk to him yet. I knew that Pastor Tim would never take me seriously or that he would pray for me. Maybe prayer is what I needed. I told myself that it was just all in my imagination; what I saw in my dreams that night. I told myself that It had to be a nightmare because Tim was a holy man; a devoted man of God and he could never be associated with such evil acts.

I went on about the week’s tasks in silent denial pretending that everything was alright. But it wasn’t. Every since I was a child, I have had visions of the present unkown, and the future to be. This is the best way of explaining what I went through. I have watched people I love die in my dreams at night and then die again some time later in reality. Over time, when I would awake from my dreams I knew I was helpless and heartbroken. I hated my dreams. I kept thinking that maybe, just maybe…I could make it stop. Somehow or someway, I could find a way to prevent what was going to happen; or in Pastor Tim’s case, help him redeem his soul from the curse. Why else would God give me the abilities unless I was meant to use them for good…right?

The time had come for me to take a stand for what was right and fullfill my purpose in this sick and twisted premonition. I had to know the truth, firtst off, and then I had to know what my part in this play was. After the revival was over on Friday night, I waited in the bathroom for the congregation to leave. I was going to follow Pastor Tim and find out where he went after church. Tonight was a full moon and according to Hollywood; Tim would change tonight and I would be able to catch it on film.

With my mini camcorder in my purse, I crouched in the tiny little bathroom in the back of the church. I heard whispers among the remaining congregation as they shook pastor Tim’s hand and left . Within minutes we were alone. Something strange and stagnant floated in the air above me. This was not normal and it did not feel right; but I waited none-the-less.

I watched him through a very small crack in the bathroom door as he returned to the pulpit. He was very handsome despite the fine lines of character on his face; highlighted by the flourescent lights of the stage. His hair was brown and his eyes were soft and almost black. Stubble had begun to cover his face and it appeared as though he was a very tired man. Tim was not tall neither was he short and even though he always wore a suit; you could see a very nice and defined body underneath.

He paced back and forth in front of the wooden podium and and ran his fingers through his hair. It did not appear to me that he would be taking his leave anytime soon. I grew impatient and I fingered the shutter on the camera. “Come on come on…lets go.” Sweat beaded on my forehead and my hands began to shake. Suddenly, without warning Pastor Tim stopped pacing and stared toward my hiding place.

“You can come out now, dear.”