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Friday, September 30, 2011

HEADLIGHTS copyright2011 m.s,

Sean rose from his bed, feeling the dampness of sweat on his arms. He rubbed the middle of his forehead with two fingers, yawned. Outside his bedroom window the sun was setting. In another three hours, he would make his way down Highway 20 to the warehouse and work another twelve hour shift boxing up assorted chocolates and placing them on a pallet. Cora was in the other room playing on the computer. He could see the light from the monitor flicker in the dark room across the hallway.

He threw on a pair of jeans and a sweater, clumsily staggered to the other bedroom. He saw Cora staring intently at the screen, her large framed glasses sitting at the end of her nose. He waited by the doorway, decided not to disturb her. She had just got off work at the dry cleaners an hour before, he was sure she needed some time to unwind.

Sean went to the kitchen, looked in the refrigerator, and grabbed a handful of ham and chucked the roll into his mouth. He reached for the gallon of milk, when some headlights coming down the lane caught his attention. It was blindingly bright, passing through the kitchen window. Sean squinted, raised his arm to block the light from his eyes.

He went to the backdoor, opened it slightly, peeked out. No one was there. The headlights were gone. No car out in his driveway. He and Cora lived a good two miles from the next neighbor, so it was a big deal when someone drove up to his house. In the past year, only Cora's dad had visited and maybe Jones from work. Since all ties were broken with Sean's family, and it would take more than an episode of Oprah to sort it all out, chances of a visitor out of the blue, was rare.

Sean shrugged closed the door. “Strange,” He said to himself. “Maybe I'm still dreaming.” He poured himself a glass of milk, took a long sip. Then he placed the glass on the table and went to the room where Cora was still watching YouTube on the computer.

Sean leaned against the doorway. “Hey,” He said, his voice booming.

It took a second before Cora realized he had said something. She removed the headphone from her tangled brown hair, smiled. “You said something?”

Sean nodded. “How was your day?”

“Okay. Didn't know you were up.” Cora swirled around in her swivel chair.

“Been up a few minutes. Did you see the headlights coming down the lane?”
Sean rubbed the sleep out of his eyes.

“No. Who's here?” Cora folded her arms, stretched her neck to see out the window.

“That's the weird thing. Nobody is here. I saw the headlights, almost blinded me. I poked my head out the backdoor, no car there.” Sean shrugged, laughed.

“I bet you were dreaming or something,” Cora stood. She walked up to Sean and kissed him.

“That's what I thought too. But....I don't know.”

Cora patted him on the stomach. “I'll go make you some eggs. How's that?”

“Yeah.. okay.” Sean said. He stepped aside and let her past him. He followed her to the kitchen.

Sean rose from his bed, feeling the dampness of sweat on his arms. He rubbed the middle of his forehead with two fingers, yawned. Outside his bedroom window the sun was setting. He saw the headlights coming down the lane. He slid on a pair of jeans and a shirt. He ran through the hall and into the kitchen. He opened the backdoor and stepped out on the cold ground. Cora put the Metro in park and turned off the engine. She quickly got out of the car, left the drivers door wide open. She was sobbing, trying to talk on her cell phone. She stumbled through the yard and walked through Sean, and into the house.

Sean heard her say, “Dad....Sean...Sean was killed this morning....another car.....”

Sean followed her in and became a memory.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

THE MESSENGER copyright 2011 m.s.

I awoke to the smell of sulfur in the air. It was two A.M. and it was already a hard night's sleep that made my brain Topsy turvy. I opened my eyes to blurred vision, a pounding head, and a lingering shadow that hovered above my bed. A low key whisper protruded through my tingling ears. When I sat up in my bed and turned on the bedside lamp the shadow dissipated into thin air.

I stood, looked around, a .38 S and W already in hand. I found nothing at first. But I heard a rumble in the kitchen and proceeded there. I hit the light switch and something grabbed my hand. I heard a hissing sound and that damned sulfur perfumed the air once more. The shadow reappeared, with it's winged body and over-sized turnip shaped head. I felt hot breath that smelled of rotting corpses on my face.

“Light is not permitted, Chambers.” The shadow said. It knew my name, and wasn't polite enough to give it's own name. My wrist was beginning to ache, this thing had some grip.

“You can let go of me, funny face,” I grunted.

“I heard you had quite a sense of humor.....a human trait that disgusts me.” It's voice seemed to change pitch with each syllable. It was an annoying sound to my ears, a lot like fingernails across a blackboard.

It removed it's kung fu grip from my wrist. Something told me to put the S and W away, it wouldn't do any damage to this creature anyway.

“I'm sure it's not as disgusting as your breath. My guess is your mother never made you brush your teeth...or fangs.” It wasn't a joke it liked at all and showed it by cutting loose a growl that shook the refrigerator.

“If I was here for any other reason--”

“Why are you here, waking me up in the early hours---”

“If you weren't under the protection of G'nal, I would eat your intestines from the inside out!” The appliances shook again. This thing had put me in a bad mood. Yeah, I was in the protection of the Demon G'nal, and whoever this Hell spawn was, he was a lower rank than my protector. Screw it, I was gonna push it to the limits.

“You don't have any power beyond scare tactics. Guess what? I'm not scared.”

It grabbed my arm, the flesh began to simmer, burn. I screamed dropped my gun. Suddenly I was thrown across the room into the living room of my bungalow. My back slammed into the wall, jarring framed photos of loved ones to the floor. I tumbled across the carpet, knocking the T.V. off it's stand.

“Make sure you give this message to Romy Berline, human waste. You have two days before I come for your body and turn it into a pillar of salt.”

I touched my arm, symbols and letters from a strange language had been etched into my flesh. I looked up and the shadow was gone.

I heard footsteps outside my door. There was a faint rapping. Then a muffled voice calling my name. “Pete?” The voice belonged to Maggie Conolly. I was living in the bungalow her rich husband owned. It was an odd relationship, ever since I acquired G'nal as my protector. He allowed my keeping Maggie company and sponging off her, in return he was somewhat protected too. He was a nutcase. Searching the world over for Mystical artifacts for crazy-ass schemes.

I hobbled over to the door, let her in. She looked good as usual, changing her hair to a more red tinge than the chestnut brown. She filled out that robe nicely.

Maggie stole a cigarette from top of my Ross MacDonald book on the coffee table. “Are you alright?” She whispered.

I nodded, reached for the lighter on the coffee table, lit her cigarette. “As well as a guy can be whose been tossed around by a demon.”

Her eyes widened. “G'nal let this happen?”

I moved a couple of picture frames, sat on the couch. Maggie did the same. She sat real close to me. “Yeah, I was wondering why he let this happen. Might be a rank or something.”

“Your arm.....” Maggie examined it. “What is this...burns?”

“This shadow woke me about an half hour ago. He grabbed me, we exchanged words, then....this....burned into my skin. He said to make sure I give this message to Romy Berline.”

“Do you know a Romy Berline?” Maggie's eyes were cool, icy. Jealousy rearranged a beautiful face.

“It is obvious that I had better get to know her....and fast. First I better find out why this Demon picked me out of a host of people that actually know her. Why my so-called protector didn't protect me.”

On the corner of fifth and Warren, Little Jimmy, the paper boy met up with me. I handed him some coins and he flipped a morning paper to me. I opened the paper to the sports section, I wanted to see if the Rams were taking it on the chin again, and damn if they didn't from the Bears. I looked up and the usual busy street had stopped all commotion. The hundred or so that was on that street was sure to suffer some memory loss courtesy of G'nal. He towered over me, his ember eyes glowing in the snowy atmosphere, and those misshaped goat legs looked out of place on concrete sidewalk.

“What the hell happened this morning?” I screamed in the horned bastard' slimy green face. “You didn't protect me like our deal.”

“Already you have given me three souls for the year---you have done well. Four more would solidify the agreement. I have protected you, Master. You are still alive. But you stink of the curse.”

“What curse?” I said nervously.

“You interfered with a Messenger. I believe the smell of this Messenger was on his way to meet another, and you so stupidly got in the way. Any human that receives the message and fails to deliver this message, turns to---”

“A pillar of salt. I heard what it said.”

“Then the directions are clear, your actions pure, no reason you should not achieve satisfactory results, Master.”

“I don't know who Romy Berline is.”

“Neither do I,” Smoke took G'nal away and little Jimmy appeared along with Detective Calvin Hopps, running an errand for the Police commissioner.

Hopps was a tall slender man who smiled way too much to show a line of broken teeth. “They want you, Chambers.”

“Everybody wants me, Hopps.” I snarled. This morning was turning rotten, and by the smell of that, my day would end up the same. We walked and talked, my pace faster than his left leg hop.

“Well, the funny thing, Chambers, is they got a weird body in the morgue. Need you expertise for this case.”

“I'm not the dick you guys are.”

“I'm not at all offended by the double -entendre. No, we've never seen anything like this. I'm telling you. A skinless freak with tattoos everywhere, a language nobody can understand. It keeps changing from that description to a shadowy figure. This thing had been found on 3rd and bottoms, chest split open, and a feather jabbed in it.”

Standing inside the morgue when I arrived, was Hemlock-police commissioner- and Ragdale- Detective Lt. Always happy to see these two, and how strange they were always together.

“How'd you two sleep this morning? I slept horrible,” I chuckled.

Ragdale flew into a fit, bawled up his fists. “I ought to beat you to a pulp! You punk---”

“Ragdale!” Hemlock squealed. “Heel,boy!”

“You know what he was implying---”

“A joke—yes, Ragdale—no matter much in bad taste it was. Just a joke.
What do you make of this, Chambers?” Hemlock pointed to the unusual corpse. Just as I had been informed. The messenger was laying on a slab of concrete in a white room, colder than hell. There was a huge gash in it's chest cavity, the feather buried deep inside. The body couldn't decide to stay solid or change over to shadow—whenever it did so—the lights would flicker. Sulfur was hostile in the air, burned my nose. I explained to them what happened to me this morning. Hemlock just smiled, nodded. Ragdale showed his disbelief by frowning and sputtering words not meant to be understood by actual human beings.

“So this is what disturbed you and gave you the unusual tattoo? I see.” Hemlock said.

“You don't believe him, do you?” Ragdale railed out.

“It doesn't matter what I believe, you bozo! I want this resolved and now! You get help from us, okay, Chambers. Just name it. Solve this problem—no bloodshed of any citizens or my Officers. Understood?”

“Very nice of you, Hemlock. I need Hopps to find out who Romy Berline is and where I can find this person.”

Meanwhile, I visited someone who might be able to decipher this special message. Fred Roos was a guy who used to work for the Museum specializing in old languages, Latin, etc. He was also one of the biggest heroin addicts I've ever known. When he lost his job with the National Museum, I ran a few cons with him. Usually getting rich people to buy phony scrolls from the Roman times. When he lit up, Fred was the best liar I'd ever known. When he wasn't lit up, he was the smartest man I'd ever known. So I brought some smack with me. I couldn't get any on short notice. I showed Fred a baggie of brown sugar, he moved like a cat to snatch it from me and fell on his face to the hardwood floors in his kitchen. He laid there, crying like a newborn babe.

The one room apartment was a mess. Food on dirty dishes in the sink, papers everywhere on the table, clothes hung in the refrigerator.

“Why?” He bawled. “Why did you come here? You devil, you!Why?Why?” He beat his fists on the floor.

“Shut up!” I kicked him in the legs. He cried harder. “I said shut up! You want somebody to call the cops? They come in here and see smack residue everywhere---”

“What do you want?” His voice was muffled from his face hidden in his arms.

“I want you to read something written in an ancient language. You do this for me, I'll give you the smack in my coat pocket.”

Fred leaped to his feet like a spry young man. Fred was sixty-one, short bald and bespectacled. No one would mistake him for an athlete. At that moment, he looked like a Triathlon winner.

“Where is it? This document?” He said quickly, wiping spittle with a handkerchief from his pocket. I showed him my forearm.

He looked at me, stunned. “What have you done to yourself, my boy?”

“I didn't do this to myself, Fred.” I went into what happened. Strangely, Fred was a believer in all things occult.

He examined my arm for sometime. Tracing the letters and symbols burned into my pink flesh. He wrote them down, looked in a couple of books. It took two hours, but old Fred cracked it. He was shaking his head, laughing to himself.

“Spill it, you old geezer. The joke.” I croaked, blew smoke in his face.

“Please, Peter,” He coughed. “This language, you say came from a Demon?”

I shrugged. “Yeah, more or less.”

“It's comprised of several languages. Latin, the main one. German, Spanish. Gaelic. And, I believe,” He looked at what he had written on a cardboard box. “A derivative of Nilo-Saharan -- African.”

“Tell me what the fuckin' thing means, okay.” I had to be rough or he wouldn't deliver the goods.

“It says: Mother of my child---shall have protection in this lifetime and beyond. And then it's signed by a name that is unpronounceable in any Earthly language.”

I shook my head, Shrugged. I gave the baggie to Fred. He greedily took it, turned his back on me and headed for the bedroom. I scampered quickly out the door and down the street before the old fool figured it out I had conned him.

I got as far as twenty second street when a cop car pulled up beside me. “Hopps wants you down at the St. Barris Church. Get in,Chambers.”

I didn't argue. I couldn't wait to see what Hopps had found out.

When I got there, Hopps was standing on the doorstep of this great gothic church. On the columns, it read Established 1879, by Saint Barris. I felt sick to my stomach. My skin  was hot, to the point of sizzling. I began to have dry heaves.

“What's wrong with you?” Hopps cried out. I stumbled away from the Church and fell in a snowbank. He followed, knelt beside me.

“Well, Hopps, it seems I can't go anywhere near a Church. I get violently sick.” I told him.

He pushed the brim up of his bowler from his eyes and smirked at me.”That put's a damper on your plans.” He pointed to the Church. “Romy Berline, my friend, is a Nun.”

“Okay. I need you to go in there, ask to see her. Tell her I'm hurt. Tell her someone with a feather struck me down.”

Hopps nodded. “Sit tight. One Nun coming up.”

I felt better in a half hour. But it took an hour or more for Hopps to bring Romy Berline out to me. He got twenty feet from me, and a bright light formed between us. I heard Sister Berline scream, then Hopps screamed. I saw his chest being sliced open like a knife through hot butter. Blood spurted out as if a soda bottle had been shook up before opening it. The expression on Hopps face is one I will never forget. His mouth was a jarred, teeth clenched tight, eyes bulging out. He touched the feather that was thrusting out from his trench coat. He fell in the snow in a pool of red that formed beside his listless body.

I ran to them. The light turned towards me. In an instant, G'nal appeared from a cloud of smoke. There were words from G'nal and a very blond man in a gray suit with a white rose in his lapel. He was standing bare foot in the snow that melted from his touch and green grass began to grow immediately.

“Please,” Sister Berline wept as she tended to Hopps. “I beg of you, end this. No more bloodshed. Please, in the name of our Lord and the Father. Please....”

G'nal and the man in the gray suit were locked in an eye to eye game of standoff. The man smiled, plucked his white rose from his lapel and handed it to Sister Berline. She graciously accepted it. The man turned from us, wings had sprouted from his back. A bright light consumed him, and he was gone. So was G'nal.

After they came and took Hopps body away, and Ragdale and Hemlock screamed at me. I asked Sister Berline to sit with me at a coffee house. We ordered nothing, nothing was said for the longest time.

“I didn't intend for this to happen. This...chaos.” She had intense gray-blue eyes. I wondered what she looked like underneath her Nun get-up. “I was in the basement of the Church. I found an old book, began reading something I knew I wasn't suppose to delve into. Apparently I called out an ancient creature known as a Messenger. The Greeks and Arabs often wrote of these creatures created by God---not Evil—not good—to bring messages to us—in many forms. I saw not it's true form, but it's human form. I ….did something..was doing...something I shouldn't have done....i fell in love.”

She broke down. Tears streamed down her rosy cheeks. She was touching her belly with her hands, rubbing gently. I reached out, took her hand. There was jolt through both of our bodies. When I reopened my eyes, the message was gone from my arm.

We looked at each other. Nodded. I stood and walked out of the coffee house, never to see or hear from Romy Berline again.

Friday, September 23, 2011

POOL OF BLUE copyright2011 m.s.

Eli and Carrie had seen the pool glowing at night. They had lived with the Rothsteins only a few weeks. They were lucky to have found a home after the fire took their parents from them, even if it's a temporary one. Eli was eleven and Carrie nine. Carrie didn't say much in front of the Rothsteins. Eli has to speak for her. Carrie told Eli Mr. Rothstein was scary. He was very tall, had a looming presence about him, and a booming voice. He always seemed agitated. But Mrs. Rothstein was a small lady, and Carrie would often ask Eli why Mr. Rothstein was married to a girl and not a woman.

“Not married to a girl, Carrie. I told you before. She's a real woman.” Eli yelled at her.

They were upstairs in the attic of the Rothstein's home, looking through a pile of junk, T.V.'s printers and computer monitors, old clothes.

“You don't have to yell at me, Eli,” Carrie found a frayed mulch-colored scarf and wrapped it around her neck.

“I'm not yelling at you. I'm kinda tired of explaining things to you.” Eli found an old painting of a man with very little hair and tiny eyes the peered right through you. He shivered, hid the painting behind a car stereo.

“How long do we have to stay here?” Carrie sat on a paint bucket.

Eli shrugged. “I don't know. As long as they let us.”

“Do you like Mr. Rothstein?”

“Stop with the questions, okay! He's alright, I guess.”

“I couldn't sleep last night. That light outside was bright.” She stood and kicked over the empty paint can. It rolled to the other side of the attic and banged against the wall., which was spotless, clear of anything.

“That was weird. A bright light from the swimming pool next door. Soon those people will have to close it.”


Summer is almost over with. Soon school starts. Nobody has their pool open in the cold days, can't go swimmin' if it's cold.”

“Oh.” Carrie began to hum to herself as she played an imaginary game of hopscotch.

At dinner time, everyone was very quiet. Baked chicken and squash was on the plate. The adults ate at their usual pace. Carrie and Eli just picked at their food. Out the corner of his eye, Mr. Rothstein watched them mistrustfully. He sat very straight and stiffly in his chair. His movements were robotic. At times he even spoke as if he were a machine.

“How was your day, dear?” Mrs. Rothstein asked, then chewing her food carefully.

Mr. Rothstein groaned. He was staring at his plate now. Mrs. Rothstein placed a hand on his shoulder, their eyes met. A sadness they shared.

Later that night, Eli could hear them talking in the living room. He was suppose to be in bed. The next day he and Carrie would go to the school with Mrs. Rothstein and enroll. But Eli was curious. He sat on the stairs behind the living room. He saw Mrs. Rothstein sit next to her husband on the arm of his chair. He placed a hand on her legs.

“You were thinking of Todd, weren't you?” She whispered.

“Yes,” He said after a brief silence. “I'm...always thinking of him.”

“It's been two years, you would think the police would have found him by now.”

“I should have been watching him more closely. I knew better than to leave a six year old boy on the toy aisle by himself.”

“You didn't know he would be taken.....”

“You should hate me.”

“There is no way I could hate you. Not even for could have happened to me.”

“But it didn't. It happened to me.”

There was more silence. She stood, took him by the hand and helped him to his feet. “Let's go to bed.”

Eli scurried up the stairs and ran into his room. He shut his door gently, he turned to see a shadow looking out his bedroom window. He nearly swallowed his heart.

“Eli.” Carrie said, pointing. “The pool next door is glowing.”

“What are you doing sneaking in my room?” He whispered.

“I needed you to see it,” She said, wiping her nose. “I can't sleep because of it.”

“Well,” Eli went to the window and looked out. “What do you want me to do about it?”

“What you said today you would do,” Carrie had that stern look on he face the way their mom used to have to make Eli do what she wanted. “You said you would go over there and see why it's glowing.” She wiped her nose with a hand again.

“We can't. It's too late at night and your allergies are acting up.”

“You said you would. Don't say things like that unless you mean them,” Carrie wasn't going to give up.

Eli sighed, rolled his eyes. “Alright! We'll go. But only for a few minutes. We have to wait until they are asleep—that's soon. Go out the backdoor. We have to be quiet. You understand?”

“You don't have to tell me everything. I'm not a little kid anymore.”

They stood by the old huge oak tree with the name of the Rothstein's son carved in big bold choppy letters. Carry pointed to the glowing pool of blue in an otherwise dark backyard. To the side of the pool a two story house stood, designed like a Spanish villa. In front of the pool was a statue of a woman from the roman period of history, she had seven arms, all of them holding a small baby. Eli was scared. But he didn't dare tell his sister. Strange, somehow she seemed to want to wander through that strange dark yard with the glowing pool, as if she needed to.

Carrie started toward the yard without him. Then, turned and said, “Come on. Don't be a scaredy cat, Eli.”

He followed Carrie, who walked along as if in a trance.

They were there, in front of the pool, glowing in all it's glory. Carrie stood motionless. She was transfixed. Eli tried to control his hands from a nervous twitch by balling them into fists. A golden light shone brighter than any moonlight, giving the two of them a heavenly glaze about their faces.

Eli peered into the pool. Under the soft currents, thirty or more children floated aimlessly, their big black eyes distilled. They were motionless like Carrie, and like Carrie, too; they were under the age of twelve. Eli let out a whimper. He stepped back only to find someone in his path. He turned slowly, gripping at the person's ragged pants.

It was an old man, leering at him,his decrepit claws holding Eli by the shoulders.

“Beautiful, is it not?” The old man spoke in an old dialect, possibly from Eastern Europe.”My's taken me a create.”

“I—I don't understand, Mister. Are they dead?” Eli barely managed. He tried to break free of the old man's grip, but he had some sort of hold on Eli---it was more than physical.

“ Not exactly...just free of this world.” Eli looked away quickly. Don't look in his eyes---he told himself. Those black, milky eyes seemed to shimmer from the light of the pool gave off. Finally, Eli was able to pull away. The old man continued, stepping toward Carrie, who by now was at the edge of the pool. “They were all children who at one time or another needed attention from someone that cared more for them---”

“You sound crazy, mister. I'm gonna get the cops---you'll be in a lot of trouble--”

“These children, need protection from the world—from their parents—who care not for them. The Goddess--” he pointed to the statue of the woman holding several babies in her arms. “Leah, would hear a child's prayer to take them away---so they would never be unhappy.”

“Carrie!” Eli ran to his sister. He placed a hand on her cold, frigid shoulder. “Carrie, please, come away from the pool. It's bad. Real bad.”

She couldn't hear him. Lost in a deep trance, she stared at the glowing pool.

“She is safe with Leah---safe for all eternity.” The old man looked up at the statue. “My is beautiful, my Goddess?”

The statue turned to the old man. “You promised more children for me to have broken your promise.” The children in her arms squirmed and cried out. The statue hissed at Eli. “This one is too old!” Her face became stricken with ferocious rage. “Get rid of him!”

The old man bowed and the statue returned to her frozen stance. The old man grabbed Eli by the collar of his pajamas. Eli jabbed the old man in the ribs. The old man only squinted, still held on tightly. Eli elbowed him again and pulled away, dragging the old man with him. The old man took his other hand and began choking Eli. Eli struggled to catch his breath, the pressure on his throat was too much. Everything became hazy. Eli began to black out. When he would retain conscience, he would reach out for Carrie. But Carrie wasn't there. She was on the other side of the pool, still entranced by the glowing pool, awaiting the old man's orders to step into the pool.

Eli pulled one last time, with all his strength. The old man skidded. Both of them just barely at the edge of the pool, momentarily, then fell in. Both sank to the bottom, underneath the now moving children feet. The light from the pool disappeared. The spell on Carrie was broken. She looked down in the pool and called out for Eli. The water bubbled and steam rose and fell. Eli and the old man was nowhere to be found.

The children he had lured and kept in the pool for years, climbed out. More than thirty naked, disoriented children under the age of twelve surrounded Carrie, weeping and asking for their parents. One boy in particular stood out to Carrie. She recognized the Rothstein's son from photographs they kept of him. “Todd...” She whispered.

The boy was shivering, along with the others. He looked at Carrie and said, “Would you take me home?” His voice sounded raw.

The other children said the same thing. It sounded like a noisy schoolroom. At this moment, the pool stopped bubbling, the currents were still. Eli rose out of the water, pulled himself up on the concrete walk. He saw the statue had already crumbled to the ground. Eli tossed some of the smaller pieces into the pool. The other children followed his act, rolling the bigger pieces into the water.

Eli took Carrie's hand. “Let's go home,” he said to the children.

The Rothsteins were in shock Eli and Carrie appeared with all of these children at their doorstep. Dumbfounded when they brought home their son. Eli and Carrie tried to explain to the Rothsteins and the police what had happened. But neither wanted to believe it, it seemed they had no choice. When Eli mentioned the old man, described him, the Rothsteins and the police shook their heads and told Eli, “The old man had been dead for twenty years, and the house next door had been empty just as long.”

The Rothsteins tried to keep Eli and Carrie in their home. The paperwork to adopt them was caught in red tape. They did stay for a few months longer than expected. They got to know thTodd a little. But he was shy, withdrawn. Carrie thought him a little strange. The boy saw them off on their last day at the house. A brown Sedan came and took them away to their new home.

As he waved goodbye, a thought rushed across his overworked mind. I 'll start again, my Goddess. You shall have all the children you need.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

SAILING WITH EARDROP FISH copyright 2011 m.s.

      We built the boat, Archie and I, out of  one thousand tiny Eardrop fish. Each one we called to the shore with Archie's Uncle Gilbert's giant conch shell. The queen of the Ocean appeared,asking what we would do with the fish. Achie told her of the splendid boat we would build and sail the ocean of a million keys. She made us promise to never harm the fish intentionally. We agreed, and she held her ringed fingers in the air so the glimmer from the sun could hypnotize the Eardrop fish. She told us lead the fish where we wanted them to be placed by whistling happy tunes. Afterwards, my lips were sore and the happy tunes leveled off in favor of mindless noise. no matter, as long as our intentions were happy, they obeyed.

     We sailed the Ocean of keys to many far away places. All the adventures engulfed in sporadic haze.

      I awoke, looked at the clock. It read 3:25 A.M. I sat up in my bed, took a sip from a glass of water. I felt something hard jabbing me in hip. i reached into my pajama pocket and pulled out a golden skeleton key, shimmering in the moonlight.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DARK SKIES copyright2011 m.s.

Darren watched his wife dress for Tennis and immediately knew that they would not have dinner with Foreman’s tonight. After twenty years, he was still attracted to Lois. She hadn't aged much, even in her fifties. He stroked her short blond hair and kissed her neck. She turned to him and brushed him off.

“Darren! Knock it off! I'm going to be late, and you know how Mildred feels about tardiness.” She rose from the bed and slipped her short white Tennis skirt over her plump hips.

Darren touched her back with a finger, tracing her backbone. She wiggled away from him. She rushed to find her shoes.

“I'm off dear,” Lois grabbed her racquet and bag. “Will you be okay, lunch and all?”

“Of course,” He layed on the bed, tensed up. “I'm not a child. I can do things for myself.”

“Good. I'll see you in a few hours.” Lois exited the bedroom in three long strides, Darren chased after her.

“Lois, oh, Lois!” He called out in a panic.

She turned to him, nearly braining Darren with her racquet. “What, dear?”

“Let's stay in” He raised his eyebrows, winked.
She stared at him stone faced, Darren repeated the actions a few more times.

“Is that all you think about—sex?” She went to the door, Darren grabbed her shoulder. “Darren, tonight I have a sneaky suspicion you will be taking a cold shower and I will have a headache. See you later.”

“Wait---” The door was slammed in his face, almost catching his nose. “It's not much to ask for.....really.”

Just then Darren heard something like a loud crackle., a pop. He thought it was one of those noisy jets cutting across the sky which is the norm around that area. He rushed to the window. Something definitely was slashing already darkened skies. Moving faster than anything he'd ever seen, it was leaving a trail of pink, green, and orange fire behind it. And when it fell, it shook his house and Ron Gorman's . Gorman lived side by side, so close, you couldn't squeeze a penny between the two. Darren also couldn't help watch Gorman's wife dress and undress from time to time.

Darren rushed outside. He met Gorman in the backyard. There was a hole in the ground just sitting on both yards, the hole as deep as a swimming pool. It looked like black pepper surrounded the hole, only the specks were glowing a little. The sky cleared up, bright sunshine came through dark clouds and the blue pallet returned.

“Weird,” Gorman rubbed his huge belly with a hand, then ran than hand through a thick helmet-shaped hair well styled with loads of hairspray. “I guess it was a comet of sort.”

Darren sighed. He shook his head. “All those years, going into space and dropping off all that damn trash.....Where is everybody? Didn't anybody else see this thing fall?”

“Trash?” Gorman challenged Darren. It was how all their conversations began and Darren hated that about Gorman, and that silly hair of his. “They really dumped trash out in space? The rest of the neighborhood went to that Greek festival, I think.”

“Didn't I just say that?”
“Yeah but I don't believe it.”
“You better believe it. You think your government is nice and pristine.”
Gorman snarled. “Some one has to support the country.” Gorman picked up a shovel that had been laying beside a now defunct rose bush.

The specks of orange surrounding the hole began to sizzle, the dirt turned smoke.

“You mean a country that makes sure fat cats like you get all the benefits and the small guy gets a happy meal and a bus ride to his minimum wage job.” Darren said intensely. Gorman raised the shovel and swung at Darren, barely missing him. “What are you doing? Are you crazy?”

“I can't stand you liberal panty-wearing shitheel! You turn everything good into a decrepit spin cycle to your own liking! I don't want to hear how bad things are because we are terrible people for working hard for what we have---” He swung again and caught Darren across the the bridge of his nose. Blood spurted out, ran down to his mouth, covering his chin. Darren fell hard on his back. He lay there trying to get his senses right, vision slightly blurred.

Gorman swung again, Darren rolled to the right, the shovel drove deep into the ground. “Look, Gorman, I'm sorry I upset you--”

“Screw you! Your a fat cat, too! You pinko! You live in this neighborhood with the rest of us so-called Robber-barons!” He came down again, the shovel sliced away flesh from Darren's left arm. Darren screamed out, a shrill cry that caused the birds in a nearby tree to take flight. Darren curled both legs in the air and kicked Gorman in the stomach.

Gorman dropped the shovel and fell to his knees. He began crying. “I don't know what's gotten into me.....” He sobbed.

Darren picked up the shovel. He stood behind Gorman, raised the shovel and swung like he was hitting a baseball. “I know what's coming off!” The shovel cut right through Gorman's neck, his head fell to the ground and rolled into the hole. Gorman's body was still sitting there teetering one to the other. Darren kicked him and Gorman too fell in the hole.

“Darren?” He heard Lois call out. She came out the backdoor. “You know I've been calling for you---the game has been canceled—no one showed up—what the hell happened here?”

She walked past Darren and approached the hole slowly.

“Just a meteorite of some kind, dear.” Darren said, gripping the handle of the shovel.

“Strange,” She said. “Hey it looks like George Washington.....” She looked further. “There's something else down there--” Her eyes became wild and her mouth formed an O, but Lois choked on her scream.

“You have always been a selfish bitch....” Darren lift the shovel high above him and came down hard on Lois' head. It split open like a over ripe melon.

The specks around the Meteorite hole lit up and glowed like a Brite-lite game. The ground sizzled and the specks turned into an orange ooze that spread quickly to Darren's feet. It enveloped his body and soon Darren had become a walking, glowing light fixture, walking across the lawn to the next house, still holding the blood stained shovel in his hands.

Friday, September 16, 2011

THE MOVIE copyright 2011 m.s.

           They  move in drones, single file like cattle to be butchered.

I followed them, these people on the street, walking in slow motion toward movie theater.
Each one with their blank stare, feeble minded, awaiting their next command by a higher control. Feelings are harvested as well as thoughts and ground into pillars of salt to be carried by the wind into the next void.

           At the ticket booth, no tickets are purchased. You show them your wrist and they tag you with irrelevant numbers. You are given a special pair of glasses by the usher. The lens on the glasses are blacked out, but no matter. You step onto a conveyer belt and taken to your seat, where you are strapped in.

          Mere minutes late, the film starts.

          The scenes move so quickly, your not sure what your seeing. The dark glasses reflect smaller scenes inside the ones that are already taken in by your brainwaves.

           The music is pulsating, your heart throbs, your ears deafen into a single white noise. Then you really start to focus.

          A woman kisses a man. Then begins eating the man's head, regurgitates him into several smaller beings that soon drill tiny holes into her bruised face. A white cloud rolls by, and a booming voice tells you the laws that humans are really suppose to abide by.

           Seen, not heard.

            I start to panic. Scream, curse. Kick the seat in front of me. Try as hard as I can to set myself free.

            The Ushers appear. Three of them with large talon hands grip my arms and drag me out of the theatre to a brightly lit room. they place me on a cold steel table and remove my retinas. They replace them with an orange liquid that gels up in my eyes.

            When I'm released, I see everything in a much brighter and happier episodes of television.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

DEAD END FRIENDS copyright2011 m.s.

She walked by, the air was consumed by perfume. She was a tall brunette
with legs up to her neck. She dressed like she had money, only you never know when a broad has money or not. Many times I've sat at Nicky's and had a couple of drinks when a squeeze would pop in, only looking for a John. I was standing on the street corner reading the evening paper, when she caught my eye. Nothing but bad news in the city rag. So I folded the paper under my arm and strolled behind her. She was fast, those luscious legs pumping furiously. I kept up. Once in a while those big brown money-eyes would look behind her and see how close I would get.

She had her purse under arm, the damned thing was definitely worth more than what was in my bank account. At the moment, I was in between jobs. But she swung her arms in unison with her long strides. I followed her for about three blocks. Finally, the twist turned to me angrily.

“Why are you following me?” Her nose twitched as the steam rose from her forked tongue.

I tipped my hat, smiled sideways. “Mam, I don't know what your talking about.”

“Don't give me that 'aw, shucks' crap, bub. Your following me and I want to know why. Did Lonnie hire you?”

I didn't know a Lonnie. Something told me to play this hand. I shrugged. “ ain't much----”

“Look, I 'll give you double to go back to him and tell him you saw me go in the library and I was there for a few hours, reading. Okay?”


“How much?” She was biting that plump lower lip that sported candy apple red lipstick. I wanted to bite those lips for her, have a taste.

I smiled sideways again. “Forty.” I lied. A talent I picked up from my old man, just one of many in a long line of champion liars in my god forsaken family—if that’s what you could call a family.

“Say,” steam rose from that forked tongue again. “This is not a con, is it? Because if it is----I know people who could hurt you real bad---”

“Lady, the con game is not my style.”

She looked me up and down. Then she reached into that designer purse and counted out four twenty's. She shoved the greenbacks into my chest.

“Gee, thanks. Maybe I could buy you drink now. We could go to Tumblin' Dice, afterward if you're feeling daffy, get a room.”

She smiled, stepped forward. I was ready, she parted her lips slightly, then puckered up. A large wad of phlegm sailed over and hit me square in the left eye and the bridge of my nose. She was stewing. I didn't even want to hit her, I just started laughing, wiped the glob away. Behind me, somebody else chimed in with laughter. Yeah, it was a riot, me and her act.

She stormed off, looked back at me, a glimmer in here eye. I made an impression. At my feet I noticed a small black cylinder with a cross engraved on it. It must have fallen out of her purse when she gave me the money. It fit into the palm of my hand, burned slightly.

I looked around and saw it was Little Jimmy, paper boy I've known since he was six, at the time the only black kid in my neighborhood. He was a good guy, especially for info on people he knew, and Jimmy knew a lot of marks out there. I quickly shoved the small cylinder in my coat pocket.

“Pete,” He tried to catch his breath, had a bad case of the giggles. I walked over to where he had his newspaper stand set up. I dwarfed him, and I tell you, I'm only five-six. “You know who that was?”

“Mary Magdalene?” I quipped.

“Close,” He shoved a stick of gum into his small mouth, chewed reverently. “That is Maggie Conolly.”

I did a double take. “You know her?”

“Sure I do,” He sat behind the stand on a stool too big for him. “She and Mr. Conolly employ me from time to time for errands.”

“They get you to get things from the top shelf for them,” I chuckled.

“Makin' fun of my height, ain't cool, Pete.”

“I'm sorry, Jimmy. Don't know what came over me.”

“I do,” He said. “ She belittled you, doin' the same to me makes you feel better. It's the way it is. No, I get things from the store for them. Go to drugstore, take messages for them to others.”

“Sounds like a spiffy job. He really owns half the city?”

“Yeah....I once took a letter to the Mayor explaining that he was to clear Dove street for that new highrise. You see the construction began two months ago.”

“It sure don't look like a highrise.”

“Whatever it is,” Little Jimmy said. “It's a building.”

I said my goodbye to Jimmy and turned on my heels, walked south on Ventura. I was headed to the drugstore, lunch sounded great at the moment. When I opened the door, everyone yelled my name. Gina was the waitress, none too happy to see me. Last week I had to stand her up, too many people were looking for me, wanted some money. She walked over to the lunch counter with loads of attitude resting on those ample breasts. Other than those perky girls, Gina’s red hair and green eyes had an effect on me. She always gave me a rise when I sitting on the curb.

“Look everybody, a freeloader just stumbled through the door,” She through a menu in my face.

“Why hello, Gina, dear . Hows tricks these days?” I pushed the menu on the counter, looked to my right and an old cowhand had his long white beard in his tomato soup. I nodded to him, he looked the other direction.

“You got a lot of nerve showing up here, you cretin!” Gina thrust her breasts into my neck, almost cutting off my air.

“I missed you, baby----” She grabbed me by my white tie and jerked me forward. That's when I really did choke.

“Gina!” I heard Ray's voice from behind the counter. She let go of my tie. “Go clear booth thirteen, now!”

“Hey, thanks, Ray.” I smiled at him, but his sour look kept me from saying anything else. Suddenly I was a bum without friends.

I looked around, saw dirty looks from others at their booths, and more from people at the counter. I slipped off my stool slowly and made way for the door as quietly as possible. Out on the sidewalk my shoes motored down the alley and out back of the playground. I was heading back to two-bit room on the lower side. Hoping like hell nobody else hassled me on the way.

I saw Maggie Conolly hanging around the building I rented my room. She was talking to Sledge, my Landlord. I felt for my smokes, touched that cylinder. As I walked up on them I lit a cig. Sledge turned to me. He looked guilty, so I blew smoke in his face.

“Hows your hammer hanging,Sledge?” I moved in closer with the intent to do harm.

“You better stay where you are, Chambers! I didn't tell her nothin', cept your a bum! Everybody knows that!” He ran with his tail between his legs. Sledge disappeared into his office, peeking through the blinds at us.

Maggie turned to me, still steaming. “I want it back!” She screamed in my face. I saw those brown eyes turn pitch black. Goosebumps rose up on my arms. I backpedaled away from her.

“I don't know what your talking about ,sister. Just back off,” I held up my hands, she stopped dead in her tracks.

“It chose you when you took that black cylinder,” She whispered. “You have the mark of the inverted cross.”

“What chose me?” I said rolling my eyes.
“G'nal, a demon. You give it five souls a year, for as long as your alive, it will keep you from harm's way.”
“You been reading the funny papers, haven’t you?”
She seemed to calm down. “Is there anywhere we can go to talk privately, Mr. Chambers?” She flashed a nervous smile.

I looked at her incredulously. “ room, I suppose.”

I turned the key to unlock my front door, when I saw Hemlock, the Police chief with Ragdale searching my room with three blues. I came in, laughed. Mrs. Conolly followed, then tried to leave, I slammed the door in her face and pulled her front and center.

“Boys, should have called first. You see I have brought a lady friend.” I took my coat off, threw it on Ragdale's face. He pushed it off, threw it to the floor.

“You wanna get rough, Jerk off!” He took his billy club out and moved closer to me. The police chief put his hand on Ragdale's shoulder. He stayed put like the well trained dog he was. I hated Ragdale. Never a concern for the constitution, and all citizens were criminals to him. Every time I've been busted, he was the arresting officer. In county lockup I would sit in my cell nursing a new injury courtesy of that rat bastard.

“We're here on business, Mrs. Conolly. It's none of our---” Hemlock tried to speak as if he'd went to college, but the only school he'd been to was obedience school.

“Your right, chief, it isn't your business why I'm here. My husband would be interested in knowing why your harassing our employee.” She and I exchanged looks. I smiled sideways and shrugged at the chief.

“He is a suspect in murders, mam,” Ragdale said dryly. “Mass murders.”

“What murders?” I snarled.

“At the drugstore, wiseguy! You were the last one seen inside Harley's drugstore at around noon today. When a customer entered right after you, thirteen people were dead!”

“I can't believe it....Ray is dead.....Gina?” I staggered a little. It had to be a cruel joke. I sat in my chair by the TV., slumping down. They were good people. I didn't get it. Who and why? I must have been talking out loud, because Hemlock spoke in a growl.

“Believe it, Chambers. We just can't see how you carried it off.....thirteen people mauled to death...torn to ribbons.....the much blood.....”

“He had accomplices!” Ragdale barked. He grabbed me and pulled my arms behind my back. He had a pair of handcuffs ready to slap them on when my room was filled smoke so thick the person next to you disappeared in it. When the smoke cleared, G'nal appeared. The demon was just as tall as I was, about six foot, but it was stocky, boils all over it's sickly green skin. His two large hands were really just long extended claws. His legs were bent and deformed as if he'd had polio, he had no feet, just hooves like a Clydesdale. His face was long and pointed, eyes wide and bulging out of it's sockets, the nostril was just a slit and his mouth had several small sharp teeth that rested inside large black gums. The color of it's eyes were a burnt umber. He had no horns, which if you'd said a demon was going to visit me, I would have had a vision of a creature with horns like the devils.

Everyone froze where they were, awaiting the worst. Mrs. Conolly clung to me, crying.

Ragdale lay on his big belly, praying to God. The two beat cops were dead. G'nal had slaughtered them, both had been split in half, their torso's laying on top of each other like in a trash heap. Hemlock stood like a statue, eyes wild, grimacing.

G'nal spoke, I thought the walls were going to cave in, the whole building shook. “Master...” He was inches from my face. I immediately puked. The smell from his breath was a mixture of death and too much perfume. “Shall I continue the carnage....or as I read your thoughts...spare the lowest of the low?”

I got myself together. Wiped vomit from my mouth, spoke slowly. “Do as I thought...the way you read them.”

“As you is my gift...only I hoped our first meeting would had calmer times.”

“Let's try to keep all of our future meetings calmer, eh, bub?”

“Of course, Master. Per our agreement, you provide the stated amount of souls a year, I will provide the protection.”

I nodded. He asked if that was all for now, and you bet your ass I said it was all, and quickly pointed out that I may never need him again. G'nal laughed. The windows in my room shattered, glass fell to the floor like raindrops.

As the smoke enveloped G'nal, he said: “That, Master, is an impossibility.”

After several moments of silence, the rest took time to get themselves together. Hemlock and Ragdale helped each other toward the door.

“Chambers,” Hemlock said, composing himself, still grimacing. “We will arrange for some one to pick up the deceased. And if you'd like to, file a report of some kind, if not, then fine.”

“I don't think so,” I said.

Hemlock nodded. He took Ragdale by the arm, led him out the room. I heard Ragdale say, “I think it's a good idea to stop in and see Father Craig, don't you, sir?”

“Sure thing, Ragdale. Sure thing.”

I looked over at Mrs. Conolly, she huffing a cigarette. “Looks like things are looking up for you, Chambers.” She said.

“I doubt that,” I helped her to the door, and in the hallway. “Especially in the afterlife.”

In the morning I saw Little Jimmy, hawking the morning paper. He called my name, I went to him.

“Want a paper, Chambers?”

“Yeah,” I said. “Sure.” I threw some money down, but he gave it back.
“It's on the house,” He said.

That was when I noticed that Little Jimmy's eyes were a burnt umber.