The Problem With Being Dead – Charity Nocturna


“God fucking damn asshole frat boys!” Samantha yelled, pulling her coat over her bloodstained shirt.  The drunk boys popped her stitches, as they grabbed at everything. Enraged she kicked one in the throat and locked herself in the bathroom.  If she never played Samantha again it would be too soon.

I’d love to put on my dance clothes and lose myself she thought.  Of course she couldn’t. Em was dead. Enora was dead. Until she dealt with Masterson all her normal identities were suspect.  She needed a new disguise, food and a hot shower.

The YMCA near the college was a regular visit.  Places to clean up were few and far between on the streets.   In her Samantha disguise, none of the regulars recognized her. She had rented a locker there for years. Whenever she got some new clothes she stashed them here. The locker also had a little money, a couple of wigs and makeup.

She took off her sweaty, bloodstained clothing and threw it in the trash.  Looking in a mirror she inspected her wound and found it was red and angry.  At least the bleeding had stopped. She would need antibiotics or it would go septic.  There was a clinic at the other end of town where no one knew her. They would give her the meds she needs.

Shrugging, she stepped into the communal shower and was relieved to find it empty.  Enora turned started the spray of hot water and stepped in. She spent several minutes enjoying the fingers of heat digging into her aching muscles.  For a moment her knees quaked as sleep threatened. Slapping her face, Enora steadied herself and thought over her situation.

She had to stop Masterson, definitely.  Oh God, it’s Sunday!  The rich bastards are having their meeting in two days! She punched the wall.  Masterson had to wait. She had two days to get to her lair and recover her equipment.  She couldn’t miss this opportunity to get into her enemy’s mind. She couldn’t go the normal route.  Even in disguise people knew her there. She would have Masterson’s goons on her in a matter of hours.

How can I get there? She hung her head for a long time, thinking.   The lair was in an abandoned subway line. The old line must connect to the new somewhere.  The records for that are long buried but should be on microfiche at the library. That had to be her next move.

She nodded to herself and headed to her locker.  Within were dozens of random pieces of clothing. She dug out a pink t-shirt that she slipped on with no bra.  She pulled on a random pair of panties and some skin tight jeans. A pair of sneakers completed the outfit.

She pulled a small pile of cash out and slammed the locker shut.  She elected to go with her natural hair but put on some foundation that darkened her skin.  The makeup gave her pale skin a tanned look. Checking herself out she decided she looked with an average millennial.  Minus the phone of course.

As she headed out she took a phone from a phone share drop off.  Enora held the dead phone up and pretended to text with a bored expression.  Her eyes quested around, watching for anyone suspicious. Masterson would have spies watching out for new threats to his political ambitions.  

An hour later she stepped into the library.  Enora took a deep breath, the smell of musty books making her smile.  The library was a second home, she had earned her GED here through hard work and study.  She strode into the reference section like she lived there. It took her a few hours of research to find where the subway plans were.  She walked to the desk and slapped the records book on the desk. “Yeah, my prof wants me to learn about the city or something. Can I get this micro-whatever?”

The librarian didn’t recognize Enora.  She fixed a dark glare on the young girl. “Tell your teacher to teach you manners.  Which one did you need?”

Enora faked not being sure for a moment. “E…F…425.  Yeah, that one.” The librarian went to the drawers, pulled a folder out of a large file cabinet.  Enora was staring at her phone when she returned. “Here is your document. The machine is over there if you can understand how to use it.  This document is to be returned before you leave, got it?”

Enora gave her an annoyed glance and walked away, feeling a little guilty.  Ms. Wright was having difficulty at home and didn’t need some snotty kid messing with her.  She slipped the thin film on the machine and began studying maps for the next two hours. As she worked she felt Ms. Wright’s eyes boring into her.  There were only 2 films left when she found what she was looking for.

The subway on 5th had a connection to her track.  It would be a 5 mile hike through a pitch black tunnel.  There were a lot of ravenous vermin there of both the human and animal variety.  She needed to get some supplies to make the trip. she slid the precious films back in the folder with great care.  She tossed the file on the counter with a ten spot underneath. A small tip might make up for Enora’s nasty attitude.

Two blocks from the library was ‘Survivors Shop Here’.  Most of her gear was purchased there. Enora ran in and jogged through the aisles. She grabbed a headlight, a taser – illegal of civilians but the owner had friends on the force.  she also grabbed a fighting cane and a thick vest. She would rather have gotten a flak vest or kevlar but she lacked the cash. It must be nice to be a billionaire and get whatever you need whenever you want it.

She left the store and headed to the station.  The platform was packed, which would make it difficult.  She didn’t want to make a scene, but there was no way to avoid it.  She walked to the corner of the track and waited. Soon a train came and people filed on and off, bored people making the same boring trip. It ceased to be boring when the train left and she leapt onto the tracks.

There were screams and clicking camera phones behind her as she ran at a dead sprint.  She had only 10 minutes to make the trip from the main track to the side path. Her body felt leaden, she still hadn’t recovered completely.  Still, she pushed far beyond her limits. She was still 100 yards from the junction when the lights of the 6:15 shone on her.

Legs shaking, she let out a scream and ran.  The sound of the rattling train filled her ears.  The train was so close she swore she could see the horrified eyes of the engineer.   Enora’s vision started to tunnel as she counted down to her death 5..4…3.. The side opening loomed in front of her and she dove for it.  2..1… She landed with a thud as the wind of the train blew her against the wall. Enora laughed hysterically as she gasped for breath.

Enora rose on shaking legs and slipped the headlamp on. She left it off, not wanting to attract attention from the locals.  Instead, she placed a hand on the damp stone wall and placed one foot in front of questing foot. It would add hours to her walk, but it was necessary.

Time meant nothing in the darkness.  The tunnel rumbled often with the echo of passing trains.  The sound of dripping water came and went. Several times she heard the squeal of rats.  Each time she tensed, but nothing came. Enora guessed she had traveled for 2 hours when she saw the light and heard the laughter.  It was the high hysterical cackle of someone too long removed from their fellow man.

Enora slowed her already slow pace to a crawl. She stepped over broken bottles and jagged chunks of metal, quiet as the grave.  She forced herself to breathe shallowly as she came close to the fire. A thin man was silhouetted in the flames. He was downing a bottle of gin.  The man was doomed, he was going to drink himself to death in a land of darkness and solitude. She felt bad for him.

The flames were behind her when she kicked a stone, sending it skittering into the darkness.  The man spun, and Enora gasped. The man’s eyes glowed a burning red, locking onto in the dark.  “You. You invaded my domain. Took the light room for yourself. That place is mine!” he squealed.  She was sure she saw spittle fly despite the dark.

In almost a blur the man held a pipe and loped towards her.  Enora flicked on the light and spun away, charging past a pile of blood drenched rat corpses.  The man hissed as the light hit him, but he stormed after her. Enora leapt and dodged broken boxes and metal rebar without slowing.  She took a quick glance and swallowed hard. The man was white as milk, his thin form corded with scarred muscle. Worst were the glowing eyes. They held a predatory glare that chilled her to the bone.  She ran faster.

The man was faster.  He moved through the rubbish-strewn tunnels like a wraith. The human beast was gaining ground by the moment as Enora gulped air and forced her burning legs to keep moving.  Wounded and exhausted, Enora knew she couldn’t escape. She spun gracefully around, shining her light in the man’s face. The taser jumped into her hand and she waited.

The man stopped and let out a wild laugh.  “Enora…Charity…Em. What do you prefer I call you while I squeeze that pretty neck?”

“How do you know me? Who are you?” Enora dropped into a ready stance, waiting.

“Who am I?  I am the Lord of the Dark!  I know because you chose to come to my world,” his burning eyes narrowed.  “You STOLE my land. You owe me tribute, and I will take it from you as I watch those dark eyes fade.” He raised his pipe and stepped forward, grinning viciously.

Enora didn’t bother to respond to the “Lord of the Dark’s’ tirade.  She studied him, looking for an opening to strike. As the man came close she fired the taser, striking him in the chest.  He quivered for a moment as the air sparked. Rather than fall, the dark man laughed. “Try again pretty bird.”

Tossing aside the taser she pulled out her cane, a 2 foot rod of oak ended in a bronze tip.  She held it low and waited. The dark man grinned and swung his pipe in a wide arc at her head.  She dropped to a knee, slamming her cane against his gut. There was no rush of air, no gasp, no give.  She might have been hitting iron. Enora jumped back and the pipe slammed hard into the ground with a clunk.  

Enora backed away as he approached.  He was stronger than any human had a right to be.  Worse he was quick. Her taxed muscles already shook, her head spinning as she tried to focus.

“I thought you were a warrior.   You are just a scared little girl.  I may let you live after all. I have always wanted a pet. I would find a lot of use for a pet like you.” His tongue lolled and he lunged at her.  Enora responded with the last of her strength, diving into a roll. She slammed the pole upwards into his groin with all her remaining strength.

As she passed between his legs she flipped to her feet, legs shaking.  The dark man had dropped to his knees, his weapon dropping to the dirt.  He was screeching at an inhuman pitch, hands clutching his manhood. Enora didn’t gloat, watch or wait.  She ran.

She covered the remaining tunnel in a shaky jog.  She tripped over and over, getting up a little slower each time.  Her vision was going double as she saw the hidden entrance of her lair.  She huffed a slight laugh and shoved the heavy door open. Enora crawled inside, rising shakily to close the cement seal.  She shoved a piece of rebar through the rings to lock it. She took 2 steps and collapsed inches from her bed. Enora’s eyes rolled back as darkness enveloped her.

 

Person of Interest – Rorri Henshaw

Name: Rorri Henshaw

Age: 5000

Appearance: Rorri is a semi human shaped cloud of mist with a greenish hue

Background:  Rorri is a spirit of mist who wandered his swamp home luring travelers to their death.  He was good at his job and loved his work. He was too good as it happened.

A few days after Rorri killed a pair of teenagers a priest entered the swamp and set up a tent and a small table.  He put a bible on the table and began reading. Rorri tried to draw him out but Zhe ignored the creature.

After a few days of this Rorri felt a strange tingling sensation and his ears were ringing. He tried everything he could think of but the priest kept reading. A week passed and the pain was unbearable.  He screamed at the priest “Stop Damnit!”

The priest responded, “Swear you will never return to this place again and I will leave you alone.”

“Piss Off,” Rorri responded.  He then drifted into the forest.  In another week he returned. He felt like he was in the middle of a volcano.  “Fine! I’ll leave!” he shouted.

“Swear it”

“Fine.  I swear I shall leave and never return.”

“Good.”  The priest slammed his book shut and began to pack.

In a moment Rorri’s pain went away.  He wept as he left his home of 2000 years.  He had warned this would be a temp job as the humans kept destroying natural places. His mother would be disappointed in him.

He needed to get another job soon.  His savings wouldn’t last for long.  He had heard that death spirits were being fazed out in favor of building possession, animating objects and poltergeists.  He didn’t know any of that. Killing was all Rorri knew. He would have to go community college to get the credentials he needed.

Wisps at the Edge of Reality – The Insect Demon

July 9, 1975

Westerby School was one of the premier schools in New England, and apparently one of the most haunted as well.  “Damon, are you sure we’re ready for this?” Mason asked, pressing down the front of his brown corduroy suit for the hundredth time. He hated the clothes, preferring his bell bottom jeans, white t-shirt, and rawhide coat.  

“Of course we are.  You need to relax, and stop fussing with the suit.  It’s important we blend in as much as possible,” the 30 year old didn’t even glance at the younger man, concentrating instead on his driving.  His hair, thick mustache, and mutton chops were white, making him look even older. He was a stout man, filling his brown suit to busting.

 

“Blend?”  Mason laughed, a slight hysterical edge to his voice “I look like Tonto pretending to be Wayne Brady.”  He pulled the coat flat again.

“Relax, you’ve been dealing with spirits since before I found you. You have training of a sort, and this isn’t my first rodeo.  We’ll be fine,” Damon said firmly.

“Spirits, sure.  Never one that is out for murder.  We can head back and no one will ever notice,” his voice was pleading.

“My friend Richard is expecting us.  Anyway, here we are.” Mason pulled into the guest parking in front of the administration building.  Built in a Victorian style, the stone building was well maintained.

The pair exited the car and headed into the entrance, Mason trying to hide behind the older man.  “Have some dignity, boy,” Damon growled. Sheepishly, Mason rose.

The secretary wore a smart olive dress with perfect permed hair.  “Greetings, gentleman,” she looked over Damon’s shoulder at Mason. “We don’t take indians here.”

“He’s too old to be a student in any case,” Damon answered. “I’m here to see Mr. Timson.”

“Who may I say is visiting?” she asked in a bored, nasally tone.

“Mr. Patterson, thank you”

The women clicked a button on the intercom “Mr. Timson, a Mr. Patterson is here to see you,”

A buzzing voice answered “Very good.  Send him up Carol. Be a good girl and make us some coffee.”

“Of course sir,” she answered.  She rose and gestured to a large door behind the desk.  “This way sir and friend.” She lead the way up to the top floor and pointed out a door on the left.  “The office is there. Make sure your companion doesn’t bother Mr. Timson.”

Mason tensed and opened his mouth,  but Damon laid a hand on his shoulder. it’s not worth it, echoed in Mason’s mind.  The pair entered the office and found a portly man in a black suit pacing.

“Thank god you’re here Damon.  It’s getting worse!” the man was sweating and wiping his bald head.  He saw Mason and said “Who is that?”

“This is my companion, Mason.  He is here to help me handle your issue.  Can you tell me what has happened since we last spoke?”

“Medicine man or something?” when Mason didn’t answer he shrugged and continued.  “3 more boys in the last 12 hours. Same as before, curled up and screaming. One boy keeps saying “Keeps the bugs away! Jesus save me!”

“That makes 10 total, then.  You should have contacted me sooner Richard.”

“I wanted to but the administration decided to have an exorcist come in.”  The man stuck a cigarette in his mouth with a shaking hand. Damon offered him a light, which he took gratefully.

“The clergy are good for the soul, but very few know much about spirits anymore,” Mason answered.   

Richard gave him a dirty look. “Damon, are you sure this boy is ok?”

“He has my absolute trust.”  The conversation ended as Carol entered with a pot of coffee and some mugs. She poured each of them a cup then ducked out.  “You said you have a room where we can work?”

“Yes, of course.  In the Pillson Building, there’s an old gym we no longer use.  We plan on converting it into a-”

“That is fascinating, but we really need to get to work,” Damon interrupted.

“Oh yes, absolutely,” he handed Damon a key. “Room 105.  Try to keep out of sight. We’re trying to keep this as quiet as possible, and there are a lot of people who know you.”

“I am always discreet Richard.  I’ll be in touch as soon as we learn something.” Damon bowed and they left the room.

As soon as they were alone Mason snarled “Medicine Man?  Not respecting my opinion? We should leave these people to their curse and laugh all the way.”

“If we don’t perform they don’t pay.  What will you do then? Go back to living in a rat hole motel?  I thought you wanted to become more than a con man?” Damon gave him a stern look.

“Yeah, well, I thought people would respect me, not treat me like some sort of animal,” Mason yelled.

“Respect is earned.  In any case be quiet.  We can’t attract any undue attention.  This job requires us to be invisible.”

Mason flushed “Right. Sorry.  I keep forgetting I’m a professional now.”

Damon nodded and the pair quietly went to the Pillson building, a large brick of a building with rows of small windows going up 4 stories.  They entered quietly and wandered the empty hall until they found room 105. Clicking open the lock, they entered a dusty gymnasium with mouldering wood and thick cobwebs lining the ceiling.

“Mason, I know you’re nervous but it’s time to use your talents to the benefit of others.  You can do this,” Damon laid a hand on his shoulder.

Wide eyed, Mason nodded.  He went to the center of the room and drew a large circle surrounded by celtic runes.  He produced a few medallions that he laid carefully in a diamond around the circle. Finally, he produced 4 red candles that he put at each corner of the diamond.  He walked around the formation 3 times and dropped into a kneel before a candle. His eyes were glazed as he began to speak in a strange clicking language unlike anything spoken by man.

The air in the room began moving, kicking up clouds of dust, making Damon cough.  The entranced Mason ignored it as the wind grew to a great storm around him. He raised his hands and let out a fierce cry.  Each candle burst into green flame that spread in thin lines, connecting the four candles. Mason rose and walked silently to Damon and the pair stood firm in the swirling winds, waiting.

Time lost all meaning in the pull of the winds.  It could have been minutes or hours before the winds roared inwards with a crash.  Both felt a press of blackness as the entity coalesced in the circle.

“Damon, what is it?  It feels powerful,” Mason whispered.

Damon looked upwards at the pulsing green monster.  It was a strange, bug-like thing. It had thousands of legs and a giant head with fly-like eyes 5 feet wide.  Souls swirled within, several banging on the outside in a vain attempt to free themselves.

“It doesn’t matter Mason, I need the charm.” he held out a hand.

“Yes..” Mason sputtered and pulled out a silver disc on a necklace of teeth.  He gave a short twittering chant and the object glowed white. He handed it to Damon who tossed it over his neck.  The warm glow surrounded the man. Silent as a grave he stripped off his suit, revealing swirling symbols that danced over his skin.

“Creature!”  Damon yelled, “I command you to release the souls you have stolen and leave this plane for all time!”

“Yooo shalll makkee a finnee meal…” the creature buzzed.  Mason shivered at the sound but Damon stood firm. The creature charged and bounced off an invisible with a flash of green energy.

Mason groaned and dropped to a knee. “It’s so powerful.  Hurry, I can’t hold it for long.” Damon didn’t bother to react, instead holding a hand forward, pushing his will at the trapped creature.  His golden energy enwrapped the creature, spikes digging into its form.

Screaming, the creature exploded outwards, its energy shattering Damon’s glow and knocking Mason back into the wall, the air roaring from his lungs.

“Can’t hold..” he wheezed.

“Just a minute more, you can do it,” Damon answered.  Mason closed his eyes and began to chant. Damon made a slashing motion, a blade of silver flashing out, cutting into the bug’s eyes.  The trapped souls flowed outwards, bouncing off the barrier. “4th quarter Mason. Drop the shield.”

Gasping, Mason released the field.  The green fire vanished and the souls flew in every direction.  Groaning, the young man passed out. Damon gave him a quick glance, then charged the creature, wrapping his rune covered body around the insect’s form.  An explosion of gold surrounded them both. They writhed together, the creature beginning to fade and Damon’s glow was failing. They fought with everything they had, but Damon didn’t have enough.   The crumbling creature tossed the man back next to the unconscious Mason.

Desperately, Damon shook the younger man awake.  “Mason, damn it wake up. We need the trump card!”

“I can’t.  Too weak…” Mason answered, head lolling.

“Do it or die!”  Damon screamed. Nodding Mason reached into a pocket, pulling out an ankh.  Holding it up he screamed and a burst of green slammed the creature, who dissipated.  Mason gave a huff and lost consciousness. Damon looked at him, smiled and passed out.  It was a long time before they awakened.

Once they awoke, they slowly began picking up their tools. “Damon, I can’t do it.  I’m not strong enough. I need more power,” Mason muttered weakly.

“Power comes from experience.  That was a far stronger entity than I expected,”  Damon answered.

“You scryed this place, how did you not know it was this strong?” Mason snapped.

“You know as well as I this isn’t a science,” Damon answered.

“I know, but that was my limit.  I’m not strong enough. Not now, but I will be,”  Mason said, his voice ice.

Something about the statement raised the hairs on Damon’s neck.  “Give it time. After a few days you’ll feel better and see that we were more than enough for this.”

Mason gave a short grunt and went silent.

They met with Richard who reported the children were recovering and handed them a fat check.  The tired pair thanked him and drove to a nearby hotel where they rented a room and slept for 2 days.  As they slept Mason dreamed of power. Power he was determined to get at any cost.

Person of Interest – Dana Dent

Name: Dana Dent

Age: 0

Appearance:  A typical wrinkly newborn with reddish fuzz on her head.

Description:  Dana snapped into awareness while screaming.  The world around her was blurry and cold, nothing like the warm cocoon she was used to.  Something tightly wrapped her and she calmed, falling back asleep as she was placed in her mother’s arms.

She awoke a short time later and began suckling.  What year is it?  Did I make it? She darted her eyes around but her myopic infant vision gave no clues.  She could hear a television, but her sensitive ears heard only a cacophony of noise.  I have to find out when I am.  Her eyes went wide and she started whining. I’m a girl? What the hell?  They told me no gender swaps this time!

Dana thought back to the procedure.  She – he – had been through it many times.  Her memory was fuzzy with only one thing clear, her mission.  Even as she remembered the men in coats, the giant machine and traveling to this body her thoughts faded away.  In moments she forgot all that in a haze of infant understanding. Warm.  Hungry.  Wet. The discomfort made her scream.  This pushed her last memory, that she was trapped this time with no way back, out of her tiny brain.

One thing stuck.  She had to kill John Pilterson before she reached her 8th birthday.  Everything depended on that.

Who is John Pilterson?  Why does he have to die?  How can Dana kill a man as a small child?  If you have any thoughts share them in the comments, or even better write a story!

The Dark Fairy and the Babe

People speak my name in whispers. They fear my name will draw my sight, and I shall approach them next. Gadileanbh will steal your child and eat your soul. I am a horror, with sagging grey skin, large taloned hands and eyes that burn with the light of a thousand suns.
 
They are right of course, I steal the young. It is not a job I do lightly. I pay no attention to those who call my name, they could scream it to the heavens for all that it matters. There are reasons for my wrongs. For the victims of my crimes, it is unforgivable.
 
My home is a crumbling keep, wrapped in eye covered vines which block the entrance to all but me. To reach it you must wade the swamp forgetful. Then you must walk the planes of fear and pass through a waterfall so strong it would crush a man with ease. These protections keep mortals from reclaiming their lost children.
 
Within my keep the young never age, lying in torpor until the end of times. I sit on a throne of alabaster in the shape of skulls. Before me are three withered crones who whisper the names of those I seek.
 
Not long ago the hags gave me a name, Leanaí Solas. “The child is the most important of all” spoke one.
 
“The fate of all rests in his hands,” said the next.
 
The final crone spoke, “His capture will bring an implacable foe to your doorstep.”
 
I rose from my throne and left the keep of eyes. A whistled thrice and with a rush of wind, my steed appeared. It was an emaciated horse, gray and ethereal like a pane of filthy glass. A cage of briars sat on his flank. I mounted him and we sped away to the world of the living. Under the falls, out of reach of the fear and his quiet step walked over the murky waters of mindlessness. The land of man was now in reach and we swept through the world. Each man or woman in our path felt the touch of death upon them.
 
The child lived in a palace of marble and gold, son of the mightiest king of the land. His father was cruel and heartless, lacking pity or warmth. If the portents were true the child of his loins would shape the world.
 
I felt the tiny soul above and leapt the 50 feet to the window of the babe. As silent as the grave, I looked within and my breath caught in my chest. The child’s mother was the loveliest of beings. She glowed like a sun, and her face serene as a mountain pool. She cooed at the child, smiling at his little kicks and gurgles.
 
My heart was enraptured. I would do anything for this lady, save ignoring my duty. I was bound by Titania’s will to complete my task. My heart pulled me forward and I stepped into the room as a fool might. The lady looked up and screamed.
 
“No! Not you!” She screamed, snatching the child to her bosom with a fierce protectiveness. Her passion was such my heart of ice melted.
 
“I am afraid so, fair one,” I bowed low. “I am bound by nature’s law to take the child. His destiny is one of importance, one that I cannot allow,” I felt tears for having to harm this woman. I reached forth and drew the child from her to me as if her flesh were smoke.
 
“I am most sorry,” I swallowed hard. “However, fair lady, all is not lost. If one can reach my keep they may reclaim their young. The way passes through the swamp of forgetfulness, a touch of the foul waters will wipe a man’s mind. Then you must cross the plain of fear, where the winds whisper nightmares to drive you mad. Finally are the falls of death, where the rushing waters will crush a man to nothingness. You must understand once there the truth of this will be clear. Only then may you choose to free or leave the child,” my voice lowered. “No other has been told this thing in my timeless existence. Do with it what you will.”
 
I dropped from the window as the Lady screamed. The guards charged me but I waved my hand and they fell senseless. Mounting my steed we were off in a flash, mountains, and lake whisking by in moments. We walked over the swamp, through the fear and beyond the waterfall of death to the keep of eyes. I carried the infant to the great hall. Within the darkened room a thousand thousand children slumbered, awaiting their freedom.
 
My heart was heavy as I returned to my throne. The hags watched with rheumy eyes as I slumped into my seat. “The girl. What will become of her?” I asked.
 
One hag stepped forward “She shall wander forever the swamp of forgetfulness. Mindless, her body will waste away and she shall be a banshee of the marsh. Let this happen m’lord. No good can come of this path.” the crone bowed and waited.
 
“I cannot allow harm to befall her,” I pointed at the crone “You shall give her a test of honesty. Should she pass, give her the secrets of the swamp. If she cannot then her fate is sealed.”
 
“An implacable foe indeed. I will do as you ask,” she bowed and vanished.
 
“Bring the ball,” I ordered the others. They vanished for long moments and reappeared with a ball of ebony blacker than night. They set the artifact on a clawed pedestal and backed away. I waved my hand over the ball. “Show me the girl,” I spake and her gentle features filled the air and squeezed my heart.
 
She walked the path to the swamp, single minded in purpose. As she walked she came upon a bag of silver. She looked for an owner and finding none she tied the pouch to her belt. She trod ahead, reaching the swamp to hear the sound of tears.
 
Looking about she saw a lad of 14 in black garb, weeping at the side of the swamp. “What is wrong lad?” she spoke in a gentle voice.
 
“I am doomed!” he cried “I have lost a pouch of silver that belonged to my Lord. As I searched I was touched by the waters of forgetfulness and no longer know I the name of my Lord!”
 
The Lady knew from his tabard the name of the Lord. He was a petty and spiteful king who treated his subjects poorly. A simple lie would steer the boy to a much kinder man, giving him a better life. For a long time she thought, then spoke thus: “Alas, child, you are the man of Lord Terris. I beg you not return to him, and seek the Lord Benard instead, for he will treat you far better.” She took the bag from her belt and handed it to the lad, keeping nary a coin. “Here is your silver. Now run to whatever Lord you choose, I wish you well on your journey.”
 
The lad’s eyes shown gold and he spoke “You have shown an air of honesty, and have earned the secret of the swamp. As you walk you must keep your goal in your heart. The power of your desire will block the forgetful slime.”
“Thank you,” she said, only to find the lad gone.
 
She stepped into the freezing mud, muttering her goal as she traveled. The vision faded and the hag returned. “She is honest of a sort. You should let this lie, for the sake of all.”
 
I waved her away and called forth her sister. “What is the Lady’s fate now?” I demanded.
 
“Her soul is to be consumed by fear for all time. The dark whispers will drive her to madness. This must come to pass for the sake of all.” the crone waited, head bowed.
 
“Give her a test of compassion. Should she pass, allow her through the planes,” I commanded.
 
“You are being a fool, and shall be made a fool,” she droned. With a wave of her arm, she vanished.
 
I waved my hand and again a vision of her appeared. I swallowed hard as her purity struck me again. I could not see harm come to the girl.
 
She walked the path between swamp and plain, her body caked in slime. Her face was muddied and her hair caked flat, but her beauty still struck me. As she approached the planes, she came upon the cub of a she-bear. The poor creature whimpered and mewled. Far off she heard a roar. Upon a large hillock stood the mother, rearing up. The beast was wroth at the loss of her cub.
 
The girl must have known the bear could be her death, but without hesitation, she lifted the tiny cub on her back. She wound her way up the steep hill, slipping many times. Her body was torn and bloodied when she reached the mother. She set the cub down and closed her eyes. She was expecting death, but it did not come.
 
“You have acted as one compassionate, despite the supposed possibility of death,” came a voice. The girl looked up to see the bear with silver eyes looking down on her. “I shall tell you how to pass.” The bear gestured to a nearby bag. “Within are enchanted balls of wax. Press these into your ears and the whispers of fear will not reach you.”
 
“Thank you,” she spoke as before but the bear had vanished, as the lad had before.
 
She took the bag and pressed the wax in her ears. She started onto the plane as my vision faded once again. The crone appeared before me, frowning. “You must not allow this to pass. Leave her to her fate.”
 
“Bah,” I scoffed and called forth my final crone.
 
“What is the girl’s fate?” I asked.
 
“She shall be crushed beneath the waterfall. The river will sweep her form to the oceans. There her soul will reside forevermore,” she said. “and a rightful death it would be.”
 
“She is an innocent girl, pure of heart. Such a child can do nothing to cause me harm. Go to her with a test of courage. Should she pass give her the means to evade the waterfall,” I ordered.
 
The crone shook her head sadly “As you wish o fool.” She vanished into the ether.
 
Waving over my ball, again a vision danced before me. The girl walked the bramble lined path to the mighty waterfall. As she walked she heard a cry. Turning she saw a horrid beast menacing a young girl. The creature had the tusks of a boar and sickly green hue. In its hand was a massive scimitar, raised to strike down the poor babe.
 
Without hesitation she dove into the path of the blade, eyes squeezed shut. The blade stopped an inch from her form. She landed hard in a pit of brambles. I frowned, knowing the crone had done this with purpose.
 
 
As she rose the creature knelt, presenting the blade to the girl. “You have shown courage as a pure mortal might have done. Thus my master bade I give you passage. Take the blade and cut the waterfall in twain. You may walk through the cut and reach the Keep of Eyes.”
 
Rather than thank the creature, the girl laughed and took the blade. Striding forward she slashed the falls and the water split, giving her passage.
 
The vision faded and the third crone appeared. “Do not give her passage through the eyes,” she intoned, but I was not listening. I was giddy like a maid at her approach and was attempting to make my gruesome visage more presentable.
 
After what seemed hours the veil of vine closed. The girl stood sword in hand before the vines attempting to slash them away with no effect. “I have passed your challenges Gadileanbh. Why do you bar my way?”
 
“Before you enter you must know the truth. I do not take children lightly, nor without cause.” I walked to the veil, eyes never leaving her. “The children I take are destined to bring great change to the world. In fact, most are poised to destroy it utterly,” I sighed. “Your child has the darkest destiny of all, to crush the mortals and lay them in the hand of dark Mab. I must keep your child for the sake of the world. My word is absolute, however, so as I promised you may enter.” The vines slid aside, and the Lady entered. “If I may, what is your name?”
 
“My name?” she said with a laugh “Why you know it already! For I am Mab, o fool.” Her youthful form stretched to the full sultry form of the Queen of the Unseelie. Her fair mud caked hair turned straight and black and her cream skin bleached to a bone white.
 
Before I could act, she swept the scimitar through my neck. My head rolled away as my body dropped useless to the ground. “I was warned thrice and thrice did I ignore it. I am the King of Fools.”
 
“Your word is absolute, yes?” she smiled “As such I demand the child be freed that he may fulfill his role.” Sweeping past me she went to the great hall and returned, the babe mewling in her arms. She gave me not a look as she left my hall with the bane of the world.
 
I wept openly after her. My heart ached at the loss of the maid, and my soul screamed at the failure of my duty. A noise came from above and I looked upward to see the 3 crones. “Take no time for me. I deserve my fate. You must go to Titania and tell her all that transpired. A hero must be found to prevent this dark future from reaching fruition.”
 
The 3 crones nodded and vanished. As they left, I wept aloud, and my rain of tears carried me to the river. The river swept me to the sea, where Titania awaited me. “You fool. What happened to that heart of ice?” she frowned. “No longer shall you be the bane of mothers. Your form is forfeit, but you will not escape your duty.” My severed head began to warp and change, stretching and sprouting dull grey scales. Soon I was a fish, the largest in all the sea. “You shall swim the ocean for 1001 years, devouring any dark souls you may find. Should you perform your duty well you will be restored. A 100 lifetimes in the frozen sea shall turn your soul to ice. I should think that will give you pause before falling for a pretty face.” She flew upwards to the sky, leaving me alone.
 
Since that time I have swum alone. My name is still whispered, and prayers offered by men of the sea. I am now the dark fish of despair, a creature that swallows men whole. As always none know of the righteousness of my acts.

Wisps on the Edge of Reality – Mad Dash

May 30, 2017

Jason huddled inside his thin grey windbreaker.  Spring had sprung, but the cold still bit late in the night.  For the 10th time, he checked his phone. Mason was late, very late.  He said he would be here 2 hours ago. The old bastard probably had a heart attack.  He pulled a piece of paper from his jeans and squinted at it. The paper read: ‘If I don’t make it, assume I am dead.  Run as quickly as you can to 142 Pinta St and tell them I sent you’.

It was now or never.  He had left his whole life to the possibility that the old Indian bastard could tell him what was going on. The things he saw and heard were driving him mad.  It was Mason or an institution. Once he learned what the hell was going on he could go home. Or he could go home now and forget about everything. It all made so little sense. A few weeks and meds might be all he needed.  Being crazy made more sense than this.

“Damn it!” his voice rang out through the darkness.  He pulled out his phone to look for directions and started walking down the dark streets.  Jason’s head darted around, convinced he was about to get stabbed and mugged. One call could end this, but he continued putting one foot in front of the other

After a half hour, the path brought him near the Copperhead River.  Fog rolled over the streets, obscuring the road. The street lights glowed a faint blue overhead, the only light besides the glow of his phone.   He slowed to a snail’s pace. Jason couldn’t see his own feet through the thick mist. He was sure his next step would send him tumbling down the bank into the icy river below.

Something wasn’t right.  On the edge of his awareness was a wrongness.  Slowing to a stop he spun, snapping his head around.  It was getting closer. His skin grew cold, and a black feeling in chest forced his breath out in ragged gasps.

The something became palpable behind his back. He spun and saw a pulsing redness glowing in the mist.  It became larger and larger as he watched. The shape was indistinct, humanoid at one moment, a hulking beast the next.  Every form it took had vicious claws and emanated pure hate.

Jason the voice echoing in his caused him to jump.  The old man is dead.  He held me back for decades. Something resembling laughter filled the air. You can’t count on him stopping me now.  I will eat your soul. The shape gained speed and tried to engulf him. Jason did the only thing he knew to do.  He ran.

His footsteps echoed in the mist as he flew down the street.  The red shape was a bull behind him, the gap between them shrinking with every passing moment.  Tears filled Jason’s wide eyes and he ran with no regard for his safety. If he tripped or fell it would mean his death, but so would slowing.

Without warning a new feeling appeared, both comforting and warm.  A yellow glow formed a line through the mist, leading away from the monster.  With no other option, he veered and followed the line.

 

Damn!  How are you here?  echoed behind him. He took a confused look behind himself and saw the golden glow acting as a barrier.  The red ogre shape slammed his fists against the glowing path. Each hit brought the monster closer, but far slower than before.

“Mason?” Jason whispered.  Could the man be alive? Jason knew the answer, Mason was dead.  He knew the feel of the ancient man, and this wasn’t it. Whoever or whatever chose to help him was something new.  Less thinking more running!  He poured on speed, charging around a sharp corner.

The path veered out of the mist towards a crumbling building between two mini marts.  Was this where he was searching for? He slowed and stared at the place. The building gave off a pale blue light, pulsing and warm.  Trancelike, he approached the rune covered door of the building.

A screech spun him around.  The red snake reared over him, dripping fangs driving at his heart.  Jason dove to the ground, screaming. He waited for long moments for death.  It didn’t come. Glancing upwards he saw the snake wrapped in a spider web of sparkling silver.

Not waiting for it to get free he scrambled to the door, finding it locked.  He slammed his palm into the door screaming “Mason sent me, Mason sent me…Dammit! Let me in!  I’m going to die!”

“Mason?”  came a voice, muffled by the thick wooden door “Is he here?”

“No dammit! A thing says he’s dead!  Let me in or I’m going to die!”

“Ok..” the voice sounded unsure but the door opened and he dove through, slamming it hard behind him.  Moments later a storm slammed on the door. A faint screaming echoed in Jason’s mind.

He looked up and saw a small group of children, most younger than him, stared slack jawed.  The one older woman looked at him and screamed “Jason, trust him! He’s a friend!” Some welcome. He looked at the others, all pale and frightened.  He walked over to introduce himself to the other outcasts.

Naked and Angry – Charity Nocturna


Enora gasped and her eyes shot open.  Her body was still stiff from the Tetrodotoxin.  Her chest heaved for several minutes as her limbs woke back up.  Wherever she was, it smelled terrible. As her head cleared she realized she was naked and there was something on her chest.  Grasping with her wooden limbs, she caught and held the object in front of her eyes. It was a bag of white powder. Cocaine.

She rubbed a shaking hand over her nose and looked.  White powder. Masterson’s dogs were trying to fake a drug overdose. She also saw she was in a closed dumpster.  Her chest throbbed and she managed to look down. The knife wound in her chest was beginning to bleed, blood pulsing in time with her heart.  She needed to patch the wound as soon as possible.

She slapped her forehead trying to clear her foggy mind.  I can’t go back to the lair.  Someone told them where to find me.  There are so many people who would sell me out for a bottle of scotch.  They can’t know I’m alive.  Enora rolled over and braced her back against the cover and forced herself up.  

She was still weak from the drug and strained under the weight.  Groaning, she lifted it and hopped out, the cover crashing down behind her.  She ducked into the shadows, glancing around for anyone else and checked the street sign. Sinon road.  Home of drug dealers and thugs. Until she recovered anyone could be a threat. Plus if the police found a naked homeless woman she would end up in the cell.  In this area, it was an even chance whether she would end up raped or not.

She made some mental calculations.  Her nearest stash was Timber street, two blocks from here.  Enora sighed Why did it have to be Samantha? While it was only 15 minutes away, it was 15 minutes of being naked and weak. The area was full of people who would be more than happy to rape, kill or imprison her.  She needed clothes, fast. As silent as a ghost, she crept through the back alleys. Several times she spotted gangbangers but they didn’t see her.

She was almost to the bar when a switchblade clicked behind her, followed by a catcall.  “Must be my lucky day. I appreciate a woman who lets it all hang out,” She could feel his eyes boring into her.

Letting out a scream, she buckled her knees and dropped near a pile of trash.  As she landed she slipped a hand into the pile, questing for a weapon. “Pl..eease don’t hurt me,” she yelled, forcing a quaver in her voice.  

“I’m not going to hurt you much.  Of course, that depends on how happy you make me,”  he snapped his fingers and beckoned her over. Her mind raced.  Under normal circumstances the bastard would already be on the ground with a broken leg – or worse.  With her muscles still shaking from the drug and blood loss it wasn’t so easy.

With little choice, she prepared to try to fight her way free when her hand closed on something hard and metal.  Grinning, she swung the object, which turned out to be a piece of rusted pipe, and crashed it hard on his head. The bastard dropped like a rock, blood pouring from a large, ragged gash.  

Enora rose, spit on him and began tearing off his clothes trying to beat his inevitable awakening.  He started groaning as she was halfway done. A quick kick to the chin sent him back into darkness.  The clothes hung off her and smelled of beer and weed. They would do until she got her costume, anyway. Bending over, she grabbed the knife and headed to the street.

Enora walked to her stash, swaying, swinging and waving a knife at anyone who came close.  The drunk act kept the busybodies away until she reached her stash in a back alley. Ahead was a dumpster that covered her stash. Walking towards it she staggered as a wave of lightheadedness washed over her.  She was losing too much blood. Enora shook her head. She needed rest and food soon.

She pushed the dumpster and it slid aside, revealed a shattered pallet. She lifted the edge and it opened on hidden hinges.  Inside was a garment bag, a first aid kit, and some cleaning scrub. She grabbed everything and slipped around the corner. A “convenient” piece of cardboard blocked off a corner.  Ducking behind it, she pulled the gangbanger’s clothes off and scrubbed herself clean. Enora winced as the cleansing scrub went over her open wound.

Opening the medical kit she pulled out a needle and thread.  Gritting her teeth, she grunted as the needle pierced her skin.  It took several minutes to close the wound. Her hands were shaking as she cut the string from her suture.  She grabbed some antibiotic ointment and poured it over the wound. Her fingers struggled to hold the bandages as she wrapped them around her chest.

Enora had to sit for several moments to recover enough to dress.  First, she pulled on a pair of stockings and slipped on some lacy underwear.  Then she zipped on a tiny skirt mini skirt that left the tip of ass exposed. Next came a tank top with a winking skull and an Eda State jacket.  Last came a curly redhead wig, which she pinned into place. She then peppered her face with fake freckles using a makeup pen. Groaning, she pulled on a pair of tall stilettos and stood.

Samantha swayed out onto the street, grinning like an idiot.  Reaching her coat she pulled out a lollipop, slipping it between her lips, held in a sultry smile.  She shook her way to the bar, posing in the doorway. She swayed over to a few guys from her school.  “Hey guys,” she said her voice husky and slurred. “Who’s gonna buy me a drink and some wings?”

They tripped over each other to get the order as she slid the lollipop from her mouth through pursed lips.  In a moment three orders of wings and six shots appeared. Samantha slammed back a shot and began sucking meat from the wings.  She paused often to suck buffalo sauce from her fingers.

Samantha laughed at their bad jokes. She ignored or moaned at their “accidental” grabs at her breasts and crotch.  At 2 the bartender yelled last call. She rose, body swaying and she laughed. “Thanks for the drunks, drinks,” her voice husky and inviting.

She counted five before one guy grabbed her arm. “Why not come stay with us tonight?  I’m sure we can find something fun to do,” the drunk fratty grinned like an idiot.

God damn it!  Of course, they’re frat brothers.  Masterson will die for this.  “Sure, “ Samantha slurred  “I’m always up for some fun.  Especially when cute boys are involved,” she grinned and batted her eyes.

This is going to be a long night she thought as the boys led her to their frat house.

The Last Act of Anastasia


Tina had the blankets pulled over her head. She cranked her little snake flashlight as hard as she could to keep it lit.  Its cute smile made a shadow on the protective sheet. Tina’s dark skin was ashen and she whimpered a little. The ghost was back and it would eat her for sure.

She had tried screaming for mommy but she swore and told her to go to sleep.   So Tina cranked away til her arm ached and she began to cry.

The air was whistling around her room.   Mommy, when she came, said it was the window, but Tina knew better.  The whistling slowed and the sound became a moan. Tina dove for the flashlight but her arm ached and she could only get the smallest flicker of light.

“Please don’t eat me!” Tina screamed.  

“Shut up and sleep!” her mom shouted from down the hall.

“My mom always yelled at me too..” came a tiny voice.  It sounded far away but Tina knew it was right above her.

“Don’t hurt me!” Tina yelled in a loud whisper.

“I won’t hurt you,”  the tiny voice sounded sad.

Fear and curiosity fought and fear lost.   A sheet couldn’t stop a monster anyway. Peeking out she saw a little girl like her floating above her bed.  The girl looked way too thin and had a fluffy dress on with lots of ruffles.

“You’re little like me.  I thought ghosts were all scary,” Tina said in a quaking voice.

“I’m a ghost?  That makes sense,” the spirit began sobbing “I suppose that means I’m dead.”

“Well you’re not for real dead, you’re still here,” Tina said, trying to calm the transparent child.

“No, it means Jesus doesn’t love me,”  the girl sobbed harder.

“Jesus loves everybody!  Maybe he just forgot for a while,” Tina began to cry too.  It was so sad. “How…”*gulp*”did you…….die…” the last word was a whisper.

“I got sick.  I was coughing a lot and it hurt so much,” her voice was lost in sobs. “Mommy and daddy tried everything.  One day I went to sleep and now I’m here,” the ghost looked down at Tina. “Am I really dead?”

“I guess… everyone says ghosts are dead anyway,”  Tina tried to smile “Well since you’re here we can be friends!”

“We..we can?” the girl asked.

“Sure.  I’m Tina, who are you?”  Tina felt much better that the ghost was a little girl like her.

“Anastasia,” the girl said, brightening a little.

“Nice to meet you, Anastasia,” Tina said.

Anastasia giggled. “You look like the girl who cleaned my bedroom.”

“That isn’t me for sure.  I don’t even clean my own room,”  Tina snickered.

“GO TO SLEEP!”  the yell seemed to shake the room and Tina dove under her sheet again.

“I wish mommy would stop yelling.  I don’t like it,” Tina said.

“Can I help?” Anastasia asked.

“I dunno how you can,” Tina answered. “Ghosts can’t touch anything, can they?”

“I’m not sure..” Anastasia said.  She started trying to grab a stuffed animal without any success.

A roar echoed through the room followed by a shrill siren.  Tina jumped up screaming “There’s a fire! I gotta leave!” She ran to the door, grabbed the handle and let out a screech.  “The doorknob burned me!”

Smoke began pouring under the door and Tina coughed.  Anastasia stuck her head through the wall. “The whole hall is filled with fire.  You’re stuck!”

“Mommy! Mommy!” she screamed.

“Oh my God, Tina!”  I can’t get to you! I’ll get a fireman to rescue you!  Don’t worry baby it’ll be ok! Help will come soon! Be brave!”  She screamed and sobbed.

Tina remembered fire safety lessons from school.  Grabbing a sheet, she stuffed it under the door and dropped to the ground.  Tina curled into a ball and began to cry. “I don’t want to die! I don’t want to burn to death!”

Anastasia’s lip began to quiver, bet she swallowed and scrunched her face. “I WILL SAVE YOU!” she screamed.  She began to flicker for a few moments. She began to become solid, and looked like she was still alive. Anastasia stared at herself in shock.  Shaking her head she spun and crashed into the window, sending glass flying everywhere.

“I’m gonna get you out of here! I won’t let my only friend die!” Anastasia yelled and grabbed Tina, the ghost’s tiny fingers digging into the girl’s wrists.  Anastasia let out a scream and pulled. Tina shrieked as she left the floor. The ghost looked like she was in pain, but she hauled Tina through the window.

Tina screamed as she floating 50 feet above the ground.  “Don’t drop me!”

Anastasia answered with a groan and they began to sink to the ground.  A few minutes passed and Tina found herself on the ground. Above her, Anastasia panted.  “I feel strange..”

“What’s wrong!  You saved me, you’re a hero!  You should get a prize!” Tina said, struggling for breath.

“Something is calling me.  Mommy, is that you?” Anastasia started to fade.  “My mommy found me! I am going to be with my family!” she looked down at Tina “Thank you for being my friend, I’ll miss you!”

Tina began to cry “I’ll miss you! Make sure to hug your mommy!”

Anastasia opened her mouth and blinked out of existence.

Tina heard a voice from around the corner “The hell you won’t go in there!  My daughter is up there! She’s only 7! You can’t abandon her!”

“Mommy?” Tina shouted.  A moment later her mother flew around the corner and tackled her.

“Tina! Oh my God! How did you get out!” she was crying and smiling at the same time.

“Anastasia saved me,” she sobbed, hugging her mommy.

“Who’s Anastasia?  Never mind, you’re safe!”  her mother squeezed her so hard she squeaked.  They hugged for a long time beside the burning building.

Unwanted Visitors – Charity Nocturna

Enora awoke with a pleased moan, enjoying the feel of silk sheets against her bare skin. She opened her eyes to see the black face of the Dark Leprechaun from the Through his Eyes movie. She hopped up, confused.
 
The prior night crept back into her mind. She and Dan had bowled, drank and laughed. One thing led to another, another being his bed. Looking around she saw her best blouse shredded on the floor. Her blonde wig lying in a heap by the window. Sighing, she got up and tossed on one of his dress shirts, buttoning it enough to keep it from falling off. She brushed her hair with her fingers as she walked into his pristine kitchen. Bless him, he left coffee.
 
Enora grabbed a cup and wandered back to his living room. He’ll be at work now. He always lets me sleep in. He’s so sweet. Her brow furrowed as she took a sip and scalded her mouth. She still enjoyed the feeling of caffeine flowing through her system. Her subterranean home was good for a lot, but coffee wasn’t one of them. The smell of anything attracted rats, and she hated rats.
 
She sunk into his plush couch to drink her coffee. This has to be the last time. We’re getting too close. If he gets close he’s in danger. Even as she thought it she knew it wasn’t true. She cared too much for him. If this keeps up he’ll find me out. What if he hates Charity?
 
She reached for the remote when there was a knock on the door “Cleaning Lady!” came a muffled woman’s voice. Enora froze. Dan didn’t have a cleaning lady. The knocking became more insistent. Enora backed into the kitchen and grabbed the broom.
 
A deep voice came next “Enora Westerson, we’re here to talk. We’re old friends of your parents.” Enora ran through the apartment smashing lights and closing shades. She then ran into the bedroom and dived behind the bed.
 
Moments later a loud thud came from the door. How the hell do they know my last name? I haven’t used my last name since I was 10. Feeling around in his bed stand she found his pocket knife. She slid the tiny blade into her palm and clicked it open.
 
Moments later the door shattered and two sets of footsteps entered the apartment. The light switch clicked several times. “She’s smart. No wonder she’s lived so long,” the woman said.
 
“Not much longer,” the man answered. He raised his voice “Enora, don’t make this hard. You’re trapped in here. give yourself up and we’ll make it qui-oof! What the hell Anna?”
 
“You think she’ll come out now? You made this job 10 times harder dumbass,” the female voice was sharp in the relative quiet of the apartment.
 
“What do you want with me,” Enora shouted, adding a quaver to her voice. Her voice echoed through the apartment. The man seemed dense, she might get some information before escaping.
 
“An old fr-” the man started.
 
“Shut it, Will. She doesn’t need to know anything,” the female growled.
 
Damn. I need to get rid of that bitch. Enora felt around until she found a heavy flashlight. She had bought it for Dan after he got mugged a year ago. Of course, he never remembered it. She peeked over the edge of the bed. The hall light outlined the shape of two figures holding weapons. Rising, Enora hurled the flashlight at the shorter figure. Moments later there was a fleshy crunch followed by a thud.
 
“Anna? What the hell?” the man shouted. “I’ll kill you!”
 
Enora pushed her voice as high as possible and exaggerated the shaking she faked before. “Why do you want to kill me! I’m just a street performer!” She was sure the idiot would bite without his keeper.
 
“You know too much. Mr. Masterson needs you out of the way.”
 
Enora almost leapt up and charged the man. He worked for that bastard Masterson. Word was he was running for governor. Must be he was tying up loose ends from his sordid past. Her muscles tensed, and she growled under her breath. As much as she wanted to beat the man to a pulp, she needed to die to keep Masterson in the dark. Reaching out a hand she grabbed her ruined blouse. She began feeling around in the hidden pockets on the sleeves. After a tense moment, she found what she was looking for, a small capsule. She swallowed it and yelled “Please don’t hurt me. I won’t say nothing! I haven’t told and its been 17 years!”
 
“Sorry, I got orders,” he said, moving towards the bedroom.
 
The man had to shoot Enora in 1 minute 24 seconds. First, she needed a bullet hole. Gritting her teeth, she slammed the knife into her breast. She calculated her stab to be shallow and in an inconspicuous area. She didn’t want scars to show while dancing if she could help it.  Enora took a deep breath and let a sob escape.  The idiot wouldn’t know she wasn’t terrified. She saw a small sliver of light coming around the curtain.
 
5..4..3..2..1 she threw her blouse in front of the light and a shot rang out. Before the sound of the shot ended she had thrown herself on the floor with a thud. The man’s footsteps echoed closer as the pill kicked in and she slid into darkness.

Tamaki Suko – Person of Interest

Name: Tamaki Suko

Age:38(25)

Description:  Young: Short and thick with wild blue hair and a violet gi with the kanji violence on the front.  Older: Tall and massively muscled with wild blue hair. He wears a larger version of his old gi. His hair turns pink when he is at full power.

Background:  Tamaki is a shoujo manga main character who beats and kills other fighters and monsters.  At first, he reveled in it but that changed when Uzuuku arrived.

Uzuuku was a Buddhist monk who trained Tamaki in focusing his ki.  He also made him a Buddhist. Now Tamaki hated violence and wished to escape.  

His first attempt to lessen the fighting was to fight with just enough strength to hold them off while tried to befriend them.  This ended with the other characters attacking innocents. This led to collateral damage and Tamaki being forced into battle.

Next, he tried dying.  During a fight where a character was supposed to die he dove into the beam.  This heroic sacrifice gave the death meaning which should make it stick. Instead, he dueled with a pickle man while dead to become more powerful.  His friends then made him not dead so he could beat up a dangerous enemy.

This left Tamaki with one question: how could he end the violence?

Henry Black

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A peek into Megha's mind