Halloween Party

I’ve fallen behind in my weekly writing prompts, with a bit of writers’ block. Hopefully, this conquered it and I’ll be back in my groove. Happy Halloween! 

I should have known better than to wear wings to a Halloween party. The left one was handing by a bit of glittery fabric and the right was bent flat against my back. Why was I even dressed like a fairy anyway? This was the first year that I hadn’t chosen something scary.

The clock on Brianna’s mom’s mantle struck 7, not exactly the witching hour, but I was ready to go.  This had been Tanner’s last chance with me and I found him in the basement, with his tongue down a sexy witch’s throat.

The huddle of smokers on the front porch slowed my dramatic exit. Brianna called after me.

“Don’t leave, Aubrey. He’s a jerk.”

“Your pointed hat is still askew.”

She reached up automatically.

“Brie, I’m mad at myself. It’s Halloween and I’m sitting at a lame party waiting to see which girl my boyfriend will cheat on me with. See you at school.”

The streetlights on Britney’s block had been the victims of mischief night. Her street was lit only by jack-o-lanterns and porch lights. Groups of trick-or-treaters ran up and down the street. I remembered the fun of dressing up and getting to be out after dark, mixed with that feeling that anything could happen. That’s what I was missing.

The wind sent swirls of leaves flying down the sidewalk. The gate to the park creaked open. Usually they locked it at dusk.

“Well, are you just going to stand there all night?”

He was tall, at least 6’. Stick thin, he was dressed like a scarecrow, with his face painted like a jack-o-lantern.

He smiled, his teeth white against the orange. “Sorry I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“I think you did.”

His grin grew larger. “Yeah, maybe I did. I can’t help myself. It is Halloween, after all. So are you coming, or not?”

“Where?”

“The party; the real Halloween party. Come on, I’ll show you.”

He grabbed my hand and slipped through the open gate.

I stopped, trying to pull my hand back.

He turned. “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know you. I’m not just going to follow you into a deserted park.”

He laughed. “Ok, don’t come. It makes no difference to me, but you were the one wishing for a true Halloween.”

“How…how did you know that?”

He just laughed and left me to make up my mind. I stood there, every warning that my mother had drilled in me flowed through my head. The scarecrow’s laughter mingled with others. It was just another party. I shook my head and stepped through the gate.

Coming around a bend, I saw the scarecrow was talking to a man with long curly horns jutting straight from his forehead. In the dark, the park looked different. The I realized that it was different.

“What did you do with it all?”

He turned to me. “With what?”

“The playground. The slide is gone. You have a band playing where the swings usually are. The only thing you kept was the picnic table. How?”

He shrugged. “It’s Halloween. I’m Guy, by the way, everyone calls me G.”

“I’m Aubrey.”

“I know.”

I hadn’t noticed the horned man leave until he came back over, fumbling with some plastic cups. G grabbed two and handed me one. I eyed it suspiciously, until G took a sip of his. The drink was warm and tasted a bit like apple cider, there was something flowery that I didn’t recognize. I started to relax but I wasn’t even tipsy.

The horned man brought a cup to a woman covered in feathers, wearing an owl mask. A violinist joined the flutist and accordion player. The music grew louder, a group of girls started dancing around a fire. I wandered over, G trailing me.

The girls looked about my age. They were dressed like true storybook witches. Two of them stopped dancing as we approached.

I said, “Nice costumes.”

“We like yours too.”

“Mine was a lot nicer earlier.”

One reached out a brushed my wing.

“It looks fine to me.”

She was right, my torn wing wasn’t hanging as low, the folded one was standing, and somehow the body glitter that I’d brushed on was sparkling in the firelight.

“Come dance with us.”

I handed my drink to G and let the music take me. One song blended into another, then another. We danced like they didn’t care who was watching. Finally, the music slowed, and I was in front of G gulping down my now cold drink.

“Thanks, I needed that.”

I squealed as a purple furred monster came out of the shadows.

“I’m sorry. You just look awesome.”

“Thank you, pretty fairy.”

G said, “Maurice, how did your evening go?”
“Good. I scared lots of people. More than last year, even.”

“That’s great buddy.” He held up his hand for a high five.

G led me over to the picnic table to refill our cups. I looked over at Maurice talking to the owl faced woman.

“So, he’s been running around all night, scaring people?”

“Well sure. He’s a monster. It’s what they do. It’s what they all do.”

“Right, those girls I danced with are real witches? And he’s what, a real vampire?”

“Yup.”

“And you?”

“I’m more of a spirit of Halloween. I send the others where they’re needed. Maurice was down at a charity haunted house. They were in need of a really big scare.”

“What about me?”

“Oh well. I don’t usually get personally involve but, I heard you ask for better Halloween. What’s better than spending the night with real monsters? And the gate opened for you. It wouldn’t have done that, unless you belonged with us.”

I raised my eyebrows.

“Are you calling me a monster?”
“Here that’s not an insult.”

I looked around at the others with new eyes.

“I guess not. It makes me really wish I’d gone with a different costume.”

“I don’t know, I think fairy suits you. Let’s go see what you can do.”

He waved over the horned man.

“Bret, are you up for one more trip out?”

“Sure G, let’s go.”

G took my hand and we followed Bret out of the park. Two mothers were walking with some little trick-or-treaters. One was pushing a stroller. G stepped in front of them. My mouth dropped open as they passed right through him.

They were all rubbing at goosebumps on their arms. One little princess took her mother’s hand as they headed to a better lit street.

“How?”, I asked.

‘Sometimes, there’s an explanation for those unexplained cold spots.”

“I knew it. My parents always said it was just my imagination, but I knew there was more.”

He smiled. “Of course, you did. Now watch.”

A group of boys, they looked about twelve or thirteen, were throwing rocks at one of the working streetlights. Bret had stepped into the shadows. The boys noticed him one at a time; saw his glinting horns and glowing red eyes. Bret’s growl echoed off the houses. They screamed and fled.

Bret whooped in triumph. “All five, did you see that G? Usually, there’s one non-believer.”

G said. “I saw. Now, Aubrey gets a turn.”

The neighborhood had quieted down. The treaters were home, sorting their candy. We walked down the middle of the street, Bret telling me stories of his best scares. We were approaching two people leaning against a car. I realized it was Tanner and Brie. We stopped right in front of them, completely invisible. They were holding hands.

I asked G, “Just how long were you watching me?”

“Most of the evening.”

“I don’t need revenge or anything.”

“They need a scare. Bret would be happy to do it.”

Brie pulled her hat off. “I can’t believe she called my party lame.”

“Don’t worry about it, babe.”
Did he just call her babe? How long had they been together, anyway? Before I knew it, I was standing in front of them. G hadn’t told me how, but I somehow knew what to do. I sent leaves swirling around Brie feet. She looked up and around. I felt my smile grow into a grin. Tanner was oblivious but, Brie would react to a subtle scare.

She inched closer to Tanner. He threw his arm around her.

“Did you feel that?”
“Feel what?”

“Um…nothing.”

I leaned around and blew gently on the back of her neck. She flew off the car.

“Brie?”

“You…you didn’t feel that?”

“Feel what?”

“It. Never-mind.”

She slid her arms around him and put her head on his chest. She couldn’t get away from me that easy. I knew enough about fairies, to know what a glamour was. I imagined myself in a hooded cloaked and wished to be visible. She saw me over his shoulder and screamed. Tanner turned around, but I was gone again. I walked back over to G and Bret.

“You guys are right. This is fun.”

G said. “I know that you aren’t about revenge, bur I enjoy it.”

“What are you going to do?”

G took my hand and made us visible. He led us to Tanner comforting a hysterical Brie.

“Hey guys. What’s going on?”

Tanner looked at me, then noticed G. His eyes narrowed at our clasped hands.

“Who’s this?”

“G. After I left. I ran into him and his friends. Hey Brie, is everything okay?”

“No, I saw a ghost. A real one.”

Tanner said, “I don’t think I’ve seen you around G. Where do you go to school?”

“I’m not from here. I guess you could say that I’m home schooled.”

“And, you just met Aubrey?”

“Yes but, we’re already great friends.”

I smiled as G put his arm around me. Maybe I was a little petty.

Brie said, “Tanner. Who cares about Aubrey and that guy. I just saw a ghost.”

G said, “I’m hoping she and I will become even better friends.”

Brie let out a little squeak as G’s eyes started to glow.

“Tanner.”, she said.

“What, babe?”

Brie said, “That’s it, I’m going inside and putting garlic on my window sill.”

“That’s vampires.”, I called as she stomped up her driveway.

“So, I’ll see you at school Tanner.”

As we passed Bret, I said, “He’s all yours.”

G and I were sitting on my front porch.

“I guess you disappear at sunrise.”

“Not really. Enough people Halloween all year, that I remain corporeal.”

“Really?”
“Sure. I’m not as strong as the stupid Spirit of Christmas.”
“Oh?”

“I don’t understand why. She just spends her time curled up in front of a cozy fire, drinking hot chocolate.”

“Well, that does sound nice.”

“Hey!”

“Just kidding. So…um if I want to call you; maybe get together for a monster movie?”
“Step into a shadow and say my name, if that’s really something you’d like.”

I surprised him with a kiss. His surprise lasted for just a minute, then he was kissing me back.

I woke with my mother shaking me.

“Why are you sleeping on the porch swing?”

“I just sat down for a second, I must have dozed off.”

“How was your evening?”

I ran my tongue over my lips. They still tasted like him, all pumpkin spice and apple cider.

“It was the best Halloween ever.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Big Fat Deadly Wedding

hairpin2

So this is week 6 of my word prompt challenge. I based it on the image above. Still having a hard time meeting my word count goals. I love the touch of humor in this one though…

The wedding had been a grand gaudy affair. My mother and my now mother-in-law had planned the whole thing. There wasn’t much you could do against two queens. My new husband and I were simply there. I was just glad that it was over. Now I just had to get through my wedding night.

My cheeks hurt from the fake smile I’d had plastered across my face all night. Why shouldn’t I be happy? I was marrying a complete stranger. We’d had a few well-chaperoned, very awkward meetings and he seemed nice enough. Too bad I had to kill him.

It wasn’t anything personal, I was just doing my job. Assassin’s blood ran as deep through my veins as the royalty did. We’d been killers and thieves for centuries. It was my grandfather who had found himself sitting on the throne. He’d found that it suited him and his purposes, so kept it. I’d been trained by the best, to be the best. I’d been trained for this task.

Prince Destrin was apparently the only thing keeping the kingdom from rebelling. It was a civil war that both sides wanted. So, I found myself sitting at a vanity on my wedding night planning murder, as the maid prepared me for bed. It had taken four people to get me made up. My next wedding dress was going to be a much simpler garment.

“Yes mistress.”

“I can do the rest. Go start the bath.”

She bowed and went to start the fire to heat the water.

“Would you snap at me too, if I said that you’re in a foul mood?”

Dez, as those closest to him called him, was relaxing on a sofa across the room. He’d already removed his outer tunic and boots.

“My mood is not foul, I-I’m simply nervous. It is my wedding night after all.”

He looked embarrassed and ran his hand through his dark wavy hair. I wondered what the curls would feel like wrapped around my fingers. I’d admired his hair from the start.

“Look M’Lora, I know this is our wedding night but, I’m not going to make you do anything that you don’t want to do.”

My eyes widened. From what my sisters had told me about their own wedding nights, I’d expected him to have torn my clothes off by now.

“Am I…don’t you want me?’

His eyes widened. “No! I mean yes, I do want you. But, I’m not in the habit of forcing myself on a girl. Vows or not.”

“That’s really good of you.”

The prince had a lot of good qualities that I’d discovered. He was kind to everyone. He was very smart and always seemed interested in what I had to say. He had a nice relaxed smile that he gave everyone. He flashed it toward me.

“Now, if you are wanting to consummate our union…”

I laughed. “Consummate our union. When you get all romantic like that, how can a girl resist?”

He laughed too. I took a deep breath. I’d known that I would probably have to bed him. I’d been prepared for it. I was both relieved and disappointed to think that I could say no. I looked at him. I wanted him. I’d wanted him from the moment I met him. I could imagine killing him without at least one encounter.

I stood up and held my hand out to him. “Let’s do this.”

He laughed. “Now you’re the one spouting poetry.”

The kiss was gentle, at first, testing my boundaries. I opened my lips to him and he took the invitation.  His had crept up to let down my hair. I gently pushed his hand down.

“Let me.”, I said. He watched as I pulled out the clips that my sister had twisted in. He didn’t notice the elegant butterfly pin that she had so careful hidden in plain sight.  I let my hair tumble down. Along with the front of my dress. I stepped out of it and looked at the prince. His eyes burning and lusty.

He picked me up and carried me to the large bed.

“My turn.” He said, as he pulled off his undershirt and pants. Years of horse riding and swordplay had honed his body. My stomach tightened as he crawled toward me.

Then he was on me. His lips trailing down my neck. I moaned. His hand slid up my chemise and found a breast. He was hard against my leg. I wanted this, needed this. Killing him could wait. I breathed in his scent. I heard the sound of a far-away door closing. I’d forgotten to dismiss the maid. Suddenly I sensed movement. Someone loomed over us.

“Look out.” I cried, pushing Dez off me and plunging the sharpened hairpin into the intruder’s throat. I followed through, pushing him backwards and tackling him to the floor. I pulled the pin from his throat and shoved it through his heart. The gurgling noises that he been making slowed and stopped. I slowly looked up and across the bed. My beloved husband was white as a ghost. My wedding undergarments were covered in blood.

“Is he dead?”

“Yes.”

“You killed him.”

“Yes.”

“He…he wasn’t the first person that you’ve killed, is he?”

“No.”

I stood up. The prince came over and looked at our assailant.

“Was he after you or me?”

“I don’t know, probably you.”

“That hairpin. You were going to kill me with it. Weren’t you?”

I sighed. “That was the plan.”

He crossed the room and sat back on the sofa. I’d been covered in more blood than this before and hadn’t cared, but there was something about the way he still looked at me. Like he didn’t hate me.

“I need a bath before someone comes in.”

He watched me as I walked to the waiting tub, pulled off my soaked clothes, and climbed in.

“There has been rumors and stories of one of the royal families. We just didn’t know who.”

“Well now you do.”

“Why M’Lora? Why me?”

“You’re negotiating a peace that those in power don’t want. With you gone, our mother can rule until your brother is old enough to take the throne.”

He leaned against the beck of the seat and looked up at the ceiling. “My mother. I should have known she’d be behind this somewhere. I guess that’s how you were going to not get in trouble for my death. Is the whole palace in on it?”

“Don’t get paranoid. Only your mother and a few guards loyal to her are part of the plot.”

“And your family.”
I laughed. “My family doesn’t care. My mother owed yours a favor and she thinks I needed practice.”

“Practice?”

“I’ve killed plenty but never on such an intimate level.”

He looked at me and smiled.

“You saved my life.”

I sighed. “Yes, I did.”

“Does that mean that you, at least, like me?”

“I’ve always liked you. Killing you, that’s just following orders.”

“And now?”

“It would be poor taste to pull the pin out of that man’s heart and put it yours. Maybe, I’ll just smother you with a pillow.”

He got up and came over. He pulled up a stool.

“I have a better idea. Why don’t I hire you as a guard? You’re already my wife. Unless that was a sham too.”
“No, we are really married. They wanted me close, in case I wasn’t able to do it tonight.”

“How long have they given you?”

“They haven’t really. I’m sure they expect it to be done soon.”

“Hear me out. Your murder attempt was thwarted by the other murder attempt.”

“To cover for you, I’ll have killed him. This will give us a day or two, to figure out the rest.”

The more he talked, the less I wanted to kill him. It had nothing to do with him being naked.

“You have my word. No murder attempts from me, for at least two days.”

He smiled and helped me out of the bath. Wrapping a large towel around me.

“Now I’m going to ask you to do something that you’ve probably never done.”

He was right. I sat in bed screaming. For help. The guards that ran in were definitely not expecting the scene we’d set. I sat up in bed with a blanket pulled up. Dez, with his pants back on, stood over the body with my bloody hairpin in his hand, He launched into the complicated story he’d concocted.

Essentially, it was what really happened except he was the one who killed the intruder. We sat on the bed as more guards came in. Then the captain of the guard came in. All of them scratched their heads at their price’s story.

Once the body was removed and the maids cleaned up the mess, we were finally left alone. I fell back onto the pillows. I couldn’t remember having such a long day ever. Dez fell back next to me. We both quietly examined the canopy. I looked over at him.

“They underestimate you.”

“Who?”

“The guards, your mother. I’m not sure any of them believed your story.”

“Maybe I’ve earned a bit of respect then.”

“No, but that’s fine. It works to our advantage. So would it be poor taste if we continued where we left off?”

He turned to me surprised. “Oh, um…”

“Never mind. I…forget I asked.”

“No, I had just assumed that was part of the act.”

“I told you that I like you. The question is, do you trust me?”

“You made a promise. I trust you to keep it.”

I smiled. “Well husband, let’s do this then.”

He laughed. “So poetic.”

I was still laughing as he began to kiss me.

Not another vampire blog

A coworker once stamped her feet and exclaimed, “I was into vampires before Twilight. I bet these kids have never even heard of Buffy.”

I, of course, replied. “I was into vampires long before Buffy.”

She horrified me, by telling me that she had been in middle school when Buffy came out.

I can’t say what got me started. I remember growing up, loving all things vampire and werewolf. Everything from Manamil to Count Duckula. (Yes both of those were things) As I got older my interests expanded into fairies and witches, pretty much anything that was outside the norm.

Over the years I’ve become quite the expert. Yes, I’m a supernatural snob. These tales can’t be clichéd but can’t go too far from the legends. I can also tell from the first sentence if the writer has knowledge of things or is just jumping on the bandwagon.

I do fear that people will see what I’m writing and pass it by, thinking “oh it’s just another of those stories”. But, I hold myself to those same standards. In my writing, I try to create my own world with a touch of the legends.

They say write about what you know. I also believe that you should write about what you love. Maybe along the way I can ignite the passion in other too.

Sword of Heaven and Hell

This is a short story introducing characters for a YA series—

The sun shining through a crack in the blinds, woke Logan out of a sound sleep. The soft whir of the air conditioner, was the only thing that broke the silence. It was summer and he’d done his best to be able to sleep in. He had even stapled the curtains shut but, every morning the sun found a way through. He suspected that his mom had something to do with it because there was always a list of chores waiting for him. Today, he already knew what she wanted, which meant it was time to get up.

He sat up, looked around, and realized that he wasn’t alone in the bed. He couldn’t see anything of the girl curled up next to him, except, a bit of silver hair. He slowly remembered the night before; Collin’s party, the bottle of vodka that he’d lifted from his brother’s stash, and meeting Kirby.

She’d been cute, in a goth sort of way, dressed all in black velvet and combat boots. She wasn’t his usual type, but, they’d both been wasted and she’d come on to him. So he’d snuck her home.

His phone rang somewhere on the floor, he scrambled to grab it.     “What?” He mumbled.

The excited voice that rang through his hung-over head belonged to his cousin. Logan sighed, he’d made a deal with his mom after the last time, he’d missed curfew.  He’d promised to hang out with Xavier for the day. His family was worried that the guy was becoming antisocial. Logan wasn’t sure about antisocial, but he was pretty sure his cousin was crazy.

Xavier had always been jumping from one obsession to another. For the last few years, he was into all things supernatural.  Last summer he’d gone around “ghost hunting”. Dragging Logan to a few supposedly haunted places, they didn’t find any. Who knew what it was this time.

Logan ignored what his cousin was saying.

“Dude, I’m not feeling well. Can we do this tomorrow?”

Again, Logan didn’t pay much attention to his cousin’s rantings. He just registered it was louder and faster. Finally, he hung up and laid back down. The small female form snuggled contently up against him almost immediately.            Logan closed his eyes and drifted back to sleep. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed, when his bedroom door slammed open and someone turned the lights on.

Logan tried to pull the covers over his head, but Kirby sat up groaning. Her long silver hair stuck out in every direction and she blinked a few times, as if she wasn’t sure where she was.

“What the hell?” Logan exclaimed.

Xavier stood in the doorway uncomfortably, looking between them. It was obvious from the look on his face that he wasn’t expecting Logan to have company.              “Who’s that?” He asked suspiciously.

Logan yawned, ran his fingers through his shaggy brown hair.                                       “Kirby. Kirby this is Xavier, my cousin.”

“Bathroom!” Kirby responded and leapt from the bed. She picked her clothes up off the floor and went for the door. They both watched as she ran from the room.

Xavier sighed.

“A girl? You’re ditching me for a girl?”

Logan looked at his cousin. They shared the same dark brown hair, but Logan’s was long and thick and Xavier kept his short at a mom approved length. They also had the same mahogany colored eyes. Logan however, was almost a foot taller. The physical differences aside, they had almost opposite personalities. Logan was laid back, where Xavier was a bit intense. Somehow, they usually managed to get along.

“I’m not ditching you. I met her at a party last night, that’s all. But, you do know, the only reason I’m doing this at all is, because it’s better than being grounded.”

Logan started looking around for some pants.

“I know that. My mom is making me hang out with you too. Apparently, I’m not social enough.”

“Yeah, well, if you weren’t such a weirdo maybe you’d have more friends.”     Logan slid his long legs into a pair of cleanish jeans.

The door pushed open and Kirby stepped back in. She really was petite, even a bit shorter than Xavier. She’d slipped her dress back on in the bathroom and gotten most of last night’s make up off. Still, she looked pale, with impossibly blue eyes that peeked out from under long bangs. She stopped just in the doorway as both cousins looked her way.

“Morning boys.” She said with a mischievous smile, “What are you guys up to?”

“None of your business.” Xavier responded.

Logan glared at him before saying, “Not sure yet.”

“Good”, she said, “Would you mind driving me to my car?”

“Why can’t you find your own way home or just call someone to pick you up here?” Xavier asked.

She started to explain. “Xavier, is it? First of all Xavier, I don’t even know where here is….”

Logan interrupted, “Of course we’ll give you a ride. Where is your car?”             “My friend Layla’s house. We went to the party together, but when I met you, I told her to drive herself home.”

She began looking under the bed for her thigh highs.

“Ok. That shouldn’t be a problem.”

Logan slipped a t-shirt over his head and grabbed his shoes.

“Let’s go.”

Kirby had located her boots and put them on, so she  out the door first.             “Hey wait a minute.” Xavier said,” I’m on a timetable. I don’t have time for you to be carting some girl around. And this is kind of a secret mission.”

“Well it’s my car and I want to help her. The more you bitch, the longer it’s going to take.” Logan returned, then relented, “We’ll swear her to secrecy. If it makes you feel better.”

“Fine”, He sighed, “Let’s just go.”

Kirby had already made her way out to the driveway, where Logan’s car was. The station wagon had been through his two older brothers and before that, his mom. At some point it had been painted black and was covered in stickers, but underneath, it was still a station wagon. Still, a car was a car, and it’d been free.                          Logan unlocked the doors and they got in.

“Alright, Xavier. Where to first?”

“I need to get some stuff out of my garage. Run by my house.”                                       Logan looked back at Kirby who’d climbed into the backseat.

“Are you ok with that? Do you have to be anywhere?” He asked Kirby.                           “No, I’m good.”

Xavier and his mom lived just a few blocks from Logan, so they were there in just a few minutes. While he ran into the house for whatever it was he needed, Logan chatted with Kirby. Really, it was the first time they’d actually talked.

With what little of the night he remembered, he’d actually liked her from the minute he saw her. She had this easy going way about her.

“So you don’t go to Carmichael do you?”

“No, I actually go to a private school, Emery.”

A small chirp came from her bag. She reached in and pulled out a phone. Immediately, she began texting.

“Great. Layla took my car to visit her boyfriend.”

“That’s okay, hang with us.”

“You don’t have to be nice to me. I mean last night was great, but, you don’t owe me anything.”

“I know I don’t. Last night WAS great, but I’m being nice because I want to. Besides, you can keep me from killing Xavier, when he starts getting really obnoxious.”

She giggled.

“You mean it gets worse?”

“Oh yeah. You haven’t seen anything yet.”

Xavier came down the driveway lugging a big cardboard box. Logan hurried to the back of the car and lowered the gate. He heard glass bottles rattle as Xavier slid the box in. He tried to peek, but the other boy leaned over it.                                         They all climbed back into the car and Logan asked,”Where to next?”                         Xavier answered, “Well where we are dropping the girl off?”                                         “Um she’s actually coming with, and her name is Kirby”                                                  “Seriously! Come on Logan, I have things to do, that I don’t need an audience for.”, Xavier pouted.

“I don’t want to say again; my car, my rules. Kirby, any requests?”                                “Coffee would be awesome.” She said, glancing up from her phone.                              “Coffee it is.”

Logan completely ignored his cousin.

“So”, Kirby started, “Xavier, what’s the big deal about today?”                                        “Why are you asking?” He responded suspiciously.

Logan butted in, “It’s called conversation. She’s trying to be friendly. You should try it sometime.”

They pulled up to the coffeehouse, only Logan and Kirby got out. He took Kirby’s hand as they walked across the parking lot. She held his hand, kind of swinging it a bit. He’d grabbed it just to piss Xavier off, and she seemed to know. This made him smile a bit.

They ordered the same thing, large latte with white mocha and extra whipped cream. It was Logan’s usual coffee and from the looks of it, it was Kirby’s too. Who knew buying a cup of coffee could turn into a romantic moment.              Xavier was still pouting when they got back to the car. It seemed that he’d decided to just pretend Kirby wasn’t in the car.

Speaking to Logan, he said, “We need to go to the hobby store. I need to get some chalk.”

“No problem.”

Kirby sat in back drinking her coffee. Not one to be ignored, she asked, “So seriously, what are we doing?”

Xavier sighed, but relented.”Ok. See, last year I was hunting ghosts, so I started researching stories. I was trying to find places that might be haunted. Well I found a book on demonology. So I had to try it.”

“Try what?”

“There were instructions on how to raise a demon.”, He said.

“A demon? Seriously? Even if that were possible, why would you want to do it?” She asked.

“To prove it can be done.” He explained.

“So you’re one of those, there’s something out there guys?” she asked.                         “Definitely.” He said.

“What are you going to do with the demon after you get it here?” she asked.

“Um keep it! If I have a real demon, I’d be famous.” he said.           They pulled into the parking lot of the big craft supply store. They all piled out of the car and went in. Xavier led the way to the art section. He huffed when he saw the chalk selection.

“It’s all gone! How do they run out of chalk?”

He went off to find a sales clerk.

“I think he likes you.” Logan said.

“Really? How can you tell?” She asked, looking up from her phone.                               “That was the longest I’ve ever seen him talk to someone who wasn’t family.”

Xavier came back, carrying a clear plastic bag. He held it up. It was shaped like a lady’s purse. Inside was a jump rope, a set of jacks, and some pink chalk.

“Its pink.” he lamented.

“What are you doing with it, anyway?” she asked.

“I probably won’t even use it, but I may need it to write some symbols on the floor. Pink will work, but it’s not what I was picturing.”

Back in the car, Xavier directed them to the state park, just out of town. Kirby had taken command of the backseat again. Suddenly she looked up from her incessant texting and said,” Logan turn up the radio. I love this song.”

When Logan heard the song, he replied,” I really like this one too. Have you heard the whole album?”

“Yes. Hey they’ll be here next month. We should go.” She said, “If you want to, I mean.”

“Yeah, sure. That sounds great.” He said.

Xavier interrupted,”You two are cute. Why don’t you get a room?”                              “We had one”, Logan responded testily,”You made us leave it, to help you with your insanity.”

Logan pulled in the turn off to the park. When he saw the banner over the entrance, he chuckled. Xavier was not as amused.

“Girl Scout jamboree?! There’s 10,000 girl scouts on my sacred space.’                       “So does this mean we can just go home?” Kirby asked.

“No, I had a second site in mind. That’s what the chalk is for.”

He led them back to the car. He gave Logan directions to a dirt road and an old barn. The barn was covered in no trespassing signs and the doors were chained shut.

They followed Xavier around the back and watched him pull up several loose boards. He slipped in through the opening. Logan and Kirby slid in right behind him.

Inside, the building seemed solid enough. It was warm but not hot and the air was very still.

“Give me your keys.” he said to Logan,” I need to get my supplies.”                                 He handed the keys and started exploring.  The barn hadn’t been used in a while. It looked like it was now being used for storage. There were, what looked like bits of farm equipment covered in tarps. A long work table ran along one wall. Kirby had hopped up on the work table and smiled slyly at him, before, giving all of her attention to her phone.

Xavier’s rattling box pushed through the missing boards just before the boy himself eased in. He picked up the box and carried it over to the table. He started rummaging through it, pulling items out and setting them on the table.                      He paused a minute and then began to moved things in the box around frantically.

“It’s not here! I know it was here, when I left the house.” He said.                              “What’s not here?” Logan asked.

“My book. It had the instructions in it.”,Xavier replied.

“Soooo, we’re done here? “, Kirby asked.

“No, the moon and sun are in a special alignment with Pluto. This has to be done today. I pretty much have it memorized.” Xavier said.

He opened the box of chalk and pulled a piece out. He started drawing a big circle surrounded by strange symbols on the wood floor. Logan sat next to Kirby and watched.

Xavier got, what looked like sand, out if a jar and began sprinkling it onto the symbols. He chanted in a weird language as he did it.

Slowly, in the center of circle a bright light appeared. It was small, about the size of a bumblebee. But as Logan watched, it grew. He heard Kirby sigh next him. She slid off the table and set her phone down.

Logan didn’t know which way to turn.  The bright light in front of Xavier was getting bigger. Then Kirby started to emit a soft glow of her own. He stared at her as the glow grew. It was almost like she was coated in it. Xavier glanced over and his eyes got wide.

The glow gathered and narrowed to a point in the middle of her back. It became fierce and too bright to see. Both boys looked away. When the light subsided, Logan turned back around.

Kirby had wings! They looked like costume angel wings, but so much softer. And they weren’t white or black, but a really pale grey.

Xavier whispered, “OH my god. I was right.”

“Yeah you were right, unfortunately. Now all I can do is see it through.” She said.

The light had grown to the size of a door. Xavier was standing directly in front of it. Kirby stepped forward and shoved him. He fell backwards and disappeared into the swirling light.

Once he was through, the door started to shrink down. Logan watched, frozen, as the light faded into nothing.

Everything went very still and quiet. Logan turned to Kirby, who was back on her phone, but still sported those amazing wings. She sat back on the table, but instead of hopping she floated a bit.

With her sitting on the table, they were almost eye to eye.

He started, “What the hell…”

Kirby looked up and shrugged, “He’s going to find all the answers he wants now.”

“But you….” He stuttered, “What are you.”

“I’m an angel.” She said.

Logan only tried to process it for a minute, “But last night…I mean aren’t you supposed to be pure?”

She laughed, “I’m not that kind of angel.”

“So you’re evil?”

“Nope. I work for both sides. There are things that need to be done, especially in the mortal world, that neither angels nor demons want to do. So they send out the swords. That’s us.”

“And sending people into the underworld!? How am I supposed to explain this to my family?” He asked.
She smiled at him and slid her hands to either side of his face, “Don’t worry. He’s just going to be shown the error of his ways. He’ll be returned right after. By morning, he should be soundly at home.”
“Then what?” He said suspiciously.
“Then he either moves on to a more productive hobby or he winds up going away forever.” She explained.
A car honked outside and Kirby slid to her feet, “Well, that’s my ride.”
“You’re leaving?”
“Afraid so”, She said,” I have some place to be.”
“But…”
“I did have a nice time last night. And, today too.” she stepped up and braced herself against his chest as she rose on tiptoe. She leaned up to kiss him and. Despite his confusion, he kissed her back. He slid his hands around her waist and they brushed the base of her wings. He discovered that they were as soft as they looked.
The car honked again and she stepped back. As he watched her turn and go, the wings faded from sight. Logan stood in the dusty room and tried to make sense of his day. When he realized it wasn’t happening, he turned and went out to his car.
Later that night, Logan thought about the events of the day. He’d been able to cover Xavier’s absence. Fortunately, his mom was working the night shift so she wouldn’t know that he wasn’t really staying over.
It was Kirby that his mind kept wandering to. Part of him was mad that she’d lied. And what did it mean that she was an angel? But, in all that, he realized that he really liked her.
As he was thinking, a figure appeared at the end of his bed. He’d now know that small shape anywhere.
“What? Did you forget, you had to flush my goldfish down the toilet?” He quipped.
“I don’t know. Did he try to raise a demon capable of plunging the world into a thousand years of darkness?” She asked as she slipped her shoes off. She crawled into to bed and snuggled up against him.
Logan smiled, “No, but maybe you should stick around and keep an eye on my sister’s hamster. It’s been looking a bit evil lately.”
With that, he leaned down and kissed her.

The Generation Crack

I spend a lot of time writing and a lot of my writing is YA. Yet, the other day, I found myself saying “kids these days”. I’m only in my early forties but I find more and more separates me from the new generations. I haven’t reached the generation gap yet. I know who Iggy Azalea is. I can get turnt up. No, I’m experiencing a generation crack. The question is, am I in touch enough to write for teens?

First of all, there’s technology.  I was a senior, the first year that computers was offered as a class in high school. My introduction was a Commodore 64. I had to write the program as I went, to get the darn thing to do anything. I wasn’t impressed. I am impressed with today’s tech. I’ve watched the phone evolve from rotary, to touch-tone, to cordless, to mobile. I remember arguing with someone who insisted that books would someday all be on computer. Then I realize that was 19 or so years ago. I marvel at the young people today who seem so comfy with it all.

I feel like my elderly coworker who is also trying to keep up in the digital age. She chases me around with her phone, trying to get me to explain the difference between wifi and 4g. No, waving your IPhone in the air will not make it pick up the signal better.

Now, I have my IPhone, laptop, and tablet. I also have a stack of For Dummies books to explain it all.  Trying to make head or tails of it has been a journey. I have come to realize something important about the next generation. They really don’t know any more than I do. When I chase my roommate around with my laptop, he does the same things with that I would. There isn’t a benefit of growing up in the so called digital age.

This isn’t the only thing that puzzles me about this new age. Why is it that most of the people I know under 30, don’t seem to want to drive? What is it about this generation that would rather be on the information super highway than the real one? And why, for all social media that we are plugged into, do the young people I meet, all have issues holding a conversation?

The biggest difference that I see in today’s generation is ennui. I meet so many young people that just don’t seem to care. I even have had a couple tell me that they don’t know what passion is. Most are intent on getting by in life with the least amount of effort. When I was that age, I remember everyone had ambition. Most never lived up to their original dreams, but they still pressed on.

The YA stories that I read and write don’t reflect this. They are filled with teens who live life and take action. They may not know exactly where they are going but, they are figuring it out with enthusiasm. Does anyone really want to read a story about someone living in his mom’s basement? Until someone tells me so, I’m just going to keep writing about those take action teens.