The Beach.

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Photo Credit : https://unsplash.com/@venegas?photo=OhIfU2AczOg

She had threatened long enough, although no one had believed her. Just a call for attention. Nothing more, nothing less. they had decided. An old womans empty, and at times, humorous threats.
But obviously beneath the humour, there was hurt, and distress. No one had bothered to investigate. Everyone busy with their own lives. There careers, children, and business. Had someone actually taken the damn time to sit down with her, and sincerely ask her, what life was like for her. Had they show  more consideration and kindness, and maybe spent more time with an old lonely woman, life would have turned out differently. Perhaps many would have spent more time with her, aside from the one solidary visit a week, for the Sunday lunch. Nobody considering how the rest of the week was for her.
It was of course, too late now. The chance had disappeared. She lived for the weekends, and the once weekly visit from her children, and newly born grandchildren. Laughter and energy and happy voices once filled her household, just as it had been, when her own children were grown up. But there were always strains between her and her grown up, and now adult children. Did they really like each other , as people. Would they actually want to spend time in each other’s company, were they not related.

Some had taken sides, when the separation from her husband was first enacted, and then the divorce. Allegations and counter allegations flew between the two parties, and none of it pretty. Lies, distrust, and anger followed. Made up stories of abuse, and cruelty that may, or may not have had a grain of truth in them. Loyalty and kindness to her children, soon forgotten and dismissed by them, as they took the side of her husband.

The final straw for her, was the cessation of contact with her children, who were convinced by her husband, that she was the villain in all of this. That and the denial of access to her grandchildren, that she had helped care for, soon after they were born. No viable reasons given. All the love, kindness, and generosity she had shown them, and their Mother, her daughter, throughout the years. Amounted to nothing, it seemed. Kindness granted, soon forgotten.

It was that dull overcast November afternoon, that she headed to the isolated beach alone. With the tablets to hand, and a last small bottle of whiskey to encourage her bravery, she laid her reading glasses in the sand, and headed towards the ocean, and into the cold, uninviting waves. The mixture of the tablets and whiskey having the desired effect. As she stumbled and swayed, as she walked toward the sea. Her vision blurred slightly, and  feeling quiet light-headed. As a non swimmer she struggled and panicked at first, as the powerful waves, did with her as they wished. The whiskey and tablets helped to quell her rising fears, somewhat. The waves, and weight of her own clothing soon pulled her out and down, to the ocean bed, where she waited for God to take her.
In the cold, dark church, the priest stood at the lectern, gazing upon the congregation of mourners. Having conducted most of the formal ceremony, he could no longer hold himself back. Behind him the magnificent altar, towering upward. To him, they were nothing but hypocrites. He was well aware of the family history, having had been closely and connected to them for years. From births to marriages, to baptisms and confessions. He had heard and seen it all. They were here in this place of worship now to mourn her, with their crocodile tears, and false sadness.

The priest gripped both ends of the lectern tightly. His face thunder red, and perspiring. ‘What does it mean, to mourn someone when they have died. It means very little when you showed them little kindness or understanding when they were alive”. He spoke slowly and loudly. The anger and frustration plainly obvious in his tone. Her children shifted uncomfortably in their seats, as did her former husband. One or two loosening their shirts collars. The females fanning themselves with whatever was to hand. One or two members of her family gazed quietly at the floor.
‘I have very little time for hypocrites like you people, I want you to leave this church now. Get out of my sight. I am sick of the lot of you. Go, and may God have mercy on your black souls. Get out, go’, his voice rising to a crescendo. His booming voice reverberating throughout the silent church. The congregation left the church as directed, for the most part, with their heads held low. In the sacristy as the priest changed from the formal clothing of the funeral mass, he gazed out onto the cold uninviting waves of the ocean, under the dull grey November sky.

Written in response to a writing prompt seen here : http://creativewriting.ie/writing-prompts/

Symphony.

via Daily Prompt: Symphony

Dressed in the long black dress he had bought her. Her make up, perfect. A sight to behold. She sat in the wooden built orchestra pit, in the semi darkness. Built of light coloured plywood, to produce the best acoustic sounds. Tuning up her instrument like the other musicians around her. She plucked at the strings in a brutal, rough manner. One did not have to be a psychiatrist, a therapist to see her anger. Her frustration.
The audience began to take their seats in the large concert hall, under the bright lights, chatting among themselves. Among the favoured, special guests. The executives, and producers from the record companies, took their seats high up in the ‘Gods’, as befitting their position. She looked around the orchestra pit at her fellow musicians. The men dressed in their black tuxedos. Women dressed in all the finery. Some relaxed and laughed as they chatted. Others staring silently, and intently into space. Their eyes focused and unblinking. Their features, serious. Concentrating deeply on the forthcoming concert, and their part in the proceedings.
Well aware of the importance of the performance. Of the introduction of the new composition. So many wished him well, and all the success in the world. He was well liked by the members of the orchestra. With his easy going manner, and a quick smile. With a tendency to look on the brighter side of life. The audience and orchestra members awaited his entrance.
She did not even try to hide her anger and distress. Her glaring, reddened eyes. Her glowering, contorted features. Enough to discourage the other musicians from catching her gaze. He entered the auditorium and near enough sprinted to the podium. Such was his nervous energy, and adrenaline. His small wiry frame, topped by a mop of brown curly hair. Light perspiration forming on his forehead. His heart beating fast, and his legs shaking slightly. As ever his face brightened by that glittering smile. The audience applauded. The orchestra members smiled and tapped their instruments, in an acknowledgement of, and admiration for his prowess as an orchestra leader, a conductor. He stepped to the conductor’s podium, turned to face the audience, smiled and bowed. The audience applauded and cheered. Everyone knew the importance of this evening’s performance. Then he turned to face the orchestra members, and in a sweeping hand gesture acknowledged their enormous talent as musicians.

She watched him intently from behind her cello. Hoping to see some sign of guilt. Some admission of wrong doing. But nothing. He resolutely refused to catch her eye. No  sign of remorse, nor sorrow. Just that wide, bright smile. After all those times they had spent together in each other’s arms. The promises he made. The plans they had made together for the future. If only the others knew what he was truly like. Did he really think he could use her, and then just drop her like that ?

She had to replay the conversation one more time, while it was still so fresh in her mind.
‘To be blunt Emily, I’ve had enough, and just fancy a change. I wish to move on ‘, said in such a calm, matter of fact manner.
‘What am I, a damn product, that you can pick up when you fancy, and drop when it suits you ? ‘ she screamed at him.
‘No, it’s not like that’, he lied. ‘It’s just time for a change’. Hoping she’d remain reasonably calm, and not create a scene. ‘We’ve had our fun, our good times, and now it’s over. Why can’t you take this like the mature woman I know you are, and just accept it ? ‘

Did she mean so little to him ? Did their relationship, mean so little to him ?  She who had opened her heart to him. She who had shared her vulnerabilities with. She who had allowed him into her life, her soul. She who had fallen so in love with him.

‘I have this performance this evening,’ he continued, ‘ and you know how it important it is. How much depends on it. Can’t we just part as friends, and leave it at that ‘. With that he walked away from her dressing room, and out of her life.

She sat slumped in her dressing room chair, facing the large mirror. Physically unable to move. Her heart, physically feeling heavy. Her body weak. Feeling like she had being kicked hard in the chest, by the hind legs of a strong, wild, bucking horse. She sat like this alone for quiet some time. Wanting to shed some tears, but unable to do so. Wanting to scream, but embarrassed to do so. Wanting to smash the mirror that reflected back to her, the misery and unhappiness that now plagued her soul. But she could not summon the strength, to do so. Slowly , but surely, after quiet some time, she could feel her anger,and indignation rising within her. She was worth more than this. Deserved better than this. Her breathing becoming rapid. Her jaw beginning to jut, just that little bit. Her arms becoming tense. Her hands forming into tightly held fists. The butterflies stirring in her stomach. She imagined his body burning, engulfed by the red, yellow and blue raging flames. She could clearly see the fear, and terror in his eyes, and so enjoyed listening to his screams of agony, and his pleading for help. Which she joyfully ignored, before his body succumbed to the intense heat.

Feeling slightly better, and mentally stronger after her brief, violent daydream. She searched within her overcrowded handbag, until she found the small plastic package. Revenge was going to taste so sweet, she assured herself. She knew he always had that large class of cold milk, just before any performance, to calm his nerves, and encourage his confidence. A strange, bizarre ritual. But he was after all, a strange,……. She did not need to even finish the sentence. She left her dressing room, after drying her tears, and reapplying her make up. Upon entering the green room, where the artists relaxed, before appearing on stage. She saw him in the corner of the room , holding court. Entertaining members of the orchestra, and some young girls from the public relations company, that he had recently engaged, to work on his behalf. Laughing and joking as if he had never uttered those, cruel devastating, uncaring words he had said to her.
She had used the inviting white powder herself, from time to time. when tiredness had overcome her. When her concentration was lacking. When she demanded  energy of herself. She maneuvered herself closer to the assembled crowd, who surrounded and were enthralled by him. When he attention was drawn by some other pretty young girl, among the group. She took her chance and scattered a small amount into his milk, and thinking back to his earlier words, she put in a touch more, and to finish, just a little more. She quickly stirred it with her finger, while everyone’s attention was else where. Then she moved away to the corner of the room, where she still had a view of the now ‘special’ drink.
She watched and waited, spurning the attention of the tall Italian man with his dark, handsome features, and silver tongue. She had other matters in mind. On the other side of the room, he still held court, with his adoring fans. Those who hung on his every word and utterance. She checked the watch on her tanned bare arm, willing him to drink the doctored liquid. She needed to see him ingest it, before she could feel some satisfaction. Minutes ticked by, towards the performance. Yet that special drink remained untouched on the table. His arrogant, overbearing laughter and voice filling the room, and turning her stomach at the same time.

‘Go on, you bastard, drink it, damn you’, she muttered under her breath.
‘Go on’, she whispered,’ drink it.
‘Drink it’, she said aloud. The nearby waiter, turned towards her, glaring for a moment.

But his attitude soon softened, and he smiled, when he saw her flawless skin. Her clean brown mousey hair, that tumbled over her shoulders. Her clear grey eyes, still showing a little of that sparkle that usually filled them.

‘Certainly Madam, I’ll see to you in just one moment’.

At the other side of the room, at last he picked up the glass. Again, urgently she silently ordered him to finish the damn drink. He looked at his watch, took a deep intake of breath, and swallowed the liquid in one fell swoop. He briefly winced at the unusually bitter taste, and stared at the glass he held in in his. The assistant called him, to make his way towards the stage. He replaced the glass on the table , and looked back at it, one more time. Dabbed his face with his handkerchief, and headed towards the auditorium. She followed shortly after, and took her place in the orchestra pit.
She watched as he joined the rest of the orchestra on stage. Glorifying in the adulation he received. Ignoring her, of course. She waited and watched. Willing the white power to take effect. Why was it taking so long ? Was it not pure enough ? Was it cut too much ? Finally a reaction, just a slight one. A brief uncharactistic shake of the leg. Barely visible, except to those attuned to it.
The applause died down, and silence descended on the hall. The house lights were lowered. The audience waited, the orchestra waited. Everyone waited . He waited, staring into space. The orchestra had practised well and knew the composition inside out. He waved his hand out to the left, and the strings began. He waved the baton to the right, and the trumpets, oboes and tubas began playing slowly and gently. The orchestra leader, smiled and nodded to him. He in return, faced away from the orchestra, and faced the audience. The orchestra leader, cleared his throat loudly to catch his attention. No luck, so he repeated it. Again no reaction. In her seat, playing the cello softly, Emily began to giggle to herself, quietly. The conductor swivelled round at speed, nearly falling over, and had to grab the rostrum to prevent himself from falling head first into the orchestera pit. Some in the audience stifled their own laughter. He briefly laughed aloud, at his own clumsiness. The orchestra leader glared at him, his eyes aflame with anger and bewilderment. The composition was being played at a slow, gentle pace, as befitted the required tempo.
The conductor began to move his arms more erratically, and at an increased speed and the orchestra followed his movements. The cacophony of sound and discordant notes emerging from the orchestra pit, were anything but the peaceful and melodious composition everyone was expecting. The orchestra leader, again cleared his throat loudly, and tapped his musical stand rapidily with his violin bow, but to no avail. The conductor was no longer of normal sound mind, as the illicit white powder began to take full effect on his body and mind.
Then when all seemed lost, he seemed to have regained his composure and skills as a conductor, and led the orchestra through the more complex stanzas. With that completed, his movements again became fast and erratic. The orchestra  followed his leadership, producing discordant, tuneless sounds. In her seat, Emily followed along, her face now brightening into a wide smile, as were her eyes. Her laughter barely contained within her shaking shoulders. So it continued, the unexpected acceleration of the composition, the sudden slowing down. The discordant notes, strange melodies not of this world. The conductors wide eyed staring engagement with the audience, followed by his dismissive attitude, and then a warm loving attitude toward members of the orchestra. His running around the orchestra pit, screaming. Then shouting. Then laughing, loudly. Tearing at his tuxedo. Catcalls and laughter began to emerge from the stalls, as this farce unfolded onstage. Some left the theatre in frustration. Emily glanced high up into the theatre, where the executives, and producers from the record company were seen leaving their private box early, shaking their heads in bewilderment, and laughter.
Quite soon after, stage management wary of their good reputation, brought the curtain down, and as the house emptied, led the frazzled, bewildered and out of control conductor off stage.
Revenge was indeed sweet.

 

Substandard.

via Daily Prompt: Substandard

The work he completed was below par. Not up to what it should have being. He knew it. They knew it. Everybody on the site knew. But nobody really cared. It was after all, more money for all of them. Even when the lowly paid government inspectors came to check out the work, many were open to the large brown envelopes which everyone knew would help smooth the way of the project. Help to avoid any awkward questions or very close inspections of the work completed.
‘Get it done, and get it done fast, and get it done cheap’. That was the order from the top. Another rushed job, another contract completed at speed. Everybody making money, everybody happy. In the Arabian peninsula, the heat sapping, draining weather was always the same. No let up. Life was good here in these foreign lands, with good money to be made in quick time. The only few drawbacks as he saw it were the the lack of available alcohol, unless smuggled in surreptitiously, and the lack of a pretty woman to catch a man’s eye.
The Arabs, as determined by their governments, were forbidden to drink alcohol, which to him seemed a nonsensical and cruel law. Secondly the women were forced to cover up everything except for their eyes. Another crazy law in his view. He had being in the country for close to six months , and was looking forward to his return to normality, back to America. Looking forward to seeing his wife and newly born child whom he had yet to meet.
He didn’t want to leave them, but with the lack of employment in ‘The States’, and the subsequent continual arguments that the lack of money, and boredom were causing with his long term sweetheart, and now wife. It just seemed like the best solution to a bad situation, at the time.
In Arabia, it was good to be working once again. His happiness and joy for the occupation, replacing the depression, that had dogged him for many months, in the past. The feelings of worthlessness and failure he felt as a man. Unable to provide for his wife, and family. The thoughts of ending it all. How different it was now. Those bad times behind him, a happily distant memory. But money making was very high on his agenda, after so many, many months of being without. He had a lot of catching up to do, financially, and he was determined to catch up, in whichever way he could. Regardless of the consequences.
The management back home in America, were well impressed how he was able to move the job along with such speed. While keeping costs way down. Congratulating themselves on choosing some a competent man to oversee the work. It was of course his decision to purchases supplies and materials from the unlisted, unlicensed companies. His choice not to question the low cost of such purchases. Again his choice to pay the immigrant workers just slightly above the national rate they were paid. An incentive to work harder, and faster, which they happily adhered to. Of course, the wage they received, a pittance, in comparison to the wage paid to the workers from the west.

He didn’t like him, when he first met him. Something about him. That upright posture, and purposeful stride. The dark business suit. The tanned face, and the neatly trimmed black hair. He exuded an inner strength, an inner belief in his own abilities, in his own worth, for such a young man. No more than early thirties, Jim guessed. A man not easily pushed around, or persuaded. Jim tried the friendly route first. When that was having little impact. He went for the brutish, loud, angry path. But the schools building inspector, remained quietly solid, strong and unmoved. He demanded to see the schedule of work. Demanded to know how the work was progressing at such speed. He further demanded free access to inspect any of the materials used, and see the records and details of the current suppliers to the school building project. Of course he could not be allowed to have his demands met. So as the young inspector was leaving the building project, Jim approached him.
As he was stepping into his shiny black cadillac, he placed a hand on the inspectors arm. The inspector looked down at the hand, and then at Jim , with a look of disdain.

‘Here, take this package. You’ll enjoy it. Will make life easier ‘, offering him the stout envelope.
‘My life is fine, I don’t need nor want anything from you’, and he pushed the envelope away.

Early the following morning just as the sun broke the horizon, and work began again on the construction project, the young inspector returned accompanied by two further car loads, of similarly diligent civil servants. They enforced an immediate cessation of the work, and went about examining the materials used, and the contracts signed. It did not take them long to come across anomalies. Materials not up to standards, and regulations. Works completed in a haphazard and unsafe manner. It was enough evidence to enforce immediate cessation of the project.
Jim watched from the portacabin office, where he liked to oversee the progress on the site. With his favourite coffee cup in hand, he watched the young inspector accompanied by two policemen approach his office.

Bursting through the door in the blazing mid day heat, disturbing the dust and paperwork in the office.

‘ I am closing down this project’, with immediate effect’. He spoke slowly, with much assurance and calm authority. ‘You, as the project co-ordinator here, bearing full responsibility for all that goes on in this project, are to be prosecuted for using substandard and dangerous materials, and engaging in unsafe  and haphazard working practices. Endangering the lives the the employees currently working here, and the further employees and children who would have attended this school in the future. Also you are further to be prosecuted for attempting to bribe a government official’.

With that the two policeman stood either side of Jim, and escorted him down from his office. The next few weeks passed quickly, and before he knew it, he was enduring the sweltering heat and blazing sunshine from the confines of an overcrowded Arabian prison cell. He was slowly coming to terms with the violent prison guards, who delighted in tormenting and torturing their prisoners, especially foreign prisoners. Coming to terms with his violent prison cell mates, none of whom he could dare to trust. Forced to stand for up to twelve hours a day, it was an impossible torture. The stench of urine, of continual perspiration. The sense of claustrophobia, of being unable to move freely, of being trapped, with no space of his own. With unfriendly people he did not know, using a language he could not understand. The continual pushing and shoving. The sense of violence waiting to explode at any moment. His very real fear of homosexual rape. The lack of sleep, his anxiety. Wishing now, had he being given his time over, perhaps he may have being a more honourable, honest man. Not racing headlong chasing money and wealth at any cost.

His only contact with another english speaker, was the weekly visit from the middle aged man from the American council. His job to keep Jim informed of the likely date of his court case. It could take years, he had being informed. Arabia was in no rush to release the inmates of their prisons. Jim in a strange way looked forward to these weekly visits. At least it was some human contact, without the fear of violence. A short sense of freedom. A brief thirty minutes out of the stinking , overcrowded cell, that had being his home for the last three months. With someone he felt he could trust.
He walked into the light grey plastered room, with the open windows, accompanied as ever by two severe looking prison guards. He noted the brightly colored  bird sitting on the tree branch outside the window, chirping away  happily. Jim looked at the bird, and smiled, envied his freedom. The ability to do what he wanted, when he wanted. To have his own space. To fly away and be free, anytime he choose. The man from the American council entered the room. Jim immediately noted his more than usual serious demeanor. His grey and  drawn face. The deadness in his eyes. He sat at the table, slowly, and opened his black briefcase. Hids movements were slow, as was his speech.
Quietly he began. ‘Jim, I have some news from home, and I’ll come straight to it. I’m very sorry, but there has being a fire  back home, and their have been fatalities. Jim held his breath, and began to perspire slightly. The veins tightened in his arms and shoulders, and he clenched his fists. ‘It’s your wife’, then he stopped, to steady himself,and catch his breath, and after a moment, ‘and your newborn child. I’m so sorry’. Jim listened, but didn’t really hear, and asked for him to repeat what he had said. He sat back in the soft chair trying to comprehend what had being said, his body feeling weak. ‘ The initial outcome of the investigation are, the fire was the result of the substandard materials been used, when the house was first built’. ‘If there’s anything I can do’, his voice trailed off.
Jim sat back in the chair, and quietly muttered to himself, ‘Substandard materials, substandard materials’, over and over. Precisely when the thirty minutes were up, the two prion severe, angry prison guards , roughy lifted Jim from the chair. Pulled and dragged him back towards the overcrowded, sweltering, stinking, violent prison cell. The man from The American council watched for a moment, as he stood underneath the ceiling fan, enjoying its cooling air, before taking his briefcase, and making his way towards the exit.

Tea.

via Daily Prompt: Tea

‘You’ll have had your tea’ ,  her broad strong Scottish accent breaking the silence. She sat
opposite him. His smile visible the other side of the large candelabra that stood on the centre of the large table.
She reached over and placed the cooked dinner before him. It was of course a waste of time. She began to eat her own dinner, savouring its taste, while continuing the conversation. Whatever she said, his expression never changed from that smile. The effects of the concoction she had laced his earlier meal now fully enshrined within his body. His features, his muscles frozen, and paralyzed. Only his eyes, breathing and hearing were now functioning.

‘Would you like some desert ? ‘, ‘What’s that you say’, taking his part of the conversation, ‘Ok then dear, nothing it is’. The dinner plate in front of him remained untouched.
His eyes searched hers for something, anything. Some reason, any reason. some explanation for this cruel imprisonment of his mind and soul within a immovable physical body.
She stopped eating for a brief moment and saw the questioning, and pleading in his eyes.
‘I can see you have questions, dear’, studying his eyes, which were wild, angry and fearful all at once.
‘A little explanation, no doubt is what you’d like’. His grotesque, continual smiling face, absurd in the obscene, and quiet comical at the same time, bearing in mind his predicament. She stifled a smile of her own, at the vision that sat before her.

‘Well if you must know, dear. Its men like you who use women like me, to satisfy there own selfish desires, with scant regard for their wives, or long term loving partners. It’s men like you who sicken me to the core, and the truth be told dear, I’ve had enough of it. I’ve had enough of the lot of you. The men who lie, deceive, cheat on their wives and love partners. I’m sick of the dirty, sleezy men I’ve had to deal with over the years, pretending like I am actually enjoy the physical act. Pretending that I enjoy their company. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m finished with the game, I’m getting out,’ she continued. ‘This will be my my final swan song’. With that she treated herself to another morsel of food, followed by a well deserved sip of red wine.
She reached into her handbag, that lay by her feet, and retrieved a small silver antique bottle, and placed it on the table a few centimetres from his hand.
‘In this bottle, is the antidote, that will unlock your body. All you have to do, is reach forward and drink it, and all will be well. She smiled as she looked into his fearful eyes.
‘From when I leave this table you will have twenty minutes before the leaking gas will be ignited, and then, well……’ With that she got up from the table, and left the room, stopping at the door, to glance one more time, at his fearful, pleading eyes, and listen to his increasingly frantic breathing. She noted the beads of perspiration of his forehead.

She moved upstairs to another of her gentleman callers, who she last left lying on the large double bed, under the silk eiderdown. His face contorted in anger. Again she explained the situation, as she had to her gentleman caller in the dining area. She reached into her handbag a second time, and retrieved another small silver antique bottle, explaining it was the antidote that would unfreeze his body, and placed tantalizingly well within his reach. She further explained the impending explosion and fireball possibly likely to follow within the next twenty minutes. Again, his expression remained unchanged. She paused just briefly at the door, to glance at his angry, hate filled eyes.
Finally she returned to the basement dungeon. It’s dark, wet red and black walls, and red candles contributing to a very foreboding atmosphere. The various implements that lined the cold brick walls, the tools of her trade. She approached him, where he hung on the cross. His face, his eyes, expressionless. No pleading, no fear, no anger. Just nothing. Rather a submissive acceptance of his fate. Again she explained, reached into her handbag and placed another silver antique  bottle containing the antidote, just within reach of his hand. She stopped at the arched doorway of the cellar, and took one last glance at him, and looked to the bench where he undressed, and had laid his black suit and clerical collar, and rosary beads.
Her work concluded, she left the house for the final time and drove into the windswept, wet night and to freedom.

Fragrance

via Daily Prompt: Fragrance

He never believed her. Never in his wildest dreams did he think it was possible. Although she had told him many times she would do it. As he sat up in bed, the beads of perspiration were slowly trickling down his forehead. He pulled at his pajamas which were damp and sticky. Afraid to switch on the light, for fear of what he might see.
There it was again, the unmistakable scent of her favourite perfume. The third time this week. He cursed himself for the alcohol he had indulged himself with the previous evening, and the evening before that, and so many other evenings. In the darkness he called out to the Lord to protect him, and began to mumble what he could remember of the Lord’s prayer, which he repeated a further four times, at speed. He always asked of the Lord, but never gave to the Lord. He gripped the white bedsheets tightly, perspiration running down his forehead. He nudged the woman who lay beside him, but to no avail.  Her overindulengence in a variety of cocktails the previous evening, ensured she would be sleeping for hours. He glanced at her disheveled hair, her fading make up revealing a face ravaged by many years of heavy alcohol use. The black mascara fading from round her eyes, revealing a less than pretty face. At least not as attractive now, as it seemed last evening in the glamorous settings of the 5 star hotel, they had visited, with the other well to do people, they called friends.

While she was alive, she watched him over many years squander the family savings in a self indulgent lifestyle of illicit extra marital affairs. A hedonistic lifestyle of alcohol, the finest of food, expensive holidays, all without her. An uncaring attitude towards his family, and responsibilities he had signed up for when he had married her, and brought their children into the world. As they grew further apart, but because of religion and for appearances sake, they presented to the world, the picture of the happily married couple, and their lovely children. A couple whose life was wonderful, and harmonious. It was anything but.

‘When I die, I will come back to haunt you, You will never have any peace’.

Her voice reverberating around the dull, grey kitchen. Badly in need of updating. But as he was the breadwinner, he had steadfastly refused to spend any of his funds on anything but self indulgent activities and events.
He ignored her, while concentrating on the hearty breakfast he had fixed himself, hoping it would help with the severe hangover he was suffering from.

‘Mark my words ,’ she continued.

He laughed and scoffed at her words. Perhaps in hindsight, not the wisest choice of action. The day passed quickly, as he feared. His lady companion from the previous evening, arose from the bed come mid afternoon, and decided to return to her own home. The drunken fitful sleep, not helping her appearance , or mood in any way, whatsoever. Even though he had tired of her, and was ready to move on from her. Out of fear and insecurity, of what the night would bring, he begged her to stay. Even offering another alcohol fueled day at his expense. She briefly considered his offer. But decided against it.

‘Don’t bother coming back, then’, he shouted at her as she slammed the front door on the way out.

Another relationship, ready for the bin. Unable to settle as the evening wore on, he sat in front of the television, in the darkened room. Looking but not really seeing the flickering pictures. He poured himself a second glass of the red liquid. Holding the glass tightly. It’s strength burning his throat on it’s passage to his brain. He welcomed the effect the alcohol was beginning to have on his mind, his courage and bravado. If ever there was an elixir of life, this was it.
A miracle invention, he mumbled to himself. Contemplating had he being President he would most certainly have awarded these genius, as that’s how him viewed them, at the very least, The Congressional Medal of Honor. How he would have awarded to them the highest scientific accolades the country could offer. Such was his admiration for such a marvellous invention.
The evening passed quickly. Afraid to go to the bedroom alone, he sat in front of the television. Eventually the effects of tiredness, and a further two glasses of the red liquid, forced sleep upon him. Without him being aware of it, he was asleep.
In the dream, she stood before him, laughing. Just as he remembered her, when she was alive. How he hated her effervescent, her vibrant spirit. His attempts to destroy her lively spirit, a failure. How she would continually bounce back, was a complete, and very irritating mystery to him.

‘I told you I’d come back to haunt you’, she laughed.

With alcohol induced bravery and courage, he responded.

‘You’re only a dream, that’s all you are. When I wake up, you will be gone’.

Again she laughed.

The dream finished and he continued to a more peaceful sleep. He was awoken by his body calling to him to use the bathroom. He opened his eyes slowly, reacquainting himself with the room. In the semi darkness, her white shimmering figure, surrounded by a blue haze, hovered above the fireplace. Her vibrant laughter filling the room. He screamed, just like a woman. The more he screamed, the more she laughed. He ran from the room, perspiration dripping from his forehead. His heart beating as fast as it had ever being, if not more so. His legs shaking with fear. He called out to the Lord Jesus to protect him. He ran to the kitchen, now updated of course, and locked the door. He turned from the door breathing heavily and quickly. Again her white shimmering figure stood before him, hovering above the floor, and laughing. He ran for the door, unlocked it and ran upstairs to the spare bedroom. Entered, and locked and bolted the door behind him. Again breathing very heavily and quickly. The chemical concoction in his stomach, wild and on fire. He recognised her laughter, and her fragrance. He did not need to look. He unbolted the door at speed, and ran from the room.
Wide eyed he fled down the stairs taking steps two at a time. Her laughter and fragrance followed him. It was the last four steps that did it. The resounding thump, as his head hit the final step. The slowly seeping blood from his ear. His inability to feel his legs. His breathing becoming slow, and labored. His senses on their final journey. His hearing becoming very faint. But enough to hear her laughter and breath in the scent of her fragrance just one last time.

The Message.

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Photo by Milos Tonchevski on Unsplash

It was the loneliness that drove her to join them. She never was one for joining groups, but had tired of being alone, always on her own. Since they had split. It was hard. When he was by her side, it was the two of them versus the world. But not now.
The world seemed a colder place, a less friendly place, and harder to deal with, when alone. No one to share with, no one to offer comfort, when life got hard, as it does for everyone. They offered comfort, companionship and a sense of belonging. She was told and understood there would be tests and initiation ceremonies, if she wanted to become one of them. But she was not expecting this. Silly teenage dares, she would welcome. Childish pranks, yes. Teasing would be boyfriends, okay. But these tests were becoming more and more bizarre and serious.

She had been driving for hours as instructed, and eventually pulled of the road to a secluded area, where she could at last open the tome and read the latest message in absolute privacy. She switched off the car engine. In the warm late evening sunshine, with only the sounds of the departing birds in the distance,she faced east, as per the ritual,and picked up a small twig. Drew a pentagram in the dry earth. She lit two black candles and placed them either side of the pentagram, and stood back. Reciting the mantra she had learned she let her voice vibrate from the depths of her body, through her throat and outward into the universe, sounding like some possessed evil spirit. She asked the Goddess to come into her life and bestow her wisdom and knowledge. She asked Lucifer, the most evil of all to come into her life and help her carry out what she was instructed to do.
Again she read the instructions, more carefully this time. She did not wish to dwell too deeply on the possible consequences. Best just do it, and let what will be, will be, she decided. Sitting in front of the pentagram she began to chant softly at first, feeling quiet inhibited. But she forced herself to chant the latin words written in the message louder and louder, and she stared at the pentagram and at the burning black candles, willing them to conjure up an image, a sense of a presence, a change in the atmosphere, a coldness perhaps. Anything to convince her, the ritual, the summoning of the evil spirits was working. But nothing. But she was told, at times during such rituals she may not feel or sense anything out of the ordinary. But to have faith that once these spirits were called, they were come to do her bidding. With the ritual complete, she put away the candles, and pushed some dry earth over the image of the pentagram.
She began her journey, guessing it would take her approx two hours to get their. Plenty of time to think, to back out, and change her mind. But then she thought of the consequences. Of the possibility of being expelled from the group, and back into an empty lonely lifestyle. The prospect of such did not appeal. Who wants to be all alone during the summer months when everyone is out and about enjoying themselves. Add to that the less than pleasant possibility of being haunted by the evil spirits she knew the group could send into her life, if they so desired.
Her phone jangled with an incoming message. She reached down, having an idea who it was from, and flipped on the screen. He just stood there staring, why did he not move. The black eyes glaring at her,unblinking. The head slightly bent stubbornly. The horns sharpened like spears. She looked up from the phone to the angry, contorted face in front of the car, and screamed. Her heart beating very fast. The butterflies in her stomach flying like crazy. Her legs began to shake uncontrollably , as the adrenaline surged through her body. She hit the brakes as hard as she could, but he just stood there, refusing to move. Why would he not move. His hooves digging at the earth in defiance. She struggled with the steering wheel, and managed to turn away, but too late. The horns broke through her side window. The sound of smashing glass. The impact throwing her across the front seats.

In the silence,she tasted the blood running from her mouth, and felt the cold hardness of the gear stick protruding slightly through her ribs. Looking through the windscreen, she watched a black raven standing on the car bonnet watching her. After a few moments, satisfied. The black raven flew into the night sky, and away……

Written in response to a photo prompt seen her ;  (http://creativewriting.ie/writing-prompts/

Savor.

via Daily Prompt: Savor

She was as sweet as pie, but she had to die, that was just the way it was going to be
I cut her into slices, really sharpening the damn knife first
Then decided to cut her into pieces and have her with a cup of tea
I decapicated her head, just to make sure she was dead

Tomorrow I will investigate her brain, I wonder am I insane
But she should not have said I was no good in bed
Pretty sure she meant it too
I will serve her with bacon,  parsley, basil, and celery shoots

See if I cant find and eat her mind, you know, as you do
I never would have guessed human flesh was among the best
If tenderized sufficiently
Along with condiments, and salads
It’s a delightful meal, fit for more than two

Next onto human organs, this is such a culinary adventure
I can hardly wait to taste and see
I never guessed I could be such a cannibal
It sure is such a surprise to me
But she only has herself to blame,saying I as a man was quiet insane
That I was unable to light her flame,at least now we’ll be together forever more
As she takes up residence within my core

Maybe do not challenge another, should you wish to discover
Whether they are what they claim to be
Cause you may not enjoy what you find out,see
Perhaps not the best to accuse others of being insane
Cause you just might be on the recieving end of some serious pain, for real

So when in the darkness of the night, when I want to be in touch with her brightness and light
Just one more time
I’ll just call out loud to her, and say ‘Alright darling, how you doing, I’ll bet your doing fine, and your mine, all mine’, as you reside forever more, deep within my core
Now where can I find the next victim, that I can eat
Here’s hoping she tastes twice as sweet
I wonder how well human flesh goes with green tea.