Insomnia

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Mary-Leigh couldn’t sleep. She lay tousled in bed, staring up at the ceiling watching the shadows play. This was the fourth night now that she was awake whilst everyone else slept.

She turned her head to the side and saw that the time was almost half past two in the morning. Mary-Leigh rolled over fully and snuggled deeper down in the duvet. In her head she ran through a list of things; she wasn’t too hot or too cold, she didn’t need the bathroom, she was hungry. Until she concluded there was nothing stopping her from sleeping.

Something though, clearly was.

Throwing the bedding back, she got out of bed, turned and knelt down. Mary-Leigh rested her elbows on the bed, pressed her hands together in front of her and did something she hadn’t done in ten years.

‘Dear God, please let me sleep,’ she prayed.

A wave of foolishness rocked into her and she dropped her arms.

What am I doing? I don’t believe in all that anymore, do I? She thought.

Mary-Leigh pressed her head into the mattress and fought back tears.

I’m lost and I just want this madness to end. Even if I don’t believe and if really there is no God, if I find comfort in praying what is wrong with that?

Mary-Leigh wiped away the tears that had escaped. She composed herself again. Controlling her breathing, clearing her mind, she put her hands together and prayed again. Afterwards and not thinking about it, she got into bed and tried to sleep.

Arch #WritePhoto

Walking around, I imagined the ruinings whole and humming with life. Men shuffling around in brown robes, saying prayers and gardening. A bell tolling, the smell of smoke and tingle of food.

I entered the main part of the Abbey. I touched a cold, grey brick in the huge stone wall. How many other fingers had also pressed here? I looked at the archways on either side, stretching down the nave which ended in a massive empty window. I thought once, coloured glass depicting scenes from the Bible glowed in the sunlight there. Now, a single tree was framed perfectly.

I went over, the illusion of the framed tree breaking. I felt the draft more and wondered what had happened the window. The ledge was too high for me to lean out of. I turned and looked back. What had people thought as they stood on this alter stand?

Had God ever been here? Had He abandoned the Abbey when the monks had? Did He still come now and wonder through these empty arches? No one could answer those questions but Himself.

As for me, I enjoyed the peace that still remind in places liked this.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/03/08/thursday-photo-prompt-arch-writephoto/ with thanks).

The Burning

Burning Coal

Godson stood at the edge of the burnt grass and looked over what remained of the church. There was a lot to see, but also very little. He sighed deeply and wonder why people did what they did.

Huddling into his thick red Parker coat against the late autumn wind, Godson stepped on to the blackened ground. The dead grass crackled loudly under him, just like the fall leaves. He took a deep breath and smelt smokey, earthy air. Even though it had rained in the early hours of the morning, the scent of the fire was still strong.

He came to a large stone, the first of many scattered around. Inspecting it, Godson tried to figure what where it had come from. Maybe from the door arch or one of the windows? It was impossible to tell. The stone had a large black scorch mark across one side. The fire must have been raging hot.

Godson moved on towards what had been one of the front windows. He spotted something and knelt to pick it up. It was a shard of red glass. He rubbed it between his fingers and straight away he could see the stained glass window that had been just above his head. He looked for more glass, but couldn’t find any bigger fragments.

Slipping the glass piece into his pocket, he walked fully into the church ruins. The floor was still mostly in attached but covered with soot, burnt things and fallen stones. He walked carefully over it all and towards were the alter had once been.

‘What devil compels someone to burn down a small community church?’ Godson said a loud.

He balled his fists and gritted his teeth. The anger that he had been trying to subside was rising. A small part of him had been hoping there’d be something left, but now it was clear there was nothing.

The smell was worse here and it felt like the smoke was clogging his lungs. He coughed and had to turn away. He had to leave. Even though he didn’t want to. Perhaps, under all this destruction was something that could be saved?

It started to rain again and Godson give up. He walked back out of the burnt church and to his car. Getting in, he sat looking over for a few moments then drove home.

Days later the police report came through. Godson sat at his desk and read it. A gang had actually been stealing the brickwork, wires, roofing and in fact everything they could get there hands on, just before the fire had started. It seemed they might have caused it and so far the fire bridge had said it was accidentally. Not the news Godson wanted to hear.

‘I won’t rest till this is solved,’ Godson muttered, ‘God. You must help me to bring to justice the people who did this.’

Falling into prayer, Godson saw the image of a burning church in his mind. Somehow, he knew the answers he seeked where there still.

Lost In Thought

He wondered what it was like to be God looking down on everyone from the multi-coloured galaxy. He looked at the tall candle pillars on the deep church window sills and saw the flames flicking in a draft. Was God even interesting in what was going on down here? He thought, did he listen to the prayers of the world or did he just let the angels deal with those?

He tried to hear what the vicar was saying as they all bowed their heads together, but he just couldn’t concentrate. He believed that could be true, so was God creating other Earths then? And what if some of those new Earths were the same as this one? And right now, what if there was a man just like himself sit in a church pertaining to be praying when really he was wondering about the possible existence of other earths and humans?

The Arcana Of Dreams (Part 2)

There was gentle harp music playing. I sighed and tried not to open my eyes. The music was so lovely and calming. Something soft was supporting my head and a fluffy blanket was draped over me. I imagined Heavenly things … Continue reading

Trust (Part 24)

The blood was all consuming. Fern felt it tinging through her body, warming her and calming the growling hunger. Swallowing mouthful after a mouthful, she wondered how she’d been able to resist the blood’s lure before. Perhaps, I didn’t know how hungry I was? So much has happened over the last forty-eight hours. The thought faded from her mind, replaced with the dancing red swirls in a lava lamp like imagery.

She felt a hand pressing into her shoulder and a distance voice telling her to stop. She pressed her teeth and mouth over the bite mark more, determined to ignore the voice. Fern’s arms had wrapped themselves around the woman seconds after the first taste and now she couldn’t really feel them. Thinking about that, she couldn’t really feel anything other than the warm blood filling her.

‘Fern. Stop,’ Brook hissed into her ear.

I don’t want to, she answered back in her head.

Tough luck, Brook’s voice sounded within her thoughts.

Surprised, she slightly broke her grip on the woman. Brook noticing it, peeled her away quickly and pushed her towards the wall. Fern took the shuffle backwards caused by Brook’s shove before standing perfectly still in the middle of the room. She watched Brook lick her bite marks then set the woman down on the floor amongst the cardboard boxes.

‘How did you do that?’ Fern whispered.

Brook rubbed his hands on jeans then collected the backpack.

‘You said we couldn’t talk in our heads,’ she pressed.

‘We can now. We’ve shared the same human blood at the same time,’ Brook responded.

Fern looked at the woman and saw a fast healing bite mark on her left arm. Brook hadn’t bothered to arrange her as he had put her down, instead going for a just collapsed look. Fern tiled her head and really studied the woman.

‘I can sense things about her…’ Fern muttered aloud.

Brook, bag now swung over his shoulder was having a quick look through the boxes he hadn’t been able to before. He shot Fern a look over his shoulder, but didn’t answer. The sounds of him rummaging echoed loudly in Fern’s ears and she found it odd that she could detect each sound down to the movement that made it, even though she wasn’t looking. There were Brook’s sleeves and hands against the cardboard, the rustle of paper, plastic, the tiny tears of packing tape, the movement of items.

‘Her name is Nola,’ Fern spoke again.

‘Good to know. There’s nothing else here. Take this,’ Brook said and handed her the backpack then grabbed an empty one from the box. This bag was completely light blue and larger.

Fern didn’t move to take her bag, but continued, ‘she’s twenty-eight. An orphan and the only thing she ever wanted was for God to give her a family. He never did, so she made him her only family and became a nun.’

‘Fern. Here,’ Brook urged crossing the room and pressing the straps of the school bag into her hands.

She took the bag, not feeling the weight of it, ‘I didn’t know there were still nuns.’

‘Sure there is and monks, Pagans, Satanists…’

‘Satan?’

‘Yeah, you know, devil worshippers. We still need clothes…’

‘She is going to be okay?’ Fern asked in a small voice.

‘Yes. She’ll sleep it off and be fine. We need to go.’

‘Maybe I should stay here and make sure…’

‘No. The blood will lure you back and you’ll kill her. I can’t risk it and nor can you…I’ll explain more later. You’ll understand when the blood isn’t so fresh in your head,’ Brook clarified.

He opened the door and looked out. The soft voices and gently snoring of people reached out to them. Fern became painfully aware of how many sources of blood were around her. She licked her lips and thought about taking them all like the grim reaper. Their sleeping bodies would never know…it’d be so easy, she thought in a voice that wasn’t her own.

We’ll find someone else before we leave, Brook’s voice poked into her head, right now, the mission needs completing.

With a deep sigh of regret, Fern followed Brook out of the room and to the next door. She watched him open it, look inside and close it again. He crossed over and opened the two doors opposite them. Fern lent against the wall, her senses of hearing, sight, smell soaring and seemingly rushing everywhere to bring information back to her.

‘I feel…’ she looked down at her hands and dropped the backpack to the floor as she raised her hands to look at the crazy lines on her palms, ‘invincible.’

Brook bent before her, the bag’s handle tight within his three fingers, looked up at her.

‘It’s…strange…I feel able to do so much and there’s the wanting to do it. Nothing else matters…how can it?’

‘Here, put it on,’ Brook said rudely and shoved the bag into her arms again.

‘I want to fly, Brook. Let’s go outside! I want to fly to the moon!’

Fern tried to throw the bag away, but he held on to it. With a roll of his eyes, Brook pulled Fern off the wall and put the backpack onto her shoulders and back. Fern smiled, for the first time actually witnessing the fast movements of a vampire.

I bet I could do that too now, she thought.

Brook took her hand and led her back a door. He opened it and inside where racks and plastic boxes of clothes. They slipped inside and Brook closed the door as footsteps sounded in the corridor. There was a loud coughing and Fern saw the old man from before in her mind’s eye. Suddenly her vison was out in the corridor with him and she watched as he looked around. He moved off and out of the door, heading for the bathrooms, his clutched hand tight against his chest and thoughts wondering where the kids had gotten too.

‘You should watch out for the busy bodies,’ Brook whispered as they both heard the bathroom door close.

Fern nodded.

‘Clothes. Okay. We need….’

Brook moved off and began looking for underwear in the boxes.

Fern, trying not to giggle, looked through the racks of clothes. There wasn’t a great deal of choice and nearly everything was second or third hand. Quickly though, they gathered a selection of autumn and winter things and packed most of them in the backpacks.

‘Sorted,’ Brook stated and helped Fern slip into a long black faux suede coat.

Fern fixed the large hood and let Brook help her put on the now heavier bag. Fixing the straps, she watched Brook putting on the other bag.

‘Now what?’ Fern asked.

‘Now, I teach you how to be shadow and we nip someone on the way out,’ Brook answered.

Fern nodded, ‘a shadow. Do I just image being my own?’

‘If you want. Firstly, call the darkness in this room to you,’ Brook instructed.

Fern glanced around and realised they were in the dark for the first time, with just a crack of light coming in under the door. Wiggling her fingers against her side, she emptied her mind and focused at the wall.

‘What do I say?’ she breathed.

‘Nothing,’ Brook chuckled. ‘Think of nothing but the shadow in front of you and draw it into you. It’s a blanket and you are cloaking yourself with it.’

Fern bite her lip and did has he suggested. Something cool brushed against her skin and began creeping around her. A slight wave of panic then nothing but calm filled her. She had become the shadow. She looked down and saw her hands covered in a misty blackness, it seemed to be everywhere. Shooting a look over at Brook, she saw he was wearing the darkness too.

‘You made that look easy,’ Brook said, his voice high in awe.

‘Shouldn’t it have been?’ Fern asked.

‘Well…learning all these tricks can be difficult…’

Fern shrugged, ‘beginner’s luck? Oh, that man came back again…’

They stopped and listened to the man opening the first door then the one leading into the overflow room. He went into the corner again and folded himself up on the floor. Fern listened to his thoughts and grew worried by them.

Let’s move. We can’t be seen like this by humans, Brook’s command came.

Brook opened the door, Fern sticking behind him and they walked out of the room. Fern drew some more darkness to her as the corridor lights flickered above them. Brook was striding to the door and she hurried to catch up with him, thinking only of staying in her shadow cloak. Brook opened and slipped through the door. Fern did the same and as she surveyed the shelter’s main room this time, she didn’t react to the human suffering. Instead, she was filled with the urge to feed. She could hear so much blood pumping beneath skin and hearts making that motion possible.

Isn’t there a child or young innocent woman I could take? No one would notice, the vampire’s voice questioned in her mind.

There’ll be a night watch person we can take in the front hall, Brook’s mind whispered.

She nodded, feeling a slight flicker of disappointment at that, but falling into step behind him anyway. Brook led them to the double doors, opening one halfway and they easily went through. Fern guided the door back into place and tried to ignore the finger like tugs of the blood drawing her back. Instead as the door slotted into place, she looked up the hallway and saw a man sitting in a chair.

Brook went up to him and Fern followed. The man was dozing, his arms crossed against his chest and a torch slowly slipping from the fingers of his right hand. He was wearing a dark blue night guard’s suit and had the matching cap pulled down over his eyes. Brook stepped over his out stretched crossed legs and signalled to Fern to stay where she was on the man’s other side.

You try and take him, Brook spoke loudly into her head.

But I…What if he wakes? She called back.

I’ll take care of it. But you are strong enough now…go on.

I…don’t think I can…can’t we find a child or someone younger? Wouldn’t that be easier?

No. just do it. I need to see you can take them, Brook stated, do it now. We need to go.

Fern pressed her lips together and slightly bend down to try and see the man’s neck. She felt the shadow cloak slipping from her and hurriedly tugged it back up. The man’s neck wasn’t visible.

Where shall I bite? She asked.

Her eyes flicked to the man’s wrists and hands, which were the only bare skin she could see, other than the lower half of his face.

Brook?

She glanced at him, but Brook was just standing there watching her. He had crossed his arms and ankles as he lent on the wall.

Has the telepathy ended already? Wow, it picked a crap time. Okay…the wrist…it’ll do.

Fern lowered herself slowly to the man’s wrists then gently touch his hand. Feeling like she was playing that tense game Operation and removing the most difficult bone, Fern eased the guard’s arm away. Quickly she unleased her fangs and sank them into the soft skin. Blood welled up and she gulped it down. Her eyes tried to flicker up to Brook to read him, but they fell shut beforehand.

The blood slipped through her and Fern tasted the difference from the nun’s straight away. The man’s was thicker, older, more salty and laced with something else….tobacco and whisky, she decided. She swallowed and went back for a second mouthful. A notion of movement above made her eyes snap open.

Had he awaken? No, it’s just Brook feeding too….

She shut her eyes again and took another few mouthfuls before stopping. Letting the man go, she pulled back and took in a deep breath of air. She wiped her mouth and got up off her bended knees. She spotted Brook back against the wall and stepped over to him.

‘You stopped yourself too…’ Brook whispered.

He reached for her and she moved into his arms, pressing her cheek against his chest. Brook wrapped his arms around her and put his chin on top of her hair.

‘You did good,’ he added.

‘I need some air…’ Fern mumbled.

Brook gave her a squeeze then led her to the door. He pressed a hand to it and Fern heard the turning of locks and drawing of bolts. Making a mental note to ask him about that later, she stepped outside. The rain and wind hit her, but she felt far above them now. She took a few deep breaths and cleared herself of the smell and noise of the shelter.

Brook closed the door behind them and took her hand. They walked down the steps, went a few meters away then turned into a narrow empty passageway down the side of the building. Brook took her right to the high wall end.

‘Now, we are going to fly home,’ he said quietly.

Fern’s eyes lit up and she almost began jumping up and down.

Brook put his hands on her shoulders, his face breaking into a smile.

‘Can we really?’ Fern gushed.

‘Yes. Just think about it. Think about going up and home,’ Brook described, ‘think about leaving the ground here and landing on the grass outside home. Concentrate.’

He took both her hands and shut his eyes. Fern did the same and tried to control the gigged feeling brimming inside of her. She thought about flying and home, about leaving the ground far behind and touching the clouds, the moon.

She felt Brook dropping her hands and hugging her again. His breathing was soft, warm and blood scented in her ear. She wiggled her toes and really thought about lifting off. How silly does this seem? The thought rocked through and she lost it. Fighting down a cry, she scrambled to try again.

However, she felt a rush of cold air and jumping motion as if Brook had thrown her upwards. The wind and rain hammered around them and she pressed herself tighter into Brook. Her mind declared they were flying, but she didn’t believe it. Maybe the weather had got worse? The wind howled in her ears and she felt the rain pouring into her hair. Why can I feel this icy coldness when I couldn’t before?

Her feet hit a soft but solid surface and she eased off Brook. She looked around, fully expecting them to be still in the passageway next to the shelter, but they weren’t. The sight of the woodland filled her vision and head. She smiled and let go of Brook. She stepped away and looked at the wind torn trees and bushes.

‘We did it!’ she yelled.

‘Just about,’ Brook spoke from behind her as he unlocked the door.

Fern laughed, unable to stop smiling, ‘we really flew…I can’t believe it!’

‘Come in out of the storm,’ Brook shouted.

Fern laughed loudly and was about to turn to him with something caught the corner of her eye. She stopped and looked harder into the patch of woodland. The shadow of a figure was stepping out from behind a tree.   

Trust will continue next month.

************

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Trust (Part 23)

Taking Brook’s hand tightly, Fern kept her eyes on the floor as they walked to the back of the queue. The whispering voices of the greeters, one male and one female, followed them, making Fern think of a funereal party.  In the growing late evening and the heavy rain, the town’s cast outs were just bodies bundled into filthy, ragged clothes. Fern saw a mixed of old boots, shoes, slippers and bare feet shuffling along the pavement.

Brook gently swung her around the last person and they came to a stop. Fern raised her eyes and looked at the hunched over red jumper wearing man before them. He was coughing loudly and rubbing his chest with a stuck clenched hand. Fern prayed he didn’t turn around and rested her head on Brook’s shoulder to make whispering to him easier.

Brook kissed her head then said into her hair, ‘remember what I said?’

She brushed her cheek against his shoulder in a nod.

‘Your name is May. I’m Seth. We are brother and sister, running from our abusive stepfather. Yesterday, we got arrested by police and we lost all our things in our escape. Got it?’ Brook asked, ‘but you only say that if we get separated. Actually, let’s…say you’re mute.’

‘Mute?’ Fern hissed.

‘Yeah. It works. Or deaf? But that’s more difficult to pull off.’

‘Deaf makes more sense than mute,’ Fern countered.

Brook hushed her as the man in front of them turned slowly.

‘Sorry. Couldn’t spare a smoke, could ya?’ his raspy voice muttered the words.

Brook patted his pockets with a single hand then drew his packet of cigs and lighter. He slipped his hand out of Fern’s and offered the man one.

‘Ah, thanks,’ the man spoke, ‘finished mine this afternoon and what with the weather, couldn’t scrape the pennies.’

Brook lit the selected cig and the flicking orange glow illumined the homeless man’s dirty, yellowed fingers. Brook closed the lighter then decided to have one himself. Counting he had four left and reminding himself to not offer anyone else one, he pulled out the fifth slender white cig and lit up.

Fern had been carefully avoiding the man’s eyes and had been fixated on Brook. Though this whole time, she could feel the man’s eyes on her. Don’t talk, don’t answer. You can’t hear him, she chanted in her head.

‘On the run?’ the homeless man asked.

‘Yeah. Stepdad and police,’ Brook stated back.

‘Never been to a shelter before?’

Brook didn’t answer. He took a drag of the cig and flicked away the ash.

‘You should keep an eye on her…’ the homeless man said in a softer voice.

Fern stole a glance at him and noticed he was staring longingly at her breasts.

‘She’s deaf. Kid sister, fucking dead weight. She’s like a puppy I can’t get rid of,’ Brook sneered, ‘but I’ll keep an eye on her. I always do. Wanna smoke?’

Brook offered Fern the cig. She paused, shook her head then twisting her neck, pressed the side of her face into Brook’s shoulder. Now looking behind them, she watched the thin trails of smoke drifting into the night and wished she could leave with them.

‘Thanks again,’ the man said and turned back around. Though Fern was sure his eyes keep wondering to the sides to try and look at her again.

Brook slipped his arm around her and guided her forward. The queue seemed to have picked up pace and as they neared the doors, Fern heard someone from just inside the doorway mutter to someone else that they were nearly full. She shot Brook a look, but he was hurriedly finishing his cig. They reached the bottom step and Fern tapped her toes against the cold wet stone.

Throwing the butt away, Brook led her up the steps and ignoring the welcoming from the greeters, followed the homeless man into a hallway. Fern glanced around, noticing that the bare floor and walls were a hospital dark cream colour. They came to a stop a few steps in and peering around the line of people, spotted another set of doors ahead of them and two women with clipboards.

Fern looked over her shoulder and saw that the two greeters had come in and were now shutting and locking the door. A sudden wave of panic and fear tickled her stomach. She swallowed hard and gripped Brook’s arm tightly with both her hands. She focused on something else and saw that the greeters were wearing matching dark green t-shirts with white letters stamped in the right corner. She read; St Louis’ Shelter.

‘We are out of beds now!’ a loud female voice shouted.

Remembering at the last second not to turn towards the voice, Fern stayed still. She felt Brook giving her a small squeeze and musing into her hair with his chin. A flutter of voices blew into her ears then the woman continued talking, directing them all to a smaller side room where they could sleep on the floor. The queue shuffled forward, whispering grumpy voices filling the tall ceiling above them.

The two greeters had taken guard places on either side of the front doors. Fern turned back and as she approached the second set, gave into the dreaded thought of; we’re trapped in here now. She looked at Brook, but he was keeping his eyes fixed on the smallest of the three women. She, like the other woman she was with, was handing leaflets to everyone. They approached her and watched her look them up and down before handing a paper out.

Brook took it from her and she hand gestured for them to go in.

Shivering, Fern dug her nails into Brook’s arm and scanned the large room they had entered. It was hard to tell what, if anything this building had once been. There were high set windows in the wall before them, but like the walls in the corridor the four here were bare. The floor was lined with metal cot beds at one end and at the other long bench tables and chairs. Double white doors in the far corner led into an area signed as the kitchen.

Most of the beds were occupied with people laying down or sitting up. The few that were empty had the leaflets placed on the blankets. The room hummed with voices, snores and soft rustlings of things. Fern couldn’t pick out many faces from those that were sleeping, but she was shocked to see a teenage looking girl curled on a nearby bed with two very young children.

Whilst many of the homeless seemed to be males of all ages, there were a few women and children dotted around. Fern focused harder and picked out an old woman pawing through a bin bag, an exhausted blonde haired woman who looked to be in her mid-forties and a young adult black woman sitting on the edge of a bed, which had the sleeping form of a boy about ten years old curled under the blanket.

Brook looked in the other direction and Fern followed him. There were two doors ahead of them now. One was marked bathrooms and the other, where the tail end of homeless people were heading, wasn’t signed anything. Brook stepped over and Fern refusing to let go of him, went along too. Through the doors was another room with more doors leading off it. This room was smaller and had darker yellow coloured walls. Scattered about were a few old canvas camping beds and air beds. All of them seemed to have been claimed already. Fern counted twenty-three people, including her and Brook, before she watched the red jumper man settling to the floor in the corner to their right.

Brook glanced behind at the doors then finally removing Fern’s fingers from his arm, pushed the door and half stepped back out. Fern almost moved after him, but stopped herself as she heard him striking a conversation up with someone.

‘My sister needs some help.’

‘With what?’ a really soft female voice asked back.

Fern wondered if it was the woman who’d given them the leaflets.

‘She’s….well that woman’s monthly thing. We have nothing. Is there anything you could spare for her? Please?’

Fern heard the woman make a pouting shape with her mouth and breathe through it.

‘She’s deaf and dumb,’ Brook hissed back, ‘please? I don’t know what to do.’

‘Alright. Where is she?’

Staying still, Fern let Brook slip his fingers into her hand and close around her palm. She felt him tugging and turned to follow him out. The woman behind the door was the same one as above. She was short and young looking, with black hair framing her face. She was wearing a dark green t-shirt and a floor touching black cotton skirt.

‘This way,’ she said after a few seconds.

They followed her down a few doors and into a store room. Brook got Fern to stand against the wall then helped the woman search through the pile of opened cardboard boxes. Fern watched them pulling out things like packets of tampons, wet wipes, tissues, underwear, basic washing kits, soap and some more things. From a deep box, the woman pulled out a second hand school backpack that was red and black in colour. She began stuffing all the things inside.

‘What about clothes?’ Brook asked in a low voice.

Fern saw the woman start to turn her head and quickly looked down at her shoes. She tried to fix a blank expression her face, but felt too overwhelmed by sadness and guilt to achieve it. She also pressed her hands to the wall and made a little rocking motion as if she was trying to comfort herself without anyone noticing.

The woman turned back and gave Brook the backpack.

‘Sister, Please. I don’t want anything for myself. But for her. She’s just a child still and she’s been through so much,’ Brook’s pleading filled the hushed room.

The woman sighed and giving Fern another look, shook her head and muttered back, ‘you must wait for the handouts tomorrow. I need to go, the food is almost ready.’

‘No, please! She’s probably already bleed through those jeans. Just give her a few things. We won’t take the handouts. I’m desperate! Sister, don’t turn a child of God away. She needs your help.’

Fern looked shyly up, recognising the smooth tone of voice that Brook had fallen into. He’s hands were resting lightly on the woman’s shoulders and he was staring hard into her eyes. The woman was still and watching him, her face slowly going sleepy looking. The backpack was at their feet.

‘You want to help her, don’t you?’ Brook purred, ‘God wants you to do this, Sister. Can’t you hear him? He needs you to help this poor girl. Please?’

The woman nodded.

Brook slowly raised his hand and with a finger summoned Fern over. Sensing what was happening, Fern’s vampire instinct kicked in and on silent feet she went over. Brook pushed the woman’s head to the side and moved her hair away. Fern touched her arm and lend in as the smell of blood pulsing just under flesh began calling to her.

‘Do it,’ Brook whispered into Fern’s ear.

She give a single nodded and opened her mouth. Her fangs pressed against her tongue and lip then the sweet soft skin of the nun.

Resentment

Does it matter that I’m going to die right here and now? Does it matter at all to anyone? The world won’t come to a stop at my death, I know that…everyone knows that. They only wonder about it. And everything will go on without me as it always has done. Do I resent my life though? All the pain and suffering I’ve caused in others, do I resent that? Maybe it doesn’t matter, maybe death is the absolute end.

And Heaven? Do I believe in that? I guess not, because I don’t believe in God. What about Hell then? I’ve heard people say that’s where I’ll end up…but if I don’t believe there can be one…maybe I’ve been living in it my whole life. Does anyone actually know? I doubt they’d even care anyways. I know there’s going to be no one to mourn my passing.

I had it all; the family, the friends, the lifestyle, the business. Money seemed never endless and I never knew what I ‘hard time’ was. Unless it just bypassed me because I was able to escaped it? The dreams and wishes I had as a child and young person, I achieved and so much more. The world lay at my feet for so long….and now this…..

Dying hurts. No matter what anyone says it does. My suffering has seemed long, though time moves differently when you realize the end is close. Does everyone feel such things before the body gives out? When I saw the footage of people dying in far off countries, when I saw animals worked to death, when the homeless and sick were at my door, begging, is their suffering any different to mine now?

I want to cry out and scream not me, not now, I still want to live, I can go on and change. Can’t anyone grant me that one wish that money can’t buy? I’ve become resentful. Remembering things from a past I had long buried and another that I made my future. I don’t believe in destiny, I made my own. I choice all the paths myself and no guiding hand of fate ever appeared it me. Why waste your life in believing suit dribble?

What I’d give right now though, to feel the sun’s heat one last time. Or to feel sand between my toes, hear the laughter of my children, hold my lover in my arms. Money can’t buy those things, like it can’t buy me time and life. How much I’ve missed in my blindness….those simple things that simple people rejoice in. Those things bypass the rich and famous. They fall on deaf ears and numb skin, they don’t exist in a martial world.

I don’t think I resent that though, those things. They can’t compare to the feel of money on my skin, or the excitement of an extreme sports car. Life should be made up of the big things not the small things…life should be dangerous and expensive. We are the masters…no Gods of the Earth. We can kill the mightiest of animals and wipe them from the plains. We can create life in a lab and travel through space. Those who have power are the greatest and we look down on the Lost of society.

Oh, yeah, I remember the Lost. You look at me now and do you see any stain of them on me? Anything that could make me from the gutter like them? No? Well let me tell you about my other past. It’s a secret I’ve squashed down for an age, even to myself. I made it into a story, a dream, that baby born in a public toilet wasn’t me. That baby was someone else and that child they grew into was someone else too. Why then do I remember their past? The pain of the abuse, the sting of tears and the sense of utter hopelessness? Why do these feelings crowd me so?

As you die why is it that the past always comes back to you? In those final moments why does the mind choice to show us these images? Why reminds of the suffering and not the good times? I can recall years of being in the hands of others. So many faces, names, houses, places, tall buildings, open grass land. There were people sitting behind desks, I peered out of wooden and metal bars. A blood splatter teddy bear in the bath.

Push them away! Return them to the back of my mind! Let them becomes lost in death. No one else need remember them, those where my times of pain….endless suffering….but I escaped. Escaped it all and learned to live again. People abandon their lives all the time and start a new one. It seems the easiest thing to do. Take some clothes, some money and a favourite toy. Get on the bus, a train, a plane and go to a new place. A new place! Where the sun is always shinning and when it does rain the pavements glow. There is no bitter wind or snow, nothing to remind you of home.

That’s new life for you.

If there is a God can he grant me that? Will I start all over again and come back. Come back and live a new time? I heard the theory of reincarnation once. How we all come back and it’s the cycle of life. You don’t always come back as a human though, it could be an animal or plant…but we never remember the past lives. What would we do with this knowledge anyways? We’ll tell stories to the children about how we were once an elephant stomping though Africa, until a hunter shot us and cut out our ivory tusks. And you remember the screams of our family and the fear in the baby’s eyes?

Such stories we would tell the world. They’d make a book and keep a record of everyone’s other lives to be studied. But it wouldn’t change the world. Even if people knew we can back as elephants we would still hunt them. It’s what mankind are programmed to do. Have I ever killed an animal? In my dark past I killed a cat to eat with some homeless men. In my new past I killed a stray dog because it bit my child. But I did these things to survive and I don’t regret them.

For years men have question what is in the beyond. We searched the lands, seas and skies looked for some truth in the old lies. We found nothing but old bones and silenced mouths. Now we searched space, hoping to reach out behind our means and make connect with other beings we believe exist. Of Heaven and Hell, of limbo, of Paradise of damnation, we have found nothing. How can the places exist then? Are they like the wind? But surely then we would feel them?

What do I feel? Empty….Am I sure? I lie. I feel fear and dread, for I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if I’ve lived my whole life a lie and that when it turns out there is a God, surely my whole life will then be a regret. But what if there is nothing? Then I shall be nothing and remain so.

What did I do with my new life? Wasted it…my business grow, I gained friends, a lover, a family, a fortune. I threw it all away after those glory days. First my children left me and then my lover. My friends dwindled until they had all gone and the money? I spent it all. Threw it all into things I thought would make me happy, make me forget it all. I brought objects of beauty that should have been shared with the world, but I hide them away. Took long holidays in hot, dry countries or cold, snowy ones in which I studied the culture and learned the history of the peoples. I begin to live through the eyes of the others.

However, when I returned to my life, it didn’t change me. The people below me I wanted nothing to do with. I hide with those beauty objects on the island that was my house. But I never wanted to hide from the world. It is my deepest regret that person I became….the one you see before you now. I am corrupt by power, hatred, desire and money. This person is the end of my destiny, though I never choice that path. If there is a God in Heaven, can he forgive me? Has he been able to see what greed has done to me?

But if there is a God then surely there must be a Devil in Hell and can see my sins also. Will it be his hand I feel when the last breath comes? Will my soul rot in a fire pit forever? Wait! Do I even have a soul? If I don’t believe then maybe I don’t have one? But then again maybe I still do…maybe anything does have a soul and we just don’t know it. What does it look like? What does it do and feel? Can mine be saved, if that’s needed? Can it rest in peace until it’s allowed to return for another chance?

Maybe everything is wrong though and there is nothing. Just a made up tell for children to comfort them in dark times. We are living a lie then and then truth is always beyond our reach because we are not powerful enough to get it. Can that always be so? Will mankind never know the answers to those questions we ask in every generation? Maybe the truth doesn’t have to be found though, maybe we each know and we have always known, because it’s always been inside of us.

The pain is unbearable! Is this the end? What do I see before me? Darkness still. Is that to be all of it? Never ending darkness and drifting? Please let there be something more, please let there be something else. I’ve lost everything, but my sins. The cling to me still, but I want them gone….can they go…can I be forgiven as I become forgotten? Please if there is something out there now, hear me…I repent everything.

What is that whiteness? The dot in the corner of my eyes. It grows…so big and bright! What is it?

Church (Chapter 7, Part 5)

angle wolf

(Continued from Church chapter 7 parts 1-4)

My mind reeled and I double checked the pile of bedding, of course she wasn’t there. I got up, untangled my feet from a blanket and stumbled over to the desk. There was no note and the only used piece of paper was the one I had wrote upon before going to sleep. I looked for her clothes and sword, still unable to believe that she would just leave like that. Her things were gone.

I sank down into the chair, an odd sense of betrayal curling in my stomach. Where had she gone to this time? Perhaps, she was out fighting another mindless soul or something? Maybe she had gone to the Paradise Garden? She would come back through, wouldn’t she? I tried to shove the thoughts away and decided to get myself sorted. I looked at the to do list, wondering what I could do first. However, a part of me wanted to stay here and wait for her to come back. I had no idea long that could be and it would be a waste of time more than anything else.

I got up and dressed in a white robe and my boots. I went downstairs into the church and then into the small bathroom at the back. I turned the sink tap on and the water pipes gurgled loudly before dirty water spat out. I waited for the reddish colour to change to clear before I splashed my face and neck. I scrubbed my skin and felt better for it.

Trudging back, my eyes fell onto the church organ and I thought about grabbing the notebooks. It would be too risky though as Rain could come back at any moment. I went up and collect my sword and a black thicker robe. I checked the list again and decided that finding food would be a good starting point. My mind felt too distant to concentrate.

I headed out, but as I got into the graveyard and sensed the ghosts, I realised I could ask them about Rain. I walked down the overgrown path with headstones struggling to keep the climbing plants away from them. The early evening was pleasant and the sky still held a lot of sunset light. I went down to the lichgate then turned. I could see the ghostly figures taking shape around me.

‘Have you seen Rain?’ I asked them.

‘She left already,’ a whispery voice called back. I couldn’t tell who it belong too.

‘When? Where did she go?’

‘Before the sunset. She went north. We called to her, she said she knew of us and what we wanted.’

‘And?’

‘She did not know if she could help us,’ the voices breathed back, ‘we have been here too long and have become firmly chained to this ground.’

‘I’m sorry,’ I muttered.

‘You promised, Blaze!’ the voice of the teenage girl cut in.

‘I still do.’

There was a low hum of voices which I couldn’t pick any words out of. I glanced around but couldn’t see anything other than grey flashes of shadows. It was still too light for the ghosts to form fully. I listened harder, but the voices seemed to have died away.

‘I will try,’ I spoke out.

‘You are bound to your word now, Angel,’ the old hag’s voice blew around me.

‘I always have been.’

My fingers moved to the cross around my neck. It was still icy cold.

‘Your friend will be back soon enough. We will wait her.’

I nodded and this time the voices faded away fully. I turned and jumped over the lichgate. Somewhere in a field beyond came the sound of a tractor and sheep bleating. I walked down the forgotten tree lined road and on to the other. There in the dying light, patchwork fields spread before me like a blanket. I wanted to wonder through those fields and feel the warm breeze on my face. Birds were singing the last day’s songs and everything balanced on the edge of nightfall.

I thought about Rain.

Where was she now? I shut my eyes and tried to sense her, but I could not. I stopped trying and looked out across the fields again, they looked too welcoming to pass by. I crossed the road, climbed over the small wooden fence and into tall grass. I ran my hands along the top, feeling grass seeds rubbing against my skin. There was a tree off to the side just before a hedge row fence and I walked over that way.

After touching the tree’s trunk, I was off again my heart singing thankful prayers for the nature. I walked through three more fields, each being used for a different thing, before I reached the one the sheep were in. They did not seem to mind me as I walked across their land. They had their summer coats on and only the late lambs at their sides. Over a few more fields and I could hear the rushing sounds of a river.

I had only seen it from the sky before and never had the urge to step upon its shore. I hurried down and in the last field peered over a barbed wire fence into the fast flowing waters. I easily got over the fence and scrambled down the embankment. This part of the river had only ever seen farmers and animals before. It was difficult for anyone else to get down here and there were nicer spots further on.

I gathered the edges of my robes up to my knees and yanked off my boots. I dipped my toes into the cold water then sink my feet in. The water swelled around me, bubbling as it went. Fascinated, I watched the current flowing around the large moss covered rocks that were dotted in and alongside the riverbed. There must have been a lot of rain coming of the hills because the water was unusually fast.

I felt refreshed and more awake. My thoughts no longer felt taken over by Rain and instead wondered why I had never come here before. The church and graveyard worked as good enough connects to Heaven, but to get close to God you had to go outside into the nature and the world He had created.

I leant back, putting my hands behind my head and relaxing. The river carried on swirling around my feet as if I was just another rock in its path to the freedom of the ocean.

Church (Chapter 7, Part 4)

angle wolf

(Continued from Church Chapter 7, Parts 1, 2 and 3)

It was too early for me to sleep and I didn’t feel as tried as Rain. After flipping through the Bible for another few minutes I wanted to go down to the church organ and get the notebooks out. I glanced at Rain then couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was curled up, but had her head thrown back on the pillows and her hair spread out around her. She had rolled over and wrapped her arms around Wolf, holding him like a child would a teddy bear. Wolf with his face pressed to her chest had one of his back legs and tail resting on Rain’s leg. Clearly he would have been too hot under the blankets.

Instead, I pulled a blank piece of paper and an ink pen towards me and began to write down my mission and what I remembered of it. The words formed across the blank white sheet, staining it with gleaming black ink. It was strange to think that out there somewhere was a daemon I should have been hunting. I looked down at what I had written:

 

Manipulative daemon. Preys on fallen angels. Then hunts other angels. Killed warrior angel. Very powerful. Last know location ?

 

I rubbed the pen between my palms and thought about what else I could remember. Nothing else came, so I switched to trying to think about its aura. They must have given me that to track it before I had left Heaven. I shut my eyes and give it my full concentration. Once again nothing came to me. Sighing, I put the pen down and looked at the words again.

Maybe, Rain would have some more answers or maybe I should go out and find some angels to talk to. I had been dimly aware of others since coming here. Angels had a good sense of one another, even if they had never met before. I shelfed the idea for later and turned the paper over. I started a to do list on the other side as it was the best way to clear my mind.

After the mundane things were to sort out the ghosts, further question Rain, make friends with Wolf and trying to track the daemon. I read back through the list after I had run out of ideas then put the pen down. Leaving the paper on the desk, I took off the rest of my clothes and decided how best to lay on the other side of Rain.

At the end of the bed, I avoid her feet and Wolf’s tail, got on to my knees and crawled slowly upwards. Gently I sorted out a couple of pillows and a blanket before lying down. Wolf growled, I froze and looked over at him, but it was hard to tell what he had meant. I got comfy on my back and looked up at the ceiling. There was an abandoned spider web on the wooden beam and crack in a roof slate.

I shut my eyes and thought about the manipulative daemon. Silently, I prayed to be given signs about it, perhaps even a vision about its location. My lips moved as I uttered God’s Prayer then I waited for sleep. I listened to Rain and Wolf’s breathing and felt pleasantly happy about it. For so long I had been alone and now it didn’t feel that way anymore. The burden of being trapped here had slightly lifted, I realised.

When sleep finally came, I dreamed of Heaven. I was flying around the clouds, harp music ringing in my ears and light shining all around me. Then it got dark. Everything turned into a washed out grey as if someone had stolen all the colours. I was falling, my wings broken. I struggled against gravity, but couldn’t fight it. My back hit a hard wet surface which broke my fall. I cried out as pain rocket through me and I thought for sure my spine was broken. Screaming echoed all around me, but it wasn’t mine.

I opened my eyes and saw the rain falling heavily from black clouds. I turned my head and felt mud squashing under my cheek. I saw a black figure and a blue flash in the distance next to the entrance of a cave mouth that opened from a cliff face. I tried to roll over and get up, but I couldn’t. A shape formed in the cave mouth and the black figure and the blue flash were running towards me. Behind them came a dragon like monster. Fire roared out of its’ two mouths and it had six eyes that scanned the area.

The dragon monster stepped out further and I saw it had three sets of large leather webbed wings. They were brightly coloured and looked butterfly like. The ground shook and the monster came forward. The figure and flash reached me and I saw it was Rain and Wolf. I called out to them and they came over. Rain helped me up then we were running together. I tried to ask her what the monster was and what she was doing here, but my mouth wouldn’t work.

We reached the bottom of another cliff, the monster gaining behind us. Rain touched Wolf between his ears and he began to transform in to a giant wolf. I pinned myself against the wall and watched him raise above me. From his back grew wings covered with white and grey feathers. Wolf stretched these and himself upwards and swung his tail about. Rain began climbing his front left leg, using his fur to help keep her grip. I watched her reach the top and sat at Wolf’s shoulder blades.

I started my climb, feeling the long matted fur swallowing me as I went up. Rain held her hand down and I took it so she could help pull me up the rest of the way. I sat behind her and Wolf turned. A half-wolf growl crossed with a monstrous roar came from his killer jaws and vibrated through us. Rain, hands dug into his fur, kicked him and instead of standing his ground to fight, Wolf flapped his wings and took to the air.

The wind felt good on my face and I could feel Wolf’s muscular body tensing and untensing under me as he flew. I looked back but couldn’t see the dragon monster anywhere. Wolf shot through the rain clouds and light flood on to us. Harps and other string instruments blasted in our ears then we were surrounded by welcoming angels. I felt myself being lifted up off Wolf and raising through golden clouds.

My eyes opened and the church’s bell tower ceiling formed above me. I rolled over, feeling happy and calm. My hand roamed the blankets beside me, searching of Rain but finding nothing. I sat up and looked at the crumpled bedding next to me. Rain and Wolf were gone.

To Be Continued…