The Curse Mark: Chapter Eight

CAN ANGELS LIE: LENNOX VANDERWERKEN

Kisa Kevser was very kind.  She was patient, and she cared.  Those were the qualities of a pure angel.  But like any living being that could think, Kisa had thoughts on everything.  And she was not afraid to voice them when given the opportunity.  Lennox noticed this.  He noticed everything that was related to his little protégé because whatever happened to her, whatever she did, reflected on him.  Kisa though, was nearly perfect, if only she held her tongue a bit more.  But she couldn’t—didn’t know how to in any circumstance.

Lennox looked over at the long line of homeless youths waiting for their serve of soup for the night.  Each and every one of them had an expression on his or her face that communicated something, a feeling of great sadness.  Angels of the third rank were more in tune with the feelings of humans in conjunction with maintaining an objective stance toward them.  But third rank had fewer obligations to maintain objectivity compared to someone in second, and least of all the first rank.  Those in the first rank were closest the Almighty, and were least in tune with humans, and generally could not care less about them.  Standing here in this shelter was not entirely what someone of his rank should be doing.  But he thought it was a good place to start.  It was a good place for Lennox to isolate the pros and cons of Kisa Kevser, and then from there, slowly whittle away her cons and reshape her as the perfect angel she should be.

“We need more soup Lennox.” Lennox turned around to see Kisa standing there.  She had dress that covered the gems inset on her chest today, and one that made her look more innocent and childish than the other.   He also noticed that the sleeves, while gauze, were long and covered her arms entirely.

Lennox looked around for more soup, but one sweep of the kitchen told him exactly what he thought, “no more.  There’s no more.”  Turning back to the line though, he knew he would have to be the unlucky one to tell them that this meal was over.  Before he could though, Kisa’s hand was on his arm, and her musical voice said, “It’s okay, I will tell them Lennox.”

Lennox.  His name was pronounced Lennex, but the way she said it, made it sound more magical and desirable than how others said it, with the exception of Cara de Vries.

Nodding slightly, he watched her walk over to the line.  It shouldn’t have been shocking to see how her presence lightened the knowledge she was about to give the ones who missed out.

“Extraordinary angel, that one,” said Alona.  She was the manager of the shelter for the day. With long dark red hair and sharp eyes, she was also a human.    And she was a hard worker, even though every day she wore the same high stilettos and tight, face-stretching ponytail updo.  Alona looked taller than Kisa, but if he took her shoes away, Lennox was sure they were about the height.  She turned her eyes to look at Lennox, dark brown, with a glow of red, it took Lennox a moment longer to realise that she was younger than she seemed.  Tilting her head up to look at Lennox, she added, with a faint smile, “And I don’t think she’s in the right business.  Speaking of business, I don’t suppose she could partake in a shoot, with hair like that, she would fit right into the underwater theme we have going on at the moment at Bellezza.”

Lennox smiled sadly, “unfortunately no, she cannot.  But I understand what you mean,” he said in a fair and firm manner, so that she would not think to try and persuade him otherwise.

The girl smiled tightly and it was evident, she was hardly deterred by his words at all.

When Kisa came back to join them, she smiled politely at Alona, greeting and also saying her goodbye the way any good little angel would before Lennox took her away.  Lennox smiled at Alona, there’s no way I would leave you alone with her.  Alona though returned the smile, her eyes narrowed clearly reflecting the endless determination the girl was known for; she wouldn’t give up.  Which meant, if Lennox intended to fulfil his mentorship, he had to keep an even more watchful eye on Kisa to ensure that she did in fact learn to maintain angelic composure.

Outside, in the arid heat, Lennox tucked his forefinger under the collar of his polo and pulled it away from his neck.  Running his finger along the collar, he tried to widen the space as much as possible to let out the suffocating heat that was trapped between his body and the shirt he was wearing.  It wasn’t working.

“Like this.” Kisa reached up and loosen the buttons at the top of his polo.  Buttons he had buttoned up to maintain a sense of decency.  “You’ll be more comfortable that way,” she said smiling.

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The Last Wish. Andrzej Sapkowski.

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The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.8 Stars–Not quite 4 (I was sooooo disappointed in the last short story, I thought they were going to kill each other, but they didn’t!!!!), but it was still a really good read over all.

This book series was recommended to me by a friend. I didn’t think I would start reading it so soon, but then I did. Though because it’s a series of short stories interwoven into a bigger story, I put it down and picked it up every so often. Not to mention I was reading the ebook version, and lord knows I generally find reading on a screen a pain in the butt. However, I finished it. And I did like it. I would definitely read the second, and the third, and more just to see where it goes.

The character, ‘the Witcher’ fascinates me, though in this book there is a lack of depth to his character. At the same time, you couldn’t say there was no depth either. It feels like in this book, Geralt is a figure, slightly blurred, somewhat a mystery. We have insights to his past through the short stories, but that isn’t the focus of the short stories. Not really. Yet also, really, since with each story, you learn a little more about the Witcher, about his choices and regrets. Particularly in the short story The Lesser Evil, where the Witcher had to choose, and ultimately hadn’t made the right choice, and in the story, A Question of Price in which more is revealed about Geralt’s character.

Geralt the Witcher is the main focus of the whole book. The last short story in the book, highlights the title of the book, and bloodyyyyy hell that was some story! (More in a minute on it!) Geralt’s job is to essentially exterminate monsters–demons, malicious supernatural beings, etc. And hence, with each short story, you see him performing a task. He is a Witcher by destiny, and not really by choice–something I want to know more about. As a fan of backstories, in depth character building, and plot twists that tie the character in with the story so deeply, I just drooolll, I really want to see the moment when I find out everything about Geralt’s past. Specially after hearing this about him from a secondary character in A Question of Price:

He knows the law better than anyone else, because it applied to him once…. He was taken from his home because he was what his father hadn’t expected to find on his return. Because he was destined for other things. And by the power of destiny, he became what he is. (At 49%)

Little things like that know how to snatch at my heart and catch my interest. And like always I kind of really hate it.

In the beginning, I had very little, close to no expectations of this book. I generally don’t, specially if they’re recommendations. Not to mention in beginning this book, it was kind of slow, and the switching between short story, and present telling, was kind of confusing. However, once I got into the flow of the story, and when my mind decided to wake and click to the fact that the short stories are related to the little in between pieces that are being told in the present, I became more invested in this book. Sometimes I have no idea what catches my attention, let alone, what the hell I’m reading even though I’m reading it. This was one of those times. But when things started clicking, and I read the Lesser Evil, I started to really like this book. It had my attention that’s for sure (though admittedly the use of short stories had me putting this down every so often since, after all, why should I read all these short stories at once? I felt like hoarding them for a bit!) and I was definitely engaged to read all the way through to the end!

However, and this is the problem with adopting this method of narration–a major plot, with short story intervals–is that the short stories end. And sometimes they end kind of awkwardly or whatnot. Not that Sapkowski’s did. I won’t lie, I AM STILL BUMMED BY THE WAY THE LAST WISH SHORT STORY ENDED, WHY DIDN’T THEY KILL EACH OTHER???? Am I cruel? There was just so many mentions of Yennefer prior to that short story, and
I thought it was a bad thing…..then again, in that short story, it ended well. I just really got the impression that something else happened….

Either way, it was still a good short story, and the ending of the whole book was still good, with promise of more adventure and witcher duties in the next one.

My biggest desire for this series, is to see what happens to Geralt and how he grows. Therefore, I will read the next book primarily for that reason. While it’s not the best fantasy I’ve ever read, it’s not the worse either. THIS main character does not want pity or forced sympathy from me unlike Kvoth from The Name of the Wind–I really didn’t like him, or that book much, even though it’s not a bad book. The Witcher, is just what he is, the Witcher. He’s not overdone, his weaknesses are real and believeable, he is confident, yet he is also not confident. He doesn’t brag or boast, but is modest about his skills. He actually uses his brain too, and falls prey to his own desires and missteps. He has a crutch that prevents him from doing some things, and you know what, he kind of reminds me of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell portrayal) from the TV Show Arrow–well that interpretation!

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The Curse Mark: Chapter Seven

A MOON AT STAKE:  ADRIENNE CYNZIA

When Adrienne woke up the next morning, Cara de Vries had managed to become shoved to the very back of her mind, becoming the least of her worries even though she should have been the most concerning problem in Adrienne’s bank of future disasters to come.  However, even though the sun was gloriously baking Adrienne as she lay in her bed, unwilling to force herself to complete her daily pre-bar opening routine, Adrienne could only think about the events of the night before.  She was here.  Selene was here, or as she went by here, Cynthia Kaminski, well known model.

Groaning, she rubbed her temples, blinking up at the plain cream ceiling.  Part of the ceiling was peeling to her left, tucked away in a corner that it was almost barely noticeable.  If you weren’t lying on the bed like Adrienne was, you wouldn’t have noticed it.  But right now, all Adrienne seemed to want to do was to stare at this imperfection on her ceiling.  Stare and stare until it became the bane of her existence forcing her out of her bed and into work clothes.  She wanted this imperfection gone, and while she wasn’t much of a handyman, she could fix a wall. It couldn’t be that hard.  So long as it was fixed, and the blemish was finally gone after living here for such a long time.

This was how Algor Rosenberg found her a few hours later when he arrived at the bar to help with the pre-bar opening routine.  He had just walked in downstairs when he heard a string of angry French swear words explode from above, and with one glance around, it was obvious that there was no one else around.  With no other indication of any other living soul within the building, Algor took it as Adrienne getting mad over some home project or another.   This was unusual, since Adrienne rarely partook in personal home projects alone, let alone by herself.  They were just not something she was good at, yet, Algor had come to realise the woman only reacted in such a way when she was piss mad at something, or distracted, or had a mind that felt like it was going to explode.  Whichever of those reasons were currently preoccupying her mind, Algor hoped that it wasn’t all three.

He was wrong.

And when he walked upstairs and into her room, invading Adrienne’s personal space, all he could say was, “whoa…”

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The Curse Mark: Chapter Six

THE DEVIL’S CHILDREN: CARA DE VRIES

 

Boys, idiots, Cara thought as she shoved her way through the crowd.  Though Cara hardly spared a thought for who she passed by or whether they were even boys to begin with, they could have been men! But well, like Cara cared.  Uncouthness was uncouthness, and what she had seen was enough to categorise and file away.

Sighing heavily, she had no idea where to go now.  She had completely failed in her attempt to tempt Adrienne Cynzia into telling her about Lennox Vanderwerken.

Making her way to the best hotel in the city (it was so much classier to call it a town, though it looked more liked the city she had grown up in over two hundred years ago, and not at all like a city that existed in the present day), Cara charmed her way into a very last minute, upper class hotel room.   With a flick of her hair, and a flash of a smile, Cara was booked in and at a fine price too.  Even if she earned enough and had enough savings for several times over, there was no need for her to waste it on accommodation, was there?  But then, her own place would be nice.  And if she was truly honest with herself, she technically did not have that much in savings, not with her frivolous attitude to life.

As she took the keycard from the receptionist, the woman said, “I love your outfit.”

Blinking, Cara smiled, “thank you, perfect isn’t it?” She said twirling around once elegantly, showing off the Victorian era dress.   Although Cara’s head was tilted to the side looking down at her dress, she was not actually doing that.  It was just anyone who was within her vicinity who was affected by her illusion who saw what she wanted them to see, including the fact that she currently looked ten years older, slightly taller, and was twirling around.  In reality, she was merely standing there, smiling with the keycard in her hand ready to leave.

Waiting out the receptionist’s awe, Cara politely took the compliments and said, “custom made,” when the woman asked where Cara had gotten such a dress.  She had had it for years, along with a closet full of similar dresses in different shades.

“It’s amazing,” said the woman in awe.

“Yes, it is,” she said with a hint of impatience in her voice that did not match the friendly smile on her face.

Cara watched carefully, noting the way the receptionist’s smile dimmed a bit when she sensed the impatience, perhaps even heard it, but didn’t see any evidence of impatience on Cara’s face.  This made Cara highly amused.  She enjoyed watching the confusion in the receptionist’s eyes, and were it not because she had other, better things to do, Cara wouldn’t have mind messing with the receptionist’s mind a little bit more for the fun of it.

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The Curse Mark: Chapter Five

MURDEROUS INTENTION:  KENICHI AI GRAVITAS

 

Memories were such fickle things.  Kenichi watched as Mio’s fingers twitched.  With her eyes closed, Kenichi knew she wasn’t just staring into some daydream with that usual dreamy look of hers.  It was because she was working.  The only time Mio was ever serious was when she was focusing on retrieving or erasing a particular memory.  Such as this very moment.  Leaning back against the cushy back of the booth, Kenichi’s violet eyes flickered between his imouto and her client.

The Fae Prince was not one of Mio’s usual customers.  He fell into the rare category; a kind of man who requested the removal of his own memories as opposed to someone else’s.

Selfish or selfless?  Kenichi considered the Prince.  He knew the man was a prince; the fool’s wings were poking out from underneath his polo shirt.  Kenichi had noticed.  Fae ranks were recognisable based on the colour and transparency of their wings.  Although Kenichi would not be what one would call an ‘expert’ on the Fae, but he was knowledgeable from his past experiences, most of them were unpleasant.   He could thank his imouto for that.

Kenichi couldn’t remember a day when he was not assisting his imouto and not running into trouble of some kind.  His eyes glanced once around the diner.  There were plenty to amuse the eye if one was interested in the colourful crowd that populated Riverton.  But they were not his concern.  Turning his gaze back to Mio, he watched her open her eyes and pull her hands away from the fae’s temples.

“It is done,” she murmured, her violet eyes, several shades paler than Kenichi’s, blinked slowly and de-hazed.  Very soon, Mio would revert back to her usual oblivious self and no doubt she would indeed seem like someone incapable of removing memories with absolute precision.  “Your request has been fulfilled, once you pay me, I shall remove all trace of this meeting as well.”

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The Curse Mark: Chapter Four

WHY WE FALL: BLAYKE FERAY

 

He was a typical customer to Adrienne’s, and yet, he did not possess the air of a typical customer.    Blayke Feray was nervous.  If he was not so conscious of where he was currently sitting, then his knee might have been bouncing up and down mimicking the intense beating of his heart.  Apparently he was not good at deception, even though he was fallen and no longer sitting amongst the puffy clouds of heaven with Cassia and the rest of Leora’s charming crew.  Not that Blayke had wanted anything to do with Leora’s crowd to begin with, it was just well he somehow managed to find himself running into them more often than not.

Glancing left at the woman who appeared to hold the bar mistress’s attention, Blayke was mesmerised.  He had not realised how mesmerised he was until the bar mistress said, coldly, “So you found me.”

Blayke blinked and sculling the rest of his drink, he decided to clear out of the bar as soon as possible, it didn’t look like the place someone like he should be.  Throwing down the appropriate number of colourful bills, and a few coins, Blayke stepped down off his chair and in one swift move, with a brief glance at the intense air between the bar mistress and the new comer, he made his way out the door.

People like him who wanted nothing more than to lie low knew better than to stay in an environment where a major conflict was potentially going to break out.   Adrienne’s Bar, he’d frequented it every so often, but usually he stuck to the wall, drinking in quiet as he frustrated himself over the very fact that he had been in the same town for too long.

Riverton, a safe zone.   If there were beings such as Adrienne and her mysterious guest holding presence here, it was no surprise that it was a safe zone.  But Blayke knew that it wasn’t the only reason why it was so safe here.  Blayke wasn’t safe here.  He was just a tad bit more fortified, but safe.  The secret in his mind was hardly safe, as was the object locked in a box in his wardrobe.  The key, well that was safely around the neck of an angel who was safe in heaven who did not entirely know the truth about the last gift he gave her.

Walking down Riverton Main Street, Blayke felt the roiling unease in his chest for the very fact that he had potentially put his sister at risk.  No wonder he fell.  A man as selfish as him did not deserve to be up in heaven.  He could not even excuse his actions.  They had not been for the better good.  In the beginning, he had been acting selfishly.  One action at a time.  No wonder he was fallen.

Arriving at his brick apartment block, Blayke climbed up the stairs one step at a time.  Looking down at where he walked mainly to avoid the puddles of water that seemed to never go away.  Stepping over a step that had an extremely large puddle of water, he kept his black leather brogue boots clean.  Glancing up once as he passed by an open door, Blayke caught sight of a woman with a dark red bob looking agitated.  When she saw him, she scowled, causing Blayke to quickly drop his gaze and stride quickly past.

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The Curse Mark: Chapter Three.

CAN ANGELS LIE? LENNOX VANDERWERKEN

“Is it nice down here?” The young angel asked Lennox Vanderwerken as they touched down, the feathers of their wings ruffling as though to shake of any dirt they may have gathered during their journey from the upper skies to the hardened earth ground.

“Your father has never brought you here?” Len asked her, turning his gaze to that angelic innocence that was familiar with all young angels.

“Oh no, he felt it was…corrupting, the influence of mortals, felt they were too emotional,” she said in a voice that was like honey.  It was a lovely voice, suitable for singing, being a little low but not alluringly low.

Lennox huffed, so corrupting, yet they still assign you to me for the mere purpose of eliminating the emotional tendencies you’re already showing.  “I would not like to contradict your father’s words, for they are very true.  As protectors of such delicate creatures, we cannot be excessive in our selfish desires.” He scanned Riverton’s grand fountain.  In the night, it was alight with the lights that edged the circular stone base.  “However, Kisa, he can be incorrect sometimes.”

“Incorrect?”    Kisa asked, a frown creasing her forehead.  Len had heard all about her history when she had been assigned to him.

“Yes, incorrect,” he said as he turned his head, spying a cosy motel for them to rest.   “Come, we must find some accommodation.”

“Accommodation, we must…rent?”  Kisa’s eyes were wide in surprise at this new understanding.  Len frowned, she did not know? She did not understand? Or was it because she had never actually rented before?

“When you were travelling around the world, did you not rent places with your companions?” He said gesturing with one hand for them to walk over to the motel he had seen.  While Kisa was wearing a thin white dress looking relatively modern, Len knew he looked out of place.  Carrying a large blade on his back, he was wearing a set of white robes, the kind that was popular in heaven.

“Um, not really,” she said, running a hand through her hair.  The sleeve of her dress slipped down her upper arm revealing a patchwork of white and light brown scars.  Len made no comment about the scars, he had been instructed to slowly uncover the story of her year away from home piece by piece.  It was amongst one of the things he had to attend to in order to mentor her properly.  She was not…like all the other angels anyway.

Truth, “I see, well since it’s too late to find the real estate, it is the more appropriate option.  Tomorrow, we will be moving in, in a manner of speaking, into the home that has been organised for us.”  Lennox pushed the door of the motel office open and looking faintly blank, he pressed the bell on the counter.  Next to him, he noted the way Kisa’s nose wrinkled in disgust at the quality of this office.

Lennox had often made frequent trips down to Earth for a variety of different reasons but he had never stayed more than a night so he had gotten used to checking into whatever motel was available.  Pleasant or not, he wasn’t bothered.

Smiling faintly at the manager who walked into the office, yawning and looking as old as their hair, grey and lined, perhaps mid-fifties?  The man’s eyes roamed over Lennox taking no note of anything unusual except the blade strapped to his back before looking over at Kisa, who certainly held more of his attention no doubt for her wavy blue-turquoise tresses, before his eyes dared to trail down.   Kisa too immersed in staring at her surroundings left it to Len to defend her honour.  He wondered if she even noticed, wearing a dress cut as low as hers was (albeit covering everything perfectly), revealing the line of five blue gems set in her chest.  The teardrop shaped gem in the centre, right below the joint of her collarbones.  One each side of this gem, set two smaller gems that lined the collarbone.  Now, Len knew the story behind the gems, they were related to her parentage, but he was to pretend he didn’t know anything.

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A Ghostly Valentine’s.

So this is my final Valentine’s Day Story.  It’s the biggest and the longest.  It’s also experimental (It’s a story told in 55 word chapters!) and I managed to finish it in the nick of time.  Right now, there are 40 minutes until the end of Valentine’s Day!  Hehe, I hope you enjoy it!  (Oh And I Also Think It’s A Bit Weird That My Main Girl Is Called Ann, To Me It Seems A Bit Old Fashioned Lol)

*

First, There Was Something Wrong…

There was something wrong with Ann.  Her body moved as she told it to.  It walked, touched, flicked hair, smirked.  But for some reason she felt strangely invisible.  No one talked to her on the street, no one even looked at her when clearly she was a bombshell.  This invisibility terrified her, then she saw him.

*

The Love of Her Life Looked Never Better…

She stood back, he was so beautiful, dashingly handsome with the cutest curls in his hair.  She always admired him from afar.  When he asked her out, she couldn’t believe it.  Slowly she walked to him, pushing through the crowd.  She could almost reach out and touch him.  Except he was holding another girl’s hand.

*

The Restless Spirit Medium Hates Valentine’s…

It was the biggest love celebration of the year.  Yet, James was telling teary eyed widows and abandoned girlfriends tales of their dead loves.  He worked for his uncle, that bastard, who did nothing but order him around, before going out to play.  James wondered if he could close up the store and call Ally.

*

James Makes A Date For Valentine’s…

Ally said yes.  James could have jumped for joy.  She even said, she didn’t care if it was only an hour, she was happy to spend it with him.  James looked in the mirror, glad that he was working, since he looked his best when he worked, and dragged his comb once through his hair.

*

Ann Can’t Believe What She Is Seeing…

Ann just stared.  Why was her Adam hand in hands with another girl?  Why?  She immediately ran in front of him and demanded him to stop.  He did, not to look at her, but to look at the scantily dressed girl beside him.  ‘I said Stop!’ She screamed.  And then they walked right through her.

*

Second, There Was Something Very Wrong…

No way.  She was not a ghost.  Ann didn’t believe she was a ghost.  Just yesterday, she was picking out her dress to wear for Valentine’s.  And today she was wearing that dress.  They were going on a date today.  More people passed through her, more and more, buffering her.  She was not a ghost!

*

There Was An Explosion With No Apparent Source…

Adam flinched when the world exploded behind him.  It was like a volcanic eruption with no volcano; a nuclear bomb with no actual bomb.  The crowd scattered, and for a moment, he let go of Natasha’s hand.  He scrambled for her hand, frantically, but found himself looking at someone who was supposed to be dead.

*

There’s Nothing Like A Dead Girlfriend Come Back To Life…

Adam stared.  Then he blanched.  And when she didn’t disappear, he screamed.  That was a normal reaction.  What was not normal, more like incomprehensible, was Ann screaming back at him.  There was something about Natasha and Valentine’s and the expensive dress she was wearing.  But he just couldn’t believe there was a ghost.  He fainted.

*

A Date Is When A Man And Woman Do Lots Of Things Together…

Ally apparently did not see him as anything more than a friend.  James was a little annoyed at that.  For the hour, they drank coffee.  James had no idea if dates were like that, since it was his first.  But she looked uncomfortable.  James would have to thank the crazy ghost girl later for interrupting.

*

Saved By The Bell, What A Way To Look Cool…

 Immediately James sprinted onto the street.  Around him ghosts were pretty calm, not really vengeful.  But this one was really angry.  Beautiful in that green dress, with long dark hair, she was surrounded in negative energy.  James seriously asked himself why he threw himself in front of the man the ghost was attacking without thinking.

*

Who Do You Think You Are, You Great Big Brute? …

Ann was furious.  It was a falling avalanche.  Everything she remembered about dating him the last six months returned.  Suddenly she was empowered, fire roared around her and she was in control.  That big fat brute; that pretty faced, two faced liar! And then he ran in front of her, essentially taking all her anger.

*

He Fell With A Mighty Big Crash…

And Ann was repentant.  The girl holding Adam’s hand was screaming hysterically, tugging at Adam.  Adam was staring in shock horror at the guy Ann had just attacked.  From the coffee shop, there was a loud female shriek, ‘James!’  The girl ran over slapping his cheeks all the while Ann tried to catch her attention.

*

Natasha’s Hand Felt Way Too Small In His…

It was a shock, to say the least, when Adam and Natasha became, Adam, Natasha, Adam’s dead girlfriend, one unconscious spirit medium and the spirit medium’s date.  It seemed only Adam could see Ann, and according to Ally, the girl who took control, so could the spirit medium.  Adam felt a tingle in his heart.

*

Adam Thinks That The Roof Is Leaking…

The bucket of water came from nowhere.  But when Adam looked up, it was hovering without any assistance, tipping and sloshing all over him.  Natasha screamed, but Adam didn’t move.  Natasha whimpered, but for some reason, Adam just got angry.  It didn’t make any sense that she was angry.  She wasn’t covered in stinky water.

*

It Was Just Too Funny…

Ann couldn’t stop laughing.  In just a few moments, she’d managed to redirect her anger into physical force, and upturned the bucket on his head.  She’d wanted to catch the girl too, but she dodged.  Adam was glaring at Ann, so she stuck out her tongue.

‘Who the hell are you?’ Said the spiritual medium.

*

The Spiritual Medium Has Anger Management Problems…

James looked ridiculous.  He was blotchy red and he looked increasingly more and more harassed.  Ally looked  flustered and Natasha (Ann finally caught her name) burst out hysterically again.  When Adam and Ann started talking it turned into an argument; Natasha cried and Ally told them to shut up.  It was James who yelled though.

*

James Does not Have Anger Management Problems…

One ghost whose ex-boyfriend was still alive.  One hysterical girlfriend who couldn’t help making noise.  And Ally, who despite looking bored before, was relatively composed.

‘Now, one of you explain.  Who are you people?’

Natasha stared at James in disbelief when Ann answered.  This was going to be a long day.  Ann didn’t know anything.

*

How Do You Tell A Ghost It’s Been A Year? …

‘Ann, you’ve been dead a year.’  James couldn’t touch her, so he couldn’t stop her from avoiding his eyes.  ‘It’s normal for Adam to have another girlfriend.’

For his good deed, she shouted ‘Asshole!’ in his face and dunked a bucket of water on his head too.  Why were there so many buckets of water?

*

Adam Can’t Believe My Ex-Girlfriend Was Such A Psycho…

It’s a lie, Adam thinks.  This girl couldn’t be his sweet clingy Ann.  ‘Where did she go?’

James contemplated it for a moment, like he was seriously curious.  ‘How the hell do I know?’  He exclaimed.  ‘Who told your psycho girlfriend to die exactly one year ago?’

‘She’s not a psycho!’

‘Then why am I wet?’

*

When The Phone Rings, Pick It Up…

Adam just glared at the so-called spiritual medium.  He hadn’t thought about Ann for a long time.  It hurt too much to.

His phone rings.  ‘What?’

There’s crashing noises in the background, the voice barely comes clear.  Somehow Adam knew this was not good news.  ‘Adam, there’s something wrong with your room.  Come home now.’

*

Don’t Mess With Ann, Or She’ll Hit You With Her Shoe…

Adam’s room looked exactly the same.  The same floor.  The same bed.  The same blanket.  The same clothes in the wardrobe with an additional new season trend.  Even the photos on the wall were the same.  If Ann hadn’t seen those, Ann might not have gone crazy.

‘Ann!  What are you doing to my room?’

*

Screaming Your Ex-Girlfriend’s Name Might Make You Look Crazy Instead…

Daniel just stared at Adam.  Adam had never felt more humiliated than right then, but Ann was going crazy, he considered his brother second priority.

‘Ann, calm the fuck down!’

‘Calm down?’  She snarled.  ‘How can I?’

‘Dude!  There’s so much negative energy…’ It was really the worst moment for the other brother to appear.

*

One Brother Can See, The Other Can’t, What a Surprise….

Adam groaned, he couldn’t believe Ben could see Ann and Daniel couldn’t.  At least only half his family thought he was crazy.

‘Ann, looking good!’  Ben said cheerily at Ann.

‘Who are you talking to Ben?’  Said Daniel.

Why can you see her?’  Adam groaned.  Now he had to figure out what was her problem.

*

James Likes To Play A Fast Game Of Goose Chase…

James had forgotten about his uncle.  Yet, he still dragged Ally along with him.  Strangely, she didn’t mind.  She was smiling a hell of a lot more than before, that’s for sure.  When Adam had left, he’d chased them, losing them halfway.  Lost in the middle of town, unsure if they’d gone left or right.

*

When A Chair Comes Flying Over Your Head, You Know You’ve Found An Errant Ghost…

‘Omg James, duck!’  James fell as Ally bulldozed into him.  Flying over them, was one of those wheelie chairs you had at your desk.  They’d finally found the house by following James’ spiritual sense.  Ann’s aura was immense.  No surprise when the inhabitants run out of the house.  But why did she throw the chair?

The Infuriating Moment When She Just Had To Say That…

If I’ve been dead a year, why is my photo still here?’  She screeched, pointing at the wall.  Seeing her beautiful self there, had been as shocking as it had been touching.  It was proof that she couldn’t be dead.

‘Ann…’ His brows were wrinkled.

‘Don’t even think about it!’  Screeched Natasha, finally pulling pluck.

*

When Natasha Finally Fights What She Can’t See…

‘Horrible, witchy, ugly girl!  Adam is mine!’  Ann wondered how old this girl was.  For Adam to jump from Ann to Natasha, it was a big leap.

‘Keep him,’ she snarled.  ‘This was my big day, not yours!  Adam…Adam…’ Ann lost her words.  There was something that was supposed to happen.  But what was it?

The Regrets Of The Past Come To Light…Though Not Quite Yet…

 Adam watched as Ann struggled for words.  Natasha couldn’t see Ann, nor could she hear her, so she was flailing about, screaming, ‘Adam is mine, Adam is mine!’  He slapped his forehead.  He knew what Ann was searching for.

‘Natasha, shut up.’  He turned face Ann.  ‘Ann, look at me, I’m not the same anymore.’

*

Ann Remembers Something, Ann Goes Into Meditation…

‘No,’ she says.  ‘No.’ Her head spins, an image of the Adam she loved flashes into her mind.  His hair was shorter, eyes brighter.  It was the family barbeque, so Daniel and Ben were there.  She stumbles back, at least as much as a ghost could stumble back, and put a hand to her forehead.

*

Third, Ann is looking for what’s wrong…

Ann felt faint, she was sure she was turning pale.  One moment, her world had been complete, easy, if a little translucent.  The next, she was being bombarded by something surprisingly painful.  She clutched her head, her whole body was in agony.  It wasn’t long before she faded completely.  She wasn’t even aware of it.

*

There’s Nothing Like A Stupid Ghost…

‘Damn it, Ann!’  Adam screamed.  But she had already faded.  Ben was in shock, but Daniel was still annoyed.

‘Did she leave?’  Said Natasha, her face lighting up.

‘Yes.’

‘That’s great!’

‘No it’s not.’  Adam rubbed his face.  ‘That damn girl.  Even dead, she’s still the same.’

‘Aren’t you a bit harsh?’  Said James, surprised.

*

Now Where Is That Stupid Ghost? …

From Adam, James learned the story of Ann’s death.  And from there, he’d said, without thinking, again, ‘I’ll fix your problem.’  It was a first for him, to delve into his spiritual heritage like this voluntarily.  But judging from Adam’s pained expression and Ann’s terrified one, James knew he had to help.  But where’s Ann?

In Time And Past, And Past To Future, Adam Remembers Past Feelings…

She had the prettiest face he’d ever seen; bright, daring, expressive, snobby and righteous, but she was nice.  He’d fallen in love with her enthusiasm and her ridiculously nagging personality.  She never really annoyed him, it was cute, the way she was.  That day, if he hadn’t giving into her, maybe she’d still be here.

*

Natasha Is Suffering From Boyfriend Withdrawal…

Daniel and Ben watched the scene in front of them, unsure what to do.  Daniel, annoyed, begged off early.  But Ben stayed.  He poked Adam in the forehead.

‘Go away Ben.’

‘Why?’

‘You’re a pain.’

‘Natasha.’

‘And?’

‘You can’t just ditch her because Ann’s back.’

‘Why not?’  He said.  ‘What if that’s what she wants?’

*

Fourth, The Morning Of The Very Last Day Ann Lived…

Was perfect for Valentine’s.  They’d already made plans the week before and Ann had already picked the perfect outfit.  They went to the beach for the day, but, as Ann remembers, they’d suffered several setbacks.  But they got there in the end and it was wonderful.  Then…Ann clutches her head, what happened then?  What did she do?

*

The Rose On The Door, In the Bag, On the Floor…

Had Adam known she would want to go back home to change even though they were an hour or so behind on their plans?  Ann knew he’d known.  For six months, he’d put up with her scheduled lifestyle, and even complaining, he’d smiled and said, ‘hurry up.’  He’d even prepared roses in a romantic fashion.

*

And James Learns How To Blush…

James, Adam, Natasha and Ally head to Ann’s house.  This was the place Ann most likely would have come.

‘Ally, I’m really sorry.’

‘About what?’ She said startled.

‘About today.  Our one hour was ruined.’

She laughed then.  ‘That sucked, but this is so much better.’

‘Is it?’  He felt a fire in his cheeks.

*

Omg, It’s The Famed Accidental Kiss…

‘Yep!  This is much funner, I get to see your life.’

‘This is not my life, and since when were you fascinated by ghosts and all things spiritual?’

She smiled.  ‘I liked you, but this stuff, well, I guess I like it now!’

James smiled.  Then he tripped and got pushed by Adam, by accident.

*

Whoa, get a room! …

Adam kind of froze when he realised what he’d done.  His opinion on James and Ally were that James and Ally were together.  Yet but the way they were blushing, Adam figured, what he’d done, was perhaps not the best thing.  Even if it was an accident.  Then again, they were staring at each other.

*

The Old Song, Do You Remember It? …

On the bus, Ally and James were still blushing furiously, looking in the other direction.  Natasha was remarkably quiet, and Ben, was being annoying.  Adam didn’t know why he’d come along, except that he was constantly being poked in the arm by him.  Just as he was telling Ben to stop, a song began playing.

*

Ann’s Mother Is Crying, And She Knows Why…

There’s nothing like wallowing in self-pity.  Especially since Ann knew her personality was a problem most of the time.  She was used to getting her way.  And seeing her room, still the same, but the rest of the house completely changed, reality settled in.  What other reason was there for her mother to cry today?

Family Life, No Matter How Fulfilling, Is Still Empty, Even With The Brother Around…

Luke was in his room.  Ann wondered if he remembered her.  A year ago, they’d been on good terms, but there wasn’t a single photo of them both anywhere in his room. There used to be at least three.  His phone rang.

‘No I can’t.  Mum’s crying.  Dad’s not talking.  I can’t leave them alone.’

 *

It’s Surprisingly Awkward, The Question: To Hold Hand Or To Not? …

James still felt like a raging fire.  His hand had begun sweating.  Since, it was sitting on the chair, just millimetres from Ally’s hand.  Ally didn’t mind the kiss.  James, didn’t really.  He was nervous about what that kiss meant.  It was slowly dawning on him that he might not know Ally as he thought.

 *

Ally Is More Than A Friend…

James contemplated this question with every inch of his brain.  He so exhausted his mind thinking about the years he’d known Ally.  As childhood friends, some thought it was natural to break that barrier between and become a couple, but he liked being friends.  But he wanted to be her boyfriend.  He took her hand.

*

The First Kiss…

Ann stood by her bedroom window and remembered her first kiss.  Even at their age, they had been like teens, hovering, unsure, secretly sneaking a kiss.  They were eighteen, but still, Adam was crouching on the branch outside her room and gently kissing her.  It had been smoulderingly romantic; the most wonderful memory she had.

The Shouting That Came From The Lounge; The Roses That Wilted…

Mum and Dad screamed at each other.  Ann ran downstairs to find out what was going on.  But Luke was barely mediating.  He was at the edge of his thread, unable to stop his mum crying, unable to stop his dad from loving his mother.  It became a huddle pile.  They missed Ann so much.

 *

Natasha Questions Adam…

‘Why did you ask me out?’  Natasha said quietly looking out the window.  Adam had seen James pluck up his courage, and couldn’t help but smile.

‘Why not?’

‘You’re still in love with your ex, that’s why.’

James was very aware he was hurting her.  ‘I’m not.’

‘She’s dead.’  She was looking at him now.

*

Adam Still Loves Ann, But He Also Likes Natasha…

He gives a small smile.  ‘You know I like you.  You also knew about Ann.’

‘I did.  I thought you’d forgotten.  I didn’t think you’d think she’d come back alive!’

‘Who was the one who was screaming “Adam is mine” at thin air?’  Natasha looked like she’d been slapped.

Pissed she said coolly, ‘Goodbye Adam.’

*

This Was An Awful Valentine’s…

‘Natasha!  Natasha!’  James turned to watch as Natasha stormed off the bus at the next stop.  Adam called after her, but the door closed behind her almost immediately.  He looked pale and James felt sorry for him.  Then again it was Adam’s fault.

‘Don’t blame him.’

James looked at Ally in surprise.  ‘How come Als?’

*

This Was The Best Valentine’s…

‘Because James, one year after her death, Ann just wants to resolve issues.  And Adam needs to resolve his.’  She still hadn’t let go of his hand.  This, James took as a good sign.

Hearing her answer, he smiled.  Ally was good.  Better than he was.  She should have been the spiritual medium, not him.

*

Fifth, The Evening Of The Very Last Day Ann Lived…

Ann combed her long hair back, brushed a light gloss over her lips and adjusted the silky dress.  Looking at herself in the mirror, she’d never looked better.  Gazing at the long hair that draped down her back, she tried to remind herself she wasn’t completely up herself.   She just happened to be in love.

*

The Stiletto Shoes Had Been Surprisingly Comfortable…

She’d kissed her parents goodbye and told them to have a fun Valentine’s together.  She noogied her brother’s head and told him not to make his girlfriend wait.  She showed off her look once more.  Then she stepped out.  She could see Adam’s silhouette in the park.  She should have been more careful crossing the road.

*

When The Past And The Future Conflict, One Must Decide Which Is Better…

Adam walked up to the house with the others in tow.  He was incredibly frustrated, but he was also anxious.  Since Natasha left, he’d begun questioning himself.  He did still love Ann but he’d also begun loving Natasha.  Natasha who was whiny and clingy, consciously beautiful, yet naïve and sweet.  Natasha:  Someone Ann would hate.

*

Why Is It Irritating When The Ghost You’re Looking For Isn’t Where You Were Looking? …

‘Ann?  Adam, honey, Ann’s…’ Ann’s mum burst into tears, and Adam ended up comforting her.  He was the parents’ favourite Boyfriend.  He knew if Ann’s dad was home, he would be given a severe scolding.  Albeit familial-like.  They still considered him family.  But he couldn’t tell them about Ann.  Not even if she was there.

*

James And Ally Comfort The Fam…

James, being a practiced Spiritual Medium should’ve known the best way to handle a grieving family, but he was at a loss.  Ally took control.  She did the work, got the tea, sat the mother down.  But she didn’t talk about ghosts.  She talked instead about preserving Ann’s memory while James looked for ghostly residue.

*

It Was Ben The Tag-A-Long Who Guessed Where Ann Went…

James had a general direction but it was the brother who’d guessed correctly.  Adam agreed and Ally shrugged.  All Ben said was, ‘the graveyard.’

‘What about Ann’s grave?’

‘Nothing, it’s nothing kiddo,’ Adam said, gently ruffling the brother’s hair.

‘Yeah right, whatever, heard you were dating again.’

Adam just smiled, it was a sad smile.

*

Sixth, She Never Saw It coming…

The car had come from nowhere.  Or it seemed like that.  Ann had been too excited to spend her first Valentine’s with Adam, she completely forgot to look left and right.  But still, that car probably shouldn’t have been speeding.  And yet, she’d looked left too late.  In her eyes, she only saw bright headlights.

*

She Remembers Exactly What She’d Been So Excited About…

A ring.  Ann had found it a week before in Adam’s drawer.  He’d probably thought he was being smart, hiding it there in the “secret drawer” but Ann wasn’t scared of that.  To be sure, she’d hassled Ben, the brother closest to Adam, and he’d told her Adam’s plan.  Then, she’d picked the perfect dress.

*

James Watched Adam Fiddle With A Ring Box…

‘Was that for Ann?’  Asked Ally.  At first, James considered elbowing her.

‘Yeah.’  He’d developed water in his eyes.

‘Is that why?’

‘Why Ann might be around?  Yes.’

Ally felt silent.  Even James understood what was happening.  Ben clamped a hand on Adam’s shoulder.

‘James, I don’t think it’s Ann’s problem.  James, I think it’s Adam’s.’

*

James Was Beginning To Feel Useless, Maybe Ally Was His Perfect Ally…

Ally reached over to Adam and gently took the ring.  It was dazzling.  James could imagine that he’d worked hard to find such a ring.  Even if it was simple.  After seeing the ghost Ann, James could already see how much this ring suited her.

‘When you Ann next, you have to tell her everything.’

*

The Gravestone Was Exactly What She Had Expected…

The ghostly tears wouldn’t stop flowing.  Knowing that she’d caused her own death, did not ease her pain.  Since this day had started, nothing had gone right.  Nothing, yet everything made sense.  From confusion to denial to grief to acceptance, only tears fell.  Sitting on her gravestone, she wondered who hurt more at this moment.

*

Ann Will Always Love Adam, Always…

It was Adam who’d appeared before her.  Just like the way she’d first appeared before him.  It was Adam who’d held out his hand, just like the first time she spoke to him.  It was Adam who said, ‘Nice to meet you, I’m Adam’ just as she had, the first time she spoke to him.

*

James Never Once Let Go Of Ally’s Hand…

Ally’s hand was warm; the only comfort to James.  This was a touching scene, but it made him worry about him and Ally, if there was a Them in the future.  Ben said nothing, though James could tell, he was also feeling slightly responsible.  If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be able to see her now.

*

Guilt Can Disappear With Just A Smile, Even A Ghostly One…

James narrated what Ann was doing to Ally, who was patiently nodding along.  He smiled, and to his surprise caught Ann’s gaze.  He wondered how long she’d been looking.  And when she smiled again, it was for Ben.  Next to him, James felt Ben’s spiritual tension fade.  That must have meant something more to him.

*

Even Death Cannot Prevent Great Love…

Adam remembered the way Ann had left the house.  As she strode towards him, all confidence, her hair pulled back in the wave of her walk.  She was beautiful.  Her dress wrapped around her, pulled away, puffed ever so slightly.  She was always beautiful, but then, she was magnificent.  He would always love Ann, always.

*

Ann Was Known To Be Merciful, Every Once In A While…

‘I’m so sorry Ann.  I’m So Sorry.’  He didn’t know what to do.  He tried to meet her eyes, but he couldn’t.  He didn’t want to fidget, but he couldn’t stop.

‘Where’s Natasha?’  He flinched at the way she enounced her name.

‘She left.’

Ann sniffed.

‘Ann…’

‘No, I get it.  Don’t get me wrong.’

*

Separating The Divide, This Is My Side, That Is Yours…

‘I always wanted to be romantic with you.  I always wanted you to love me like I loved you.  I guess I’m still stuck there, you’re moving on.  There is a saying, don’t fall in love with the dead, you can only get hurt!’

Adam chuckled, ‘There’s no such saying.’

‘Whatever.’  They shared a smile.

*

Why Is The Space Still The Same Size? …

Ann watched as Adam took out a box.  She recognised it and a new flood of tears flowed.  ‘Ann, I love you.  I will always love you.  You were the one, the only one I felt that uncontrollable need to be with.  You’re beautiful, you’re weird.  But I loved you.’

Ann cried a little harder.

*

Adam Says The Words He Wanted To Say One Year Ago…

‘I loved you too Adam.’  She leaned forward and kissed his forehead.  ‘And I would have said yes.’

Adam sighed.  He never realised that he’d had this anxiety.  The same kind that had made him hesitant to date Natasha.

‘But…I’m dead Adam.  We can’t get married anymore.’

He looked up at Ann, tears forming again.

*

Seventh, The Final Act…

She stood and took Adam’s hands with her ghostly ones, though she nagged him to move his hands with hers, since she clearly couldn’t touch him.  They were face to face once again, just like the second date when he’d asked her out again.

‘I remember everything now.’  She smiled.  ‘Don’t stop living Adam.  Live.’

And They Watch In Tears…

Ally couldn’t see, but she could hear James.  And she cried.  She felt for these two people, who she didn’t know, whose lives were the kind that should have and would have been wonderful.

James watched as Ann leaned forward, lightly pressing her lips to Adam’s.  Then she faded, her light swirling to the sky.

*

Goodbye Adam, Don’t Forget To Live For Me…

Ann knew he couldn’t feel her.  But she guessed she was okay with that.  She was a ghost after all.  She was nothing but translucent unexplainable invisible substance, probably not even a substance.  Even so, she leaned forward and kissed him.  All her love for him flowed forward in that kiss, even her final wish.

*

Adam says goodbye…

 Her lips, he could feel her lips.  Warm and tender on his, he could feel everything she ever felt about him.  Adam really did love her.  Opening his eyes, he watched her smiling face look upward as she faded into little balls of light.  He’d heard her last words, ‘The ring deserves a new owner.’

*

Eighth, The Curtain Closes…

Adam returned to the others, and Ben slaps him on his back.  There were more tears in his eyes, Ann’s tears.

‘Ann was the best, bro.’

‘Yeah, she was.’

‘But Natasha’s not bad.  She seems to like you.’

‘Yeah.’

Ben shoved him.  ‘Go get her Adam.’

Adam nodded, partly dejected, yet serious.  Ann’s final wish.

*

James Finishes His Date With Ally, And Remembers His Uncle…

When the brothers left, James felt surprisingly satisfied.  Squeezing Ally’s hand, they too left the graveyard.  As they walked along the river, Ally said, ‘Are we forgetting something?’

‘Oh crap, Uncle!’  He groaned remembering his uncle’s anger, then he remembered his Uncle’s favourite habits, he couldn’t care less.

‘So what?’  The he kissed her, properly.

The Taint of Betrayal.

Image Source: Akane-the-fox.deviantart.com

 

Roses scent the thorny path, scattering the dusty dark.  It calls me forth towards my death, haunting my dreams, and shadowing the day.  I can’t see beyond my rose covered grave.  It bleeds with the taint of betrayal.  ‘Murder,’ cry the crows above my grave.  ‘Death,’ cry the roses that twine around my murderer’s legs.

Black Taffeta.

She walked down the empty street, her head swinging from side to side, her legs wobbling left and right.  She teetered on her eight inch heels, the bottle of whiskey swinging in her hands.  She was walking her walk of fame, just like the one she walked down the catwalk.  Deranged laughter escaped her lips, as the darkness seemed to slowly suck her humanity away.

She was icy pale.  Her skirt, black taffeta, fluttered above mid-thigh and her corset shifted from side to side.  Only her coat, edged in fur, hung askew on her neatly dressed person.  Her left shoulder was exposed beneath that black slowly unplaiting hair.  The effort that she had put in pinning her hair up came undone so easily.

She laughed, her laugh slipped so easily from her lips, like liquid gas, combining with the damp cold air around her.

She threw the bottle to the slick wet ground and slumped against the pole.  What had she done to deserve this?  Where was this darkness coming from?

It covered her, suffocated her, took over every inch of her bare skin.

She had been drunk on the catwalk.  Her selfishness too much for her.  She had to succumb, to drown her sorrows in that bottle of vodka.  So much ecstasy, so much alcohol, so much want.  And it all disappeared, everything, all her emotions, all her fears, all sense of thought.  It was all gone.

But that stupid voice remained in her head.  That voice that nagged her now, telling her to think again.  But she’d still walked down that catwalk because she had everything to lose.  Without that walk, that look, that particular charisma, she would be nothing, nothing but what she’d been made to be.

Her arms shook as she pushed off the pole.  Her eyes, unfocussed, blurry as she twisted her head left and right.  She was on some street.  She was some place alone.  It was dark, very dark, and despite her heritage she felt afraid.

Was it possible for the darkness to become even darker?  She stumbled against the pole, the fear so very clear as the chills crept up her arm.  No! Her mind rage as the alcohol faded from her eyes, and her head cleared in the icy coldness.  Her hair stood on end, not just on her arms but up the back of her neck as well.  Her skin felt cold, colder than ice, and her legs, bare and stork-like, though elegant, wouldn’t move beneath that black taffeta.

Reap what you sow!”  The shadows screeched in her ear.

The shadows came, a darkness of her past, from every corner of the dilapidated street.  They crept from the cracks in the asphalt and slithered over the buildings passing over windows, blocking off the moonlight, and ruffled her taffeta skirt.  She shivered and wrapped her shaking hands in her skirt.  From habit the words slipped from her mouth.

Esthmet, esthmet…” Go away, Go away, “Tavisham, Tavisham.” Find home, find home.  “Esthmet, esthmet, tavisham, tavisham.

Since she was a child, the elders had trained her to be the shadow returner.  She had many names, among which some of her more famously known, the grim reaper and the angel of death belonged.  But in all essence, she had the power over the shadows, one part of her job, the lost souls must be returned to that space in between so that the mortal world can continue living.  She has trained all her life for this, and yet, she had thrown it away for a mortal life.

The shadows screeched under her mantra, they writhed and shivered until they retreated.  But as they shrunk back they hissed their warning to her.  She was near mortal now, having stayed so long acting as a mortal.  Her power had weakened, but she was still strong.

“Black taffeta?  Charming.”

She spun at the sound of his voice.  Michael stood there leaning against the wall, inseparable from the darkness in his high collared black coat and black slacks.  Wrapped around his wrists were strips of taffeta.

Infuriated, her hands unwillingly clenching into fists, she spun away from him and once again walked down that street.  She should have known.  For someone like her, she couldn’t be lost.  And for that, the elders would do anything to ensure she continued down her rightful path.

“Don’t walk away from me,” he demanded taking her arm and jerking her back.  She stumbled against him, a move that worsened her fate, and made it easier for him.  He held tightly to her arms.  “You belong with us, always, not here with mortals.”

He looked down at her skirt once again.  “You even still wear our mark.”

“It was a part of the costume.”

“Do you really expect me to believe that?”  His finger pushed her chin up.  The icy wind returned, stronger than before, it gusted passed them, ruffling her taffeta and his coat.  “Yet you still respond with the knowledge of the elders, something given to you only for the purpose of using your powers as they should.”

She pulled back with all her might.  Control, that was what they all wanted.  She wanted freedom, but she never said she would disappear forever.  She knew exactly how long she could remain in this mortal world before she began completely mortal.  “I’ll come back, I always will, but I’m still only a girl, only seventeen.  I’m not immortal yet.”

And she walked away.  For a long time, the bonds of her future had bound her where someone like Michael could not.  They held and cut and sliced her into an incomprehensible mess.  But she had continued training, training until her voice was hoarse and the backs of her hands were scarred from the cane used against her when she failed.  But still they remained with her, everything she learnt and she knew, they remained because she was the soul returner, even Michael knew the significance of the black taffeta.  Always, no matter how hard she ran.

Just fly.

All I want to do is be free.  I want the bonds of self to be released.  They suffocate me the same way my family suffocates me.  I can see it so clearly, the path from here to there.

I let my wings unfurl, spreading into the empty space.

“That’s right, he said, just fly.”

Fate.

In my mind I see things, hear things, think things; things that aren’t real, great or spectacularly life inspiring.  But they’re there.  Telling me, whispering to me, sneaking into my mind.

I stumble to the stairs, cold and metallic, they clang beneath my heavy boots.  My head throbs.  Ba-dum.  Ba-dum.  BA-dum!

I climb with my hands and knees, feeling for the next step to haul myself up.  I’m blinded by the sight that I cannot see.  I’m blinded by what my brain tells me.

The vision has always followed me.  It has always preceded me.  I wondered  had all those who’d died had known whether they were going to do it?

Death follows me.  He shadows me as I walk, as I crawl, as I climb.  He knows my fate. Perhaps he has known it for years.

Destiny finds me too.  But unlike Death, Destiny does not stay.  Destiny comes and goes, straying to my right shoulder while Death waits by my left.  They are patient and unassuming but they wait, reminding me all the time exactly how much of my fate they already know.

I shove the heavy rooftop door open.  It weighs more than the world and the burden on my shoulders.

The night is cold against my skin.  The sound of silence but howls in my ears.  What have I left but than to edge my way slowly over to the top of the summit?

Death hovers by my side as I find my way up the roof.  I look for handholds and footholds.  The tiles were gritty against my calloused hands.

Halfway up I stopped and turned.  Breathing, my breath fogging up the night, the cityscape stretched all around me.  My eyes looked down.  Only a hill as high as the one my house sat on could show me this unbelievable sight.

“Why do you want me to climb the roof?”  I ask to no one in particular.  Death never spoke, but Death could hear.

And like always Death was quiet.  Death and Destiny never interfered.  Death and Destiny stood aside to watch.

I looked at the short bit of roof I still had to climb.  It wasn’t far.  But it wasn’t like I climbed roofs for a living.  I breathed again.  My breath surrounding me like a cloud.

“It is my destiny isn’t it?”  I asked.

The silence from Death was all that surrounded me.

Fate had led me here.  Fate had always been leading me.  Fate took me to school to watch my peers.

The visions didn’t show me my future.  Even though at first, I always thought it was mine.

But I see her now, standing on top of my roof.  My younger sister, thirteen.  It was her in the visions.  Not me.

And now Death walked beside me, Death and Destiny.  Fate followed behind me.  He watched broodingly, because he was Fate and he knew what my sister didn’t.  He knew, as did Death and Destiny what I will find.

I hauled myself over the apex and sat down uncomfortably.

“Rela, don’t.”  I breathed hoarsely looking at the slender girl in front of me.

When I’m ready I stand.  I almost feel Death offer a hand of kindness or was it Fate?  But it was a wisp of darkness that brushed faintly over my elbow, that barely supported me at all.

My house is stranger than most.  It has three stories; the fourth sitting at the very top.  It is an attic with an old-fashioned roof.  The rest is metal and highly resembles a maximum security vault.

It was supposed to be safe.  But like everything else in this world, it wasn’t.  I should have known.

I bet others didn’t have this problem, this supernatural calling of the horrid, horrid angels of Destiny, Death and Fate.

They didn’t have the visions I did or the freak headaches I had within my own house.  It was the house, this house.  Why did I live in this house?  Was it the house?

“Rela please.”

“Do you know, it’s like fate put us here.  That this house, the only house in the suburb should be the one with the faulty security.  How does it feel?”  She sounded manic.  I had to stop her.  Rela was my only flesh and blood left.  Mum was gone.  Dad was gone.  But Rela was here.

I cursed this world of fear and oppression.  I cursed their want of power.  Their ability to make us think the way they wanted us to.

“Rela please!”  I lurched forward grabbing her.  She screamed and jerked back throwing me off balance.

“Rela!”  I screeched, feeling my foot slip off the roof.  Her eyes widened as she recaptured her balance.

“Faith!”  Her eyes were wide with absolute horror as she lurched forward to catch me.

But I was already falling away.  Her hand brushed my arm.  But she was too far to grab it.

I fell for the time it took to live a lifetime.

Ba-dum.  Ba-dum.  BA-dum!

I gasped as the ground embraced me, my arms and legs sprawled out in all angles.  There was no pain.  There never would be.

“FAITH!!”  Rela’s strangled cry would fill the air with sorrow.  She was only thirteen.  And now she had a whole lifetime to live.

Fate touched his lips to mine, Death watched with Destiny as Fate pulled my spirit from my body.  Then he pulled away, his hand never straying from my arm.

Fate had never been happy with the outcome because he had known.  The difference being, of the three angels, their wings surrounding them, encasing them, that Fate spoke to me.

It was but a voice in my mind, but I heard it like a whisper even as I looked up at my distraught sister.  The neighbours were already coming.  In my heart Fate whispered to me.

This was your fate…as it was hers, she will be safe…

He was right as I could see.  Our next door neighbour was already taking Rela safely in her arms and taking her away.

Angel Fiction.

What’s popular beside Vampire fiction?  Angel fiction.  Angel fiction has probably always been around, I mean they talk about Angels in bibles right?  Well, now they’ve seeped into YA, and are excessively popular.  Sooo here are some Angel fiction that’ve I read and which I think are worth reading.

Unearthly (Unearthly #1).  Cynthia Hand.  

In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

Mercy (Mercy #1).  Rebecca Lim.

Mercy ′wakes′ on a school bus bound for Paradise, a small town where everyone knows everyone else′s business — or thinks they do. But they will never guess the secret Mercy is hiding ….

As an angel exiled from heaven and doomed to return repeatedly to Earth, Mercy is never sure whose life and body she will share each time. And her mind is filled with the desperate pleas of her beloved, Luc, who can only approach her in her dreams.

In Paradise, Mercy meets Ryan, whose sister was kidnapped two years ago and is now presumed dead. When another girl disappears, Mercy and Ryan know they must act before time runs out. But a host of angels are out for Mercy′s blood and they won′t rest until they find her and punish her — for a crime she doesn′t remember committing …

An electric combination of angels, mystery and romance, MERCY is the first book in a major new series.

 

 

Halo (Halo #1).  Alexandra Adornetto.

   Three angels – Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human – are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.
Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong. Then comes the brooding and popular new transfer, Jake Thorn… who just so happens to be in Bethany’s class. Something about Jake seems to be hiding something darker, something more powerful than expected. That thing, and Xavier, distracts Bethany to a point that Gabriel and Ivy are concerned.
The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?

 

 

Forsaken  (The Demon Trappers #1).   Jana Oliver.

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself—and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on… 

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get—even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart—and her life?

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush #1).  Becca Fitzpatrick.  

 For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her…until Patch comes along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

Fallen (Fallen #1).  Lauren Kate.

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1).  Cassandra Clare.

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1).  Laini Taylor.

  Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Coffeehouse Angel.  Suzanne Selfors.

From the author of Saving Juliet comes a romantic comedy that is good to the last drop. When Katrina spots a homeless guy sleeping in the alley behind her grandmother’s coffee shop, she decides to leave him a cup of coffee, a bag of chocolate-covered coffee beans, and some pastries to tide him over. Little does she know that this random act of kindness is about to turn her life upside down.  Because this adorable vagrant, Malcolm, is really a guardian angel on a break between missions. And he won’t leave until he can reward Katrina’s selflessness by fulfilling her deepest desire. Now if only she could decide what that might be . . .

Meridian (Fenestra #1).  Amber Kizer.

Half-human, half-angel, Meridian Sozu has a dark responsibility.

Sixteen-year-old Meridian has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate’s tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home—and Meridian’s body explodes in pain.

Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she’s a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt’s house in Revelation, Colorado. It’s there that she learns that she is a Fenestra—the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos.

So these are what I’ve read.  There are plenty more out there though.  So look below, yes that’s it, look and see that little link there.  Click it and you’ll find yourself looking at a list of other YA Angel novels!  Enjoy 🙂

http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/5486.YA_Angels

Timeless. The Faerie Ring. Entwined. The Splendor Falls. Power and Majesty.

Timeless The Faerie Ring (The Faerie Ring, #1) Entwined The Splendor Falls Power and Majesty (Creature Court trilogy #1)

Alexandra Monir’s Timeless is beautiful.

Kiki Hamilton’s The Faerie Ring was a pleasant surprise!

Heather Dixon’s Entwined, despite its size is worth the read!

I’m so glad I read Rosemary Clement-Moore’s The Splendor Falls.

Tansy Rayner Roberts’s Power and Majesty is a Must Read fantasy!