Stained Glass

It was in a nondescript flat, wooden box in the basement, a leftover from previous tenants now long gone. Or the tenants who came of left before the last couple who lived here. Rosalind couldn’t really tell, nor was she particularly interested in dragging that heavy box upstairs to take to the corner for trash day. Something about the box piqued her curiosity, though, especially the light that seemed to shine through one of the uncovered edges.

It took her an hour to pull and drag the box up the wooden stairs.

After finding a hammer, she flipped it to the prong side and began pulling out the nails, carefully tossing them in a neat pile. The wood seemed old, and gave way to her strength as she pulled out a large, round pane of stained glass. Looking at the wooden walls in the living room and dining room and the square window panes, it occurred to Rosalind that this could not have been installed in the house because it was too big for any house. It belonged to a church, perhaps a church long gone.

As she studied the design and colors, she noted the familiar image of the Virgin Mary and Child, how the pane seemed to capture the sunlight coming into the kitchen as if to store its ray like a solar panel. The room began to fill with a warm glow, and the air was suddenly fragrant with the smell of fresh roses. As Rosalind began to fill with a certain and familiar quiver of her state of “tipsy,” it occurred to her that no church would have commissioned such a work for their sanctuary, for it would not have been deemed acceptable for the masses.

What was once thought to be basement junk was now a center of attention in her living room as found art to outsiders who visited her as it hung on her wall seeming to have its own source of light even as the sun set outside.

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Insane.

That was the rumor running around town when it came to her. Crazy as cat shit, said no one to her face, but the label stuck to her whenever she showed up to the farmers market to buy eggs and string beans.  She lived in a brick house on the corner of Greene and Woodland streets near the edge of Vidalia Township.  No one visited that house, save for postal services who would drop off boxes once a month to her porch steps.  Her cats (hence the crazy as cat shit label) strolled around her fenceless yard, a dreary patch of dirt with a strange twist of trees covered in blue and green bottles. They never centered past her property and seemed to pose like sentries around her house in silence.  No one knew her true age, or how she managed to buy groceries, much less the packages that came from Amazon, or even less the taxes on her property that surely increased as would be expected of a town now popular with gentrified families seeking small town goodness near a bigger city.  She had no children or husband to speak of, no family or friends who would defend her reputation, so the label stuck.

Crazy.

And of course another name usually came in a harsh whisper:

Witch.

So said the neighborhood a bit louder and with more urgency when the newly arrived widower moved down the street on Greene and began to introduce himself to the locals.  A quiet but friendly man of advanced years, he was newly retired from the Army after decades of working as a physician in the Army Hospital in Germany. He had no children, and after burying his wife he settled for a small, neat house with a comfortable pension and sizable library to keep himself busy.  His rose garden was a pleasant distraction from the swirling gossip that landed near his door with the first neighbor welcome.

The warm welcoming came with a warning to avoid the crazy witch that lived on the corner. He thought otherwise.

As he sauntered up her driveway holding a dozen freshly cut roses, she took note of the familar gait of his walk as he moved towards the front porch. She stepped outside her door and gazed on the man meeting her eyes with recognition and warmth. She removed her shawl and draped it across the left arm while her right arm extended to the roses he clutched. He nodded as he clasped her bird like hand.

”Welcome home, my Love.”

#ww470 #30days Never Ending Light

Waiting for night’s rest became useless about a year ago.

To be honest, I’m not sure my existence here is proof that I am alive. I could be in some sort of Purgatory. Food and water tends to be whatever I find on this island, and the cave I use for rest is warm–though strangely empty of inhabitants I would expect in a dark place in the wild.

But no one else and nothing else living beyond plants exists here. The sun never fully rises or sets. It hovers, as if time itself is waiting for something.

I remember life before the here that is now.

I remember falling asleep at night, waking up to go to campus for a meeting, and seeing/feeling heat as if the sun itself had landed in the middle of town. I remember the crush of debris and white-hot air as the megaton warhead exploded and my skin began to boil–then there was here.

Waiting.

Revenant #30days #ww470

It was cold to his fingers when he touched the edges of the canister.

He expected to see a candle when he crouched to the ground to pick it up, but no, it was a free standing flame inside a lattice patterned canister in the middle of the park at night. The flame seemed to dance back and forth as he picked up the metal frame as if to speak to him. He looked at his German Shepherd companion keeping him company during his night walk and noticed the hair flailing out from his tail as he slowly backed away as if in silent alarm. The man returned the light to the ground and also began to back away, suddenly feeling dizzy and slightly panicked. The light began to ascend from its cage like a firefly and inch its way toward the man and his dog as they turned back to the narrow path towards home. Both wind and feet rustled through the forest as they fled from uncontrolled flames that now consumed dry branches and leaves left in their wake.

Bottle Service #7 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days) by Cherie Ann Turpin

Bottle Service #7 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days)
by Cherie Ann Turpin
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A quiet crowd hovered in the alleyway between [] street leading up to the dull, gray door of Aremwen’s Parlour near opening time, 11 p.m.  Two Nephilim hybrid brothers, one with Black skin, one with White skin, stood at the entrance as security, quietly surveying the makeup of the chic crowd.  Both men wore matching black suits, sunglasses, and Secret Service style earpieces, but they reserved the electronics for human eyes and ears, as they were adept at telepathy and teleportation.  They were quite useful as security not just for their  7’8 height and massive chest and arm muscles, but because they were magical beings like the clientele of this private club.
BOTTLE-SERVICE
The bar was located in the alleyway near an art gallery just before the C&O Canal at the bottom of Georgetown.  It was the only venue that openly welcomed Phorzhicoans, witches, vampires, demons, angels, shifters, warriors, extractors, telepaths, fallen deities–in other words, all uber-natural beings often not welcome among humans in social settings.  Mary, who was a vampire, owned Aremwen.  At 300 she still looked like a slender teenager with smooth, dark brown skin, and a tall Afro cut down the sides into a mohawk.  She was originally brought to the New World as a small child from Ghana.

After surviving the Middle Passage, Mary was sold into slavery to a small farm outside Jamestown, Virginia.  Her Vampire Mother, under the guise of a freedwoman midwife, rescued her from the lecherous slave master whose nefarious intentions had already resulted in an unwanted pregnancy and birth of a stillborn girl.  After smuggling the almost dead 19 year-old from the farm, the “midwife” offered Mary the choice of a quick death to relieve her of the painful, uncontrollable bleeding that would certainly result in her eventual death, or a new life that would free her of human pain and enslavement.  Several centuries later, Mary owned a high-end bar that offered Bottle Service to VIPs, a complicated but extremely profitable service, given the special appetites of her VIP clientele.

Few of the ordinary patrons who sailed through the bar could afford Bottle Service–contrary to the myths, most supernatural beings these days struggled to make ends meet by working like the humans–but there were a few who had not been around long enough to know of Mary’s wrath who deemed themselves cocky enough to attempt to run a scam, i.e., get Bottle Service and skip out on the bill.  Such was the entourage of new vamps in the corner, loud enough to partially drown out the techno music pumping through the bar.  Some of them were too young to even have the knowledge of comparing vampire powers.  Had even one of them known the full extent of Mary’s power none of them would be destined to be tied to each other with heavy silver chain links, prone, and in a pile like logs to be set afire in the venue’s basement.

Mary would soon have a nice talk with the Nephilim brothers, because they were either clearly off their game tonight, or she had two very strong creatures who were in on the scam.  Either possibility brought dread and not a little bit of irritation to Mary, as she stared at the quivering set of baby vampires in the corner.

This was not going to be a good night.

“the devil made me do it” by Cherie Ann Turpin #4 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days)

“the devil made me do it”

by Cherie Ann Turpin

#4  (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days)

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“The devil made me do it,” Gavin said, staring at Lil with that sick grin, his eyes burning with a certain satisfaction.  A short, thin blade covered in red flame pierced the night air as it propelled towards her chest like lightning.

Typical.  Gavin loved to brag.

It was and still is a common excuse given by many who commit acts of violence against another to blame the devil.  Such claims are occasionally written with fingers dipped in blood and other fluids still warm and steaming.  The devil, indeed.

In Gavin’s case, he was speaking the truth.  No horned man or Baphomet-like figure spoke to him.  No, this manifestation of evil was the true fallen angel who came to him as a result of an elaborate summoning with all the requisite ceremony Gavin was known to employ when engaging in invocation.  In short, Gavin opened himself to true evil in order to bargain freely and for that he would gain the unholy power and wealth to which he believed himself to be entitled.

Or so he assumed when he agreed to bargain away his soul.  Gavin was on an assignment, the kind of assignment that would, upon completion, see the majority of her blood supply pool around her body.  There were other women who would share the same fate if Gavin succeeded in his task of murdering her.  Lil already knew of this assignment, as well as the likely trajectory of his path long before this moment.

Lil rejected this same offer given to her by this entity, and she did so knowing that she would become a target for the next soul weak enough to fall.  It was a vulnerability common to spirit warriors who worked with the dead.  It was common enough occurrence for seasoned warriors like Lil to expect confrontations from the fallen one through weak vessels like Gavin, who lusted for power and glory at the expense of those humans he previously pledged to serve.  His greed blinded him to the pitfalls of trusting an entity who had not warned him about Lil’s secret gift.

Lil shook her head with disappointment in her former pupil as she warded off his attack with her right hand, flattening and rendering the dagger into dark space before her.  Raising and pushing both hands towards Gavin, she pushed him and the air around him in that same dark space, the dry, hollowed space of the Entrapped, a prison of sorts filled with perpetual longing for the water of life for the unfortunate wretch who attempted to do mortal harm to the one who possessed the power of Shadow Entrapment.  Until this moment, Gavin had no knowledge of Lil’s full talent as a spirit warrior.

Unlike Gavin, Lil avoided telling everyone specifics about her gifts.

“freeze” by Cherie Ann Turpin #2 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days)

“freeze”

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by Cherie Ann Turpin #2 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days)

People just don’t carry around pens anymore, much less pencils, thought Sandy, as she ran her hand through loose paper, envelopes, and markers covered in a fine mist of dust at the bottom of her desk drawer.  After a few false tries, she pulled out a No. 2 pencil, though it seemed a bit dull at the end.

No matter.

She took an eyebrow pencil sharpener and twisted the yellowish pencil into a fine point, blowing away the loose wood into the bathroom sink.  Walking back into her living room, Sandy sat down at her desk and stared at the square strip of brown paper bag in front of her.  The air in the silent room seemed to hum as she remembered the instructions from the cashier at the Botanica shop who sold her a white candle and a saint card to be kept in her wallet.

Nevertheless, this was just one step, one attempt to stop her ex-turned-stalker.  The trabajo del espejo was a bit heavier, the next step after seven days if he returned to her door, attempted to reach her by phone, or emailed her.  Sandy decided to wait and see if this trabajo would work before turning to hard magic.

Indeed, she felt her hands tremble slightly as she reasoned her logic in waiting to use more direct means.  She wrote his full name on the strip, folded it in threes, and wrapped it in red string.  After sealing it in hot wax she dropped it in a plastic jar filled with water and placed it in the back of her freezer.  Her hands stopped trembling, and the air felt light, porous.  She turned on her computer and clicked through some YouTube videos to take her mind from the ritual she just completed, feeling a sense of relief for the moment.

Meanwhile, her ex-fiance turned stalker Brian was seen in his neighborhood running and screaming at the car thieves who were now speeding down the street in his 2008 Honda Accord with his cameras, laptop and cellphone locked in the trunk.  He would not be reimbursed by his car insurance–liability only.  Cheapskate.

For now, he was frozen.