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

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

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“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.

Viral Image #31 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30Days

Viral Image #31

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Days)

#30Days

viral
The pictures on my walls started moving and talking last month.

It’s a virus, something that traveled through several layers of probable realities as a result of an experiment launched by a group of physicists in Switzerland.  The word “virus” is about as close a term as one could use to refer to or at least approximate what has happened to digital photography, film, music, and sound.  The “virus” has somehow rendered our actuality more porous than its previous state of stability, reworking digital codes of compressed audio and visual data into multi-dimensional portals.

Infected computers have been quarantined at a secret facility near the port, but as the virus is already in the cloud, the virtual world is taking on a version of reality not yet understood by most physicists or IT specialists.  Every single picture, movie clip, and sound clip is now subject to the virus’ rewiring of its nature into a separate actualization.  Worse, some of these realities are pushing into our reality.

I have seen long-dead relatives appear in my living room, wearing the same clothes they wore when the photos were snapped.  They aren’t quite flesh, but more than ghosts.  My grandmother encountered a much younger version of herself in my hallway, much to her own shock.  I have ex-boyfriends fighting each other, fading in and out with each emotional flare-up.

My car is now gassed up for a long trip, something I should have done when my neighbors escaped from a slightly psychotic uncle with a penchant for knives.  I just have to find a way to use my driver’s license without my previous version of myself sliding out from my purse.

“Fractal Hant” #30 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Day) #30Days

“Fractal Hant” #30

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Day)

#30Days
coppersulfate
You find a strange blue crystal on your driveway one evening while picking up the newspaper.  You take it inside and placed it in a glass of warm water, thinking it to be a nice stone to use in your endless collection of homemade jewelry sitting in your bedroom.  It sits on your window shelf over the kitchen sink for about five days, upon which you, after forgetting its existence, glance up at the glass while washing dishes.   You almost jump back at what you see.

Two crystals now occupy the glass, and two others are now sitting on the shelf.  You pick up the glass, and, using paper towels, scoop up the other crystals, panicking at what seems to be an impossibility.  Each crystal is equal in size and each one now seems to cast a reddish hue when close to each other.  You dump it all into a small plastic bag, including the glass of water.  You dump it all into the green garbage container you’ve already rolled out to the curb for the early morning garbage guys.  It takes four men to lift the garbage container into the truck to dump out the trash.

Kneeling on your couch cushions, you peek through your living room curtains to see them step back at the container’s contents mixing with the neighborhood’s trash:  dozens and dozens of crystals that seem to glow like fireflies.  You close the curtain and slowly stand up, as you turn around to see something you don’t want to see:  a single crystal sitting in the middle of your living room carpet, turning red, then black as it levitates up to the height of your face.

Turn around.

And run.

“Sleeping Beauty Did Not Know How to Wake Up” #28 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30Days

“Sleeping Beauty Did Not Know How to Wake Up” #28

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Days)

#30Days
bedroom
Once again, I found myself lying in a bed next to Stephen, watching him sleep in a nondescript room with a bed, wardrobe, and drawers.  It resembled a room in an airport hotel that needed some color.  I had not seen or spoken to him in well over two years, but for the last two months I felt myself being pushed into his dreams, his Guardian Spirit showing me the world from its charge’s perspective, and showing me its desperate efforts to wake him from his deep sleep.

I battled demons and dragons on his behalf in the dream realm in years past, but never this….silence, this void that kept him locked out from his own feelings.  It was an emptiness that left his soul in a coma-like state in the dream realm, while leaving him hollow and bereft in the harsh light of the day.  window

This was the first time I actually encountered his dream body in its true state–asleep to the richness of the dream realm.   Unable to imagine a landscape while trapped in the void, Stephen’s dream self remained oblivious to its status as a prisoner.   I felt myself drifting into a light slumber and quickly jerked my dream body out of it with a sudden roll onto the floor.  I felt a sharp pain in my left arm from my elbow to my pinkie as it hit the carpeted floor.

I stood up and leaned over him, rolling his prone body towards, jumping slightly as I discovered his eyes open, staring.  He blinked, and looked at me with a slightly confused look.  A realization came to me:  he doesn’t know how to switch to lucid dream state.  I could feel my dream body’s energy draining as he drew from me to stay awake.

“Stephen, I am tired.  I cannot continue to carry this for you alone.  You have to help me help you heal and get out of this trap.  You must be lucid, aware, and awake in your dream state.”  I saw a shadow crawl from the ceiling towards the bed.  I felt my waking body snatch my astral body back across the realm.  My waking body sat up in my own bed, quivering.

I needed to talk to Stephen in the waking world, and I needed to do it fast.  I had no idea whether he would believe my story, but he needed to learn what I learned so he could fight the monster holding him as a prisoner in his own dream realm.

But I had to find him first.

“Rehab” #27 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30Days

“Rehab” #27

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Days)

#30Days
junk
So, I’m on a plane headed to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Mind you, I’m in my traveler’s coffin, the one with the tacky sky-blue lining and extra pillow to help me sleep (I have neck and back issues).  I don’t want to go, but my vampire posse staged an intervention and threatened to kick me out of the group house and report me to my maker, something I fear more than being homeless in a city known to be hostile to derelict vamps.

My drug of choice is heroin, or more accurately, heroin addicts’ blood.  The first time I got high I was at a party and I ended up feeding on this frat boy who I thought was drunk.  I didn’t realize he’d snorted some heroin/oxy party powder in the kitchen earlier.  I almost puked the blood out the first time, but after a few minutes I felt like I was floating into space.  He didn’t even feel me biting him again, but I was careful not to drain him.  I wanted to keep my drug cow healthy enough to keep me high.

It worked for about two months.  He’d score the drugs, and I’d pay him to let me feed on him after he snorted or injected himself.  Then, after a two month run, the frat boy dropped dead from an overdose.  According to one of his frat mates at the frat house where they found him, he thought he could do more of the drug and not get sick because he believed I was sucking away his addiction.  Maybe I was, but if I did, I ended up with an itch that burned through my core stronger than my urge to drink blood all by itself.  It set my hunger on thermonuclear, and made me a danger to not just humans, but other vampires who smelled like they recently fed on addicts.
opium
When my friends found me I was staying at a motel with a recently deceased prostitute who, like my frat boy supplier, OD’ed after spending two weeks with me on a heroin binge.  He sat on the toilet with a glassy-eyed stare, the needle still stuck in his arm.  I’d already fed on him, but I guess he wanted to top off his waning high to augment what my feeding had done to him.  He looked disappointed, a corpse not happy to be a corpse.  The vamps quietly wrapped him in sheets and dumped him into the river.

Clearly, I am not the only one dealing with this issue:  human junkies have been showing up in ER with gaping bite wounds and severe loss of blood by the dozens over the last six months.  The human authorities still don’t know we exist, but it’s only a matter of time before that changes.  If that happens, the Vampire Council will put me down like a rabid dog for sure. That’s why right now I am packed away in the baggage area, waiting for the plane to land so I can be transported to the vampire rehab facility just outside of Santa Fe.

I hear detox feels like you’re being exposed to the sun.  So not looking forward to that.

No bloody sunscreen.