FULL MOON PRESS

Forever Nocturne Magazine
Volume I, Issue I

Herein are works of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the authors’ imagination or were used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Non-fiction: news articles were thoroughly researched before being accepted for submission, and links are given for more information. All rights reserved © 2008 Full Moon Press Edited by N. L. Gervasio Co-Edited by Siobhan MacIntyre, TL Boehm, and Jessica F Hayes Cover Design by Jessica F Hayes Magazine Design by N.L. Gervasio and Siobhan MacIntyre Published by Full Moon Press
PRINTING HISTORY

2008 This magazine, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form, without the prior written permission of the publisher or individual author. For information, address: forevernocturne@hotmail.com ISBN:
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1st Edition MATURE CONTENT: VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED

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Volume 1, Issue 1 March 2008

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Headlines The Stone Garden Wolf’s Bane: Moon Cycles (Prologue & Chapter 1) Office Politics: Episode One : Fresh Meat Thoughtless Poet’s Corner Alabama Nightstalk News: Attack on

Editor’s Corner
Welcome to Forever Nocturne e-zine! This online magazine began as a frustrated solution to the complexities of submitting work to magazines, agents and publishers. Quite simply, we have grown weary of researching people who are going to reject us, so we thought and discussed with one another, “Why not start our own magazine to publish our work?” It was merely in jest until a dear friend, now co-conspirator, noticed the conversation and said, “DO IT!” Full Moon Press is an electronic publishing company, owned and operated by the people you will find within the pages of this first edition. We four are from various parts of the western United States and have come together to bring you tales of horror, romance, comedy, tragedy, and so on. Most commonly, you will notice a new genre, which we like to call “Modern Gothic Horror Romance.” This is simply because some of us like to work in the macabre, as well as the romance, areas. Our stories revolve around vampires, werewolves, the supernatural, and all those things that go bump in the night. But what is a story without a good romance tale in the mix? Essentially, blood and gore if it’s in the horror genre, but don’t worry, some of that will grace the pages of the magazine, too. So, without much further ado, we bid you welcome and hope you enjoy the read. Oh, and you will find a few clickable items within these pages. Thank you, “Jinx” NL Gervasio

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Wolves: Aerial Hunting
Blog Central

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Salem Revisited? Pentecost

Photo © 2007 N.L. Gervasio

Siobhan MacIntyre
Siobhan MacIntyre is a fullt i m e Photo © 1996 Gail Gerlach employee of the state (Washington), full-time mother to three kids, six cats and a dog, and a full-time wife. This means that Siobhan is a © 2008 Full Moon Press part-time writer. Somehow, she has managed to complete a novel-length manuscript titled The Wyckham House. Currently she is working on the second book, Gothic, which is a continuation of the story of The Wyckham House's main characters and the introduction of new ones. This is the second in a planned series of three or four books about "the devil's mansion." Indeed, because Siobhan is of Celtic descent and loves those tangly little knots, she has even tied her short story The Stone Garden into the convoluted mess the devil's mansion creates, which can be read here.
F O R E V E R NO C T U R N E

Forever Nocturne was founded in 2007 and began with this first publication in March 2008. Here, we support aspiring writers. We look for new talent that has yet to be discovered. Is it you? If you think so, send your submission to forevernocturne@hotmail.com. Please be sure that “Submission for e-zine” is in the Subject line. Please do not send attachments, as they will be deleted. We ask that you place your submission in the body of the email and thank you for doing so. We also accept previously published authors. At this time, we cannot pay for the work we publish, as we are a FREE e-zine; however, we are working on it and may move into other areas, such as novel publication. Please PROOFREAD your work before submission. What are we looking for? New, innovative, eye-catching original tales and poetry. We welcome all genres, and chapter submissions, too.

Submissions and a bit of Poetry
Email: forevernocturne@hotmail.com

FULL MOON PRESS

Creating Success in Publication

www.fullmoonpressonline.com
Don’t be scared. We don’t usually bite.

Some Poetry from TL Boehm

Nocturne
Desperate dreams twist in the nuclear wind Dangling skeletal from gallows Flaunting fatal tendencies Clawed grasping the noxious air Poison breeze becomes release Hope curls fetal incomplete Fragile birth prematurely purged from the womb Sanctuary Bleeding out in tombs futile Frail marks in dust The spasmodic flutter of wings Transient resonance echoes fleeting
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© 2008 Full Moon Press

Like damp lashes on translucent cheeks The tentative first kiss fades to ache Love is a jackal Cracking the marrow From the dry bones of broken dreams Shattered remnants of a ragged existence Tenuous tendons cling Furrowed lines in my fractured skull Shallow fallow culling floor Long after thoughts are gone In a life time of possibilities I am the horrific consequence Sex and secrets and sin Covered in scars and skin © 2006 TL Boehm
F O R E V E R NO C T U R N E

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Mad December
What is Mad December? Is it a time in which everyone partakes in the mad rush of holiday shopping? Nah. Mad December Projects is a film company owned and operated by film producer and director Mychael Dylan Brenk. Dylan’s talent is unsurpassed for his ability to enhance his films, even serious ones, with an undying wit that will likely go unnoticed, save by those who follow his work.

Projects
staff, AZ. The main idea behind FFAFF was to have a film festival where film students could show their work and make it free to the public. Needless to say, it was a great success and another festival will appear again this year. Where, we don’t know yet, as the creators of this festival intend to have it in a different place every year, but you can keep tabs on it here: www.ffaff.info.

You can find him here:
www.maddecemberprojects.com

Dylan is also a part of this...

FFAFF...

Yes, that’s right, it’s

the Free For All Film Festival, and it only happens once a year. You may wonder what exactly it is besides being FREE. FFAFF began in February 2007 with its first appearance in Flag-

Advertising
Do you have a website you’d like to advertise in an online magazine viewable by millions across the globe? Forever Nocturne welcomes advertisements. We are currently producing two publications per year—March and October, but hope to add more in the future, depending on our individual schedules. Contact us by email for pricing at forevernocThank you. turne@hotmail.com. Be sure that “Advertisements” in the Subject line and include the size of advertisement you are interested in purchasing.

NLG Publishing
N.L. Gervasio was born and raised (for the most part) in Mesa and Tempe, Arizona. Ever the poet as a teen, she discovered her passion for writing full-length stories several years ago. Her grandmother, Ethel, bought her a typewriter when she was 8 years old and taught her how to use it, which she did to its full extent until it finally died somewhere
© 2008 Full Moon Press

around middle school. She has since moved on to computers, but occasionally writes in longhand when the urge strikes her, such as when she works on her Wolf's Bane series. Having loved literature since she was a child, N.L. Gervasio would draw the characters for her minibooks on pieces of paper cut to

www.nlgervasio.com their desired size, type the stories under the illustrations, and bind them all together with a stapler. She has been writing ever since, weaving stories and poetry for nearly thirty years.

Schedule of Events

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 March 8—Jesse F Hayes auditions for Biggest Loser  March 10—Jesse F Hayes moves to Oklahoma  March 15—Ides of March—”Beware the Ides of March!” ~ from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar  March 17—St. Patrick’s Day  March 23—Easter  March 31—Magazine launch!!!  April 1—April Fool’s Day

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TL Boehm — Writer
T. L. Boehm is the married mother of a preteen boy and a teenaged boy. An accountant by day and closet novelist by night, she enjoys the process of fleshing out characters, dialogue and plot lines. She has lived in rural New Mexico more than half of her life and her first completed novel, Bethany's Crossing, is infused with southwestern culture. She is also an avid blogger and poet. One of her first published
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works was a nonfiction article entitled "Coyote, Singing Dog" in Spider Magazine in 1997. She has completed a collection of devotional vignettes entitled Second Normal and is seeking publication. Her current projects include

the first in a probable Christian speculative fiction series entitled Ephesus Offense, an adult fiction novel entitled Thoughtless, and a yet to be named sequel to Bethany's Crossing. She also has plans to write a historical fiction novel and a detailed family history. www.tlboehm.com

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The Stone Garden
By Siobhan MacIntyre Sunday

The elegant manor weathered the centuries with a stoic, stately grace. Though many hands applied their own style, the interior remained true to its original Gothic Revival design. Families came and went and between their occupation, the house remained vacant, the dust of the ages collecting in the corners and passageways. No one stayed long, for misfortune seemed the lot of any who owned the mansion. The sweeping grounds included a formal garden, and here it was that Mia Talbot, the new mistress of Blessing House, found the stone garden. Not made of stone, you see, for the gardens were lush and well-kept even when unoccupied. No one saw the discreet gardeners who came; they were paid well to be unobtrusive and close-mouthed regarding the many strange happenings on the grounds. The stone garden was so called for the lifelike statues Photo © Steve Knight, UK dotting a section of the landscaped grounds. “And who is the artist?” Mia inquired of her husband. Her hand lay lightly upon his arm, which was bent at the crook to accommodate her. Sensible black pumps crunched the gravel under her feet as they traveled a safe and cautious path amongst the statuary. “No one knows,” replied her husband. Harold Talbot—Hal for short—straightened his tie and sent a glare into the gardens, as though warning the dirt to not even attempt to molest his smart business suit. A financial executive in New York City, this move to a country estate outside Stamford, Connecticut proved no small amount of trouble for him. But with the death of their small daughter Abigail, Mia had lapsed into a deep depression and the Blessing House seemed peaceful and soothing. “They didn’t just appear, Hal,” she said now, laughing. Her tea-length dress swished about her calves in a flirtatious manner, and she tugged on the thick woolen shawl shrouding her shoulders. Fog pressed in on the grounds, lying thick in the dips and gullies, drifting as formless wraiths across higher ground. The autumnal chill was invigorating, bringing color to Mia’s cheeks for the first time in months. The death of summer was heralded by the changing of the leaves; gold, scarlet, umber, and burnt orange, they fluttered past their feet in drifts of colorful decay, driven by gusts of wind rolling in from Stamford Harbor. “That’s just the point, Mia,” Hal said patiently. “They did just appear, in the wake of the estate’s owners. Each time the house has changed hands, new statues appear. The artist is unknown, and the statuary, they say, resemble the departed owners.” Mia chuckled. The wind whipped a glossy lock of her short, black hair into her eyes, and she brushed it away, tucking it behind her ear. Hal scanned his wife’s face with concern, noting the pallor that made the sprinkling of freckles stand out on her cheekbones and the bridge of her nose. Pale and dark-haired, with light grey eyes, Mia’s beauty was envied throughout their social circle, but her gentle, kind ways made her an easy target for the vicious, gossiping tongues. Yes, better for her to remain in seclusion for a time while she learned to cope with the loss of Abigail. “Come,” he said, grasping her elbow. “You should go inside before you catch ill. It would be—” “Oh, look, Hal!” she exclaimed in delight. “Look at the children!” And indeed the statuary had given way to a grouping of children, playing about in all stages of activ© 2008 Full Moon Press

ity. Here, a group of boys, marble berets set at jaunty angles as they bent to their work: a serious game of marbles. The marbles themselves lay at the base of one such statue, at the knee of a particularly lovely lad. Girls played jump rope games, the swirl and swish of their school dresses fantastically captured by the sculptor, as were the very threads and cables of the rope itself. Mia laughed in delight to find a toddler with a marble frog poking from his pocket; a young girl with a handful of posies and a cricket in her hair; and a boy with his puppy trotting faithfully at his heel. “Very clever,” said Hal uneasily. And yes, the sculptures were exquisite, the details incredibly lifelike, but he found them rather sinister, to be truthful. Mia slanted him a look from the corner of her eye, catching his expression of distaste and worry. “Oh, very well, mother hen. Let’s go back to the house and have a hot cup of tea. You’ve a long drive back to New York tomorrow.” “It’s not that long, Mia,” he said, guiding her with relief out of the stone garden and back toward the mansion. “Only fifty miles.” “An hour each way,” she pointed out. “Are there things you want me to do while you’re away?” Their talk turned to the more mundane issues at hand and the tasks he needed her to accomplish during his absence—all designed, she was sure, simply to keep her busy. Hal opened one of the Frenchpaned doors to let her inside, and as he stepped through and closed it behind him, it seemed the house had swallowed them both. Monday Mia rattled around Blessing House after her list of tasks had been completed; Hal had not left her much to do during his week-long business conference in New York. A drizzling rain had kept her indoors, thwarting her plans to more fully investigate the stone garden. She’d dreamt of the statues, fantastical dreams that had been thrilling but now in the light of day seemed ominous. She curled up on a sofa that faced the windows looking over the grounds. She could see the tops of the tallest sculptures, the rain gleaming like jewels on marble tresses. She longed to walk the paths and discover the chiseled delights farther into the garden. Really, Hal was so cautious; it wasn’t as though she was so fragile she would break in two if she exerted herself. He worried incessantly since her emotional collapse, but that had been immediately following the accident. She still dreamed of it: the February chill that left a layer of black ice on the road, the uncontrollable skid that sent the car careening down the embankment beside the bridge instead of across it, the seatbelt catch that wouldn’t release until Abigail had already drowned. Fog rolled in from the harbor, wrapping the statuary in gauzy layers of white. Mia’s head dropped to the back of the sofa, and she slept. “Mommy, mommy! Catch me if you can!” Dark curls dancing in the damp air, Abigail ran ahead of her into the stone garden, a miniature Mia in an organdy dress and blue woolen coat. “Abby, wait!” One part of her was surprised to see her daughter, for Abigail had never been to Blessing House. Another part seemed to make sense of the young girl’s presence, and this part led her laughing after Abby. “Come on, Mommy! Come deeper into the garden! There’s something I want to show you!” And so Mia picked up her step, trotting after her daughter as fast as her pumps and dress would allow. Abby waited on the path ahead of her, and just when Mia thought she would catch the little scamp, Abigail darted ahead again, giggling. Deeper and deeper into the garden, until the light began to fade from the day and ephemeral curtains of fog prevented her from seeing more than two feet before her. Mia paused, unable to see Abby although she could hear her.
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“Abby! It’s time to go back to the house now. It’s getting dark and foggy; I can’t see you!” Childish giggles echoed through the fog. It was impossible to tell where Abigail had gone, although Mia thought she was close by. “Abby!” Fear threaded her voice. Oh, to lose her in the garden in the fog—Hal would be livid! But what was she thinking? Abigail had died in the car accident; she could not be here at Blessing House. “Come play, Mia!” a child’s sibilant whisper coaxed her. “We want to play. Will you stay and play with us?” Mia whirled around. Had the sound come from behind her? Or from the left? Impossible to tell. “Who are you?” “We live in the garden, Mia. Will you stay with us? We want you to stay!” “Mommy, please stay! Don’t you want to stay with me?” But now Abigail’s voice seemed sinister, her tone threatening. Fear washed over Mia like a raging waterfall. She fled to the house, the laughter of the children seeming to mock her as she ran. Tuesday Dearest Hal, Today was a lovely clear day. I walked through the stone garden and finally saw all the statuary. Don’t worry, I didn’t overdo it. There are wonderful little benches all along the paths, and I rested often on these and studied the statues. They really are remarkable, Hal. So lifelike you can almost hear them at play. My favorite so far is a grouping of three small girls sitting on a blanket with a litter of kittens crawling on them. It reminded me of Abigail, but I didn’t cry. Truly, Hal, I didn’t. I miss you terribly and look forward to your return. Yours, Mia Wednesday Mia stared at her reflection with dismay. Oh, her skin! So dry and itchy from the ocean air. It felt rough to the touch but not flaky, almost like a rough stone waiting to be polished. She slathered her body with expensive moisturizing cream, her fingers stiff and reluctant. Her limbs were heavy and awkward today, and after an uncomfortable two hours on the sofa, staring into the gardens, she went back up to her bed. She dreamed she played with the kittens, and the girls giggled and piled on top of her, and for the first time in months Mia was happy. Thursday Dearest Hal, I didn’t rise today until after noon. All night I had strange dreams about the statues of the children. They wanted me to come out and play, and at first I was frightened, but…one of them reminded me of Abby, so I went. We played ring-around-the-rosy and duck-duck© 2008 Full Moon Press

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goose and sang songs. And then I woke…oh, Hal, I miss Abigail so much! This sea air is invigorating and I enjoy it, but it is drying my skin terribly. I feel lethargic and stiff all over and feel comfortable only when I lay still and quiet on the bed I’m sure it will pass. Perhaps when you return, we can go into the city and pick up some of the cream that works so well. It would be nice to have a late dinner in the city and perhaps stay the night in a posh hotel. I often feel isolated here even with the servants to converse with. Come home soon, darling! Your loving wife, Mia Friday Cold, so cold! Mia huddled under the blankets, shivering, each tremor sending shooting pain through her limbs. The roughness of her skin was fading in patches, leaving behind skin as smooth as polished marble. But…her fingers skated over those patches as though over ice, and she did not feel them, not their warmth or their caress. Mia pulled the thick wool blanket from the foot of the bed over her quaking body, crying with every agonizing move. Finally she laid back, the shivers subsiding, and she was still and quiet. Fog puddled on the ground, shrouding her feet as she confidently walked the paths of the stone garden. Although the October day was cold, she wore no jacket. She didn’t need one. The gravel crunched beneath her feet and the girls looked up as she approached. Smiles wreathed their faces, and Mia thought they seemed more human and less statue than they had before. The kittens scampered to her, clustering around her feet. She could nearly see color in their fur now: calico, grey tiger-striped, gun-metal grey. “Are you staying with us, Mia? Please stay!” “Please, Mia! We’re all alone!” “Don’t go this time! Stay and play with us!” Mia considered. “Yes, I’ll stay.” The children cheered and the kittens wound about her ankles, meowing frantically. Mia stooped to pick up the calico and found the ache and chill had left her limbs. The day was glorious and bright, the sun setting fire to the crimson leaves lying in drifts at the edge of the grounds. Girls with golden curls and black tresses and red ringlets crowded round her, their pretty plaid skirts swishing about their knee-high socks, their patent leather shoes scuffed from play. Mia laughed joyfully. “Oh yes, I’ll stay! Saturday The police had finally left after sweeping the grounds and asking a passel of uncomfortable questions, but Hal Talbot didn’t mind. If it would help them find Mia, he would face disconcerting inquisitions for the rest of eternity. He’d returned home to find Mia missing and the servants bewildered. A packet of letters lay on his pillow as always; Mia usually wrote him every day when he travelled, and left them for him to read when he returned home if his trip was short. The letters concerned him; she had obviously fallen ill, and he worried that she had become delirious and wandered the countryside.
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Moonlight gleamed on the heads of the tallest statues, and Hal shrugged into his coat and pushed through the French doors and into the stone garden. His steps took him on a wandering journey through the statuary, deep into the grounds. In the glow from the hunter’s moon, the white marble masterpieces glowed like spirits brought to earth to play amongst the lavender and late-flowering chrysanthemums. Hal found himself enchanted, and though he tried he couldn’t quite shake it off. His steps brought him to a bed where an arrangement of chiseled little girls and kittens frolicked under the watchful eye of a beautiful woman. She held a tiny kitten to her cheek and smiled softly at the girls at play. Hal thought she resembled Mia to a remarkable degree. The whisper floated softly to him on the night wind: “Hal, come and play with us! Will you stay? We want you to stay!” Alarmed, he turned in a circle. “Who’s there?” “Please, Hal, say you’ll come with us. We want you to come!” Mia’s voice, seducing him, enticing him. He laid a hand against the cold marble cheek of his wife’s likeness and said, “Yes, I’ll come.”

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© 2007 Siobhan MacIntyre

© 2008 Full Moon Press

Wolf’s Bane: Moon Cycles
by N.L. Gervasio

B

one & Blood

The fire crackled and spat an ember; it hissed when it touched the crimson on the ancient blade in my hand. Blood oozed to the tip of the sword and dripped onto the drawing room floor. Its impact on the hard wood seemed to resonate in the hushed room. I glared at the man who attacked me the previous night, my brown eyes staring into his ebony ones. The blood on sword and wall belonged to neither of us, but spoke furiously of recent events. Five lay dead with vital parts lying nearby—the only way to kill them. The flames in the grand fireplace behind me glinted in his wild, canine eyes. His cautious movement threw back a glassy red reflection. Human eyes are not equipped to offer such an effect; but he was not exactly human. His shoulders widened as he cracked his knuckles, and he huffed at me, taking quick chomps out of the air. The scar slashed down his left cheek, becoming more prominent as he sneered at me. Never breaking eye contact, his fixation with me and the excitement of battle, seemed to consume every sense so intensely he neglected to notice the man slowly rising behind him, changing shape in the shadows... This was my beginning.

Mourning Moon One
Things happen in a person‘s life for reasons no one knows. Until one fateful evening, I lived a somewhat normal life, doing everyday normal things. I spent little time with friends and those I call family, and essentially just lived my life unnoticed by the world around me. It was not really a difficult feat. I am a shy girl. Generally, I would go unnoticed unless I dolled myself up, which I had not had an occasion to do in some time. That was good, I suppose. It kept men away from me—most of the time. The fact I stood six feet tall helped a little, too. My height intimidated men, although I could not imagine why. A woman my size could produce some heighthealthy children, if the man was tall as well. My love had been five inches taller than me. Our children would have been huge. I‘d been in mourning for a year—a very long year. I tried to busy myself with meaningless things, but since I did not have a typical nine-to-five job, the task proved to be difficult. Three days of interpreting here, a couple of days studying hieroglyphs there, many long breaks in between. Not always, but those long breaks were the ones that got to me. I would have done well to get a new hobby. The hieroglyphs? They called me when one did not make sense. I am one of a few people in the world who could read them without referring to a book.
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My father would be the reason for that. He taught me at a very young age, and I continued it through college. The problem, however, was that I always had a lot of free time on my hands, which could lead to thinking about him, my love. The heartache nearly killed me every time, and it was in those times when I disappeared from the world. My only hope was that it would end soon, but I knew better. I knew my mind would never let me forget the horrible night when my love died. At the same time, though, my mind would remember what he meant to me. I always tried to recall the happy times. Those put a smile on my face. Even so, the memory of the night he died snaked its way into my mind, and it took all that I had not to let it kill me. The woman with the blade was the beginning of the woman I have become. The sword did not belong to me, and yet, in a way she did. I called her Anath, for the Phoenician goddess of love and war—a slayer of enemies, like me, and the very reason I liked her. A rather fitting name, I believe, considering other issues at hand. It seemed forever ago when he visited me for the first time, and my life changed. I had not decided yet if it was for the better, but it certainly beat the hell out of what I was doing up until that point. I sat on the back porch crying and contemplating what I thought to be my miserable life. My wolf hybrid, Moon, lay on the carpet in front of me. Eyes closed, I did not see her sit up, but I heard the low growl coming from her throat, warning of something, though not danger. I could tell the difference in her growls. Footsteps approached. I dared not open my eyes, for I could tell they might be coming to unravel my world in ways I could not imagine. Still, neither threatened nor believing my life in danger, Moon had yet to move from her spot. I could hear every move she made. Whether motherly instincts in regards to my animals or my exceptional hearing, I could hear her heart beating calmly. The creature that came to visit… I listened to its heavy footfalls and its huffs of breath; it was rather large. Goosebumps rose on the back of my neck like racing wildfire as each tiny hair stood on end. Not fear, mind you, but rather a rip in the fabric of life, about to expose something interesting, new and unknown. I cocked my head to the left and slowly opened my eyes. I had to see what came to visit me. Not five feet from me stood a big brown wolf—an oddity for the deserts of Arizona. And no ordinary wolf either, I noticed from his stance on only his hindquarters—a peculiarity for anywhere in the world. A very large wolf indeed, with ears slightly smaller, snout shorter, though not quite as narrow and golden eyes as round and full as the moon itself. He dropped onto his front paws and tilted his head at Moon. Slowly, his eyes met mine again. Crazy not to be scared, I looked at him with soft eyes, knowing I looked at Death himself. So this is what they have sent to claim me, I thought, vaguely recalling a childhood tale my father told me, about what happens to bad little girls. How appropriate. The only problem: I could not recall being a bad girl. Cautiously, the wolf moved closer. I could see the reflection of my tear-streaked face in his strikingly large eyes, lit by the first night of the full Mourning moon. Closer still, he moved within inches of me, and I smiled gently at him, unafraid for myself but fearful for my wolf because he entered her territory. At that point in my life, I would have gladly welcomed death. It would take me to my love. The wolf‘s nose nudged the underside of my hand, flipping it back to the top of his head; a gesture I knew all too well. My white wolf, Malik, used the move often for attention. God forbid should I have a drink in my hand when he felt the need to do it. My fingers trickled through the coarse fur on his head and made their way behind his right ear. He leaned into my fingers, pushing against them as though telling me to scratch harder. Then he laid his head on my lap, resting comfortably, as I chased from my mind questions of why Death chose to ease me into it. Still, Moon had yet to move, so I began to wonder if Death truly came for me. Surely, my wolf would not allow this without a fight, and yet she lay unmoving, only observing the actions taking place. This was not normal for her either, because she was usually the jealous one who had to have attention if others were getting it. I whispered softly to him. ―If you are Death that has come for me, please make it quick, but know that I am not ready to leave this world just yet.‖ I know, I had just contradicted my thoughts. It surprised even me. He slowly pulled his head away and looked at me with almost compassionate eyes, his head cocked to the side. A soft howl came from his throat. ―It sounds ridiculous, doesn‘t it?‖ I said, and his head cocked to the other side, as though trying to understand me. Maybe he could, maybe he couldn‘t. I didn‘t know.
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―You know what sounds ridiculous? Me talking to a… werewolf,‖ I stated and shook my head. My eyes half closed and I sighed. I then stared at him for a long time. ―Please, go,‖ I finally asked of him. As he backed away, it seemed to me as though he bowed. He then turned and jumped to the back fence in one giant leap, landing on top of the block wall with ease. His large claws clung to the brick as he turned to look back at me. I then noticed the razor sharp points that could have easily torn me apart. His front legs were thick, more muscular than my wolves‘ legs, with very large claws that I had mistaken for paws. Stupid of me. ―Go,‖ I said once again and nodded to him. He disappeared over the fence and I could hear him running across the desert floor. I looked to Moon again. She still had not moved. I wondered briefly why before gathering my things and going inside to bed. A strange wolf showing up in my backyard that was not supposed to exist was about all I could handle for the night. When I did finally sleep, I saw his eyes in my dreams, watching over me like some strange horror movie guardian, giving me the best night‘s sleep I‘d had in several months. *** I stood staring that next afternoon, trying to convince myself that the night before must have been a dream because werewolves just were not real, before I realized someone stood next to me. I had not been standing there long. ―If you like it so much you should buy it,‖ a man‘s gentle voice said. ―It‘s not for me to buy,‖ I replied without looking up as I continued to stare at the item. ―Someone was supposed to buy it for me.‖ ―What‘s taking him so long?‖ he asked jokingly, not realizing the depth of his question. Maybe he didn‘t hear the ‗was.‘ This time I looked up at him. He stood very tall, about six feet six, with chestnut brown hair trimmed neatly just below his ears. It had an almost GQ quality to it, tame but unruly at the same time. He wore brown slacks, an off-white mock turtleneck tucked into the pants, and brown oxfords to match his belt. On top of all that, he had on a brown leather duster, the length of which reached the middle of his calves. I couldn‘t quite place his accent; either some form of noble British or well educated New England. His skin not quite the right complexity to be of noble British birth, I went with at least well educated and probably in England because I could hear a minute British accent. However, something else mixed in with the accent, another I could not quite pick out with so few words. He must have been able to read my eyes because his face went suddenly solemn. ―Forgive me,‖ he apologized, almost in a whisper. His eyes seemed familiar to me. They were light brown and held a glint of sparkle in them. Gentle eyes, the kind you could trust. Before I could answer him, to tell him it was okay, a saleswoman stepped over to us, directly behind the case holding the ring I had been previously staring at, and she unlocked it. ―It‘s a beautiful diamond, princess cut, one and a half carats set in platinum. Would you like to try it on?‖ she asked as she pulled the ring from its velvet seat within the glass case. ―Oh, no thank you. I was just looking at it,‖ I replied. She must have been new because she did not recognize me. It was not the first time I stood there and stared at that ring. The saleswoman paused momentarily as she studied me standing next to this strange man. ―So, have you picked a date?‖ she asked with a thin-lipped smile. ―A date?‖ I questioned. ―Yes, a wedding date?‖ I looked at him and him at me. He smiled and chuckled lightly, and I could not help but return the smile. ―Yes, of course darling, our wedding date,‖ he egged. It took me a second or two… ―Oh, that date. No, no we haven‘t,‖ I played along just for the fun of it. I hadn‘t had fun in a while. ―You know, ring first!‖ I had said it. I fully deserved what happened next. ―Oh, then you must try it on!‖ she persisted as she leaned forward and reached for my hand. My eyes
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closed in regret and then slowly opened as I felt her touch my skin. What was I thinking? ―Oh no, I can‘t, really,‖ I insisted, but the ring was quickly slipped onto my finger. Now what? ―It does look quite lovely on you,‖ the strange man said. His face bore the expression of helplessness, as though apologizing to me for not stopping this insane woman from placing this ring I stared at on my finger. ―Do you not like it, beautiful?‖ He winked at me, hinting that he had a plan, as I stood speechless, terrified to answer. ―I don‘t think she likes it,‖ he told her. ―We‘re looking for something a bit more custom, perhaps?‖ He looked at me with the question and my eyes widened. ―Perhaps not. Well…‖ He cleared his throat. ―We are mainly looking around to get an idea of what we–she–wants.‖ ―Would you care to look at another?‖ she asked as she removed the ring from my finger. Neither of us had the heart to tell her that we did not know one another. ―I have a few custom pieces in another case that may…‖ ―No, thank you, dear. You‘ve been quite helpful,‖ he replied. ―My fiancée tends to be a bit picky when it comes to jewelry. We may have to have one designed for her.‖ I threw him an offended glance, and he grinned. Picky about jewelry. He had no idea. ―Well, I‘ll let you two look around. If there‘s anything I can show you, let me know. My name is Carol.‖ Saleswoman Carol finally got the hint that we did not want her help. ―Thank you, Carol,‖ he replied kindly. ―We‘ll call you over if something catches our eye.‖ He looked at me again, smiling, then leaned forward and quietly said, ―Now you‘re staring at me.‖ My face must have flushed ten shades of red because he laughed softly. ―I‘m sorry,‖ I said, closing my eyes and hoping to disappear. ―It‘s fine, really,‖ he said, touching my hand and giving my skin a slight tingle. ―I don‘t mind when a beautiful woman stares at me.‖ Ten more shades of red immediately flushed my face. And what was with that tingle? I‘d never felt anything like that before when a man touched me. ―My name is Caleb,‖ he said extending his hand, attempting to stop my embarrassment. ―Nadira,‖ I choked out, taking his hand. ―Ah, rare and precious, it suits you well; much like that stone you stare at.‖ He gave me a small bow. I barely registered it. ―You know what my name means?‖ I asked, though it was more of a statement than a question. ―Na’am, I do,‖ he replied with a nod. Usually people asked if it meant anything, but nobody ever really just knew it. I then spoke in Arabic, mainly out of curiosity, since he‘d said ‗yes‘ in the language. ―Foor-sa tyeeba, ya Caleb.‖ ―The pleasure of us meeting is mine, Nadira,‖ he answered in English. ―I‘m happy I could bring a smile to your lovely face.‖ He understood Arabic; that may earn him a few points. He also gets a few points for getting me out of that ring, although I think he was the reason I ended up with it on my finger in the first place. Worried about what he had seen in my dark eyes because I did not like to discuss it, especially with a strange man, I lowered my head, but he did not pry. More points in his favor. ―Are you hungry?‖ he asked, looking at his watch. ―The least I could do is to take my fiancée to a late lunch.‖ I giggled. Giggled? I hadn‘t giggled in a very long time. ―No, but thank you anyway.‖ Not disappointed or dissuaded, he tried again. ―Starbucks, perhaps? I hear a mocha frappuccino calling my name.‖ I thought about it as he stood there smiling at me. He had a cute kind of lop-sided smile where the right corner of his mouth curved up higher than the left side. I still could not place his eyes, where I had seen them before. ―I could do Starbucks,‖ I replied. Who am I to turn down my addiction for a mocha frappuccino? ―Great, shall we?‖ He stepped aside and let me walk out of the jewelry store first. A gentleman; more points to him, unless of course it was so he could get a look at my backside, which I‘m proud to say is very nice. We walked around the corner and over the food court of Scottsdale‘s Fashion Mall, then down the escalator and out the doors, cutting across the valet to Starbucks. Once we had our drinks, we stepped outside and sat at a
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small table opposite a popular furniture store whose name reminds me of a restaurant that sounds similar. Crate ‗n‘ Barrel, Cracker Barrel. See what I mean? Before I knew it, he pulled me back to reality again as I stared off across the valet area and into the crowd of the popular brewery. I can‘t remember the name. I wasn‘t really looking at anyone in particular, being mostly lost in thought. It happened often. ―I hate to see a woman as beautiful as you so full of sorrow,‖ he stated with a gentleness that reminded me of someone dear. Would you call that prying? I didn‘t think so, either. ―I apologize. You‘ve caught me on a bad day,‖ I responded. ―So not every day is as this?‖ he questioned. ―Hardly,‖ I replied as I looked into his eyes once more. ―Have we met before?‖ ―I don‘t believe so, I would remember meeting you. Why do you ask?‖ I looked down at the table. ―I‘m not really sure. Something seems familiar about you, I guess.‖ His soft smile warmed my heart slightly. As I reached into my purse for my cigarettes, his smile began to fade. I lit one. ―I‘m sure you‘ve heard it several times, but those will kill you.‖ It surprisingly did not sound preachy, merely informative, as if I did not know the information. ―Along with about twenty billion other things in the world!‖ I stated, and I took a long drag and blew the smoke out of the corner of my mouth so it would not reach him. He laughed a short laugh. ―I like that. Live in the real world, do you?‖ ―No, I mostly live in dreamland,‖ I answered without thinking. ―And of what things do you dream, Nadira?‖ Each time he said my name he rolled the ‗r‘ as if he were speaking the whole sentence to me in Arabic rather than English. I liked that. He had been racking up quite a few points, although I might have to take a few away for the smoking comment. Being an honest person with the sometimes-inconvenient inability to lie, I did not want to answer that question, nor did I care to attempt a tale. I felt that he would see right through it, even if I were good at it. ―That‘s rather personal. I don‘t care to go into it.‖ ―Honesty, I like that as well. Most would discuss their delusions of grandeur when it comes to their dreams, yet they fail in achieving them because they expect it to be handed to them on a silver platter.‖ His head tilted slightly to the left. ―But not you, Nadira. You work for your dreams, don‘t you?‖ Me? No, my dreams were squashed a year ago, I thought. I had no dreams, unless they involved my lost love visiting me in the night. I could sense him studying me like a book. Was I that open? Do I wear my heart on my sleeve? Probably, but who could blame me after what I had been through. Normally, as a Gemini, I had one face I would show the world and another that held my deepest, darkest secrets that no one ever saw unless I allowed it, which was very rare. Could he see that face? Had the walls that protect me begun to crumble? I adjusted in my seat. His head tilted to the right now, reading my body language. ―Has something I said made you uncomfortable?‖ I stared at him, into his familiar eyes. Uncomfortable? How could he…? Was he psychic? I told myself to relax, took an unnoticeable deep breath and smiled at him. ―No, I‘m fine,‖ I lied. His right brow rose slightly and I knew I had been caught in the fib. I did not like that, a man who was able to read me like that. My heart increased its rate. As though he could sense it or hear its beating, he leaned forward and placed his hand on top of mine. ―My apologies if anything I have said has made you feel this way. Please don‘t take offense.‖ My tense body began to relax, as though his touch could somehow calm me. ―As I said earlier, you‘ve caught me on a bad day.‖ ―I can see that now. Your defenses are down. Perhaps we could continue tomorrow at lunch?‖ he suggested. His lop-sided grin reappeared. I looked up at him. ―You want to have lunch with me?‖ Did I really ask that aloud?
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―Of course I do,‖ he replied, not letting me see his notice of my sudden embarrassment of such a stupid question. He asked for my number and as I gave it to him, he punched the number into his phone. ―This really is your number?‖ he questioned with a smirk. ―Of course it is,‖ I replied. ―You don‘t trust me?‖ ―I don‘t trust anybody so don‘t take offense by it,‖ he stated. I nodded once, letting him know that I understood his statement and felt the same. He then reached over and took a cigarette out of my pack, and picked up the lighter. ―Do you mind?‖ Shocked, but smiling, I shook my head. He took a long drag, and then blew the smoke away from me. ―Thank you,‖ he said with a grin and a wink. ―Until tomorrow, Nadira.‖ He reached for my hand, pulled it up to his lips, and kissed the back of it, which sent another shuddering tingle through me. What is up with that? I watched his duster flap in the breeze as he walked away from me. My hair then blew around my face, blinding me briefly. He stopped to sniff the air for a moment, eyes closed, seeming to enjoy something… a scent, perhaps. Then his head turned slightly more to the side and he smiled as he glanced my way. Abruptly, he continued walking. Was he actually walking away at sunset? My brow furrowed at the thought. At least the sun was in the opposite direction. While I still sat, finishing my frappuccino and enjoying the clamor of the mall‘s entrance and valet–some real nice vehicles come through there–I overheard two women discussing a news report. It was something about a wild animal attack in Ahwatukee, a place I once lived that is on the south side of town. I turned my head slightly to the right to get a better pitch. They sat about fifteen feet from me, and not talking very loudly, which surprised me because the place was noisy, so I wondered how they could even hear each other. I crushed my cigarette in the ashtray. ―He was ripped to pieces,‖ one woman said, her gi-normous diamond ring sending little sparkling galaxies everywhere as she waved her hand around. She had the nicely manicured nails, blonde hair pulled up with ringlets falling around her shoulders, and the Louis Vuitton purse. A typical Scottsdale woman. At least she wasn‘t wearing gold lamé. I think that went out with the eighties, but I have seen a few women wearing it from time to time. It gave me a shudder of revulsion just thinking about it. To me, it was like silk. I hated silk. It made my flesh crawl. I looked around to see where the reflection of light hitting her ring came from, since the sun was on the other side of the building. Ah, a car‘s windshield perfectly placed. I scooted my chair back an inch or two so the light would not hit me. Light reflections can sometimes be stronger than the sun itself, and the sun does not like me much anymore. ―I heard in one report that it looked like the animal had taken bites out of him,‖ the other princess remarked. She was a younger version of the first woman, without the huge diamond. She must not have found her prince yet. ―Like it was eating him!‖ ―Better him than me,‖ the first woman replied coldly. Like she had enough meat on her bones to feed an animal large enough to attack a human. Please. She would be safe because she would not be worth the effort for the meal. Disgusted with the way they conversed so casually about a human being‘s life, as though the fact they did not know the person made it not real in their little world, I huffed and picked up my things, as I couldn‘t stand to sit there and listen anymore. When terrible things happened, I felt them, as if I knew the person or persons involved. I‘m weird like that. It was also very difficult for me to watch anything regarding the mistreatment of animals. I belonged to a few coalitions for that, mostly those involving wolves. Speaking of wolves… dinnertime drew near. My darling beasts greeted me happily when I got home. I say it‘s only because I feed them, but the truth is, I am the pack leader, the Alpha, something along those lines. Three canines made a pack. I had a dog and two wolves. My white wolf, Malik, the oldest at fifteen years, had a temperament dog breeders would kill for, if it were not for his wolf status. He was, by far, the gentlest animal I have ever met. Venus, my German Shepherd, was thirteen, and my alarm dog. She let me know when people were around. Moon, the other wolf, was the youngest at six. Sometimes, she seemed intelligent. Other times, I would swear she was as dumb as a rock. At six, she still
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got the puppy look on her face. You know the one; the ‗playful fascination and awe‘ look. Yes, I had a lovely little pack. You would not believe how much dog food I went through. Not cheap food, either, because Malik was allergic to soy. Did you know that the allergy dog food had soy in it, of all things? How incredibly stupid was that when most dogs who were allergic, were allergic to soy? My thoughts, exactly. I fed my animals, fed myself, and headed out to my back porch. I liked to sit out there at night. It can be very relaxing. The moon rose completely full that night, and I liked to look at it, but this time I was alone. My beasts were all soundly sleeping in the house. I had hoped that would not change anything. Was I insane for sitting there, waiting for a werewolf to show up? I suppose I simply wanted to know why—why he had been there in the first place, and why he left me alive. Could he have actually understood my words? Of course, nothing would stop him from killing me this night, if he showed up. Shouldn‘t I be afraid? I would have thought so, but I did not tremble with fear upon thinking about him. Yes, I found it rather odd, too. I stared off into space, as I had done pretty much all day, when I snapped out of it to discover a white rose lying on the ground next to my foot. I looked up, but did not see him. My ear suddenly twitched and I heard his breathing around the corner. I did not move. I was not sure if I should get up or sit still. The night before, I had not made the first move, he did. Finally, I reached down to pick up the rose. When I looked up again, he crouched before me. For a big guy, he was awfully quiet. I had entirely too many distractions going on inside my head. They were going to get me killed one of these days. I smiled at him and his ears turned to the side. Malik did that all the time and it just made him look ridiculous. Straight up with a rigid tail would mean trouble. We weren‘t there yet. Of course, I wasn‘t sure if he even had a tail. I did not recall seeing one when he left the night before, as my eyes had completely focused on those claws of his. ―Why are you here?‖ I asked softly, assuming he could answer. He looked at the rose and raised his head up to me, then down. Maybe he could understand me. A white rose had several meanings. Among them were silence, secrecy, purity and innocence. I could not make sense of it. I only knew the information because my mother loved roses and told me the meaning of each color when I was young. One more meaning jumped into my thoughts, but I could not imagine it being his intent. He stepped forward until his large face sat mere inches from mine. I only looked into his eyes, nothing more or less, and dropped them to look at the ground. They say you are not supposed to look into the eyes of a wild beast because it signified a challenge. I did not challenge him, nor did he seem to feel challenged because he suddenly licked my face. My eyes shut tightly. I was not afraid. The right eye opened before the left, since he licked the left side, and I saw him moving his head to my lap again. I placed my hand atop his head and stroked the fur. I had not realized it the previous night, but his head was enormous and heavy. It covered my entire lap from the tip of his nose to the back of his skull. He let out a big sigh and closed his eyes as he settled his head onto my legs. His body dropped to the ground, yet he still seemed comfortable enough where his head lie. I sat in a low chair, and his size helped it to work to his advantage, as though I sat on the sofa with one of my wolves‘ heads resting comfortably on me. They apparently all thought they were lap dogs. I played with his ears and scratched the bridge of his nose, as he lay there so calmly breathing. I, of course, thought the entire episode was bizarre, but when in my life had something not been strange? My whole childhood seemed a bit peculiar, and the oddness followed me into adulthood. I used to dream of living in another land far, far away where deserts stretched farther than the eye could see and wolves ran through the small mountains. However, wolves do not live in the desert, do they? So, it must have been a dream—my way of denying the oddities of my life. My thoughts glided to Caleb, the olive-skinned man I had met that day with his beautiful familiar eyes. I recalled my thoughts as I‘d stared into those eyes. I leaned forward as I stroked the fur on the werewolf‘s head. ―You remind me of someone I met today,‖ I whispered. ―Or rather, he reminded me of you.‖ He pulled his head back a bit in order to see me with those golden wolf‘s eyes—the compassion still present. ―I think I‘ll call you Caleb.‖ At that moment, I swear on my grandfather‘s grave, if I knew where my grandfather‘s grave was, that he smiled before stepping back and jumping once again to the fence. He turned again to look at me, and then raised his head to the moon and howled. Then he was gone once more. Just like that. I half expected a ‗poof‘ sound. What… what did I say? I stared at the rose for a long time wondering what he meant by it. I could generally read my wolves‘ actions and figure out what they were telling me, but his actions I just could not comprehend. Purity, innocence,
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secrecy, reverence, humility, heavenly… I am worthy of you. What? That could not be the meaning. Werewolves kill people. Wait a minute, what am I saying? Werewolves are fictional creatures. Which would make it all a dream, right? Yes, I once was naïve enough to think that. Denial again. Go figure. Once more, I heard his howl before retiring for the evening. My wolves remained silent, but my Venus barked at nothing, as usual.

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To be continued next issue… © 2005 N.L. Gervasio

Photo © 2006 N.L. Gervasio

Photography by NL Gervasio

Rock ‗n‘ Roll

iPod Rockin‘

Star Gazing

The Grand Canyon

Surreality

Perspective

Sedona Dead Trees

All Photos © 2006 N.L. Gervasio

© 2008 Full Moon Press

Episode One: Fresh Meat By Siobhan MacIntyre

She walks in like a deer approaching a watering hole favored by its top ten natural predators: eyes wide and fearful, face pale, a fine tremor racing through hands clasping a leather notebook portfolio to her chest. Her conservative plaid Pendleton skirt swishes around her kneecaps in a frenzy of pleats, and the coordinating jacket over a muted maroon blouse must make the office temperature seem like a suburb of hell. “Fresh meat,” I say in a low voice, tossing a paper clip over the low cubicle wall at my neighbor Stella. She picks it up and bounces it off the head of our coworker Gretchen, who is my best friend. Gretchen looks up and catches Stella’s slight nod toward the New Girl passing behind her cubicle. She rolls her eyes. No one wears wool in this office, even Pendleton wool, and no one wears a suit jacket except the administrators. Or perhaps I should say Administrators, for that’s how they see themselves, with a capital A—capital A for Assholes, Stella always quips. “I give it two hours before she finds a way to shed the wool shell,” Gretchen wagers. “One,” I say. “Fifteen minutes. What’s the wager?” Stella asks, scrutinizing the New Girl closely. She sees what Gretchen and I miss: the fine sheen of sweat stippling her more-than-likely freshly-waxed upper lip. “Starbucks Frappuccino,” I suggest. I love Frappuccinos and would find a way to exist on a diet made up solely of said beverage if I could. That and Arby’s French dip sandwiches. Gretchen sighs expressively. “Sweet Jesus, Frannie, didn’t I just buy you a Starbucks card for Christmas?” “Yeah, for ten bucks, you skinflint. I was out by December 30 th.” Stella snorts. “I don’t like Starbucks. How about pizza for three from Domino's. They deliver,” she adds quickly as Gretchen’s brows lower ominously. Gretchen’s husband is a general manager for Pizza Hut and she views consumption of any other brand of pizza as a betrayal. Unfortunately, although Pizza Hut has better pizza than Domino's (in my humble opinion), we’re not located within the delivery range of any of them. “Make it pizza for four,” I say, nodding toward New Girl. “The friendly thing to do is invite Fresh Meat to join us, since the wager is about her.” “Fresh Meat,” Stella repeats distastefully. “Geez, Frannie. Why don’t you just call her by her name—er, what is her name? I’ve forgotten.” It’s Gretchen’s turn to snort. “Who cares? Malaria will run her off within two weeks, just like she did
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all the previous assistants Sam’s hired.” Malaria—more commonly known as Malia, pronounced like Maria but with an L instead of an R—is our immediate boss. She met her husband Sam, another Administrator, while employed as his assistant. She worked her way up into management—we aren’t really sure how, since she’s as incompetent as a comatose monkey, but we suspect she did most of the work on her back or on her knees—and then ruined Sam’s life by accepting his martini-induced marriage proposal. The man hasn’t been the same since. We watch as New Girl, led by none other than Malia herself, stop outside Sam’s office door. Malia motions her into Sam’s office ahead of her. We begin the count; sixty seconds and New Girl will be ushered out to sit in a chair outside the office while Malia lays down the ground rules about Sam’s attractive new assistant. “Forty-two seconds,” says Gretchen, raising a brow as New Girl is ushered out and the office door is promptly closed. It’s a record. “Okay, who’s going to take her in hand?” I ask. A muted argument has already started inside the office, and New Girl’s face has taken on an alarming shade of Humiliation Red. “Rock, paper, scissors?” “Nice try, Frannie.” Stella grins. “I took the last one, and Gretchen took the one before her.” I push my chair away from my desk, grousing. “Oh, all right.” It’s not that I don’t like connecting with new staff; it’s just that…well, okay, I don’t like connecting with new staff. I like to ease my way in to conversations and relationships, unlike Stella, whose very molecules are gregarious. Stella is the outgoing, quirky one; Gretchen the glamorous, aloof beauty; and I am—well, I am the mediocre one in every way except job performance. I can run an office with both hands tied behind my back in a semi-conscious state, but I long to be charismatic like Stella or cosmopolitan like Gretchen. Instead I’m average in every way: my hair is medium-dark, my skin is medium-pale, my dress size is medium-large (okay, perhaps I have consumed too many Frappuccinos and French dip sandwiches). New Girl watches me approach as though I’m the angel of death. I see that she’s been relieved of her leather notebook portfolio. The rising voices inside Sam’s office tell me she will not be reunited with her cowhide shield any time soon. “Frannie Freeman,” I introduce myself. “Don’t try to say it when you have several martinis under your belt.” “I don’t drink,” she says warily. “You will.” “Morgan Cassidy.” She shakes my hand. I keep hold of it and use it to haul her to her feet. “Wow, it’s hot in here.” She shrugs out of the jacket. Damn!! Stella’s won; she’ll be impossible to live with now. “How do you feel about pizza, Morgan?” I ask as I lead her toward Cubicle Row, mentally calculating the balance in my checking account. “Generally I like pizza,” Morgan says. “But Frannie, I think I’m going to be sick.” “Yep, I figured so. That’s why we’re heading to the bathroom.” Morgan’s eyes widen. “That’s incredible! Are you psychic?” And she throws up all over me. Stella and Gretchen stifle their laughter behind their hands, but not very well. I sigh. “Nope. If I was, I’d have called in dead today.”
© 2008 Full Moon Press

Morgan is mortified. “I’m so sorry! I usually don’t throw up on the first date—I mean, day!” Stella and Gretchen completely lose it. Morgan looks like she wants to pass out, and I would like to join her, because I’ve just noticed Eric Edwards from Sales watching the festivities with utter disgust stamped all over his too-handsome face. I’m wondering if the disgust comes from seeing me thrown-up on or if he now thinks I’m a lesbian because of Morgan’s unfortunate misspeak. Either way, I would not object to a crater opening at my feet and swallowing me whole this very minute. “Come on, Old Faithful.” I guide Morgan around the last corner, our coworkers' laughter chasing us into the bathroom. Damned if I’m paying for pizza! © 2007 Siobhan MacIntyre

Next Episode: The Great Paperclip War Begins!

2007 L.A. Music Awards for “Independent Album of the Year” 2007 Hollywood F.A.M.E. Awards for “National Rock Album of the Year” Can I Drive It?

EastonAshe

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Thoughtless
By TL Boehm

Rona padded soundlessly down the corridor toward the nurse’s station,
her shadow casting a thin gray exclamation point on the glossy gray tile behind her. She placed a chipped plastic clipboard on the counter and stared at the young woman on the other side of the desk. “Rona, you’re going to scare me to death. Quit staring. And wear noisy shoes for God’s sake.” Louise pushed her chair back quickly and placed several sheets of paper on top of Rona’s clipboard. “There are the offerings for the evening. You might want to visit Tomlinson’s room first. He’s really struggling.” “Of course.” Rona’s thin lips pulled back to reveal two rows of slightly crooked teeth. She cast her heavy lidded eyes downward for a moment then stared steadily at Louise. Even in the subdued light of the nurse’s station, Rona’s pupils were two microscopic points in the center of her luminous jade eyes. “Thank you, dear. I don’t know how you do it, every night. Another crazy old bat. Another toe tag. More worm food. It creeps me out. If I’d known about gera-psych six months ago I would have changed my major to journalism that’s a given.” Louise took a deep breath and ran her hands over the front of her wrinkled gray scrubs. “I find it…satisfying.” Rona smiled again and turned on her heel, heading down the hall to room seven b. Mr. Tomlinson was becoming her favorite stop each evening and her heart raced as she gently pushed the heavy door open and entered the old man’s room. Above the whirs and beeps of the machines keeping the old man alive and hydrated, Rona heard the groans and sighs as Tomlinson slept uneasily. “Good evening, Roger.” Rona pushed an errant lock of pale blonde hair back over her ear and placed a lithe hand over the old man’s gnarled fingers. He tensed reflexively as fear and pain rose in his ancient denim blue eyes. “It’s ok. I’ve come to take away your pain, Roger.” “Good girl.” The old man whispered. “Take it all this time.” Tomlinson forced out the request through cracked lips. “Are you sure?” Rona’s pulse raced at the old man’s request. She swallowed involuntarily as hunger pangs rose in her stomach. “I’m ready.” Roger’s fingers curled viselike around her hand. “It won’t hurt.” “No.” Rona’s pulse quickened as she placed her hands on either side of Roger’s forehead. Her pupils expanded until her eyes were two ebony abysses as the surge of Roger’s thoughts coursed through her. His pain was palpable and his mind chaotic as she drank deeply from his soul. Slowly the old man’s depthless blue eyes turned milky and his body relaxed. She let her hands fall against the pillow as his life ebbed. Fully satiated, she rose and turned off the machines one by one. “Goodnight, sweet prince.” Rona placed a kiss on the old man’s lifeless forehead. “Sweet dreams.” Soundlessly she left the room, her shadow hovering for a moment over the bed. © 2008 TL Boehm
© 2008 Full Moon Press

Poet’s Corner
Midnight’s Kiss Sweetness, sweet eyes That capture the soul As blue as the deepest blue sea Antique sapphire gems Hold stories untold Not e’er said unto me Softness, soft lips That tingle with fright Their texture, the petal of a flower Ancient tongues reveal Hidden meanings of rite Before they are sent to devour Deafness, deaf ears That hear not the cries As engulfed as you are in blood Old tales doth tell And wisdom denies Any hope on the thought of love Smoothness, smooth skin Brushed across delicate flesh As cold as the fingers of winter Aged, and yet not The touches of death And the mind has begun to splinter Darkness, dark spirit Who envelops the soul And takes it to its final hour Your age cannot stop The mystery death holds And so, your eternity becomes sour
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Mendicant

I'll beggar no one for flowing words of praise or validation through effusive flattery, or pretty poetic posies left passively on my portfolio. Instead I'll write, my words carefully crafted to mirror my motionpicture mind. Perhaps you will be drawn to them and will see my dreams. It matters not; for this is your illusion, not mine.

© 2007 Siobhan MacIntyre

© 2007 N.L. Gervasio
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Poet’s Corner
Like Stars

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Disappointment Disappointment is a lavish resin Embedded in the filaments Of my porous linen skin The hardened gravecloth Definitive of my forever existence. The mute reminder of shattered expectations Brittle dreams snap in the calloused embrace Of this second normal life Treasured friends dropped in mental scrapbooks They moved on as images yellow under the touch of years I lie silent in my shroud of thoughts Bleeding vivid crimson Trickling disappointment on the page First love to cover a multitude of sins Desperate clinging bits of flesh Shredded from passion's bones By the blade of a name not my own Disappointed I am yours at fires end When love congeals around trivial things You settled for less than best.... My words are tears of disappointment Blurred lines I cry alone Disappointment pinions aloft Over desperate dreams too fragile to fly Ragged in their survival They twist in the swirling wind Cry out for mercy, peace. I am disappointed to give them only fatal release Disappointment is only the casting of earth On an already covered coffin Its contents inconsequential Ashes cold with no soul fire © 2007 TL Boehm
© 2008 Full Moon Press

under the shadows by flickering night these rocking and rolling humans red from their desire laugh at the dark and create illumination along these city's streets like stars © 2007 Jesse F Hayes

Alabama Nightstalk
By N.L. Gervasio

His amber eyes found her the moment she walked in.

Hungered eyes. Lustful eyes. And she was perfect. In every way. Long brown hair. Long legs. Large breasts. Not huge, by any means, but perfect. Just the way he likes them. Her chocolate eyes briefly met with his and he gave his best smile to lure her in. She returned the gesture coyly with soft pink lips. A twinkle in her eye. It had worked. Let the hunting begin, he thought as he stepped out of view briefly, into the crowd. Once he had a view of her again, he stopped and stood idly, waiting to see what she would do. It was hard to miss her tall, slender frame. As it was, he assumed, hard to miss his. She looked around, eyes rolling over the crowd slowly, but not too obvious. Their eyes locked again, and he gave a short nod and took a drink from his beer. It would be the only one he would have tonight, so he worked on it gingerly. He watched her as she took her drink from the bar and turned around. Her big brown eyes searched where she had last seen the tall man with the long black hair, but he had moved again. Closer, but hidden. He stood behind a small group, but her eyes found him once more, and he gave a shy smile and turned away, playing the game. Her companion, a blonde nearly as tall as she was, pulled her out to the dance floor as he watched from the shadows. He liked the way she moved upon that dance floor, and he envisioned how she would move beneath him. On top would probably be better. He wanted to taste her, ravage her, sink his teeth into that precious flesh. She found his hungry eyes washing over her and smirked. He let out a short laugh and raised his drink slightly. Then he moved again, out of sight. Still, closer. He watched as her eyes searched for him. Precious dark brown eyes. The better to see me with, he thought. There, you found me again with those beautiful eyes of yours. Her friend leaned over to whisper in her ear, distracting her from him. He moved once more. He now stood at the dance floor’s edge, behind her and next to a speaker. She turned slowly, gracious in her movement with the beat of the music that thumped through his body. Thump. Thump. Thump. When her eyes fell upon him, she stopped. He smiled, staring into her passionate eyes. She returned the smile and began dancing again… for him. His grin broadened, and he stepped forward, his hand slipping around her waist and pulling her close. She didn’t seem to mind. He leaned over her and the scent of magnolia drifted into his nostrils. His favorite flower. “Gideon,” he said softly in her ear. She pulled her head back and gave him a funny look. He smiled. “No bible jokes, please. I’ve heard them all.” She giggled and then leaned into him again. “Nico,” she replied. It was his turn to give the strange look. “Short for Nicollette.” He nodded with a smile. Her voice was beauty, too, and he couldn’t wait for
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her to cry his name. And her giggle, a nice flirtation. “You don’t have an Alabama accent,” he stated. “That’s because I’m from Arizona,” she replied. “We don’t have accents.” “Are you visiting?” he asked, and she nodded. “For how long?” “The weekend,” she answered. “Too short, if you ask me.” “What’s so special here that you would need more than a weekend?” She pointed over her shoulder. “My best friend,” she said. “We haven’t seen each other in nearly ten years.” “Then I must be intruding,” he said as his eyes locked with hers. She slowly shook her head as a sly smile touched her lips. He grinned. Good, he thought, because you are my prey for the night. She wanted a bottle of water, but he told her to stay with her friend. The scent of alcohol on her was slight, almost unnoticeable. Perhaps she drank the same as him: only one. He watched her from the bar as she danced with her friend while he waited for two bottles of water and a rum and coke. The alcohol was for the friend. He didn’t know her name. It wasn’t important. He wasn’t hunting her. He returned with the drinks, and she took the bottle of water, opening it and drinking half of it down, her eyes remaining on his. She thanked him and began to dance around him. He laughed at this game, but knew it well, though hers was slightly different as she danced her seduction. She wasn’t playing games like the others had. No wolf and rabbit here. No playing hard to get. His beautiful prey knew exactly what she wanted. It wouldn’t take all night, and that pleased him because he was hungry for her. Her body moved against his, breasts pushing into his chest. His hands slipped around her waist once more, moving to the small of her back and pushing her groin into his. Gideon noticed the friend smiling before turning to dance with another. It was a knowing smile, but the action intrigued him, if only briefly. Nico’s tongue slipped around his ear and he shuddered from it. Then her teeth nibbled on his earlobe. He returned the favor and felt her flesh warm. Before long, his lips had found hers. Soft lips. Precious eyes. Smooth skin. He was famished for her. They danced a few more songs, giving in to the beat of the bass thrumming through the speakers. Thump. Thump. Thump. He pulled her out to the patio. A quiet place. In the darkness that fell around them. His hand slipped to the back of her head and he pulled her close for a kiss. Soft lips. Precious skin. Seductive eyes. The better to see me with, he thought again. But do you see me? He nibbled on her lower lip, taking a taste of her. She grinned and returned the gesture. Perhaps you do, he thought. They walked out to his jet black GTO and climbed in. She pulled on the seatbelt as he turned the engine. It purred, much in the way he expected her to purr for him in a short time. He stared at her a moment as the seatbelt clicked. “You can never be too careful,” she said with a warm smile. Gideon agreed and clicked his seatbelt into place. “So, where are you taking me?” she asked. His eyes slid to their corners and he grinned. “Where do you want to go?” “Heaven,” she replied with a sigh. He chuckled. “Oh, I think I can take you there.” She giggled. Flirtation again, though not necessary at this point. They pulled up to his lonely home that sat amidst vast farmlands and backed to a forest. “Oh, I love the forest,” she said, taking notice of its beauty in the moonlight. “Me too,” he replied as he opened his door. When she climbed out of the car, she twirled in a circle, looking up at the sky. “Look at all the stars,” she said. “I don’t get to see stars like this at home.” He smiled. “Damn shame,” he said. “Do you want to lie in the backyard and stare at the stars?” Her head dropped down quickly as the grin spread across her face. Porcelain face. Precious eyes. Soft
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lips. She twirled her long dark hair around her finger and nodded. “Come on then,” he said, heading for the house. She hopped and caught up to him, and her fingers danced around his waist as he unlocked the front door. He snatched a blanket up from the couch as they skirted through the living room and into the kitchen. He stopped briefly at the back door. “Do you want a beer or something?” he asked, turning to face her. Her eyes sparkled in the darkness. “No thanks, I don’t drink that much,” she replied. “Me either,” he said and opened the back door. He stood to the side and waved her through, bowing slightly, and she stepped out onto the concrete steps that led down into his glorious yard. She hopped down the stairs and kicked her sandals off, allowing her feet to sink into the luxurious Alabama grass. Her head dropped back only slightly and she sighed. Gideon had stepped around her and was walking toward the center of the yard by the time she opened her eyes again. He unfolded the blanket and laid it down, then sat upon it, waiting for her. She sat down, facing the forest, and stared into its dark beauty, the soft moonlight only casting short rays of light to penetrate its forbidden mysteries, but faltering just short of reaching them. “You really do love the forest,” Gideon stated. She nodded. “I love its hidden treasures,” she replied. “Wolves live in the forest.” “Yes,” he said. “Do you like wolves?” She nodded again. “I love wolves, everything about them. Their beauty, their grace. They are one of the most majestic creatures on this planet.” He smiled. He’d met others who revered the wolf like this. But would she show fear in the face of one? There were several wolves in the forest behind his home. He loved them. He fell back onto the blanket and stared up at the stars. Her head fell against his arm and they both stared into the midnight sky. Her fingers trailed along his hip, petting lightly as a star drifted against the black velvet sky. His hand came up from around her shoulder and his fingers touched softly between her breasts, sinking into the low vneck she wore. He turned towards her, his other hand sliding across her stomach, underneath her shirt. His heart pounded heavily in his chest. Thump. Thump. Thump. Much like the music had earlier. She smiled. He hovered over her as she stared into his amber eyes, and his tongue teased her lips, lightly touching and then pulling away. Then he took her mouth in his, kissing her deeply. Devouring. Soft lips. Smooth skin. Beating heart. A soft moan came from her throat. Not quite purring just yet. Her leg locked around his, and pulled him on top of her. His hunger for her heightened. Only slightly. His lips devoured hers, and then slid to her neck. Sweet neck. Smooth skin. Rapid pulse. Something of a noise. Not a purr. Her fingers slowly worked his shirt up. Strong muscles. Smooth skin. Tender flesh. He pulled his shirt off and threw it to the grass. Her fingers trailed down his chest, to his navel. She pushed herself up on elbows and he leaned forward, his fingers lightly touching the hem of her shirt. She sat up, took his face in her hands and kissed him again. He pulled her shirt off and threw it to the grass. His heart beat harder. Perfect breasts. Just the way he likes them. She went back on her elbows again and he slowly crawled over her. Stalking her. His prey. The moonlight reflected in her eyes. Dark brown eyes. Ebony eyes in the dark of night. Beautiful eyes. His face lingered in front of hers before he quickly moved to the left and bit her neck. She gasped with pleasure. Quick breaths. Smooth skin. Heart beating. His fingers unhooked her bra. It found itself on the grass, too. Oh so perfect breasts. He smiled at her. A pleasant smile. Lips trailed down her neck, to her breast. He took it into his mouth, full. A moan. A soft growl. Playful, like a wolf. He slid to the other breast. Smooth skin. Beating heart. Thump. Thump. Thump. Her fingers trailed along his back. Nails scratched when he bit down on her breast. A low growl. Again, playful. His tongue slid down her stomach, following every curve. Smooth skin. Like silk. Blood, just under the surface. His hands undid her pants and pulled her legs free of them. She giggled. His prey. He would eat her up. And down. The moon shone brightly, casting his shadow upon her. He grinned. Her hand slid around his neck, into
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his long black hair. She pulled him down, into a kiss again. His body moved against her, pressing into her, only the denim of his pants between them. Her fingers trailed down his chest, to his waist, and played at the waistline of his jeans before working the buttons. He helped her push them off. The full length of him pressed hard against her thigh. She reached down and took him in her hand. Gentle strokes, like she already knew him. Knew what he liked. Good prey. Eyes rolled. Quiet sigh. Tender bites. A low growl. Almost a purr, coming from her throat. He moved with her gently, their motion becoming one. She felt good. He nibbled on her neck. Love bites. She told him to bite harder. He did. He took hold of the pulse in her neck. Thump. Thump. Thump. Beating heart. The first cry. She liked it. Blood beneath her flesh, rushing through her veins like a river. He could almost taste it. His body matched hers perfectly. He liked it. He liked her. His prey. Her dark brown eyes with hints of amber. The light glow of her skin in the soft moonlight. He pushed into her. Quickening motion. Hearts beating faster. Gasping breaths. “Gideon,” she whispered, barely on her breath. Her movements, her reactions, just like he envisioned. Her prey to his predator. Her predator to his prey. A rip in the blanket, sounding like sharp claws. She cried, like he knew she would. Cried his name. But he wasn’t finished with her. Not yet. He rolled to his back and pulled her with him. She leaned over him and bit his neck. Love bites, as his hands ran the length of her body. Skin smooth. Silk-like. A soft moan. He liked her bites. Told her to bite harder. She grinned. “Are you sure?” she asked. He nodded. She did. She bit harder. He cried out. He liked it. He hungered for her to bite again. Quick breaths, as she moved on top of him. Good prey. A howl in the night. Wolf song. She giggled as she ravaged him. The sound brought a small grin to his lips before her mouth took them again. Sweet lips. Soft skin, at the small of her back. Perfect breasts pressed against his chest. The fine hair tickling his skin. A shudder. Goosebumps. Her back arched. He cried out. Flesh tore. Blood trickled, and then flowed. Eyes widened. He looked into her amber eyes. The scent of blood filled the air. Blood dripped, looking black in the dark of night, with only the moon to cast its light, bearing witness. Smooth skin. Precious eyes. Beating heart. Thump. Thump. Thump. He closed his eyes for a moment. Thump. Thump. Opened them again. “Good prey.” Thump. Wolf song. In the night. Her predator to his prey. Amber eyes. Long ebony hair. Soft hair. Smooth skin. Strong muscles. Sweet lips. A good mate. She jumped up and pulled her cell phone out of her pants pocket. Dialed the number. Someone picked up. “Hey Cyn,” she said. “Come get me.” She looked down at him. “I’m done.” She giggled as she hung up the phone, but before picking up her clothes and walking away from him, she looked over her shoulder to the forest. The howl started low and deep in her throat, and the others joined her song. She took in a deep breath, grabbed her things, and walked away from Gideon’s body. She didn’t devour him. She left him whole, alive. He’d come find her soon enough. They always did. She liked him. He would make a good mate. He already knew how to hunt.

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© 2006 N.L. Gervasio

© 2008 Full Moon Press

News
Attack on Wolves: Aerial Hunting
Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, has made it known to the nation that she would like to see to the destruction of wolves in her state by placing a bounty on their heads of $150. Is this not an archaic and barbaric practice, the likes of which have not been seen in nearly 100 years? Of course, the bounty was rapidly thrown out by a state court. However, Alaska’s aerial gunning practices continue. Not only is this practice affecting Alaska, but wolves in other states such as Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana are also threatened. In 1972, Congress passed the federal Airborne Hunting Act (AHA) to ban hunters from using airplanes to hunt wolves or other wildlife. This Act came about when a brutal scene was put on display depicting a wolf hunt, which began a national public outcry. Alaska, however, has found a loophole in the Act, and has made wide use of it. They feigned it as “wildlife management,” allowing hunters to take to the air time and again to engage in the ruthless slaughter of wolves and black and brown bears. Alaska’s voters have twice attempted to stop aerial hunting, but the Alaska Legislature has overturned their efforts each time. Aerial hunting is prohibited by Federal law, according to the AHA, but Alaska still continues to practice it for the purpose of falsely increasing particular game populations to bring in hunters from all regions of the nation. The targeted region covers 60,000 square miles of wolf population, plus 12,000 square miles of bear population. Congress did not intend to have aerial hunting state-sanctioned to indulge game hunters with larger game populations, and 671 wolves have been slaughtered since 2003 due to Alaska’s program. If one were to take a look at the legislative history, he or she would find that Congress was attempting to halt this mode of practice on wildlife by introducing the AHA. Aerial hunting is against the ethics of most hunters. Fair chase is a cornerstone concept amongst hunters, and hunting from the air is not believed to be fair-chase hunting. Aerial hunting gives an unfair advantage over the prey because it is not considered sportsmanlike; therefore, hunters who consider themselves ethical do not use it. Scientific data falls short because the state does not adequately monitor declining predator populations. The American Society of Mammalogists (ASM) has voiced their concern regarding aerial hunting in Alaska, declaring the practice to be unsound and potentially damaging to the ecosystem. The ASM is one of the oldest and largest societies devoted to the study of mammals. If the predator population is destroyed, although the program is meant to boost the prey population, the prey populations will grow too large in number and become susceptible to disease and lack of food, and also weather changes, creating a dramatic decline in these prey populations. Regardless of this fact, the state’s Board of Game continues to call for aerial hunting to eradicate wolves from vast regions of the Alaskan wilderness. Other states are taking Alaska’s cue and have declared plans to begin aerial hunting in order to get rid of wolves if the wolves are removed from the endangered species list; a very likely possibility. Some are even calling for aggressive techniques—aerial hunting, as well as hazing—which is in violation of the AHA. Idaho’s governor intends to destroy over 80 percent of the wolves in his state, which has already started to plan their efforts in wolferadication. The only thing that can stop aerial hunting now is federal legislation, clarifying Congress’ purpose for the AHA. The Protect America’s Wildlife (PAW) Act is being proposed to Congress at this time. If this Act does not pass, Alaska’s legislature will persist in ignoring the objective of the AHA. This Act would seal the loophole in the AHA that legislation continues to exploit, and stop other states from exploiting it as well. For the latest updates, visit Defenders of Wildlife

© 2008 NL Gervasio

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Blog Central
From the Desk of TL Boehm

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Once again I find myself bleary eyed before the flickering screen as my fingers furiously type out random thoughts left in my brain at the end of a frenzied day. While my family members drape themselves over various living furniture and turn off their frontal lobes, I inch my face closer to the monitor as if my proximity would ignite an original thought, a bit of dialogue, a paragraph or two of narrative. Oblivious to my dilemma, the spouse makes some vague reference to ―playing on the computer.‖ Perhaps it is the pastime of many cyber writers frequenting the blogosphere. Those prolific souls, who effervesce poetry like carbonated fizz from a cold soda on a sweltering summer day, collect fawning readers with pages of alliteration and metaphor -heavily sprinkled with innuendo and references to bodily fluids. I too succumb to an occasional moment of posting page candy for the masses, but deep within my synapses something greater waits. It isn‘t iambic pentameter or the perfect sestina that wakes me from sleep, but characters who whisper dialogue and sweeping scenic narrative lines that demand to be written. My novels are my children. I have waited months from that spark of inception to the birth of an idea. I‘ve spent years perfecting the mix of protagonist/antagonist/conflict to grow my toddler into three or four hundred pages of carefully edited, highly polished ―oh my God, I cannot put this story down‖ double- spaced text. For those writers brave enough to take on the daunting task of birthing and raising a literary child, the hours are long and the friends are few. While coworkers exchange tidbits of office gossip around the lunchroom table, I scarf cold pizza at my workstation and power type before that new plot twist slips away amidst the deadlines and obligations that clutter my desk and my life. Unlike the poetic fodder offered up on personal websites to be gobbled by voracious virtual blog groupies, acceptance for me as novelist is completely different. The joy of watching my unreasonable manuscript morph into a masterpiece is tempered by the knowledge that I, and perhaps my test group of two or three blood relatives are the only souls who see the brilliance contained in my pages. For my creation, publication is the rite of passage I seek. As I send my literary offspring in emails and snail mails I find myself the accidental collector of everything from auto replies to personal rejections to the abyss of no response at all. This child I have birthed from my soul brings only pain with each perfunctory dismissal, yet I am compelled to dust her off, re-edit, re-polish, rewind and send her back off to an uncertain fate. As tempting as it often becomes to rip the monitor from its perch and hammer my hard drive until it is a pile of glittery dust, the only real failure comes in giving up on my literary child. As a parent, I must believe that she, my novel, will be the success I envision her to be.
© 2008 TL Boehm
© 2008 Full Moon Press

Salem Revisited?
An essay on Current Affairs

Do my eyes really see, in this 21st century, a woman being condemned for witchcraft? Not just condemned, mind you, but executed. That means to the death, killed, murdered, all because a man claims she made him impotent (Saleh, para. 3). Highly unlikely, but hey, he had to blame someone, right? Otherwise, he wouldn’t be much of a man, would he? This speaks volumes of the mentality involved. Unfortunately, my eyes do not deceive me as they scan the news article from the BBC. Can you say ‘Salem Witch Trials’? Of course, you can. You remember, right, back in 1692 in the good old U.S. of A. where several young delusional and bored girls successfully accused hundreds of witchcraft, resulting in 19 men and women convicted of witchcraft and hanged, and one 80-year-old man “pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges” (Linder, para. 1). There are several stories about it, high school plays (which I saw a few years ago), and even a movie called “The Crucible,” which has the same name as the play and stars Winona Ryder. We have learned about this in American History classes, and yet, here it is again, in another country half a world away. How is this even possible in these modern times? Other witnesses have given written statements, stating that she bewitched them as well (Saleh, para. 6). Let me guess, either they were all men, or this poor woman wasn’t very well liked for whatever reason. Does the reason even really matter? No, not when it will result in her death over a lesson that should have been learned over 300 years ago. Ah, but history does have a habit of repeating itself, doesn’t it? And this isn’t happening in America or Europe. I just never thought I would be alive to see something as atrocious as the witch trials come back to haunt humanity. The article states that religious police arrested her three years ago and literally beat a confession out of her, forcing her to fingerprint the confession (she is illiterate) without ever having been read said confession (Saleh, para. 2). This woman, Fawza Falih, didn’t even know what she was signing, or fingerprinting. First, let’s address the idea of ‘religious police.’ Again, has the world not learned a lesson from history? When religion rules a society, death comes fast and hard to those who do not choose to follow the faith. The barbarians, the savages, call them what you will; those names have been used several times over to refer to people of opposing faiths in the far and recent past. The Crusades comes to mind. An interesting thing about that is that Saladin thought the same thing about the English; that they were barbarians. Funny, isn’t it, how the skin tone makes one think you are a barbarian, or that you are an infidel because you follow a different faith. Let me make something very clear between these two opposing faiths of the Crusades: IT IS THE SAME GOD, whether you call Him God or Allah. Catholicism certainly has shed more blood across the lands of this world than any other religion, and yet it sits as one of the world’s major religions along with Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The thing I find intriguing about these world religions is their similarities in beliefs. Essentially, what it all boils down to is freedom of religion. In this country, we have this freedom. It is
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one of many freedoms we take for granted these days, because there will always be those who try to take that freedom away from you. I went through this recently on the job because I worked for Christians, and I was just not Christian enough for them. However, Ms. Falih lives in a country where this freedom does not exist, which I also find interesting because I have studied Sufism, an Islam-based religion that deals or works with the more ‘spiritual’ side of things. Hmm, sounds rather like Wicca to me. Still, should this woman be put to death because people have accused her of witchcraft? The article does not state what religion Ms. Falih follows, but my bet would be Islam because it is the dominant religion in that region. Human Rights Watch has written a letter to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, pleading with him to stop the execution (Saleh, para. 1). He is the only person able to put a stop to this atrocity now. Ms. Falih was not allowed to attend a majority of her own hearings, and when the appeal court threw out the death sentence, the law courts decided that in the public’s best interest, she would still be executed (Saleh, para. 9 & 10). Again, I ask how this can happen in today’s world. It is not often that I come across news articles, as I do not watch television, but this was brought to my attention. The only reason I am ranting about it is because; 1) I feel more people should know about it, and 2) it upsets me to no end that something such as this can happen in the world we live in today. Do we allow this to happen in the 21st century? Do you think that we should turn a blind eye on the oppression that happens in a place half a world away? Moreover, do you think that Fawza Falih deserves the freedom to practice whatever religion she chooses? As a human being, you bet your ass she does! I shall leave you with the last paragraph in Linder’s article, which I think sums up just about what I said here: The witches disappeared, but witchhunting in America did not. Each generation must learn the lessons of history or risk repeating its mistakes. Salem should warn us to think hard about how to best safeguard and improve our system of justice.

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References: Linder, D. (2007). The Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692. An Account of Events in Salem. Retrieved February 14, 2008, from: http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/SAL_ACCT.HTM Saleh, H. (2008). BBC News. Pleas for condemned Saudi ‘witch’. Retrieved February 14, 2008, from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7244579.stm

© 2008 N.L. Gervasio

© 2008 Full Moon Press

Pentecost
by Jessica F Hayes Chapter One

“Hey, Sibby, look what I found,” my brother said, thrusting his mud-caked hand between my face and my book. “What is it?” I asked, staring at the dirty, silver disc in his hand. “I don’t know, but it looks expensive,” he said, pulling it closer to his face. “No, it looks old,” I said, grateful to have the muddy thing away from my pages. He shrugged, “Same thing.” I snorted to hide my laughter, but chose not to reply. He grabbed his brand new metal detector and went back towards the front door. “This is the best present. Ever,” he mumbled. I shook my head. On his 16th birthday, our parents (all of them) asked him what he wanted, anything at all, and had fully expected to have him ask for a car. Instead, he had asked for a metal detector. I was distracted from my book once again when my black lab jumped up onto the couch next to me. He laid his head on my thigh, but kept his eyes on the door. “Hey, Od,” I said, scratching him behind the ears. “What’s up?” He kept staring at the front door, which is open to the vast yard. I looked, but saw nothing to cause worry beyond the screen door, and went back to my book for ten minutes, before Od raised his head, his ears pinned back. The wind was rustling the trees, but nothing looked wrong yet. I ignored the strange tingly feeling that was creeping up the back of my neck. After a minute, I couldn’t ignore it, so I set down my book. Od jumped down from the couch and beat me to the screen door. I looked carefully into the trees that bordered my property. The woods had always bothered me. Too many shadows and sounds where there shouldn’t be any. This house, however, had always been free of the movement out of the corner of my eye, and the voices that plagued me throughout my childhood. That’s why I bought it. I saw Roy walking back up to the house, his metal detector and spade tucked under his arm, and his
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muddy fingers playing with his newfound trinkets. A low growl was starting in Od’s throat, and he was staring at the trees. I smelled cherry tobacco, and turned to look over my shoulder to my kitchen. I saw a flicker of movement reflected in the window over the sink, but no other indication that my carefully guarded house was breeched. “Whoa – Od, chill out,” Roy said when he approached the door. “Don’t worry, he’s not growling at you,” I said. Roy paused for a moment and looked over his shoulder at the woods. “This is why your dog freaks Mary out,” he said. I hated it when he brought up our evil stepmother. “Dogs can see things we can’t,” I said. “Most of us can’t, anyway.” “You need a roommate,” he said, then held his hand up to me. “You know I would go crazy if another human lived here,” I said. “You insist on phrasing things so strangely,” he said as he shook his head. “Look what I found.” He was shaking the dirty shiny things at me. “I found three more of those old coins I showed you. And a couple bullets and casings… and I think this is a button—” “I see,” I interrupted. I had made the mistake of looking at the button he had held up, and saw the gray uniform it flew from as a Yankee cannonball went bouncing off the ground and into the soldier’s torso. “I bet these woods are full of Civil War stuff,” he said, now looking at a little lump of metal. I swallowed my words as the sight of the bullet tearing through a Red Coat flashed behind my eyes. Why hadn’t I seen any of these things when I bought the house? I realized Roy was staring at me strangely. He could no doubt see the green hue I must have taken on. Seeing someone disemboweled by a cannonball tends to do that, whether it’s physically in front of your face or not. “Revolutionary, too,” I said, to assure him I was all right. He surveyed me for a little longer before he said, “Anyway, wanna take me downtown to the Antique store to see if any of these things are valuable?” I pulled a face, rather than responded. I couldn’t touch cheap electronics without seeing the sweatshop it came from. Antique stores were seizure-inducing montages. “When’s the last time you were out of the house, Sibby?” he scolded. I responded quickly, “I went grocery shopping on Saturday.” Only because none of the nearby grocery stores would let me order online. “You need a boyfriend, too,” he sighed. I laughed at him. “Wash up and I’ll let you take Betsy,” I said. I knew he had been waiting anxiously to drive the Charger, but even on the quiet roads out here, I wouldn’t let him take her out until he was 16, and therefore insured. His eyes lit up, and he instantly forgot to nag me about my non-existent social life. Roy was washed up and gone within a matter of minutes, but Od stayed at the door, ears pinned back and eyes focused on the trees beyond our little clearing. I stood beside him and patted him on the head. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw them amongst the trees. My insides turned to ice and I stared hard at the group of trees nearest the door. What had been the lurking figure of a man was now just a tree trunk. My eyes played a trick on me, I reassured myself, and I’m a dirty, dirty liar. I knew what was really going on, but I refused to acknowledge it. I had never seen any of them in my house, and I assumed I had just bought a house that was blissfully devoid of the lingering dead.
© 2008 Full Moon Press

“C’mon, Od,” I said, and started to close the door. He edged backwards, but still kept his gaze on the woods. I grabbed my bundle of dried sage and my light from the little table next to my couch. I stepped carefully into the kitchen, my hands shaking and my stomach in knots. I breathed steadily and deeply, waiting for a hint of the foreign smell I had picked up earlier. Od trotted into the kitchen ahead of me, and went to his water dish without so much as a sideways glance to any of the little alcoves in the tiny kitchen. I made my way to the refrigerator and pulled it open. It was that horrible time of day—dinnertime. I wasn’t especially hungry, but I knew that I should eat something. The sun was almost gone, and I hadn’t eaten since noon-ish. Earlier I had thought of making spaghetti, but I had changed my mind. That was one of the more unfortunate side effects about remotely viewing disembowelment. I sighed and closed the refrigerator door, not wanting to deal with it. “Milk salad?” I asked Od. He paid me no attention and ate enthusiastically. Cereal was my best option, I decided. Od suddenly stopped chewing, and looked intently at the phone on the counter. His ears were pinned back again. I turned and looked at the phone, and very slowly, a strange, high-pitched noise began to come from it. I froze. Nothing like this had happened since I moved out of my father’s house. I thought I was safe here at this house. Suddenly, the phone rang. I jumped and dropped the box of cereal, sending chocolate rice puffs skittering across the floor. “Shit!” My heart was racing now, and I grabbed the phone to see that it was Roy calling. “Hello?” “What’s wrong?” he asked. “You scared the shit out of me,” I said. “Sorry. I know you’re not used to having humans call you,” he teased. He had no idea. “Do you want me to grab pizza or something on the way back?” “Uh, not pizza, no,” I said, trying to carefully get to the pantry without completely covering the bottoms my feet in crushed cereal. “Not really feeling the tomato sauce right now.” “Burgers? Chinese?” he asked. “Whatever you’d like. There’s a twenty in the ash tray,” I said. He was quiet for a moment, and then started laughing. “What, do I need to start smoking, too?” “Do you randomly store money in strange places?” he asked. “It’s a quirk,” I answered dryly. A beeping sound interrupted what he was saying. I pulled the handset away to look at the caller ID, but nothing was displayed. “Sorry,” I said. “Call waiting. What’d you say?” “You can answer it if you need to, it’s okay,” he said. “Nah, it’s just a telemarketer anyway,” I answered. “Oh, well in that case,” he laughed. “I just said, it might be a while ‘til I get back, because I’m just now getting to town.” “I figured. That’s cool,” I said, tucking the phone to my shoulder so I could grab the broom and dustpan. “Sweet. Later!” he said, and hung up the phone. I crunched my way back to the counter to put the phone back on the base. As I set it down, the answering machine beeped loudly at me, and the message display switched from a fat zero to a one. I jumped again, and landed on a pile of cereal. I pushed the play button impatiently, but nothing started immediately.
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Od started growling again, and I looked at him carefully. I smelled the tobacco again, and looked around but saw no one. Static built up over the phone, and I swore I could hear someone whispering. I shushed Od and pushed the button to send it back to the beginning, and turned the volume as high as it would go. The wind was rustling the trees outside, but I listened carefully, trying to ignore the trees and Od. The whispering started again, and it was unmistakable. “Get out,” it muttered. Long and raspy, and belonging to a male. Od barked, but I didn’t jump this time. I was frozen to the spot, my hands shaking and heart thudding. “Get out.” More drawn out the second time, and Od continued barking. I turned and left the kitchen, going back to the living room and towards the front door. I ignored the crushed cereal cemented to the bottom of my feet, and put on a pair of slippers near the door. “Od!” I called for him as I pulled on my coat, and opened the front door. I didn’t need to be told a third time. I grabbed Roy’s keys hanging on the wall, and opened the door, only to see a mass of shadows moving on the edge of the woods. Some of them disappeared, moved behind a tree, ducked to the ground. But most of them stood where they were, not caring that I saw them. I had never seen that many, and never so aware of me as I was of them. I slammed the door shut, and leaned against it. I wanted to call Roy, but I knew he wouldn’t understand. The smell of cherry tobacco was strong now. I could smell it all around me. I looked around, careful to check the corners of the room, and all the quirky little alcoves, but saw no one. “Get out of my house!” I said loudly, realizing that I had left my sage in the kitchen. “If you are here to harm me, get out!” I shouted again. Od was no longer barking, but was at my side, poised for action. I moved quickly to my little office off the living room, and turned on my laptop. I tried to ignore the sounds outside; the hushed whispers and the cliché movie moans. Chain-rattling would be next, I knew it. Od placed himself beside my chair, but turned and looked at the door. I reached up and closed the blinds as I waited for the computer to boot up. I rapped my fingers on the desk with nervous energy, and stared at the Windows logo on the screen. It didn’t stop me from feeling them all out there, though, so I opened the bottom drawer to my right. I hadn’t had a drink since I lived with my father and stepmother, but I needed it. I pulled the bottle of Captain Morgan out, and took the lid off. I had always wanted to keep a bottle of scotch hidden in my desk, but I hated scotch. The alcohol hadn’t been necessary since I moved into this house, but I had bought it just in case someone wandered through and realized I could see them. That hadn’t happened at all, and the bottle was a little dusty. I didn’t bother with a cup, and drank until it was too physically painful and had to stop. I gasped in pain and breathed heavily for a moment until the burning subsided. Then bottoms up went the Captain again. I waited to do it a third time, but the combination of an empty stomach and frat boy chugging had my head reeling and my gag reflex drastically reduced. I covered my mouth with one hand, and held on to the desk with the other, waiting for the room to stop spinning. My laptop chimed, and I entered the password carefully. It took a few more seconds for the desktop to load, so I closed my eyes and focused on not getting rid of the rum I had just imbibed. The dizziness ebbed away, and I could hear the murmuring from the trees again. I grabbed the bottle by the neck, and took a few more swallows. At least it wasn’t vodka. Within minutes, I was halfway through the bottle and my face and fingertips were delightfully numb. The voices however, and their persistent tingly-fication of the back of my neck, were unrelenting. I pulled open an internet browser and went to Google. I hadn’t visited any of the sites I did regularly as a teenager, and went looking for new ones. I jumped into the first forum I could find, signed up, and posted for help quickly. I could feel the shadows moving closer to the house outside, and I thought of calling Roy, but I
© 2008 Full Moon Press

knew my cell phone was upstairs, and I wasn’t going near the kitchen phone if I could help it. Od’s ears pinned back briefly as he stared at the closed office door, so I took another swig. The bell on my instant messenger rang up, and I jumped, dribbling rum down my chin. I wiped it with the back of my hand and leaned closer to read the screen. Cat: How badly is your dog freaking out? I read it carefully. I couldn’t remember if I had mentioned Od or not, but I didn’t feel like clicking back to the forum. My head was spinning something fierce, now. I typed carefully, and then laughed at my drunken, instant message slurring. Sibs: Prettty bad… hes been growling sometimes and won’t leave myside. Cat responded immediately: What wards do you have on the house? Sibs: what are wards? Cat: That answers that question. You said there were a lot, how many? What protection are you using against them? Again, her response seemed a lot quicker than it probably was. There was a faint scratching noise from the windows in the living room, and the hairs on the back of my neck were still at attention, so I devoted a little more attention to the dear Captain. Once the burning had stopped, I responded. Sibs: sage Cat: Idiot girl. Sage is for cleansing, not protection. Where do you live? I looked at the screen for a moment, then at the office door, where Od was staring so intently. I tried to type carefully. Sibs: I’m not telling some weirdo on line where I live. I hastily closed the messenger, and went back to the forum. The only response I had there was from BowDowntotheCat, which only said, “I’m sending you an IM.” Three other people had looked at it, but no one else had responded. I clicked on my Google search again, but the instant messenger popped back up, ringing loudly. Cat: Look – you can tell me and I can be there within the hour, or you can fight them off all night by yourself, and I’ll be there in three hours after I do a locating spell. Your choice, babe. I looked at the screen for a moment, debating which I was more afraid of. The temperature in the office
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dropped, and I looked at the light shining under the door from the living room. A shadow passed by, as if someone was pacing outside my door. I quickly typed my address into the instant messenger. A moment after I had typed my address in, Cat’s status changed to offline and I exited the messenger again. I grabbed what little rum remained, and managed to make my way over to the little sofa opposite the desk. I flopped down and took another swig, then called Od over. He turned around a few times, but when he laid on the floor next to the couch, his eyes were on the door again. I took another drink. After another minute or so, my head was spinning, and I laid back to rest on the arm. I took one more sip, but realized I couldn’t hear them anymore. More importantly, I couldn’t feel them looming. I closed my eyes for a moment to relax, enjoy the quiet tranquility I had been used to before. Then I was suddenly being shaken awake. A girl with unnaturally red hair had her hands on my shoulder. I jumped awake, my eyes opening wide. I clenched my hands, but realized that the bottle of rum was gone. “Sibs?” she asked. I tried to sit up, but my head reeled. “Sibylle,” I muttered. My face was completely numb, and my eyelids heavy. “You’re skunk fucking drunk,” she said, and pulled me into a sitting position. I swayed in my seat. “It makes them, not, um, you know, be there,” I managed to get out. “Yeah, well, it’s gonna make it a hell of a lot harder to get wards up when the owner smells like Jack Sparrow. C’mon, up,” she instructed. “We’re feeding you, and getting you some water. And aspirin,” she said. I giggled, “Like a tree.” “Up, lush, up. Watch the glass,” she said. I looked down at the shot or two left of the Captain Morgan and the shards of the bottle on the wooden floor, and whimpered. She helped me stumble into the living room, and I saw headlights cross the window in the living room. “Expecting company?” I asked. “Apparently you are,” she said, and we turned into the kitchen. We both stepped on the chocolate cereal on the floor. I giggled and she made a disgusted sound. “Did they do this, or did you?” “That was aaaalll me,” I said, and sat on one of the stools by the counter. I pointed to the answering machine, still blinking one. “Don’t play that. It’s creepy.” “Noted,” she said, and tip-toed to the refrigerator. “Man, you are a lot nicer than most of the new agey girls on the internet,” I said, laying my spinning head on the counter. She snorted. “You just don’t know me yet. What food sobers you up? Grease? You want a grilled cheese or something?” The front door opened and closed, and she turned to see who had come in. “That’s Roy,” I said. He stopped in the doorway, bags of burgers and fries in his hands. “Hey, I didn’t get soda… or a third burger…” he looked back and forth between us. “That’s alright, I don’t eat meat,” Cat said. I laughed this time, and they both looked at me strangely. “Sorry, I didn’t meat for that to be out loud,” I left my head on the counter, but motioned for my french fries with one hand. Roy stared at me for a moment, before asking the obvious. “Are you drunk?” I snorted, and then started laughing.
© 2008 Full Moon Press

“I don’t really blame her. With a property this active, I kinda want to get my drink on,” Cat said. I laughed again, but kept my hand out for my fries. Roy still looked angry, “Mary is gonna be pissed. When’s the last time you talked to your sponsor?” “I’m not an alcoholic,” I said firmly. He clenched his jaw, and set one of the white paper bags on the counter in front of me. “I’m not!” I protested. “Why’d you go to Hillcrest then?” he asked, his voice menacing. “‘Cause Mary’s a bitch,” I responded quickly. “Where are my fries?” He shook his head. “I’m going home.” He turned and left the kitchen, but was quickly back again. “Where are my keys?” I dug around in my jacket pocket for a moment, and then handed them to him. He stared at me, his mouth slightly open. “You were going to drive my car after you’ve been drinking?” he finally asked, sounding hurt. I shook my head. “No, I was going to leave, but there were too many shadow people in the woods, so I drank instead to make them go away.” He didn’t say anything in response, but took the keys, and left. He slammed the door. Cat watched me for a moment, but I had finally found my fries, and was trying to get the ketchup packet open. “Your family doesn’t believe you, do they?” I shook my head, and finally ripped the packet open, squirting ketchup across my chest. “Shit!” Cat laughed at this, and handed me a paper towel. “Okay, here’s the deal, babe,” she said, stealing one of my french fries. “This is probably the most awesome active place I’ve ever seen. You’ve got some serious mojo working in those woods. We can’t do anything to shield the house until you’re stone sober. Got it?” “Why?” I asked, some of my fries hanging partially out of my mouth. “Honestly? Some of the creep-o vibes I’m getting are a little more than human. You may be dealing with something bigger,” she said, stealing another fry. “And I don’t want to be responsible for you getting accidentally possessed.” I smelled the cherry tobacco again, and could not give Cat the reaction she was waiting for. “You smell that?” I asked, looking over my shoulder to the dining area. “I smell the animal you murdered for your hangover cure. Eat up,” she said, and stole another fry. She turned around and started to look through the cupboards. “No. I smelled that smell right before the answering machine went all, oogie boogie, cliché, monster movie on me,” I said, stopping to take the first bite of my burger. The mayonnaise was oozing out the sides and onto my fingers. God, I love mayonnaise. “Got enough adjectives there?” she asked, bringing a bottle of ketchup and Tabasco over to the counter. “I like adjectives. You should hear me with adverbs. Mmmm…” I said, and wasn’t reacting to my bountiful mayonnaise supply. I heard quiet laughter behind me, a man’s, and turned to look over my shoulder. “Yeah, I heard it, too,” Cat said before I could ask. I could feel my heart speed up, and my face de-numb just a bit. “At least he finds you amusing.” It would take a lot more alcohol next time to shut them off. Cat mixed the Tabasco and ketchup together on a napkin, and pushed it towards me. “Gross,” I said.
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“Spicy things help you sober up,” she said. “Where’s your aspirin?” “Upstairs in the bathroom,” I shrugged. She motioned to go, but I grabbed her arm. “Don’t.” She looked at me for a moment. I saw her eyes twinkle, but she must have bit back the remark that was on the tip of her tongue because she said nothing. “Hurry up then,” is what she said instead. I finished my burger and she helped me totter up the stairs and into bed. When I kicked off my slippers, she reacted with an appropriate, “That is disgusting,” but put me into bed anyway, even with my cereal caked feet and ketchup stained jacket. “I’m gonna make some phone calls, call in reinforcements,” she said, and stepped out of the bedroom. Od was positioned in my doorway, watching the long hallway that lead to the stair case. He didn’t seem to notice as Cat went past, but kept staring at one fixed point. “The laughing man, Od?” I asked, but he didn’t acknowledge me. Lying down was overpowering, and I was asleep before I could think better of it. The sleep was heavy and dreamless, and when I woke up, my clock told me it had been hours. I realized it was Od that had woken me. He was barking outside of my bedroom in the hall. I threw the blankets off myself, and stumbled to the doorway. Od whimpered as though he were in pain, and I called out to him as I clung to the door frame for balance. A shadowy figure hovered at the end of the hallway, his attention turned towards Od, who lay whimpering on the floor and struggling to get up from underneath it. It turned its head towards me, and I felt my insides turn to ice. He moved down the hall too quickly for me to scream, and knocked me down. There was a great, cold pressure on my chest, and I struggled to breathe. My head reeled from the booze and the fear. I couldn’t tell much about the shadow pressing down on me, but I knew two things; it was angry, and it wanted to hurt me. Never a good combination. I heard Cat coming up the stairs. The cherry tobacco scent filtered past again, and it seemed to catch the attention of the malevolent shadow on top of me. “You are not welcome in this house! I command you to leave!” Cat shouted. I felt cold water hit me in the face, and the shadow was suddenly gone. I took a deep, rattling breath and rolled over. “We gotta get you outta here. Whoever or whatever that nasty is, it wants you. Up,” she said, pulling me into a sitting position. Once I was sitting, she tucked a bottle of holy water into her coat pocket. The lights in the hallway flickered dangerously, and drew our attention. I stood as quickly as I could, with Cat steadying me. We made it to the top of the stairs before the flickering started back up. Od growled and barked at it, but followed us down the stairs. We reached the front door, just as the first light bulb exploded. I turned and watched as each bulb blew, one after the other, around the room. I could sense the same anger, traveling on the edges of the room. The cabinet doors began to open and close, slamming shut as an angry yell, almost a roar, began to filter in. “Get out!” came the voice from beside us. Much younger sounding than it was on the answering machine. The cherry smell was overwhelmingly present, and the door popped open just slightly. I felt something brush across my hand, something oddly calming in the insanity. “I don’t need to be told twice,” Cat said, opening the door. “C’mon, Rover.” The darkness began to accumulate in the kitchen, and the gas stove roared into life as the whole house began to shake. I stumbled out into the darkness, tripping over the steps that led from the porch to the grass. One of the front windows burst as we ran to the weathered Toyota parked in the drive.
© 2008 Full Moon Press

Cat opened the passenger side, and pushed me in. Od followed quickly, and she slammed the door. I watched the other windows on the lower floor burst systematically, like the light bulbs had. Showers of glass fell into the grass below, and smoke began to trickle from the empty windows. The little car roared into life, much louder than I would have expected it to be. Cat turned and looked over the seat, not bothering to turn the car around, but driving backwards down the entire drive and off the property. “My house,” I whimpered. “You can stay with me until you find a hotel,” she said, throwing it into the gear, and tearing down the winding wooded drive. “I hate hotels,” I said. “Here,” she tossed me her cell phone. “Call the fire department. We can rally the troops and come back tomorrow morning to cleanse whatever is left of the house.” I felt a strange tingling sensation in the back of my head, and turned to look at Od. He was staring at the shadow next to him in the back seat. This time he was more pronounced, but the cherry tobacco smell lingered. He didn’t frighten me like the others had, and his details were starting to define themselves. “Tomorrow morning?” I asked. “I promise. We’ll take care of it tomorrow morning,” Cat said. I looked forward at the road, and began to dial the cell phone.

© 2008 Jessica F Hayes

Thank you for joining us for our first issue of Forever Nocturne. We hope you have enjoyed the writing within its pages. The production of any publication takes a tremendous amount of work, and this one--even in electronic form--is no exception. Currently we can offer no payment to submitting authors, but we would like to change that in the near future. Blood, sweat, tears, laughter, and a certain amount of insanity are poured into any well-crafted work of prose, and recompense is welldeserved. If you feel moved to click the donate button on our website and offer a contribution to the promotion of new and talented authors, your investment in the art of writing will surely be appreciated.

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