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Resurrection Diaries Entry 34: Martin and Shaedra

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Entry 34: Martin & Shaedra: Tuesday Aug.9

The police didn’t come today either. But someone did. I was still in bed when there came a knocking at the front door. Penny jumped up from her place beside me and began to bark. She certainly is a good security system, I’ll give her that. I hastily dressed and when I got to the door I discovered Mr. Martin was standing on the porch, fidgeting and shuffling from foot to foot. I have to admit I was surprised to see him.

“I didn’t call the police,” he stated matter-of-factly.

“Okay,” I replied, feeling a little more relaxed.

“Maybe it’s because of something you said,” he reasoned. “Maybe I’ve been fooling myself and I just needed someone to point it out.” He looked me square in the eye. “Yesterday when I found you in my house, in her room, I wanted to kill you. I felt like you were violating my world. My little world where Mischa is okay and coming home soon.” He looked down at his shoes, “But she’s not, is she?”

“No sir, I don’t think so.”

He nodded. “What of her letters then?”

I stepped outside and Penny followed me. She went down the steps to go out in the yard, while I motioned Mr. Martin to sit on the porch. I sat down next to him. “Do you really get them every year?” I asked him.

“Yes. They are typed, printed off a computer. She says she doesn’t have time to sit down and write a real letter.”

“Does she sign them?”

“Yes”.

“Maybe it’s not her,” I suggested warily.

He didn’t say anything, only nodding to let me know he understood what I was saying. Finally after a moment, he spoke. “I want to know. I have to know what happened to my her. I know she’s just my stepdaughter, but I raised her as my own. When her momma ran off and abandoned us, we were all we had left. I love her just as much as if she was my own blood. Can you understand that?”

I said that I could.

“I’ve gone nearly twenty years believing she was still out there, and then you come along telling me you believe she’s dead.”

It was more of a question than a statement, so I answered it. “Yes, I believe she is.”

He nodded. “If you have guesses or theories, I don’t want to know. I only want proof. I want to help if I can, but I don’t want to hear a thing about it until it’s the positive truth. I can’t deal with just wondering if that’s the way things really happened. That would drive me crazy. That’s why it’s been easier for me to believe she’s alive.”

I understood that, too.

“But when you have the truth, please come to me and tell me. Promise you’ll tell me first. I don’t want to hear it from the papers or the police.”

“Okay, I promise.”

He smiled slightly and I saw a different man from the one who had once punched me on his front lawn. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a bundle of envelopes with a rubber band around them. “Her letters,” he said, handing them to me.

I looked at the envelopes. His address was typed across the face of them. I wanted to look at the letters right away, but I didn’t.

“Thank you,” I said. “I’ll give them back to you.”

“If they aren’t really hers, I don’t want them back.”

“Do you believe they are from her, Mr. Martin?”

He weighed the answer in his head. “I’m starting to see things differently. Things I thought sounded like her, I’m not so sure about now. Maybe someone else will see what I have refused to.” He got up and stepped down off the porch. “Come see me,” he said. “Just don’t break in next time.”

I grinned a little until I realized he was serious. “Thanks for not calling the police.”

“Don’t make me regret it,” he said, and then went to his car, driving away as fast as he could. Something told me he didn’t like it here so close to the church his daughter loved.

I looked at the envelopes in my hand. “Okay Mischa, let’s see what you grew up to be…”

The typed letters painted a pretty picture of a runaway girl who became a successful dress designer. So successful she didn’t have time for a husband or a visit with the man she knew as her father. But the promise to visit was always there, “if I can find the time.” There was the mention throughout the yearly missives of personal things. She asked about Tommy Blaine, but not of Eric. Only once did she mention him in her letters. “I miss Eric too, but I know no one liked him. He was still a nice boy.” She never mentioned her mother either, as if the woman was dead to her, if she had even existed at all. She talked of Mr. Martin as if he were the only family she had. For all intents and purposes, to her he was her real dad. Her discourses to him were long ramblings that at times seemed to me to be a case of a daughter buttering her father up before asking for something. But she never asked him for a cent. Maybe these ramblings were to keep him from wondering about where she’d gone.

The one thing I had noticed right away was she never included a return address. Yes, there was a New York postmark, but never a way to write her back. I found myself wondering why Mr. Martin never tried to find her. After that many years a concerned father would have hired a detective, or tried to discover her whereabouts somehow. But I guess he was blinded by what he wanted to believe. I’m the one who had to stir things up.

I had every intention of going over to the church and asking the secretary to view the old church records, to try and find out something about the Shifletts, and their strange nephew Eric, but I was sidetracked by yet another visitor. Shaedra.

She came by shortly after Mr. Martin had left, and the suspicious part of me wondered if maybe she had been waiting for him to leave before she paid me a visit. There was something different about her today though. No longer did she wear alluring clothing and walk in the sexually confident manner she had once displayed. Now she wore a long black dress, the top nearly buttoned up to her neck. No leg, no cleavage. Now she was asexual as possible.

“Morning Shaedra,” I said standing in the doorway. “Would you like to come in?”

She looked over at the repaired picture window and shook her head. “No, I just came over to tell you goodbye.”

“Goodbye?”

“Yes, I quit my job as Mrs. Shifflett’s assistant. I’m leaving.”

I was kind of surprised at the news. “Why?” I asked.

She didn’t give me an answer, and I assumed what she did have to say had been rehearsed on the way over.

“I wanted to apologize for the other day. Trying to seduce you like that. And you being a married man. I am truly sorry.”

“It’s okay,” I replied, wondering where she was going with all this.

“I know you are a good man, and that you love your wife. She will come back to you; of this I’m sure.” She hesitated as if gauging what she was going to say next. “But you have forces swirling around you and this place.”

“Forces?”

“Paul, I have always had an insight into things. I feel things that others don’t. I’m empathetic, for lack of a better word. And I feel there is something going on here that I do not want to be a part of. Not even as a bystander.”

“What do you mean?”

“There is an evil at work in this town. And there’s an evil somewhere over there.” She pointed at the church. “I don’t know if it’s this Mischa you talked about, but there’s something dark and evil here. I feel it was here when she was a child, and it’s still here preying on the innocent.”

“What kind of evil are we talking about?”

“I do not know, but it frightens me, Paul. It frightens me enough to want to change every aspect of my life and get as far away from here as possible. I do not want to be its next victim.”

“You’re not making much sense,” I said, trying to be respectful. “If there’s an evil here, why doesn’t it come forth? I can’t imagine it’s Mischa. So what is it?”

“Maybe she is connected to it. Hopelessly tied here until it’s gone. But it’s not without form. Sometimes evil walks in the hearts of men. Please remember that.”

She turned to go, but I grabbed her arm. She spun and tried to pull away, before seeing I wasn’t going to harm her. “Please Shaedra, tell me what you are thinking.”

She placed her hand over mine. “I am thinking you are a good man, but not all men are good. I have seen his face and I fear what lies in his eyes.”

“What do you mean you’ve seen his face?”

She removed her hand from mine and gently pulled away. “Listen to everything that Mischa has to tell you. Follow her signs.” She stepped off the porch and looked up at me. “In my Bible reading this morning, it said there shall be a resurrection of the dead.”

I got ready to ask her what she thought that means, but then Penny came around the house. Seeing Shaedra she barked in alarm. The woman looked at the dog and smiled. “Keep an eye on your master, would you?”

Then she was walking to her car. I came off the porch in a trot and caught up to her just as she’d opened her door and got in. “I can’t do this alone. Please help me find out what happened.”

She looked up at me sadly. “I can’t help you, Paul. Once, I was very attracted to you, and I thought the allure was physical, sexual, but I know now what drew me to you was her. She’s all around you. She’s around all of us. She draws us all into her sorrow. I thought it was you who was so sad and lonely, but it’s her. I don’t want to feel that anymore.”

She tried to close the door but my hand was on it. Still I knew I couldn’t talk her into staying. Escape was in her eyes. She wanted distance between herself and this whole town. “I wish you the best of things, Shaedra. I wish I could leave just like you, but I can’t.”

“I know. You are connected to her now. And for that you must be wary. Don’t let the evil that took her take you, too.”

She got out of the car suddenly, and flung her arms around me. She kissed me on the cheek and whispered, “for luck.” Then without another word she was back in the car, closing the door, and speeding away.

I stood there on the lawn, watching her go, and a thought occurred to me. Maybe this is what they mean by the one that got away. If that’s the case, I wish her Godspeed and safety, for I have a dread feeling something bad is about to happen…

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

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Resurrection Diaries Entry 22: The Dress

Resurrection Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition Main Page

Entry 22: The Dress: Saturday July 30 – continued

I woke up around two AM, brought out of sleep by a dream. I distinctly remember someone calling me, repeating my name over and over, and then there was a bark. I awoke.

Donna was still sleeping and the night was still. No one was calling me. The dog wasn’t barking. In the silence I lay there, eyes open, staring at the ceiling. And then a thought hit me. Something I had forgotten.

The duffel bag was still outside, by the back door. I hadn’t brought it in. I got out of bed and walked quietly to the back door. I opened it, half expecting the bag to be gone. But no, there it was.

I lifted it and brought it inside. I closed the door as softly as possible so as not to wake my wife, and took the bag to the living room. I sat Indian style on the floor and opened the drawstring. Right on top lay the yellow dress. I pulled it out and unraveled it, as if it was on a hanger.

It was a pretty dress. There were a few stains and soils, but other than that, it looked almost new. I held it up to my nose and took a deep breath. There were no pleasant scents, no perfume, or the smells of summer. Instead the strongest odor was dirt and earth. And beneath it were other fainter smells. I took another breath, the fabric of the dress pressed to my face.

I caught one of the fainter smells. Kerosene. Not exactly on my list of favorite aromas, but maybe something else in the bag had been doused with it. Why would a dress as pretty as this carry the scent of flammables? I guess being exposed to the elements all this time, who knows what odors could seep into the fabric?

I held the dress against my cheek, pressed to my skin. I wondered briefly what it might have felt like to the person who had worn it. The dirt and earth smells, as well as the kerosene, began to fade, replaced by something else. A pretty scent. Like the smell of flowers, a young girl’s perfume. It grew stronger as I inhaled the scent, almost as if I were drawing nearer to someone whom had just prettied themselves up for the summer dance. The scent was becoming stronger, and it gave me an almost dizzying effect.

I closed my eyes and I could nearly imagine myself as the one who had worn this dress last. I had a vision, a quick fleeting thought that appeared not my own. A person standing in front of a tall mirror, admiring the look of this dress on their body. It was snug, very tight fitting, as the person twirled and spun before their reflection. But the mirror itself was cloudy. I could not see the person’s face, yet something told me there was something not right with this vision. This picture was not my own, and nether was it Mischa’s. It was something else entirely. I knew the last person to wear this dress had not been Mischa. But if not her, then who?

Suddenly I heard my name. “Paul?”

I turned around and there she was. No, not Mischa, but Donna. She was in the doorway, a look of extreme hurt on her face. She looked about ready to cry.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

I looked at the dress in my hands, the very one I still held pressed to my cheek. I lowered it quickly.

“I…uh…I found her dress.” I almost winced as I said it, because I knew how badly it sounded.

Tears welled up in her eyes. “What are you doing to us? Don’t you even care about me anymore? About us?”

I dropped the dress on the floor and stood up.

“Of course I care. What kind of question is that?”

“An important one,” she answered, her voice almost lowered to a whisper.

“Donna, I am sorry. I know I’ve been acting strange lately…”

She didn’t let me finish. “Strange? No, it’s gone beyond strange. You are a man obsessed. And what hurts is you used to be obsessed with me.”

“Donna, I still love you. Nothing has changed.”

A tear trickled down her cheek. “I still love you too, but something has changed. You have changed. You are caught up in something I don’t understand. I don’t know if you’re having a sexual affair, or some attempt at recapturing your youth through the attentions of a younger girl. I don’t know what…”

“I don’t love anyone but you,” I interjected.

“It doesn’t matter if you love her or not, but I can’t share you with her.”

“Donna, I swear to you, she’s not real. She’s a ghost.”

“Yes, well, so am I. I’m just a ghost in your life now.”

I started to walk towards her.

“But I won’t haunt this place anymore,” she added, as she turned from me and went back to the bedroom. I stood there alone, her words sinking in. and the realization hit me, as I sank to the carpet in tears. Donna is leaving me.

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 13: Matt and Susan

Resurrection Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition Main Page

Entry 13: Matt & Susan: Saturday July 23

Matt and Susan arrived this morning. It was great to see our friends again. We all went into town and had lunch, but we didn’t go to the diner, just in case the waitress that “warned” us was working.

Then Susan and Donna went shopping, while Matt and I went to the movies at the town’s only theater. Afterwards, we met up with the ladies and went back to our modest little cottage. We played a couple of board games. Donna and Susan are the most competitive Monopoly players I know.

In the evening, Matt and I sat on the porch. He asked me how I liked it here with the new job and all. I told him it was great. I really wanted to tell him about the ghost of Mischa Martin, but I didn’t think that would be a good idea. Matt and I are close, but I don’t want him questioning my sanity.

As we sat and talked, the dog sauntered around the corner and came up on the porch with us. He sat down by my feet.

“Did you get a new dog?” Matt asked.

“No, it’s just a stray that has become attached to us.”

He chuckled. “You know Donna’s mom is going to have a fit.”

I nodded with a little smirk. “Yep, I suppose she is.” Donna’s mother is allergic to dog’s fur. I’m going to have to find a way to keep him away from her, or I’ll never hear the end of it.

It was late when Matt and Susan left. They are going to stay at a nearby hotel and then meet us for church in the morning. It will be our first time attending services at Resurrection, but I figure since I work there, and I’m not going anywhere else, we might as well attend their worship.

Okay, so today there were no ghosts, and to be honest, I was so distracted by our visiting friends that I didn’t think of Mischa much, but something tells me if I forget her for long, she will remind me.

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 8: Kids In The Closet

Resurrection Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition Main Page

Entry 8: Kids In The Closet: Monday July 18

A new work week. My first full one at Resurrection. I cornered Larter this morning and asked him about the playground. He acted like he didn’t know anything about it.

“I’ve only been here five years myself. And I’m not sure how much property the church owns back in those woods. The playground you found could belong to the city.” He went on to tell me that on my downtime I could read up on the church’s history in the library. “You do have the key, you know. There are a lot of records in there.” And as I was walking off to get to work, he thought of something else. “There is a woman who serves as unofficial historian of the church. Her family has been involved here since the early 1900’s, I believe. I could give you her phone number if you’d like to talk to her.”

I told him that would be good. Then I thought of something else I wanted to ask him. “Hey, remember that stray dog that hangs around?”

He chuckled. “Thorn in my side. That dog has been running around here for as long as I’ve been a member. He doesn’t seem to bother anyone, though. Just gets into stuff. I don’t think he bites or anything.”

“Thanks, I needed to hear that. I usually don’t like dogs, but he seems okay. I was just concerned, that’s all.”

“Oh yes, well, he’s fine, I think. Nothing to worry about.”

I nodded. “I guess I better get to working then.”

“I’ll bring you Mrs. Shiflett’s phone number before I leave. You’ll like her.” He grinned as if there was a private joke in there somewhere. I almost asked him what it was.

It was late in the afternoon when I heard the kids overhead again, just like the other day. I was fixing some mop water, when I heard the running in the hall upstairs. I went to check it out.

As I reached the top of the stairs, I could not only hear their shuffling feet, but their voices as well. There was a girlish giggle coupled with a boy’s laughter. When I entered the hall, I saw them right away. They were at the other end of the corridor, a young boy playfully chasing a girl around the far corner and out of my sight.

“Hey,” I yelled. “You kids aren’t supposed to be up here.” I could hear their giggles. I walked down the hall and rounded the corner, expecting to run right into them from the sound of it. But they weren’t there. The hallway was empty. “Okay, ya’ll come out now. You need to play outside, not up here.”

I heard another giggle, this time followed by a “shhh”, and it was coming from one of the rooms. I headed towards the sound and threw open the door.

It was a recreation room. There was a pool table in the center, a dart board on one wall, shuffleboard on the floor, and boxes of board games set against an old piano that looked like it had seen its better days. There were other smaller rooms branching off from this one, but I could see no one.

“Okay, I know you are in here. Come on out and let’s all go downstairs. You won’t be in any trouble.”

I checked the rooms. They were set up like classrooms. But they were empty. I was alone. And then I heard something. It was the sound of something falling over, like a box or other object. It had come from behind a windowless door in the corner. I walked over and grabbed the doorknob. It was warm. I turned it and yanked the door open.

It was a closet. Boxes were stacked up inside. Church robes and jackets hung on hangers. But no kids. I looked behind and all around me. I was fairly certain those kids couldn’t have got past me, but maybe they had.

I got ready to close the closet door when I noticed something on the floor right beside a box of cobwebbed hymn books. I reached down and picked it up. It was a small silver chain, an anklet with a heart. I turned the charm over in my hand. On one side was engraved the letters, “MM”.

When I went back downstairs, I looked for Larter to tell him I thought some kids had been upstairs again. I didn’t find him, so I pocketed the anklet and got back to work.

Now as I sit and write this, the anklet is here on the table before me. I think tomorrow if I get a chance, I’ll look in the church records and see if “MM” is a member. Then I can return the anklet and tell them politely not to be playing upstairs anymore unless there is a church activity going on.

The pastor’s words come back to me. “They should be playing in the playground.” And I wonder for just a minute, does “MM’ ever play there? But I’m too tired to think anymore. It’s been a long day.

Donna is in bed, sleeping peacefully. I should be in there with her instead of writing about mischievous kids and hidden playgrounds…

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Piano (flash fiction, free write, whatever….)

The piano sits silent. I can’t bring myself to touch the keys, to place nimble fingers on the black and white and produce the smallest measure. I am empty, devoid of music and sound, preferring this, the beauty of the vacuum left behind by my melancholic spirit. I am but the husk of an artist, bewildered by the absence of inspirational thought, or the motivation to create something from the nothing. I long to see the notes again within my mind’s eye, fearing it is now lost, cast out into the void to be found by someone else, who will make more of it than I ever did. The hall is unoccupied, the applause a memory. The piano sits silent. Alone. 
Paul D Aronson July 2017


Vampire Boys Of Summer: Chapter 30

Chapter 30: Where’s Angela & Icarus Solved

Ryo had returned to the window, while the others had fallen into silence, giving him room to himself. But I couldn’t take the quiet. There were still many questions in my head.

“What happened to Angela?”

“She remained at school,” Haru replied. “Then she went home.”

“We have to tell her,” I said.

“Tell her what?”

“About you guys.”

“No way,” Ryo replied.

“She has the right to know what’s going on,” I reasoned.

“Why?”

“Because I’m her best friend. And best friends don’t keep secrets from each other.”

Ryo snorted. “I’ve existed long enough without a best friend. I certainly don’t need one now.”

“Well, I do. Maybe that’s what makes me human, and you’re not.” It got quiet. The sudden silence was like a dark cloud had spilled from my very mouth. I looked around at everyone. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that.”

“It’s ok,” Chi replied. “We understand. We lost a lot of things when we became vampires. Even then we didn’t know what we were becoming. We were only wishing to defend our village from…”

“Can Angela keep a secret?” Luhan interrupted.

I nodded, but to be honest I wasn’t sure if she could. Still, I hated hiding so much stuff from her. It had caused enough strain on our friendship.

“I don’t think it’s going to matter before too long,” Haru said. “Everyone is going to know. At least we could prepare her and maybe have another ally.”

Ryo stepped away from the window. “I’ll tell her.”

“No. I will,” I said. I noticed Ryo shot me a look, so I explained. “She’s going to be mad enough for me not telling her sooner.”

He shrugged and turned back to the window.

“It may put her further in danger,” Haru said. “Are you sure this is what you want to do?”

I nodded. “You have all trusted me with your secret. Until now, I haven’t told a soul, not even my own mother. Speaking of which, where is my mom?”

“She insisted life goes on and went to work,” Chi replied. “Haru tried to get her to take some time off to mourn, but she insisted.”

“Does she know what happened at school?”

“Not yet,” answered Luhan. “Oddly enough, no one has called to inform her.”

I shook my head. “That’s strange.”

“They may already have the principal in their pocket.”

“Or my guidance counselor.”

“Whoever their clan leader is, he is powerful,” Chi said. “ He’s spreading his influence pretty rapidly. To have lured Lazenby to the boiler room took some doing. After all, She was already under Ryo’s influence.”

Luhan agreed. “He probably has some lieutenants in training or place already. Only someone moving up in power could have done this. It was possibly someone she never thought to fear before. Maybe another teacher.”

“If they are going after every one connected to us, someone needs to bring my mom home. I don’t care what we tell her, but we need to keep her safe. If they take her, I won’t have any family left.”

“Tomoko is watching over her,” Haru said. “He’ll make sure she is protected.”

I thought back to the attack on the house. What I had seen as I looked back on the stairs, how Tomoko had changed into something dark and terrible to take on the intruders ensured me mom would be okay. But Angela wouldn’t be. She was alone at home, probably upset that Ryo had carried me off into the sunset.

“I need to call Angela and get this over with,” I said. “Where’s my cell?”

Chi turned around in her chair and picked it up off my desk. “Here,” she said and tossed it to me. I caught it easily, which surprised me somewhat. Usually I couldn’t catch anything except a cold.

I woke the cell up, thinking after letting Ang know the truth I sure would like to ship her and Ryo somehow. Before I could press her name in my contacts list, the phone rang. The screen came up with her number. “Wow, she’s calling me,” I said and answered it. “Hi Angela, I was just…”

“Icarus,” a sinister voice interrupted me. “If you want your friend unchanged and unharmed, tell your toothy friends they are not welcome here. It is time for them to leave or there will be more pain than you can imagine.”

I looked at my vampire friends and put the caller on speaker.

“We have already taken your father,” he continued unaware. “We have also taken your teacher, delicious as she was. Now who do we have to take next?” He hesitated a second. “Perhaps this blond hair morsel who secretly dreams lust for a vampire? Her hair is already turning silver from her fear.” He laughed, and if I could I would have bit him through the phone. I looked at both Haru and Ryo. Haru had a fixed grim look on his face. Ryo looked like he could eat someone for dinner. Twice.

“What do you want from me?” I asked the caller.

“You will surrender yourself to us. You should be my queen. It has always been destined, even before they came. So you get rid of them or Angela dies. Then your mom and anyone else I choose.” He laughed again, but there was no mirth in it, only evil promise. Whoever the caller was, they were either completely turned so that none of their human self was left or…

“Are you the master?” I blurted out, suddenly afraid.

“I’m going to be YOUR master,” he chuckled, and for a moment his voice sounded familiar, yet I couldn’t place where I had heard it before.

Ryo couldn’t be quiet any longer. “You’re going to be fucking dead is what you’re going to be,” he snarled.

“Ah, speaker phone. Brilliant, Nora. Tell you what….Ryo, is it…I’m going to rip this bimbo’s head off and set it on my desk if you don’t go away. Or perhaps I’ll give her the sweet burning taste of fire like I did your history hottie.”

Before Ryo could respond, the caller hung up. I looked at Ryo, knowing he would explode into a rage any minute now. Instead he walked calmly back to the window, though his very anger seemed to permeate the room. “This isn’t going to be war,” he whispered between clenched teeth. “I’m going to massacre every last one of them.”

While Ryo was allowed to seethe quietly, I told them about the first part of the conversation, where the caller had demanded I tell them to leave or else. At this, they seemed to confer silently among themselves just by looking at each other.

“Were not leaving,” Haru said after a moment. “We are going to find them and get Angela back.”

“Then they die,” Ryo asserted.

“Not until we find their master,” Luhan suggested. “Because that wasn’t him. That was a kid.”

Any other time this would have sounded funny coming from him. He was, after all, the shortest, youngest looking vampire of our little group.

“Somebody from school?” I asked.

“I don’t think so. You probably would have noticed something off earlier. To be placed with this kind of responsibility and power would take time, unless the master thought they had exceptional potential.”

“Any other bullies at school besides Amanda and her pals?” Ryo asked, still fuming over the recent turn of events.

“No. I can’t think of anyone. No one I have a problem with anyway.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “Whoever it is, we’ll find them.”

“We need to act fast or they could kill Angela,” Chi added. “Where would they be keeping her?”

Haru stood up. “The safest place would be in their lair. Wherever they make home. It would be the most protected.”

“Maybe somewhere high up,” I offered weakly.

“Why would you think that?”

“I don’t know. I keep trying to figure out why I keep getting called Icarus. This is like the third time someone has said that word to me. My guidance counselor said he was a figure in Greek mythology that was punished for flying too high or something. I was going to ask Miss Lazenby because Miss Thomas suggested I talk to my history teacher about….hey, wait a minute. Do you think she knew already? About Lazenby?”

Luhan nodded thoughtfully. “She could have been making a dare she knew would never be achieved. It’s amazing how those under this vampire master’s control like to taunt their adversaries.”

“Icarus made wings to fly,” Chi said. “His father told him not to fly too close to the sun. But he was proud and would not listen. His wings burned and he crashed to the earth.”

“Perhaps he’s saying if you hang too close to vampires….us, I mean…then you’ll burn and die.”

I looked at Haru. “Then it’s a threat, so to speak?”

He nodded. “The question is why does he want us gone?”

“And who is he?” Chi added.

“When you found Bram he didn’t give any clue at all to his identity?” I asked, knowing they had already told me his brain had been scrambled like morning eggs.

“No,” answered Haru. “He was effectively silenced.”

“To keep us from finding his master,” Ryo affirmed.

“So then we have no idea?” I asked, looking at each one of them. It wasn’t lost on me that Chi wouldn’t look at me. I remembered early on, even before my father was killed, she had suggested she might know who it was.

 Before my mind could expand on that thought, Luhan spoke up. “No,” he said. “We don’t. But Icarus is the clue. The caller is taunting Nora. Daring her to figure out who he is.” He looked directly at me. “I don’t think he is referring to you as Icarus.”

 “Is Icarus a clue to his own identity then?” Haru asked.

Luhan nodded, but then Ryo turned to us all, a look of revelation upon his face. “No,” he said. “It’s the location of his lair. Where he’s been hiding all this time. Icarus may have been best known for flying too close to the sun, but he is associated with something else as well.”

“And what is that?” I asked.

“The labyrinth. His father constructed it, just as he had also constructed the wings for Icarus. Perhaps that tells two things . The master who has come to assemble an army here or whatever is merely a pawn of a greater master. Vampire clans follow a chain of command. We may be seeing the creation of several levels of it here, but it doesn’t mean this is where it began.”

“And the other thing?”

“The master we seek is hiding in a labyrinth. It is home to him, and is probably where he holds court….and Angela.”

“I’m a little lost,” I said. “What’s a labyrinth exactly? The only one I’ve heard of is a Jim Henson movie.”

Luhan grinned. “Well you’re halfway to understanding then. In Greek mythology, Daedalus, the father of Icarus, built a huge stone maze to house the Minotaur, a fearsome beast, half man and half bull.”

Haru patted my hand. “I don’t think the beast is what’s important here. Eventually, maybe so, but right now it’s all about the labyrinth. We need to find it.”

Chi shook her head. “I’ve been all around this town since we’ve been here. There’s no maze or labyrinth in Chelsea Valley.”

This seemed to silence everyone, but it gave me the needed moment to think. “You know, maybe there is,” I said.

“Where ?”

“Out by the lake, close to where everyone goes swimming, there’s an old mine shaft. It’s called Devil’s Hole. It’s been sealed off for years. As far as I know, it’s completely blocked, but dad used to tell me how in his college days he and his friends used to go exploring there. I remember because he said it was a maze of shafts, and easy to get lost in. He even said there was a big chamber somewhere in all that where they’d all go and smoke pot.”

“Pot,” Luhan said, a little nostalgic. “I remember that. Couldn’t stand it. I’d go to drink from someone’s neck and bite the top of their head instead. Major vampire impairment.”

“Do you know the precise location of Devil’s Hole?” interjected Haru.

“I’ve never been there. But we can find it.”

“I’m not sure you should go,” he replied.

“I’m a big girl now. I think I’ve shown I can handle myself.”

“These aren’t bullies at school, Nora. These are new vampires. Their lust for blood is uncontrollable. They aren’t like us.”

I looked around the room at my friends. “But they have made it clear they aren’t going to kill me. I’m supposed to be queen or something.”

“Like hell,” Haru said between clenched teeth.

For a moment I reveled in his protectiveness. I know most girls like to get their guys jealous, but there’s nothing hotter than a possessive vampire boy. I couldn’t help but smile inside where he couldn’t see.

“We all should go,” Chi said. “We’re going to need everyone we can get.” She looked at me and smiled. “Just don’t stake the wrong vampire.”

I know it was probably the wrong time to think so, but at the moment I wanted to stake Haru to the floor with my body. I’m not sure if Ryo picked up on this thought or if he was just getting impatient, but either way he interrupted my very pleasant daydream.

“If The Devil’s Hole has been sealed for years and is no longer in use, how did the master even know it was there? He can’t have been here for very long.”

“Someone told him about it?” Chi suggested.

“Possibly.”

“Or perhaps the master is from Chelsea Valley,” Luhan replied. “He’s been here all this time and no one has known it.”

I shook my head. “I don’t keep up with the news much, but I know we don’t get many disappearances or cattle with loss of blood.”

“He could go elsewhere for his food supply. He’s been biding his time for now, living among everyone here, but now he’s ready to make it vampire army central.”

“Maybe,” said Haru. “But if he wants to take over Chelsea Valley, I think that’s just a stepping stone to something else.”

“Right now we need to focus on Angela,” Chi reminded us. “She’s become an unwilling, and certainly unprepared, pawn in all this.

“Yeah,” agreed Ryo. “So are we going to the labyrinth or not?”

I walked over to my closet, where minutes earlier Luhan had been inspecting my clothes like an envious diva. I reached into the back of the cluttered space and pulled out my dad’s vampire kit. I slung it on the bed and opened it. I grabbed my dad’s favorite stake and a vial of holy water.

“Yeah, we’re going,” I said.

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2016, 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

My NaNoWriMo 2016: Day 1

Wow, what a day of writing. I began National Novel Writers Month at exactly 12:01 AM and wrote for roughly an hour and a half before sleep overcame me. I was really antsy and nervous, and even as I started writing, I felt like I was taking a test or something. I finally relaxed , and things came out smoother, but for awhile I had the proverbial butterflies in my stomach.
I picked up writing again when I woke up , trying to keep the flow going in my initial first chapter. My inner editor was screaming at me to stop and look over what I’d written, and for the most part I fought it. I know in my first drafts my manuscript usually gets wordy. I overuse words, especially adverbs, and long run off sentences seem to dot the landscape. Punctuation and grammar suffer as well, as I’m just trying to get the story itself down in its original state. Of course, when I take a second look, I see a lot of the shortcomings, and set out trying to fix them. For NaNoWriMo however, there is no time for this, and what you get is what you first put to paper. I guess I’m apologizing beforehand, because as I share what I write in this endeavor, I’m sure we’ll both see our share of flaws. Hopefully it will not be too confusing to read, and my ideas will come across okay. 
Today for day 1 I wrote 2,736 words. I thought that was a pretty good start for the limited time I devoted to the task. It was my day off of work, and as such I wanted to spend it with my family, so my total writing time in the past twenty four hours was probably two and a half hours. I’m not going to share everything I wrote out today, but I do want to pass my first chapter by you, and see what you think. 
So here we go with the unedited first draft chapter of my project this month, Time Of Our Death. It’s genre is young adult paranormal. Hope you enjoy 🙂
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Time Of Our Death
One 

“Fatal school bus crash claims five.”

I can imagine the headline. I didn’t see it myself , mind you, as I was too busy trying to climb out of the freezing river. I didn’t realize what I had gotten in the school bus that morning that it could be the last time I ever saw my friends again, or even breathed the cold morning air. I used to complain of the cold during these months, standing on the corner waiting for Mr. Mills to pull that yellow bus up to the curb to let us on. It all seems so trivial now. It just the cold, but everything. The way it used to bug me that mom just had to kiss me every time I walked out the door, even though I was now sixteen years old. The way Mr Harmon, our math teacher, would literally breathe down our necks during his surprise tests. The way I swore one day I would tell Abby Hayes what a bitch she was for breaking my heart in front of everyone. These things seem silly now, but on the day of the crash they all weighed heavy on my mind.

It started out as a normal day, if you can call it as such. I stood at the bus stop with my best friend Donald Smalls. Donald was the kind of boy everyone else called fat, while his few friends thought of him as just being big boned. He had a big heart too, much bigger than anyone else I knew. Even after I ditched the bowl cut nerd crowd last year to join the long hair rocker clique, he still treated me the same. We’d been best friends since elementary school, graduating from jacks and crayons to homework and detention. I’m just kidding. Neither Donald nor myself ever got into that kind of trouble. All our troubles came after the accident. In fact, if we had been the only fatalities that day I wouldn’t even be telling this story, but the presence of other schoolmates made us question our predicament and react differently to what came after. 

Also standing on the corner waiting for the bus that morning was Lori O’ Donnell, a dark haired girl with pale skin, who was nearly invisible to everyone around her. Every school has someone like this who blends in so perfectly they go unnoticed and are often considered as a ‘nobody’, if they are even considered at all. It’s not that she wasn’t pretty; it’s just that any natural beauty she may have possessed was hidden by her punker attire, safety pin through the eyebrow, and black mascara. Not to mention every week she drew the logo of a favorite goth band on her cheek with an eyeliner pencil and streaked her hair with a different neon color.The week of the accident the streak was purple. Taking all that into consideration now, its hard to believe she went so unnoticed, but the fact she didn’t fit in with anybody else guaranteed her anonymity. 

Someone who could never be anonymous also stood with us at the corner. If there ever was a girl who was the exact opposite of Lori O’ Donnell, it had to be Kelly Bowers. Honor roll student, aspiring model, cheerleader, most likely the next homecoming queen, she had always been absolutely gorgeous. Even those who could never reach her heights of popularity couldn’t deny her stunning allure, with her perfect cheekbones, long golden hair, and curving figure. Boys wanted to be with her, girls wanted to be like her, and for the most part no one came close to achieving either. No one except Brian Anders, that is. 

Brian was not only Kelly’s shadow and boyfriend, but he was also our school’s star running back. Why is it that the jock always gets the cheerleader? Is there some rule written down somewhere that says this is the way it’s supposed to be? I used to dream Kelly would be the girl to break that mold, that she would rise above what was expected and do something truly different. But sadly, she never did. She remained a textbook example of the all star perfect girl about campus, even though I often wondered if her home life was just as pristine as her school image.   

Her boy toy, Brian, had somehow graduated from Junior High bully to Senior High yearbook star, but that mean streak never quite left him. He was always quick to let other guys know they were beneath him. Personally, I think in Brian’s mind Kelly was merely another trophy more than anything, but she seemed oblivious to it all, so lost she was in her circle of one. Then again, maybe I’m just saying that in her defense, so smitten I had been with her since seventh grade. 

All boys carry this curse it seems, to dream of the girl they know they can never have. I don’t know why we admire the unattainable; it’s just the way things are. Eventually we come to our senses, but until then we are hopeless with our delirious little blinders on. And though other kids stood on this corner with us as we waited to go to school, they are almost like shadows to me now, as if with time their memory fades, having never shared the mysterious and often confusing events the way we did. 
I sat at the front of the bus that morning as I always did. This seems to be another one of those unwritten rules: cool kids sit in the back, geeks sit up front. But I wasn’t your classic geek anymore. No black plastic frame glasses or pen in my breast pocket. Since switching teams and joining the rocker crowd, I’d grown my hair out long, and should have owned stock in the Aqua Net hairspray company. I smoked cigarettes sometimes now, and was even learning to play guitar from listening to the Cinderella album, Night Songs. But still, despite those things, I wasn’t one of the cool kids of 1987, no matter how much I had changed. See, in high school, once you’re branded, that’s it. And at River High, you were either extremely cool or fatally mediocre. There was no in between. But at least I wasn’t alone in my social standing. 

Donald sat next to me, reading the latest Watchmen comic a little too loudly, but that was okay. It covered up all the mocking, obnoxious conversation coming from the back row where Kelly, Brian, and all their hangers on sat.  

I don’t know why there are people in this world, and possibly the next, who think the must be louder than everybody else. Do they have this need to be heard above everyone else, or do they just love the sound of their own voice? From the back of the bus, the ‘coolies’, as we of the absolute loser variety called them, always made sure the whole bus knew exactly what or who they were talking about. On this particular day, the subject of their conversation was next week’s game against our neighboring rival , The Falcons. 

“We’re going to tear this falcons right out of the sky,” promised Brian. The reply from his clique was nothing but catcalls and shouts of our team, The Cougars, being the best in the planet. Our team was good, but I think that was stretching it a little bit. Kelly herself began to lead her squad in a cheer designed to tell everybody who wasn’t a cougar that they were impotent losers. Of course, Brian being who he was, shot a rubber band at the back of Donald’s head to let us know we were included in the latter category. Donald helped and grabbed his fleshy neck where a red mark was showing evidence of the rubberband’s sting. 

I turned in my seat, glaring at Brian and his friends. The running back grinned and shrugged his shoulders. “Oops,”, he laughed, to which everyone on the back seat snickered.  

This was not a remarkable event, I want you to know. It actually seemed to be the normal routine. Whenever Brian got bored it was time to pick on someone and assert his superiority. I didn’t stare at the coolies for long, For to do so would invite further confrontations, so I turned back to Donald, who seemed to be fighting the urge to cry. 

“Don’t you do it, “ I whispered, and he regained whatever composure he had previously possessed. Resuming his comic reading, I was proud of my friend and resilience. It does take a special kind of person to put with being picked on every day.  

On the days it wasn’t him, then it was I who played the victim. I usually let it wash off of me though, having grown accustomed to the antics of Brian and his crew. Something told me that today would be different though. And then the paper airplane landed in my lap. There was no question where it came from. Paper airplanes were the specialty of Derek Houseman, Brian’s friend and linebacker for our team. I looked at the airplane in my lap and silently told myself to just shove it on the floor and consider it no further. But some stupid curiosity told me to examine it. Of course, the words ‘Open Me’ that were scrawled on one crumpled wing was invitation enough. 

Unfolding the airplane, I knew everyone’s eyes were on me. Even the kids who barely paid attention to the taunts of the coolies. I turned in my seat to glance at them. They all waited in the back row in grinning rapt attention. Halfway up the aisle, even Lori, the invisible goth, was watching. I looked down at the unfolded airplane and saw the words ‘For a good time, call Chris Deckard’s mom’ hastily scrawled across the paper. The whole back row erupted in riotous laughter. If we’d been anywhere else, I would have got up and left. But this was the bus. 

I wanted to disappear. If there ever was a moment I wished I were a ghost, this was it. As the coolies laughed even louder, it seemed to compel others to join right in. Without looking, I imagined even Lori and Donald were laughing at me. Of course, I knew this wasn’t true. It’s just suddenly I felt utterly alone. Lucky for me, Mr. Mills told everybody to quiet down, and soon the bus reached the halfway point to school. We’d be getting off this hell shortly, I told myself. All this would be over soon.  

As the bus crossed Bay’s Bridge high above The Murray River, I wished to just jump in and drown. I really wish I could take back such thoughts now because in some small way I think I may have willed what happened next upon all of us. 

The bus was traveling along , about halfway across the old bridge, when it happened. Maybe Mr. Mills didn’t see the broken down truck blocking the other side when we started across, but when it finally registered with him he slammed on the brakes. They grabbed for a second and then gave out. Perhaps it was ice on the bridge from the chilly October morning, but whatever the cause I could see him frantically putting foot to the brake to no avail. I heard him shout, “Hold on,” but the incident with the paper plane still had everyone laughing. Donald and I both heard him though, and I thought I heard Lori scream as the bus went into a slide, hitting the ancient guardrail. There was a cracking sound as the bus crashed through the old railing. That finally got everyone’s attention.  

I braced myself the best I could. Everyone began to scream as the front end tipped. We were going over. Through the front windshield, I could see the river in front of us, it’s icy embrace awaiting us below. 

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Okay, so Day 2 is underway as I write this, so I better get cracking. See you soon 🙂