Other Realms-Darkest Timeline-Episode 3

            “What truth?!” Jack shouted.

            Reed placed his hand on his brother’s arm, “Jack…”

            But Jack jerked his arm from his brother’s grasp, strode toward their mother and repeated, inches from her face, “What truth, Mother?! What’s going on?!”

            Jehenne walked to the kitchen counter, grabbed a tissue, and wiped the spittle from her face. She then smiled at her son and said, “Say it, don’t spray it, Jack.”

            Jack’s face reddened. “You’re going to joke?! With everything that’s happening?!”

            “Jack, calm down,” said Reed.

            Jack swung around to face his brother, “No! I won’t calm down! This weird shit probably doesn’t faze you because you’ve always lived in the fringes anyway! But I have a bright future! I’m a winner! I have big plans and I need the world to go back to fucking normal!”

            Amir turned to Jehenne and said, “I told you that you should have trained them in our ways when they were young.”

            “I wanted them to have normal lives, Amir. Adita grew up too fast.”

            “Better to be prepared. You knew they would come back one day,” answered Amir.

            “It’s been centuries, time doesn’t pass the same way for them. You sound like one of those Jesus freaks, thinking it’s time for the second coming, which if it ever does happen, it will be long after we’re all gone. And, we closed the portal, remember?”

            “Well, how do you explain all that’s been happening lately? And, we’re immortal, remember?” asked Amir.

            “It’s just a glitch between universes, Amir. It happens from time to time. And we are long-lived, but not immortal.”

            “She’s back and you know it,” said Amir.

            “Who’s back?! I want some answers!” shouted Jack.

            “You need to calm down, Jack,” said Jehenne, turning to face her son.

            “Calm down?! People are disappearing, weird houses are popping up out of nowhere with strange doorways that lead to nowhere or some crazy Alice in Wonderland fucking places!” Jack shouted.

            Now Jack had Jehenne and Amir’s full attention. “What are you talking about Jack? What have you seen?” asked Amir.

            Reed stepped forward and said, “We both saw it.”

            All eyes were now on Reed, and Jehenne said, “Tell us what you saw, Reed.”

            When Reed finished telling them all that had transpired earlier in the day, they were all silent for a moment and then Amir asked, “So you did see a woman?”

            “More like a monster,” said Reed.

            “Did you not listen to the description?!” interjected Jack.

            “Yes, yes, but that may be just how she appeared in that world,” said Amir.

            Jehenne turned toward Amir, “Do you really think it was her?”

            “I don’t know, but if it was, we have to stop her from getting into our world.” Amir turned toward Reed and asked, “Where is the house? We need to destroy it.”

            “Destroy it? We can’t. We have to get the object,” said Reed.

            “Why is the object so important to you, son” asked Jehenne.

            “I don’t know exactly. I just have a feeling,” said Reed.

            “A feeling?! Seriously?!” Jack bellowed as he grabbed his shorter brother by the shoulders and spun him around to face him. “You’re enjoying this aren’t you?! You love this fucking shit!”

            “Stop!” shouted Amir.

            Jack dropped his hands from Reed’s shoulders and turned to face Amir and shouted, “Shut up old man! You don’t even care about your own daughter! Just some stupid fucking house!”

            Amir was in Jack’s face instantly and even though the younger man towered over him, with his six-foot tall, athletic frame; the older, shorter, Indian man, knocked him flat on his back with one swift punch to the jaw.

            “Not bad for an old man,” Amir said, looking down on Jack who was sprawled out on his back on the linoleum floor. Amir reached out his right hand, Jack took it and Amir easily lifted him to his feet. “You need to show some respect to your elders, boy,” the older man said.

            “Yes sir,” said Jack.

            The four of them rode in silence in Jack’s car heading toward the outskirts of town where the brothers had found the old house. Jehenne rode shotgun while Amir and Reed had settled in the back seats. Jack looked straight ahead, face stern. Jehenne reached over and placed a hand on his leg. He glanced at her for a moment, eyes liquid with emotion, and then faced forward again.

            Jack drove through the center of the town and then pulled onto a side street that ran along the outer edge of the town. When he reached the end of a row of wood-framed houses on the fringes of the city limits, he pulled over to the curb and parked the car.

            “Why are you stopping here?” asked Jehenne.

            “This is where the house is…was,” answered Reed from behind her.

            “So, the portal is closed. Good, then the worst is over,” said Jehenne.

            “With the disappearances that have been happening, I doubt that was the only portal,” said Amir.

            “Well, this was the one where she was spotted and it’s closed now,” said Jehenne.

            “First of all, we don’t know if it was her and second of all, just because it’s gone, that doesn’t mean she didn’t come through before it closed,” said Amir.

            “Jack, Reed, did you boys see the woman again after you re-entered our world?” asked Jehenne.

            “No, I came back alone, or was thrown out,” said Reed.

            “Did you see anyone, Jack?” Jehenne asked.

            “No, Reed and I were alone when we left the house,” Jack answered.

            “That doesn’t prove anything, Jehenne. She could have entered our world after they left,” said Amir.

            “Amir, she’s not here! The boys said the door slammed shut after Reed was thrown through it. And the house is gone now.”

            “Look Jehenne, I know you’re scared…” began Amir.

            “Scared?! I’m not afraid of her!” Jehenne was shouting now.

            “Really? You know how powerful she is. She’s the one who…”

            “Taught me, I know. And that’s why I know her tricks. If she is here, we’ll defeat her again and this time, I’ll destroy her!”

            “Well, be that as it may, let’s get out and check this area for any portal remnants, just in case,” said Amir.

            “Portal remnants? Is that a thing?” asked Reed.

            “Sometimes a small bit of the interdimensional gateway remains open, lingers around a bit,” said Jehenne.

            “This just gets better and better,” said Jack as he turned off the engine and then stepped out of the car. “And what about Adita? Don’t you even care that your daughter is missing, Amir?”

            Amir stepped out of the car and faced Jack, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Of course I care, son. I’m worried too, but she has trained for this all her life. I have faith in her.”

            “Trained all her life?”

            “You need to have faith too, Jack. There is so much you don’t know,” said Amir.

            As the four of them headed to the former location of the mystery house, Samuel James appeared as if from out of nowhere.

            “Dad!” Reed and Jack said in unison.

            “How did you get here?” asked Jack.

            “Samyaza, you’re here. Finally,” said Amir.

            “I had some business to take care of, old friend,” said Samyaza.

            “Business, what business is more important than what is happening here?” asked Amir.

            “There are other realms besides this one, Amir,” answered Samyaza.

            Jehenne walked over and embraced her husband. Even at her height of 5’8”, his 6’3” physique towered over her. He lifted her chin with his right hand, his ebony skin contrasting with her lightly tanned skin, reached down and lightly kissed her on her mouth. He then looked up and said to the group, “The portal is closed.”

            “How can you be so sure?” asked Amir.

            “Have you forgotten who I am, Amir?”

            Amir and Samyaza stared at each other in silence. Amir looking up at the much taller angel, glaring.

            “You two need to stand down. We need to take a ride to Antonia’s. She’s been searching for a dreamwalker. Hopefully her search has been successful,” said Jehenne.

            “She’s right,” said Amir.

            “Alright, my love, I’ll meet you there,” said Samyaza to his beloved before vanishing.

            “What the hell?!” said Jack.

            “It’s okay,” said Reed.

            “Did you know that our parents weren’t who they said they were, Reed? I don’t understand.”

            “No, I didn’t know exactly. It’s hard to explain.”

            “Well try,” said Jack.

            “Boys, we need to head to Antonia’s ranch, Kuhaylah Arabians. There is much to tell you,” said Jehenne.

            “Much to tell us? That’s an understatement,” said Jack as he dutifully headed back to the car with the others. But then he stopped and turned toward his mother. “Why did you say Antonia’s ranch and the name of it? Why would you say both?”

            “For the reader,” said Jehenne.

            “The reader? Have you completely lost your mind, Mom?!”

            Jehenne laughed, “Jack, when extraordinary events happen throughout the cosmos, there is always a historical record.”

            “Yeah, but not exact dialogue, word for word as such.”

            “You never know who’s listening son,” said Jehenne as she turned and headed toward the passenger side of Jack’s car.

Jack stepped into the driver’s seat and started the car, but before pulling off, glanced back at Reed, sitting behind their mother and their eyes locked for an instant. Jack was overcome with a feeling of calm, then faced forward again and pulled out onto the road.

“Reader,” Jehenne began. She smiled and waived her hand indicating the others, “Don’t worry, only you can hear me. I am much older than I look, and I’ve learned to never take life too seriously, just simply sit back and enjoy the ride. That’s what I’m hoping you will do as you watch these events unfold. Time is not linear for me nor for many of the creatures who are slipping back into our world through crevices that had been closed for millennia, so pay close attention reader, this adventure will be exhilarating to say the least. And one more thing, reader. I might not speak directly to you for a while, but you’re always in my thoughts.”

Graveyard Smash-Multiple Authors

My very own copy of this awesome anthology!

This is the second horror anthology I’ve read from Kandisha Press and I’m about to start the third. This publisher with Jill Girardi at the helm are experts in finding the best horror stories I’ve ever laid eyes on and they are all written by women! Jill Girardi noticed that most stories in horror anthologies are written by men, so she found her niche in publishing, supporting and promoting women horror writers. I just love a good horror story and I don’t care who writes it, so I have been thrilled with the talent that is compiled in these anthologies put forth by Kandisha Press!

The reader is immediately sucked in by the first story, Holes, by R.A. Busby. It’s a page turner and draws you helplessly into the entire anthology. The stories that follow provide tales of ghosts, djinn (one of my favorite mythical creatures), zombies, a mummy, ancient gods, etc… supplying something for all horror tastes! There’s even one with monster hunters, and I can’t list the title because it gives away the big twist in the story. I was particularly drawn to that one because, yes, that’s right, (say it together, my small bevy of blog followers) I love Supernatural! (Or I guess you guys would say, she loves Supernatural!)

I give 5 stars to this anthology and to every author! As with the first Kandisha Press anthology, Under Her Black Wings, I almost lost my day job because it was so difficult to stop reading the exciting, suspenseful and entertaining stories between its covers and get a little shut eye! Not to mention the lingering, haunted feeling one feels when reading great horror!

Here’s the link for Graveyard Smash:

And for Under Her Black Wings:

And for the new anthology, The One That Got Away, that came out just in time for Women in Horror Month:

“Is it Really You, Granny?”

            Tears streamed down Bella’s face as she gulped down more cheap wine and watched an episode of Supernatural on Netflix that she had seen a thousand times before. It was the one where dead loved ones “phoned home” to their grieving relatives. One of them even used AOL Instant Messenger because the episode originally aired in the mid 2,000s.

            Bella hadn’t showered in two days and she wore the same pjs for said two days. Needless to say, she wreaked, and her TV watching domain wreaked too. She had been drinking for almost the entire time too. There were two empty wine bottles on the TV tray next to her recliner and a third one already half empty. Empty chip bags were strewn about the floor around her and the current bag of Ruffles that she was working on was in her lap; a lap that was covered in chip crumbs and spilled wine.

            This season of Supernatural was the one that featured the beautiful, but troubled character also named Bela, except with one l. But the name was more fitting for that character because she was truly beautiful. The real-life Bella who lounged in her own filth was not so beautiful. She was middle-aged, fifty pounds overweight and alone. She regularly had her gray hair touched up with blonde highlights, but she put no effort into anything else on her aging, sagging body. She had given up on wearing makeup long ago.

            Bella, the real one, shoved more chips in her mouth as crumbs showered over her lap and then washed that down with more crappy, red wine. As she watched the dead contact the characters on the episode, she entertained a crazy thought. She found herself in this current state of despair because her grandmother had just died the day before. Even though their meetups often ended in arguments, she had truly loved the old woman.

            Bella’s iPhone was on the TV tray amongst the army of dead soldiers that had done their duty and given their lives in contributing to her current state of sloppy drunkenness. She set down her wine glass and carefully removed her cell from amongst the sentinels. The back of it was sticky with wine residue, but Bella was too drunk to care. She typed in her passcode and after two failed attempts managed to type it in correctly the third time. She looked at her recent calls and the third one down said, Granny, because she had just talked to her grandmother a few days prior.

            She looked at it for a moment and then pressed it and placed the phone to her ear. It rang a couple of times and Bella was about to put the phone back down because even in her current mental state, she knew she was being stupid and crazy…

            “Hello, honey,” the familiar crackling, Texas accent of her Granny said through the phone.

            Bella jumped from her chair, chip bag flying from her lap and phone launched from her hand as if it were on fire.

            Bella stood, trembling all over as Netflix continued to the next episode of Supernatural as if nothing had happened. As Bella watched, her phone lit up and vibrated as apparently her Granny called her back. She watched the phone move about the carpet, while she remained frozen in place. Her heart raced as she stared at it. The phone went dark and just as Bella had convinced herself that she had imagined the whole thing, the phone resumed its antics.

            Bella said out loud, “Fuck it!” and swooped up the phone and answered it.

            “Hello,” said Bella.

            “Why did you hang up on me honey?”

            Bella was sobbing now as she listened to the familiar voice.

            “Bella? Why are you crying?”

            Bella got herself under control and asked, “Is it really you, Granny?”

            “Of course it’s me, honey,”

            “But, but, you died…”

            “Well yes, but there is an afterlife, honey. You know that” said Granny.

            “There are phones in the afterlife?” asked Bella.

            “Not exactly, you’re actually imagining all this, honey.”

            “Imagining this? I’m not really talking to you?”

            “Oh, you are talking to me honey, but not on a cell phone.”

            “What?!”

            “The caoineag has you,” said Granny, “She’s bringing you to me.”

            “Bringing me to you? What’s a caoineag, Granny?”

            “Have you heard of a banshee, honey?”        

            “Yes, but banshees just announce upcoming deaths in a family. They don’t take the living anywhere.”

            “Well, think of this caoineag, as a souped-up banshee. She’s been with our family for centuries. She came over to America with our Scottish ancestors. She harkens all the way back to our Norse origins. She was once the human granddaughter of Godred Croven, King of the Isles. Her name is Ragnailt ingen Amlaíb. She was a great queen who was relegated to the history books as simply the wife of the ruler of southern Hebrides when he had her murdered and took control of their kingdom. Being a descendent of Odin, death could not stop her. She has stayed with the women in our family, growing stronger with each passing century…”

            “Why have I never heard of her before?” asked Bella.

            “It just never came up,” said Granny.

            “Never came up?! A creature haunts our family, and it never came up?!”

            “Well, the conversation never took that direction.”

            “What?! Oh god, I am so drunk! I’m joining AA tomorrow, I swear!”

            Bella opened her eyes. She had passed out in her recliner. She smiled because for a glorious second, it seemed to have all been a dream. But then she saw the creature, a hag wearing a shredded, sooty gown. Her thick white hair hung in voluminous waves around her ghoulish face. She hovered in the room between the TV and the recliner. She looked down at Bella, opened her gaping, toothless mouth and wailed.

            Bella screamed, then with a waive of her hand, the caoineag snapped Bella’s neck. The hag opened her mouth further and sucked Bella’s troubled soul from her body.

            The last thing Bella heard was the theme music as the Supernatural episode ended and the creature whisked away carrying her soul to join that of her Granny’s in eternity.

            Bella’s last thought was, ‘why can’t Sam and Dean be real’, as she was carried to her impending doom. Well, she was pretty sure she was doomed anyway. She and her Granny hadn’t been the nicest people in the world…

Quarantine

Sooo….I’m currently quarantined because I was in close contact with someone who is now struck down by Covid-19. I’m on the fourth day of said quarantine, and the first three days were not handled well by me at all. The first day was the worst, because I allowed my anxiety to take control of me the whole day, and that night I couldn’t sleep because my heart wouldn’t stop racing. I’ve wasted three days of prime writing time just waiting to get sick. I kind of snapped out of it a little yesterday; did a few household chores and worked out, but no writing…

Well I am writing this now and getting caught up on Supernatural. 🙂 I only have four more episodes, so no spoilers, please! Anyway, I’m trying to get the writing juices flowing again, so that’s the reason for this post. Tomorrow I get back to real writing; there will be more horror stories coming your way and the next chapter of Darkest Timeline!

For now, here’s a Supernatural meme: