The Life of a Newborn (5 )

I was beginning to become more relaxed, even though she was not telling me what I so desperately longed to know.
“Do you not wonder why you did not immediately go after David? Why his blood didn’t call for you to drain it?”
Honestly the thought never crossed my mind. I was so focused on the task she had completed so easily, my blood lust had not gotten the better of me. I then ask. “Was it because I was so adamant about finding out how you could do what you do?”
Miriam laughed heartily. “Somehow, I doubt even that could give you such restraint. No, it is because he drinks a special drink I make him. He drinks it daily, and that way I have no urge to drain him either.”
“How is it you know so much?”
Miriam takes a bite of the cookie. “When you have lived as long as I, you learn things through trial and error, and through others like us.”
“What do you mean as old as you?” I blurt out, “You can’t be much older than I am.”
Miriam stares forcefully into my eyes.
“Did you never watch a movie on vampires Paul? Do you know absolutely nothing about what you are?” Miriam questioned?
Looking and feeling ashamed, I state, “No… I haven’t. I didn’t grow up to privilege. I fought for all I had, and fighting for a frivolous luxury was not going to happen when I was starving. So to answer your question, I know nothing of vampires. I know nothing of what I was forced to become.”
Miriam took pity on me. She began to explain everything, starting from her change into a vampire. My the time night fell, I had a better knowledge of what had occurred, even though I didn’t know exactly why. I suppose no one could answer that except for the one who made me.

Happy Christmas

Just want to wish everyone a Happy Christmas, or whatever holiday you may be celebrating!! 🙂 I also wanted to apologize for my sudden drop in writing. A sorta medical crisis has arisen, and I am very limited on the amount of time I can write… I know, it feels like it happens a lot. I do apologize and hope to have something new up on one of the two stories soon!! Again, Happy Christmas and Happy Reading !! XO MLSteele 🙂

Twisted Passions, Oceans Apart, Prologue

This is something I’ve been working on for some time. Enjoy.

— JB Steele

 

Prologue

People had been glancing at the two of us most of the morning. She found several reasons to come to my desk, little reasons of no real importance. I did the same thing. She’d look up and I’d be standing there, quietly. Without a word, I’d go somewhere else. Anywhere else. When I got there, I’d work on something and feel a hand on my shoulder. I’d squeeze the hand, knowing instantly whose it was. A sad smile and she’d be gone. We tried not to be seen together, unless one of us found some little reason to come back to the other.

Everyone else knew something had happened. How could they have known otherwise? She and I were partners in every sense of the word. We were colleagues, friends, and now lovers. Our relationship had progressed from the first shy moment we met three years ago at work, from little jokes and teases, to genuine trust and affection, to love. Every step had progressed naturally, and neither of us had thought it strange. Our coworkers at the office watched this with approval, and so did the bosses. Most of those people, anyway. A couple of the higher-ups didn’t like it.

I got up and walked toward the coffeepot. Maybe the taste of the truly awful sludge would distract me. I got there and saw her standing with her back to me. Shocked, I just stood there, knowing she never drank those terrible dregs. She was moving slower than usual, with her head bowed, and I knew she hurt as bad as I did.

My arms automatically went around her, before I thought. She stiffened in surprise, and then relaxed into my embrace. Many times had we stood like this watching the surf, or lying together while we watched the stars. I held her as the trembling started, little mild fits of heartbreak, knowing my own heartbreak mirrored hers. I murmured little comforts in her ear and hoped that she wouldn’t break down. I knew that if she did, I would too. It hadn’t been easy recently. I had received word that I was being transferred to a new office at the behest of one of the bosses. I didn’t have to figure out which one. It was the same one who’d made a pass at her, months ago. His proposal, if you could call it that, had been quickly turned down. Maria and I looked long and hard for ways to keep me from having to go, but there wasn’t a way. I had to go.

We knew why he’d done it. He didn’t like the idea of fraternization at the workplace, but since he wasn’t the big boss, he couldn’t do much. . . until now. It had been set up and executed with all the skill and finesse of a jungle ambush. He wanted me out of the picture, so he could make another play. The other boss who didn’t approve, well, she’d helped him right along. They deserved each other.

Both of us had talked it over. We knew that with me on the other side of the world, our relationship wouldn’t survive. Oh, maybe it would, but it wouldn’t be the same. We had to have each other, hold each other, love each other. That wouldn’t have been possible from so far away. It had been with breaking hearts that we decided to call it quits. So many tears were shed, from anger and hurt, but we couldn’t think of a better way.

I stayed with her last night, saying goodbye. I knew I might never share her bed and her love again, and I didn’t want it to end. She knew that, and welcomed me. Maria didn’t want it to end either. We knew then that today would be so hard, but neither of us could call in sick. I couldn’t do that, because I’d be leaving in the evening and didn’t want to just sit around all day. I was already packed. She couldn’t, because of a recent flu bug had used up all the sick time she had. The only consolation, if you could call it that, was that I’d leave before she got off. She wouldn’t have to see me go, then.

Her trembling eased off, but mine was still there. I was so angry, at that boss, at the world, at my loss. She turned, snuggling into my shoulder, saying she loved me. That made me feel better and worse at the same time, but my trembling receded a little. I softly kissed her lips, not caring who was there to see it, and broke the hug. As much as I loved her, I couldn’t take it. I still kept her hand, though, and she understood.

I decided against the coffee, so I walked to the drink machines and got a bottle of apple juice. She came with me, since I was still holding her hand, and we shared a companionable silence. Distantly, my mind registered that the conversation level had dropped every time we were together, but then again, I understood. They cared for us, and I had been told more than once that they had been so happy when we got together. Apparently, the women in the office had been pushing her toward me, and the men had done the same for me.

A slight stir alerted me to the fact that the woman who’d help break us up had entered. She saw us standing together and started to come our way. I kissed my lover on her forehead, and stood erect as the boss approached. The now-empty bottle of apple juice seemingly fell of its own accord into a trashcan. I didn’t trust myself to say anything to the woman, so I simply stared at her.

She tried to act as though she didn’t know of any “special” circumstances, or as though the air of gloom wasn’t there. I could tell that she fed on it. She started to go on about not working like I should, no “sense of urgency,” and other things. I didn’t say anything, but modified my stare into a cold, clear, and penetrating gaze. I looked her in-the eye and very soon she figured out that I knew what she’d done.

She broke off and walked off in the opposite direction, hastily. I didn’t know where to, and didn’t care. Someone else broke off, too, and followed her. I turned back to my lover, but she wasn’t there. I sighed and turned to go back to my desk, to start cleaning it out.

As I started to do that, people figured it out. The office mom came over and hugged me, having seen everything and quite capable of figuring it out. She whispered in my ear that she was so sorry for both of us, and that she’d go find her and keep her occupied when I left. I nodded, unable to speak. I had a steady stream of visitors then, who tried as hard as they could to support me the best they knew. I was touched, so appreciative.

Soon, my time was almost up. I put my stuff into a bag, and closed the desk’s drawer. It didn’t look like mine anymore, just a piece of office furniture. I arose and walked to the head manager’s office. He was a good friend of mine, and I didn’t want to leave witl1out saying goodbye. I found him there with a miserable expression on his face. He stood, took my hand, and told me to sit down. He said he was sorry to see me go, and wished he could do something to keep me here.

Then he dropped a bomb.

He told me he found out about the transfer the two others had cooked up, and like us, had tried to find a way to nullify it but couldn’t. He did find a way to have fired, with prejudice, the man who’d drafted it but it would take time and he couldn’t do it himself or immediately. The woman I’d stared down would take time to get rid of. I gaped at him. He had in effect declared a vendetta on that woman and a jihad on the man. I didn’t know what to say, but I did feel satisfaction.

A knock on the door interrupted us, and he got up to open the door. The office mom came in with her arms around my lover, and prompted her to speak. She paused, unsure, but said she wanted to say goodbye. My friend raised his eyebrow.

A little exasperated, she snapped, “I want to kiss him goodbye, and I don’t want everyone watching!”

He nodded, as if he expected that, and he hustled out the door with the other woman. The door closed, and I looked at her. Suddenly, we were in each other’s arms, and so desperately we kissed, so passionately, I thought would drown in her; I could feel her tears falling and my own streaking down my face. Time passed, without any thought from us. ‘ The kiss ended, leaving me light—headed. She gazed at me, teary-eyed, and turned and ran out the door. I didn’t follow her. It was hard enough on me to see her in the same pain as me. I sat in the swivel chair, staring out at the bay. My friend’s hand on my shoulder brought me back. It was a few minutes before I could look up at him.

I don’t want to go.” He nodded.

I don’t blame you.”

Tell her to wait for me.” Again, he nodded.

I will. Cherie and I will look after her for you.”

I sat there, still. He stood there, not being my boss, until I was ready to get up. Soon, I did. I walked out of his office, and picked up my bag. He was right behind me. As I walked out onto the main floor, silence reigned. 1 stopped, and my friend stopped to my left. I looked around, and saw her at my desk, surrounded by others. We held our gaze for a long time, until she turned away. I didn’t want her to watch me go, and I went. I heard her crying softly as she turned away, but I couldn’t stop. I made it out, barely, but the tears on my face wouldn’t stop.

The Life of a Newborn (4)

“Wait, you’re like me. How did you, take so little?”
The woman just leered at me. “Not in broad daylight, so to speak. Meet me at this address at dawn and I will explain what I can. Now I must be off, or the pattern will be disrupted, and who knows what will happen then.”
I took the slip of paper she had handed me and unfolded it carefully. There in neat black ink was the address I needed. I folded it back the way it had been and slipped it into my pocket, then I wandered through town , looking for 108 North Broad Ave.
I arrive at the neat and trim cape cod style home. I go to the door and knock. “Can I help you?” A man asks appearing at the door.
“I was given this address, by a lady in town, she told me to come before the sun arose.”
“Miriam, it’s for you.” The man then disappeared back into the house.
The woman I had been watching appeared. “So you made it Paul.”
“Yes, I did Miriam. You never even gave me your name.”
“You had no cause to know it. You only know it now, because you need my help.” She then turned and called out. “David can you invite this young man in?”
I thought to myself, young man, you can’t be a day over 25, however I kept my opinion to myself. David reappeared at the door, “What is your last name Paul?”
Immediately I say Fortner, why?”
David then asked, “Paul Fortner would you like to come in?”
I said “Yes,” and stepped through the door frame.
“First lesson Paul Fortner, be specific when inviting anyone into a dwelling you wish to occupy. Had David merely asked would you like to come in, anyone could enter. Not to mention that once they are invited, you can’t uninvite them.”
I was anxious to find out how she could drink so little and turn the guy loose. “How did you do that, in the alley?” I was unsure just how much to say in front of David.
Miriam noticed me eyeing him cautiously. “You can speak freely, David is my confederate.”
“David is your confederate What does that mean?” I was beginning to grow agitated, so much of this world I knew nothing about.
“Let me ask you Paul, how did you become a vampire?”
Miriam noticed my apprehension. “Oh where are my manners? Paul, why don’t you come in and have a cup of hot tea and maybe a little something to eat.”
I look at her as if she is crazy. “Something to eat. I can only have blood. I’m a vampire.”
Miriam takes my hand and leads me to her kitchen. She sits me down and begins to make us some tea. “ I hope you like oolong, it is what I always drink. Nice and strong, and I have some ginger molasses cookies to have along with it.”
Miriam then walks over, and picks one up and takes a bite. She then places it on her plate. “The little things are what keep us from being monsters.” She then places two more cookies on her saucer before offering me any.
I follow her lead, and take one taking a bite. It actually feels good in my mouth and relieves the burn of thirst in my throat. I reach in and take two more, “ Where can I get some of these? They , they.”
Miriam finished my sentence “ they take the burn away from the thirst we have. I know.”
She then retrieves the tea kettle which has begun to whistle. “You can’t exactly buy them. You can the ingredients, but the cookies themselves, must be homemade. I make them once a month, and I store them in my canister. One of my secret weapons mind you.”

The Life of a Newborn (3)

I decided to go in search of more food , I mean after all the city was my buffet. I could drink from anyone I chose. I headed south on Cable street. The slews of people were calling to me. I had to watch for another opportunity, and low and behold , it didn’t take long. A woman this time , decides to leave off from her group of walking companions.
The woman bends down to tie her shoe and I take advantage. I silently creep up behind her, and move in for my dessert. “You know, you really shouldn’t follow a woman down a dark alley. Not all of us are as frail and helpless as we look.”
I am stunned, how could she have known I was there? She then stands, and turns to face me. “It’s a lovely night we’re having , wouldn’t you say..?”
I stand there staring at her dumbfounded.
“Your being rude, I wanted to know your name, hence the pause in my statement. Are you thick?”
I finally stammer out “Pppaul. My name is Paul.”
“Well Paul, wouldn’t you agree this weather is enchanting?”
I nod my head. I can’t believe only a few moments before and all I could think of was sucking her dry, and now.. Now , I don’t know.
“I really should catch up to my group, the woman stated. It was lovely to meet you Paul.” Then she was suddenly gone, and the thought of blood returned to my mind.
I head back towards the building I had slept in last night after picking up a light snack on the way. I was “home” and asleep when the sun climbed it’s way into the morning sky.
“Hey boss, two more bodies have been discovered, no blood in them. Both had some mutalation, but nothing like that first one, it you could barely make heads or tails of.”
“Lawson could you grab me a coffee & a bagel. Oh and get some for yourself, I need your opinion on something.”
The young officer did as he was told, then returned to his supervisors office. “ What could you need my opinion on?” He was feeling so nervous, he just sat toying with the cup of coffee.
The supervisor rises, and goes and shuts his office door. He then takes a large bite of bagel and washes it down with coffee. “ Not a donut, mind you, but still delicious with that cream cheese and jelly.”
“Sir, you didn’t ask me in here to discuss breakfast food, what is it you need my opinion on?”
The Lt. Danced around the subject a few minutes more. Finally he sat across from the kid and said, “Do you think this is some gang initiation?” Then he mumbled out, “or could this be something supernatural we are dealing with?”
The young officer stares at him, “Sir, what I think is, these murders are committed else where, then the perp is dumping the body, hence no blood.”
The Lt. Smiled at him. “Then explain the kid to me? He disappeared down an alley to retrieve a ball. When his friend went in search of him, he found this,” holding up the photograph of the kid with his arm mauled. “Coroner says the mutalation is post mortium.”
Watching the officer, he added, “Oh, and he said it looks like their were two puncture marks in his wrist.”
I wake once again as night begins to engulf the city. My throat is burning, and I can barely contain myself, waiting on the last rays of light to disappear. I try to occupy my mind, thinking back to the woman from yesterday. I decide once I feed, I would go and try to find her. Something had to be different with her, because my blood lust disappeared.
The veil of night had finally fully descended, and I was out the door. I made quick time traveling from my place of sleep back to the city. Once again the streets teemed with life. However tonight, a new presence was about. The men in blue. It looked as if every man on the force was out here tonight, mingled in with the everyday people. I decide to search for food further from town. As my throat burned , I headed back to a little cottage on the hill. I could slip in there and have a quick drink and be on my way with no one the wiser. I move in on the cottage, close enough that I can smell the lovely scent of the humans blood which are snug inside. My fangs begin to erupt , as I place my hand on the door knob. I twist the knob, snapping the lock and swing the door open. “Easy as pie.” Something happened though. I tried and tried to move across the threshold, but I couldn’t. Something strong was stopping me.
I heard movement from the next room as some one slowly came to investigate the noise I had made. I had to get out of their quickly or risk being discovered.
This night was proving that being a vampire was hard. No wonder Alex had diverted his response in my asking that very question. I had to find blood and soon. I headed down the road when I happened upon a deer running through the field towards the city. I was faster than it, and it became my meal that night. I can say, that deer blood is nothing to a human, it’s like comparing ground turkey to filet minion. It did the job of fueling me, but yuck at the taste.
After that I headed back to the alley where I had seen the woman the night before. And wouldn’t you know it , there she was again, tying her shoe, same place, same track suit, same time.
Tonight, I didn’t approach her, I just watched and waited in the shadows. After a few moments she resumed her run.
Each night over the next week I watched this women every evening, like clock work. She dropped off from her group of walkers whether there were two or ten, and she would go down the same alley. Finally last night I got to see the reason why. Since I had moved my hunting out of our town, the men in blue slacked off on their man power here and I was able to roam freely around town once again. Last night as the woman headed into the alley, a man followed her. She gave the same spill to him about not being so frail. Well needless to say, when he followed her, she picked him up and drained a pint before looking in his eyes and whispering something. She then covered the marks on his arm with his shirt sleeve , wiped her mouth and headed out of the alley. The man turned and went the other way.
Copyright 2015 MLSteele

The Life of a Newborn (2)

I resume walking in the direction of town. The moon is high in the sky, and the streets are deserted. I make my way towards the place I called home. It sits empty, many beer cans and whiskey bottles litter the yard. There is someone sitting on the steps of the dilapidated building. He looks familiar as I near him. I choke out “Can I help you?” The man just stares.
“I think it’s the other way around, can I help you. Needless to say I already have. I’m Alex. Just Alex, you need to know nothing more of me. I unearthed your coffin, thank god for the lazy prisoner who buried you. Your coffin was merely inches below the ground as opposed to the usual six feet. I cleaned it off, to make it easier if you returned as I hoped you would.”
“Who are you?”
“I have told you , I’m Alex.”
I stood there staring at him, baffled.
“You are now the undead. You died from lethal injection, but before it occurred, when the sleeping agent was administered, so was the venom.”
“Venom, what am I a snake?”
The man cackled loudly “You Paul , are a vampire.”
This old man had to be crazy. “This is all a dream, I’m gonna pinch myself and wake up.”
And I did pinch myself, and it hurt enough to have awakened me… But I wasn’t waking, the dream was still happening.
“You must feed from a human before daylight, then find somewhere safe to sleep out of the light of sun. I will return tomorrow night with information for you. Now we have wasted
So much of the night. Go and get out of the city after you feed.”
I look at him odd, but follow his instructions.
I stumble down the street and happen upon a junkie passed out. The closer I get the more my throat burns. I decide to do what the man had told me. I look around to find something to cut the junkie with, but as I move in, something happens in my mouth. I reach up and touch the two razor sharp fangs. Immediately I pick up his wrist and insert my fangs. The blood squirts out and hits my throat. “Ahhh, a cooling sensation. I siphon all of the blood from the body of my victim, then suddenly my new teeth are gone. I grab the shirt from the dead body & wipe my mouth. As I return to my feet, the burning returns to my throat. Something has changed, though. I have strength and coordination. I pick up a car and smash it repeatedly on the victim’s body, to hide the real cause of death. I wasn’t going down for murder again, even in this dream. I head out on foot, and realize I can run. Faster than even Jason Barnes. He was the fastest boy in my class in high school. What I wouldn’t give to see the look on his face as I ran past him on the racetrack.
I headed towards the train tracks and out of town.
Morning arrived for the city and the mauled body of the junky was discovered. The scene was horrific, and yet not as horrible as if it could have been, the young officer thought. “Boss, why is there no blood spatter, or pools of blood?” The young man questioned. It had taken his keen eye to notice the oddity of the scene.
“Good question there…” The boss drew a blank due to so many new guys coming and going. This last year.
“It’s Lawson. Allen Lawson.”
“Good call Officer Lawson.” The boss then turned and began discussing the young officers find with his sergeant
Evening was on its way, when I awoke. I thought, I suppose vampires do sleep, just as humans do. I opened the blind, just in time for the last rays of the sun to fall on my face. I can tell you the pain it is excruciating! I learned that lesson though, never let sun fall upon my skin.
Once the sun was surely gone for the night I slipped out of the abandoned office building I had made my bedroom. The night air was crisp and cool, I felt so alive, however, my throat was pulling me down. The burn was becoming unbearable as I neared town. Once I reached the city I knew why. People were everywhere!!
I had to be smart. I couldn’t just go around killing people, this much I knew. I watched and waited for an opportunity. It wasn’t long before some unsuspecting kid followed a ball down an alley. I in turn followed the kid.
I never thought of the struggle that would occur, nor the fact that this kid could and would fight back. He also was able to use his lungs, and yell. Yet another thing that never crossed my mind. In the end, though I was stronger, and he succumbed to my thirst. Once again, I drain the body of all blood. This time, I decided to use an abandoned wrench to take care of the evidence. I had to hurry, so the only area I mutilated, was the area which contained my fang marks. I was then on my way, carrying the wrench in my back pocket. I figured I would wipe it down and dispose of it later.
I reached the place I had last seen Alex the night before. He was inside waiting on me tonight.
“I’m glad to see you followed my instructions. Had you not, well… you would have wound back up in your coffin, only no longer undead.”
“What is going on?” I demand.
“Your new life is what is going on Paul. I have created a few of you. There are others, original ones, not sired from a test tube as you were.”
“Why choose those on death row to give this gift to?”
Alex dodged the question.
“So, you have no reflection, no fingerprints, and no DNA. You cannot go out during the day, certain things can harm you, but overall you are a killing machine. Be careful who you friend and trust this secret with. Oh and one last thing, you can’t step foot on holy ground again.”
I gave up, I nodded in agreement, then Alex was gone. “We will not meet again. Either you sink or swim. I cannot choose for you. I have given you all the information I have. Maybe you should read a book or two on the subject, or search the web.”
Alex then disappeared into the fog that had suddenly appeared around the city.

Storms

This is one of those skewed-POV things I like to do. Enjoy.

Storms

by JB Steele

The storms were coming again. Violetta turned to the children and looked at them for a moment. She didn’t know what to do, not after hearing the stories from the refugees. It had been hard to hear. The families torn apart, the homes ripped down, the loss and despair – all of that was agonizing. The old man down the hall had stories about what he’d been through. Violetta couldn’t remember his name. She looked anxiously out at the shadows approaching. Tom, that was it. Tom was his name. She thought about what he’d told her once.

Tom had told her hushed stories about the storms. He didn’t even touch his meal as he spoke, and she noticed that it was growing colder by the minute. He’d always shown a voracious appetite for his age, and to see him disregard food told her how serious the subject was.

“It’s quiet for a long time beforehand. Sure, there’s the usual noise you hear everywhere, but when a storm arrives, you can’t mistake it.”

She wondered if he was spinning a web of tall tales, but the grim look in his eye and the bad leg he had convinced her that he was totally serious. Violetta had swallowed hard and asked him what to listen for.

“The noise level is incredible. You can’t hear yourself think, and the sheer vibration from all the noise feels like it’s shaking your body apart.”

He paused for a moment, then grunted. “I’ve seen friends shaken apart. Remember the storm of ’08?”

“No, I don’t. That was before I came to town. That was a bad one, from all accounts. Lot of lives lost. Property damage. Just a very bad time.”

He had been silent, staring off into the distance. Before Violetta could make up her mind to shake him and see if he was all right, his attention came back to her.

“That is right. Very right. I’ve lost many friends to the storms, and there’s no way to stop them or even prepare for them.”

The rest of the dinner had been silent and Violetta had returned to her home shaken. She kissed her sleeping babies a little more before going to bed. Her sleep was not restful that night.

Now, she looked out as the apartment building disintegrated, knowing that there was nothing that she could do. Violetta glared at the approaching winds and gathered her babies around her. Tom was already gone, and she knew it would be their turn soon. She wasn’t going to run. Violetta was going to die on her feet, protecting her babies the best she could.

***

The man switched off the vacuum cleaner and lowered the hose attachment. He gazed at the spot he’d just cleaned out. His wife heard the machine turn off, wiped the sweat off her brow, and turned to see him staring at the wall.

“Jimmy? You ok? What happened?”

He shook his head, bemused.

“The strangest thing. I was cleaning out in this corner. This is an old house, and there’s a lot to do.”

She frowned. “You’re right, and just standing there isn’t going to get it done, you know.”

“Oh, I know.” He reached for the switch, but his wife stopped him.

“What was so strange?”

He grimaced.

“It was the strangest thing. When I cleaned out that spider web that was there in that corner,” he pointed with the wand, “there was a spider with eggs that seemed to be staring me down.”

The woman harrumphed.

“Oh, well. I don’t want spiders in my new home.”

He snorted at the thought. After a moment, the vacuum cleaner started whirring again.

The End

Storms

This is one of the skewed-POV things I like to do. Enjoy.

Storms

by JB Steele

The storms were coming again. Violetta turned to the children and looked at them for a moment. She didn’t know what to do, not after hearing the stories from the refugees. It had been hard to hear. The families torn apart, the homes ripped down, the loss and despair – all of that was agonizing. The old man down the hall had stories about what he’d been through. Violetta couldn’t remember his name. She looked anxiously out at the shadows approaching. Tom, that was it. Tom was his name. She thought about what he’d told her once.

Tom had told her hushed stories about the storms. He didn’t even touch his meal as he spoke, and she noticed that it was growing colder by the minute. He’d always shown a voracious appetite for his age, and to see him disregard food told her how serious the subject was.

“It’s quiet for a long time beforehand. Sure, there’s the usual noise you hear everywhere, but when a storm arrives, you can’t mistake it.”

She wondered if he was spinning a web of tall tales, but the grim look in his eye and the bad leg he had convinced her that he was totally serious. Violetta had swallowed hard and asked him what to listen for.

“The noise level is incredible. You can’t hear yourself think, and the sheer vibration from all the noise feels like it’s shaking your body apart.”

He paused for a moment, then grunted. “I’ve seen friends shaken apart. Remember the storm of ’08?”

“No, I don’t. That was before I came to town. That was a bad one, from all accounts. Lot of lives lost. Property damage. Just a very bad time.”

He had been silent, staring off into the distance. Before Violetta could make up her mind to shake him and see if he was all right, his attention came back to her.

“That is right. Very right. I’ve lost many friends to the storms, and there’s no way to stop them or even prepare for them.”

The rest of the dinner had been silent and Violetta had returned to her home shaken. She kissed her sleeping babies a little more before going to bed. Her sleep was not restful that night.

Now, she looked out as the apartment building disintegrated, knowing that there was nothing that she could do. Violetta glared at the approaching winds and gathered her babies around her. Tom was already gone, and she knew it would be their turn soon. She wasn’t going to run. Violetta was going to die on her feet, protecting her babies the best she could.

***

The man switched off the vacuum cleaner and lowered the hose attachment. He gazed at the spot he’d just cleaned out. His wife heard the machine turn off, wiped the sweat off her brow, and turned to see him staring at the wall.

“Jimmy? You ok? What happened?”

He shook his head, bemused.

“The strangest thing. I was cleaning out in this corner. This is an old house, and there’s a lot to do.”

She frowned. “You’re right, and just standing there isn’t going to get it done, you know.”

“Oh, I know.” He reached for the switch, but his wife stopped him.

“What was so strange?”

He grimaced.

“It was the strangest thing. When I cleaned out that spider web that was there in that corner,” he pointed with the wand, “there was a spider with eggs that seemed to be staring me down.”

The woman harrumphed.

“Oh, well. I don’t want spiders in my new home.”

He snorted at the thought. After a moment, the vacuum cleaner started whirring again.

The End

The Life of a Newborn (1)

I can remember my life before anything changed. How I use to just exist. Some would say I was even a bit on the wrong side of life, headed down a trail for destruction. I might agree, seeing as I had been in and out of jail more times than I was years of age. Most of it was petty stuff, breaking and entering , damaging public property, you know the easy stuff. Then it happened, the act which would push me over the edge, the act which there was no coming back from. I committed murder.
It all started out rather innocently, me and a couple of friends looting houses, looking for people’s Christmas presents, cash, jewelry. Things we could easily sell at the black market. I was first to enter, I slid the window open, and crawled through. That should have been my first clue something was off. Then I began walking across the wooden floor. Just my luck, a toy had been left out by their kid. As I kicked the toy car, I could hear the loud clanking it made, as it rolled across the floor. That was it, a large man appeared at the door. I didn’t waste time on questions. I began firing my gun. Three rounds later and the man laid in his own blood, dead. I searched his pockets and stole the two hundred dollars he had in cash. I then took his rings and watch and fled. I was all over that murder scene, so when the crime scene investigators arrived, well they were waiting for me in my normal hang out.
“Paul, what are you doing? You have never killed before.”
“And I still haven’t.” I lied.
“ Your DNR was all over that crime scene.”
“Oh I admit I was there, and I even robbed him, but as for killing him, no, that was someone else.”
I though the detective had given up on trying to get me on the murder. I was wrong…
“Well Paul , I guess then I should take you into custody. One last drink and you will go peacefully for the burglary right?”
I was on cloud nine. A little slap on the wrist, and I would be back on the streets by summer. “You buying?”
“Of course. “
“Hey John, two shots of your fireball.”
“Sure thing detective.”
I didn’t see what happened behind the bar, but when I picked up the shot and tossed it down, the detective flipped Oma strange light . Suddenly my hand was glowing. “And that my friend Paul is gunshot residue. I have you dead to rights. You will get the lethal injection for this.”
It was true, I was booked and held for less than two weeks. The jury came back finding me guilty. The day came for my execution a couple of weeks later. I wasn’t worried. Life had been nothing for me. Just surviving the world. Now I got an easy peaceful way out. I waved the choice of confessing to God and everyone else, I mean I didn’t even believe in the almighty. How could a kid like me. I closed my eyes, and waited for the I.V. To begin. It took no more than fifteen minutes, and the doctor was injecting the cocktail into my veins.
“ This is better than being high,” I told him. He never made one sound. Slowly I drifted off to sleep, into my eternal slumber. Or so I thought.
After the whole ordeal was finished, and the coroner pronounced me dead, I was put in a pine box and immediately taken to the prison cemetery. I don’t recall any of this, because after all I was asleep. Or rather dead, but the man who dug me up told me.
I woke trapped in a dark cold spot. I began trying my hardest to get out. I punched the wood repeatly , till suddenly it gave way and cracked. Something was wrong. My throat burned as if a match had been thrown in it. I wandered am I in hell?
I finished opening the box, and crawled out onto the cold wet dirt. “Surely this isn’t hell, for if it were it would be hot.” I managed some how to get myself to my feet. I wandered around still feeling half way high from the drugs they had put in me. Something must have gone wrong, I didn’t die. I stumble into a yard with a birdbath. I am so thirsty, I don’t care that it’s for animals, I begin to drink. “I truly am in hell!” No matter how much of the water I consumed, the thirst never went away.

copyright 2015 MLSteele