“Thirteen”

Detached
and lonely,
in the coldest
part of the wood
not far beyond
the twisting river
and gnarled elm tree
is where the old shack stood.
Broken windows
but a locked door.
Black walls
in the dark,
but honestly red
at the core.
Inside
there are things
it does not
want you to see
but we all
see them once…
just not early.

The first is used last
when it’s all done.
It has a few names,
including One.

Two has teeth
just like a saw.
With a restrictive diet,
it only eats raw.

Don’t let the size
bring a sigh of relief,
three steals the skin
just like a thief.

Nestled at your throat,
four, is the kiss
of a lover
you will not miss.

This one has a temper
its wit in steel burning.
Feel the tongue of the fifth,
as the hilt is turning.

The devil himself
even has a favorite scythe.
Just guess which
he borrows to take life.

Seven, jealous, does not
play well with others.
It has tried before
to destroy its sisters and brothers.

Perfect eight,
symmetrical and kind.
The holiest death
that one can find.

Brutal and slow nine
is the oldest among
it will take its time
piercing each lung.

Brightness will avoid
ten’s dark heart.
Ignorant and crass
its not very smart.

Eleven, the slyest
and most intelligent in sin
because there are two
and the blades are twins.

Entitled and fortune born
its rust color will suck
the souls from its victims
every time, given twelve’s luck.

The final is classic,
just long and lean,
and that everyone
makes number thirteen.

Far away
and close all the same.
The sinister shack
waits,
the master
of life’s game.
One of the scythes
each of us will meet.
On the day the reaper comes
who are you going to greet?

“Ghost Story”

I saw two boys standing,
in the picture,
on the broken stair.
One with a frown,
and the other,
without a care.

The black haired one,
looking very serious
and quite proud,
held a book in his hand
his shoulders pitched forward
as if he had just bowed.

The lad with the smirk
and penny copper hair
all tousled about his face,
had his eyes far off
and looking away
as he stared into space.

It was taken
twenty three years ago
my mother told me.
When the world
was summer and
she and they played near the sea.


On Roan Island
where they lived,
there was a tale.
You see, the entrance
must be given one soul
to go beyond the veil.

My mother said
the boy made of copper,
brash and not coy,
had a timeless laugh
always heard at the wrong time
that sounded with no joy.

The dark haired one,
was forged of iron
and shadow smart.
His cracks were always witty
but they didn’t come
from his heart.

There was a game
they played
those nights by the sea.
“Something more
must be waiting
for our trio of three.”

One long summer,
when the ocean was storming
and the moon was bright,
one of them
disappeared
into the night.

He vanished,
like a light
in the dark.
The light of soul,
gone,
out like a spark.

“Never saw him again.”
My mother sighed,
her words slow.
“Other things I see now
ever since that night.”
and her voice was so low.

“What? What are you seeing
that I can’t?”
I asked shrewdly.
The picture crinkled
in my hand
the boys wrinkling crudely.

My mother stared straight
her eyes startled and wide
and looking right through me.
“I watch the dead now, sweetie,
for years they’ve come and go
creaking floors and spilling tea

they’ll never leave me alone.
By the sea we played
that stupid game.
Never the one soul
I wanted to see
but do I call his name. “

“Who?” I asked.
“Is it that you want to meet?”
She took the photo in hand
and looked down forlornly.
There was salt in her eyes,
and in her hair fell sand.

“One day the game
would catch up
I always knew.
The time to collect
the sin I owe,
proud and true.”

She pointed down
and I stared, then she said
only to me.
“Until now I never saw him
but now in this room
there are three.”

Living Life # 15 “Oblivion”

(a collection of independent vignettes)

It was just like a drum that was picking up the tempo. My heart, that was.

“Can you see him?”

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. A rising crescendo I couldn’t get a handle on. “I can’t see anything. It’s too dark.” The most I could make out was an outline. The slope of the stairs with the creaking last step, the lamp with the twisted metal where I had scraped my shoulder, and the barricade of wood nailed to the door. There were only traces of light trying to find a way in through the cracks in the boarded up windows. It had to be nearly dawn by now.

“Not for long.” Dmitri leaned back against the surface of the overturned dining room table, brushing his shoulder against my own. The contact pushed my already frayed nerves more on to the edge, making me wince. He didn’t seem to notice, as he continued “We have to hold out.”

That was the goal… but the longer the music played in the background, the harder it was to control my breathing. That drum in my chest and the phonograph were marching a perfect beat to the classical music that hadn’t stopped playing the entire time. In an empty mansion, with no one around for miles, I guess even monsters needed something to fill the silence that too much solitude brought on.

I almost felt bad, for a second. The smell of blood was too prevalent for the feeling to last any longer. It was dripping down my arm, faster than I could stop it and Dmitri was no better off. The monster had stabbed its nails into his side.

“He’s going to find us again.”

Dmitri grunted, guttural and low, and in hindsight it might even have been a laugh. “Beyond all doubt.” Between the smell of blood and the creaking last step it was a matter of moments.

The music was getting louder by the second and I knew that it was getting closer. It seemed to follow wherever it went. In the library it had been overwhelming, like trying to fight with an entire orchestra bowing in your ear. Not ideal circumstances for a hunt.

Behind the fallen table, I stood up. The hiding spot would not hold forever. Nothing could. Not even immortals were entirely safe. Dmitri looked up, but he didn’t say anything. I sidestepped carefully over his long legs but he caught me quick, with startling strength, and squeezed my ankle. Then just let me go… as quickly as the gesture had come. I nodded, but in the dark who knew if he saw.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. BANG.

Exposed and hesitant, I stepped into the center of the foyer. The strings were getting louder from upstairs so there was only so much time. Dodging any pointed furniture and watching for any debris on the tile floor I edged my way closer to the window. It was just planks of wood covering the light. All I had to do was rip one away. That would be enough.

Anchoring my fingers around the edge of the board, I pulled.

And it didn’t budge.

“You are not strong enough for that, Love.” My heart stilled. At the top of the stair, his shape was clear. Skinny like a scarecrow and his silhouette edged like barbed wire, a shadow moved taking one leisurely step after another easing his descent down. Splinters hooked into my fingers the harder I struggled and the music, despite my rush, became deceptively slow. Mellow even. Nice, soothing…

His hand was at my shoulder in barely any time at all. With almost no effort, he turned me around. In that little glint of light his fangs seemed almost beautiful. But then again all vampires were beautiful. And humans couldn’t help but be entranced by pretty things. But the wound on my shoulder put me in no mood for pretty.

Just revenge.

At the opposite end of the room, Dmitri ripped off a board from a different window and the sun came streaming in. The music hitched as the vampire hissed and with sudden, brutal clarity the world slowed into focus again. I stabbed the monster through the heart.

Then the music finally stopped.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.

There was sunlight streaming in. Groggily, I opened my eyes to the window.

Bang. Bang. Bang-

With a thump my alarm abruptly went silent. I placed my phone back on the end table and sat up slowly. It was morning… one day over and another beginning. I threw the covers off of me, and then cringed.

“My shoulder…” I massaged it, squeezing the muscle to relieve some of the tension but not even that made all the pain go away. Rolling my neck, I blinked still not quite awake. “Must have slept funny… what was I dreaming…?”

But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember any of it at all.