Haunted Lover-Final Chapter

Cissie ran down the entry hall throwing the doors wide open.  As paramedics burst into the hall firing questions at her, she shrank back against the  staircase, shaking and crying.

“How soon did you start CPR?” the tall one pulled equipment from packs they’d carried into the house.

“Did he have a pulse?” The short one pulled the shirt open, exposing Scott’s chest.

“I started right away.  I couldn’t find a pulse, but it was my first time,’ she wrung her hands to still the trembling. “Please, help him.”

The paramedics knelt on either side of Scott’s chest.  The tall one placed pads and switched on the AED monitor.  Cissie watched as the machine went through its motion, assessing, evaluating, calculating.  Finally the tinny command came from the small black box,”Stand clear”.  “No Pulse detected. Stand Clear, delivering shock.”

It won’t do any good.  He’s gone.

“Will this help him?”  Cissie moved restlessly shifting her weight from foot to foot.

“Maam, we’re doing the best we can, just give us a chance.”  The machine whirred again, “Begin CPR”.

He’s gone.  He’ll never bother you again.  

“Cal, please.”  Cissie muttered half to herself.

“Is Cal your husband?” The short one was placing an airway while the tall on worked on Scott’s chest compressions.

He was weak.  He was greedy.  He was not worthy of you, or your concern.

“Cal, it’s just not right.  I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.  No one deserves to die like this, before their time.”

“Switch”, the two paramedics traded positions after the last life saving breath was pushed into Scott’s chest.  The machine  sat, lights blinking at the side of the scene.

Life was wasted on him. He did not appreciate what he had, or all he could have.  Sad. Stupid.

“Cal please, not now.”
The paramedics sent furtive glances in her direction.  They’d been working on Scott for a very long time.  The storm had begun to abate, and the clouds pushed off onto the horizon.   he lights flickered and then the electricity cam back on with a surge.  The lights were strong and they could see the burn marks along the electrical outlet in the wall.  Black streaks smeared Scott’s cheeks and his hair stood out at odd angles all over his head.  The two paramedics sat back on their heels.   “Time to call it. There’s nothing more we can do.”

The short one glanced down at his watch, “7:06 p.m., code ended.”

A fierce wind whipped through Cissie as the doors flew open at the front of the house.  Icy dread slipped down her spine, making her tremble anew.  She pulled herself closer to the wall, wrapping her arms around her waist.  The last gush of air raced past them out the front door and the doors slammed glass rattling while the key turned in the lock.  The two men and Cissie gaped at one another.

Scott’s chest heaved as he drew in a huge gulp of air. A croaking sound came from his mouth as he tried to sit upright.  The paramedics drew away at first, then snapped into action.  Re-attaching the pads to his chest they let the monitor make its assessment. The short one grabbed a flashlight to check Scott’s pupils.  No reaction, the eyes were dark, almost black .  “Normal sinus rhythm, no CPR required,”the machine announced .

“You need to lie still, sir.”  The tall one jumped to his feet, grabbing the equipment  as he he raced for the front door.  “I’ll get the gurney.”

“No, wait.”  Scott’s voice was hoarse.  It didn’t sound like him at all, at least not to Cissies’ ears.

“I don’t need to go to the hospital.”  He lifted a hand to his temple and shook his head. “I’m fine, really.”  He looked over at Cissie and winked.

“Maam?”, the tall paramedic waited for Cissie’s response. The short one slowly rose to his feet, head turning to watch the exchange bouncing around the other three in the hallway.  He stumbled back, away from Scott.  Cissie wanted to do the same.  Put as much distance between herself and the man slowly getting to his feet from the floor.

“I’ll be fine here. This house belongs to me.”  He reached out a hand and slid cold fingers down Cissies’s cheek, “Home at last.”

She looked into his eyes but all she could see was darkness.

Be careful what you ask for.  She could hear Scott’s voice in her head.

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Maura’s Story IIII

They say one day you wake up and you know when you’ve crossed the line.

You know… and there’s nothing you can do to turn back.  You’d think that was the day I sent Brian home.

Nope. My day came a week later.

We’d gathered at the meadow down by Paddy O’Leary’s house at dusk.  A local farmer whose family had ties with the Tuatha for centuries. A big bonfire roared  in the center of a stone circle. The megalith boulders rose twelve feet in the air and encompassed a hundred foot span.  Hundreds of  guests circled the fire inside the rock boundaries. Sizes of the guests ranged from gigantic to itty-bitty. Brownies and fairies and even a banshee, I later learned. Today was the day before Samhain and trepidation hung in the air. Tonight I was going to take the reins from my grandmother and start my journey.

Was I ready? Was I capable?

I watched from afar, the laughing and cheering, as I sat beneath an old oak tree and hugged my knees. I almost wished a hole would open up under me and suck me from this world.  As night fell, I rose on shaky legs and then emerged. A silence came over group. My gaze sought the guidance of my Nana.

She smiled and nodded her approval.

I walked forward, head held high and entered the circle.

What was it with being royalty? We’re real people, with real feelings.

I stopped and searched the gazes of the people. Some happy, some scared, some were curious, others angry. Why? I’d never asked for this. Would gladly walk away.

A powder was thrown into the fire and a blue smoke swirled around the crowd. As if I was being pulled, I was drawn closer to the flames. And as I stood before the great blaze my eyes sought, connected, held with a stranger from across the way. I’d seen this person before. That second day in Ireland.

Circenn.

The man at the museum. The man who I should fear.

Did fear.

His long black hair free from a braid framed his bronze face, his yellow eyes more feral than friendly and the magnetism he presented made my palms burn. His hash lined face, so magnificent, so fascinating to watch, become more as he appeared to search my soul. I felt a presence in my head, his, and I struggled to throw him out. I couldn’t. His eyes seemed to glow, to swirl. I felt every hair on my body stand up and began to pulse. I felt the air leave my lungs. I felt the world shift as he gazed into my eyes. My head started to pound, my heart started to flutter. I squeezed my legs together.

He nodded once, as if he was pleased. Damn him.

His thoughts were suddenly my thoughts. Myself alone heard. “Every hero must die before they can truly live again.”

I looked deep into the flames. Let the word mingle in my head. Felt the heat, embraced the unknown as it flickered across my skin. I stepped closer to the roaring in my brain.

I sought his gaze once more.

His lips drew tight. The only sign he showed.

And I knew.

I closed my eyes and stepped forward.

The ending is your choice. But? Is this really the end or just the beginning….

Thank you so much for joining HerStoryCalls. This month of short stories was so much fun. I hope everyone has a great and SAFE Halloween.

Be sure to leave a comment, or better yet-share your story, and enter to win a fabulous prize this week!

Frightening Fable

Back again?  Can’t get enough or just curious as to what Alex is afraid of?  Remember in our last installment, Alex and his friends had gone into the haunted house he was to review for the newspaper.  The first room was a scene where a clown and zombie were killing a man.  The man told Alex to run, but Alex thought it was strange.  No one else seemed to have heard the man.  Just before they left the room, the clown stood up and smiled at Alex.  Join me now for the next installment of …

Don’t Be Afraid

Moans of disapproval came from Larry and one of the women.  “I hate mirrors,” the woman whispered.

And so did Alex.  But he pushed forward.  The quicker they were out of there, the quicker this would be over.  He ran his hand along the mirrors beside him, keeping one hand out in front of him so as not to hit a mirror.  It wasn’t like the dark maze.  It was more confusing.  A bright flashing light lit the room.  A strobe light.  It made them appear like they were in one of those flip books when they moved.  They could see, but there was no way to tell how far away the images in the mirror were.

Alex could feel the tug on his shirt as Madison’s grip tightened behind him.  He led the group, moving this way and that.  He slammed into a mirror and Madison crashed into him.

“Geez, Alex,” Larry called.  “Go slower.  Are you trying to lose us?”

“If I go any slower, I’ll be standing still.”  He turned the corner, feeling his way.  Disoriented.

The teen girl laughed nervously.

“Ow,” one of the women said.  “Hey!  Where’d you guys go?”

Alex stopped and looked over his shoulder, over Madison’s head.  Larry was right behind them, the two women behind him and then the teens.  “We’re right here.”  He reached out to grab Larry’s arm…and touched glass.  He quickly pulled his hand back.  “Larry?”

“Here!”

He could see him right next to him.  Again, Alex tried to touch him, the cold feel of hard glass greeted his fingers.  “Where the hell are you?”

“Shit,” Larry called.

Alex whirled.  Thousands of images of his friend, of the teens, of the women and of Madison greeted him in the glass when he spun.  He had no way of knowing which was real.  Suddenly, Alex froze.  In one pane of glass he saw the red haired clown fingering his axe.  He still wore the same deadly grin.

“I’ll meet you in the parking lot,” Larry called.

Alex reached out to Madison, fearing she was just an image, too.  That he was alone.

His hand closed around hers.

“Alex!”

“Okay!  I heard you.  Meet you there.”

“Alex?” Madison whispered, clinging to his hand.

Alex looked at her.  Her brow wrinkled in concern, her gaze swept his face.  Alex looked back at the pane of glass, searching for the clown.  But it was gone.  “It’s okay,” he told Madison, pulling her on.  “This isn’t real.  We just have to find the exit.”

As they turned a corner, they ran into themselves.  A dead end.

Alex turned around.  He didn’t want to go back, but he might run into Larry and the others.  Or he might run into the clown.

Fake, he reminded himself.  Just pretend.  An actor.

He swallowed and moved forward, his hand out so he didn’t run into anything.

“This way,” Madison said, pulling at his hand.

The strobe light was disorienting.  His head hurt.

“There’s no reflection.  This way,” she insisted and tugged at his hand.

He allowed her to guide him down the hallway of mirrors.  God, he hated this.  He didn’t think they would ever find a way out.  Madison paused.

Alex looked around at their images in the flashing light.

The clown appeared from the way they had just come, walking toward them with his axe dragging behind him on the floor.  His grin was wolfish and predatory and his eyes…  There was something strange about his eyes.  They glowed!

“Madison!”

“This way,” she said and continued down the row of mirrors.

Please, Alex silently begged, let her be right.  They turned a corner and a large wooden door stood before them.  Alex grabbed the handle, pulled it open and raced through, closing it behind them.  He glanced around, grabbed the first thing he could find and lodged it against the doorknob.  It wasn’t until he looked that he realized it was a dismembered leg.

The door jerked and Alex jumped back.  The leg seemed to be holding.

He grabbed Madison’s shoulders.  “Did you see it?”

She shook her head in confusion.  “See what?”

“The clown!  Did you see the clown?”

“In the first room.”

“No!  No!  He was following us in the mirror maze.  Did you see him?”

Madison shook her head.  “I didn’t see him.”

Looks like Alex is having a little bit of trouble.  Don’t forget to leave a comment with your email address and tell me what you think is going to happen.   You’ll be entered into a drawing for one of Joan’s books!

Haunted Lover IV

Cissie stood frozen in shock.  Her hands covered her mouth holding back a scream of terror.  Time stood still.  The next flash released Scott from the outlet, the letter opener flying loose with his break from the wall.

Cissie leaned forward to touch him, to see if he was still alive.  A fierce wind whipped around her stopping her movement.

No.  Don’t touch him.  Not yet.

“Cal, let me help him,”  she pleaded with tears streaming down her face..

Don’t risk yourself.  Wait until the next flash passes then you may touch him.

Her mind couldn’t release the sight of him, back bowed , facial muscles rigid, arms and legs askew while he jerked like a live wire coming from the wall outlet.

Sobbing, Cissie searched her pockets for her cell phone.  She didn’t even like Scott but no one deserved this.  His body had settled, lay still on the hard wood floor.  She grabbed a pillow from the settee in the foyer to place under his head.

When Cal finally let her touch the rigid handyman on the floor in front of her, it took a few moments to realize it might be a while before help arrived. She began CPR.  He had no pulse, but she’d heard during her CPR training the most important thing was to keep the blood circulating until help could arrive.  She pushed down in the center of this chest, rapid forceful movements sending the blood from his damaged heart to the limp limbs.  She stopped every two minutes or so to provide what she hoped would be life saving air into his lungs.  Basically she was revolted by the mouth to mouth.  Even though she knew it might be the difference between life and death, she simply didn’t want to go there.  Too much like kissing.  And she would never kiss Scott.  Not in this life or the next.

She continued her lifesaving efforts until she thought her arms would fall off in exhaustion.  Her back ached, she was breathless and the tingles from shoulder to wrist made her believe she’d done the CPR all wrong.

As the flashing lights of the rescue squad barreled up the drive, she finally burst into tears of exhaustion.   Cal enveloped her in a cloud of cool calm.  Don’t cry.  You did everything you could to help him.

She turned as if she would place her head on Cal’s shoulder when she realized he was close to full materialization for the first time in their relationship.

She drew back in shock as the paramedics burst through the front door, flashlight beams dancing over the entryway.