Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Groundless, Part Two

     Lars approached therapy with the single-minded passion he gave to everything important to him. He reached a plateau in his progress and a limit to his willingness to continue. He needed a break and wanted to visit his country house. Mateo agreed the change of routine would be good for him. Lars made all the preparations for he and Bjorn. At the last minute Bjorn backed out. 
     'I'm sorry, sweetheart, but this isn't a good time for me to be away from the office. Besides, I think you might do better without me tagging along.' 
     'Bjorn, we haven't been to the house in ages. The country will do us both a world of good, only the two of us.' 
     'You go on and if I can, I'll join you at the end of the week.' 
     'I promise to try if everything goes well at the office.' 

     The week ended without Bjorn coming to the country. Now Lars was returning to the apartment in the city and practising his game face. Long hours at the office left Bjorn without time or energy for a good-night phone call. Lars didn't want to add his disappointment on Bjorn's burdens. Besides, he discovered a way around his phobia at the local home improvement store. Glass shower doors. The remedy to his fear seemed too simple to miss. He installed in the country house and planned to install them in the apartment as soon as possible. Lars realized the glass doors were only a bandaid. At least working through his other problems without fighting with Bjorn over a stupid shower curtain. 
     Unexpected voices greeted Lars when he entered the apartment. At four o'clock in the afternoon Bjorn should still be at work, so Lars stopped and strained to try to identify them.The closed bedroom door only muffled the sound of people having sex. As he walked closer, Bjorn cried out Mateo's name. 
     Lars left the apartment without a sound. Once outside, he flagged a taxi to take him to Central Station and the train back to the country. On the way, he phoned Bjorn and left a voicemail message he decided to stay in the country another night.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Groundless, Part One

     Phobia of one description or an other plagued Lars all is life. So many things to remember to be leary of, to circumvent, or to avoid all together at all costs. He counted as a blessing he never feared leaving his house. Agoraphobia meant missing out on meeting the love of his life. Bjorn made Lars confident. Bjorn made the world a friendlier place. Fear of losing Bjorn because of his foolishness itself became a phobia. He succeeded in keeping this unnamed fear to himself.
     As the two men grew closer, Bjorn sensed the psychological luggage his partner carried. In time keeping track of all the demons became tiresome. Bjorn suggested Lars get some counselling. A psychologist friend of Bjorn's agreed to meet Lars. Tomas exuded a warmth which put Lars at ease at once. Lars expressed his enthusiasm to meet with Tomas twice a week. He wanted to move past his fears, of course, but his desire to remove any reason Bjorn may cite to want to leave him superseded all else.
     Weeks and months passed. Lars indeed improved. However, he couldn't shake lose his fear of shower curtains. To be more specific, Lars didn't like closed shower curtains without the shower being used. He feared someone waiting in the shower to do him harm, even in his own home. The sight of the curtain concealing the shower caused dry mouth, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, and light-headedness causing Lars to collapse on the floor. As a result, Lars demanded the curtain be left open. Bjorn drew the curtain closed out of habit to prevent mildew. Whenever Bjorn stayed over and forgot, Lars became unhinged, causing a huge arguement filled with angry and hateful words. The men didn't stay angry for long. The make-up sex came at a price Bjorn tired of paying. Hence, Bjorn called Tomas.
     Lars learned the name of his fear: Scelerophobia. Knowing a demon's name made him vulnerable to exorcism. Lars began to relax into Tomas' care.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Shades In A Silver Bowl, Part 2

     Curiosity overcame fear by the time the moon rose full again. Robban once again filled the silver bowl with fresh spring water which he placed in the center of a circle of candles on the floor. He asked the goddess Hecate to bless him with another vision.
     He sat cross-legged as he stared into the water. Within minutes the water stirred. The milky swirl formed a vortex which expanded from the bowl's center to the side before the water turned clear again. Only the old woman from the the previous vision appeared this time.
     'Robban. Your body grows weaker each day you are gone.'
     'What do you mean? Look at me. I am healthy. You are familiar to me and yet a stranger. I don't recall giving you my name.'
     'Your transition into your other world erased your memory. I am called Brigitta. I helped your mother several times. You spied on me from behind the draperies once. You asked me to teach you the ways of the cunning folk. Your mother did not disapprove, but we kept your lessons secret from your father.'
     'But I don't leave in your world. I live here.'
     'I think you used magick. Two months ago you went to sleep without waking again. People are worried you are dying.'
     'Like I said, I am in perfect healthy where I am.'
     'If you body here dies, your life where you are will most likely end also. You must come back. At least for a while.'
     'I belong here. I live here. Your world is foreign to me. So are you truth be told.'
     'The transition made you forget, but you didn't forget everything. You still scry. I taught you.'
     'You're wrong, Brigitta.'
     'If what you say is true, tell me how you learned how to scry.'
     Robban paused to try to think of an answer. In truth he couldn't explain. 'Scry? I'm unfamiliar with your word. I'm looking, nothing more.'
     'Why would you want to scry if not to keep in touch with your real life?'
     'I'm curious about the old ways. Like I told you before, I don't understand any of this.' Robban stood, but this time he made sure he didn't disturb the bowl. 'I must go.'
     'No, Robban. You must come. You must find your way back here. Return to the body you left here. Save yourself. You crossed once. Come back and later you can cross again if you must.'
     'You're not real. You are a fantasy. This ends now.'
     Robban stooped to pick up the candles. In rapid succession he hurled them into the water. Smoke rose from the bowl.
     A woman's chilling scream buckled his knees.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shades In A Silver Bowl

     Full Moon. Again, some strange power compelled to do something he didn't understand. Robban didn't know much about scrying. His compulsion to do this served as additional evidence he may be losing his mind. 
     The genesis took the form of a melody playing in his mind, over and over. One of those sticking, unidentifiable refrains which demands a name. Soon words followed the notes so the refrain became a chant. Anytime Robban sat alone the chant comprised of unfamiliar and meaningless words soon took over his thoughts. After a couple weeks Robban's life began to change. His boss gave him a promotion. A new friend entered his life who soon grew into a significant other. The couple moved together into a new, larger home. As Robban's connections grew, he became more content with his life. 
     Now he planned to look into silver bowl filled with fresh water by the light of the Full Moon and a single candle. His lover went out of town on business, so Robban wouldn't be interrupted. He sighed with the hope the activity would be self explanatory. 
When the Moon rose high in the sky, Robban lit the candle and placed it on a table behind where he would sit. The silver bowl filled with spring water rested on the floor in front of him. He sat cross-legged on a cushion and rested his wrists palms up on his thighs. Eyes closed, his breathing began to slow. After a few minutes his body relaxed. He opened his eyes and looked into the silver bowl. 
     'A silver bowl with some water. Now what?' 
   There was movement in the water. He glanced around the room, but nothing outside the bowl moved. He returned his attention to the bowl. A white cloud formed in the water like milk spilling in. In an instant, the cloud dissipated. 
     A curtain drew back and Robban looked into a room. A chamber with stone walls. Someone laid on a bed and people stood at the foot and on both sides. The man on the bed appeared to be asleep. The people lining the bed held candles. Robban inhaled the aroma of herbs burning, a blend of sage and cedar. Something else, too, Robban couldn't name. The identity of the person on the bed mattered to him more than the fragrance of some burning herb. 
     'Come back to us, Majesty.Your people need you. I need you.' The young man standing next to the bed who spoke looked crestfallen and tired. The same moment in which the man held the hand of the unconscious man on the bed, Robban sensed pressure of a grip on his own hand. The startling realization caused him to almost kick over the silver bowl. An old woman standing behind the others came to Robban's attention now. She said nothing, but seemed to smile at him in recognition. The corners of her mouth turned up with such subtlety he didn't trust his eyes. She turned her attention to the young man in the bed and back at Robban. He understood. 
     Numbness traveled up Robban's legs. The body on the bed stirred. Robban leapt up to stomp his feet to prevent leg cramp. As he did, the bowl overturned and the candle flame guttered. 


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Nothing Under The Bed

     The bib necklace sparkled in the midmorning light. 'Oh, yes, indeed. I like this one.' She spoke only to her reflection in the dressing mirror as she held the platinum and mine-cut diamond creation over her dress. She considered the fish scale design lent a certain femininity to both the stones and the wearer. 'I deserve this.'
     The unexpected turn of the the doorknob caused her to drop the necklace. The master's presence in the doorway prevented its retrieval.
     'Where is my wife?'
     'Luncheon with Mrs. Talbot.'
     'Why are you in my wife's room?'
     'Doing a little straightening up, sir. Making sure everything is in place as the Missus likes.'
     'Very well. Would you be so kind as to tell cook I'll take my meal in the garden. I assume you are finished in here?'
     'Yes, sir.'
     As she turned to leave she gave the necklace as swift kick under the bed. The Master waited for her to leave, glanced around the room, and closed the door as he left.
     Later on when her mistress' car came up the drive and rushed to the bedroom to put the necklace back in the jewelcase. However, the necklace vanished. The maid recalled the precise spot where the necklace landed on the rug and panicked at finding nothing. She looked in the jewelcase hoping the master spotted and returned the stray piece to the case. No luck.
     The butler greet the mistress at the front door as the maid dropped to her knees and with nervous fingers searched the carpet at the edge of the bed. A hand grabbed her wrist and pulled under the bed. The maid tried to scream, but all efforts to resist failed.
     'Celia? Celia?'
     'Jonathan, have you seen Celia this afternoon?'
     'Yes, madam. She came in here as your car approached the house. I assumed to prepare for your afternoon rest.'
     'Well, she isn't here. She didn't do anything in here during my absence. Find her for me, will you?'
     'Of course, madam.' The butler left closing the door behind him.
     The mistress sat at her vanity and took off the earrings she wore to lunch. She opened her jewelcase to put them away. Next she removed her shoes and slipped out of her dress to lie down. As she did so, she stubbed a toe on the solid mahogany bed frame.
     'Yeow, Sweet Mother of God!'
     A knock on the door preceded Jonathan's voice. 'Madam, are you all right?'
     'Come in, Jonathan. I may be maimed for life, but I'm fine. I stubbed a toe on the bed again. Do you think you can get someone to switch this one with the bed in the green room?'
     'Of course, madam. After your rest or before?'
     'Come back in an hour. I need to get off my feet for a while and let the swelling in this tow go down. Did you find Celia?'
     'No, madam, but staff is still looking for her. She can't be far.'
     'Send her to me when she is found. You may go now.'

     Celia was never seen again. Staff swore to hearing her weep at night, but they never brought this to their employers' attention. After a while, the weeping became one of many night sounds of a quiet house. No one mentioned her name.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friends Without End

     The locks on the front door activated without a human hand. No amount of effort deactivated them. No amount of pulling on the knob forced the door to open.
     'Damnit. Open.'
     'Sorry. I can't let you leave.' The familiar voice did nothing to calm Damian's nerves.
     'This apartment isn't mine anymore. I have to finish moving into my new apartment.'
     'I want you to stay with me here.'
     'There is no here here. The owners are making extreme renovations. I must leave, so open this door. Now.
     'I can't let you go. You are the only person in decades to acknowledge me. You talk with me.'
     'Come with me if you want. I invite you to haunt my new place. We can still talk. I can't stay here. Please, unlock this door.'
     'I can't leave with you. I can, however, make it possible for you to remain here with me.'
     Days later several of the other tenants of the building complained about a terrible odor coming from the apartment. When the super entered the apartment, Damian's body lay on the floor.
     'See, Damian. I told you everything turn out for the best.'
     'So what shall we discuss?'
     The super cocked his head as though he heard something, shook his head and called 9-1-1 from his cellphone. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

String Dream

     Such a bizarre dream I woke from. Without a moment's hesitation, I phoned my friend Laurie to describe the events while fresh in my memory to get her interpretation.
     'Laurie, I dreamt I worked as a switchboard operator in a clothing store.'
     'Switchboard? You mean one of those old-timey things with multiple lines like in old movies?'
     'Something similar, I guess.'
     'In your dream did you enjoy doing this?'
     'Not at all. The stupid thing kept ringing and I couldn't escape it.'
     'Well, darling, my first thought is you having to work for someone else is no dream. This is a nightmare best forgotten. Tell Cook you don't want her to make whatever you ate for dinner last night ever again.'
     'That's all? No other insight you can offer?'
     'Get out of bed. Get dressed and take your dogs for a walk around your estate. Appreciation for what you possess should set your mind straight again. Come to mine for luncheon when you're finished. I'll tell Marie make one of your favorites.'
     'Fine, Thank you, Laurie. I'll see you later then.'
     'The very idea of you with a job? And in a shop no less is too ridiculous. Push those thoughts right out of your mind.'

* * * *

     I woke from this dream, made coffee, and prepared to go to my job as a switchboard operator in a clothing store.