Tag Archives: excerpt

What Lurks in me….


Lurking

 

Do you wish to know what lurks and crawls in this brain of mine? Do you wish to know the avenues it takes , the good and the bad, the beautiful, the bloody, the bombastic, and the golden moments that drown?  Well welcome I say with a  devilish grin wearing my suit of pure white for we are all aspects of all the shades that color the world.

YOU are not exempt.  Perhaps in your readings of me and the stories you hear  you will see a little into yourself, filtering out all the crap that seems that so often gets in the way of the truth that is you.

So read on, to three  of my eclectic samples not quite finished  in my future collection of the macabre, to the fun, to the poignant, to the mysterious “what if” of it all… 🙂

 

I ASK YOU, MY READERS, MY FOLLOWERS, TO PICK ONE OF THE THREE STORIES FOR ME TO FINISH BASED ON THE EXCERPT OF EACH BELOW.

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#1 To Take a Life

 

Sebastian saw the woman sitting in her favorite spot yet again this early Saturday night. Always the same table, the one right at the edge of the dance floor and closest to the bar. She would start the night ordering drink after drink, usually a red wine sometimes a white and just stare ahead seemingly at nothing.

Hours would pass and the club would slowly fill with people and there she would be sitting. Alone. No man had ever approached her to ask her for a dance as she sat. Perhaps they were afraid to approach her, perhaps they thought she wanted to be left alone, perhaps they thought she was out of their league. Perhaps, the word, NO, was already written on her face before they ever would have approached to pose the question in the first place.

Sebastian knew secretly, if they had asked, she probably would have said yes to every one of them. But they never had. So she would sit andvampire watch them all dance from her place at the table. Watch, as the men and women moved on the floor to the seductive beat which pulsed and coursed through the club and bodies wanting to find release from the week’s drudgery called life. Sebastian knew their every whim, their every desire as he always did. They were an open book to him. All you had to do was listen.

This night however he only had ears for the woman who had come here every Saturday night for the last three weeks. Her name was Ms. Evelyn Greer , a pale face contrasted with short shoulder length dark auburn hair, green almond shaped eyes, and full red lips. If she were to ever break a smile he was sure it would have been stunning. A beauty of a woman, majestic in a certain way she held her self. But there was a dullness to her, muted was the word that came to mind, like a dimmer switch to a light turned way down low.

She was to be his tonight. She had marked been many nights ago. She was the one and she had only but to ask him to end her.

 

 

#2 From a Dark Place

 

Joseph carefully placed the five white candles he had just purchased into the big brown suitcase amidst the other items he had already collected. He hands went to close the suitcase but instead they caressed a black leather bound book which lay inside. His eyes went wide and his pupils dilated ever so slightly as he stared at it. He traced the raised symbol on its cover emblazoned in red with his index finger. His finger ran along the entire perimeter of the symbol at all its five points where the continuous line was traced. The symbol was five lines in the form of a star where each point touched the raised circle which surrounded it,  what a lovely symbol he mused. Could there be anything more perfect he wondered. A sly smile came to his lips because for all his studies he new the true power of that symbol while others only thought they knew. He had become an adept at the mysteries of it.

“Joseph!” a woman’s voice called to him in a wail from somewhere downstairs in the house.

“Joseph, what the hell are you doing? Spaghettis all done! Christ on a crutch, move your ass!” she yelled again. Joseph could almost picture the spit flying from her mouth as she yelled at him. Fucking fat cow. He would be glad when he was done with her. Joseph couldn’tpentagram remember choosing such a bitch of a woman for a wife but he must have, for she lived in his home and occasionally wanted to have sex because of that damn ring on her finger and his own. The weight of the ring seemed to increase more everyday. He wanted to stuff it down her damn throat. It was maddening. No more, no fucking more. Tomorrow, Joseph’s life was about to change.

“Joseph!” she wailed again.

Joseph slammed the suitcase shut, secured the latches and locked them by rotating the combination on each with his thumbs all at once.

“Coming Elizabeth!…..you bitch.” Joseph said the last to himself in a whisper as he tucked the suitcase deep up under his side of the bed and quickly got up to go downstairs for dinner. He would suffer through it with the heifer just for one more night. Spaghetti was his favorite he thought idly to himself.

 

#3 The Power In Me

 

Three ping pong balls revolved in midair, each one following the other in a tight circle as they flew.

“I shouldn’t be able to be doing this Carl!” she yelled at the bald little man, sitting across the table from her in the kitchen of her house. Carl was wearing a smug little grin on his face that annoyed the hell out of her. He was always full of himself, today more than usual. He knew something he wasn’t telling her. Shit! She was losing her concentration. One of the balls slipped out of its rotation and fell.

“True and not true,” he replied back glibly to her, as he deftly caught the fallen ball with his left hand inches before it hit the table.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” she asked, her eyes staring ahead at the two remaining balls still rotating in front of her. She thought of a figure eight, and immediately the balls begin to swirl in that configuration. It was equally cool and frightening at the same time, she thought, but Carl didn’t have to know that.

“Angela, you have taken to this extremely well. It seems you are a natural. I have to give our co-workers credit. They were betting you would do well the first time right out the gate. Not many can pull off even one ball this quickly, let alone three. Guess I will have to pay up when I get back to the office.” Carl chuckled to himself, rolling the little white ball he had caught, back and forth between his hands on the dining room table still smiling at her smugly.

Angela took her eyes from the two remaining balls which spun and looked directly at Carl.

“You mean there are others who can do this? Out with it Carl, I’m sick of the games. You’ve been playing them too long, first with my husband now with me. Be straight for once, or for god sakes I’ll shove these balls down your goddamn throat.”

Carl’s smiled slipped a little her under dark stare. Carl involuntarily swallowed when he suddenly realized the balls were still continuing to spin in their figure eight pattern without her looking at them. Damn, she is good, he thought. But she didn’t have to know that; she was arrogant enough as it was. A lot like him more or less, he thought, but still soft.

“Well.” Angela said to him, more of a command than a question.

Carl ignored her tone. “You remember that project three years ago that kept Scott away so many hours at night?”

She remembered all too well, the late nights, and all the arguments that followed, telling her he couldn’t discuss his work with her because she didn’t have the clearance. It still rankled her a little still to this day. Angela only nodded as she looked at him as the balls continued to spin, so Clark continued.

“We had found something amazing. To be more exact it found us. One of the lab geeks directed to synthesize some of the proteins from a plant brought back from Brazil accidentally combined two cultures in the synthesis we were working on with the lot. The other plant was from an older expedition we had done years ago in the Congo in Africa. Scott himself had pulled it from the incubator a few days later. Lot forty-two.”

Angela noticed Carl’s eyes dilating as his hand gestures became more animated as he spoke. This disturbed her for some reason and she didn’t know why.

“Oh, the things Lot Forty-two revealed to us Angela!” Carl found it hard to contain himself as he talked.

“We didn’t know how much until we began the human trials. You did not know this, but Scott your husband, was one of the first volunteers. The committee had been paranoid of it getting out to the general public so everything was done in house; very hush, hush.”

“I am sorry to say this Angela, but he was a fool.” Carl said flatly to her from across the table.

Angela’s eyes suddenly flared from a dull to electric green.

An invisible force compressed against Carl’s chest, to send him flying and to go slamming into the wall behind him. Plaster crumbled around his head and tumbled off his nice black suit coat he wore.

Now I am going to have to go to the dry cleaners tomorrow, Carl thought idly….

Powerinme

 

 

 

 

Excerpt from my Novel – The Fourth World – Meet Omar


Well you met Ivy and then you met Calvin.

Here is the final main character , Omar, from my first  novel called the Fourth World that I am currently working on for completion early this year which I aim to submit to various publishers.

I am trying not to give away too much story-wise but at the same time I want to get you guys interested and me revved up for what’s to come .  Besides, it also helps me focus better in the direction I wish to take them all in as far as their own personal character development. I want them to grow and you grow with them eventually as the pages turn so you feel your in each of their shoes as they get thrown into whatever pit of despair, dark forest,  or forgotten world they may find themselves.

Enjoy the last installment  in my third excerpt form the novel. More will come…but I just gotta write it first…:)

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Chapter 3 – Great Expectations

“Omar! Ahora, mijo…get your butt downstairs, it’s time to eat.” Omar’s mother yelled at him from downstairs from somewhere probably near the kitchen.

“Coming!” Omar kept punching the buttons on the game controller staring ahead at the television in his bedroom. More minutes past.

“Omar! Muévete!” His father yelled at him from the hallway almost to his room.

Omar threw down the controller (but not before pausing it), jumped up, and turned off the television like a well practiced professional who had done it a thousand times.

His father came in his room not looking pleased just as Omar stood up from laying on the bed.

“I thought we told you no games for two weeks. Do we have to take it all out and store it at your grandmother’s house thirty miles away?” his father’s hulking frame intentionally barred the only way out of his room.

Omar didn’t look at his father as he stood waiting to leave.

“No.” Omar said simply.

“Well if we catch you playing it again, that’s what going to happen. You’re supposed to be doing your homework until they let you back. How’s that cut doing anyways.” Omar father reached a hand out as if to touch the stitches on the side of Omar’s head.”

Omar reflexively moved away from his father’s touch.

“Fine.” Omar said, still not looking at his father.

“He got you good didn’t he.  I can’t blame him from for it. Three on one. I’m not gonna ride you anymore about it, but I don’t want you thinking your going back to school to find an excuse to bump into him by accident. You stay as far as you can from him. Got me mijo?” Omar’s father walked a little closer to him to make sure he got the point.

“Look at me Omar, do we understand each other.”

It took everything he had to look his father in the face.

“I understand.”  Tears started to brim in his eyes and he quickly looked down.

“You’ve got this year, and then two more until you graduate. We just want you to stay clean until then. You’ll be the first mijo. The first one in the family to EVER graduate. Can you manage that. Don’t let your mother down. Your a smart kid so start acting like it.”

“Yes.” Omar simply said.

“Boys! Time to eat!” Omar’s mother yelled again from downstairs.

Omar’s father moved from barring the door to his room and Omar practically ran.

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“So, you in Omar? We thought we’d let him get comfortable for a week  or two and let him think he’s safe. Then we’ll get him away from the school. You get first dibs since he busted you up side the head.” Omar heard Neil giggling like a little girl in the background of Jake’s phone.  He could imagine Jake smiling his smile that all the girl’s liked so well on him. He could hear it in his voice over the phone.

“Yeah, I’m in,  paybacks are paybacks right?” Omar said, talking quietly up in his room,  knowing if he got caught making a personal call on his cell his father would take it and everything else way in his room.

“That’s right baby now you’re talking. Time to open up a can of some whoop ass on the freak. Smart ass will remember this lesson for a long time to come.”  Jake said laughing along with Neil.

“Yeah boi!”  Neil yelled through the phone.

“Okay man, I’ll let you go, don’t want you in trouble with your Pops. We’ll pick your ass up on tomorrow for school. Don’t forget to wear your special helmet. I’m just fucking with you man. The exile will soon be over. The posse is back in town.” Jake said.

“Fuck you man and go posse. I’m out man”  Omar said, almost smiling but with no real strength behind the words. Omar hung up his phone. 

Grabbing a comic book from his nightstand, he flopped down on his bed, laid on his stomach, and started to read. He idly touched the stitches on the side of his forehead right above his temple, rubbing the length of it with his thumb. The feeling of it started to needle him. It was going to leave a scar, he just knew it. Then all over again the anger swelled up inside of him at what had happened that day. Stupid freak, why couldn’t he just shut the hell up for once.

He was glad the freak wasn’t gonna be there tomorrow. He didn’t know if he’d have the strength not to try something. Omar threw the comic book down on his bedroom floor; something he would have never done a year ago. Back then he had treated them like gold, putting each in their own plastic bag, taping them closed and storing each in a box he kept in his closet after finishing them.  Now they lay strewn everywhere throughout his bedroom.  He’s not sure why he even still bought them anymore.  He knew soon he would stop buying them all together, one day.

He looked at the clock and saw it was almost eleven. I guess it’s time, he thought.

Omar often like to stay awake as long as he could.  He liked lying in bed and thinking of nothing and losing himself in the nothing. That way the next day would take longer to arrive.  Because tomorrow there was always something, with his mom, his father, his friends, school. He like being trapped between moments, to just be alone between tomorrow and today.

Omar’s head hit the pillow as he tried to fight the sleep that he knew was coming.  A sleep that sped him through dreams he never remembered, no consolation for even that for closing his eyes. The light would always find its way back to him, to peek and pry it’s way in through the blinds of his bedroom and peel back another day which he would learn to love reluctantly and then do it all over again the next.

He never noticed his mother as she quietly entered his room and covered him with a blanket, kissed him lightly on the cheek, and turned off his lamp…..

asleep

Excerpt from – The Fourth World – Meet my next Character Calvin


I promised  I would showcase another main character in my upcoming first Fantasy Novel I am currently working on, called the – “The Fourth World“.

This character’s name is Calvin.  He will actually be the first character to be introduced in my Novel in the first two chapters.  I must stress  that he is not THEE character…there is no THEE character.  He is no Harry Potter, he is no Bilbo Baggins or Frodo,  the world will not soley rest on his shoulders but it will rest.

You met Ivy last week.  Now meet Calvin…and remember all these characters and the story itself  are a work in a progress, to be changed as the winds change in their mysterious paths around the Earth. Next week, I will introduce you to another character, Omar, to wrap up my main characters intros.

Enjoy.

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Wind

Calvin had always believed in magic. He didn’t care what anyone else thought. They could doubt all they wanted. There was a hidden world which we could not see sitting right in front of our faces, most everyone was too busy, too blind, or too stupid to see it. Calvin saw it in the trees as the distant winds kissed the leaves which flew through it’s branches. He spied it dancing in the fire amidst the embers at night; little tiny sprites hopping from log to log amidst the flames playing a game of tag. He smelled it in a wild rose growing in a crowded field of jostling weeds flinging its pheromones to attract the butterflies to alight upon its silken petals. He heard it in the babbling brook as the water played upon the rocks behind his home whispering to the frogs as it traveled on downriver. He felt it in the rough stone he caressed in the palm of his hand; an ancient power from ages past unearthed from the deep bowels of the earth from the crumblings of a mighty stone titan long dead. It was everywhere if you would only choose to see. The magic spoke to him because he chose to listen and he almost understood what it is saying

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Chapter 1 – Reality Sets In

         Calvin tasted the blood that trickled down to his upper lip  which flowed from his nose. It had a sweet metallic taste. He liked the taste of his own blood. Calvin wasn’t a weird person don’t get him wrong, he wasn’t not into to that kind of stuff.  He just liked to sometimes pretend that he was Conan the Barbarian backed up against a wall, and that he was fighting an angry horde of ghoulish creatures hell bent on gutting him like a fish and eating his entrails as he watched. With sword in hand he would hack and slash, limbs would  fly. He would be scratched all to hell and bleeding from a dozen different wounds and smiling insanely because this could be his last day alive so why not go out smiling like a true warrior would upon meeting his death well met in battle. Yeah, he liked to have his mind go to places like that rather than be anywhere than where he was right now.

“Hold him down dammit he’s a squirmer! Fucking idiot, you see what he did to Omar? He’s crazy man!” Omar had it coming, Calvin told myself as he lay on the ground struggling under two other boys who each probably outweighed him by a hundred pounds.  They wouldn’t have caught him if one of the bystanders hadn’t tripped him while he was trying to get away. Trying to get away, besides talk bullshit, that’s all he ever did, until now.

Calvin was not a violent person, but he would admit, it had felt pretty good to see the plastic lunch tray connect solidly against the side of Omar’s head and watch him go down in a daze, not to mention the stunned looks of his buddies who were now holding him down who had put Omar up to flipping his lunch tray to the ground as he had walked on by. It was classic man, just classic.

“What the hell are you smiling about you sick bastard. I am so gonna end you, just wait. I always knew you were a weird little fucker. That’s why you don’t have any friends.”

Aah, Jake the jerk off, as Calvin liked to call him, a man, or boy better yet, of not many words. He guessed Jake’s dad couldn’t buy him a vocabulary to stuff inside that brain of his. His dad was more the type that likely bought him a good weight set and a big box of protein bars cuz he was crushing the hell out of Calvin’s left shoulder with his knees as he lay there on the ground.

“Get the fuck off me!” he yelled at them while his face was being pressed firmly into the dirt. He might as well have been yelling at the moon for all the good it did.  He was a punching bag to them. A distraction out of there boring day of the life they called school. He provided a service to them he guessed. They needed a reason to feel special while they were here.  Everyone wanted to feel special.

“Hey watch this Neil.” Jake said to the other kid that was holding Calvin. It was amazing, but Neil was actually more stupid than Jake was. The Smithsonian would have been really pleased to know a Neanderthal was still walking the earth. Neil had a prominent forehead, a squashed face which held a perpetually dull look, and knuckles that dragged the ground as he walked almost upright. He would have look great stuffed and mounted. It was a wonder he could tie his own shoes.  Oh wait, was that Velcro for laces instead? Calvin had a pretty good view at Neil’s feet at this particular time so he had a plenty of time to check them out.

“Whut?” Said Neil responding dumbly to him as Jake bent down close to Calvin’s ear. Then he heard it, the long drawing in sound of phlegm back into the throat.

It landed with a splat on the top of his forehead and traveled like a river down into his right eye blinding him and causing him to lose it entirely. Calvin thrashed and heaved and went into what he liked to call his insane berserker barbarian rage. This had little effect, but it did cause Jake to fall off from kneeling on Calvin’s back which eased some of the pain he had been feeling. He would take what he could get.

Calvin realized in that instance, that the audiences that come to fighting events come to watch entirely for selfish reasons.  It is not to support the fighter; they want something out of it for all the money they plunked down. Apparently being stuck at school was the payment and he was the entertainment and distraction for most of them this day.  They just stood around watching his shame to unfold. His pain in some sick way, was a voluntary or involuntary morbid thrill you got when watching a horror movie unfold knowing you feel bad for the victim, but not really because but what can you do?  They convinced themselves they were just a spectator to it all, that they were allowed to be insulated from it, please don’t ask for me to lend a hand they say, you must be crazy. Calvin was just another pathetic soap opera to be talked about between their friends at lunch hour, or in a text message or online, to be kept at a distance, and to not bog their day down. It was the status quo around here for most of them.

Their hand was on the dimmer switch that controlled the light of Calvin’s life into theirs and they could choose to let it in however much they thought they could take. Right now all those hands on all those switches were set to full off. They didn’t want to see him…just what was done to him. Calvin in that moment, hated them more than the ones who picked on him on a daily basis.

“Break it up! Break it up!”  The loud high screeching of a woman’s voice cut through the chaos that was his crazed mind and through the crowd of onlookers as well. Mrs. Kitchen, a teacher and woman of enormous proportions waddled over her way through the ring of kids to see what had caught all their attention. He heard her gasp out aloud so theatrically when she came upon the scene that Calvin almost laughed out loud.

Jake and Neil quickly let him go to show her they weren’t just trying to shove his head into the dirt and make him eat it.  He saw the crowd starting to disperse around him, the bloodshed was over; be about your way miscreants.

Calvin slowly got up from the ground and wiped the spit and grass clippings from his face with the sleeve of his shirt.

“Would someone like to tell me what’s going on? I found Omar back there picking himself off the ground and now I find Calvin doing pretty the same thing over here. What’s going on?” Her voice went to a higher octave on the shrill level factor if that was possible and she put her hands on her very wide hips, tapping her foot impatiently expecting an answer. Yep, she was your typical stereotype, they do exist.

“He hit Omar for no reason.” Neil said pointing at Calvin like he was fingering some criminal in a police line up.  Jake just kept quiet. 

“Is this true Calvin?”  She asked.

“Yes and no,” Calvin said, “Yes, I hit him, but I wouldn’t say it was for no reason. He had it coming, they like to provoke me.” and be damned with the consequences, Calvin was done caring anymore.

“Let’s see what Mr. Granderson has to say about all this. Let’s go.” She marched them all into the schools office area where they sat and waited while all the parents were called…..

Novel Excerpt – Meet one of my characters “Ivy”


Below is an excerpt from my  novel, The Fourth World, for which I am looking to finish up soon. I wanted to introduce to you, another one of the next main protagonists in the story. A young woman that goes by the name of Ivy.

Soon in the days, I will introduce  you to another main character, Calvin in my novel.

I am about twenty-thousand words into my novel and hope to get to forty thousand by mid-January if not sooner. Hope you enjoy this little bit here of it.  Please keep in mind this is a rough cut introduction to her in the story and will definitely be reworked and tweaked a few more times before the novel is all said and done I’m sure. Let me know what you think of it.

Chapter 4 – Ivy’s Long Walk

Ivy kicked at a small rock on the dirt road she walked that led up to her new home off the main highway. She had started to love the walks from where the bus dropped her off daily after school to home. The walk gave her a small reprieve between both worlds, the first being school and all the people there, the other of her home and the people there as well.

Where it would take most people ten minutes to walk the drive, she took at least double that.  She had refused her parents offer of having her taken to and from school by their driver. She already stood out enough in school as it was. She just wanted to fade into the back ground while there as much as she could. A rich, imposing dark sedan pulling up at the school everyday would do exactly the opposite of not reminding the kids there, that she was just like them. Yeah, right.

She had even tried to dress down as to not make the rest of the students, especially the girls, think she was a snob for coming to school in the latest expensive fashions.  No such luck; the first morning of school she had walked down stairs wearing just a jeans and t-shirt, her mom about had an epileptic attack at the breakfast table. Apparently if the ensemble cost less than two-hundred dollars, and that was not including the shoes, it wasn’t fit to wear except for laying around the house; when no one was else around mind you. At first, Ivy had fought it every school morning, but it ended up being a draining knock down fight with her every time she went to school. She didn’t want to stand out, couldn’t they see that? They never saw the big picture, she thought bitterly.

Ivy outsmarted them though. She layered up. She started picking out all her clothes the night before. Laying first, her mom’s ensemble on the bed. Then her own ensemble she wanted to wear at school. She mostly wore her things under her  “approved apparel”, at other times she would just carefully fold up her stuff in her book bag and change on the road going out or discreetly on the bus as she was one of the first ones to be picked up in the morning. Many a time in the early morning if you had happened to be a bird sitting in a tree on that road you would see a girl doing a quick change routine, flinging off one thing then putting on another. She had it down to an art form already. Where most girls wanted to stand out and wear the nicest clothes and make-up and have there hair perfect before leaving the house. She ran from it as much as she could get away with.

These walks in their own small way were meditative. Each way, coming or going cleansed her of the previous nights or days encounters at home or school and prepared her for the transition into either.

On both sides she was flanked by tall pines, and spruce. The air smelled of them and assailed her nose fully as the wind blew through them. The sun sat low in the west this late in the fall season, but still shone brightly through the tangled mass of trees upon its track towards the horizon. Soon, day-light saving times would come, and time would fall back for them an hour, what a weird concept, almost laughable, like you could control time in such a way. She worried though,  these walks might be taken from her, at least the mornings. The time-change would make the road dark for  her morning walk to her bus stop. She feared her parents would insist on having their driver take her the distance to at least where the bus picked her up at the end of the road where it met the highway.

They can’t, she thought viciously. They just can’t take it from me. She found she needed it now. She kicked violently at another rock and bit her lip at the pain it inflicted. Serves you right, a negative for a negative as her old math teacher used to say.

Thinking of negatives, Omar, the rude boy from her English class and unfortunately her Science as well, came suddenly to mind. She tried to push him out, but he wouldn’t budge from her thoughts no matter how she tried.

“What an ass!”  she yelled at the trees as she continued to walk the road.

Calling me a bitch! Where did he get the nerve. She didn’t think she had been that rude.

But even so. She had seen his type before. Arrogant, surly,  bad news walking as her mom would have aptly put it. For the briefest of moments she had been afraid of him. She had thought she had conquered her fears. Her therapist had warned there could be triggers she might not be aware until it happened. The word “bitch” had been it for sure.  She wrapped her head around the word.

“Bitch.” she said it aloud. Her therapists said to take the power back by embracing the very thing that held it. So, she walked the road saying the word bitch over and over and over again like a mantra. She lost herself in the rhythm of the words unconsciously timing her own footsteps to the beat of the word. Left (Bitch), Right, Left  (Bitch) all the way down the road until she reached the very where dirt turned to asphalt and curved its way around to her house.

She would be ready next time if Omar or anyone said that word again. She would not show weakness ever again. She was in control of her destiny, no one dictated her course. Feelings or otherwise.

As she walked the curve of the drive to her home weight slowly lifted from her chest she knew had been there but couldn’t really define. Now she had realized what it was. Yes, the walks helped in such small ways. Her own private personal therapy. She couldn’t lose them, coming or going.

“Don’t you look determined Ms. Knight?”  a grizzled voice followed  by much more grizzled looking face popped up from behind the dark car sitting at the top of the drive as she approached it.

She smiled involuntarily at the old man, he was the only one who could catch her off guard like that and bring that out of her. He was also what made the house bearable to come home.

“Hello Max, shining up the car for the seventh time to day I see?” she said with a sly grin that wasn’t forced like with most others she talked with.

“Aha, you cheeky monkey.  If I was actually allowed to drive the Misses around I might not have to putz around this car like a car wash jockey on a daily basis now would I.” He returned the grin playfully with crinkled twinkle in his eyes for her.

“You’re to tall to be a jockey and a little to round around the middle Max,” she said.  “But don’t despair mon ami, I will need your grand chariot tonight” she said walking by and up the steps to the house.

“Or did you forget it was Thursday?” she said pausing at the door looking back at him smiling.

“Oh, I never forget an appointment Ms. Knight.”  He tipped his cap at her like he always did and smiled squinting in the sun which peeked at them both across the vast yard that was their property that the house sat on. She did like the view. Especially from her bedroom she could see forever a sea of trees as far as her green eyes could carry to the north.

“Good. Because tonight’s a special night you know. Did my parents say if they were going to make it there tonight Max?” Ivy looked at Max intently for an answer.

“I do know its a special night for more than one reason,”  He smiled up at her still squinting.  “Last I heard, they said their flight was on time. They should make it darlin’. I didn’t think you cared one way or other if they showed.” All smiles gone from his face his voice suddenly serious. Ivy knew Max was upset at what she had said to them before she had left.

She had grew to be upset with herself as well these last two days since they had left. Time and distance does funny things to feelings, she thought.

“Even I can admit to being an idiot sometimes.” she smiled shyly at him, not used to be called out by him. They usually got along so great at most times.

“Whoa, stop the presses, what’s that I be hearing? Ms. Ivy just shook the earth with that  bit of news. I wish I had thought to bring a witness for that admission.”  this time his smile returned in full force. And it warmed her deeply.

“Now be about your way lassie, oh, I almost forget. I scrimped up my pennies and bought you something. It’ll be on your bed. It’s nothing really. Just a token. Now don’t look at me that way. A girl doesn’t turn sixteen but once ya know and I’m an old man who can spend his money on anyone I please.”  he said stammering almost at the end.

Ivy smiled fondly at him. “Thank you.” she simply said and went inside not wanting to embarrass him further.

She ran up the two flights of stairs to her room. Every night was a hike to get to her room. What she wouldn’t give to live in a one room shack sometimes. Wealth, money, things, made her feel uncomfortable. For some reason, ever since she could remember she had felt this way. Like she didn’t deserve to have them. And today, on her sixteenth birthday, she felt no different. Except, she was excited. Max had given her a present! He had never given anyone a present. She could only imagine what it could be….

Ivy dropped her book bag next to her bedroom door inside her room as she always did. She slowly approached her bed, a big four poster queen sized bed  which she had always thought of as too soft. It was covered by a big white comforter with bits of yellow petaled flowers adorned  across the fabric with no discernible pattern. As she looked to the bed for her Max’s present she didn’t see it.  What she did see, was one fluffy gray haired cat with olive green eyes staring at her as it lay sprawled out in seeming decadent contentment. Ah, to be a cat.

“Well, well mister. I see you’re in about the same place I left you this morning.” Ivy walked over and crawled up on her bed. The cat didn’t move an inch in it’s leisurely pose, but only continued to stare at her approach as she laid down next to him on the bed.

Ivy reached out her hand and stroked the cats fur.  No sooner than had she finished her second  stroke did he decide to start purring loudly and flip over her on his back stretching his front and and legs out in one long stretch.

“Ah, what do we have here?” She said grabbing at a very thin box underneath her cat’s languishing body. 

“Why do cat’s always choose to find the one place on the bed that’s different than all the rest, hmmm Willy?”   she asked him. He of course did not answer. He did stand and walk across the bed to stare at her as if in question of his resting place being so disturbed as he proceeded to plomp down on her pillow for probably his tenth nap of the day.

Ivy looked at the box she held in her hands.  It measured approximately three by three inches square and only about half inch thick or so. Plain white wrapping paper covered it, tied with crisscrossing gold ribbons, along with a crushed gold bow (thanks to Willy) affixed in the center of it.

She removed the bow throwing it at her cat, who reached out with a lightening grab with one of his paws to trap it beneath him and the bed.

“Hmm, your fast when you want to be little boy.”  she smiled.

Ivy delicately pulled apart the ribbons removing each. She carefully pulled at the tape and the paper surrounding the box underneath.

A black velvety box revealed itself. She ran her hands over it’s surface just enjoying the texture under her fingertips. She eagerly pulled at the edges of the box.

Her breath caught in her throat when she saw what it contained, a Hidari Gomon.

It was beautiful. She picked it up in her hands and noticed the heaviness of the piece. It must be made of bronze, she surmised.  It was a perfectly round disc made of a yellowy dull metal about an eighth of an inch thick. The front was engraved with what looked like three black commas encircling the each other, interlocking and forming what was called a triskelion or a motif that looked like three bent curved legs. The top of the symbol was punched through with a hole for the leather cord that held it to wear as a necklace.

Hidari Gomon

Her finger felt something on the back of the disc. More etching?

She flipped it over to read three words lightly engraved on its surface.

“Courage, Loyalty, Spirit.” she read out softly.

“It’s perfect.” She whispered to herself….

 

Hidari Gomon