24. How Was Last Night For You: Escaping Talise, A Wicked Sea Witch 


Please read Chapter 23 here.

Chapter 24: Escaping Talise, A Wicked Sea Witch

Nina wanted to scream but the hand covering her mouth made it impossible for her to make a sound. She could barely breath she was so afraid of who had captured her. The man held her solidly against his his chest. Perhaps, Malcolm was still bewitched by Talise and keeping Nina trapped in the water for Talise to find?

Nina started to struggle against the man holding her captive. He had them both propped up against the boat where Nina had decided to hide from Talise. Nina splashed and pushed against the man’s chest, but he wouldn’t let her go. Talise was chanting her spell so loudly, her words could be heard throughout Adare’s Harbour.Had she noticed Nina had disappeared?

Nina kicked against the man holding her and attempted to use her elbows to injure him. She tried to knee him where it would hurt but then the arms holding her dunked Nina in the water a moment, before bringing her back up to the surface of the Sirene sputtering.

A familiar voice behind her said: “Shhh.” Nina turned her head minutely, enough to see a man holding a finger to his full lips. Nina peered over her shoulder to get a peek at the man. Maybe this man was trying to help her and he would aid her in escaping Talise?

Nina whispered so quietly she wasn’t sure the man could hear her, “Who are you? Is it Malcolm? John?” She whispered the last name hopefully. A kiss to her temple reassured her.

Nina wanted to jump for joy but she remained completely still and calm. She whispered to John, “I missed you. You wouldn’t answer your phone.” Behind her, John chuckled. His lips moved to Nina’s ear kissing the tip of it.

“My Nina,” John said in a hushed voice. Nina wanted to shout in happiness but she knew the perilous position both she and John were in. She snuggled against John in the coolness of the water. John kept Nina afloat in the Sirene, leaning on the boat.

He released his tight hold on Nina so she was able to turn in arms and face John. She peered into John’s sapphire eyes beneath his sopping dark brown hair. Nina brushed wet hair off John’s forehead tenderly and gasped seeing how purple the circles under John’s eyes appeared. John regarded Nina tiredly with a soft smile but she noticed how much John leaned on the boat for support and how his eyes kept shutting.

“John,” Nina whispered,”Did you swim the entire way back from Talise’s cave? You look exhausted. I don’t know how you were holding me so tightly when you look as if you’ve had every ounce of strength zapped out of you. You need to sleep.”

“Miles to go before I sleep,” John quoted Blake, smiling at Nina. “You’re wearing the necklace from the Farmer’s Market.”

“Of course,” Nina said quietly, “I never take it off. You know that. It seems as if attempting to save me from Talise alone, hasn’t been working for you John. I think it’s better when we collaborate; if we face Talise as a team.” John grinned but his face appeared wan.

“I got her dagger, Nina,” John whispered. “She’ll want me because I have her dagger. I injured her with it. She’s not letting on, but it’s why her spell isn’t working right now. Usually, I think she could use the Sirene’s Lake water and kill you no matter where you were in the Lake. But Talise can’t find you in the lake, her magic isn’t powerful enough.”

“She doesn’t want to kill me John. Talise wants us to suffer to be a part. She’s been considering this for the three-months I was healing from my head and you weren’t feeling as if you were cursed. She wants to change me into a mermaid and bewitch you permanently, so you have little free will.” Nina murmured.

“Talise wants to use us each to taunt the other, knowing we can never be together. If you’re human and I’m a mermaid, you’ll die and I’ll have hundreds of years alive without you. Only when your dead, will I be able to walk on land as mermaids sometimes do.” Nina whispered, tears escaping her pale blue eyes.

John looked aghast.”Talise – Tia is awful. I can’t believe she was special to me at one time. When I was twenty-five-years-old, I actually thought I loved her. I even told her I lied to my brothers, that I actually cared about her. Talise doesn’t believe me. She has past issues, about a guy named Ethan, her beloved husband. He cheated on her throughout their entire marriage in the 1800’s.”

“I know,” Nina said hushing John’s words with a finger to his lips. The tears dripping from her eyes stung her chilly skin.”There’s something worse though John . . . Talise said we can’t break the curse. If you sacrifice yourself for me, you’ll die. I’ll be alone, saved from death or a fish tale but without you in my life.”

John, with great effort, kissed Nina, exploring her mouth with his own, before pulling himself back up against the boat. “I had figured the curse might be that kind of curse.” John murmured tiredly.

“What kind? You mean not the kind that exists in fairytales where good always wins?”

“Yes, my Nina. That kind. The type where evil lives to thrive and destroy another day.” John sighed. He was freakishly pale.

“I’m sorry Nina. I have to end this whatever the outcome. I have to finish off Talise. It’s the reason I went to get her dagger. I will thrust it through her heart. She said she would do the same to you. I have to ensure that never happens.” John gazed at Nina determinedly.

Nina could see John gathering himself together for one last fight, ready to leave the boats where they both hid and declare his presence to Talise. But suddenly, the water around them began to froth and bubble.

Waves rose and separated John and Nina, carrying Nina far out to the middle of the Sirene, past all the yachts, sailing boats and any kind of boat a person might have kept at the harbour in Adare.

Nina was pulled out to where she could barely swim because the swells of waves kept burying her in the Sirene’s water, which Nina was choking up. She was having trouble catching her breathe.

Nina glanced at John before she was carried under the waves of the Sirene, under the water. He was leaning against the boat one minute, then feverishly swimming out to Nina with all his might. He struggled because he was so worn out and Nina noticed John’s strength was fading fast. There was only so much swimming a body could possibly do in one night.

Talise in rage, appeared behind Nina. She was  a mermaid, hag, and sea witch with fierce neon green eyes and teeth which were sharp and pointed. Nina never pictured a sea witch or a mermaid having such fearsome teeth.

Talise laughed darkly, holding Nina against her frightening yet frail appearance. Nina knew better then to think Talise weak. She reached her hand to Talise’s wrinkled arm, which was putting Nina in a choke hold, and dug her long oval pink nails, into Talise’s arm wound. Nina poked and pried at Talise’s injury until Talise cried out in pain. She pushed Nina under the water to make Nina stop further injuring Talise’s arm.

Nina wouldn’t end her hold on Talise’s arm wound, even as she felt herself struggling to breathe underwater. Briefly, her hand lifted from Talise’s arm when Talise pulled Nina up above the Sirene Lake’s water.

“Stop it you little bitch,” Talise told Nina. She grabbed Nina’s hair plunging Nina’s face into the water, regarding Nina as she would a gnat, as Nina drowned.

Talise pulled Nina’s face out of the water and close to her mouth and sharp teeth. “Behave Nina,” Talise warned and held Nina against her.

“I know you swim poorly, but don’t worry I have a tail and can swim for us both. We’re going to be great friends you and I Nina, as I’ve said. John is a blip. No good for either of us. What’s that they say, ‘ho’s before bro’s.'” Talise cackled at her own lame humour.

Nina didn’t find Talise funny at all.”Leave him alone. Don’t you dare touch John. I will hurt you and I will find a way to kill you if dare lay a finger on him.You’re injured Talise. I’ll stop at nothing to use that weakness against you.”

Talise smiled flashing her pointed teeth.”There’s that spirit John adores. Watch him struggle in the waves, he’s been swimming for hours and hours, he hasn’t much strength left.” Talise remarked.”As he drowns, I’ll get my dagger. I’m ending this here and now.”

Nina watched John fight and attempt to swim in the water which was still frothing and bubbling around him. She began to cry, fearing she was watching the man she loved drowning

In a moment, there were lights in the middle of the Sirene Lake. A sailing boat came thrusting through the water shining light on Nina and Talise in the water. The boat’s name was written in huge navy letters across its side. It’s name was Faith. Something Nina desperately needed at present.

Another light from Faith fell on John and a lifesaver was thrown out towards him. John grabbed unto the lifesaver gratefully, his sapphire gaze glued on Nina, beneath his darkly bruised under eye skin.

Talise screamed in rage, terrifyingly ugly. She had become a freak of nature, of even folklore. Nina began digging her hand into Talise’s arm wound, scraping out chunks of flesh as Talise’s elbow grip around Nina’s neck increased until it was asphyxiating Nina.

Nina thought she would pass out. In the haze of her mind, somewhere between breathe and death, Nina saw Jordan swimming out to meet John. Jordan and John were both the light provided by Faith, John’s sail boat.

The weather wasn’t stormy but nor was the Lake around Talise gentle. Her magic was powerful enough to make the middle of the Sirene rough. It must have been around 3:00 am, Nina thought judging from the time she was bewitched into leaving her condo. She wondered what Talise thought about Nina being able to break her bewitchment spell.

Nina dug her free hand into Talise’s face scratching and attempting to gouge Talise’s glowing eyes. Talise shrieked trying to asphyxiate Nina again. When Nina wouldn’t cease digging her fingers into Talise’s arm wound and face, Talise bit Nina’s shoulder.

“Ahhh…” Nina cried out. The pain she felt was searing and could be felt by her entire nervous system. Instantly, Nina’s gaze flew to her shoulder, a blackish-green substance oozed out of ferocious bite marks. “Poison…” Nina whispered to herself. Her body was shuddering from the pain and the toxin from Talise’s mouth; the poison was causing Nina lethargy.

Nina had to have screamed loudly because Nina saw John thrust something at Jordan. Jordan grasped the dagger John had stolen from Talise. It was what Talise most wanted. Through haze and mental fog, Nina saw Talise’s eyes grow wide as she spotted the dagger Jordan held.

Talise smiled and told Nina: “I’m going to get the dagger back now Nina. It’s mine. I killed the evilest sea witch for it. I’m killing John with it. I shouldn’t have changed my mind about killing you. My bite is poisonous and the toxins have entered your bloodstream. You’ll die as John will and probably his meddlesome brother Jordan as well.”

“You won’t kill John. Part of you still wants him. Part of you loves him, it’s why you want to control him. To make him your perfect boyfriend. The husband, you never had because let’s face it Talise your a dumb childless witch and no one wants to be with someone like you. Someone who would sell her soul, for revenge.” Nina’s voice was surprisingly loud, it hurt her own ears.

“Get your soul back Talise. It’s the only way you can go back. You could have a normal life and meet someone new.Better then Ethan or John. But once you kill with that dagger, I’m guessing you can’t go back…” Nina’s voice faltered.

Talise observed Nina as the poison made Nina weak. Nina’s body was shuddering and turning rigid. Talise was noticeably quiet as she thought about what Nina said. The pronounced wrinkles on her forehead folding deeper. ” I can’t be saved. I made my choice. You know nothing about Ethan. John could never take his place, not know. I can’t take the risk of another man like Ethan or John. I can’t just start all over again . . .”

“Every woman, every girl, starts over again in the world Talise. It’s how relationships work. It’s why we’re the stronger sex, why we can handle having kids. Because we can handle the pain of having our hearts broken again and again first.” Nina’s voice was barely a whisper, she was fading into light.

Then, Talise was pulling Nina’s body through the water, weightlessly, towards John who clung to the lifesaver.  Jordan held onto his own lifesaver, the black dagger in his hands ready to plunge into Talise’s heart. Archaic symbols glowed red on the dagger as Talise grew nearer to its presence. To John and Jordan Talise was terrifying, yet the tumbling water around them had ceased, and Talise’s eyes had dimmed to a muddy-green.

Nina faded out of consciousness.There was colour here. Beautiful and brilliant waves and patterns of colour everywhere. It was overwhelming at first. The colour folded Nina’s body in its vividness and she felt as if she could finally sleep. Recalling John’s words from the Robert Frost poem as she drifted: “. . . And miles to go before I sleep.” Perhaps, Nina’s miles were done.

Please Read Chapter 25 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

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NaPoWriMo: Poem – Free Verse – ” A Day in the City”


img_1070-2

And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I challenge you to fill out, in no more than five minutes, the following “Almanac Questionnaire,” which solicits concrete details about a specific place (real or imagined). Then write a poem incorporating or based on one or more of your answers. Happy writing!

 

 

 

—–

Edmonton at Night
Edmonton at Night (www.pinterest.com)
——

Warm Spring Day at fifteen degrees,

In our pretty bungalow near the River Valley,

Gerber Daisies on the table, warm colours please,

Resting on a tablecloth, Easter pastels gladly.

—–

The dog lies under the table in my art studio,

I’ve tried to paint her, but she never sits still long.

Driving downtown to immerse myself, with dog go.

Bask in the presence of the farmer’s market’s throngs.

—-.

Dog walking beside me, enjoying all her doggy friends.

Conversation with some guy about Hockey playoffs,

Not many Canadian teams made it, no matter in the end.

Many Canadian players, play for American teams, so layoff.

——

Walking down the street past ancient buildings,

Observing the walls speckled, thoughtless youth wrote graffiti.

Some call it ‘art’ while others would say ‘you’re dreaming.’

Obscenity scrawled haphazardly, done messily.

——

“Where’s your boyfriend?” Asks the aged vendor selling peaches.

I give him a smile, saying: “I’m happy to be single right now.”

Subject change, “Have you seen my new puppy?” Subject now out of reach.

Old guy is comfortable, complains of gas prices and frowns.

——

Oil prices particularly  bad, so I let him know gas prices are low.

He doesn’t understand; when he was young gas cost barely anything.

Ready to move on, I don’t want to be rude; dog barks, “time to go.”

He talks more, the Terwilliger Park Foot Bridge opening this spring.

——-

The new bridge has an amazing minimalist design,

I tell the vendor about biking there with my Dad,

When my brothers and I were younger, biking was fine.

Following closely, didn’t want to get spanked as we had.

——-

Then slipping away I wander to other booths,

Comfortable in leggings and thin white sweater,

The dog wants to run, I can tell; We leave, dog approves.

Down to the river valley on the off leash trails is better.

——-

We have to watch out for the Beavertaur — a mythical animal,

But some say they have seen it on the prowl.

Both beaver and minotaur; a creature quite unimaginable.

For those walking river valley trails, the situation could be foul.

——

My friend has sworn upon Wayne Gretzky’s statue,

That he barely escaped the Beavertaur with his life.

Made me laugh; today the dog and I are fine, no snafu.

We went on home and we had a nap, long day but no strife.

——

Gazing out my window, to the brick patio below,

Think we need outdoor furniture, to enjoy in the sun.

Remembering family friend, left life’s flow.

Gone for five-years already, in heaven’s quiet hum.

——

She babysat me when I was small, thirteen years my senior,

Reading Appley Dapply Nursery Rhymes; beloved childhood book,

Then settling in bed I sleep for a moment, no dreams either.

Hearing cats screeching, the dog barking, awake I’m shook.

——

In alley, a neighbour’s trash bin — scattered garbage,

You can’t leave your trash out, the cats will make a meal of it,

Neighbours leave their bags in the open always unguarded,

I’m annoyed, but I roll my eyes and think, ‘forget about it.’

—–

Vacation thoughts stir my mind in other directions,

A trip in Canada, much easier then going through US border.

Maybe, Quebec City or Montreal, thoughts and reflections.

Killing a large spider with a block of wood; restored order.

—–

It’s good luck to kill a spider, he won’t end up in your house.

Dog is whining; she wasn’t outside with me,

That’s just life I tell her; TV on, channel browse,

The debate: aren’t we the City of Champions? Can’t you see?

—–

Or does the Oiler’s last ten-seasons make us champions not?

It’s more than merely about playing hockey,

It’s a way of acting, some people don’t understand that talk.

Being a champion in the heart, it’s  Edmonton’s image worthy.

——

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

22. How Was Last Night For You: Talise Bewitches Nina.


Please read Chapter 21 here.

Chapter 22: Talise Bewitches Nina.

Nina felt the coldness of the water handcuffs Talise had fitted around Nina’s wrists when she caused Nina to fly back and land on couch.

Handcuffs made out of water were a curious sensation. They felt wet and dripped water onto Nina’s hands. Yet when Nina pushed her wrists against the watercuffs and attempted to twist out of them, the watercuffs bit into her skin sharply as metal handcuffs would do.

Nina was seated on her suede dove-grey couch with her hands and arms bent awkwardly behind her back. Talise was seated on the other end of Nina’s couch. She seemed lost in her thoughts and Talise’s clouded eyes combined with her haggish appearance were terrifying. Talise possessed the demeanor of someone curse and otherworldly.

Nina couldn’t believe Talise had ever been an enchanting youthful woman wearing a sea green gown at the Mergers fundraiser Nina had attended with John. Nina feared Talise because she was certain Talise would murder her and do so painfully.

A small part of Nina couldn’t help but feel sorry for Talise and what she had become. There was no concrete explanation for how Talise could’ve aged exceedingly in a short time. Powerful and demonic sorcery had to have physically altered Talise and blackened her heart. A heart, Nina thought, which had attempted to warn Nina away from John months earlier. What feelings of rage and jealousy had John and Nina created in Talise?  Why would Talise give-up– her youth, her beauty,  especially her soul — to have vengeance.

” Talise, what happened to you?” Nina ventured to ask Talise, ” What do you want with me? You should be happy. John broke-up with me last week.” Nina lifted her pale blue eyes to Talise’s cloudy green ones. Nina hoped Talise could relate to Nina and in doing so, not hurt her. Talise grinned at Nina darkly. Amazingly, her teeth were still perfect, though the lips surrounding Talise’s mouth were wrinkled.

” Yes, Nina. I know John left you. I made Malcolm — you remember him, he works for John? Anyways, Malcolm was supposed to run you down in a stolen truck or injure you terribly. I was giving you a way out, an easier exit out from John’s life. This is no longer the case.”

Talise threw back her thick wavy hair like a young girl, but the stripes of white in her hair gave her age away. ” Must have been painful for you, Nina. Spending all week thinking about John, yearning for him.” Talise’s voice was raspy and she cackled at Nina’s expense. Talise expressed little sympathy for Nina.

“I’m a smart woman Nina. I have over two-hundred-years of life experience on John and you. I had my true love Ethan once, back in the Victorian Era. I couldn’t have children so we adopted Ethan’s two nephews. When Ethan died, my nephew Simon admitted Ethan had a mistress all through-out our marriage. Simon told me Ethan said I was his only love but Ethan wanted offspring of his own. He had eight — eight children with this whore. And I couldn’t do a thing to him or his mistress who had both died peacefully in their sleep at an old age. I know how it is to be hurt by the man you love Nina.”

“I know John too. I loved him deeply, not as much as I loved Ethan but enough, we could’ve built a life together. Being in John’s life has only harmed you Nina. John may have hastened your death by refusing to give you up in time.” Talise told Nina crossing her legs and smiling absurdly. The wrinkles in Talise’s face deepened grotesquely when Talise smiled. She did not appear merely old as humans appeared, but their was a disgustingness, a monstrosity about Talise.

” I know you believe what you and John have is special. I think it’s different than what I had with him. I loved John but he didn’t love me back, it is clear now in my mind, he was only using me for sex. He loves you more than me and can’t accept he’s chosen you when he could’ve had me.” Talise’s gravelly voice said harshly.

” You think John left you but you know better Nina. You’re aware he only broke-up with you to protect you from me? He didn’t want you to be physically injured again, especially after your concussion. I had hoped it would be more than a minor concussion when I directed a table hit your head during the storm I created at the Farmer’s Market. I had hoped your concussion would force John to never want to see you again.” Talise grasped hold of Nina’s wrist. She leaned in to frighten Nina with appearance. Talise’s muddy eyes were gloating dangerously.

“John miscalculated with me Nina. He’s caught in my cave, trapped by a kind of force-field spell. In my cave is a looking glass where John can watch what I do to you. I told him I was intending to bewitch you and drown you, but my new plan but I’m thinking of will cause John and yourself a great deal more suffering. Letting you both die would be too easy. John has my dagger, but I have you. He’s not going to be able get here in time to stop what I have planned for you Nina.” Talise’s grating voice cackled.

Nina couldn’t believe she was caught in a deadly situation with Talise. Why hadn’t she looked through the door to see who was there before she let Talise in her condo? Where was Rianne? Did Talise hurt her?

Additionally, John was stuck in some deserted cave. He should have brought someone with him, but he hadn’t. And he couldn’t help Nina. She doubted John could have saved her from Talise, had he been here with Nina and Talise. Talise’s magic was  disturbing and powerful sorcery, even if John had the dagger that could kill Talise.

Talise’s body shimmered with magic and it’s soul sucking presence made Nina’s hair stand on end. Talise had zoned out, whispering words under breath and holding her arm with her hand. Nina noticed a spot or two of red on Talise’s hand. What if John had been able to injure Talise with the dagger and Talise’s wound wouldn’t heal? Nina filed this significant detail away in her mind to use later.

Talise snapped out of her trance and grinned at Nina as if they were friends.She wanted to harm Nina but was thoroughly nonchalant about the situation. “Why are you stuck on John Talise?” Nina blurted out, “If he hurt you so much by telling his brothers he didn’t love you, that you weren’t a good wife for a professional businessman, why would you want to be with him? You cursed him and he’s suffered for ten-years. You could let him suffer more.” Nina exclaimed convincingly.

“There is a minute chance that John can break your curse. To do so he would have to sacrifice himself for me. So isn’t you endangering my life, only giving John a chance to save me? To break the curse?” Nina questioned Talise overtly. Talise grinned maniacally seeing exactly what Nina was attempting to accomplish.

” John can try to save you all he wants. There is no way  I’ll let that happen. To escape my cave John would have to break through the barrier and swim far in the cold Sirene Lake at night. John’s not as young as he use to be,” Talise said.

“Besides if John does sacrifice himself for you, I’ve no issue with him then because he’ll be dead Nina. It’s the beauty of a curse, it’s difficult to make your way around them and live.” Nina couldn’t get over  Talise’s honeyed voice had altered with each word from her lizard like lips.

“I told John, Nina, that I was going to bewitch you and drown you in the Sirene Lake. I could do that now and no one would be able to stop me. But I’ve been thinking . . . What if I don’t kill you for now? What if I turn you into a mermaid, not a sea witch mermaid such as me, but a mermaid such as the other girls in the Sirene?” Talise wondered aloud.

” John and you would be separated forever and I wouldn’t allow him near you to break the curse should the opportunity arise. I’m rather keen on bewitching John permanently.  fI what him to do whatever I say whenever I feel like I need him to do something. Sometimes he could do as he pleases but he would always know at any minute, I control him much. He would be much as a servant to me, with little free will or control over his life.” Talise mused.

“And I’m going to get my dagger back . . . you never know when I might need to stab either on of you, so the other one complies.” Nina’s breath caught in her throat but she pretended to be amused by Talise’s schemes.

“That’s your plan? After all these months you’ve had to come up with a scheme and you want to separate John and I by giving me a fish tale and bewitching John?” Nina asked Talise and giggled. Talise looked at Nina angrily backhanding her across the face with her wrinkled hand. Nina had forgotten how strong Talise’s body was despite her appearance to be otherwise. A welt developed across Nina’s left cheek. It stung, “agh…” Nina proclaimed in pain. “You hurt me . . .”

“Excellent! It was supposed to hurt,” Talise grated. “You need to learn to respect your elders. Yes, you’ll get a fish tale and I will bewitch John and control him. It’s either that or I could keep you hidden until I gain my dagger back and stab you through the heart. I’ve been frightening John with images of that scenario in his dreams.Which do you prefer Nina?” Talise challenged.”Once you’re a mermaid, I’ll ensure John only glimpses you, enough to bring back painful memories. I’ll tease and antagonize both of you. Ethan betrayed me and I couldn’t have my revenge but against John, I will have my way.”

Talise had been standing in front of Nina when she slapped her. She gazed down on Nina, smiling suspiciously. Nina attempted to speak to tell Talise off, but when she opened her mouth to speak, her voice wouldn’t come out. She looked at Talise in fear. Her hands hurt behind her back and she fought her watercuffs observing Talise chanting a spell. Talise instantly, grabbed Nina’s head grasping Nina’s thick blond hair to keep Nina in place.Talise forced Nina to look into her magnetic muddied orbs which hypnotized Nina and made Nina feel weak and lost.

Without realizing what was happening to herself, Nina’s body began moving without Nina controlling it. Nina stood up and slid her feet into a pair of flats. Talise had no need to restrain Nina now, so the watercuffs disappeared and Nina grabbed her purse and keys. She had no control over any of her body movements. It was if the essence of who was Nina, was trapped inside Nina’s mind. She could think her own thoughts but not express them verbally or physically.

Talise wanted it to appear as if Nina had left her condo to stay with her mother. She had Nina write a fake note to Rianne, telling her where she was supposedly going. How Talise knew about Nina’s mother Heather, Nina didn’t know. She also wondered how she knew Rianne was staying with Nina. She felt panic rise up inside her, afraid for her Mom and for her best friend.

Nina’s body accepted the actions Talise commanded of her and she couldn’t even say anything to Talise to convince her not to make her into a mermaid because Nina couldn’t speak her mind.”Are you ready to go now Nina?” Talise asked Nina. She tried to shake her head but instead Nina heard herself saying: “Yes, I can drive us to the harbour as you asked Talise.” Talise smiled at Nina and patted her arm.

“Fantastic Nina. We’re going to be great friends,  you’ll see. Mermaids have a greater lifespan then humans by hundreds of years. Plus, you’ll young for most of your life.Once John has died, maybe I will allow you to go on land and find a new man. Mermaids go to land to have children. When John is gone, it will be us girls.” Talise remarked. She sounded nice as if she were trying to be friendly, but Nina knew better.

Inwardly, Nina shuddered at Talise’s words, but she couldn’t halt her body from walking down to the parking garage with Talise behind her. Nina settled into the driver side of her black SUV and drove Talise and herself to the harbour in Adare. Nina had to park the car a few blocks away to Talise’s displeasure, but Nina had no control over finding empty parking spots either.

Nina and Talise trudged the few blocks to the harbour. Talise’s haggard face scowling darkly in the night. Nina fought and struggled inside herself to regain control of her limbs, her voice, and actions. But her mind became exhausted trying to fight Talise’s dark sorcery. She couldn’t fight the bewitchment spell.

Talise and Nina walked out to the harbour to the docks where many wealthy people tied their boats. Nina hadn’t been here since the first night she met John. Talise told Nina: “Time to get to know your new home in the Sirene Nina. Jump in and swim around for a while. It’s time to learn what it’s like to have fish tale.” Nina’s body jumped in the water of the Sirene Lake. Nina was scared because it was a dark outside, only a crescent sliver was apparent in the sky. Little orbs of light along the harbour were the only available lights and they didn’t cast their glow far. Nina hadn’t realized how far the jump to the water was from the dock.

The water was cold and refreshing. Nina had been sweating since Talise bewitched her, out of fear. She observed herself swimming back and forth in the Sirene under where Talise stood. Talise had her eyes closed and was beginning to cast the spell that would turn Nina into a mermaid.

In her mind, Nina focused on controlling her limbs, trying to make them swim back to the harbour dock away from Talise. Nina was planning to hide among the boats. She knew the black night would aid her in hiding from Talise, at least until Talise jumped in and found her. Maybe Nina could climb up the ladder of somebody’s boat?

In a strange but magnificent moment, Nina regained control of her body which was still swimming in the water back and forth by Talise. Talise had begun to utter archaic words in a loud gravelly voice. Nina ducked under the water and tried to swim towards the boats tied to the dock. She wasn’t an experienced swimmer but she would have done her last swim teacher proud, making her way through the Sirene Lake’s waves as quietly as possible.

On the dock, Talise eyes were glowing a pulsing and pure emerald green. The lake responded to Talise’s archaic mutteringings and Nina felt the Sirene’s waves become choppy, increasing her difficulty as Nina was swimming.

The sky was turning cloudy in the darkness of the night, Nina believed the darkness was the only thing keeping her from being turned into a mermaid. Hiding behind the hull of a sail boat, Nina peered out at Talise, easily hearing her loud disembodied grating voice in the silence of the night.

In an instant, a pair of arms reached around Nina’s body in the Sirene and pulled her close. Nina screamed, but a man’s hand covered her mouth. Her scream had been small and insignificant beneath the sounds of the water lapping against the sail boat she was by and Talise’s avid chanting of her spell. Nina tried to break free of the arms surround her, but they held her even tighter. Tears spilt down Nina’s smooth cheeks as Nina awaited her fate in the Sirene.

Please Read Chapter 23 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

13. How Was Last Night For You: Injuries and Memories


Read Chapter 12 here.

Chapter 13: Injuries and Memories.

John was searching for Nina beneath debris inside the farmer’s market. He was worried about Nina and he couldn’t find her. He had lost her and their bags when they had dived for the floor as a booth had blown towards them.

John could see other people searching for friends or family in the warehouse. He watched a grey-haired man aid some other men caught underneath a table. Everyone at the farmer’s market was injured someway. The worst were broken limbs and large abrasions. John hoped Nina had escaped with nothing but a few scrapes. John’s breathing stopped for a moment when he saw a soft pile of pink fabric out of the corner of his eye.

Nina was lying on the cement floor of the warehouse her right hand covered in blood. John carefully removed the items that had landed on top of Nina from the wind. He removed the bags with some of her purchases from her slack hand. John gently shook Nina. When she didn’t wake up he realized Nina was unconscious.

John ran his hand gently through Nina’s hair and was startled when his hand came out dripping blood. He grimaced at the awful wound Nina had acquired on her head. She was going to need stitches and John wouldn’t doubt it if she had a concussion. He unwound the the pink scarf around her neck gently and pressed the scarf to Nina’s head injury. The scarf was ruined but hopefully it would stop the remaining bleeding.

Oddly enough, the storm had only affected a small area of Adare, close to Sirene Lake. It didn’t surprise John. He was sure Tia drew her power from the water as a sea witch. She was the one who had caused Nina’s head injury he thought hatefully.  John grabbed Samsung and called 911. Ambulances were no doubt in the area assisting people from the market because the paramedics were helping Nina in a flash.

John watched worriedly as Nina was put onto a stretcher. A brace was put around her neck and the paramedics put bandages on Nina’s head wound. John gathered Nina’s bags and rode in the ambulance saying he was Nina’s fiancé so he could accompany her to the hospital. On the way, John found Nina’s phone in her purse and called Jasper to help Rianne bring some of Nina’s clothes and toiletries to the Adare General Hospital.

John told Jasper Nina had hurt her head. Then he mentioned that Tia had returned. Jasper was aghast.

“After all this time?” Jasper wondered.

“Yes Tia’s back Jasper and she’s vengeful. She wants me, but she wants to hurt me too. She’s nothing like the sweet girl I used to know. Who laughed and partied with us years ago.” John said.

“The best way she can hurt me is through Nina. Tia’s jealous of her. I’m positive it was Tia who hurt Nina drawing power from the water of the Sirene for the storm. Nina said Tia was at the fundraiser last night dating a guy named Malcolm, one of our editors from Mergers. Tia called herself Talise. Nina ran into her at the farmer’s market today too.  Tia hurt Nina on purpose today.”

“Are you sure John?”

“Yes, Jasper. She told me ‘my heart or Nina’s’ I don’t think she could be much clearer. I think she wants one of our hearts literally.”

John ended the call as the ambulance pulled up to emergency. The wait in emergency was painfully long and Nina remained unconscious the entire time. Doctor Kenner eventually examined Nina’s head and said she would be out for awhile. Nina had a nasty gash on her scalp and the doctor stitched up the wound carefully. Doctor Kenner noted that Nina would need three or four weeks to heal from what he thought was a mild concussion.  Dr Kenner ordered  a CT scan and x-ray to be sure of Nina’s condition.

John set Nina’s shopping bags down by the window sill in her hospital room. He saw there were some different spices in one bag and a beat up apple pie in the other. He was starving and managing to procure a plastic fork,  John ate half the pie. It was delicious, and was well worth the necklace he bought Nina. John had never bought a woman such a personal gift before, except Tia. He remembered having bought her a bracelet with an opal stone. Tia’s favourite colour was teal. She had been ecstatic when John given her the bracelet years ago.


 

“John it’s gorgeous. It reminds me of the ocean and the waves.” A young Tia had said to him admiring her wrist. “You have good taste.”

” I saw it and knew you would like it. It was in Tiffany’s.” John remarked, his hands tangled in Tia’s blond waves.

“Tiffany’s wow, it must have been expensive John. I love it. And I love being here on the beach with a bonfire and only us. No one for you to do business with. No brothers for you to rough house with and meet clients with. Just us, when we get married promise we’ll go to Greece, somewhere the water is santorini blue. . .”

“Oh, umm,” John said nervously. “I have a heaping pile of work to do for the next while and building Mergers right now is exceptionally important to my brother’s and I. It’s our dream you know. We’ll have to wait awhile. We can always have a good time as we are. I don’t need a piece of paper to say we’re a sure thing. We don’t need to be married yet.”

Tia sighed sadly, “If you say so John. In a year or two right?” Tia said holding up her bracelet and looking adorable.

John kissed her wrist, “Sounds about right, Tia.” He kissed her slowly by the bonfire.


 

It wasn’t long after Tia cursed John because Tia thought John was using her. Despite searching the lake for her in his sailing boat and inquiring about her from Tia’s old friends, John hadn’t seen Tia in eight years. When John saw Tia at the market she looked almost the same. Her skin was smooth and dewy and her hair was a sun-kissed blond. Only, her personality was colder. She was devious. She wasn’t an innocent girl anymore. John had helped cause her Tia to become hateful what she was today — vengeful. He felt guilty, despite how irate Tia made him feel for the curse she had caste on John.

John clasped the less expensive but beautiful pearl on the gold necklace he’d bought for Nina. The necklace lay around her neck as she slept. When he bought it for Nina he knew it was a gift for Nina which had more meaning to him then Tia’s expensive bracelet. He wanted Nina to be his ‘beloved’ as the charm on the necklace read. He wanted to do better with Nina and work was no longer such an interference in his life. He had enough money that he could take time off when he needed. In that moment, John realized he wanted a future with Nina. If he had it his way — a lifetime.


 

Rianne and Jasper arrived when visiting hours were almost over. Rianne wasn’t looking to well with her arm in a cast and sling. She was in pain but tried to be cheerful with Jasper at her side. Jasper had helped Rianne gather some clothes and personal items Nina would require in hospital for a few days. Rianne kissed Nina’s cheek and she brought home Nina’s spices from the market. John had finished the pie refusing to leave Nina before she woke up.

Nina awoke from unconsciousness later in the night. She was groggy as he took her hand and kissed her cheek.”John… is that you? I couldn’t find you. I looked but you were gone and this table it hit me and then my head was bleeding.”

“It’s okay Nina,” John said “I called an ambulance and you’re in a hospital room now. Doctor Kenner has ordered a CT scan and an x-ray but he thinks you should be yourself in a few weeks if you’re careful. You have a little concussion, that’s all.”

“Oh” Nina said softly,”I don’t feel good at all…so queasy.” John quickly grabbed a bedpan and Nina threw up. She wiped her mouth with some Kleenex John gave her.

“It’s going to take some time for you to heal Nina, take it slow, honey.” Nina smiled at the endearment and weakly brushed John’s hand with hers before letting her hand drop and resting back in bed.

“I intend to…” Nina whispered. She was going to sleep again when she mumbled, “Call my Mom. Call Heather –”

John sighed. Talking to Nina’s Mother for the first time to tell her Nina’s injured, great…

Please Read Chapter 14 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

11. How Was Last Night For You: Talise at the Farmer’s Market


Read Chapter 10 here.

Chapter 11: Talise at The Farmer’s Market

Nina was delighted to have John take her to the farmer’s market. She enjoyed the atmosphere of the popular market which provided farm-grown produce, baked goods, prepared foods, as well as handmade speciality goods. A modest-sized warehouse with murals of oceanic scenes, was home for the market during the Winter months in Adare. In the late spring, the market moved outdoors so people could bask in the sunshine as they shopped.

The quick drive downtown, however, was silent. Nina was busy worrying about Rianne and her broken arm as well as her  confrontation with Talise. John was distant and brooding as he drove his Mercedes and parked a few blocks away from the market.

The aroma of fresh produce, sweet and inviting, met Nina as she walked into the crowded warehouse. The smell of fresh bread made both Nina and John inhale and smile at each other. Nina shoved her worries to the back of her mind. She immediately began talking to some of the merchants she knew, tugging John’s hands. Nina went to a few different tables she knew would be promising to find the best price for some vegetables. At different tables Nina bought an array of lush organic vegetables.

She was drawn to a table which sold spice blends called Cumin and See.  The company had spice mixtures, seasonings, and recipes for food. Nina purchased their special Caesar salad spice, a sweet cinnamony spice for apple cider, and a mixture of spices for a warm cheesy dip which would taste superb with crackers or chips. Nina wasn’t only buying for supper, she was thinking some down time would be a good idea soon.

Nina browsed along the tables where handcrafted jewelry was displayed. She gently held a fine 14k gold chain with a lustrous pearl and a tiny charm that read ‘beloved.’ John noticed Nina eyeing the necklace before she reached out and ran her finger over the pearl pendant and charm. John smiled at the cheerful merchant selling homemade jewelry at her booth and asked the lady how much for the necklace Nina was admiring.

” Oh don’t, it’s fine John. It’s $229.00 for this little chain. It’s not worth it.” Nina whispered to John.

“But you love it, right?” John said.”You’re worth it to me.”

Nina blushed at John’s praise and nodded her head. She did love the necklace,  it was classic. John ran his hand through Nina’s soft hair playfully before paying for the necklace with a swipe of his Visa. John carefully opened the fine necklace and clasped it around Nina’s neck. She loved the necklace and John’s gesture of buying her something. Nina adored that gesture a great deal.

“Thank you John,” Nina said sincerely, leaning up to kiss John on the lips.”Pay you back with some dessert sometime.” The kiss deepened and some people were openly gawking.

John smirked at Nina, aware he’d put on a show and held Nina’s hand as she went to a table that offered baked goods and bought an aromatic delicious apple pie for dinner. ” I love apple pie” John murmured to Nina, “Apple pie is more then enough in exchange for the necklace. Not that you had to get me anything.”They shared a warm companionable and heated gaze before Nina was distracted by more goods being sold.

Nina let go of John’s hand and went to browse among the tables of items.  She wasn’t often able to make it to the market in the winter time; work often meant overtime. Nina browsed aware John was worried some awful event might happen if they remained at the market long.

John had been looking at some homemade red wine, drinking a coffee when Nina last saw him. But when she turned around, John had disappeared into the crowd. Nina wasn’t too worried. John had his Samsung on him and she had her Iphone. The market wasn’t huge and it wouldn’t be impossible for Nina to find John in ten minutes or so while she shopped. Nina’s eyes immediately admired a baby pink scarf made of silk and light as air, hanging on rack of scarves beside a table.

A carefully manicured hand with sea green nail polish touched the delicate pink scarf and held it up so Nina could see how delicate and pretty the scarf was. Nina didn’t look up at the vendor because she was memorized by the way light hit the scarf. John could have bought her this scarf she thought, but she truly loved the gold necklace. She would purchase the scarf herself, Nina decided.

” Do you like it?” a girly voice asked Nina. Nina was to busy admiring the scarf, but then the voice said: “This would look wonderful on you Nina. It is exactly the right color of pink for your skin.” Nina knew the woman’s voice. She looked up to see Talise in a floaty silk blue blouse and leggings, behind the table.

“Oh” Nina said, “Talise, I didn’t know you had a booth here. Your scarves are gorgeous.” Talise smiled.

“It’s my friends booth. She’s the artist. I’m only filling in for her today. But she did tell me I could have any scarf of my choice. I would like for you to have my scarf. Take the light pink scarf Nina it suits you.” Nina was surprised, touched, and a suspicious of Talise’s gift. But she didn’t want to appear ungracious, even though she loved the pink scarf. She wrapped the silk perfection around her neck.

” That’s nice of you Talise. I didn’t think we were off to a friendly start at the fundraiser. You were judgemental of John and his past. How’s Malcolm?”

“Oh, he’s fine. He’s watching the Broncos play football,  while I do this. He loves sports. As for John, I’m only concerned about your safety with John, Nina. I don’t think he’s a reputable guy from my own experiences. For some reason, I always felt accidents and bad things occurred around John. Maybe, I’m only imagining these events, but I think you can do better than John.”

“It wasn’t your friend who John and his brothers laughed at when you said your friend loved  John, was it?  It was you?” Nina asked Talise in a flash of realization. Talise’s jewel green eyes shed a tear and then went blank.

“Yes, it was me,” she said. “I loved him and he talked about me behind my back. I wasn’t valuable to him. It was onto the next girl with John.”

Nina let her breath out nervously stroking the soft silk scarf Talise had given her. She felt wrong accepting the scarf now. Nina felt as if by wearing it she somehow agreed with Talise’s opinion of John now, that he was still a womanizer and a selfish man.

Nina felt she couldn’t give the scarf back to Talise, because she didn’t want to have a confrontation with her. She clutched the necklace John had bought her, hidden under the scarf. The necklace gave her hope and courage to defend John once again.

Please Read Chapter 12 here.


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

10. How Was Last Night For You – Waking Up and John’s Nightmare


 

Read Chapter 9 here.

Chapter 10: Waking Up at John’s House and The Nightmare

Nina awoke from a deep sleep. She was incredibly comfortable and spread out across the bed.  She didn’t think she’d moved at all after she’d showered and gone to sleep. Remembering she was sleeping with John, Nina grinned and turned to look at him.

John appeared young and carefree as he slept.The slight laugh lines around his eyes weren’t as deep and the dark circles beneath his eyes were gone. His skin was smooth except where there was stubble. Nina had never seen John with a five o’clock shadow. Nina knew John kept up a pristine appearance for work and to look as if he had his life together. Sometimes clothes and other people’s perceptions of John’s careful grooming helped to keep people from finding out why certain events happened when John was in the vicinity.

Nina reached tentatively for John’s face and she stroked his whiskered cheek. She yawned and fell back on her pillows deciding she needed more sleep. Nina drifted and soon surrendered to her dreams.

—–

The sun was in John’s eyes. It was annoying. He always kept the roman shade closed in his bedroom. The housekeeper must have put the blind up. Life left John with little but fires he had to keep putting out so he needed all the sleep he could get.

John felt Nina before he dreamed about her. The sensation of her hand stroking his stubbled cheek. He was afraid for her and thought he should tell her to go home before she ended up in the hospital; but to do that felt like an even worse idea.

Nina’s touch was special. John could feel the magnetic pull they felt with each other. His Nina. He dreamed of her soft long blond hair and cherub pink lips. He dreamed of her beautiful curves, her hips, her stomach, her breasts, and it made him want her. John dreamt Nina and he were sitting out in front of his house on the beach, sitting in anorak chairs.

The tide from the lake went in and out on the shore and was a soothing rhythm as he held Nina’s hand and stroked it. He wasn’t worried, he wasn’t afraid. Nothing problematic was going to happen. He enjoyed serenity for seconds.

Then the sky grew dark and the thunder clouds rolled in. Nina was begging him not to go into Sirene Lake. John kept telling her he had to go. And it was if his worst fears had come to life when Tia emerged from the water — gorgeous but deadly. A sea witch in a dress of blue and green scales. She had a dagger in her hand and she came close to his face brushing his cheek with hers and whispered: ‘your heart for hers.’

Tia was looking at Nina and telling him to choose. John wanted to save Nina. He chose her, but Tia only laughed and dragged John into the water. When she could swim with her mermaid’s tale, Tia drove the dagger through John’s heart. He could feel the pain so acute and agonizing.

John could hear Nina crying, wadding into Sirene Lake after him. And Tia was laughing malevolently and swimming further into the lake with John’s bleeding body where no one would see him again. Nina followed Tia and John. He realized Tia was leading Nina into deeper waters, where Nina could not swim. She was to die as well. John felt a pain stronger than Tia’s dagger to his heart, a searing pain that wouldn’t end. John blacked out.


John awoke from his nightmare in a cold sweat. He felt his heart beat rapidly where he was sure he had been stabbed or was having some kind of heart episode. But John’s heartbeat slowed and all he could feel with his hand was his bare chest, no bloody wound. John breathed deeply, realizing he had been holding his breath as he dreamt Tia had pulled him into the lake to drown him as he died from a stab wound. She had been attempting to drown Nina too. It took John a few minutes to realize he had only been experiencing a horrific nightmare.

John looked beside him and saw Nina was stretched across three-quarters of his king sized bed. He had been huddled in the last quarter of the bed she had left him. John thought he should be annoyed by Nina hogging his bed but he wasn’t. Nina was too cute to annoy him right now.

She looked peaceful as she slept. He knew Nina was about twenty-nine or thirty but she looked twenty-three with her face bare of makeup and her beautiful hair tangled about her head. Nina’s body was warm where it touched his. John sidled closer to Nina and stroked her pale hair away from her face. He kept stroking her cheek as he kissed her closed lips gently. He kissed her eyelids and the corner of her lips. John kissed her cheeks and began to trail wet kisses down her neck. He reached for the blue dress shirt of his Nina slept in, and began to unbutton the shirt.

Nina sighed in her sleep and her eyes flew open when he gently bit the place her shoulder and neck met. She opened her grey-blue eyes and smiled at him sleepily.

“Good morning.” John said “Funny I should find you in my bed. I think I’ll have to do something about that.”

Nina giggled and stretched her arms above her head. ” Way to take advantage of a poor defenceless woman. I wasn’t sure you’d take the bate,” Nina murmured. Her morning voice was croaky.

“How could I resist,” John mumbled kissing Nina where buttons had once covered her skin.He kissed Nina’s heart thinking back to his nightmare which he remembered so vividly:  ‘Your heart or hers.’ Tia had said.

John had an inkling Tia might be making him a visit in person sooner or later. Such as he felt a terrible event which was going to occur around him, John felt sure Tia was coming to check up on him as she had threatened years ago. She’d be watching John, Tia had said. Last night if he was honest, he could have sworn he saw her a couple times at the fundraiser. He thought he was seeing things. Had Tia finally returned? He felt a pang of sorrow for the love he once felt for Tia. But after all she had put John through, all the suffering and broken relationships, he felt little but anger and bitterness towards Tia now. If she was here again it would be because of Nina, and Nina he was sure he could protect.

“John,” Nina asked him sitting up, “are you okay?”

“Fine. Great,” John said realizing he had stopped kissing Nina abruptly and was looking through her. He smiled at her rubbed her cheek. The situation needed to be remedied. He forgot about Tia for the moment. John’s life was full of Nina for the present. A spark was growing within him for her, a spark no past love could compare with. Whether John’s dream was a warning or not, he would protect Nina. He would keep her safe. Nina and John had only known each other over a week and he cared for her so much already. For now he would show her how he felt giving praise to her body and through it, her heart.


 

Nina sat on a barstool in John’s kitchen. She was eating scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, and hash browns. She knew she was going to pay for all the calories she’d been ingesting this weekend when she went to the gym next week. Tiredly, she regretted she’d have to increase her cardio.

John and Nina hadn’t returned to John’s house until 2:00 am in the morning. At 4:00 am they’d showered and went to bed. As she ate breakfast in the afternoon, Nina went over the night’s events. The biggest aspects being meeting the strange young woman named Talise who said she had been a woman John had thrown away. Talise’s friend had loved John and John had forgot about her as well. Nina also thought about the fire. The smoke and fire damage which occurred to the beautiful venue the fundraiser had been held in and potential fatalities which might have occurred.

John sat on the stool beside Nina wearing sweatpants and nothing more. He devoured his breakfast while reading the Adare Gazette. He looked up at Nina now and then with a contented look on his face before reading the paper again. Nina spied a small story in the gazette about the fire at the Country club. She noticed John skipped over it with his eyes and pulled out the sports section.

” Edmonton won last night.” John muttered. “I’m kind of shocked. They’ve been winning quite a bit lately. I wonder if they’ll be playoff contenders.”

” Of course they will.” Nina chirped, “McDavid’s back.” John chuckled.

“Anything you want to do today Nina,” John asked.

“Well it would be fun to veg but I had planned on trying to go to the Farmer’s market downtown before it closes at 4:00 pm. It’s Winter so it’s inside this huge building and not outside, but it’s still pretty good. It’s 2 pm we could still make it .”

“Alright, I suppose that will be fun.” John said.  She could tell John wasn’t much thrilled by the idea of going to the Farmer’s Market but Nina wanted to do coupley things with John and get to know him better, even if he didn’t always like what they were doing. Nina laid her head against John’s shoulder. She had finished eating and was content.

“You’ll like it. Fresh food. I will cook you a great supper,” Nina reassured John.

He smiled, “Okay deal.” But Nina could tell something was bothering John and he wasn’t saying what it was. As he had been when they were kissing in bed, John was distracted. Nina wished she knew by what.

Please Read Chapter 11 here.


 

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.