27.How Was Last Night For You: A Stranger on an Unknown Beach


Please read Chapter 26 here.

Chapter 27. A Stranger on an Unknown Beach.

He was happy and content, floating amidst graduations of colour. He had never felt such tranquility in life.

He was awake suddenly and strolling on a picturesque beach. White sand almost burned his feet but he buried his toes down into the sand, and his feet cooled.

Gazing down at himself he saw he was only wearing swim trunks and a white T-Shirt. Sunglasses adorned his eyes and he knew it was his favourite pair of sunglasses. The sunglasses he broke some time ago he remembered. How odd they were in one piece now.

He languidly walked through the surf on the beach. Was he on vacation? He couldn’t recall. He didn’t even know what he was named. It was slipping his mind. How could he not know his own identity?

Sleep had held him in her vivid colours and luminescence for ages. His mind was foggy and he had forgotten details of his life he thought he should know.

In his mind, he kept seeing her . . . Nina. His beautiful blond haired girl smiling with pretty pink lips. He knew Nina had helped him break his curse because he loved her. He hadn’t loved anyone as much he loved her, ever.

Wait, he had been cursed? He couldn’t recall why.

But he pictured beautiful Nina in a pink bikini and grinned. He wished she was here so they could be alone and he could sip Corona and talk with her.

He’d convince her to go into one of the two cabanas where he could touch her smooth creamy skin. He’d remove the pink bikini that was the same shade of pink of the heels she worn when they first met… How had they met?

He sighed, lonely at the thought of not being able to be with Nina. He was by himself here on a fabulous beach which stretched for miles either way.

There was a cottage up some stone steps where he had been living,  but other than this cottage, and the cabanas, there were no other dwellings as far as he could see.

Fully awake and lucid (he believed), he thought of Nina. He knew had a family besides her too. Their faces were blurred images in his mind.

He recalled two rambunctious little boys laughing with him as he played with them and their construction trucks in the sand. His nephews . . .and that led him to who they looked like — Jasper his older brother. He had a younger brother too — Jordan.

She had given Jordan her soul.MHe didn’t know why she had done it or how he knew since he had been lost in colour and light then. But he could feel a darkness, a shadow when he thought of her.

Yes, she had cursed him. She had separated him from Nina. He hated her.

He knew in the end, the lake had swallowed her corpse and dying she hadn’t been darkness or light. She had been both.

So much did not make sense to him he thought struggling to think. Sitting down on a stained Adirondack chair, he leaned back, squinting into the sunlight in his sunglasses. The sun was incredibly bright. He was sweating in the heat. Could this be Mexico? The Carribean?

Not too far away from him he noticed an older man walking barefoot through the sand towards him. The man had a grey straggly beard and the man’s gate was self-assured.

How how had he not seen the man coming in the distance? He stood, a tad frightened at the thought of someone else being here where it felt he had been alone a long time.

He faced the man as he stopped at the steps and the man said: “John? Is that you? You’ve haven’t been this healthy in years. You’re well rested and I believe you’re bored of paradise.”

“I’m John?”

“Yes, you should’ve remembered your own name by now Mr. Eric. You’ve remembered Nina.” John flushed unaware the man had been privy to his inner thoughts.

“I don’t know you,” John said, his name and identity rushing back to him in torrents of thought.

“I need to see if Nina is okay. I need to check on Jordan. She did something to him. Talise or Tia, whatever or whoever she is, she put a ring on Jordan, one he can’t take off.”

“It’s an emerald with a silver band, and the emerald colour matches Talise’s eyes. Beneath the emerald her soul floats. It’s dangerous, why did she put a ring, her soul on Jordan?” John asked afraid for his brother.

“Good questions John,” the man said walking up the steps. He came up to John and shook John’s hand which John shook back without thinking.

“You have a good hand shake,” John told the man. “It doesn’t fit with the rest of you . . . You look as if you’re . . .weathered. You’ve been through tough times I think. It appears as if you live on the streets because your clothes are dirty and worn.”

“No offence, they haven’t been washed in a long time, and you need… you need a shower man.” John peered guilty at the homeless man, ashamed of what he had said.

The homeless watched him closely, his face expressionless in creases and wrinkles of acquired wisdom. Suddenly, the man smiled and let out a boisterous laugh, his deep creases becoming more pronounced.

“Yes, John. My appearance of late has been a homeless man. And if you’re offering me a shower and clean clothes, I gladly accept.” John smiled grateful the man wasn’t offended by his words.

“Come into the cottage and make yourself comfortable,” John remarked easily becoming a host. He peered in the fridge, “There’s trays of fruit and another of vegetables. Some steaks I can grill if you’re interested? There is even craft beer, AlleyKat,” John said grinning.”I don’t know how this all got here? Was it was here before I woke up?”

The homeless man only smiled at John and headed for John’s bedroom, “Where’s your closet John? Ah there.”

John followed the man to the master bedroom into a walk-in closet full of beach clothes and clothes one didn’t wear to work. “This is wonderful,” the man said, “Can I stock up for the road?”

“Of course,” John said. “I’m not sure any of this –the clothes, the cottage, and the food –even belong to me.”

The man smiled again at John, a curious light in his brown eyes.”After my shower we can sit and eat. We can talk all you want. Chill a few beer for me in the freezer will you?”

John regarded the man thoughtfully, trying to remember him.”Who are you?” John asked.

“I’m here to help” the man remarked, peaking back at John before he shut the bathroom door with a bang. John heard the sound of water streaming.

He wasn’t sure what to do. Usually, John was head strong and sure of himself. He had had to be with the curse from Talise, the sea witch who’d been his girlfriend in the past.

John felt enraged with Talise. She had  separated him from his loved ones with her cruel curse. He was afraid for both Nina and Jordan.

Perhaps, the homeless man could return John to his family, especially Nina. He would also like to know where exactly he was?

His mind made up, John decided if this homeless man was here to help him, then John should be a good host, as his mother had taught him.

After all, John was filled with so many questions he needed answering. There was much he didn’t know about current events since he died.

The old man was keeping many secrets, John was sure. Not to mention, John wondered if the man might be benevolent magic of some kind? He could use some magic now.

John set out the fruit and vegetables on a large coffee table on the patio. He got out the steaks to Barbecue (they were already in marinade) and placed six beers in the freezer.

John went back on the patio to warm the Barbeque up, and he waited for homeless man to emerge.


 

A couple of hours later, John was sitting on the patio having finished his dinner and two icy   beers. The homeless man could really put his food away and he’d had four beers as well.

“Are you hungry still? There’s extra steaks in the fridge I could bring out to Barbecue if you like? And there’s some lemon cake?”

The homeless man patted his belly, “I think I’m full now John, but thank you. By the way, you can call me Norman.” John nodded teeming with questions.

“Alright, Norman. You told me you were here to help? I thought you might be able to answer my questions such as why I’m here when I’m supposed to be dead? And who are you?” John asked.

Norman peered at John curiously. “You don’t know then? You haven’t figured it out? You’re not dead John. You’re in-between life and death, between the spaces between spaces so to speak.” John was even more confused.

“So, is the beach and cottage like purgatory? Where’s my body at if it’s not dead?”

“Your body is here and you’re not in purgatory. You’re not Catholic John, you’re Anglican,” laughed Norman.

“As for me, I’m here to help you and Nina. It’s my job, helping certain people in difficult situations. I know you want to go home, but there are some things we need to discuss first.”

“Rianne would know who I am,” Norman said.” She went to buy Chinese food and Talise’s bewitched boyfriend Malcolm, knocked her head against the wall and Rianne passed out. Which, is the reason Nina was alone when Talise kidnapped and bewitched her.” Norman explained.

“I woke Rianne up and made sure she was okay, so she could go back to Nina’s condo and call Jasper who called Jordan, to come help you and Nina.”

“They decided to bring your sailboat out at night, even though it’s impossible to see in the dark. It was windy at least. I helped them find you and they would have never seen you if I hadn’t been there.” Norman said.

“How could you help them on the Sirene at night?” John wondered and Norman smiled secretively.

“I whispered in Jordan’s ear as he sailed the boat. My form isn’t always a homeless man or a human. Sometimes I’m an extra push in someone’s mind to get them moving. Or a whisper their ear such as I was with Jordan.”

“You’re magic?” John asked, trying to understand Norman.

“Magic is as sufficient a word as any.”

“So what are you? A wizard?” John questioned and Norman laughed again.

“I’m here to help and I’m on your side,” Norman said.

John realized Norman was providing him with the only explanation he would receive. John changed his line of questioning. “I’m worried about Nina and my family. How long have I been gone?”

Norman appeared to be thinking. “You’ve been gone four-months now, nearly more. Nina she doesn’t give up hope. She convinced your family to hold the funeral off for months. She believes in her heart you’re out there somewhere. She’s right you’re here.”

“I need to get back to her. Has my family had my funeral?”

“You’re funeral is tomorrow, Saturday. Nina doesn’t think your dead, she’s only attending out of respect for your family.”

“Your nephews, Sam and Eric, don’t know you’re gone yet. You should probably get back there soon if you don’t want to break too many hearts more then you already have.” Norman said thoughtfully.

“Ok how?”

“In time,” Norman said giving John another secretive smile. His brown eyes glimmered with knowledge. “You wanted to know about Jordan and the ring Talise put on him with her soul inside?”

“Yes, absolutely. How do I help Jordan get rid of the ring?” John asked desperate.

“You can’t help Jordan, John.” Norman replied. “The ring and Talise’s soul is Jordan’s path to travel down. Just as you’ve have your pathway and responsibility regarding Nina, now Talise is Jordan’s responsibility.”

“But why?” John argued, “Isn’t Talise dead and gone. She’s evil! Just because she did the right thing by me and Nina in the end, doesn’t mean she isn’t still malovelent, does it?”

“Her soul was still in Jordan’s ring last time I checked. Talise chose Jordan. In the end, she saw something in him, she never saw in you. It was something like what she found in Ethan. But closer to what you and Nina had in each other when you first met.” Norman explained.

“She’s not gone?” John said afraid.

“No John. But Talise isn’t a sea witch anymore. A mermaid yes, but with no magical abilities. She gave them up. Talise is redeemable.”

“Are you kidding me?” John yelled.

“Don’t worry about it. You can advise your brother with her but Talise is his problem in the end. Let it go.” John was incensed but a feeling of calm washed over him as he regarded Norman. How did Norman do that?

“Why do you want to go home John. Beyond your family and being with Nina, why do you think you should be alive?”

John gasped. “I didn’t expect that question. I . . . It’s not fair. Curses are supposed to work out if you break them. They shouldn’t end in death. Talise cursed me, she told me I would have to sacrifice myself for the woman I loved, and I did.”

Norman nodded, urging John to continue. “Nina helped me, she loves me.Together we broke my curse so terrible events would stop occurring around me each day.”

” I should get to be with Nina, raise a family with her, be with my parents and brothers, and grow my business. If I die, it’s not fair. The curse was a lie because spells which are broken end happily,” John argued vehemently.

Norman peered at John from his seat around the patio table, the sun was beginning to set.”That’s not real life John, you know that. What you believe is some Disney fairytale and real life isn’t Disney believe me, I know. Do you think there would be homeless men in a world where everything was fair?” John starred at Norman confused.

“It’s not about life being fair. Or curses having a happy result.”

John stared at his hands at loss for words. “What’s life about then?” He asked feeling angry and betrayed.

“I’m glad you asked,” Norman said, brown eyes gleaming.

Please Read Chapter 28 here.


 

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

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23. How Was Last Night For You: Rianne’s Mugged and Nina Disappears.


Please read Chapter 22 here.

Chapter 23:  Rianne’s Mugged and Nina  Disappears.

Rianne’s head ached badly, and so did her once broken arm. She had been lying on it for what felt like forever. The more Rianne tried to escape the tiredness that plagued her, the deeper she fell into nightmares

Rianne dreamed Nina had a fish tale. She dreamed Jasper and herself were visiting Nina on a beach. Nina kept the lower half of her body beneath the waves and refused to come any closer to shore. Behind Rianne, Jasper regarded Sam and Eric playing in the sand. They were building sand castles as Rianne had shown them how to do properly.

Sam and Eric adored Auntie Nina and wanted her to come play in the sand too, but Nina only smiled at John’s nephews sadly; she waved her hands at them blowing both boys air kisses which they pretended to catch with their hands. Rianne reached out for Nina but her hands only grasped lake water. Her best friend and childhood pal, swam away into the Sirene Lake, a mermaids tale flicking behind her.

Rianne recalled Nina had always stood up for her since the time they first met in primary school. Nina was the girl who despite being shorter and smaller, beat-up other girls for pushing Rianne around on the playground and calling Rianne names. Rianne had grown tall and sturdy, but not until high school when she began to workout and play basketball. Rianne had been nearly fifteen-years-old before she began to grow into maturity.

Rianne wrinkled her nose. It smelt like Chinese food in her dream, Chinese food that was stale. Something wet dripped on Rianne’s face and she abruptly awoke. A homeless man leaned over Rianne, his water bottle in hand. His weathered face showed concern.

“Lady, are you okay? Sorry about pouring water on you, but you looked passed-out and I didn’t know another way to wake you without involving the police. We’re you mugged? ”

Rianne gazed up at the man from the sidewalk where she lay on her bad arm. She forced her body into a more upright position and realized her savior could badly use some help of his own. His shoes had holes, his clothes dusty, ragged, and tattered.The man carried an old backpack and his face was covered with a straggly grey beard. Rianne tried to thank the man, but no words came out of her mouth. She was relieved this homeless man was no foe.

“There’s a bump, a red goose egg on your forehead. It looks as though someone knocked you out and robbed you.” The homeless man said to Rianne.

Rianne groaned and rose to her feet hanging onto the homeless man for balance. She felt dizzy but not all that bad considering the bump she saw on her forehead in her reflection on the glass of the Chinese food place. Rianne checked the time on her watch which hadn’t been stolen. It was early morning, around 1:00 am; how long had she been passed-out?

After a while, Rianne was able to walk without help leaning on the homelessman or the window of the Chinese restaurant. Rianne smiled at the man in gratitude.

“Thank you for waking me up and ensuring I’m alright,”  she told the homeless man with sincerity. Rianne’s voice sounded groggy. The man grinned, showing teeth that needed dental work she knew he couldn’t afford. “I wish I could give you something, some money for helping me, but my purse is gone. It’s lime colored, you would see it if it was here.” The man chuckled.

” Someone stole your purse when they knocked you out. I’ve seen it occur before. It happens to quite a few woman at night. Maybe buy a cheaper purse next time. I’m betting your purse was designer.” The homeless man said knowingly.

Then he looked at the bags of food  by Rianne’s feet and smiled. “Can I have your food?” Rianne looked at the man confused at first. “Your Chinese food, it’s probably still okay to eat. I felt the bag, it’s kind of warm yet.”

“Are you sure it might be dangerous to eat now?” Rianne asked the man. He smiled at her again.

” For me it’s fine, I’m used to eating food with recent expiration dates,” the homeless man said chuckling again. Rianne slowly, picked up the food with her good arm and gave it to the man. She was sorry that stale Chinese food was all she had to give.

“My watch,” Rianne said suddenly, “you could take it and pawn it. It’s worth a lot. I received it from my Mom for my twenty-first birthday?” She held out her precious watch to the man. He took it placed it in her hand and closed Rianne’s fingers around it, shaking his head. The man observed Rianne closely.

“Are you sure you’re feeling okay, Lady?” Rianne nodded slowly.

“I’m a tad dizzy and my head hurts but I’m alright. I need to get back to my friend. I told her I’d be back with food hours ago. She’ll be worried.”

The homeless man thanked Rianne for the food after Rianne had reassured him she didn’t need to go to a near by medical clinic.

Rianne thanked the man again, for caring enough to wake her up and they parted ways. She wished there was a way to help him more, to give the homeless man something better then old Chinese food. But he seemed happy and declined to give Rianne any information so she could find him again and give him money.


 

She walked as fast as she could, back to Nina’s condo building, passing The Manhattan which was full of people having a good time before last call.

Rianne didn’t have her key, but luckily a neighbour was coming out the door and recognized Rianne as Nina’s friend. Delighted to see her and asking Rianne about the bump on her head, the kindly woman waved Rianne through the condo door entrance.

Rianne rode the elevator up to Nina’s condo on the seventeenth floor. She had a sick feeling in her stomach, as if something was wrong. Not only had Rianne been mugged two blocks from Nina’s condo, but she had had a weird dream about Nina being a mermaid.

Rianne contemplated her dream, wondering why she remembered it with such clarity. The dream about Nina being a mermaid seemed awfully coincidental considering curses, magic, and sea witches had become real to Rianne in the past few months. She pondered if her dream was as John’s dreams, a premonition of what could be.

Rianne’s head was pounding out a study rhythm when she entered the condo. Nina’s front door had opened without Rianne having a key. Rianne prayed this meant Nina was home safe. Instead, when Rianne walked into the condo she could immediately tell the condo was empty; something wasn’t right.

A messy scrawled note from Nina read that Nina was staying at Heather’s tonight. Nina hated staying at Heather’s place. Heather was a nice lady, but lately, she had had a lot of male company. Company Nina more then a few times, had run into as they were half-naked. Heather would later tell Nina: ” Oh he’s no one.” But Nina had preferred not to stay over at her Mom’s after running into her Mothers various lovers.

All these thoughts sprang to Rianne’s mind in an instant. She needed to talk to Jasper but she didn’t think she had a phone. Nina had no landline, only her cell and Nina’s cell was in Rianne’s purse. Amazingly, Rianne found her own cell half-charged in her pocket. It’s lime leather cover matched her stolen purse.

Rianne sat down at Nina’s kitchen table. Her arms were suddenly wet, there was water all over Nina’s table from a water pitcher. But the pitcher wasn’t leaking so how did the water get there?

Rianne dialed Jasper on her phone; her head throbbed painfully.

” Jasper, sorry to wake you but it’s me. I was mugged on the street picking-up Chinese food for Nina and I. It should’ve taken me fifteen-minutes but someone knocked me out. I have this horrible bump on my head.They took my purse. When I arrived back to Nina’s condo, her door was unlocked and she isn’t here. Her condo is empty.” Rianne said as quickly as she could manage.

” Huh, what?”  Jasper said sleepily but concerned, “Are you okay? Do you need to go to a hospital? You could have a concussion you know. Did Nina leave a note? Maybe give her a call on her phone?”

“Her phone was in my purse Jasper. I took it away from her because she kept looking at her phone to see if John had answered her messages to him. I was so stupid. I shouldn’t have taken it from her.” Rianne said.

“And there was this note. It was really weird it was on the kitchen table which was sopping wet. There is water all over the table and that is unlike Nina to leave water all over her table. The water pitcher wasn’t even broken.” Rianne was getting tears in her eyes. She was usually self-contained.

” What did the note say Ri?” Jasper asked her gently.

“It said she was staying at her Mom’s tonight. But Nina hates staying at her Mom’s house. She would’ve told me if she was going to be sleeping there earlier. I called Heather’s cell but she’s not answering. I’ve left several messages. What if Talise has Nina? What if she took Nina away and wants to kill her like John said?” Rianne was full-out crying now.

“What do we Jasper?” Rianne said fatigued.”John is out at Talise’s cave and Nina is mysteriously gone from her condo. Somethings wrong Jasper.”

“Call Heather again right now,” Jasper ordered Rianne. “I’ll be over soon. Maybe, I can reach John on his phone. He should be back from the cave by now, depending how things went. I should’ve never let him go alone, but he insisted. . .”

“It’s not your fault Jasper. John’s headstrong, especially where Talise is concerned. I’ll try calling Heather again but I don’t think she’s picking up the phone. Maybe she’s out with one of her boyfriends? Come quick and bring ice for my head.” Jasper sighed. She could tell he was exasperated with the entire situation.

” A homeless guy woke me up in time Jasper.” Rianne said trying to stop him for worrying. ” I’ll be okay. It’s Nina I’m worried about.”

“Alright, stay there at Nina’s don’t move.” Jasper told Rianne. “I’ll buy you a new purse and we’ll figure out where Nina is…What did the homeless guy say? I hope Nina is safe, John’s going to kill me. ..”

” Hurry Jasper, don’t worry about the purse right now. I love you.” Rianne told Jasper, hanging up on him before she started to bawl. Rianne didn’t say anything to Jasper, but she knew she was the person supposed to be watching Nina for John. This was her fault, Rianne told herself sternly.

Her head hurt painfully. She got up from the table and took two Advil from Nina’s medicine cupboard. Rianne changed out of her sweater with wet sleeves from the pool of water on Nina’s table, before soaking up the water with paper towel.

Exhausted and frustrated that Jasper was taking so long getting to Nina’s Condo, Rianne lay on Nina’s soft suede couch. She drifted in and out of a sleep of nightmares, none as clear as the one she had when she was unconscious earlier. Rianne knew she shouldn’t be sleeping after being hit on her head so hard, but she couldn’t help it; she passed out.

Suddenly, Rianne awoke. She heard the door knob turn on Nina’s front door and it startled her. The room was dark except for a lamp Rianne had turned on earlier. She arose carefully, and went to meet Jasper at the condo door. He hugged Rianne hard when he saw her, towering over her and giving her security.

” Are you okay? You shouldn’t be sleeping with a bump like that on your head.” Jasper shouted at Rianne. She glimpsed past Jasper’s shoulder and was relieved to see he hadn’t come alone, he had brought Jordan with him.

“Thank God your both here,” Rianne said tears sliding down her freckled cheeks. “I’m worried about Nina, we need to find her. Did you hear from John, either of you?”

“I talked to him briefly,” Jordan said curtly. He was trying to not upset Rianne and she could tell.

“Sit down both of you,” she commanded, “are Sam and Eric alright?” Rianne asked Jasper, slamming the front door and sitting beside Jasper.

“Yep,” Jasper said his arm around Rianne as he gently felt the bump on her head and reached down to a grocery bag for an ice pack. The ice stung Rianne’s bump but after a minute or two her head felt better. Jasper continued:

“Mom is watching the boys. They’ll be okay. Super thrilled to have Grandma take them for swim lessons tomorrow. How are you feeling Ri? That bump is nasty. I want Mom to look at it tomorrow.” Jasper seemed to be stalling and Rianne who was usually calm began to panic. She looked at Jordan:

” What did John say? Does he know where Nina is? Is she with him?” Jordan looked uncomfortable but began to talk anyways.

“John’s phone wasn’t working too well. Too much water got in it. He ran into Talise on her piece of paradise. She tried to trap him in the cave, but he managed to steal her dagger. She took my boat to shore and she was coming after Nina. But um, John injured Talise when they fought for the dagger, it effected her magic; she’s not as strong as she was and her barrier trapping John in the cave broke. John had to swim to shore. . . he’s so afraid for Nina. Then, John’s phone went dead . . .” Jordan let out a breath.

Rianne’s eyes were as big as saucers. “No, Talise can’t have gotten to land so fast could she Jordan?”

Jordan swallowed afraid. “John was at the harbor when I called him. We need to go there, I think. If Talise has Nina, that’s the first place she’ll be. And we need to find John, he must be exhausted and freezing.”

” I agree,” Jasper said. His voice was firm and he looked angry as Rianne had never seen him before.

“Let’s go guys,” Rianne said, “Damn it, my keys were in my purse.”

“You hurt your head,” Jasper said tenderly, ” I’ll drive.”

All three of them ran down the stairs as it was faster then taking the elevator. They sped off in Jasper’s car towards the harbor, to the Sirene. All of them were afraid of what had become of John and Nina.

Please Read Chapter 24 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.