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.

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20. How Was Last Night For You: John’s Confrontation with Talise


Please read Chapter 19 here.

Chapter 20: John’s Confrontation with Talise.

John carefully crept along the beach to Talise’s cave, concealed by more stone edifices, until he reached the shrouded entrance. Thoughts of the past week’s nightmares were fresh in John’s mind. He shouldn’t have thought about his dreams. The fact that John’s nightmares could be a glimpse of reality, weighed heavy on his mind. However, John knew he was of no benefit to Nina or himself, trapped in the tendrils of his recent dreams.

John slowly crept into the cave. He couldn’t see anything and had no choice but to turn on his flashlight. He pushed buttons blindly with his thumb until a portion of the cave was revealed in a circle of light. John was relieved when there appeared to be no one in the cave. Talise wasn’t here tonight.

John circled the cave, tensely gripping the flashlight. He was searching for any unusual items Talise might have hidden in the cave. Perhaps a magic orb such as the one Nina’s soul was enclosed in, in John’s nightmare. But there was no sphere or dagger concealed in the cave. Not that John could see much in relative blackness, with only the small circular light of his flashlight.

Instantly, John felt his spine tingle in fear. He spotted a smoldering fire, recently extinguished by the caves entrance and he froze. A small arm encircled his body and cold lips kissed his neck. Heinous laughter filled John’s ears and the cave was cast in brilliant light, much stronger than the flashlight provided.

John turned around into blinding light to find Talise standing behind him. She had dark purple stains beneath her eyes and she seemed to have aged. There were strands of white throughout her blond mane; however, she still held a compelling and terrible beauty.

Talise looked up at John and smiled wickedly. John perceived that the old Tia, the girl he once knew, had disappeared. The seawitch that stood before him was someone else entirely. A dark and desperate creature.

“So you remembered where my cave was, did you John?” Talise asked. Her voice was harsh and gravelly; she snickered at John.”Why would you come here John?” Talise asked. “This is my place. My haven from the world. Why invade my personal space, unless you are looking for something…” Talise laughed again, a cruel sound.

” I was looking for you Talise,” John said raising his voice to be heard in the cave. “We need to settle this. You need to uncurse me. I’ve suffered as you wished for nearly ten-years Talise, isn’t that enough for you?” John pleaded with Talise. She simply smiled, an infuriating smile.

“No John, ten-years of suffering is only the beginning for you…” Talise said spitefully.

“I never meant to hurt you Tia,” John reasoned.”I was twenty-five-years-old and I’m not akin to a mermaid or a sea witch. I didn’t have years of experience behind me. I should have told my brothers, my family, how I actually felt about you. I loved you Tia. You were my first love.” John admitted.

“First love, eh?” Talise cackled, “but not your only love. You were never committed enough in our relationship John. You were too busy building Mergers. You never truly loved me; otherwise, we would’ve been married. Anything to do with ‘us,’ was never your main focus. You are worse then Ethan was…” Tia muttered, half to herself.

” Who’s Ethan?” John asked.

“In the Victorian Age, Ethan was my husband. We couldn’t have any children because I’m unable to have children. When Ethan died, my two nephews (who were as sons to us) told me Ethan had been having an affair with another woman, for many years of our marriage.” Talise said, tears brimming in her bloodshot eyes.

“They said….my nephews said, Ethan didn’t love his mistress. He only wanted a lineage, children who had his blood. He had eight children with his mistress bitch…I loved him more than I loved anyone. . .” Sorrow laced Talise’s voice.

“I couldn’t do anything to Ethan because he was dead, even his mistress was dead. I have a great deal of vengeance to wreak John. You will pay for your own sins, you will pay for Nina’s stupidity, and you will pay for Ethan’s affair because he isn’t alive to pay.” Talise shouted.

John was appalled by Talise’s hatred.” Nina or I, have no control or fault over what Ethan chose to do over one-hundred-years-ago. We weren’t alive then. Stay away from Nina, Talise. Touch her and you’ll regret it.” John grated and Talise cackled.

“I wanted you to be with me John. I was going to appear to you and tell you ten-years anguish under my curse was enough. You were supposed to take me back and love me again. I imagined we could have a life together. We could’ve adopted children, as Ethan and I adopted his nephews. But, Nina . . . she worked her way into your heart. You love her, I can see it in your eyes when you tell me to stay away from her.” Talise raged, perplexed.

” Because you love Nina, I’m going to stab her with this . . .” Talise said picking up a thin particularly, sharp dagger.” I received this dagger from a friend who was retiring,” Talise murmured smiling murderously.” Well, actually I killed her. She was an old seawitch, at the end of a terrible dark reign. It was my turn to embrace my darkness, to be the most feared seawitch in the Sirene. I traded my soul for this John, and you’ll never find my soul. It was taken from me by the dark powers that be.” Talise said a crazed laugh escaping her throat.

John looked at the dagger Talise held in her hand. It was tarnished silver with red jewels on the hilt, it looked dangerous. Talise grasped the dagger in her small hands, hands that had appeared to have aged too. There were tiny wrinkles and visible blue veins, on the skin of Talise’s hands. In the harsh light, John could see wrinkles around Talise’s eyes and mouth. Part of her youth was a price Talise had paid to become a demonic seawitch, John thought.

“Please,” John begged Talise.” I will do whatever you want Tia. Just leave Nina out of our feud. I should’ve kept away from her, I understand that now. But Talise, you and I can still be together. We can have a lifetime together such as you and Ethan had. I will always be faithful to you. I won’t hurt you like I did before, or like Ethan did.” John said softly, cajolingly. He watched as a tiny smile appear on Talise’s lips, bringing back an echo of her youthful glow. But then Talise opened her mouth and laughed, a crazed unstable sound.

“Nice try John,” Talise uttered darkly. “But it’s too late for our ‘happily ever after.’ I told you Nina’s heart or yours .  .  and you didn’t decide which heart you wanted to give-up. But I know you love Nina, so I know you cannot give me your heart freely. And it’s too late for me because I’ve made my choice. I’ve turned…dark and now I’m going to thrust this dagger through Nina’s heart, and I’m going to take her soul.” Talise said chillingly. She sounded disgustingly cheerful about her decision. “Don’t worry John I’ll be back for your heart. I have special plans for you…”

John’s mind raced back to the nightmares he had been thinking about before entering Talise’s secret cave. He had been right, to his horror, the nightmares were a forebodence to what could happen to Nina and John. John’s nightmare was coming true. He should’ve known before coming here, he knew his dreams could be premonitions of terrible events.

John watched Talise closely, waiting for a moment when he could attack her and steal the dagger. He pictured ramming the dagger through Talise’s demonic heart. At the same time, he felt a twinge of guilt. It made John sad to think about the girl, Tia. But now John had to think about the woman he loved forever. He chose Nina over Talise, he always would.

“I know your plans Tia because I have dreamt about them. You want to bewitch me so I have no free will. You want to force me to watch as you murder Nina.” John said, watching Talise and waiting for the right moment. Talise looked surprised at John’s admission.

“I’ve never given you any nightmares John, except for the one where I asked you to choose Nina’s heart or your own. Your dreams are a sign of your own guilt, your imagination running wild. You’re at fault for the position you and Nina are in. Now it’s too late.” Talise yelled turning to face the crystal mirror on the cave wall as it came to life like a television screen. To his amazement, John could see Nina, home at her condo. She was waving goodbye to Rianne. His body tensed, Nina wasn’t safe alone.

“Here John,” Talise said. ” You can watch me bewitch Nina in the looking glass.Watch me take Nina out to the Sirene and thrust my dagger through her heart. No one will find her body. I’ll bring you back her soul when I come to take your heart, to take your free will. Just as in your dream . . . I’m coming for Nina and there is nothing you can do to stop me John.”

Talise closed her clouded green eyes and began to chant a spell, holding the dagger between her hands, as if she were praying to the devil. John seized the moment to jump Talise and wrestle the dagger from her hands. Talise screamed as John fought her. As in his dreams, Talise was abnormally physically strong.

John’s hands grasped the hilt of the dagger after several minutes struggling. He finally, threw Talise to the ground. She had stopped chanting and was fighting John’s hold on the dagger in earnest on her knees. Talise grasped the edge of dagger’s hilt. But John’s grip was stronger, he was too determined to keep the dagger.

Talise’s eyes filled with loathing and fear as John thrust the dagger at her chest.Talise rolled away and  John stabbed Talise in the arm and stumbled. He watched dirty red blood flow from her wound. A filmy red mess stained the floor of the cave, visible in the bright light Talise had first cast.

“Arggg….” Talise shouted. She chanted words under her breath quickly. The wound healed slightly, but still bled. “I’m going to kill Nina,” Talise remarked coldly, her voice weaker. “I can still drown her, even if I can’t stab her heart or take her soul.” She cackled with glee.

Talise fled the cave and John tried to follow her, but an invisible magical force stopped him. Tia looked back at John and she smiled, an evil gleam in her dull green eyes. “This will hold you, John. The spell will last long enough for me to drown Nina.” Talise said darkly.

“Remember to watch the looking glass John, watch me kill the woman you love.” Then Talise was gone and John heard nothing but strange echoes in the cave until he heard the engine of the motor boat purring.

John swore and pushed against the magical shield, multiple times, and he couldn’t break through the magic. He had the dagger, but Talise would be at Nina’s condo soon. John had no phone signal in the cave and he wanted to kick himself for his own stupidity.

He shouldn’t have come here alone. John should have brought Jordan with him when he borrowed Jordan’s motor boat. John yelled helplessly, letting off some of his frustration. He turned around to punch the cave wall, and the looking glass crackled and shattered beneath his fist which had struck it dead centre.

John watched in awe as the crystal mirror splintered into hundreds of pieces. He saw the magic field at the cave entrance shimmering purple. To John’s surprise, he was able to dive out of the cave into the sand. His hand hurt awfully and was bleeding, cut in several places from the broken looking glass crystals.John didn’t have time to access and care for his wound. He needed to swim quickly if he had any hope of reaching Nina and hindering Talise’s threat.

In the back of his mind, John thought he might be able to finally break the curse and save Nina. He would sacrifice his life for Nina’s. It didn’t matter much to John if he survived, unless he could spend his life with her. His ray of hope, his favourite lazy Sunday afternoon with popcorn and Netflix.

What mattered most to John was Nina’s survival. There was a painful uneasy feeling in John’s stomach. It made him think he might already be too late. He concentrated on his hand which stung terribly as he swam in the Sirene, hoping to reach the shore fast.

Please Read Chapter 21 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.