JUNE Update: As Life Flows, It Goes. #amwriting #update


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It feels as if it’s been a while since I have posted a personal update. I would think a month, then again, I start writing and get lost at times, not realizing for instance, how far along we are in June. I hope everyone is having a fantastic month and is  looking forward to July and August, our summer here in Canada and many other places.

As many of you know, How Was Last Night For You, my novel is finished in first draft. In second draft, I have edited until about Chapter 6, but you’ll want to note, the finished version, will probably have more chapters than the thirty-one chapters, the first draft has. When I start to realize I’m at three-thousand words or over, I consider splitting the chapter if it’s possible. It isn’t always, but sometimes it is, I only have to insure I hook the reader into the following chapter. I have connected chapter 1 to all chapters proceeding it in first draft. If you wish to read, you can start here: Chapter 1

At the moment, I’m letting my novel sit for a couple of weeks. I’ve read you’re supposed to leave it months, but I feel separation anxiety when I think of leaving my could-be book, for so long. As it is, some of the first few chapters were originally written more than a year or two ago anyways, so I think it is fine for me to go back and edit those chapters. By the time I get to the end chapters, I’m certain it will be late August or September, so I think I’m okay for editing as a whole.

Some issues I want to work on is developing my main character Nina. I feel as the central character, and main point-of-view for the novel, she is a bit flat as a character. I’ve been reading and researching, and would like to give her greater depth. I believe her lover John develops as the story goes on and has depth, so does my antagonist Talise or Tia. Talise has an interesting background, and so does John. Nina needs work though. She is a flirt right now who believes in the paranormal, and that things occur that can’t always be rationally explained. She also believes the best of people, this can be a flaw for her as well.

One blog I read said that we need to be careful we don’t create our characters after ourselves. They might share bits of us, as our so called “darlings,” or our “children” in a sense; it follow that they would. But there are all kinds of people in life and in stories and they need distinctive features and personality traits. This blog suggested, giving your main character a trait which is opposite of one of yours, this immediately makes them different than you. It makes you think about your character in a significantly changed way. So I’m pondering this advice, one reason for the editing break.

Another thing I have been considering a great deal is setting and how it impacts characters and the story. In my novel, I have set this story in Adare, a small fictional city outside Vancouver, BC , Canada. Adare’s down town has a harbor where there is the Sirene Lake. Many events happen at this harbor and in downtown Adare, as well as by or at John’s house, which is beach front property. Although, I have changed much of what I told into dialogue, this isn’t possible with everything. A descriptive setting is still important. 

Funny enough, a great writing blog I follow, posted an article today about working “showing” into your setting. It is exactly what I needed to read, having your setting represent a characters state of mind or mood. Or setting showing certain character attributes. The article is called: Setting – Why A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words. I recommend the article and following Kristen Lamb’s blog. She also holds online courses and I thinking about taking her course on character and plotting, I believe it would be quite helpful. 

On a sad note, I lost my beta reader for my novel, so I’m working on doing corrections on my own, as well as comments you all have left. My plan is to do my best, then higher an editor to look through the whole novel in a substantiative manner, and after those corrections I can decide whether I want to self-publish or start sending off query letters on the outside hope I can get an agent. That’s the plan, but one day at a time.

I have also been submitting smaller works to be published. I have had some success with poetry, but not so with fiction. I’m searching through literary magazines, and other websites etc. which publish writer’s work, jotting down what each place wants in terms of style, writing, and submission standards. I enjoy the rejection emails which give you ways to improve your writing the most. Either way, a rejection email means they at least read your work and considered it. Many places who don’t even consider your writing, don’t send any rejection email. You get nothing. 

Submitting is an ongoing process, and I hope eventually to have some fiction pieces published. As well, I’m beginning my work on a Masters Application. Haven’t started yet, in the thinking stage. I’ll let you know how it goes. Application at UBC isn’t open until late summer so I have a bit of time.

Also, I’m hoping to go on a small vacation somewhere. I’m not sure where, but somewhere in Canada. Probably go somewhere with my Mom or my eldest brother. But I’m trying ‘adulting,’ in some places, putting money away every month for RRSP’s and got some extra life insurance/accident insurance, so if something ever happened to me, my parents and brothers are covered for cost. I want to be out of debt and put more of my money away. It’s difficult in as all budget.

Happy to visit a friend on Whyte Avenue tomorrow, at a favourite newly renovated Cafe called Block 1912. Also, attending Shakespeare in the Park at an amphitheatre outside on Thursday, seeing Loves Labour Lost. I’ve never read this Shakespeare play so I’m excited to see it. What is more exciting than Shakespeare, is Shakespeare, good friends, and beer. 

Working on the weightloss, slowly, it’s coming. I wish it were easier, but it’s not. Birthday’s are coming up in July, which makes dieting difficult. But I try. 

Have a great week! 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

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.

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.

19. How Was Last Night For You: Talise’s Cave and John’s Nightmare


Please read Chapter 18 here.

Chapter 19: Talise’s Cave and John’s Nightmare.

John had borrowed a motor boat from his brother Jordan, who enjoyed taking the boat out fishing. He had considered asking Jordan to come with him, but he hadn’t wanted to risk his younger brother’s life. John had his sailing boat but it wasn’t inconspicuous enough for him to take out to Tia’s hallowed cave.

An immense moon hung in the night sky, as if it were a giant orb of white gold. John recalled the full moon when he had first meant Nina. He thought about Nina always, without meaning to think of her.

It had only been a week since John had last seen Nina, at his parents house,  and he missed Nina exceptionally. During her time healing from her concussion, John and Nina had been inseparable. John felt a sickening in his stomach when he recalled how he had left Nina, crying and begging him not to end their relationship.

But stronger than the misery John felt missing Nina, was the fear he perceived for Nina’s life. John had snapped when Nina was almost mowed down by a giant red pickup truck, surely Tia’s doing. He had taken the only action he could think of without exploding in rage, frustration, and  animosity concerning Tia; John left Nina hurting.

John had realized the best way for him to keep Nina safe from Tia, was for him to keep his distance from her. Especially since Tia was after Nina, and wanted her heart. Maybe now, Tia would take John’s heart. It wasn’t as if John had much of a heart left after being cursed to have horrific events occur around him for ten-years, and after letting Nina go.

On the way home from parents house,  John experienced a ‘feeling’ he hadn’t sensed it a while. A horrific event was about to occur. Two vehicles behind John’s Mercedes collided and were in a serious car accident. John had called 911 immediately and the Adare Fire Department had had to bring in the ‘jaws of life’ to cut a critically injured man out of his smashed white Corolla. John had given a witness statement and stopped to assist at the wreckage. He knew that he was the one whose curse was responsible for the severely injured people and their destroyed vehicles.

John’s curse had returned and the fact further enraged John, who was already in a dangerous  mood due to Nina’s near accident. He had gone home and worked the hell out of a punching bag and pulled out his favourite luxury vodka.

Nina was the most precious person to John, he loved her. He hadn’t admitted it to her but it was true. He knew it inside. John had asked Rianne and his family to keep on eye on Nina after his fight. Even if having his family in Nina’s life was weird when Nina and John weren’t speaking. Rianne was at Nina’s condo tonight while John was out, searching for Tia’s soul or the dagger that she carried.

Jordan’s motor boat puttered along the Sirene Lake, it wasn’t exceedingly noisy, so John had some stealth approaching Tia’s cave. The night was clear and the moonlight lit John’s path. He was guiding the boat along some stone edifices when he came to the hidden piece of white beach and cave, Tia’s sanctuary.

Tia and John had come here years ago, to make love and enjoy each other’s company. Tia had insisted John and her come here to relax and be together. Presently, in the chilly night air, the former haven of white sand seemed forbidding. John brought the motor boat as close to the beach as he could. He dropped anchor, stepping out into the freezing water, grazing his thighs. No matter, John had worn a black wetsuit for his mission.

John carried a flashlight with him, but he didn’t turn the flashlight on. He was waiting to see if Tia might be here. In the past, John knew, Tia slept in her cave. She didn’t seem to feel the cold as human’s did. She came to her secret place when she was angry or hurt, so there was a substantial chance, Tia was here.

He should stop calling her Tia, John thought. The young girl John knew as Tia no longer existed. Talise was the name of the seawitch, the horrible bitch who tried have Nina run down and had given Nina a serious concussion.

Warily, John tiptoed through the white sand in his bare feet, heading for Talise’s cave with the fantastic crystal mirror, Tia’s looking glass she called it. As he crept, John recalled the dreams he had been having of Talise lately. In these dreams he felt as if he was stuck in quicksand. He could not make his own body move. He had no control, as Talise dragged Nina out into the deepest part of the Sirene Lake where Nina was murdered.


 

” John, help me!” Nina screamed to John in his nightmare.” Why won’t you move? Talise is trying to drown me and I can’t get free. Talise’s magic has made her strong.”

In his nightmare, Talise would laugh maniacally at John, while forcing Nina into more treacherous depths.

” You can do nothing, John,” Talise would say, her voice gravely and low. “Nina your heart is mine! No one will find you in the middle of the Sirene Lake, no one can save you from my cursed dagger. Going through your heart, the dagger will be sharp and painful Nina. I will kill you slowly, to take your soul. The ritual requires me to do so. And I don’t mind at all . . .” Talise raged.

“It’s your fault Nina. You should’ve stayed far away from John. I warned you he was not for you. John’s mine. I merely wanted him to suffer before I came back to him. We are meant to be… but you changed fate. Now John loves you and I’ve been forced to bewitch him. John can only do what I order him to do — he has no free will. He’s going to watch from the shallow water, while I kill you and steal your soul.” In the nightmare, Talise was evil. She had become a depraved shadow of her former self.

John would try with all his might to move his body, to stop Talise. But always, the same event occurred in his dream. John regarded Talise in abhorrence and loathing as she stabbed his beloved through her heart. Talise took her time, drawing out Nina’s suffering. Tears flowed down John’s cheeks as Nina languished in agony, begging for Talise to kill her faster.

Then, the life would perceptibly flicker out of Nina’s pale blue eyes. John could always see this detail well. John would feel as if he was holding Nina as he cried witnessing deep red blood, Nina’s life force, seeping out of her body into the Sirene Lake.

Talise would chant an ancient language, while John wept with fury, experiencing a sharp pain in his own chest, at Nina’s death. Then a luminous glowing  orb would float above Nina’s body. Nina’s soul would arise and come to rest in a special container Talise held in her hand. John was traumatized. He could see the details of the container well. It was a clear, round, sphere, materialized of magic.

Talise would laugh maniacally watching John grieve. John remembered in his nightmare, the feeling of himself dying inside as Nina’s corpse, white and stiff , floated by Talise in the Sirene. John didn’t understand why his his nightmare felt so life-like.

Inside John experienced immense sorrow and rage against Talise. But he had no control over his free will. When Talise called for him to join her deeper in the Sirene Lake’s water, John obediently swam out to her. Talise gave John Nina’s soul, brilliant in the magic orb. In his nightmare he recalled thinking, it was his last piece of Nina. Talise smirked as John grasped the sphere and hid it in his pocket sadly.

John tred water in the Sirene Lake, while Talise appeared to float effortlessly. When Talise tried to kiss him, more tears leaked out of John’s eyes. He was crying for Nina and could not stop. But John didn’t make a sound as Talise demanded he kiss her. He did so with ardor, even though it wasn’t ardor he felt for Talise, only disgust and loathing.

John had woken every night that past week, since Nina was nearly hit by the red truck, sweating profusely with tears running down his stubbled cheeks. The nightmare drained John and he had a feeling, this dream could become reality if he did not stop Talise. Nina could die and John would be doomed to live a life, a slave to Talise’s desires. John involuntarily shivered.

Please Read Chapter 20 here.


 

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

February Ending: Where Things Are. . .


Written Friday Night…..

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http://www.pixebay.com
 
It’s a quiet Friday night. I am in bed at midnight. But like most nights I’m wide awake. This is useful for writing. But sometimes I feel half-way between sleep and awake. I’m not able to pay attention to write some of the longer pieces of fiction I’ve been working on through the past weeks when I’m like this, but I’m still awake and thinking.

From last weeks Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writer, a longer short story developed. I think it might be a fantastic story to use to work on getting some published pieces of fiction. It is a short story of around 10, 000 words but I can tweak it either way. I have done some research into submitting pieces such as short stories and poetry. Even the short stories seem to be quite a few thousand words. It is excellent because the Flash Fiction inspired story turned into a longer story then I anticipated. When I first sat down to write the original one-hundred-seventy-five word story, I didn’t see it becoming such a multifaceted, fascinating story. I’ve published all parts of Never Again on the blog now. Here’s Part 6 and you can work your way back from Part 6 to the original flash fiction piece as each part has a link to the piece before it.

As for, How Was Last Night For You, the novel I’ve been working on: the short story interfered with working on a couple of chapters for the novel this week. But I do plan to write up the next chapter(s) by this weekend. (SPOILER ALERT: If you’re not up to Chapter 18).For those of you who have been following along, John has broken up with Nina after she almost gets run over by a red truck. Nina and John have already overcome Nina receiving a concussion due to the sea witch Tia or Talise (John’s vengeful ex.). Nina is broken hearted John refuses to be with her to keep her safe, having admitted her love to John and his family, that night. Nina is still planning to help John break a curse Tia placed upon him — because she knows John loves her and is the only person who can help him break the curse, because of that love. John’s curse and Tia have been non-existent while Nina was healing but things are going to get ugly. Talise is coming for Nina to kill her to break John.John will stop at nothing to find Talise’s soul or her dagger (which Tia/Talise gave up her soul for) to use dark magic. But breaking up with Nina and going at Talise alone, isn’t John’s smartest idea and he will have to overcome obstacles to save Nina from Talise and himself from a lonely cursed life as Talise’s slave. So, more chapters coming soon. I’m on the fourth quarter of the book now, so it’s the home stretch. Check out Chapter 18: Defeating Talise and Breaking Nina’s Heart. You can also read the chapters before as their is a link back to the previous chapters. Thank you to those who give me reflective and constructive insight as I learn how to write a book as I go.

As for life, I’m keeping busy. When I am stressed, I have been doing yoga or adult colouring. I never believed colouring for adults would be therapeutic. I have a history in art. I did a few classes on drawing and Art History in University and took many art classes in high school. Convienantly, I received a Jamie Dornan colouring book from a friend and I have a lot of cool art supplies bought for rendering designs from my Residential Design Certificate courses. This colouring book has the bare minimum outlines of this actor so I’m having a lot of fun rendering Jamie with special paint brush markers. I bought a lot of colours and it was smart I did, they are especially useful for working on hair, eyes, and anything I want brightly coloured. 

As for Jamie’s face and some other smaller details, I have been using watercolour crayons. I never used these crayons before. But I love them now. They are great for rendering an actual portrait like face and you can use them waxy as a crayon or dip a water colour brush into a bit of water and make more of a wash of colour (s). The crayons are useful, making cheek bones stand out and making noses appear three-dimensional using lighter and darker colours. Drawing ontop of a wash is an ideal way to layer colour and build facial structure, but you can only add water and build waxy colour so much. Too much water colour crayon can ruin a picture. I’ve been attempting to remember back to high school art class and how to exactly make a face look more like an actual face, with dips, rises, and bone structure. My hands remember but sometimes it is getting my mind to follow along and remember the actual theory. Colouring has been surprisingly relaxing and it allows me to express a piece of myself I have been missing lately — my artistic side.

 

Jamie Dornan (Coloured by Amanda Eifert).
 
I also saw my wonderful friend J last weekend for a pre-valentines girl’s outing . We went to see How to Be Single. It was much better and different from what I expected from a Rebel Wilson movie. Her crazy antics are calmed by the lovely Dakota Johnson (Melonie Griffith’s daughter) whose acting is fantastic in the role. This is not only a chick flick, there is depth to this movie. Also, a clear message that it is okay to be single in whatever stage of being single you are in. As for Valentine’s no date this year and I was happy not having one. I got my Mom flowers deliveried and my Dad Cookies By George, they make the perfect gluten free macaroon cookies for him. Here is a picture of the flowers my Mom received. I love how bright they are.

Mom’s Flowers (Amanda Eifert)

If  you want to see an excellent chick-flick, sure you go see How to Be Single otherwise, I’m hearing great things about Deadpool. In other news, the weather has been gorgeous and I have loved being outside for twenty or thirty minutes each day. I don’t remember a Winter in Alberta where we haven’t experienced anything lower then about minus five or six degrees celsius. It’s wonderful being out in the middle of Winter and not freezing in deep snow and  minus thirty degrees celsius temperatures. Down east, in Canada, they haven’t had it as nice but here it’s gorgeous. Light jackets are all that is needed and even most of the snow has melted, except down by my house. (Knock on Wood though because I really don’t want any blizzardy weather).

 

How to be Single (IMdb.com)
 
My fitness goals have hit a wall. I can’t seem to keep my meals down to what Weight Watchers wants me to, which is about thirty-four points. I did it for a couple weeks and was down about six-pounds but back up again a few pounds. I’m eating around forty to fifty points. I’m fine in the day but night time is killing me. I go to sleep around 11:00 pm, or later if I’m writing, and before I can sleep I become so hungry I cannot sleep. So working on that and will be doing The RedBox in a couple-weeks. It is something my friend and many of her friends have done to help them lose weight but also to make them feel better all around from things such as allergies and back problems. I hope it works and helps me to sit at a healthier weight. Because I’m unable to do the cardiovascular exercise needed to lose weight I often need to look to supplements etc. I have tried many that didn’t work but I’m hoping the Red Box gives me some results and if not I get all my money back. I have seen some wonderful results from people in the Edmonton area so I’m excited.

Well, I will be posting some new novel chapters. I have a beauty blog I want to do on a few products and an article of skincare/shaving for men with some good drugstore options to help your guy have fantastic skin. I will continue working my way through different types of poetry and hopefully I can spend more time reading for a bit, so I have some actual progress to show on my PopSugar Reading list. Thanks and have a great week.

——

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

18. How Was Last Night For You: Defeating Talise and Breaking Nina’s Heart


Please read Chapter 17 here.

Chapter 18: Defeating Talise and Breaking Nina’s Heart.

“What do we do Dad?” John said, throwing his hands up in the air. “I feel trapped. Who knows if I can protect Nina still? I don’t think I can give her up. I can’t live alone with my curse when I know Nina and I have this possibility of a bright future together.” Jack nodded thoughtfully at what John said.

” Sea witches are an interesting kind of witch. Even the good ones harness a sort of grey magic, not light and dark as we assume. Sea witches know it takes both light and dark magic to harness the power of the wind, water, and the creatures within it. Tia as we saw, drew her power from the Sirene Lake when she cursed John initially. She also did this when she caused the storm that gave Nina her head injury. But, Tia can also draw power from items such as shells or driftwood, things that come from the sea.” Jack said to the rapt table listening.

” What I wonder about is the dagger John saw Tia with in his dream. I think that item has vital significance. If it can be used to hurt John or Nina, I’m quite sure it can be used to hurt Tia. She would need to consort with powerful dark witches to get a weapon such as the dagger. They’re has always been tales about mermaids and sea witches in the Sirene, as long as there has been an Adare. My Grandfather used to tell me some of them when I was small.” Jack mused.

” We need that dagger,” Jordan said pounding his fist on the table.

“But how?”Nina remarked. Robert leaned towards Nina.

“Well, I think an obvious first place to explore, is the true version of the little mermaid. The Brother’s Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson version. I recall a dagger in both versions of the story. The little mermaid is given a dagger by her sisters who sell their hair to the sea witch so the little mermaid can stab her beloved, the Prince, and become a mermaid again. They do this because the little mermaid only has a limited time to be with the prince, to make him fall in love with her, and the little mermaid is failing. ”

” There is also a specific story about a dagger in Adare folklore. A sea witch used a dagger to kill her husband and family, when she found out he had slept with another woman. This sea witch became the first sea witch in the Sirene lake to use dark magic, to not harness any magic of the light. They say this sea witch was so evil, she took sailors on ships mercilessly to their deaths and kept their souls in a jar so they could not go to heaven.”

“As even sea witches have limited lives, the sea witch passed the dagger down to a younger sea witch who practiced the black arts, and so on. I think this dagger is like the dagger in the little mermaid, powerful enough to kill someone you love but also the sea witch herself. The tale also says, there is a price for using dark magic. The sea witches own soul. Find Tia’s hide out, where she goes to feel safe. Find her soul and get the dagger from her. Or else she’ll be using it on you my son John, and your dear Nina.”
“That’s like looking for a needle in a haystack?” Nina said aghast. “But if the dagger is powerful it can kill Talise, she might keep it close to her…” Nina looked at John as he stared off into space, eyes glazed over.

“John” Edith said, “Are you okay?” John shook his head and his eyes returned to normal. ” I was only thinking, there was a cave Tia took me to a couple of times years ago. It was her favourite place. Inside there was this giant mirror made out of natural crystals. I think if I can find it, that is where Tia would be hiding something so important as her soul. Maybe, even the dagger itself.”


 

After, they had discussed Talise, conversation turned to lighter topics. John, Jasper, and Jordan talked about business matters with their Dad regarding Mergers. Nina, Rianne, and Carissa, told Edith more about themselves and how they met their respective Eric brother.

Edith seemed to warm up to Carissa more, when Carissa talked about wanting to be a stay at home when she settled down and have children. Carissa was an extremely pretty woman with her dark skin and almond brown eyes. Nina could see why Jordan would be attracted to such a vibrant girl.

Robert talked more about his work teaching at Adare University in English. He complained about how terrible the grammar of his students was becoming these days –both spoken and written. Edith laughed at him and talked about her job as a Pediatric nurse. It was clear she loved children.

Despite feeling under-dressed, Nina quickly forgot about her outfit and became immersed in conversation. Rianne and Nina caught up on what they had been doing with John and Jasper respectively.

” I really wanted to go out with all you guys and have a fun night out,” Nina told Rianne quietly. ” Not that this wasn’t fun and enlightening. We need to discover all we can about Talise, sea witches, and the dagger Jack talked about. However, a night out dancing is something we haven’t done in forever.” Nina said with excitement.” We could even do just a girl’s night.”

“Yeah, that would be fun.” Rianne agreed. “I get out sometimes with Jasper, but a lot of time we do stuff that includes his two sons, as it should be. You have to meet them sometime soon. They are the cutest boys. Definitely, typical little boys. But they are going to be great adults one day if their Dad is any indication.”

“Oh you like him so bad,” Nina told Rianne.

“Don’t I know it.” Rianne replied.


 

As they all left the Eric’s beautiful historic home around 1:oo am, Nina felt extremely supported by John’s family. She felt Edith and Jack’s approval both with Nina’s and John’s relationship, and dealing with Talise — a dangerous threat to Nina and John.

Nina wasn’t convinced finding Tia’s cave would help them find Tia’s soul or the dagger. She thought luring Talise out with the dagger, might work better. But Nina supposed it didn’t hurt to check Talise’s special cave first. Besides, what did a soul look like anyways? How would they know if they had Talise’s soul? Was it in a jar like the dark witch in Adare folklore did to those sailor’s souls?

On her way to John’s black car, Nina tripped in her periwinkle patent heels. One shoe went flying out into the street. Nina cursed under her breathe. John was busy talking to his Dad so he didn’t see Nina fall. Nina arose carefully, attempting to preserve some of her dignity in a short skirt.She brushed the still wet blades of grass from her outfit and she removed her other periwinkle heel and went out onto the street in her barefeet to retrieve her other shoe.

Before Nina could stand up straight, she heard John yelling. Jordan grabbed her hand and pulled her hard against him. Nina realized she had just missed being run over by a speeding huge red truck.

“Oh my God, John?” Nina yelled.

“I’ve got her,” Jordan said to John.

The windows of the red truck had been blacked out so no one on the Eric’s front drive saw who was inside the vehicle. There hadn’t been time to write down a license plate number.”Nina, Jordan” are you alright “Edith cried.

“Fine Mom, Jordan said waving at Edith and giving Carissa a quick thumbs up. Nina’s okay too, thank God,” Jordan replied with a worried look in his brown eyes.

John was at Nina’s side instantly, checking for injuries. Nina had escaped harm for the most part. She had only scraped her leg on the curb when Jordan pulled her away from the truck’s pathway. “John,” Nina asked, “was that a terrible event or was the Tia using her magic?”

John swallowed. His face was pale and he looked worse then Nina or Jordan whom had nearly been run-over. “I didn’t feel anything happening. It just happened. It had to be Tia using her dark magic. Unless, I can’t tell when horrific events occur anymore?” John sounded tired.

“John are you okay?” Nina asked, standing before John and placing her hands on his shoulders. John wouldn’t look at Nina. “I think,” he said quietly, ” I think we shouldn’t be together Nina. You keep getting hurt, or almost hurt because of me. I love you, I can’t risk you being killed because of me.”

” I love you too,” Nina said hugging John and kissing his cheek. But she didn’t feel him kissing or hugging her back. “It’s okay John, I’m fine. We’ll get through it John.”

John shook his head. “No Nina, I mean it. We’re over. Even if I suffer from the curse the rest of my life. I can’t stand the thought of you dead or hating me. Tia hates me, look what it did to her.”

“I’m not Tia,  John. I’m not going to start hating you because we have to work extra-hard to be content in life. I choose you and whatever we need to get through to be together.” Nina exclaimed fervently to John.

“No,” said John glum and emotionless. He turned to look at his parents and brothers who were speechless and then looked back at Nina.”We’re done Nina.I’m sorry. I should have let you go long before this. Before the farmer’s market.”

“John?” Nina said. Her voice sounded wobbly and and she was attempting not to cry. She put her hand on John’s arm to pull him back but John avoided Nina’s touch.

“Your letting Talise win John,” Jasper told his younger brother. John said nothing. He got into his Mercedes, and drove away leaving everyone standing in the Eric’s front drive.

Tears threatened Nina’s eyes and she felt numb. Rianne immediately hugged Nina and brushed the tears from the edges of Nina’s eyes with her thumb. John’s parents apologized to Nina profusely for their son’s reaction and said they would try to talk to him. Edith told Nina, she liked Nina and hoped that her and John would reconcile. Jack looked unsure about the situation.

“Maybe, it’s a blessing in disguise” Robert said.”Maybe, John needs to break the curse on his own and face off against Tia. Then, he can see Nina again, when it’s safe.”

“He needs me Jack,” Nina cried. ” I’m part of this whole crazy equation of a curse and events.” Jack looked at her with pity.

Jasper drove Nina home and Riane stayed with her that night. They said nothing as they got into Nina’s apartment. “I’m going to bed, Rianne.” Nina said hoarsely.

“It’s fine Nina. Go ahead do what you need to do. I’ll be here. I’m in the guest room if you need anything.”

“Okay, Thanks.” Nina replied.

Nina didn’t even bother taking her makeup off. She climbed into bed and tossed and turned in an exhausting sleep. She dreamed of sea witches and daggers. Nina was trying to get the dagger from Talise in her dreams, but Talise always ended up killing Nina. Talise would stab Nina in her in the heart with the dagger, while she laughed. John watched blankly, doing nothing to stop Talise. It was as if John wasn’t, even John. No matter how much Nina called for him to aid her, John did nothing. Repeatedly, Nina dreamed she was dying.

Please Read Chapter 19 here.


 

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

17. How Was Last Night For You: Family Dinner and Taking Down Talise


Please read Chapter 16 here.

Chapter 17: Family Dinner and Taking Down Talise

“John” Nina said. They were holding hands while he drove the Mercedes.

“Yeah beautiful?”

Nina bit her lip, “I thought we were going to The Hourglass for dinner with Rianne and your brothers. We’re not driving anywhere near the harbour. Otherwise, we would have been at the restaurant already. Where are we going?” John looked and Nina and she couldn’t tell what he was thinking about but he was looking at her thoughtfully.

“I like your hair like that,” John complimented Nina. “Oh, um, thanks hon. But you haven’t told me where we’re headed. We’re out in suburbs somewhere, I don’t recall the neighbourhoods we’ve been driving through.” John couldn’t help but smile.

“Well, you wanted to go out for dinner and to look for a way to stop Talise from hurting us. I thought the best place we could go for dinner was actually to my parents house.”

“Your parents?!” Nina squeaked. “Already?” John chuckled.

“Mom and Dad are great Nina and they’re interested in meeting both you and Rianne. It’s been over three months for us so I don’t think it’s too soon for you to meet them considering how I feel about you. Plus, you wanted to have us altogether to attempt to find someway to defeat Tia. My Dad is a Professor in English. He specializes in fairytales and folklore at Adare University. I thought with his background, he would be an incredible help to provide us with some information that could help us defeat Tia.”

“Oh I see,” Nina said. ” I still wish you’d told me before now thoug. I don’t appreciate you springing something like this on me. However, it makes sense that your Dad probably has a bunch of books on fairytales and knows the best places to look first for information on sea witches. Perhaps, there are stories about them from back in Adare’s history.”

“Exactly,” said John, “I also have a worrisome feeling that nothing terrible has happened around me in over three months Nina. The curse isn’t broken, it’s merely on hold. I think if something bad were to happen, it would be less likely to happen at my parents. I have always found their home to be a bit of a safety zone where the curse is concerned.” Nina nodded at John.

“Sounds fair, John. I still wish you’d told me we were going to your parents and not to a club after dinner. I would have worn something, um more appropriate.” John grinned.

“Your outfit is gorgeous, Nina. You always look good, even in my sweat pants with no makeup.” Nina blushed at the compliment.

“If you say so,” she said rubbing John’s stubbly cheek with the back of her hand. Nina looked dubiously down at her outfit. She had chosen a low cut black peplum top with a sweetheart neckline and tight dark jean skirt with a little flounce. Her legs were smooth and bare and accented by a pair of periwinkle blue patented leather four -inch heels. It was smart thinking on her part, bringing a black cardigan to wear over the peplum top, but the cardigan regretfully, didn’t button up and Nina felt exposed.

John parked his Mercedes in front of a large house with burgundy siding and a white wrap around porch. It had been raining again, as it did in Winter and pretty much any season in Adare. The ground was wet and Nina’s high heels aerated the lawn as she walked, sinking into the grass at many points. A paved driveway led up to the entrance of John’s parent’s stunning house. Unlike John’s modern house on the beach, his parent’s house was elegant and old surrounded by thick foliage around the yard. Their home was a throwback to Adare’s history and Victorian architecture.

John didn’t bother knocking on the front door, he turned the doorknob and walked inside. A sizable entrance area held a bench, closet, and coat hooks, in a warm interior.

“I grew up here,” John said smiling wistfully at Nina. “It feels like home, as soon as I walk in the front door.”

“I think it would be a lovely house to grow up in –judging from the outside. I enjoy the Victorian architecture. I can see your Mom and Dad put a great deal of work into preserving this house. What are your parent’s names again, John. My mind is a bit fuzzy?”Nina said. She was  admiring the walls half covered by wooden panelling and the dark wood floors, refinished until they gleamed. The walls were painted in beiges and sand coloures. The furniture was antique but not the veneered furniture that was available to much of the population of the latter 1800’s because it was made in factories. Nina observed the Eric’s wood furniture was truly wood, handmade, and beautifully restored.

Nina felt John watching her as she observed the entrance and hallway in the house he grew up in. John stepped close to Nina brushing her hand, reminding her of the strong connection they had together. John observed Nina’s wide-eyed stare as she looked at the beautiful details of the historic home and than back into John’s bright eyes.

John cleared his throat,”my Mom’s name is Edith and my Dad’s name is Jack. I think I told you about them before when I talked about growing up in Adare with Jasper and Jordan. Mom’s a nurse these days.”Nina nodded and took John’s hand, nervous to meet the family John spoke of fondly.

“John is that you?” A woman with a dark brunette bob and blond highlights stuck her head into the entrance. Nina could see the resemblance she had to John and all his brothers. John had his mother’s bright sapphire eyes and easy smile.

“Yeah Mom it’s John and I brought my girlfriend, Nina with me. I kind of sprung it on her actually.” Edith walked into the entryway and shook her head at John.

“Jonathan, you told her in your fancy sports car on the way over didn’t you? You didn’t mention the dinner to her a few days ago like I told you to, did you?” John sighed, appearing uncomfortable under his Mom’s disapproving gaze.

“No Mom, I forgot.But Nina is happy to come over here and meet you guys. I thought it would be a fantastic idea to have everyone together. Also, I wanted to talk to Dad about Tia and sea witches. Nina thought it was a good idea too.” John commented.

Nina looked at Edith who was giving her a once over. Again, Nina felt under-dressed in her bar outfit. Nina walked forward in her blue heels, stumbled over some other shoes on the floor and eventually held her hand out to Edith on steady feet. Edith smiled at Nina warmly and Nina instantly felt more comfortable.

“Nina,” Edith said, “I’m so happy to meet you. I have heard all about you from John and his brothers. They’re huge fans of you, you know. You have stuck around a long time. Longer than any  other girl John has been with, since the unfortunate event with Tia. John tells me he has been completely honest with you about Tia. I have to hand it to you, you are a loyal girl and handling the situation well. Especially considering you’ve been recovering from a concussion. Are you feeling okay now, dear?”

Nina held her hands together and smiled her best ‘like me’ smile at Edith, ” I have been doing great Mrs. Eric…”

“Call me Edith, everyone does.”

“Oh sorry,” Nina said. “I wanted to tell what a wonderful job your son has done taking care of me when I was injured. It’s been great getting to know him better and I hope we can come up with someway to break John’s curse and defeat Tia.”

“Jordan said Tia is out for blood,” Edith remarked. “She wants John’s heart or yours, Nina.” Edith waved a wooden spoon from the kitchen in aggravation, “that cold-hearted sea Bitch, she’s caused my son so much misery Nina. I hope you can help him break his curse. You’re the best chance he has ever had. He loves you.” John went still when his Mom said John loved Nina. Nina was absolutely positive John was in love with her and she felt the same way about him. But right now wasn’t the time for either of them to profess their love.

Edith hugged Nina hard before hugging John and patting his butt, as if John were a  boy. John made a face at his Mom and she smiled:

“Go find your brothers and father, John. They are in the library. Send Rianne back to have some wine with Nina and I. I could use some help setting the table and finishing up dinner in the kitchen.”

John went off to his Dad’s library, promising to give Nina a tour of his parent’s home later. Nina started chopping the ends off of baby carrots and cracking off the ends of the asparagus for a vegetable dish, made with butter and thyme.

Rianne hugged Nina when she came down to the kitchen. It had been a week or so since she’d seen Rianne.

“Nina you look so good! It’s been such a long time since we’ve had a chance to talk. You know, only you and I. This whole situation is out of this world. Are you okay? Has Tia tried anything again or has anyone else been affected by John’s curse?”

“Things have been so great Rianne. I see John all the time and life has been normal. The curse hasn’t been affecting John oddly enough. He always feels when something horrible is about to happen, but he hasn’t felt anything in over three months. We haven’t heard anything from Tai, thank God.”

Nina gabbed to Rianne who was working on whipping the mash potatoes, using her left hand as her right arm still ached. Edith came back from the wine cellar in the basement with a couple of bottles of red wine and began to pour them each a glass of Zinfandel.

Edith made a toast: to what’s good and right in this world. May the good times always overcome the darkness and the people who thrive in it.” The ladies clinked their wine glasses and Nina set the table, as Edith made finishing touches on her dinner talking to Nina and Rianne and causing them to laugh outloud.

When it came time to eat, Edith called her sons and her husband to the dining room. Carissa, Jordan’s girlfriend from the fundraiser at Mergers,  was present but Edith hadn’t called her to have wine and them with supper. Nina had the distinct feeling Edith disliked Carissa. Jasper received an elbow to the ribs from Rianne, however, when he asked Jordan:

” Oh so you’re still with Carissa? It’s been a long time. This guy usually last a month tops, Carissa.” Carissa glared at Jasper and Jordan shrugged. Carissa stomped on Jordan’s foot and he smiled and pulled her close to him by her small waist.

“Carissa’s a good friend,” Jordan said. Carissa looked like she might kill Jordan until Edith told everyone to calm down. Edith showed everyone where to sit and they all sat down and said grace holding hands.

Delicious food was passed around such as whipped mashed potatoes and turkey roast. They’re were a variety of cooked vegetables and a salad, plus, –perogies, cabbage rolls, and nalesniki. John’s Mom was half-Ukrainian, Nina learned. Everyone was silent while they enjoyed Edith’s delicious feast. As the woman began to finish their meals, having eaten less food than the men, Carissa who was not to be put down by Edith or Jasper, spoke:

“So, Nina and John. Jordan has filled me in on your problem with Talise. I saw her talking to Nina the night of the fundraiser. Do you really believe she’s a sea witch and that she cursed you John? Is she literally out to get Nina’s heart?”John looked stunned that Carissa knew so much and he glared at Jordan who shrugged.

“I’ve known Carissa as long as you’ve known Nina and Jasper has known Rianne, why shouldn’t she know?”

“Because” John said, ” you shouldn’t get her involved in this. It’s another person Tia could potentially hurt or I could if the curse returns.” Jordan swore under his breathe and John looked like he was going to punch him. Nina held John back.

“It’s fine guys. Maybe, Carissa will be a big help. The more support we have the better and if Carissa is involved with Jordan, she should know what’s going on because it’s pretty out there.” Nina said calmly and John shot her an annoyed look.

” I guess….” John said and Jordan confirmed Carissa’s questions and filled her in about Talise. Carissa laughed at first. She couldn’t quite believe what Jordan told her until she saw the scar beneath Nina’s hair still red and angry. Rianne showed Carissa her broken arm, scarred where the bone had broken through her skin. Carissa still wasn’t convinced by everything they all told her, but she agreed to keep what was said a secret to protect everyone involved.

——

“So Dad,” John said, “Part of the reason we organized dinner at home tonight was to get your opinion. Tia is a genuine sea witch and you know a lot about the folklore around Adare and about fairytales in general. We thought you might have some insight into our problem.”

Jack scratched his head and removed his glasses from his face. He was a handsome man for his age, with greying dark brown hair and chocolate brown eyes. Nina could see where John got some of his looks but thought he looked more like his Mom. Jasper resembled his father more and Jordan shared features from both his parents.

Jack looked at John and then curiously at Nina. “May I ask you young lady, why you have chosen to stay with my son. To date him and be with him after such an injury he tells me Tia “the sea witch,” caused. You could have been killed. Not to mention, the curse and John’s strange nightmare? I think these are all indicative signs you should stay away from him.”

“Oh….” Nina mumbled hurt, ” Why would I leave him. I love him. I’m in love with him.” Nina reached over and squeezed John’s hand. John appeared slightly stunned at Nina’s admission.

“I’m going to break this curse for John. I don’t know if you believe in love at first sight. But when I met John at the Martini bar under my condo building, I felt something I never felt before. Even though that first night, was scary and dangerous, it was worth it to be with John and meet him.” Edith smiled at Nina, the smile of a woman happy and pleased with her son’s choice in love. She took Nina’s hand (the one that wasn’t holding John’s hand) and squeezed it supportively.

” You’re too good to believe, Nina, that’s what Robert is saying,” Edith chimed in. “Curses are notoriously difficult to break, especially, by a sea witch who is harnessing black magic. Tia hates you dear, you’re in her way. You need to be strong in your love and in yourself, if you want to help John defeat Tia.” Jack nodded at his wife and a subtle smile passed his lips as if he was thankful for Edith’s insight.

“Indeed, Nina you are one part of the puzzle. But John needs to sacrifice himself for you. That’s what Tia said when she cursed him. That part of the curse worries our family. Can you two be together and John still remain alive? Not to mention, the dream John keeps having of Talise and her dagger. It has me extremely worried. Tia wants to destroy you and claim John. She’ll be after you at all costs.”

Please Read Chapter 18 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.

 

12. How Was Last Night For You: The Sea Witch Revealed.


 

Read Chapter 11 here.

Chapter 12: The Sea Witch Revealed.

Nina counted to ten in her head before telling Talise what she had already told her about John before; he wasn’t the same person he used to be.

” Talise,” Nina said, “people change. John is repentant for his past. He doesn’t use woman anymore. He has only dated women who want to date him and he likes, in the past few years.Some relationships aren’t meant to be. He loved and lost his first girlfriend when he was twenty-five. John said the wrong words, as he sometimes does. He lost Tia forever and she disappeared. But he has paid for his mistakes with Tia everyday of his life.” Nina smiled meaningfully at Talise. “John and I make each other happy Talise. Every person deserves to be happy at least some of their life. All humans make mistakes and suffer the consequences. Better to enjoy life while we are able.”

Talise laughed darkly.” You think you and John are meant to be? Malcolm tells me you’ve only known each other not even a week at best.”

” I’m taking my relationship with John day by day. Our relationship has blossomed quickly. It’s none of your business actually. I’ve told you way more then I should have, but I feel bad for you because your stuck at a place in your life which was obviously a difficult time for you. But I believe it would be best for you to move on.” Nina cautioned Talise.

“I feel something life changing with John. I have never felt like this for any guy I’ve dated before, even when the relationship lasted a year or more. John feels the same as I do for him, for me.”

Talise flushed in anger. She was frustrated with Nina and upset Nina was ignoring her heartfelt advice.” Just leave,” Talise shouted at Nina. The people around Nina looked at Talise curiously when she shouted. Talise’s eyes were a stormy green and she looked murderous.

Nina glanced at the large door of the warehouse which remained open when the weather wasn’t too cold at the market. She smelled the distinctive scent of rain before it began to drop outside. It was noisy and harsh against the warehouse made from metal sheeting.

Nina moved away from Talise and closer to the entrance to see outside. The sky was taking on a blackish- purple hue. The wind was blowing against the building with bursts of intense noise and outside a storm awoke. Hard pebbles of hail clanged against the warehouse of the market. A few men struggled to close the metal doors to keep out the wind, hail, and rain.

Nina searched for John amidst the dismayed crowd. She spotted John and he was yelling at Talise. ” Tia is that you?” he asked with surprise and distress. “After all these years? You’ve finally come back to see me? To ruin my life more!” John loathed Tia for what she had done to him. Living a life where everyday something dreadful or sad happened was harsh.

John was a meter away from Nina in the crowded market but she could see he was transfixed by Talise. He was staring at Talise with a mixture of emotions on his face, his hands gripping his hair. She could see the expressions on John’s face as he went through the emotions of regret, pain, anger, and abborance.

Talise sauntered around her table of scarves to John and whispered something in John’s ear. Her actions were flirtatious and she touched John as a lover who knew him well. Nina felt the first stings of jealousy beginning to threaten but John’s manner towards Tia was stone cold. John wasn’t about to forgive Tia for all the suffering he, his family, and old girlfriends had endured. John backed up from Tia with revulsion and he looked for Nina fearful for her safety. When he saw Nina he realized she had observed his reunion with Tia, short for Talise.

“Stay away from that woman Nina,” John said  rushing to Nina and sternly gripping her upper arms.”She’s a witch, a sea witch. I can’t believe it. After all this time . . .Tia is back, and you’re wearing one of her scarves!” John’s words were incensed and loud. He had to be loud to be heard over the storm battering the warehouse. John’s temper was making it difficult for him not to be irritated with Nina. The words flew out of Nina’s mouth as she tried to explain to John she was on his side.

” I didn’t know Talise was Tia. I meant her at the fundraiser yesterday. Talise told me she’s dating Malcolm,  an editor at Mergers. It’s her friends scarves and  she’s only filling in. I hope the vendor of the scarves booth is actually a friend. I hope Tia didn’t hurt the woman so she could be here to tell me to stop seeing you.” Nina said fervently.

“Tia keeps warning me away from you John. She told me bits about her relationship with you. She said you threw her away. I didn’t understand why I saw her at the fundraiser and here today, but I do now. If  Talise is Tia, she hates you John. Time has only made her deteste you more.”Nina was talking so fast she had hardly breathed.

“You saw her at the fundraiser?” John said horrified. ” I knew she was there. But whenever I tried to get a look at her she turned away. She’s trying to reach me through you. Please don’t speak or be with her again alone Nina. Never, she’s cunning and desperate.” John warned.

“She hates you John. But at the same time, I think she wants you back. She is jealous of me, I can tell.”

“Of course Tia is jealous,” John raged. “She only wants for me to suffer. To live without another woman’s love until I die. I’m not going to do that. You and I, we have something together. Leave Talise or Tia to her schemes.” John was passionate as he spoke. Nina glanced behind her to see the beautiful Talise waving at Nina with a smirk on her face. Talise was probably gloating because Nina hadn’t figured out she was John’s first love Tia. Nina had even told Talise about Talise’s own past. Tia disappeared eerily into the crowd.

“What did Tia say to you John, when she was whispering. I saw her talking to you?” John grimaced and looked at his feet. He started to talk but couldn’t complete his words. He tried again with a look of frustration and sorrow in his bright blue eyes:

“She says my heart or yours, Nina. I don’t know what she means yet, but I think Tia has a violent streak. She wants revenge and she wants me back. Errrr….last night I had a nightmare. Tia was in it and she said to me the same phrase she whispered to me a few moments ago.” Nina gasped.

“Why is she still so angry at you John. You’ve suffered so much. How can she be so malevolent? Does she literally want my heart out of my chest?”

John nodded grimacing. He held Nina in his arms and stood behind her. He kissed the crown of her head. “I won’t let her hurt you,” John murmured over and over again, soothing Nina and himself. The storm raged on outside.

Without warning, the roof of the aluminum warehouse started to lift with a powerful gust of wind. The wind was blowing produce, goods, booths, and tables around the inside of the warehouse. The people at the market were left to huddle low to the ground and attempt to avoid debris the wind had picked-up. Many people sported cuts, bruises, and even broken bones. Nina glanced at John as smaller objects streamed around them. John had been gripping a couple of their bags full of produce in his hands, his knuckles white with anger as they crouched on the floor.

Abruptly, the table of scarves blew over. Scarves fluttered everywhere like displaced butterflies and the table was caught in another giant gust of wind. Everyone caught in the warehouse crouched low, their hands shielding their faces. Nina dove with her bags to the ground with John, when they were almost hit by a former fruit booth.

Nina looked around her hoping the worst was over. With fear in her pale blue eyes, she observed the table from the scarves making a pathway right for her before she could think to move. The table bashed Nina in the side of her head and landed on the cement floor. Nina was stunned and felt blood oozing from an open wound. She felt a searing pain as she lay on the floor miserably, her hand trying to stop the bleeding in her blond hair.

The storm passed away as fast as it had arrived. The roof sat awkwardly half-back in place on walls of the warehouse. Nina lay on the floor beneath her bags including John’s apple pie. She tried not to cry and held her head as she sat up feeling nauseous and sick. She felt dizzy as she attempted to locate John. This time, he hadn’t been able to protect her. But Nina had a feeling this event was more a product of Tia’s rage and not a product of John’s curse.  Nina hurt everywhere and her eyes kept closing without her being able to stop them. Nina felt herself sliding back to the floor. She faded into unconsciousness.

Please Read Chapter 13 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.


 

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