Sunday Photo Fiction: A Sad Tale of Envy 


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.

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A Mixed Bag

———

They say there is nothing like the greeness of Ireland. Whoever said that, never saw Ashlen glare at her sister Cleona as she walked down the aisle with the man Ashlen loved.

Year after year, Cahban noticed a beautiful wavy red-haired girl attend every single rugby game he played; always alone. 

He had begun to wave to her a couple of years ago. She frequently waved back, beaming at him from her seat near field level.

 Cahban’s team mate and best mate from childhood, Eamon, told Cahban: “Go talk to the lass. She’s beautiful and only has eyes for you.”

So Cahban approached Ashlen before she left her seat after his next game.

“I’m not sure why you always sit here alone.” He said to Ashlen. “You’re beautiful and I’m only a sweaty rugby player. But maybe, you would like to go for a pint with me after I shower?” 

Ashlen was delighted. She had waited years for Cahban to finally talk to her. 

The couple dated two-years and were considering marriage when Cleona, Ashlen’s twin, finished university at Oxford and came home.

Although Ashlen and Cleona were twins, Cleona had a quality of mystery about her, men found fascinating. 

 Ashlen saw no physical difference between her and Cleona except Cleona’s straight hair. 

She didn’t understand why she hadn’t been gifted a quality similar to the allure Cleona possessed.

Ashlen knew the moment Cahban met Cleona, she had lost him. His blue eyes met Cleona’s and sparkled brighter. 

Envy and jealousy burned within Ashlen. She hated her twin, Cahban, and mostly herself; she felt she was inadequate having failed to win her true love. 

Ashlen had no choice but to be her sister’s maid of honour a year later, as Cleona became Cahban’s bride.

——-

They found Ashlen floating in the sea near her home, the following morning. She had jumped from a cliff so high, her body had broken before drowning.

Cleona despite happily married to Cahban, was never the same. She cried for her twin, Ashlen; the only person who made her complete.

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

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


Please read Chapter 21 here.

Chapter 22: Talise Bewitches Nina.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please Read Chapter 23 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

8. How Was Last Night For You: A Strange Woman


Read chapter 7 here.

Chapter 8: The Stranger and a Fire.

Nina sat beside John as representatives from both Habitat for Humanity and the Children’s Reading program from Mergers, both gave speeches thanking the company and it’s CEO’s  (Jasper, John, and Jordan) for holding this fundraiser. The crowd was assured the money raised by the Silent Auction and ticket sales, would be put to good use.

Dessert was a lavish affair. Tables were set up with tartes, cakes, pies, squares, cookies, and fruit. Many of the cakes and squares were chocolate. Nina looked from the Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes to the German Chocolate Cake. She wasn’t sure which dessert should join the fruit on her plate. She asked John’s opinion.

John patted her back and said to her: ” You have as much dessert as you like. Splurge and have both desserts if you want. Tonight doesn’t count.” Nina looked at John dubiously and shook her head.

“You’re not good for my waistline John.” He patted her tummy fondly in response.

“Okay, tonight and only tonight — I am going to have a Chocolate Ganache Cupcake and German Chocolate Cake. I wish the pieces were smaller.” Nina muttered and filled her plate. John filled his plate with a few desserts and they went back to their table.

While John was in a discussion with a Board Member about one of the well known authors Mergers worked with, Nina devoured her fruit and both chocolate desserts. She felt full afterwards. Then Nina felt guilty because Rianne was at the Medicenter having her broken arm x-rayed, while Nina could eat all the chocolate she dreamed of. At least Rianne was with Jasper.

Nina wondered if anything permanent would happen with Jasper and Rianne. Rianne found few men who could appreciate her drive to have her  company someday. Jasper also had two little boys. Rianne had never wanted kids. She had grown up an only child and didn’t mind being alone. Nina had seen pictures of Jasper’s sons though and they were  adorable.

Nina blinked and looked up to see John staring at her. “You ate all the chocolate?” John said. “I didn’t even get one bite.”

“You had your own,” Nina told John. “My relationship with chocolate is separate from you and I.”

John smiled,”I’ll try to remember that,” he said and wiped a bit of chocolate off her cheek then he grimaced. “Nina” he said quietly, “you’ve got some chocolate icing on your dress.” Nina frowned as John pointed to the icing on the middle of her chest.

“Damn, it’s a new dress too. I better go to the washroom and see if I can clean some of the chocolate out and make it less noticeable.”

John grinned widely.” It makes me notice a very noticeable place. I don’t mind having my eyes drawn there.” Nina looked at him aghast.

“It looks horrible! I hope it comes out.”

” You are beautiful Nina. Despite everything I’ve told you and that has happened, you’re here with me tonight. You even got my brother Jasper interested in a woman again. Rianne’s a first since his wife died. You’re amazing.”

Nina smiled and catching John’s hand before she left, went to remove the chocolate stain off her dress. She was falling for John hard and fast. It was no wonder so many women had slept with him if this is how he treated them when they were together. But maybe, Nina was special to John and he was her John, just as he had called her his Nina.

Dubiously, Nina looked at her dress. Maybe a bit of soap and water would help her. She would try a wet wipe first.

In the Lady’s washroom were charming details of eighteenth-century decor. Nina headed for the twenty-first century sinks and ran straight into a young woman with funky jade coloured glasses’ frames.

The young woman was taller than Nina but had the same white blond hair. The  young woman’s hair was wavy. Big jewel green eyes stared back at Nina from a pretty face. The young woman cleared her throat and waited for Nina to move out of her way. Nina looked at the young woman again. She couldn’t recall if she’d seen her before but she seemed a bit familiar. The young woman had money it was clear. She was dressed in a silky blue-green ombré dress which swept the floor. Definitely a couture piece.

“I’m so sorry.” Nina said moving out the woman’s way, “I got chocolate on my dress and I’m trying to get it off before anyone else notices the big stain on my chest.”

The woman smiled. Her voice was youthful and melodic. “Oh it’s no problem, hon. I’ve had my share of beauty mishaps too. Try not to make the stain any bigger or it will really show up. Such a shame your dress looks fab on you. I hope it doesn’t stain for good, you’ll have to dry clean it tomorrow.”

Nina removed a wet wipe from her purse and began to work the chocolate stain from her hot pink dress. “Yeah, I will have to dry clean it for sure. This icing must have been loaded with cocoa it’s not coming out well. Oh, and thanks for the compliment I love your dress, especially the ombré.”

The woman smiled girlishly.” Everyone says I look good in this colour. Malcolm my boyfriend says I look hot and sophisticated.”

“You can’t be more then twenty-five. I should think.” Nina said making the woman laugh.

“I’m twenty-three-years old, although people often think I’m older. I must look wise. Would you like me to help you get that stain out?”

Nina who was bent over the sink smiled. “That would be awesome. Nothing I do seems to work.” The young woman rubbed at the stain and murmured something under her breath. Nina looked down and the chocolate stain was gone.”How did you do that?”

The woman smiled. “It’s my secret. My Grandmother taught me how to battle laundry stains. Let’s say with a little magic anything can be done.”

Nina thought what the young woman said was terribly funny considering John’s situation. She was half ready to get the woman to use her magic to reverse John’s curse.

Nina and the woman left the washroom together. Nina put a hand out when the young woman started to walk away, “Do I know you from somewhere? Do you work for a company that deals with Wilus Accounting or are you in Marketing? Maybe you know the guy I’m seeing, John Eric. He’s a CEO of Mergers.” The young woman’s face went pale.

Please Read Chapter 9 here.


 

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.