Short Story Sunday: Circles

Circles

“The damn circles are back. My crops are gonna be ruined by it all. We’re already having a cold planting season, and now this, right before the harvest of our winter crops.”

Druce listened as Farmer Wyne told him about the return of the crop circles. As the local Warlock Druce had done all he could to help. Damn this was frustrating.

“I’m as distressed as you are Wyne. This is not good. Not good at all. Right now I’m brewing up some berry tea. We can get ourselves a cup and go take a look.”

The men walked out to the field about 100 feet from Druce’s cottage. He was surprised he didn’t hear anyone out in the field the night before. He took a sip of tea and surveyed the damage.

“Didn’t you hear anything?” Asked Wyne.

“I was in a deep sleep last night, lulled by the storm,” said Druce.

A large pattern of circles made by knocking over the tall grain had been made in the middle of Wyne’s field. It wasn’t the first time. A faint unpleasant smell came from the circles. Druce couldn’t place it.

He stood in the middle of the largest circle and closed his eyes, as he attempted to get a sense of it all. There were no spirits or demons present. There was no magic. There was nothing but a lingering unknown smell.

Later that afternoon Druce walked down to the beach and called out to his friend Morcant the Selkie. A large seal poked it’s head out of the water, then went under again. A few minutes later a man walked out of the surf carrying a seal skin.

Selkies are seals when they want to be and men when they need to be. They carry their seal skins with them so that nobody will steal them and trap them forever on dry land.

They talked of the crop circles but could come up with no answers. They did decide to roast some fish Morcant had caught and headed back to Druce’s cottage.

The two old friends spoke of a myriad of unexplained events that had happened since that idiot Wizard Merlin had moved into the old castle on the hill. It took a day or two to walk there but it Merlin was still too close as far as Druce was concerned.

Druce had once asked Merlin about crop circles, lights from the sky, and strangely dressed folks wandering around in the shadows. Merlin said the strange events must be because of fairies and their displeasure with the king, who was even more of an idiot than Merlin. Or, Merlin said, it could be that the old gods were angry at King Arthur for worshiping the new Christian god. Druce thought Merlin was full of shit and never asked him about it again.

After they finished their dinner of fish and nut cakes, and were cleaning up there was a soft knock on Druce’s door.

Standing in the drizzling rain was a man and a woman wrapped in heavy cloaks.

“Are you Merlin the Wizard?” asked the man in a strange accent.

Morcant laughed out loud.

“No, I am Druce, the Warlock. May I help you?”

“I told you Merlin was just a myth,” said the woman.

“Merlin lives down a way,” said Druce. “Do you know him?”

“No, not yet,” said the man.

“Well,” said Druce, “Merlin is a bit socially awkward and insecure. He might visit with your or he might hide and pretend he isn’t home. Have you come a long way? I sense that you have.”

“You’re a Warlock?” asked the woman. “What does that mean?”

“It means that I can tell that you’re not from around here. It also means that you should tell me your names and come in out of the rain. I sense you aren’t here to kill or rob us. I know you have weapons in your pockets but you aren’t comfortable using them. We won’t threaten you. I am Druce the Warlock, and this is my friend Morcant.”

The woman eyed Morcant involuntary. Of course she did. Silkies are unusually attractive and humans find it difficult to resist their charms.

“I’m Trinity, and this is my friend Ryan,” said the woman as they entered the house.

Druce and Morcant eyes the sturdy shoes and the fine weave of their clothing. They noticed the smell of flowers on the woman’s hair.

“So you’re here to see Merlin. I suppose you want to take a look at the Round Table and all of that as well?” said Morcant.

“You’ll be disappointed. They’re a rather unorganized lot. The King has a good public relations staff but it is really a disaster over at Camelot,” said Druce.

“The Camelot always stinks too. They never do maintainace on the moat like they’re supposed to,” said Morcant.

Trinity and Ryan looked disappointed. “This is unexpected,” said Trinity.

“And speaking of unexpected, do the two of you know what is causing the crop circles around here? You’re not behind it are you?” Said Druce.

“Why would you ask that?” said Ryan, as he shifted in his chair.

“I don’t know, you being time travelers and all. Seriously, we get your type all the time.  You come her wanting to see the glory of days gone by, the holy grail, magic, and maybe a bit of romance… wait, wait, hold on a minute. I have it figured out. Your time wagon, or machine, or whatever you call it is making those crop circles,” said Druce, now standing up.

“Whenever strangers like you show up with your odd accents and sturdy shoes show up our farmers complain of crop circles. Dude, you have to stop it. You’re ruining the harvest,” said Druce.

Of course Trinity and Ryan had no idea that their machine had caused the crop circles.  They did however stay the night and talk until the sun came up about their lives in the future. Trinity was a history professor at one of the great universities in her land. Ryan was something called a cultural anthropologist and a former Navy Seal. Being a seal himself, Morcant was fascinated with this fact and asked many questions. Ryan was even more fascinated with Mocant and the whole idea of Selkies.

The following week Druce leaned that Trinity and Ryan had indeed found their way to Camelot. King Arthur was down due to food poisoning. The place indeed was extremely stinky. There was no round table, just a big long table in a room full of shabby tapestries. One of the more interesting things were the displays of Roman relics left over from the past century.

They’d also met Merlin who was brooding and writing love poems to female spirits who just thought he was sad and weird.

Years, rather centuries later Druce would come across Ryan again. They’d run into each other at a museum. Druce, because he was a Warlock, was still alive. Ryan was in his own time – the time in which he and Trinity been born.

They caught up on their lives and exchanged their cell phone numbers.

Druce looked at a painting by the artist Wayne Thiebaud. It was of fields and orchards.  A river intersection. The painting was a favorite of Druce’s. He thought about the crop circles. It was fitting, as everything eventually circled around, be it truth or just a myth.

Suddenly he got an ear worm. Dead or Alive. Round round round. Odd after all these years how unexpected and utterly weird life was. It was also a comfort to know that a lot of things just never change.

~ end

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For more about Druce and Morcant click here.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Short Story Sunday: The Changeling (Happy Mother’s Day)

 

The Changeling

I’ll always remember what my preschool teacher said at lunch and snack times. “You get what you get and you don’tthrow a fit.” My parents lived by that. I’m surprised they didn’tboth tattoo it on theirforeheads.

Sometimes parents will notice their lovely happy babies will suddenly seem to change. Well they have changed. Your baby has been replaced by a crying, unhappy, grouchy, nasty, Goblin Changeling. Congratulations.

Sometimes the horrible Changelings are left to die on the doorsteps of churches, or locked in attics. Usually the real babies are brought back to their loving parents. Fairies and others help out. More often than not ransoms are paid. A mother might pay with her beauty. A father might pay with his strength. It could be anything depending on the mood of theGoblins.

In my case the Goblins dropped me into the home of someone who seemed oblivious to mynastiness. They actually kept me.

I spend my entire childhood treating my parents like crap and tormenting my little brother Trevor. My brother hated me, but he should have loved me. Without me Trevor would have been one of those sensitive pantywaist boys who allows people walk all over him. I made him tough. I made him stand up for himself. He should have thanked me forit.

I have no idea why my parents put up with me. The only reason I wasn’t expelled from every school I attended isbecause I always made straight A’s. Sure I caused a lot of tears but I kept the schoolyard in line. My minions kept close while Idoled out punishments fitting crimes of weakness. As for lies… I was the number one princess of lies, and adults never knew what was goingon.They believedme.

Sure there were more times I could count that I had my mom in tears, but hey, that is what you get for accepting a Goblin Changeling. She could have dumped me in foster care or sent me off to some farm of a distant relative. People suggested boarding schools, drugs and shock treatments. She just toldthem that they could never understand how I was different andunique in ways that nobody could ever understand.

At one time my parents sent me to counseling. I told Dr. Cray everything she wanted to hear. The good doctor said I was a well-adjusted and brilliant child. She said I was mature for my age hence others not understanding me. Boy did I have it pulled over her eyes.

Anyway, Trevor and I grew up and went out on our own. I met a few other Changelings and even married one.

We’re one of those successful power couples. He’s the CEO of a billion dollar tech company. I’m an attorney, the biggest asshole out there, and proud of it. Beauty and brains plus no morals what so ever. Justice for all.

As soon as I found out my future husband Blake was an over the top arrogant, self-centered SOB I fell in love with him. He loved me back as only a Goblin Changeling can love another Goblin Changeling.

I remember a day when a woman approached me. This should have been one of those turning points where I changed my heart and became a good person. I recognized her because I’d gone to school with her.

She said, “You were a bully. A mean horrible bully. You ruined lives.”

I just smiled and told her, “You should have learned from your bad experience. Instead you made the choice to be a loser.”

I’m like that. I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks. I don’t care if they said I mean to my parents and twice as horrible to my brother. Tell me something I don’t know.

So on Mother’s Day I showed up at my parents with my husband. The hubby joined my dad in the back at the grill. Trevor and his wife Emily were in the kitchen with my mom. I put the vase of yellow roses I’d brought for my mom down on breakfast nook table and gave my mother a rarekiss.

Trevor glared at me. Emily looked uncomfortable.

“I have good news Katie,” said my mom. “Trevor and Emily are going to have a baby.”

“How about that Trevor, you aren’t dickless after all. Well congratulations.”

“Why did you have to say that Katie? Why are you so horrible all the time?” Asked the lovely Emily.

“I’m just like that Em. Well dear family, I also have news. I’m pregnant too,” I said.

Trevor got right into my face. “You always have to try to upstage me Katie. I don’t care if you are having a baby. Your child will NEVER be allowed to be with mine. NEVER.”

I laughed out loud, a cold bitter laugh. “You know baby brother, if it wasn’t for me you’d never be with Emily. Why do you think all of those other bitch girlfriends of yours dumped you before you ended up with Em? I was looking out for you asshole. I was also the reason you have your dream job. So screw you Trevor. I hope your kid is uglyand stupid.”

My mom should have looked shocked, then again she was used to me saying horrible things to my brother Trevor. I was pissed and went into the living room. Mom followed.

She put her hand on my arm, then took it off as I tensed up. “Are you happy about your baby Katie?”

“Sure. It will be fun.” Then I looked into her blue eyes and suddenly I wanted to cry. I mean, like, my eyes started to sting and water up. “You’re amazing mom. Why in the world did you keep me?”

“My own baby had passed on. My little angel had never been right. She didn’t last more than a week. The Goblinshad scheduled a drop off not knowing there was no baby for them to take home. They just left you. Even Goblins don’t want their Changelings. What was your dad and I supposed to do?”

“Oh Mom, you knew?”

“Always.”

“So why’d you put up with me all these years?”

“Remember that horrible cat Billy we used to have?”

I remembered Billy. He was worse than I was. He’d hiss at everyone. He’d growl when you’d feed him. No act of kindness was rewarded. Billy was nuts. Damn, he was the Devil’s own cat.

My mom continued. “We kept Billy because if we’d given him up he would have died. Nobody else would have understood. He would have been put down. It was the same with you.”

“I loved that cat,” I told my mom.

“I know you did Katie,” said mymom.

She put her arm around my shoulder. “Let’s go back to the others Katie. Do me a favor sweetie. Try to be nice to Trevor. Just for today.”

“Sure. I love you mom.”

“Love you too Katie. More than you’ll ever know.”

I kissed her cheek. “When I’m a mom I want to be just like you.”

A hint of tears glistened in my mother’s eyes. That made me happy in a weird sort of uncomfortable way.

We joined the rest of the family around the grill, all smiles and making nice. All the while I was thinking of ways to torture my brother and get even on the rest of the universe.

Life is good. Well, at least it is for me.

 

~ end

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Shrine

Shrine

I remembered how Katrina Olson yelled out at Craig’s funeral, “I hope the Devil enjoyed his barbecue.”

Jeanee Kinley, Craig’s fiancé, started to howl like a cat in a car, tears pouring down her pretty face, as her nose grew redder and redder.

At that point a couple of big guys, maybe fraternity brothers, hauled Katrina out of the church.

I sat looking straight ahead at the casket, all covered with white flowers. I thought about Craig and the time we’d spent together. Part of me wanted to tell perfect Miss Jeanee Kinley that her Craig had never been faithful to her. I wanted to tell her about all of the women Craig had considered his conquests, even after they’d become engaged.

That was forty years ago. We were in our early twenties, ready to face the world with our hopes and dreams.

The casket was closed due to the unpleasant way Craig had died. He’d burned to death. His body was found in the passenger seat of his 1981 Corvette. A lighter was in one hand, a cigarette in another, the door was open, and a charred gas can was next to the driver’s side door. He’d gone up in flames but nobody knew how or why. The back of his skull had been cracked with a blunt object but not enough to kill him. There were also scratch marks on his shoulders. Since he was sitting against the seat his back was spared from the flames that engulfed the front side of his body and most of the car. His handsome face and lush chestnut brown hair had been completely burned off.

I can’t imagine a more horrible way to die.

On the floor driver side floor of the car a delicate silver chain with a tiny bird pendant was found. It had been broken, as if torn off of it’s wearer. Nobody knew who it had belonged to. Jeanee said it wasn’t hers. She’d been in Los Angeles with her mom at some spa. Craig had died in Northern California near the UC Davis campus.

That is where we’d all gone to college.

I thought about Craig and my college days as I drove along the backroads through tomato fields and almond orchards.

My bag was packed with everything needed to our get together. I brought the charcoal and beer. Fresh made brownies were in a bag, still warm from my oven.

When I arrived at the abandoned farm buildings off the side of the road I saw I wasn’t the first one there. Karen, Katrina, and Lydia had also shown up. Greta pulled up in her orange truck right behind me. Several other women waited around a fire this cool summer evening.

Nine women ranging in age from fifty eight to sixty four stood around the fire, building a shrine for Craig. Our friends Dan and Rick were there too, now with white hair, and no hair respectively.

Barbecue sauce, rib rub, garlic bread, lighter fluid, baked beans, and beer surrounded the fire. This was going to be good.

We all talked and caught up as we did every year at this time. We’d done well, despite our misspent youth. We’d grown up to be a college professor, an attorney, a retired Navy officer, a librarian, a museum curator, a high school principal, an antiques dealer, a furniture builder, and other professions that would have baffled us when we where in college.

Dan mentioned how Craig had just finished his first year of law school. Some of the women talked about their experiences with Craig. We all opened drinks, poured shots and glasses of wine and prepared for a toast.

Karen placed a photo of Craig on a holder, kind of on a long stick. Dan placed a model of a 81 Corvette down by the fire.

We lifted our glasses and bottles to a toast. “To Craig, law student, roommate, fellow student, and rapist.”

Then I lit the photograph on fire and we drank, and then had dinner. The Devil’s Barbecue and a fitting shrine for Craig.

I remember that night as I stood bloodied and torn as he laughed in my face just before he lit his cigarette.

My wrists burned from the twist ties he’d put on me so I couldn’t get away from him. Later that night I’d hit him in the head with a lamp, then in a panic agreed to drive him to the hospital. I poured gasoline all over the car and threatened to light a match so he wouldn’t attack and rape me again. Then out in the middle of the farmland I pulled over. I don’t know why, but I stopped. I’d walk home rather than get help for him. He could drive himself to the hospital. He got out of the car and lit a cigarette. I told him to stop. I told him to STOP. I told him to put his lighter away. I begged him. He laughed again and called me a whore as blood ran down my leg and I watched him burst into flames.

I never told anyone it was me. Not a soul.

I looked into the fire fingering my necklace; a small silver bird on a delicate chain, a replacement for the one I’d lost. The yearly shrine to Craig burned bright in the summer night as we all looked on knowing justice was served.

“I love you all,” I said as I looked into the faces of Craig’s victims and their friends.

“We love you too,” said Katrina. Then we did a big group hug. It was nice. Super nice.

Then we grilled some pork ribs, ate our salads and my brownies, and caught up. Most of us talked about our kids, our dogs, and just all sorts of good things about our lives.

Life is good. Yes, it is.

~ end

Tangled Tales

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Unicorns Don’t Care

Baby sitting a unicorn was one of Andy’s favorite activities.

“How can someone who is so sexist, amoral, and disgusting as James keep a unicorn? I thought unicorns only came to those who were pure of heart and body,” said Andy’s girlfriend Shawna.

“Darling,” he said, putting his arm around her waist, and pulling her close, “as with Vampires, there are many untrue myths about unicorns.” As he kissed her warm mouth with his cold one there was the sound of the door bell.

Andy opened his eyes and said to Shawna, “they’re here.”

James came in, followed by the lovely pale blue and white creature. It looked like a tiny horse, only more delicate, and she had a shining white horn coming out of the center of her forehead.

“Thanks so much for taking her last minute. I owe you one,” said James. Then he looked in Shawna’s direction. “Hello Shawna. You look lovely.”

James didn’t have to say anything to make Shawna feel like she needed a shower to get his creepy vibes to go away. She couldn’t be around James without feeling dirty. James knew it too and always took advantage of it.

The tiny unicorn leaned against James and made darling little purring noises. It was obvious the animal adored him. James rubbed it’s horn and baby talked to it for a bit, saying Daddy would be coming back soon.

Shawna wanted to roll her eyes but resisted. Even that show of cuteness couldn’t change her feelings towards James.

About thirty minutes later, as James left, he kissed Shawna on the cheek and asked, “Why don’t you like me Shawna? Is it because Andy is the only Vampire you love?”

She pulled away from his cold embrace. “The reason I don’t like you is because you make my skin crawl.”

“I can make your skin do a lot more than crawl my dear if you just let me…”

“Well,” said Andy. “Have a great trip James. We’ll take good care of Missy Unicorn here.”

“I know you will,” said James as he left with a grin and a wink.

Shawna stroked the tiny unicorn wondering how it could end up with James. “Andy, why does the unicorn put up with him?”

Andy laughed, “Because unicorns don’t care.”

Shawna knew better than to argue with a Vampire. She knew they didn’t care either.

~ end

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Dead or Alive – A Vampire Romance

I’ve started some new short stories, but life gets in the way so I’m offering up a romance you may have seen before, as the storm blows in on this Sunday afternoon.

Dead or Alive
A Vampire Romance

By Juliette Kings

“What a bunch of idiots,” Jamie said to himself as he watched a mob of men run down the road brandishing knives and guns they didn’t even know how to use. They wouldn’t dare use them. Well, maybe they would – that is why Jamie had to hide. Now he was all dressed up with no place to go.

Now what? Maybe a trip to his favorite opium den for an easy meal or a trip to Madam Rosanna’s for a drink with one of her girls. At least the girls were clean and pretty, but the rush of opium infused blood sounded good right now.

Jamie ended up back home to change his bloody shirt. He knew his housekeeper would be able to get the stains out but it still annoyed him.

As he grabbed a new shirt out of the wardrobe the smell of jasmine and roses gently made him smile. He turned around.

“Belinda. What a delight.” She was indeed a delight but he didn’t expect to see her, not here in his house, much less in his bedroom.

The delicious sight in a silk green dress smiled and sat on his bed. “Your housekeeper let me in. I don’t think she approves but then again…” she didn’t finish her sentence but just laughed.

James brushed his lips across hers then slid his fangs across the side of her neck. “She doesn’t approve of you because she doesn’t know you.” His mouth went to Belinda’s again.

“You taste like blood,” she whispered.

“You taste like death darling Belinda.” Jamie took her hand and pulled her up. “I’m getting dressed. Let’s go out.”

They passed into the darkness outside, arm in arm, laughing quietly at their private jokes.

Maybe they’d go to the whore house or the opium den. Maybe they’d go to a musical revue or drop by and see friends. Anything was possible. Together, Jamie and Belinda always had a way of making everything fun – at least fun for them.

They decided on the theater but stopped in front of one of the larger churches in the center of the city. A bride and groom happily rode in their carriage to start a new life together. The bride was dressed in innocent white. The groom was happy and handsome.

Jamie and Belinda stood, arm in arm, and looked upon the happy couple.

“That could have been us,” said Belinda.

“We don’t deserve that kind of happiness,” said Jamie, giving her hand a squeeze.

“Why not? We could get married. We could be happy Jamie.”

“Oh darling, you’d drive me crazy. I’d have to kill you.”

“I’m already dead. Well, sort of dead.”

And under the gaslights by the church Jamie kissed Belinda. “Dead or alive, I love you Belinda. I always have. I always will.”

A cold tear ran down Belinda’s cheek. Jamie led her into the empty church and up to the alter. “Belinda, will you love me and stay with me always?”

“Jamie, will you love me and stay with me always?”

“I suppose. Aren’t we supposed to talk about till death do us part?”

“I didn’t think about that,” said Jamie.

“You wouldn’t now James would you?” She called him by his proper name, the way she thought a wife would.

They left the church and headed back to Jamie’s place. Over a glass of wine they made uncomfortable small talk.

“Will you stay the night Belinda?” He had to ask.

“If you’ll have me. Oh Jamie, we’re so awful. We really are. There has to be more.”

He thought about it for about a second. “Not really. We are what we are. We are who we are.”

Then he took her hand and led her back up to his room.

In the morning the world came alive, but they continued their sleep, wrapped in each other’s cold dead arms, as alive as they knew how to be.

~ end

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Chloe’s Face

A new story to maybe give you the creepies, or make you feel all warm and fuzzy in a twisted romantic kind of way.

Tangled Tales

Chloe’s Face

 

“I wasn’t alone. It was at a party for God’s sake. You saw how many people were here.”

“You said you went to the beach before the tide came in.”

“It was coming in. I told the police officer, the first one to arrive there.”

“You don’t seem frightened or upset. Most women would be crying at the sight of all of those body parts.”

I looked him straight in the eye, “Detective, I don’t appreciate your condescending attitude. I’ve been spending the past hour comforting my friends over this. If you continue your misogynistic tone I will report you to your supervisors, and I’ll put it in my blog.”

“I didn’t intend it that way. Your eyes look yellow. Are you alright?”

Oh now he was concerned. I wanted to say sure my eyes are yellow, I’m a fucking goblin. My eyes always turn yellow when I’m angry or upset. But I didn’t tell him that. I took a deep breath and brought back the baby blues in their shining glory.

Sure I might look like a beautiful woman in a silvery silk evening gown, and I am, but deep down inside my blood runs green, and my soul is the color and texture of charcoal briquettes, and I was in no mood to be grilled by some SOB who was one step from a hard on.

This all started when I walked down a path to the beach, wine glass in hand, with a couple of extremely shallow women whom I found quite refreshing.  We’d take off our heels and started running, while we laughed all the way. Hey, if I can find kindred spirits I take advantage of it.

So we get to the beach, just as the sun starts to set, and the tide is just coming in for the night. Is it the pretty picture we expected? Absolutely not.

Jackie, a tall brunette with high cheekbones wearing a backless red dress, catches her breath and drops her wine glass, then backs up a few steps.

Mags, a short busty blonde in a fabulous blue jumpsuit, and I stop.

“What the fuck?” Mags says as she stops and stares.

“Don’t go any closer,” I said.

Jackie starts to whimper like a puppy. Mags downs the Martini she brought with her and gets an extreme grimace on her face. I picked up a stick and poked the thing. Of course it didn’t move. I looked closer.

“There aren’t any bones. His bones are completely gone.”

What we were looking at was the naked body of a man with no bones. He didn’t even have a skull.

Mags looked closer. “Is it real?”

I put out my arm to stop her from getting closer. “Yes,” I said. “It is absolutely real.”

Looking out to the beach and incoming waves I saw something just as interesting and unusual. The beach was covered in body parts. There must have been a hundred or more pieces of, well, people. This wasn’t like random shoes washing up with feet in them. I saw feet, legs, arms, torsos, organs, and faces. No skulls. Just faces.

I’m usually not at a loss for words but I had no words for this.

“Maybe there was a plane crash,” said Jackie.

I guess it could have been, but when I looked at the closest group of parts, an arm, what looked like a butt, and a face, they all looked like they’d been surgically removed. The edges were clean. The bone wasn’t fractured. Then I noticed the butt had a tag attached with a red ribbon threaded through a perfectly round little hole.

On a triangular laminated piece of parchment looking paper were the words,

 

You were a pillow

For her body

A place to sit

Pleasure for a man

To fondle

With desire and lust

A whore

Deserves more.

 

This was both fascinating and repulsive in a sexist nasty kinky kind of way. Hey, I’m a goblin, so I get a pass at not getting all sentimental about these things. I wouldn’t cut anyone’s butt off, but I’d love to know who did it and why. Seriously, what would motivate someone, a human, to do something like that? Or humans. One person couldn’t have dumped all of these parts on the beach in a matter of a few hours. I was out on the beach earlier in the day. I didn’t see anything but birds, a couple of shells, and some crab parts.

“It wasn’t a plane crash. We would have seen something, or heard about it on the news. I don’t know what this is.”

A couple of guys in suits came down the path from the party. They were laughing and yelling funny stuff at us. That didn’t last long.

They were horrified too. One of them called 911. Then the police showed up.

Before the authorities arrived I lifted up my dress and tied the hem in a knot just above my knees so I could walk around and take a better look.

About half of the body parts had the cleaver little labels with cryptic free verse or other weird descriptions. I have to admit the labels were pretty imaginative.

A male face, with fashionable stubble, laid face up, looking surprisingly handsome. You know, in a weird sad way that dead things look. I hear the Victorians were really into that kind of stuff, but back to now. His note got me thinking.

 

Those lips

Brushed against

Sun bronzed skin

Not mine

Never mine

Too

Bad

For

You

 

Were these revenge killings? I was trying to tie my brain around it. I was looking out over a hundred body parts. A man with no bones was dumped at the trailhead. One person, male or female couldn’t have done this alone.

I turned to see my four human friends huddled together about twenty feet from the boneless guy. I dropped my shoes, put down my wine glass, and took my phone out of my bra, then started to take photos of the tags.

The tag on a hand only had two words.

 

Poison Pen

 

On a heart and lung set was another romantic tag.

 

You took my heart

You took my breath away

So I shall do the same

To you

 

I’m a goblin so I don’t get too romantic, not even with other goblins. We’re not like that. We just laugh, and fuck a lot, and get all nasty with each other. We bond, but not in what you’d call a sweet way. I looked at that note and wondered what the hell had happened with that relationship. Had she cheated? Did she walk out for no reason? Was she a casting director who didn’t give some asshole actor a part he thought he deserved? Did someone not get into medical school and wanted revenge? It could have been anything. I wanted to know. I really really wanted to know.

Goblins, as a whole, cause a lot of grief. That is what we do. It is in our nature. That said, no goblin that I know would ever do anything like this. We definitely wouldn’t leave notes behind. We don’t exact revenge. We’re too self assured and confident to even think about revenge. Also, we might be different but we don’t do body parts. No way.

I looked down on a torso. It was the top half of a woman, from the shoulders down to the navel. She had a tattoo of a butterfly on her left shoulder. On the right breast was some sort of flower thing. The ink was beautifully done. She’d paid a lot for her ink. Gold rings pierced her nipples. The cuts were clean, and her organs were in tact. Her label was just as random as the others.

 

Lovely to

Look at

Lovely to hold

But it you break it

Consider yourself

Sold

 

Even I have to admit that was creepy.

A few days later, a couple of hours up the highway, I was sitting on the deck of my own beach house, wrapped in a blanket, and wondering about those body parts and the boneless man.

I heard someone come through the side gate. It was the detective I’d spoken to at the scene of the crime. I waved at him. He tripped and fell on the gravel pathway. I smiled. After all, I am a goblin and I can do all sorts of mean things if I want to, and I always want to.

He got up without me offering to help, then brushed off his clothing. He was one of those tall sort of ex-football player types who thought he was hot shit in high school and college, and never lets anyone forget. Fuck him.

I thought about telling him to have a seat and making the chair break but I decided against it. There was no need to make him remember me more than he had to. I didn’t offer him coffee or tea.

My tail involuntarily twitched. I adjusted myself in my seat and pulled my blanket closer, and quieted my backside appendage so he wouldn’t see it (I just like saying that, you know, backside appendage.)

“Ms. St. Marie, I couldn’t get you by phone. I have some more questions I need you to answer,” he said.

“Gloria. There is no need to be formal.” I said. “I already told you everything I know.”

He walked up the steps onto my deck and leaned against the rail. “Gloria. Do you have time to talk?”

“Does it look like I’m doing anything? Sure, it isn’t like you’re going to go away.”

My brain quickly ran through ways to make him cry. I tried not to smile.

“So,” I said, “Detective Howard. Or should I call you Ian? Why are you here?”

“What is your relationship with Anthony James Berkins?”

Well, that was out of the blue.

“We’re friends. Friends with benefits. Excellent benefits. Why are you asking about Tony? He’d never kill anyone. Sure he killed them with words, but he’s a gossip writer. Damn good at it too.”

“How about Chloe Elizabeth Anderson?”

“Chloe? I adore Chloe. We’re friends. Great friends.”

Chloe was such a bitch. She had a snarky comment about everything and everyone. The C in her name stood for more than just Chloe, and I loved her for it.

“Within three days after you and your friends found the body parts on the beach sixty people in California, Nevada, and Oregon were found dead in their homes. All were single. All of them were found with parts of their bodies missing. Only three were still alive.”

For one of the few times in my life I actually felt like I might have lost something precious. “Tony and Chloe. Are they dead?”

Ian Howard looked at me with almost a symphetic gaze. I wanted to make a gull fly by and crap on his head (and I can do that) but I just waited for him to say something.

“Your friend Tony is alive. His sister found him before he bled to death. That hand you found with the poison penlabel was his. He doesn’t remember anything about what happened.”

“Chloe? Is she alive?”

“No. Her heart, face, and breasts were taken.”

I said nothing, trying to process it all. I felt numb. I never feel numb. It was weird.

“Do you know if Chloe was involved with anyone?”

“Chloe was seeing everyone,” I said. “She’d never give her heart to anyone. Fuck. I didn’t mean to say that.” I really didn’t mean to say that.

The detective pulled up and chair and sat across from me. “Gloria, you always seem to show up when bad things happen.”

“What do you mean by bad things?”

“Accidents. People fall into pools and almost drown. Kitchens catch on fire. Car accidents happen near you. People trip and fall a lot when you’re around. You’ve also been at the discovery of three other murders.”

“That wasn’t my fault. How was I to know a dumb ass real estate agent was going to show me a house with a body in the living room?”

“I’m sure it wasn’t your fault when you found a body in the trunk of a car you rented. It also wasn’t your fault when you witnessed an arson fire where three bodies were found.”

“No, it wasn’t my fault. The other accidents were not my fault either. Shit happens. People are stupid.” Actually the accidents were my fault because I make shit happen. I’m a goblin. That’s what I do. But I had nothing to do with the murders. Goblins don’t kill, we just make people miserable.

“Do you know who would hurt Tony or Chloe?”

“No. Listen, Ian, I read the notes. I took pictures. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. It looks like the body parts, the removal of parts, was part of a revenge service. I know it sounds sick and twisted, and it is, but I can’t think of anything else. Sixty people. Holy shit. Poor Chloe. You said Tony will be OK?”

“He’ll recover, at least physically.”

We talked a bit more until I was too annoyed to take it anymore and asked Detective Ian Howard leave.

A year later he came back with some more questions. The case was never officially solved. I seduced him, but didn’t let him see my tail. Then I made sure he had a flat tire on the way home just for the fun of it.

I’m still trying to figure out how that one guy was deboned. His bones were found in his bed. If that isn’t weird I don’t know what is.

I still have drinks from time to time with Megs and Jackie. They’re still freaked out by the body part ordeal but neither one has lost her magic snark touch. I worry about them though. What if the killer is still out there. They’d be perfect targets the way they spread gossip and break hearts.

Tony and I are still friends with benefits. He has some very interesting and fun attachments he can click into where his hand used to be. We’ve spent hours trying to figure out who cut his hand off. We’ve come up with exactly nothing.

I still couldn’t walk on a beach without thinking about Chloe. Who cut off her face?

My friend Magnus, another goblin changling like me, had his theories about the killers.  It was obvious to us that the killers were hired to do what they did. From what I read on the notes all of the killings must have been revenge based.

A few nights before we found the body parts on the beach, before the owners of said parts were found, my friend Magnus had an interesting experience. Being a goblin, he didn’t think much of it due to the fact that he tends to be unpleasant to be around. The night was nice so he opened his windows and sat down to watch some mindless TV. He’d fixed his favorite snack of stir fry red crawler worms with sweet and sour sauce, with an ice cold beer, and just as he was ready to dig in he heard the sliding glass door that went out to his backyard open.

Like any goblin he turned and yelled, “Fuck you asshole.” The door slammed, and the two guys in his dark backyard were plummeted by flying garden tools, then drenched with motor oil he driained from an old car he was restoring.  By the time he got out on his porch the visitors had jumped the fence. The curious thing about the event was that on his porch he found a red ribbon. It was exactly like the red ribbons used to tie the notes onto the body parts found on the beach.

“I’m sure they would have been put off by my green blood, not to mention it would have burned their skin right down to the bone,” said Magnus.

“Only if you wanted it to burn them,” I said.

“Oh sweetie pie, you know I wanted to burn them. I always want to burn them. I know you do too,” he said with a wink.

“Do you think they were the murderers?”

“Of course I do,” said Magnus.

“Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier?”

He leaned back and gave me a big smile, his eyes glowing yellow green. “Because you never asked me.”

A few hours later I called Ian Howard and asked him what was on Chloe’s tag.

The detective seemed surprised I’d called. About an hour later he called me back with an answer.

 

Mirror Mirror

Blank and Cold

You’re beautiful face

Will never grow old

You don’t deserve

Your beauty

Or your cold unfeeling

Heart

I’m setting you free

And setting you apart.

 

Then he told me Chloe had been mutilated before she died. Even my twisted burned out soul couldn’t help but feel for her. I made a list of everyone I knew she’d been seeing or crossed. Nobody stood out as her killer, or the person who might have paid for her torture and death.

I called Ian and hold him about what Magnus had told me, omitting the part about Magnus being a goblin. Not that it mattered because Detective Ian Howard said, “The killers were stupid to go after a goblin. Not just because it is dangerous but because you regenerate damaged flesh.”

“Goblins? What are you talking about?”

“I know you and Magnus are goblins. I knew the first night I met you on the beach. We watch for your kind.”

Your kind?It sounded sort of racist to me, but it didn’t surprise me. So much for jumping through virtual fiery hoops to hide my tail.

“I pegged your for an asshole the first time I met you,” I said.

“Do you mind if I come over?”

I wanted to say something mean but just said, “whatever.”

The police never found out who killed Chloe and cut off Tony’s hand. They never figured out who hired them. Ian promised me that he’d never tell anyone I was a goblin. Later that night before he drifted off to sleep in my big comfortable bed I kissed him and thought of the note tied to the empty wrist of the boneless man.

 

Spineless

Unable to stand up

Betraying

My trust

And

Showing

Your true

Shape.

 

I heard a noise outside and went to check it out.

The next morning Ian took a cup of coffee out to the deck.

“Gloria, come out here,” he called.

In his hand he held a piece of paper and a note.

I looked at the paper.

 

Unholy union

Man and Demon

She seduces

He comes to her

Without hesitation

We will

Take

Them

Apart

 

“Look out on the beach Gloria,” Ian said.

The tide was coming in, washing away body parts. The cuts weren’t as clean as the previous case, but it looked pretty efficient. I could see a head rolling out with the last wave. I was fascinated with the way it moved.

“Do you know anything about this Gloria?”

“Let me refill your coffee for you,” I said giving him a kiss and taking his cup.

And you know what? We more or less lived happily after. Imagine that.

 

 

 

~ end

 

~ Juliette Kings / Marla Todd, ©March 2019