SLEEP

She bent down and gently kissed his forehead, then stepped across the plush carpeted floor and slipped on her Hushpuppies. I have to do this, she told herself. She picked up her hand luggage and stepped out the room. She paused at the doorway and looked back in. There she saw her life, evident in her bedroom, the comfort, the happiness, the wealth and all there. Her eyes shifted and found her husband. A wave of emotions rushed through her; gushing from her heart. He was everything to her: he gave her his love, filling her world with happiness.

Pictures of their lives together cascaded through her mind. The good, the bad, the love, the passion, the dreams…. Tears dripped down her pale, cold cheeks, unnoticed. Her body wept; her mind and soul cried.

Her husband stirred in their bed wrenching her back from her thoughts.

I have to go, now! It is better this way, better that he does not know, safer that he does not know, easier that he does not know.

Tears still falling she turned around and walked hastily down the flight of stairs; each step causing more heartache, taking her further away from her life.

The urge to turn and run straight back to her bedroom and her life; so strong; but she knew that they were close. She felt it.

They knew where she was. They would get her soon. She had to go, save herself, save her husband. They were after her, no one else needed to get hurt.

She turned the handle of the front door carefully and stepped out onto what was a familiar street. Today however it was strange and distant.

“Jack!” screamed Amy running down the hall of the art museum. Jack turned; horror gripped him as he saw Amy, his sister – in – law. She ran down the hall towards him, her red hair dancing wildly about her. Her face eclipsed by anxiety, looked scared, quite unlike its usual happy countenance.

“We tried calling,” she stammered as she reached him, “but your cell is off.”

“Amy, what’s wrong?”

“It’s Sarah, she’s at the hospital, it’s critical.”

“What… what’s wrong, what happened?” Somewhere inside he felt his heart plummet; fear and panic penetrated his peaceful world.

“I’ll explain on the way. Let’s go.” She grabbed his arm and hurried him out onto the street. They hopped into her Tazz, the engine hummed, tyres screeched as they raced to the hospital.

Jack sat uncomfortably in the passenger seat gripping the seat belt. Were it a normal day he would have chastised her for her characteristic horrific driving

“Amy, what exactly happened to Sarah?” Jack stuttered

“There was a robbery at the bank today,” rambled Amy fighting back her tears.

“Yes, but what does that have to do with Sarah?”

“She was at the bank today, Jack. The robbers panicked and opened fire, shooting at random. Sarah was hit, and the only other thing I know is that her condition is quite dicey.”

Jack numbed as the news pierced his ears forcing him to take cognizance of it.

How could this happen? This morning was so perfect. A bright morning, a wonderful breakfast in bed, everything seemed so right. Sarah shot. How could this happen? She’s such a wonderful, caring person. She’s always safe and careful; she never gets involved in trouble. She has such a huge heart. She was loved by so many. She has so much still to do and see in life. She’s so young. How could this be happening? How bad is it? Will she live?

Of course she’ll live, it is not her time. She’ll be fine, She will pull through in no time, I’m positive about it.

I hope it will all be okay. God, I hope she will be fine.

The red Tazz screeched to a halt with burning rubber at the entrance of the hospital. Jack jumped out. His neat, salt and pepper hair blew into his glasses, his Mont Blanc fell from the pocket of his tweed blazer as he bolted into the hospital foyer.

The street was quiet, peaceful, and clean; too clean, especially for that early in the morning. Where were all the neighbourswho were usually up and about at this part of the day? It was a lovely, sunny morning. She stopped for a while to bask in the warmth of the sunlight that glazed the world in gold.

Hold it, her mind enquired, wasn’t it just night? I am sure that when I left home it was night, and that was not such a long time ago.

The thought of home and everything that she had left behind her brought about fresh pain and sorrow.

Time changed unnoticed and although it looked like the street where she lived, Sarah knew that it was not. These thoughts played in her head for a while and then she thought, Obviously, everything seems different, that’s because I am different. My life is changing. I am walking away from what I know. I have to leave; I have to forget in an attempt to protect the ones I love.

That thought did not explain much, but it was the best that she could come up with and that was good enough for her, for now.

It was then that she noticed a little girl waving at her from across the street and almost telepathically, calling to her. She sauntered towards the girl who looked like a Botticelli cherub.

“Will you have some tea with us please?” asked the little girl.

Sarah smiled and followed her new friend to the backyard where a tea party awaited them.

“Sit please.” the girl gestured to an empty plastic stool as she removed a cup and saucer from the tea tray. She tipped over the teapot and filling their cups with the imaginary brew.

“My name is Angela. What’s your name?”

Jack sat at the side of his wife’s hospital bed clasping her hand. They always felt so soft and tiny in his. Her hands were cold. He wept, rubbing her hands to warm them in an attempt to keep her well.

“Wake up Sarah. Please baby wake up.”

He cried by her side for hours, family and friends came and left almost unnoticed. He sat vigil at her side, from the moment he got there. Eventually he fell asleep, his head on the edge of his wife’s bed. Sarah was a respected and loved pediatrician at the hospital and so Jack stayed with her all night, undisturbed by the visiting hours.

“What’s my name?” Again she was baffled. Surely she had a name. She knew she did yet what it was she did not remember. She felt lost, alone and estranged from this world and herself. It was right for her to be there, of that she was certain.

“Sarah”, the name whispered woefully from some distance. She shut her eyes for a while as she lifted her cup to her lips. Sarah, the name sounded right.

“My name is Sarah,” she said as she opened her eyes but the girl, her tea set, the backyard all vanished. Sarah stood alone on the quiet street once again.

She walked down the street of the alien world yet she was familiar with every rosebush, hedge, barking dog, traffic light, pothole and drunken vagabond. Despite the familiarity, something was definitely out off joint.

Coffee, that’s what I need. Sarah scanned the strange, familiar world and headed for ‘Pete’s Pot’, the local coffee shop.

The shop, usually a warm place, was a cold, sombre hole. Sarah sat at the counter and ordered a black filter coffee. Shortly someone sat next to her. Sarah faced the other person and discovered the little the girl from the garden, who smiled at her. Her doe eyes seemed no one colour in particular. They were not scary but brilliant with beauty and compassion. The girl looked right into Sarah’s eyes as if searching the depths of her soul.

“Who are you?” The little girl’s voice broke the silence, which lingered for eons as they stared into each other’s eyes.

“My name is Sa…,” she was about to give her name when she fell silent.

She knew this girl, not just from earlier that day, from somewhere in her past. Sarah sat dumbfounded as recognition dawned. The girl was her, or rather the spitting image of Sarah as a child. Her eyes were the only difference.

“But how…, who are you?’

The girl smiled, got up and left the shop as quietly as she had arrived

Jack stepped out of the hospital into the park adjacent to the parking lot. He sat on a bench and gazed at the water feature that stood at the centre. He was furious. He wanted to fight, to hammer someone or something. He settled for punching the bench, his tender, hand bruising easily.

“Jack, I just spoke to mum and we think you should go home and rest a while.” Amy seated herself on the bench trying very hard to project strength and optimism.

“How could He, it, do this? Sarah was a wonderful person.”

Jack looked to the sky crying out for some explanation and begging for his wife’s life. His pain and anger was as much a part of him as his hair, nose or teeth.

“Don’t take her away from me.”

Amy reached across and embraced her friend who buried his face in her shoulder. They sat there for a while holding each other offering the comfort, support and understanding that lives in the heart of friends.

Sarah ran down the road. She came to an abrupt halt. She was nowhere. There was absolutely nothing around her but a four-way crossing amongst vast emptiness. Sarah acknowledged that although she was running from ‘them’ she did not know whom ‘they’ were.

“Hello Sarah.”

Jolted by the sudden voice, Sarah almost screamed. The child from the coffee shop manifested before her.

“Who are you?”

“The question, Sarah, is who are you? And what or who are you running from?”

Sarah fumbled, how does one answer that question?

Who am I? Who is anybody? What kind of questions were these?

Am I my name, sex, race, religion, occupation? These are all irrelevant.

“I don’t know.” was the only reply she had.

“Who are you, and where are we?”

“I,” the girl replied, “I am you. You are me. We are nowhere yet we are everywhere.

We are, to some extent, the same being. In your mind, you ran away from home, hoping that “they” would not harm your husband but “they” would not harm either of you, besides they will get him eventually when the time is right.

There was no need to run. You were running from me and here we are. We would have found each other, it was, and always will be inevitable. Death is always the destination on the long journey of life.”

“Death!” gasped Sarah, “What’s going on. Please, none of this makes any sense.”

The girl’s expression grew intense. In her eyes was an ancient light.

“You are here and so you are dying. Your soul is no longer a part of the physical.

Death is not what you think it to be. What you see death as an end a perpetual deep sleep. Death is an awakening.”

“I’m sorry but I do not understand.”

“You have come to me like everything does. You are dying in the physical world for ‘dying’ is the name you have given to the process of the release. You believe death to be the end yet we exist indefinitely.”

“Are you death?” Sarah cried out frustrated.

The girl nodded, “I serve that purpose, but I am also life. I exist beyond life and death, beyond light and darkness.”

“What are you, God?”

“Yes, I am God. I am Krishna, Jehovah, Christ, Allah, Buddha or any of the other millions of names that have existed through time. I am also none of your Gods. What you associate with God is your understanding of the eternal energy. None of the forms associated with me is me. I am beyond name and identities, but all your prayers in all your tongues fall upon my ears.”

Sarah froze, absorbing the encounter and the revelation. Deep within she knew all this to be the truth.

“Sarah it is time for you to come home. Return to the eternal energy.

I give you this chance now, to go and say your last goodbye to the physical world.”

“How will I find you again?”

“You are apart of me. It is not a matter of finding. It’s about realizing and accepting.”

The girl rose like an angel to whisper into Sarah’s ear and dissolved into the emptiness.

Jack and Amy burst into the hospital room. Sarah looked around at her family and friends that had assembled into her room feigning smiles.

Jack sat at her side.

Sarah’s hoarse voice broke through her parched throat and chapped lips.

“Jack, I want to tell you something before it is too late.”

Jack leaned closer to spare her from straining her voice.

Sarah whispered her message, kissed his cheek and closed her eyes.

“I love you too, endlessly.”

Jack kissed his beloved wife one last time and caressed her cheek as his tears fell onto the sheets.

Days after Sarah’s funeral, Jack was back at the art museum. He dealt with Sarah’s death far better than expected. He stood in the centre of the museum, staring overhead at a replica of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. He grew tired off standing and decided to lie on the floor. He continued to stare at the painting; grinning insanely.

Amy discovered him half an hour later, laying there. She went everyday since Sarah’s death. She was surprised and concerned to see Jack uncharacteristically lying on the floor.

“Jack, you okay?”

“Amy! Hey! I’m great, just admiring the artwork. Amazing isn’t it? Man’s fear of death. Sarah was not afraid. Thanks to her, neither am I.”

Jack rose and linked his arm through Amy’s.

“Let’s go and get some tea, maybe even something to eat before we go through the ritual. You ask if I am okay. You offer your help and shoulder. Convey your mother’s love and receive my standard, ‘I’m fine, thank you’. We’ll hug and go our separate ways until tomorrow.”

Amy froze.

“I’m sorry Jack. I didn’t realise how pathetic and depressing I had become. It’s just; you seem so at ease with everything, which is quite unusual considering recent events. Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Everything is fine, don’t worry.” Jack hugged Amy and they continued their walk to the coffee-shop.

“Jack,” Amy starred uncomfortably in front of her as she spoke. “If you don’t mind me asking, what exactly did Sarah whisper into your ear before she died?”

Jack laughed, “Is nothing sacred? Well, if you must know, she told me she loved me. She told me never to doubt prayer. She left me with one final question to ponder on: do we live, and sleep occasionally or are we constantly asleep and just live briefly?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

He took her hands in his, as if she were a child, and looking into her eyes he said,

“Life is a dream and in living it we fulfill it.”

 

REDEMPTION

Michael and Gabriel stood in the hall of the St John’s maternity ward delivery room.

“Is this it then, the last of Father’s favourites?”

“Yes Gabriel, this is the last human soul to be born.” Michael leaned against the wall. His left leg bent with his foot against the wall, his right extended in front, and foot firmly on the floor.

“Then we are moments from the beginning.” Gabriel sat on one of three vacant chairs outside the delivery room.

“Hush!” Michael turned towards the door. He listened closely as the umbilical cord was severed. From the room came the first cries of a new born baby.

Gabriel rose from his seat. From his throat issued forth a high-pitched shriek that pierced through the sky in glowing brilliance.  Had there been anyone around to witness it they would have seen Gabriel yawn. But to Michael and others like him they heard a clear message.

“It has begun. We are at war.”

In that instant the world changed.  The air was filled with mixed smells: the aroma of frankincense and the stench of sulphur. Beams of light burst into existence all over the place but was balanced by pockets of thick black smoke in others.  In the maternity ward of St. Johns hospital stood two luminous beings their wings outstretched. One held a sword which appeared to be pure light while the other wielded a golden spear.

“What now Michael”? Gabriel relaxed his wings, his golden form naked and free of human disguise.

“Now we wait brother, it is only a matter of time before Lucifer shows his face and the battle begins in earnest.”

“Speak of the Devil, literally”. Gabriel gestured to the figure that appeared behind Michael who turned to face the newcomer, his sword at the ready.

A figure, very similar to the two outside the delivery room, approached from down the corridor. The newcomer was brighter  than the other two but crowning his head was a mane of jet black which matched his expansive wings. “Now, now brothers, there is no need for violence”.

Gabriel flared his wings in readiness to charge but he was halted by Michael.

“What are you up to Lucifer? I remind you, your lies and deceptions may work on humans but we see the truth.”

“Exactly brother. You know that I am being sincere. I am not here to fight with you. This war has set me free but not to challenge the Father but to bow before him as before and reclaim my place among my brothers, to fight by your side.”

Between the angels a black sludge appeared and boiled into a massive, foul smelling demon. Its body arched over like an ape, its talons dragging on the ground which melted away as if touched by acid. The demon moved towards Michael and opened its mouth. A ball of flame rolled limply out the demons mouth before it keeled over and died boiling back into non-existence. Lucifer retrieved his trident from the bubbling mass and held it forward in peace.

“An entertaining display Beelzebub, nice of you to sacrifice one of your pathetic hell-spawns for our benefit. Answer this though, if you speak the truth Satan, then what is there to fight against”?

“Gabriel, you are still so blind to the things around you. I was banished to hell and reined as part of my punishment but there are others who resided within my kingdom who were part of it, evil that has grown strong within the fires and who obeyed me begrudgingly.  The Father spoke through you as he always had Gabriel. He opened the gates that separate the realities. Heaven, Earth and Hell are now mere pieces on this massive chessboard.  I come to you as a brother behind me stands a king and his bitch that oppose the Father. I come to you as a brother to aid your fight in Our Father’s Name”.

“I do not sense deceit in you Lucifer but you didn’t earn the name Prince of lies for nothing. You may not rule over Hell any longer, you may have given up your rebellion against The Father but that just leaves you alone. Your fight is your own, but get in our way and you will once again meet my blade”.

“Fine brothers if that is the will of our Father I shall obey”.  Lucifer bowed his head to the archangels before him.”

“We must go, may the Father hear your prayers brother. Gabriel…” with that Michael withdrew into a ball of light and was gone.

“I give you nothing,” spat Gabriel, “but I will leave you with this, The Father is all merciful and all forgiving. It was not the Father that banished you. You were favoured, even before Michael you were closest to him”. Gabriel leaned in and whispered into Lucifer’s ear, “You were banished to Hell not by the Father but by those you call brothers.  So go back Devil and take your throne of darkness, give me a reason to end you.” Like Michael, Gabriel was gone.

“Father, Gabriel speaks the truth, I have always known this.” The Devil took to his knees and clasping his hands looked to the Heavens. “Father for so long I have waited to enter your house again for so long have I fought to bow at your feet.  Father I seek only your grace. For long have I suffered separation from you Father, please end my service. May I come home, Lord, Almighty God, The Father, My Father, and My Light.”

For a brief moment the universe went silent, even the air stood still.  A brilliant, illuminated beam shot through the heavens and penetrated the maternity ward of St. Johns hospital. Lucifer dropped his head back his arms becoming slack at his sides and tears escaped his angelic eyes as the light engulfed him and he disappeared. A feint whisper rushed through the universe, a simple statement, “Come home son.”

The Timepiece

Jeffery walked down the foyer.  If anyone bothered to look, they would have seen the tears scarring his otherwise reserved countenance.  His face earthbound, his hand feeling something in his pocket he proceeded to his car.  He turned the ignition and heard the hum of his Mercedes C Class engine for a while.  His composure regained, Jeffery sped out the car park of Whyte and Cross Attorneys.  He called out, “Office,” and waited as his mobile phone called his office.

“Listen Jenny, I don’t think I will be coming in today. No nothing is wrong just some personal stuff.  I don’t know make something up, tell them I met with an accident or I am sick.   Just make something up.”

He turned into his parking, number 315 and stopped. He walked down the quiet parking lot to the elevator that would carry him to his studio apartment. The world seemed strange, he never experience what daytime life was like at Time Square Heights.  It was quiet, due largely to the fact that all the professionals, the residents of the building, were out at work.   The elevator stopped on the ground floor. The signaling tone echoed down the hall as the doors slid open.  Jeffery got in and mechanically chose his floor.  Once inside his apartment he kicked of his shoes, loosened his tie and slumped down on his couch. He stared into space for a while then removed that which he carried in his pocket.

Tears welled up in his eyes as he focused his gaze on the pocket watch in his hand.

He was holding onto a gift from a total stranger, a gift from his father.

Time stood still in Jeffery’s world as the pocket watch ticked the seconds by.

The gentle drop of his tear on his hand broke his trance.  The surprise and loss that enshrouded him dissipated as raw anger gushed into his being.  He grabbed the phone and dialled the only person who would be able to help.

“Hello Nan!”

“I trust that you are well!”

“I am not at all well.  I have questions that only you can answer.”

“No, seriously Nan, I need the truth this time.  Not the truth that you and mom created for me but the actual truth as it happened.”

“No Nan, I am at home.  I found out things that made me sick.  How could mom do this?

How could you do this?”

“What I am talking about?  Nan, I just received an heirloom from my father.  My father, Nan, who died last month and not twenty-five years ago like you and mom made me believe.”

“Nan! Nan! Fuck! Fuck, Fuck, Fuck!

Jeffrey ripped the telephone from the wall and watched as it flew across the room crashing into the glass door, falling among the sharp shower of clear glass.

He picked up his fathers watch and his car keys and ran out of the apartment.

Jeffrey’s Grandmother’s house was a quaint little cottage in the centre of suburbia.

He parked off and waded through the neighbourhood children to get to the front door.

“Hello Jeffrey.”  His grandmother greeted him before he could wrap on the door.

“Hello Nan, why did you cut the call”!  He shouted.

“Jeffrey William Dalton, don’t you dare take that tone with me.  You not to old to get a spanking from your grandmother.”

“Are you really my Grandmother, or is that to just a part of the intricate novella that you and my mum have created.”

“That will be enough of that now.  Come, sit, I have prepared some tea.  We shall sit down and discuss this matter like civilised people.”  She closed the door and gestured Jeffrey into the dining room.

“Now Jeffery, about your father,” Nan took a bite from her tea soaked biscuit.

“Yes… your mother and I lied.  I her told to.”

“How could you?” Jeffrey screamed.

“I am sorry son but it is a very long story.” Nan stared passed Jeffery’s face to the past that existed behind him.  She dunked her biscuit into her tea, took a bite and then began her story.

“Your mother was a young and beautiful woman. She was intelligent too but then she met your father.  He was charming and quite handsome. You look like him, I suppose that it is a good thing your mother is dead, seeing you would have made her so sad.” Nan sipped her tea and shook her head.

“What happened between the two of them?”

“You never questioned the stories before, why the sudden interest”, for the first time since the conversation started, Nan sounded concerned and afraid.

Jeffrey removed the pocket watch from his pocket and laid it on the table. “This is why I am suddenly so curious grandmother.”

Nan picked up the pocket watch and examined it, “A remarkable timepiece for a real piece of work.”

“There as a letter also, a letter I have read.  My father has, in death communicated his version of the truth. My mother died making me believe her version.  I need you to set things straight so that when it is my time to die I can say that I know who I am.”

“But you are Jeffrey, you are a wonderful successful man and…”

“No! I am a lie. Please tell me the truth.  Forget about protecting me, forget about protecting my mother, forget about protecting your family pride and just tell me the truth please.”

“Oh Jeffrey, so dramatic.  I don’t know what you mean.  All I know is that what your mother told you.”

“You are lying, Nan.”

“Why would I lie dear? Besides Jeffrey I am an old women and my memory is failing I don’t remember much of what happened all those years ago.”

Nan turned her gaze to the window.  Though she looked in the general direction of the children playing outside she looked at something very different.  She searched the memories that she so long kept hidden.

“Nan.  I am still here, still waiting for answers.”

Nan stepped into the kitchen. The cupboard door creaked as she opened it and removed a box of cigarettes.

“It has been a while since I have had one of these, but it seems that the past is coming back to haunt me.  You are right Jeffrey; you are a big boy now and deserve to know the truth.  Can I pour you a drink?”

Jeffrey raised his eyebrows at his grandmother’s offer.

“Oh you’re not in high school, you can have a drink.  Besides I know you enjoyed a bottle or two even when you were in high school”, and with that Nan poured two double Jack Daniels and returned to the table.

“Okay, as I was saying.  You mother met your father and fell in love, or so she said. They looked happy together for most part.  They were happy, no one could deny that.” The ice tinkled in the glass as Nan sipped her brandy.

“Then why…” urged Jeffery.

“Be patient Jeffery, you did ask for the whole story.  Now you just have to let me tell it at my pace.  Your father is not the only secret that we have kept Jeff.  When your parents got married, they were the happiest couple alive.  Two years later your mother fell pregnant.”

“Don’t tell me that you lied about my age.”

“No, no, no, stop interrupting for God’s sake!  Your mother fell pregnant but things were complicated and your brother entered this world a corpse.

“What?”  Interjected Jeffery.

“Yes, Jeffrey before you your parents almost had another baby.  Your parents seemed to go on with their lives but something was lost and everyone knew it. They were a lot quieter around each other and quiet distant.  Your father drank a lot and rarely came home before dawn.  Your mother became bitter and angry at the world.  One day your mother woke and your father was gone.  All he took was this timepiece a wedding gift from your mother.

A week later, your mother found out she was pregnant, with you.  Oh damn it!” Nan dusted the fallen ash from the table clothe.  Resting the cigarette safely between her lips she fetched an ashtray from the kitchen.

“Did you never hear from my father again?”

“Your father returned after a year.  Where he went, what he did, we never bothered to ask.  He wanted to come back, he pleaded.  Too much had happened.  Your mother cried a lot but still asked him to leave.  She said that he had no more room to love someone who was not there for her through everything and could not risk waking one morning to learn that he had left again for whatever reason, more so she was not prepared for you to wake up and feel as if your father abandoned you.  Your mother asked that he never contact you or her ever again.  Your father was a coward but he as a good man.  He respected her wishes and left you both with a simple kiss goodbye.  Your mother kept him up to date with every aspect of your life.  He often contributed financially to your life but respected our wishes and never interfered.”

The children laughed outside, shouting as they played.  The occasional car was heard driving pass.  In my grandmother’s living-room there was only silence.  Absently I picked up Nan’s box of cigarettes.  I tapped the box twice against my palm before removing one.  I placed it in my mouth and carried the flame to it. We welcomed the feint sound of burning cigarettes.  It filled the room, voiceless communication that said, it was time to just let things set in.

When the trance ended I took in my reality.  The children were gone.  The sun had set and the moon smiled solemnly in the dark clear sky. The ice in my whiskey glass had long melted and was now at room temperature.  The box of cigarettes, my grandmother’s cigarettes lay half-empty on the table beside an capacity filled ashtray.

I looked up to my Nan.  Heaven knows how long she sat there just staring at me but from the moist streaks on her face, I gathered that she has been tearing.

“I am sorry my dear.”  The words seemed so strange, so vulgar, as it broke the silence.  It took me a moment to realise that the sound was actually intelligible.

On repeating the statement I was animated again.

“Nan, why and the merits of what you and my parents did is not for me to judge.  You did what you thought was right.  Am I upset?  Yes. Will I get over it?  In time.  Do I love you?  Always!  “Thank you, for finally being honest with me.” Jeffery picked up his watch kissed his grandmother on the cheek and walked to the door.

“Jeffery, where are you going?”

“I am going to find myself; I am going to start living again.  I am taking the advice of my father or maybe it was my mother, whoever I don’t know and it doesn’t matter.”

“What are you talking about, Jeffery?”

Jeffery tossed the pocket watch to his grandmother and left.  His grandmother turned the watch around and found an inscription on the back that read, “With time came Life, with Time comes Love and Time will one day bring death. Time waits for no man and no man should wait for Time. So live and Love by your heart and never know the sorrow of death.”

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VIRGIN BLOOD

I held her naked body in my arms. The blood trickled down my chin
as I chewed on the chunk of flesh I ripped from her slender neck.
The freshness of the blood was invigorating. Her recent sexual climax
made her blood all the more delicious. It’s a rare delicacy, virgin
blood. The lovely donor in my arms was not dead yet. Beneath her
succulent bosom her heart still thumped a slow rhythm. What a waste of
GOD’s work for such a wonderful body to be wrapped in the garb of a
holy nun. Seducing her was such sweet pleasure. I stalked her as she
left the mission hospital and walked down the street to the church.
I love the fact that people believe that vampires are heathens – afraid
of GOD and the symbols of God. She brandished her silver crucifix in
my face in an attempt to frighten me off. I smiled and took her
hand. I placed a kiss on her her and saw her blood rush through her
body. It wasn’t long before I ripped off her habit and ripped through
her virginity like an animal.

I looked again at her dead body, her heart thumped its final beat.
I sat there covered in her blood. With every climax one needs a few
moments to regain composure. My arousal appeased I covered her body
with her habit and melted into the shadows.

It was dark and snowing pretty hard out

It was dark and snowing pretty hard out and I wasn’t sure I could find
my way home. It took me a moment to realize that in my preoccupation
with my thoughts, what I thought was snow was in fact ash. There was
ash all over the place falling from the heavens. I searched for signs
of the blaze expecting to find a massive inferno, but there was
nothing. The events before this moment seemed to fade away. There was
a lot of ash and I needed to know where it was coming from, my
curiosity as usual did not permit me to just walk away. The empty
streets echoed with my footfall as I made my way through to the city
centre. As I crossed Main Street I passed the Old Catholic church on
the corner of Main and Cedar. The church lights were on and voices
penetrated through the walls. This was rather odd for a Friday
evening. I had given up on religion a long time before but I knew that
Friday congregation was odd and more so at that hour.
I stopped for a moment by the church entrance and gazed up at the
dying Christ suspended over the entrance to the church. I always
thought it strange that so much faith was put in the image of a dying
man. I turned to walk away when I saw her get out the car.

“Jane, what are you doing here?” I asked my wife as she carried our
baby towards the church.

“God, Sam, where have you been. Don’t you know what’s going on.”? My
wife replied the horror on her face quite evident.

“Look Jane, I am sorry about the affair and I just want to get back
home and make everything okay, if you…”

Jane halted just before the doors, just under the dying Christ.
“Sam, look around you. Have you noticed anything? Don’t beg for my
apologies and forgiveness. You want to be forgiven ask God.”

“Jane you know very well that I don’t believe in a God.”

“I pity you Sam. Maybe you should now. It’s raining ash, or have you
not noticed. It’s not just here either but all over the world.
Religious spokesmen across the globe believe this to be the end.
Scientists have nothing to say. The Day of Judgment is upon us Sam.
I pray that you find your faith and repent.” Jane wiped the tears from
her eyes and disappeared into the church.

I stood there, planted in the entrance path of the church. Despite
everything I put her through she was still prepared to pray for me. I
questioned her words. Was it the end of the world? Was judgment upon us?
The ashes cascaded around me. I looked to the heavens as bursts of
flame raped the sky.
Jane said I should repent. In order for me to do that I needed to
pray which required some belief in a celestial figure. These notions
were all blurred along time ago.

“How, how am I expected to believe. What am I expected to belief.
This is my prayer.” I stretched my arms out to the burning sky, “I
pray for belief. If this is the end grant me this, give me something
to believe in”.

Bird Poop

Sarah sat alone on the bench outside her beach-house. She stared at
the waves crashing against the rocks in the orgasm of nature. She put
down her wine flute and picked up her feet to rest them on the bench.
She hugged her knees as she sobbed.
The breeze danced with her grey hair that she had, for the first time
in years, left open. She stood up and scanned the property. She was
alone with no semblance of companionship. The bench she sat on moments
ago became her object of scrutiny.

“I am truly alone. Not even a splatter of bird poop to signify other
life in this heaven lost.” Sarah laughed. “Again the only person I
have to talk to is myself and even I don’t much like the conversation.”

She settled back on the bench tears welling up in her eyes again.
“All I want is a sign that I am not alone even if it is just bird
poop, let me not be alone!”