From Jazz to Tango

crashing airliner

The dance lessons were not working. First of all, he hated to dance. Of all the things he was good at, dancing wasn’t one of them, in spite of the fact that he was at least adequate at several sports.

Secondly, she hadn’t noticed him. Hardly surprising since he was one of the worst students in their jazz dance class. He only joined so he could observe her without arousing suspicion, but he needed to get closer, and that meant interacting with her.

Their instructor Raoul could be bought, which was how Edison managed to land a spot in an already full class to begin with. Each student was supposed to choose a partner next week and he needed to be hers. A little more flirting with teacher and a stronger hint that he might be interested in some “personal tutelage” after hours would probably do the trick (he’d have to convince the little French tight ass that he was “bi”).

“Kathy, right?”

They were sitting on a mat facing each other, legs open, soles of their feet touching as they stretched.

“With a ‘C’, yes. Can’t you stretch more than this? You’re not really flexible.”

Oh, terrific. She’s snobby and critical. He’d hoped she’d be the type to take pity on one of the less accomplished dancers and offer a few pointers.

“I know. I need to work on it. Name’s Edison.”

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An Unrequited Life

depression

The dance lessons were not working. He’d let Jeremy and Terri talk him into taking jazz dance and it worked out exactly like the yoga lessons, the tennis lessons, and the single, miserable trip to the ice skating rink. Conrad remembered sitting on the ice, nursing his bruises, when a little girl no more than five effortlessly zipped up to him and said, “It’s okay. I fell a lot when I was first learning, too.”

He never went back, and he would never go back into that dance studio again.

“Face it, Conrad. If it’s athletic or physical, you suck at it.”

“Hey, give it a chance.” Jeremy was trying to be encouraging. He had met Jer and his girlfriend Terri in English Lit and the three became fast friends, but they were so much different from Conrad.

“Sorry. I’m going home. See you tomorrow.” Before they could object, he opened the door of his VW Bug, slid in the driver’s seat, and started the engine.

It was a beige ’72 Beetle, and he was so much like it. Simple, easy to maintain, and non-descript.

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The Devil from the Fire

desert

Found at the Orogold Store Locator website

The horse came back alone.

Every morning at dawn, Mr. Sebastian Cooke saddled and mounted his stallion and rode the perimeter of the ranch. His father and grandfather before him had owned and worked this unlikely land, an island over a thousand nautical miles east of New Guinea. In the year of our Lord 1879, he was the third generation of Cookes to farm and ranch here, hiring the indigenous peoples for labor, who by the way proved to be excellent equestrians.

Every morning her husband rode out for precisely one and one-half hours, and was always back home in time for breakfast. Every morning except for today.

“We found King by the corral, Mrs. Esther.” Haych, the foreman, held the horse by his reins, as if presenting him to Esther Cooke as a gift. “Me, Kaiki, and some of the other boys are riding out to go look for him. My wife Lehiwa and her sister Riria will stay with you, Mrs.

“Thank you, Haych. You are a good man. I’m sure my husband is alright.” She could feel hot tears behind her eyes but did not want to cry in front of the help, though having lived here for a decade now, she felt more like they were family. Sebastian had grown up on the island, but she was a Londoner originally. Her family had lost its fortune, and Father had become taken with the idea of building a new life in Australia. Their ship had sustained damage in a storm and they had to make berth at Cooke’s Island for repairs. Esther had been just 18  when she fell in love with Sebastian, who was 15 years her senior.

She watched Haych and his kinsmen ride out, leaving King in the hands of the capable stable boys, and said a prayer for the safety of all.

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Resistance

resistance

Actor Christian Bale as John Connor in the 2009 film “Terminator Salvation.”

The words blurred into one another, every yellowed page like the one before. Joe Kelley had been confined in the Detention Center for nearly a week and compelled to read and view all manner of anti-Christian and progressive texts and films in an effort to “correct” his views on the existence of God and particularly the God of the Bible.

He was surprised they hadn’t simply arrested him, beaten a confession out of him (or “disappeared” him like so many of his friends), and then sentenced him to a long prison term. Then he realized that with his son Gabe being a high-ranking official on the local Public Education Council, the Progressive Enforcement (PE) Police didn’t want to embarrass him by having the news media report that his Dad had been convicted of seditious religious beliefs.

At first, his Counselor Mx Torres considered “converting” him to a state-approved inclusive Christian church, but when the psychological test results came back, the recommendation was to completely reprogram him to deny all faith in Christ.

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No More Tears in Heaven

tears in heaven

Promotional art for Eric Clapton’s 1991 chart, “Tears in Heaven.”

“I don’t care what you do with it, I just want it gone,” Alex said, pointing at the dollhouse.

Beth was on her knees, her arms around Nicole’s favorite plaything. “Oh please, Alex. We gave it to her for her seventh birthday. She loved it more than anything else. Don’t make me throw it away.”

He stood defiantly at the threshold to Nicole’s bedroom. “Then give it away, a children’s hospital, the Goodwill, whatever, but I need it gone. I’m going to work now. When I get home, the dollhouse better not be here.” Then he spun and almost ran down the hall. He seemed so furious but Beth knew he was terrified. She should have been too, but she missed Nicole so much, she’d take her back anyway she came, even as a ghost.

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Sigil

shadow

Image: Business Insider

The Seventh Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

The sigil left in his place made no sense.

Raquel was the first to see it amid the rubble. Even the firefighters and arson investigators hadn’t been able to get down to this level yet.

Clearly the carved sign had been substituted for the vampire Antonie, but it was in the shape of an inverted pentagram accompanied by a number of other symbols. She only recognized the “all-seeing eye” which is found on the dollar bill and she had no idea how to read the Latin.

The sigil was etched into the concrete floor below what Antonie had once called his throne. Raquel hadn’t known a time when he hadn’t been the cult leader of a group of vampires inhabiting the lowest level of what had once been an abandoned warehouse on the San Francisco waterfront.

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