My Life with Faith

My Life With Faith…

So Ben and I went fishing.  At least that’s how most of our stories start now.  When we got up to our favorite fishing spot, we discovered that it was 16 with the wind chill.  That alone isn’t so bad; we wear plenty of layers and still have a good time.  However the river was running so rapidly that it was just too dangerous to even attempt it.  While fishing is our life, it isn’t worth your life to take such risks.

So we decided to spend our time in Amish country doing a little shopping and enjoying the food and culture.  Then this conversation took place.

Ben, “Want to get a dog?”

Me, “Sure!”

Ben, “You are supposed to say no.”

Me, “Why would I lie to you?”

Ben, “Sometimes you are supposed to lie.”

Me, “Well I did at Christmas and your birthday so you wouldn’t know what you got.”

Ben shook his head, cursed, and pounds the steering wheel.

Me, “What is wrong?!?!”

Ben, “You’ll see.  Want something to drink?”

This led us to a little convenience store where we got two waters and a bunch of local papers and ads.  Getting back in the car, I was still very confused as he opened the ads and started reading the classifieds.  He was looking for a dog.

So began the search.  After all, if we don’t both love the puppy, we won’t get her right?  Obviously I’ve never had a dog nor searched for a puppy before.

Over lunch we made some phone calls.  Most of them were no answers; one lady was even in Scranton, PA!  We were trying to figure out what to do as we came to one of the local stores we’d been trying to stop in for months, but always got there too late and they were closed.  Funny thing, they had puppies for adoption.  So we rushed in to see they had a bunch of fluffy poo dogs.  You know the ones, shitzu, cockapoo, terriorpoo.  Nothing we were even remotely interested in.  So we asked the young lady if they knew of anyone that had border collies, because that is Ben’s favorite type of dog.  She didnt know, but directed us to the gentleman at the front of the store.

Me, “Excuse me Sir, the young lady said to ask if you know of anyone that might have a border collie puppy?”

Ben, “Or Aussie, or other herding dog.”

Amish gentleman, “Well, what color are you looking for?”

Ben, “Color doesn’t matter, we are looking for personality.”

Amish gentleman, “Well, you go up this road for 8 miles, you will come to this town, then it is exactly 1 mile after that on the left.  Ask for Andy, he is my brother.  He just had some pups.”

So we got back in the car and became very nervous, we were actually going to see puppies that we were looking for.  The gentleman was right; it was exactly 1 mile after the town.  The place was closed though.  Unsure what to do, Ben parks and we get out.  He stops me before I stepped foot on the grass.  “Let them see you.”  Sure enough, an older Amish farmer comes ambling down the hill towards us.  He told us Andy wasn’t there, but he would go get his boys and to meet them over by the barn.

For those that don’t know, the Amish don’t speak English as their primary language.  They speak a sort of Pennsylvania Dutch.  As they get older they do learn English though.  One of the boys was very hard to understand, but he tried really hard to find the right words.  His older brother spoke very good English though and we were able to communicate very well.

Amish Gentleman, “You can come in if you don’t mind cows pooping on you.”  Sure enough, there were two long rows of cows that are faced out, so we had to walk between their hind ends.  Neither of us was afraid, so in we went following the boys.  They both held up 2 pups each, 2 boys and 2 girls.  Their very friendly Momma was standing right there at our legs.

Of the 4, there was one that just tucked herself right back into the boy’s arm and softly grunted.  When Ben picked her up she put her head right down on his shoulder.  The look in his eyes said it all.  She was ours.

As soon as we got back to his truck, I sat down and put a blanket on my lap.  The little puppy crawled off the blanket and up onto my shoulder, tucking her head in against my neck and went right to sleep.  Soft snores and chuffs, she was perfectly happy right there.

Choosing her name was easy actually.  Faith is something we always talk about.  You don’t have to be religious to have faith.  All you need to do is believe in something greater than you.  It’s a rule we live by.  Some people go to church on Sunday’s to worship.  We go out on the water and enjoy what nature has given us and say thank you.  So she quickly became our Faith.

I whispered in her ear all the things she would get to have and about her new family, two cats, a little girl, lots of dogs in the neighborhood.  I promised her that we would always keep her safe, and she would help heal us and keep us safe too.  She softly chuffed at me.  At a red light Ben looked over at me and smiled.  So begins our life with Faith…

 

Faith and Ben found sleeping in each others arms

Faith and Ben found sleeping in each others arms

Our first car ride!

Our first car ride!

Daddies

As I sat watching Ben interact with his daughter the other night, I was taken back to times with my own Dad when I was a little girl.  I suddenly became inspired to write something outside of my normal comfort zone….

 

Despite his own fears, a real man will hold you while you cry.  Even when he doesn’t know what is wrong, he will envelope you in his arms until things are better. 

No matter the consequence, an honest man will tell you how you look without being cruel.  Even though he sees you as beautiful no matter what, he knows how to make you feel beautiful outside and in.

Although he is miles apart, a dedicated man will find a way to still make you feel special.  Be it a phone call, an email, or a letter, he will never fail to let you know he is thinking of you.

Even though he is the strongest one, a tough man will not go and destroy the person who hurt you, but feed you ice cream and hold you until your soul is soothed.  No amount of violence cures a shattered heart.   

While you cannot see him, a loving man sits there while you sleep and watches over you, silent tears run down his face with the deepest joy, fear, and love only a Daddy can know.

A Daddy’s love is like no other.  No one else will ever take his place.  Not one dance partner can carry you along with on his feet.  No other love will ever come first.  No one else can hold his heart like his little girl.   Her eyes that melt the worst of days.  Her hands that fit so small in his.  Her laughter that brings the most joy.  Her unconditional love she gives to him. 

It is true what they say, a Daddy and daughter bond is the strongest most important relationship a girl will have.  Daddies are one that cannot be replaced.

My first book signing

This past weekend I had my first book signing as a published author at That Book Place in Madison, Indiana. I was accompanied by Benjamin Rogers and Patrick D’Orazio. There were about 30 authors there in the outdoor fair they have every year celebrating their anniversary of when they opened the store. It was an honor to be invited to attend.

The morning was a bit chilly, but when we got there, Patrick was waiting for us with two extra seats next to him. Due to the breeze, we couldn’t do our full table set up or even take Zebediah out of the car. So Patrick helped Ben and I set up our areas and we sat down ready to sell. I was nervous, anxious, and a wound up ball of nerves.

As a publicist, it’s a different hat you wear so to speak. I’m normally prepared to run around and be fast paced all day long. Not even close to what I experienced. You set up, sit down and wait… and wait…. and wait.

People come by; you say good morning, they continue on. Some stop and talk to you, but never look at your book. Some pick it up and thumb through it only to move along without a word. This can go on for what feels like hours. Inside the pride you have at your work starts to get a little weaker. You start wondering if all the blood sweat and tears you put into your book was for nothing. You begin to doubt yourself. Doesn’t everyone understand just by looking at you sitting there that you are a special someone and they would really enjoy your work? You’re smiling and pleasant and no one seems to really notice you.

Just when you think you should pack it all up and just go home, something really special happens. I had an older woman stop and pick up my book. I smiled and made the small chit chat, trying to be quiet while she looked at it. She turned and called her daughter over to read a couple of my poems to her. Next thing I know, she turns around and with a gleam in her eye says very softly how much she would like to have my book.

Suddenly all doubt washes away, I feel like I could sing, or maybe pass out. As I sign her copy with trembling hands, Ben and Patrick stand up and take pictures of my first sale. I am suddenly on top of the world again and feeling great. I shook her hand and as she turned to go down to the next author had to step away from the table myself. Tears of joy welled up in my eyes.

As Ben looked at me smiling all I could say was, “I’m so sorry, I never understood what an author goes through.” He chuckled and we sat back down and had a great day there on out.

All I can say at this point is a humble thank you to each and every one of you that support me, help me through this, and follow me.  You are all what keeps me going.

New Year Nightmare

The New Year has rung in, again.  What was once a town crowded with party goer’s is now desolate.  No streamers and glitter, only blood spattered buildings and corpses.  Champagne and perfume replaced with death and horror.  Sitting here on my perch, I remember being here when it was full of life.  Dancing and laughter filled fun, peace on Earth and goodwill towards men.  I snort at the thought.  The moment the ball dropped five years ago and unleashed the undead hoard into the masses, life has been nothing but wars, pillaging, raping, and death.

The ash from my stale cigarette falls to the ground and I rub my eyes with the weariness that never seems to leave my body now.  Her bright face flashes before my eyes as the memory haunts me as if it were just last night.  The beautiful blonde hair flowing around her face, the light snow that fell and trapped in her curls.  The way the lights glinted off it made her already breath taking exquisiteness surreal.  Her eyes were the green color of the sea and her lips were ripe cherries plucked from their tree.  Her laughter was the sound of angel’s wings brushing your heart, stealing your breath in awe.

I had spent months looking for the perfect ring, going to all the major stores, most expensive pieces, but no one had anything that was right for her.  One afternoon I stumbled upon this little shop off to the side of town, no fancy signs or advertising, just a small brown building with writing in the window that said Mama’s Place.  I had never seen it before, but something drove me inside.  There was a couple that was well along in their years who I came to discover were from the old country.  I wound up spending hours with them talking that day, telling them about her.  The man smiled and patted his wife’s hand as he went into a back room.  When he came back he produced a small sea green velvet box, one that almost matched her eyes.  Inside was the most perfect ring I had ever seen.  It was nothing fancy, just a small gold band with three simple stones that were the most clear diamonds I had ever seen.  The man explained it was his great great grandfather’s ring, and had many centuries of true happiness and love behind it.  He told me it was $100, I tried arguing that I couldn’t possibly buy his family heirloom, but his wife would hear none of it.  True happiness comes with no price and no bounds.

That night I had taken my love to town to enjoy the festivities.  We had laughed and danced with the other people filling the streets.  Everything was perfect, I knew the moment was right and I pulled out the ring getting down on my knee to ask her to be my wife.  Tears fell from her eyes as people stood around clapping and cheering when she said yes.  I had picked her up and swung her around kissing her as the ball dropped to ring in the most perfect moment of my life, and when my nightmare began.

Before any of us truly understood what was going on, a mass of undead ripped into the crowds feasting on all the warm bodies.  I had been in so much bliss that I never heard anything until they tore her from my arms and chewed her throat out, spraying me in her warm blood turning me into the icy mess I have become.  How I survived that night when they ripped out her heart and jammed it into their mouths, I still don’t know.  Her terror ridden face as she died reaching for me still tears through me like a million knives that shred me apart.  Somehow though, I am still here, holed up inside of Mama’s Place, the sweet old couple long gone.  When I stumbled in here, they were curled up on the couch in each other’s arms, peaceful and natural.  No one tore out their hearts, they died naturally of old age and love.

I put her ring back into my pocket where it has stayed since that dreadful night.  Spitting out the bad taste in my mouth, I look out the window again at the moon filled night.  There are thousands of them out there, those monsters, roaming the streets in search of flesh and blood.  There really is nothing left for me, but still I fight to survive.  I know I cannot give up, I have to see my angel.

<Back to Short Stories>

Lacey V

The moment Lacey had laid her head down in the tree; she was cast into a deep sleep. Images flashed before her from things that had just transpired. Everything was in such clarity that she screamed inside when the dark priest touched her, it felt so real. When he threw her into the wall, everything went black and she slipped deeper into her dream.

Her father swam before her with the madness in his eyes. Hate seethed from every part of his body at her as she walked out of the woods with Kevin hand in hand. This time she saw the razor wire, she wanted to plead with her father, but was unable to change the fate of that night. The wall she had built up around her heart tumbled down and the wounds bled fresh, again everything went dark as she slipped further away.

The next vision that came to her dream was of a tall woman with long blonde hair. She was incredibly beautiful, Lacey felt an instant connection with her. The woman was in a battle with something Lacey could not quiet make out in the dark foggy area she was in. She moved with a grace and speed that had an almost inhuman quality to them. The amulet around the woman’s neck started glowing, raising the hair up on the back of Lacey’s neck. The power filled the area, made the air so thick you could have cut it with a knife. As the glow of the amulet grew, Lacey could see the opponent was not human at all. It was a creature she had never seen before, the massive size of it alone was more than double that of the woman. Hair covered it’s body and eyes that glowed green, reflecting the light of the amulet. The beast appeared to grow weary of the battle and despite the toothy snarl, it became almost docile in action.

The woman pounced on the beast and with a blade Lacey had not noticed before and sliced it’s throat open. On the back swing of the blade, she plummeted it into the creatures chest. With a shudder, it became very still in the area, the fog lifted and the moon washed over the area. Lacey recognized the farm she grew up on. Looking back at the woman, Lacey noticed that she had risen and was walking towards where Lacey was watching from the edge of the field in the woods. Unsure what her role was, Lacey stepped back as the woman passed by her. A faint fragrance of spice wafted in the air behind her and Lacey was drawn to follow the woman.

The woman came to the very tree Lacey was having the dream from. She paused touching the tree and the woman became more solid to Lacey, less dreamlike. Turning to face Lacey the woman met her stare, “Hello my daughter, I have been waiting for you to come here.” Her voice was soft and strong at the same time.

“Y-you are my mother?” Lacey could not hide the tremor in her words.

Smiling the woman said, “Yes my child, I am so proud to finally get to meet you finally. You have become the woman I had hoped you would, so strong and beautiful.” Her eyes became sad as she looked at Lacey. “I am so sorry I was not able to be a part of your life, but for the women of our family, it is not possible.”

Lacey took a step towards the woman, closing the gap enough to reach out and tentatively touch this woman that claimed to be her mother. “Mom?” she whispered, tears pouring down her face. Her mother reached out and caressed Lacey’s cheek and Lacey fell into her mother’s arms crying. “Hush now my precious child, we have very limited time for this.”

Sniffling, Lacey pulled back enough to see her mother’s face, everything was still very surreal to her. Was this just a dream? “It is time for you to learn the legacy of your lineage, what you are about to become.”

“I don’t understand,” Lacey’s mind raced trying to grasp what she was saying.

“I know, it’s very sudden and much to take in. I’ve been watching over you all this time, but was not allowed to interfere. In this space of time, while your body sleeps in this place, I can see you and pass along what you need to start the next chapter of your life.” Her mother paused for a moment, a proud smile that reached to her eyes as she looked at Lacey. “You are a magnificent woman, and that is because of the blood that flows through your veins. Centuries of women warriors, fighting the evil that lurks in the shadows and terrorizes our world. I am so proud of the woman you have become. You are a true fighter.”

Her mother reached to the amulet around her neck, lifting it over her head, “This is the symbol of the power of our lineage, it will help you as you continue to learn and grow.” She placed the amulet over Lacey’s head, letting it rest around her neck. “It will protect you when you need it most. This is the blade of our family. It has been passed down from mother to daughter for hundreds of years now. Hold it true and it will guide you in what you need to do.” She held Lacey’s hand as she placed the hilt of the blade in her hand, their hands closing around it.

Something changed, the feeling of power and wisdom being handed down in this private ceremony. Lacey felt a strength come over her, and a sense of peace she had never known before. “I do not understand Mother, but I will do my best.”

“Things will be very different for you now. Percy will be here soon, listen to him. He will train and guide you where I cannot.” That sad smile came over her face again. “It is time for me to go now.” She reached out with her hand and touched Lacey’s face again, the scent of spices filling her with an overwhelming sense of love and peace. “I love you Lacey.”

“Lacey.” she heard her name called, but no longer by her mother. Sitting up she rubbed the dream from her eyes and found Percy standing there before her. The amulet was around her neck, and the blade by her side. She whispered, “I love you too mom.”

Predator and Prey

We meet again, you and I. Eye to eye, toe to toe. I give my best blank stare to match your own. Who’s will shall break first?

You lunge into me, pushing me up against the basement wall. A deadly grin spreads on your lips. Those same lips that had spoken of so much love. Seeing my death in you, I swallow my fear, so it shall be. “Be done with it, “ my voice strong and sure.

Almost seductively you trace my collar bone with your fingertips, and then down my arm. Lacing your fingers with my own, you bring my hand to your lips and kiss it. I blink, bored with the preamble, knowing how much you love the game. I refuse to give in to you.

You place my arm against the wall next to my head as you press your body against mine. Your erection throbs with your excitement. “You know what I want,“ you whisper in my ear. I flinch as sharp pain slices my arm. Turning my head, I see a long blade pinning me to the wall through my forearm. My eyes flash the anger I hold inside, causing you to smile. “Ah, that’s the spirit my pet,” you chuckle.

I take a deep breath and try to keep my arm still. I feel the blood running down my arm. I’ve known you longer than I remember, I know how your game works, I know what you want. My pride will never give it to you. Turning, you grab another blade and slowly push it through the opposite arm. I feel it cut through the muscles and slide between the bones. I manage to swallow my grimace as the pain burns up both arms, trapped against the wall.

You run your fingers through the trail of blood flow and wipe them across my lips, only to lick them clean. I struggle not to express my disgust at your pleasure in this. “You know, you used to enjoy pain, you used to love this game,” you say as you turns back to your collection of instruments.

“Hmmmm, don’t feel like talking pet? Let’s see what we can do about that.” Bending down you shove a blade in through the top of each foot and into the ground. I grind my teeth to not scream at the pain, anger flares through me, I cannot restrain it.

As you pull out a box of matches you say, ”Now let’s see if I can remember where exactly you enjoyed these games.” Lighting a match you hold the flame under my upper arms, the skin burning, causing my eyes to well up. I close them and try to breath and find my happy place. You shove the heel of your hand into my diaphragm, “There will be no centering yourself or happy place for you. You will stay here with me now in this moment.” Anger flares in your eyes, I gasp for breath but manage a weak smile at your one weakness. There is a small flicker of hope that I might be able to win. Your hand shoots to my throat and squeezes, “No my sweet, you will not win, this is my game, my rules, my turn.”

Grabbing the matches you hold one under my bare breast, just so the tip of the flame licks over the skin and across the nipple. Defiant I hold my scream in, but tears run down my face. Stepping forward you lick the tears from my cheeks and groan with pleasure.

Placing your hand on the blade in one arm you twist it, snapping it out of the wall and breaking my bones like twigs. Seeing the red ruin of my arm, the shattered bones sticking out my body begins to tremble. “Come on, scream for me baby,” you croon. I hold my head proud still and glare at you.

I feel things inside my body changing, shifting. Bones melting and reconnecting into each other, the one secret you never knew. The confusion shows on your face and I grin as my body melts downwards, the remaining blades falling out and to the ground. My wounds begin to heal and the bones of my arm snap back into place as my new form takes over.

White fur speckled with black spots breaks out over my body and a growl tears from my throat as I look at you through my new eyes. Stretching my long back my tail swishes as I stand on my four legs and stare at you. “What the…” your words silenced as the predator is now my prey.

<Back to Short Stories>

Lacey

As she curled up in the tree, the branches wrapped around her like large arms, sheltering her from the night. It’s where she came to relax, to hide, to feel safe. This is where he would meet her, where he taught her what love is, where he made love to her the very first time. She closed her eyes and let the memory wash over her.

Their first kiss, his lips were so gentle and tentative. With such tenderness he laid her back into the curve of the branches; as if they were made to cradle their bodies together. He lay with her, hands caressing her flesh as he bared it to the night air. The bark of the tree was soft, like lying back against cotton sheets on a sturdy bed. The smell of fall filled the air around them, the tree still full of leaves that had just begun to change with the season. She never knew another like him, so tender, so full of warmth and emotion.

The memory left her with warmth inside of her that turned icy as she remembered all that had happened since that night. Her father had found them as they came out of the woods just before dawn, hand in hand. The cold fury breathed through him like the winds before the storm. He brought his rifle up and sighted down it, leveled straight at her lover’s heart. She stepped with a boldness that belied her torn heart between the man who reared her and her true love.

“Lacey Meredith Connor, you betrayed me, you are a disgrace.” She flinched as her father spat the venomous words at her. Kevin placed a hand on her shoulder as if to give her strength. With a flash her father lowered the rifle and backhanded Lacey across the face so hard she flew off her feet. Stunned, he had never struck her before, the pain seared through her cheek and mouth. Just as Kevin went to bend to her aid, her father shoved the muzzle of the gun under his chin. “I think you’ve had enough manhandling my daughter boy.”

The memory continued in slow motion. She sat up and wiped the blood from her mouth. As her father spat more venom and insults at them, he brought Kevin to kneel facing her, hands laced behind his head. He brought a piece of barbed wire that was hooked to his belt. As she watched helpless to stop it, her father wrapped the wire around Kevin’s throat. As if realizing what was about to happen, Kevin looked at her and said, “Lacey, I love you” and the rest was cut off as her father pulled the wire tight against his neck and dragged it across, shredding open his throat.

The blood pumped out of his throat, staining her hands and clothes red as she caught her lover as he fell forward. Cradling his dead body, she looked at her father with tears in her eyes. There was nothing left of the man that had raised her with tenderness, years of laughter and lessons. The man before her was mad as he picked his rifle back up and walked towards her. She turned and ran as fast as her legs would carry her. The first shot missed her by mere inches and she ran harder back towards the woods hoping to lose him before she shared the same fate as her beloved. The last thing she heard was her father screaming, “Whore, you’ve killed us all!” Another shot and there was silence behind her.