Past Present Future

The warmth enveloped her as she lay inside the tent.  It was comforting and familiar but she knew something was wrong.  He was beside her as always, his body stretched out, waiting with her for the sun to set. 

She watched one of his legs as he bent it, took in the dark skin, embedding it into her memory forever.  Her eyes never left him.  He was her life, his essence stitched tightly into her soul.

He suddenly rolled over and handed her a pipe.  She took it from him and sat up, inhaling the smoke that always took the edge off.  As she watched the white swirling exhalations move around inside the tent, she began to feel better.  “This will pass,” she thought “I just need to rest a little longer.”

Soon, she felt strong enough to step outside the tent.  The sun burned into her own dark skin as she walked slowly back and forth, watching her bare feet contrast with the paleness of the sand.  She looked around the desert…..nothing.  There was another tent nearby but then the hot soft sand she stood on offered her only more and more of it.

As she stood there taking in her surroundings, hoping her eye would catch something different that would lead them in the right direction, she knew it was useless.  She would just have to stay strong and keep moving.  Happy to be standing, she continued to move around a little longer until the weakness arrived again.

Crawling back into the tent, he looked at her concerned but she just smiled at him which instantly made him smile back.  She reached out for the pipe again, knowing it would help her fool him until they found help but he pulled it away from her, shaking his head with confusion in his eyes.  He knew this was unlike her.  The pipe was only a small pick me up to help when the sun was at full heat.  She had never reached for it so often.

As she lay back down again, she reached for his hand.  It felt warm against her own skin for some reason.  She didn’t care to question it, she just needed to rest.  He propped her head up with some rolled up cloth and she felt better, mostly because it allowed her to see him better.  Something deep inside her wanted to take every inch of him in lately.  It had become almost an obsession.  She knew he wasn’t going anywhere but she continued to watch him with an intensity she never thought could exist within her.

Her eyes began to grow heavy but she fought the exhaustion, wanting to continue feeling his skin against hers, wanting to see him, see him, see him………and then he was below her and she was rising away from him fast fast fast.  “NO!!!” she screamed out but continued to rise out of the tent, infinite desert spread out underneath her.

There was nothing she could do but watch and wonder as the tent faded out of view.  “Will he be okay?” she thought. “I should have warned him, let him know how weak I felt.  I don’t want him to be shocked when he discovers I’m no longer with him…..where will he bury me?”…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

…………. Ava opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling.  She didn’t want to get out of bed.  She was heartbroken for absolutely no reason at all.  She pulled the soft warm comforter over her head hoping to be forgotten about, but no such luck would be gifted to her.

The door flung open and hit the side of the wall “Get up, Ava!” her younger sister              shouted as loudly as possible.  Ava could hear her padding across the room toward her closet.  That was enough to get her to sit up.

“Ariana, do not touch anything in my closet! I’ve finally got it organized to my liking.”  Ava flung the covers off of her and sprinted across the room towards the entranceway of her new walk in closet.  Ariana was tossing clothes onto a white velvet chair while precariously holding a cup of coffee in her other hand.  “Do you have no respect for other peoples belongings?” Ava walked over to her and took the cup out of her hand, placing it carefully on a side table.

As she walked back into the bedroom, she caught a glimpse of herself in a full length mirror.  Her long blonde hair and pale skin made her remember the strange dream she had.  It felt so real, yet it wasn’t……was it?

The dream was more like a memory.  She wasn’t dreaming of a dark skinned woman, she was the dark skinned woman.  Now she gazed down at pale feet blending into white carpet.  She remembered the love she felt in the “dream” and longed to feel that way about someone, someday.

Suddenly, Ariana appeared behind her in the mirror, startling her back into the moment.  She held up a pink dress.  “I need to borrow this. I don’t know what’s wrong with you but if you’re trying to think of a way out of taking me, think again.  A promise is a promise, Ava.”

Ava turned around to look at her younger sister who stared back suspiciously.  She hadn’t been paying enough attention to her lately and that needed to change.  “Ariana, I will be ready in twenty minutes.  We are going to find you the most beautiful prom dress anyone has ever seen and anything else you want.  By the time this day is done, I will be borrowing from your closet.”  She winked at her.  She watched as Ariana’s face lit up and gave her sister a hug.  “Now, go! I’ll meet you downstairs.”

A feeling of appreciation washed over Ava as she got ready to leave.  She couldn’t get the dream out of her head.  It just kept replaying over and over in her mind.  She couldn’t help but think that maybe it meant something, even if just to remind her how lucky she was and to not become so absorbed with her own trivial problems.  There were people in the world living incredibly difficult lives compared to her own, yet they continue to smile and love.  They stand strong with hope of a better future.

As she accompanied her sister into boutiques and dress shops, she tried her best to make the day as fun and exciting for her as possible but found it hard to focus completely.  She felt an anticipation but wasn’t sure why.  An urge to keep moving would overcome her at times and she would find herself shuffling Ariana out of a store to look for something better.

After they had found the perfect prom dress, they went in search of accessories.  Ava decided her little sister needed diamonds for her special night so their next stop was a surprise for Ariana.  As their driver pulled in front of the location, Ariana looked over at Ava. “Ava, no.  It’s just prom.  I don’t need anything from here.  Everyone will think I’m showing off.”

“Oh, who cares what they think.  Anyway, it’s prom, you are supposed to show off.  C’mon, we will pick something delicate.”  Ava held out her hand for her sister as they exited the car and walked toward the very private door their family had been entering for many years.

“Bellissima!” an older gentleman exclaimed when he saw Ava walk through the door.  “I wasn’t expecting to see you today but what a delight it is!”  Ava gave him her most charming smile as she also gave Ariana’s hand a quick squeeze before letting go.

She walked toward the man “Antonio! I apologize for dropping in so unexpectedly but we are shopping for Ariana’s prom and I thought she needed something special to remember it.  Would you happen to have a little time to spare with us?”

“But of course, Ava dear” he replied while looking toward Ariana.  “Little Ariana is already going to prom?  I barely recognized her.  Ariana, darling! Come say hello.  You are becoming almost as beautiful as your sister.  Let us pick out something perfect for you.”

Ariana smiled shyly and walked over to them.  She had always hung back in environments such as this, always feeling rough around the edges compared to Ava.  “Thank you, Antonio” she replied in a voice softer than she’d ever used before.  She looked over to find Ava smiling at her and felt comforted.  She so wanted to be like her older sister.  She always seemed to instictively know how to shine in any social environment, like she’d lived a thousand lives or something.

As they began looking at different pieces, Ariana became more comfortable so Ava stole a few moments to look through the showroom.  While admiring a necklace she could only dream of owning, she felt eyes upon her and turned.

And there he was.  The most beautiful man she had ever laid her eyes on.  A sense of longing mixed with familiarity completely overwhelmed her leaving her frozen.  He stared back at her with such warmth but said nothing…she didn’t need him to, she already knew him.

“Ah, Cristiano!” Antonio called out across the gallery, “you are back just in time. Ava, meet my favorite nephew, Cristiano.  He is here for the summer to learn the business although it is he that will probably end up teaching me!”

Cristiano glanced toward his uncle with an amused smile before turning back to Ava.  “My uncle, he is always the charmer.” he began in a deep velvety voice that made Ava want to listen to him speak forever.  “It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Ava” he continued.  “My uncle has spoken of you fondly over the years.”

Ava knew she needed to say something but the words escaped her.  She was never rattled around anyone but she was with him.  They had to be the perfect words but what were they? “It’s nice to meet you too.” was all that came out as she looked down disgusted in herself but when she looked up again he was just smiling at her which instantly made her smile back.

Welcome To The Family

Jennifer sped down the dusty country road.  She was late.  Her family had been waiting for two days to start a road trip across the united states and it was her fault they hadn’t left yet.

She had taken a shortcut given to her by a friendly cop at a rest stop but wasn’t sure she had followed his directions correctly.  She was supposed to have passed an old barn a couple miles back but never saw it.  She knew she would have to stop and ask someone, but who?

The road ahead of her looked endless.  She reached over into the passenger seat for her cell phone and noticed it was showing one little bar.  “Better than nothing,” she thought to herself.

There was nothing more she could do but keep driving.  The road would offer her something eventually…..

……….music blasting, water bottle opened, snacks…more snacks………..chocolate.  Nothing.  She had driven for almost an hour and hadn’t even seen another road she could take.  Desperation was sinking in.  Then she saw it.  Through a patch of trees was a speck of white peeking through the branches.

She backed the car up and spotted what looked like a faint trail made by tire tracks.  Slowly, Jennifer followed the trail until suddenly it opened up into a beautiful patch of neatly manicured lawn.

Further back, she saw what had caught her eye earlier.  It was a big white house.  It had rose bushes surrounding it and a friendly looking lady sitting  on the porch smiling at her.  She instantly felt relieved.  The lady stood up and started walking towards her.  Jennifer got out of the car.

“Hi, sorry to bother you but I seem to have gotten lost,” explained Jennifer.

The woman laughed.  Jennifer couldn’t help but notice how immaculately she was dressed for living so far out in the country.

“Maybe I’m close to a town afterall” she thought to herself.”

“Oh, it’s no bother at all, young lady!” the woman replied with such a high pitched voice that it almost sounded unnatural.  When the woman spoke, it startled Jennifer.  There was something not right about her demeanor.

“Well, I’m in a bit of a rush, Jennifer explained further.  My family is waiting for me.  Would you be able to give me directions to the next town?”

“Oh honey! exclaimed the woman, I’ve never been good with directions, but let me see if one of the kids could help you out.”

She walked back toward the house and then turned back slightly towards Jennifer.  “You stay right there now, okay sweetie?”

Jennifer gave her a quick smile as the lady turned back towards the house again.

“Shit!” Jennifer whispered to herself.  Her heart sank as a new desperation overcame her.

She looked back towards the trail and wondered if there was enough time to turn the car around and high tail it out of there but when she turned back around, they were already approaching her, “the kids.”

There were two sons and a daughter.  Teenagers.  They were just as immaculately dressed as their mother, not one hair out of place.  Their walk as they approached Jennifer was very robotic.  They had no emotion on their faces but the woman did…sort of.  The smile Jennifer thought looked so friendly at first only terrified her now.

Jennifer stood and faced them for a moment.  She didn’t know what else to do so she let the situation sink in.  As she looked at them one by one, all blankly staring back at her, she noticed one of the sons.  He stood beside his mother with his head very slightly tilted.  As Jennifer looked down towards his feet, she saw his hand was now holding a knife.  She hadn’t seen him holding it before. He couldn’t seem to control the movement of his hand so the blade kept snagging on his mothers dress.

A sudden wave of calm came over Jennifer as she noticed this.  It meant they all had emotion living  somewhere deep within them.  It meant they were vulnerable.  She could work with that.

Jennifer looked at the woman.  “Ma’am, please don’t see me as any kind of threat.  I know I’m a stranger on your property, but I really did get lost.”

Abruptly, the woman stopped smiling.  She focused in on Jennifer with an intensity she had never encountered before.

“A threat, young lady?” her voice had become deep, almost masculine.  “Don’t be ridiculous.  Come inside and wash up for dinner, dear.”

“Oh, I’m not hungry,” Jennifer replied.  “I’ll just be on my way.”

She quickly moved toward her car and as she grabbed for the door, a hand was already clenched around her wrist and a knife was being pressed to her throat.

“You misunderstand you stupid bitch” the woman growled at her as she walked back towards the house, “we need you to wash your filthy whore body off first because you ARE dinner!”

The door to the front porch slammed shut and there was nothing but silence left, except for the beat of Jennifers heart pounding in her ears…

A Wise Man Once Told Me…

Originally posted on THESTARLIGHTWRITINGS:

Cari stood outside looking at the stars.  It was warm and muggy outside, even at midnight but the heat along with the silence comforted her. 

She took a deep breath and exhaled the stress of the day, trying to remember who she was again.  For the next couple of hours, she could live her life.  Not the life anyone else wanted her to be living, but the life she knew she should be living.  It was more preparation than anything else.  Those couple of hours gave her time to prepare.

The back door swung open.  She knew it was her Dad.  She turned slightly to see his eyes automatically lift upward, just as her own always did.

“Damn, it’s clear out tonight.” he said as he walked to the back of the yard.  He was “surveying” as he jokingly put it but really it was just the Type A in…

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Midnight Intruders Let Attention Blur

Kate sits at her desk reviewing some new client paperwork.  Everyone else has gone home for the day but Kate doesn’t like to leave things unfinished.  She knows how much better she will feel when all her work is cleared away.

 The sun glimmers through the windows as it begins to set. Bright streaks stretch across the carpet and angle across the walls in a way only Kate is familiar with.  Time escapes her as she sits focusing, forgetting about the lovely summer evening.

 Before she knows it, there is nothing but darkness outside.  Kate looks around the office, suddenly aware of how alone she is, sitting in the dark.  She carefully organizes her desk in preparation for the next day, grabs her purse, and heads for the elevator.

 As Kate stands in the lobby waiting, she begins to feel the same awkwardness that washes over her every time she’s the last one to leave the office.

       “Why am I doing this?”  she thinks to herself.  “I don’t even like this job! I’m so stupid for wasting any amount of extra energy…..just sitting there like that.  This is my life!  I need to go out and enjoy it.”

Kate takes the elevator down to ground level, gets in her shiny new BMW, turns the music up loud, and speeds home with the sun roof open.  As the warm summer air refreshes her senses she begins to relax and enjoy the ride home.

 As Kate pulls into the garage of her highrise apartment, her frustration suddenly returns.

      “I’ve just got to keep busy”  she say’s to herself as she walks down the long wide hallway towards her apartment.  “I’ll cook a nice dinner tonight and take a hot bath.  This is just anxious energy, Kate!  Okay, pep talk over before someone thinks I’m crazy…..”

 The door is unlocked, cats are greeted and pampered, plants are watered.  Garlic and onions chopped and salad rinsed.  Boiling, simmering, baking……..eating.  Television blaring, every light on, every door open while bath water heats and heals………………………………………

 Bed.  Cool sheets, ceiling fan on low, cats purring, book………..lights out.

 Silence screams out through the night, waiting and listening for sound.  Minutes drift by into hours as the clock tick tick ticks in anticipation of time.

 The hissing and growling alert Kate just in time to see her enter the room.  The female doctor moves swiftly towards the bed……..

       “Ssshhhh”  is her only sound towards the cats as she paralyzes them into silence.

Kate starts to sit up as the woman walks toward the side of the bed.  She looks over to see three men standing just outside the bedroom door.  She’s seen them before.  They are military…….she knows.  Three big bad men guarding one woman from another.  Pathetic.

 Next comes the color black and then she’s sitting in the chair being asked questions again.

      “How are your eyes doing, Kate?”  asks the female doctor as she shines a light into them.

      “Good”  replies Kate as she looks around the dark room.  It looks exactly like a regular exam room, nothing special at all.

      “No blurred vision or any changes in your left?

      “No” lies Kate as she feels the woman’s energy change.  She has realized Kate is lying but Kate doesn’t care.  She just wants this “eye examination” to be finished.

 Then Kate’s wish comes true and she’s back in bed but with more figures surrounding her.  These figures aren’t big and bad but they have a job to do.  Kate feels a love for them………a love that isn’t returned in the same way.  But love is love…….right?

 Kate knows what they have to do but suddenly, she knows what she has to do too.  Machines begin to work, paralysis becomes stronger, needles start rotating above her and one is directed straight towards her left eye……..

      “Hey hey! What are you doing? Where are you going? What color are you? What’s your name? how are you feeling? Are you here to help me? Where did you come from? Do you like pasta? When are you leaving? When did you get here? Why are you here? Do you have any pets? Do you have sex? What are you doing? When will you leave? Where will you go after this? Are you married? Do you like it here? Do you like me?…………………………………………………………………………………..paralysis stops.

 Kate lifts her head off of the bed.  It still feels really heavy.  She slowly moves her legs as the yelling starts from somewhere outside her room.

        “Take care of this goddammit!” a deep sounding male voice barks out.  “Send in the teacher NOW before she kills them all!

        “I’m not going to kill anyone” kate thinks “I just didn’t want the needle stuck in my eye!”

 Kate tries to speak to let them know she means no harm but her voice hasn’t come back yet so she tries telepathing to the beings surrounding her bed.  She tunes into them and suddenly feels how terrified they are just as another figure comes through the wall beside her head.

        “Kate, it’s okay” her teacher communicates to her.  “This has to be done.  It’s not going to hurt you.”

       “Are you telling me a needle in my eye won’t hurt one bit?  It won’t blind me?”  Kate asks this familiar being who has been with her since childhood.

       “That is correct” her teacher replies patiently and kindly “but this is something that has to be done and you have to lie still so we can finish the procedure.”

       “I’m so scared though.  I don’t even like the thought of something entering my eye.  I’m not sure I can lie still for this one.”

      “Don’t worry, Kate.  Just try your best and remember no matter how scary it might seem, there will be no harm done to you.  I’m with you now.  I’ll stay right here.”

 Kate feels so much better now that her teacher is back.  She hasn’t been able to communicate with her for the longest time and has missed her.  She wants to please her teacher and so she begins to calm herself and lie still.

 The machines start again and all she can focus on is the needle heading straight for her eye.  She keeps her eye open and watches as it gets closer and closer and closer and…………blackness.

92future-sci-fi-04-m336

Kate opens her eyes and rolls over to see the sun shining through the curtains.  She feels drained but glad a new day has begun.  She gets out of bed, stretches, and walks towards the kitchen to make coffee.  Her cats are stretched out on the couch in the living room looking happy and cozy.

       “Hi guys!” Kate calls out to them.  They squint their eyes at her in return and begin to stretch their bodies out for the morning breakfast routine.

 Kate feels the sunshine warm her feet against the kitchen tile and realizes how happy she is this morning.

       “This is the beginning of a new day” she says to herself as she looks out her kitchen window at the beautiful blue sky.  “I am alive, living this life right now and I choose to be happy.”

Kate smiles to herself for a moment, looks out the window again and then opens the refrigerator in pursuit of eggs.  It is indeed a new day with endless possibilities.   

 

The Healer

He came in the night, silently and forcefully. Wordless yet wise and strong…..very, very strong.  He led her into the darkness and she followed with a knowing, an inner instinct that she had to go.

Through blurred motion and confused direction, she remained with him to the destination.  Downward they went, into the tunnels, breathing in the cold damp air as they now walked deeper and deeper into the mystery.

             “C’mon” he said as she began to slow down and take in her surroundings.  The deep growl of a voice was commanding with a clear objective showing through.  He did not hide this from her.  She did not hesitate as she realized he knew her.  He knew all about her from flesh and bone and from beginning to end.  She knew him too but that was where it ended. 

 As they approached their destination, the damp chill faded into warm humidity and light.  Halls made out of tunnels turned into a home…..his home.  He took her hand and led her into a room.  There was a bed and a television and she knew they were there just for her, for familiar comfort.

             “Sit down on the bed and find something you like on the television” he told her, and again, she did as she was told.  The odd situation was not unfamiliar to her…..it just was.

 As she flipped through the channels, she was aware of his movements behind her.  He was working….preparing, for what he had to do.  She wasn’t afraid as she waited for him.  No questions asked, just a knowing.  An inner knowing that she belonged there.

      “Keep focused on what you’re watching,” he explained “and let your body relax into the force.” 

 Suddenly she could feel the power of the energy.  It was solid yet not.  Her body moved forward uncontrollably as she realized what was happening.  She was being fixed by this familiar yet unknown healer.  The images moved across the television screen, soothing her as bones were moved and repositioned…..and then it was over.

 She turned to look at the figure who had his back to her.  Dressed in sporty casual clothing, if not a bit worn and dirty, he was pure muscle and looked ready for combat, not for what he had just done.

 The questions came without words even though she knew he could not answer them.  He turned his face slightly toward her as she watched him and there was no need for anything more.  This was his world….his only means of existing.

 His face told her his story. She knew why he was there and felt his loneliness, his need to reach out to another who would understand.  He would remain there as she continued her life above.  She would need him again in the future and would wonder why he never showed up again, what the point was in the first place.

As the wordless calls for help flew into each night, she remained broken.   Walking on the surface, a product of curiosity, she remained alone herself, in her own isolated existence but when she turned her face towards others, her story could not be told…..hidden in plain sight.

Moonlight Run

Originally posted on THESTARLIGHTWRITINGS:

Jordan sat in front of the television watching the news.  He laced up his running shoes as he listened to the latest on the drive by vanishings.  There had been a lot of women across the country going for late afternoon walks, never to be heard from again.

Most of them had been seen leaning into expensive cars, or standing close by, appearing to give directions.  Neighbors or onlookers never thought anything of their last glimpse…until much later.

Jordan shook his head in disgust at this latest trend.  “How could so many weirdos like this be out there?  Where did they get the cars and what was happening to these women?  It’s obviously way more than one person doing these kidnappings”  Jordan thought as he grabbed his keys and headed out the door.

The sun was just making its last appearance, peeking through the clouds after a grey rainy day.  Jordan…

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Moonlight Run Part 2

Jordan took off at his usual even pace,  winding around the same familiar path he’d been taking every day.  As he ran, he thought about the coming winter and how the forest would feel to him then.  He let his day…his week filter through his mind, letting all the tension drain out.

He wasn’t paying attention.  He’d gotten used to running through this area alone with only the animals for company.  It was soothing to him……….

And then he saw him.  A homeless man he’d seen many times before outside the grocery store.  They locked eyes for a moment before the nameless man stood up.  Jordan froze in front of him trying to decide whether to say something or turn back the other way. 

The man suddenly began walking quickly towards Jordan.  His long faded overcoat blew behind him with the briskness of his strides.

“I’d like some money, please.”  the man said to him. 

“I don’t have any on me at the moment” Jordan awkwardly explained. “I recognize you from the grocery store though so I’ll make sure not to miss you next time around, buddy.”

The man stood in front of Jordan for a long moment, staring into his eyes calmly.  For some reason, Jordan found he couldn’t look away.  They both just stood there, strangers in a darkened forest.  A home away from home but for very different reasons.

” No” the man suddenly said.  “I think this would be the perfect time for you to make a very generous donation on behalf of the homeless.”

Jordan didn’t know how to respond.  It was clear that he wasn’t going to be making a quick escape.  Up close this man was not the mal-nourished, uneducated homeless man he usually saw in a parking lot.  He knew what the man was suggesting and wished he’d brought his cell phone with him.  It was time for some quick thinking…or some very quick running.

“You know what?  That’s no problem at all.  I’ll just run home  and bring you back a check, okay?  My name is Jordan, what’s yours?”

“John.  My name’s John but I’m afraid you won’t be running home anytime soon, Jordan.  You see, I’m getting very tired of living like this and you just happen to be my lucky break tonight.  Now, would you like to have a seat and join me over there or do I need to tie you up?”

Jordan looked over at the old blankets and sleeping bag laying under a large patch of trees.  A large backpack leaned up against one with what looked like basic camping supplies scattered all around.  He wondered what his chances were if he just turned and ran.  Would it be worth the gamble?

“It won’t be neccessary to tie me up, John”  he replied, trying to sound as relaxed and casual as possible.  “I take it you would like to wait awhile to give the neighborhood a chance to settle in for the night?”

“You catch on quick” John replied with a half smile. He gestured toward his seating area as he pulled a knife out of his pocket.  “Have a seat, Jordan.  Don’t worry, I want this all to work out as much as you do but if you run I will catch you.”

Jordan slowly walked over and sat on the ground next to the blankets.  He looked around at the now pitch black forest seeing his afternoon escape in an entirely different light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Wise Man Once Told Me…

Cari stood outside looking at the stars.  It was warm and muggy outside, even at midnight but the heat along with the silence comforted her. 

She took a deep breath and exhaled the stress of the day, trying to remember who she was again.  For the next couple of hours, she could live her life.  Not the life anyone else wanted her to be living, but the life she knew she should be living.  It was more preparation than anything else.  Those couple of hours gave her time to prepare.

The back door swung open.  She knew it was her Dad.  She turned slightly to see his eyes automatically lift upward, just as her own always did.

“Damn, it’s clear out tonight.” he said as he walked to the back of the yard.  He was “surveying” as he jokingly put it but really it was just the Type A in him needing to check out his property

Cari found herself pacing slowly as she waited for him to appear out of the darkness.  She knew he understood her need to soak in the night alone.  She lifted her eyes again to find what she called “active stars.”  They moved across the sky towards another “star,” and then stopped nearby or on top of that star until it began moving to another location.

As it was particularly active that night, it occurred to Cari that it should be pointed out, just for the hell of it…..to see what the response would be.

“Hey!” she called out to him, “are you almost done surveying? I wanna show you something”

She heard a chuckle in the distance “Hold your horses kid, I’ll be right there!” he called back.

He walked silently out of the shadows and immediately looked at her face.  Cari smiled at him, knowing her questions wouldn’t lead anywhere.  She watched as the jovial demeanor changed abrubtly to militant impatience.

“What is it, Cari? he asked as he continued walking towards the back door.

Oh, C’mon, man! You’re gonna walk inside when I said I wanted to show you something?

He turned to look at her, “Okay, hurry up and show me.”

“Just look up and follow my finger.  See those two stars close by each other? One of them is going to start moving in a straight line across the sky in a minute.”

They stood together and watched.  Cari let out a big sigh of relief that it actually moved and didn’t just sit there. She was able to point some other things out as well but it was only met with an unimpressed shrug and a “So?”

“What do you mean, so?” she now asked him impatiently

“That’s exactly what I mean.  So what? What are you going to do about what you just saw, Cari? How is that going to make one bit of difference in the life you are trying to live right now? How is what you just showed me going to build your future and pay the bills?”

“Well, that’s what you don’t get.” she replied confidently.  “It could very easily build my future if presented in the right way.  I’m not saying I’ll be able to provide proof but I can certainly open minds.  I’ve been doing this since the beginning old man, what ever made you think I’d be capable of stopping?”

The chuckle suddenly came back along with a look of pride in his eyes.  “It was just an impossible hope that I had, kid.  Sometimes, what you don’t know won’t hurt you, understand?”

“Oh, I understand she replied passionately, but at this point I consider myself to be unshockable”

 “And that is where you are dead wrong, young lady” he replied just as passionately.  You have no idea the technology that’s out there!”

“Yes, I do! I know how far advanced we really are compared to what is being shown now!  Are you fucking kidding me? Ask me anything……go ahead, anything!  Your clearance has nothing on me.”

He looked at her now with nothing but concern. “And that is my fear, kid…that when it comes to you, what I don’t know, isn’t going to hurt me.”

Cari now understood him better.  One more piece of the puzzle had been put together.  She was once again brought back down to earth and grateful for it.

“Point made” she replied as she smiled over at him.

“Good” he replied back. Now I’m going to bed. You haven’t forgotten my scan is tomorrow, right? Are you gonna do your thing?”

Now it was Cari’s turn to chuckle.  “Yep! Nothing will be found on that scan tomorrow” she said as they walked back inside.

Moonlight Run – Part Three

The silence was excruciating.  Jordan sat on the damp forest floor waiting for the moment he would be told it was okay to leave.  He just wanted to get whatever John had in mind over with and get on with his life.  He felt stupid for not being more cautious.

“It’s true” he thought to himself.  “There is no safe neighborhood or area of town.  I’ve got to be more aware of my surroundings from now on.  How could I not see him up ahead?!?”

 

John sat there by an old oil lamp reading a book.  He seemed content, almost peaceful as Jordan stole glimpses of him out of the corner of his eye.  He wondered what his story was.  How could this articulate and intelligent man end up living like this?

Let’s go” John suddenly said, snapping his book shut.  He stood up and stretched, took a few things out of his backpack and then looked down at Jordan still sitting on the ground.

“Okay” Jordan said hesitantly.  “Should I just start walking and you’ll follow?”

“That’s the plan”  John replied.

 

They  walked out of the forest and made their way over to Jordan’s neighborhood.  It was past midnight now and almost every window was dark.  Jordan tried to make out who might still be up.  There were a few flickers hitting the glass of some bedrooms, the occupant’s oblivious to any outside activity.

Jordan saw his house  up ahead now.  He could only hope that he’d feel a little more in control once they got inside……

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 “Hand over the keys, Jordan” Johns voice demanded from behind him.  His tone was very absolute…dangerous now.  He knew exactly what he was doing.  The John from the forest had been left right there, a shadow in the dim light, reading a ragged book.

 

Jordan reached into his pocket and gave him his house keys.  They walked up the stairs and John reached around to unlock the door, still making sure to stay positioned behind Jordan.  As they walked inside, John instructed Jordan to turn the front hall light on and show him to the kitchen.  The refrigerator door was opened along with numerous cupboards.  Food was thrown onto the counter, and then John stopped what he was doing and looked over at Jordan.

“So, here’s what we’re going to do” he told Jordan.  “You’re going to grab whatever food and drink you would like right now and for the rest of the night, you will be down in your basement being as quiet as the little mouse that you are.  I’ve decided that I want to relax and you are definitely in my way of doing that.  Now, Jordan, I want you to trust what I’m about to say to the depths of your entire being, okay?”

Jordan stayed silent keeping eye contact with John and just nodded once in acknowledgment.

“If you make one sound, I will hear it.  You will sit in one place for the rest of the night and only stand up when necessary.  If I hear too much movement…infact, if I hear anything out of the ordinary, I will kill you.  Don’t underestimate what I’m saying to you for even a second.  My hearing has become attuned to the most subtle of movements over the years and I promise I will rip you to shreds if you try anything, understand?”

“I understand” Jordan replied.  “I’m not going to give you any trouble, John.  My home is yours tonight.  Take whatever you want.  This is my own fault.”

“You’re damn right it’s your own fault but atleast you understand and seem to have learnt from it.  That’s one thing you have going for you that the others didn’t, Jordan.  I have a good feeling about you, young man.  I think you will be the first to see the light of day.  You see, the others underestimated me.”

They both stood leaning against the kitchen counters, staring at each other.  Two men with nothing in common except a new understanding.  First impressions had faded away.

Jordan spent the night lying on a couch in his basement.  In the morning, he headed up the stairs, exactly as he’d been instructed and faced a new day.  He knew he would never see John again and was thankful for that but also for what he had gained…a new perspective.  He would never look at life or the people he encountered the same way again.

Calls were made and his vacation began.  He packed and prepared the house, leaving the front lawn to be mowed last.  As Jordan pushed the mower down the driveway, he saw Abbey, his neighbor leaning into a silver Mercedes down the street.  She caught sight of him and waved.  Jordan waved back wondering who she could be talking to along the side of the road.  The car didn’t look familiar at all……..

“Hey, Abbey!  is everything okay?” He shouted over to her

“Sure, Jordan” she yelled back “I’m just giving Cindy here some directions.  She just moved in a couple of streets away.”

Jordan saw Abbey lean into the car again talking to the new neighbor.  It looked so innocent but something about the picture bothered him.  It seemed familiar in some way.  He shrugged to himself, still feeling overwhelmed by the previous night and began his last chore before he had to catch a flight out of town.

A few minutes went by before he looked up again.  Abbey was gone and then it hit him.  He stopped mowing and ran over to her house, ringing the door bell a few times.  There was no answer.  Could she have taken off somewhere with the new neighbor?  “Oh well”  he thought to himself.  “It couldn’t be what I thought! It was a nice looking woman in the drivers seat.  I’m just being paranoid.”

Jordan caught his flight, landed in Hawaii, and settled into his hotel room with a nice cold beer that evening.  It was then, turning on the evening news that he learned of Abbey’s death.   

 

Moonlight Run

Jordan sat in front of the television watching the news.  He laced up his running shoes as he listened to the latest on the drive by vanishings.  There had been a lot of women across the country going for late afternoon walks, never to be heard from again.

Most of them had been seen leaning into expensive cars, or standing close by, appearing to give directions.  Neighbors or onlookers never thought anything of their last glimpse…until much later.

Jordan shook his head in disgust at this latest trend.  “How could so many weirdos like this be out there?  Where did they get the cars and what was happening to these women?  It’s obviously way more than one person doing these kidnappings”  Jordan thought as he grabbed his keys and headed out the door.

The sun was just making its last appearance, peeking through the clouds after a grey rainy day.  Jordan began making his way through the neighborhood, grateful for the late summer cool down the downpour gifted.  He had been running through the nearby forest lately for added shade and privacy.  He lived in an upscale yet eccentric neighborhood.  Lot’s of artists mixed in with professionals added to the activity in the evenings.  Jordan enjoyed this but sometimes missed his days living a more solitary life up in the mountains.

As Jordan entered the forest, a last patch of sunlight burst through the trees.  He stopped for a moment, turning his face into the light, listening to the birds chirp happily and flutter through the trees to settle in for the night.  “What a lovely evening” he thought to himself as he took off into the shadows……

Again