October 20, 2006


May I present to you my humble contribution to Christina's latest blogvella...

In case you missed them, you can find Christina's brilliant chapter, The Elixir, here. The second chapter, The Elixir (Part II), was exciting, and left me with much to work with. I truly enjoyed writing this dark chapter, and hope you do as well!

Don't forget to check back next week and the week after to see how Beth follows up, and Nuggets ends the spooky tale! Deal?

It never ceased to amaze him, the surprise of those who had successfully called him. That she of all people should doubthis own daughter, unbelieving, afraid, mutinous. He grinned slightly, amused and pleased. The sagging flesh of his face began to shift as he felt the need of his nearby servant.

Claude stared at his reflection in the rearview mirror, his eyes tracing the length of the ragged scar that snaked across his face, courtesy of a vicious attack by his fellow inmates. He scowled angrily. Thanks to their hypocrisy, it had been nearly impossible for him to lure the little ones away from the watchful eye of a parent, the false safety of a yard, or a busy playground.

Hed been reduced to lowering his expectations, to taking what he wanted, needed, from the children of the women foolish enough to invite him into their beds, their lives. Tolerating the women had been a necessary evil. Evilhe checked his watch, certain he had not imagined the call to serve, worried that the tires of the Jeep would sink deep enough into the mud that he would not be able to fulfill his task.

A subtle movement of the moon-lit shadows a few feet away caught his attention and he turned to see the most striking young girl approaching him. Her long, pale hair blew in the sudden wind, her slender, pre-pubescent body almost seemed to glide across the thick mud. He focused on her lips, full, pouty, seductively parted, and struggled to control his desire.

The old woman, the girl said, as she leaned her face close to his. You will be rewarded for your loyalty. Her crystal blue eyes held his, as his muscles twitched and shuddered with excitement. His eyes closed as he enjoyed the sensation. Breathing heavily through his open mouth, he opened his dark eyes when he felt her warm breath on his skin. She was gone.

He searched the darkness for her, his eyes settling on the slumped body of the old woman lying on the ground a few feet away. Fighting disappointment, he walked over to the woman and frowned. Why is she so important?


Samuel stopped, oblivious to the mud sucking at his boots. He closed his eyes and felt for her in the darkness, his heart racing with the loss of her fear. Hes among us again, he thought, his gut twisting painfully.

He had hoped to avoid this day, having stood watch the last three hundred and six years confident that his brothers and sisters would not waver in their duty. Constance had always been the weak one, unable to leave behind the old ways, angry with the reward for her sacrifice, unable to deal with the loss.

Hed loved her once, when they were young and foolish, lost to the sins of forbidden flesh, willing to sell their souls to the dark one for even more pleasure and power. He wiped a tear from his opaque blue eyes and steadied himself. This was their punishment, their salvation, to keep him from walking the earth again.

They had failed. The others had surely sensed it as he had and would join him when they could, but he knew there was little time. Once again, the burden was his. Samuel took a deep breath, and said a silent prayer as he moved deeper into the swamp, allowing the knowing, the familiarity of the walking blackness to guide him.

Within moments, he had found the small mud home Constance had been banished to. Without hesitation he entered, and took in the scents of dark magic and gun powder. The charred, limp body of the familiar lay among the broken pottery on the dirty floor. He knelt beside it, his knees aching, and gently stroked what remained of the poor cats fur as he softly chanted. His hand grew painfully warm, and his head began to pound fiercely, but he concentrated intently, smiling when he felt the small heartbeat beneath his palm.

Mortimer, she said softly. Samuel turned to see Constance standing behind him. He searched her eyes before realizing that it was he, the dark one, mimicking her form. He pushed himself to his feet, pleased when the cat rose and ran off through the open door, loudly mewling its displeasure of earlier events. Turning to face her, him, Samuel pulled his thick robe closer to himself to fight the sudden frigidity in the air.

Where is she? he asked, his teeth chattering. The dark one smiled at Samuel. He took a small step closer, and Samuel realized that Constances form had grown decades younger with that one step.

She is safe, the devil said with a grin. In the time Samuel had blinked, Constances body had grown even younger, to the way she had looked when they had been lovers. He swallowed hard, fighting the memories that flooded his mind. I want only what is mine, he snarled, distorting her once beautiful face.

That which you seek will only destroy you, Samuel hissed angrily. The woman standing before him was no more, replaced in a single beat of his heart with the dark one himself. Samuel took in the dark depths of his eyes, and clenched his teeth when he thought back to that night more than three hundred years ago. He could still see it clearly, the mixing of the seed of satan with his own, his own father, his willing sister, the way her once flat belly had shifted and distorted grotesquely as it accommodated its occupants incredible growth.

I will not give her to you, Samuel said, grateful for the first time that he did not know the whereabouts of the child. She is my daughter!

Yours, mine, ours the devil said with a nonchalant shrug of his broad shoulders. She is not yours to give. She knows her place, despite your best efforts, my son. She is coming to join me, as we speak.

Posted by *Theresa* at 11:49 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 06, 2006

The Elixir

Shuffling unsteadily, Constance made her way down the well worn dirt path as her woven leather bag dragged behind her. Despite the wobble and unnatural bend to her spine, the old bunioned feet carried her between the sprawling rows of herbs and vines she had meticulously cultivated for decades. She stopped often to allow the gnarled fingers to pinch a bit of this or pull a sprig of that. With each selection she brought it lovingly to her nose to drink in the scent of its freshness. While her eyes had long grown dim and her body creaked and popped with age, her sense of smell and the machinations of her mind remained sharp.

Once she had shopped the garden, she clucked her tongue and a smoky grey cat emerged from the brush and trained his iridescent green eyes upon her.

“Mortimer,” she addressed him, "essence of bat, old friend, and newt’s breath, if you please.”

Turning to his task, he silently disappeared as the long shadows of the day disappeared into the darkness of dusk. The gentle caress of the afternoon breeze had already changed to stinging little slaps.

“Ah,” she smiled to herself, “the Father of Darkness suspects a change may be before him.”

Shuffling with greater urgency, she collected fresh water from the well and returned home. There she stoked the fire in the massive hearth which stretched across one entire wall of her small mud abode. Emptying the leather bag on to the wooden table, she noticed faithful cat had left her a baby bat under an overturned glass. Quivering in shock, it bared its tiny razor-like teeth and intently watched her with large luminous eyes.

Picking up a glass vial, she cooed to the small creature: “All is well, poppet, no harm will come to you. I just require a bit of a donation.” With gentle hands she released the bat from his makeshift cage and cupped him in one hand. With the vial in the other, she stroked his abdomen with the back of a knuckle, then ever so slightly squeezed the fragile body. Her efforts were rewarded with a vial of sharp smelling, dark colored substance.

She twitched with satisfaction, “Oh, you are a lovely creature.” Reaching high above one of the windows, she placed him gently on a rafter before asserting: “Little fellow, you are free to stay or go, as you please. You have been generous with me, should have need of me, I am in your debt.”

The dark eyes moved from her to survey the surroundings from this new vantage. While small, the house was neatly appointed and all the windows were open. The rafters afforded shadows for darkness and all tension of threat had been removed. The bat settled in to further consider his options comfortably.

Her attentions re-directed, Constance set a special copper pot to boil and carefully began to fill it with the results of the day’s harvest. Soon the heady scent of power began to permeate the tiny room.

* * *

Standing on the outskirts of the forest which surrounded the dreaded swamp, a pair of horses swished their tails and nervously sniffed the cold and foggy air.

“It’s a fool’s errand, old man. You’ll not make it out intact, if alive.” The guide warned as he snatched a pair of reins from the tall thin man with the long and wiry beard.

“God has forsaken all who have dared enter that bit o' hell on earth,” he continued as he pulled the long knotted staff from a saddle and thrust it toward the older man.

Reaching into the deep folds of his dark robe, the ancient one extracted a gold coin and absently tossed it behind him. His eyes were blue and clouded with age, but they remained focused as he continued to silently gather the forces at his disposal to meet the maelstrom he knew would be before him.

* * *

Turning from the boiling mixture, the woman found Mortimer sitting on the table. Beneath one paw was a squirming nude little newt. With delight she squealed: “My dear Morty, you are such a gem!”

Gently scooping the amphibian into her hands she eyed him happily. “Just a breath, little one, that is all I require from you and you will be on your way.”

“Almost there, Morty, a bit more stirring, a breath from our little friend, and the stroke of the midnight hour, then our tasks shall be done.”

From the table the agile cat jumped to the floor and made his lazy way onto the rug before the fire. A long stretch and a flick or two of his tail and he relaxed into a nap.

“Silly cat,” she mumbled as she coaxed a breath from the newt into yet another vial. Once corked, she slipped it into a pocket and released the creature onto a window sill.

Checking the copper pot, she noted the mixture had cooked down. With a thick towel she cupped it between her hands and poured the contents through a sieve and collected what liquid remained into two glass orbs.

Into one she released the newt’s breath and sealed the glass. In the other, she contained a breath of her own before sealing it, as well.

Between her thumbs and forefingers, she held them up to the light and gazed incredulously from one to the other. So intense was her scrutiny, she was transported outside the confines of her venerable body. She could hear the beat of her heart pounding wildly, then fade just as the clock behind her began to strike the hour.

“Dong, dong, dong.”

Her pulse began to slow.

“Dong, dong, dong.”

The room began to spin.

“Dong, dong, dong.”

A black void opened in the hearth behind the fire.


The flames of the fire were sucked into the darkness.


Mortimer leapt from the rug just as it, too disappeared into the abyss.


Posted by Christina at 07:57 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack