Her head was hurting. She tried to open her eyes, but her eyelids seemed so heavy. She could hear voices, like from afar. Her mouth was dry and she could not lift her arm. What had happened? Where was she? She couldn’t remember what she had been doing before she ended up here. She could hear alarm bells and whistles as they rang throughout her brain. She could feel the goosebumps emerge on her flesh as the hair on the back of her neck stood up. She felt sleepy and weak but she was determined to know what was happening to her. She did not know if she’d yelled at herself, but she did hear her words echoing through her mind, “Open, dammit, open!!” Continue reading
He tried to be as still as possible, peaking through the leaves, wondering if they were still out there. Never in his wildest fantasies did he think that bird watching would lead him to this. When he was just a child he begrudged his grandfather’s weekly ventures into nature’s unpopulated greenbelts, especially when grandfather insisted on dragging him along. It was boring, sitting quietly, looking through binoculars for hours at a time, waiting for that rare or unknown species to hop into their field of vision. He’d much preferred to be at home with Grandmother working on his numbers and letters, cooking, even doing chores would have been better than sitting around doing nothing. Sure, the outdoors were beautiful, the sounds relaxing and the feel of the breeze refreshing, but he wasn’t interested in birds, certainly not to the extent of wanting to hang around for hours waiting for a bird that might never show up. Continue reading
Sitting on the rock, his feet dangling in the water. It was the place he could relax, where all the pressure was lifted off his shoulders. He wished, he could share it with her though. While his eyes scanned the ocean he wondered where she would be right now, what she was doing and whom she was with.
Caroline was never far from his thoughts. From the very first moment he caught her smile, heard her laugh, he was smitten. Such an old-fashioned word, “smitten,” but it fit. For Caroline, he did not feel the great pang of lust that had mislead him toward doomed relationships with tragic women. Caroline was different than any woman he’d ever known and when it came to thoughts of Caroline really all he wanted was just to hold her hand, have long talks, laugh, smile, share… and maybe if he was really lucky, make a life together, not today, but someday. Continue reading
She was about to board the plane, close to tears and confused. He had brought her to the airport and the goodbye was not easy. They were only friends, but it felt like so much more. She knew what she felt for him, but she also knew it would not be possible. He had only just lost his wife 10 months ago and was still grieving. Although there was some kind of chemistry between them, it could just not be. Probably she made it all up. But what if there was more? What if there was love? Would it be possible? She would never find out if she would set foot on the plane which was due to take her back to the other side of this planet.
Everything seemed to be working against her. Maxima had been a good woman, a good teacher, a friend. It was not until the Persistent Pestilence took Maxima from them that she had even met Minutea, but there he had been, standing tall and beautiful, with tears running quietly down his face as he glanced down into the unseeing eyes of his now expired mate. It was at that moment that she understood that this was the man her heart had been seeking, the man who held all the qualities she longed for in a mate. She had spent her entire life dreaming of this man, a man who was complete and self-assured, strong and yet tender and sensitive, wise and intelligent yet funny and goofy too. And now when she had finally ripened and would be allowed to spread her legs and attract her mate it was too late. It was too late because the man of her dreams had already been shackled to Maxima, her teacher, and once shackled the yoke is permanent. Or at least that is the way it used to be before the last Turning. Continue reading
They were standing on top of the mountain, overlooking the valley and the ocean. It was hard to believe that they were here after all they’ve been through. Their struggles of the past ten months were something her parents said she and Troy would never be able to overcome and yet she believed in Troy and she believed in her marriage. They loved each other passionately (her friends said too passionately).
But wait! Maybe it wasn’t hard to believe, after all! Love conquers all, Alyssa knew that in her heart-of-hearts. In fact, that was the mantra that has kept her going through the difficult times. They had not even been married a year yet. Marriage takes getting used to, it takes commitment and it takes compromise. She just hadn’t been agreeable enough, she knew this. After all, Troy had told her this on numerous occasions. She had everything she needed to live and breathe, she had Troy. He was her best friend, her confidante and he knew how to take care of her and keep her safe. Continue reading
He looked around. Where did she go? She was just standing next to him and now she was no longer there. Panic started to take over! How could he have lost her! How could she have disappeared so quickly? And how would he be able to find her again here and now?
They had not prepared for this! In his wildest imagination he never really thought they were onto something. It was true that Sheila was smarter than he was, it was also true that sometimes he felt emasculated by her. He was the follower in the relationship and his family had lost respect for him because of it. But she loved him and he loved her and, besides, he owed her. Continue reading
How was it possible that she ended up here? She was so careful, followed the rules and took no risks whatsoever. But here she was nevertheless, stuck on this cot looking through the cold steel bars of justice.
When had she stopped following her own instincts? her own morals? the rules her family taught her, which she had chosen to embrace as her own? When had she stopped being her own woman and become the backup player of someone else’s life?
She understood it and yet she understood none of it. She understood that it was her desire for Ben to love her wholly and completely that had driven her to accept so many things about Ben that her friends couldn’t understand and that she knew her parents wouldn’t approve of. It wasn’t as if the only difference between his life and her own was his lack of religious upbringing. Her parents wouldn’t mind too much about that, it was the choices that he made day-to-day, the choices that she stood by and watched, or worse yet, participated in. Like the choice they’d made earlier that day, the choice that landed her here in this cell on this old, urine-stained cot and Ben in the morgue. Continue reading