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aditus

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Everything posted by aditus

  1. aditus

    Elephant In the Room

    Thank you, Gary!
  2. aditus

    Elephant In the Room

    Thank you for the comment, Puppi! It's good to be back.
  3. aditus

    Elephant In the Room

    Spikey! It's baby steps and thank for the kind words!
  4. aditus

    Elephant In the Room

    Thank you for having me.
  5. aditus

    Elephant In the Room

    Thank you, Cole! Especially for inviting me in.!
  6. Elephant in the Room “You look like shit. AGAIN.” Dean didn’t need to look to know who had parked their butt on his desk, effectively crumpling the open Miller files. “Good morning to you too, Anni!” Seeing her sitting on their most important client’s documents, he immediately pushed at his colleague slash best friend. “Lift your behind, would you?” Anni scoffed before she placed an extra-large latte beside the keyboard. “Hard night?” Anni rolled her eyes and finally leaned back so Dean could pull the papers out from under her. He immediately tried to flatten the worst creases with his flat hand. “You will explain this to the boss woman.” “I wish.” Dean leaned back into the chair, and rubbed his eyes until his reading glasses sat askew on his nose and constricted his breathing. “What is up with you? You look as if you haven’t gotten much sleep since Monday.” Dean stared at the steam billowing over the coffee, quickly hiding a massive yawn behind his hand. “Dean?” When he still hadn’t said one word she asked, “Is something going on with your mother?” “What? No.” “Did you visit with her on Sunday?” “Yeah.” “Does the new routine we talked about a few months ago help her?” “Yes, I bought a bright colored bowl and placed it on the table beside the door as you suggested. She mostly remembers to put her keys and wallet into it when she comes home now from walking the dog. This is why she doesn’t have to search the whole place for them when she goes out again. The neighbors agreed to keep spare keys in case she forgot to take hers. My brother hired a cleaning lady, but Mom didn’t like her. She even accused her of stealing, so my sister in law goes over there once a week now.” “Did you talk with her doctor?” “It isn’t Alzheimer’s as we thought.” “Oh?” “After my father passed away six years ago, our mother managed to do to herself what she feared the most since her own mother suffered from Alzheimer’s. Mom simply drank her brain away, which has the same effect as the illness. I can’t believe Mason and I feel never noticed my mother’s drinking habit.” “Is that why you sleep so badly?” “No, it has nothing to do with that I’m just having the same fucking dream every night which drives me crazy : I’m in my mother’s kitchen and look out the window. She stands beside me and together we watch an elephant herd milling about in her backyard. Eventually she tells all their names and points out her ‘favorite girl’, Clarissa, and asks me to play with her, so I go out and lift up the elephant as if it weighed nothing. Mom claps her hands in glee, so I put it on the tip of my finger, cock my hip, and swirl my hand around until Clarissa starts to spin. I’m so glad I can finally make Mom happy again until the elephant begins tumbling down, and buries me under its huge body. I always wake up at four am gasping for air, tangled in my sheets with my head under the pillow. I can never get back to sleep after that which is why I end up cleaning the apartment, doing laundry, or sorting my books alphabetically.” “Do you want me trying to read that dream for you?” Dean vehemently shook his head. “No thank you!” “I have another idea. How about you sleep at my place tonight? My apartment totally needs a thorough cleaning and I have tons of laundry.”
  7. aditus

    GA's Newest Promising Author: Aceinthehole

    Congratulations!
  8. aditus

    Sit with Me

    Sit with me, a cat on each knee , watching them wrinkle their noses at coffee and cheesecake. Later then we might agree that vampires will want a red smoothie when they awake, and we observe the black dragon soaring through the blue sky.
  9. Thinking about buying an ice cream maker/machine whatever..

    1. Show previous comments  6 more
    2. Timothy M.

      Timothy M.

      No, of the ice cream you make. Then we can 20.gif  20.gif

    3. clochette

      clochette

      I'll have chocolate and strawberry, please ;)

    4. Valkyrie

      Valkyrie

      Mmm ice cream :D 

  10. aditus

    Berlin Last Summer

    I can see Matthias meticulously planning this in the hope of finding that Heinrich is still his. I like what you did with the prompt.
  11. aditus

    Chapter 25 - What'll I do...

    Argh, you're always doing this to me, Cole... Very well written but I would have hoped for dash of hope, big fan of Pandora's box here
  12. aditus

    NaPoWriMo 2018 Week Three

    16. is still upsetting me.
  13. aditus

    one year later

    From the album: Mini-Mini-Cats

    The kitties are one year
  14. aditus

    Mini-Mini-Cats

  15. aditus

    Chapter 10

    I'm sorry you have to wait some more, I became ill in August and spent the last months in a hospital.
  16. aditus

    NaPoWriMo 2018 Week One

    First I'd like to thank you for giving me the chance to participate in NaPoWriMo in a way. I love what you made from my list. Like the others Anomia touched me in a special way. My favorite is the first, it spoke to me, I said yes when I read it, and had to explain to R why I did it.
  17. A short poem:

    After Dark

    You were with me my entire life, always whispering words to me, made me listen to the craziest stuff, showed me pictures of people whose stories yet had  to be told, fragments of poems that needed to be written but you left.

    Silence.

    Never been this lonely.

    This morning tentative lips touched the shell of my ear, warm breath wafted over sensitive skin, while a familiar voice gave me these words.

     

    On my way back.

    1. Show previous comments  11 more
    2. Defiance19

      Defiance19

      Adi, good to hear from you. you’ve been missed!!! :hug:

    3. aditus

      aditus

      Thank you for your kind words my friends and for welcoming me back. It's a good feeling to learn I've been missed.

      It's so motivating and I am happy to report that I am writing again, with  Val's and Cole's help

    4. Renee Stevens

      Renee Stevens

      Glad to see you back, A!!!!!

  18. aditus

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ADITUS!!!

    guys. You made my day! Thank you so much! Iam not much around, sorry. Iwas diagnosed with AML in August. Since then I'm fighting the illness supported by Valkyrie warrior spirit and another friend helps me kicking it to the curb although she has a bad knee. I look into the smiling faces of two very good friends who did a scavenger-hunt through all my stories! I intend to be more around soon.
  19. aditus

    Halloween Winners & Reveal

    congratulation tim and Dodger! Thanks GA and thanks to my awesome team!
  20. aditus

    Chapter 1

    “Laura knew someone—something—was following her, but all she heard was her own heartbeat drumming frantically inside her head and the clacking of her high heels on the asphalt. She sped up until she was almost running across the empty parking lot. Wrestling the keys out of her huge purse, she desperately pressed any buttons until finally a resounding ‘plop’ signaled the locks had opened. She yanked the door open, threw herself into the driver’s seat, and only felt safe again after the next ‘plop’ told her she had successfully sealed herself inside her car.” No one around the bonfire moved, not even to sip at the beers in their hands. Everyone’s gaze was riveted on Dirk, whose deep, compelling voice was only interrupted by the occasional crack of the burning embers which sometimes resulted in showers of sparks. When Ollie saw Zach slowly creeping up behind Hailey, he quickly hid his grin behind his hand. Then he elbowed Frank to shut him up. Obviously, he had seen Zach too and was about to warn Hailey. No way was he going to let him spoil the best part of Dirk’s scary story. “With trembling hands, Laura inserted the key. Luckily, the engine started on the first turn. One gaze into the rearview mirror and her whole body froze. Eerie green eyes looked back at her, and an ice-cold hand closed over her throat.” At the exact moment Dirk said ‘throat’, Zach’s hand gripped Hailey around her neck. Her high-pitched screams were exactly what Ollie had been waiting for. Even a few minutes later, everyone was still heaving with laughter—except for Zach, who was rubbing his sore arm, glaring daggers at Hailey. “This hurts like a motherfucker, bitch!” “Serves you right, ass!” Hailey slapped Zach again so hard he fell on his back. “I almost pissed myself when you gripped my throat! How did you get your hands this cold?” “I dipped them into the ice bucket!” “Shit, my heart is pounding out of my chest!” Hailey looked at the others who were still snickering and she grinned. It had been a good prank; she had to give it to Dirk and Zach. “One of you will walk me to my car later.” She pointed with her finger first at Dirk, then at Zach. “And check the backseats!” “We’re totally for checking her backseats, right?” Dirk slapped Zach on the arm, who pushed back at him and soon both were rolling around in the dirt. Ollie grinned at his friends. For many years, he had watched them pulling off something similar, always scaring the new girls on All Hollow’s Eve with their creepy stories and live performance, as they called it. “Hey, SWAT! Cool costume.” Ollie thought her name was Breanna. She ran a finger over the fastenings of his Kevlar vest. “I choose you to drive me home.” “His name is Ollie, and he just came in his work clothes, the lazy fucker!” Zach grinned at him. “You really are with SWAT? This isn’t just a costume?” Breanna’s eyes got big. “How cool is that?” Then she turned to Dirk. “So much better than a lowly firefighter in a cowboy costume.” Then her gaze was back on Ollie. “There must be some spine-chilling, authentic story you could tell us instead of that lame shit Dirk is sprouting every year.” “Hey! It worked, right? Hailey’s bloodcurdling screams shocked the wildlife out of their furry pants. I think I saw a squirrel dropping down in shock right over there.” “Yes, but only because you had help.” Hailey batted her eyes at Ollie. “So? About that story Breanna just asked for. I’m ready to get all frightened again.” “Back off, H! That one is mine. You already scored Zach and Dirk!” Breanna mock-glowered. “Ollie, I never knew you worked the streets, fighting the bad guys. That’s so cool.” An authentic creepy story... Ollie frowned, then his gaze fell on some friends who were just coming down the dirt path leading to the fire. He mouthed ‘Late as always’, but they just shrugged before they sat down across from him, and Ollie thought, Why not?. “I always wanted to be part of SWAT. After I graduated with a degree in criminal justice, one of my instructors came to me with a deal I couldn’t resist. Two years of serving as a conventional police officer in a small town that had trouble finding people who were willing to work there, and then he would get me into SWAT training. Of course, I agreed, and a few weeks later I arrived in Hollies Fork.” “Seriously? Hollies Fork?” Zach snickered. “Yep. And it gets better. Their police station is so tiny, it’s tucked into a side wing of the community center. The entire staff consisted of Chief Wagner, Officer Kristen Holloway and then me. Kristen’s husband worked as an EMT, which was why she stayed even after her two years were over.” “Idyllic.” Frank grinned. “It sounds like my hometown, and I just remembered why I couldn’t get away fast enough.” “Dispatch was handled by two lovely older ladies, Daisy and Elsie.” Frank shook his head. “No way! You’re making this up!” “Nope. Our main offenses were DUIs, livestock theft, domestic violence, and traffic accidents. The traffic accidents happened because of a busy highway nearby.” “You must have been bored out of your mind!” “I had to follow Kristen the first few months to learn how things were done in Hollies Fork, and after that they let me do my own patrols. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds.” “Any hot girls?” Frank mocked. “Probably.” “What do you mean ‘probably’? You do have eyes, right?” “He doesn’t swing that way, Breanna.” Frank watched her mulling over his words. “You’re gay? Damn!” Breanna pouted. “I thought I could snatch up a hot SWAT officer tonight.” Zach promptly wrapped his arm around her shoulder. “I parked my car near Hailey’s. We can watch her and Dirk ‘checking the backseats’, maybe do some checking ourselves before I bring you home.” “Fuck off!” Breanna still snuggled into Zach’s arm, making him wink at Ollie victoriously. “What about Chief Wagner? Was he hot?” Of course, Dirk had to ask that. He knew him too well. “I’ll let you judge that yourself. During one of our afternoon meetings, I reported that members of the school’s baseball team had beaten up another boy just because they thought he was gay.” “Uh-oh.” “Do you know what his answer was, Frank?” Ollie let his voice turn low and mean. ‘It was that little faggot, the Baker boy, right? You would think owning the auto shop, his father had better control over him. I hope you didn’t get involved too much. The kids will handle these things much better than us.’ ” Zach interrupted him. “You are making that up.” Ollie shook his head. “I wish. Kristen just looked away. I think she was embarrassed at least. Daisy, on the other hand, murmured something about ‘not right to lay with another man’, and I knew to better not let my preferences slip out accidentally. I also decided to have my eyes on the boy—Ryan Baker. I did a lot more patrolling around school and at the outskirts of town. Ryan was smart enough to stay on the main streets, and the other kids knew not to mess with him when I was there.” “So this really still happens.” Zach shook his head. “You would think we are past this shit.” Everyone was staring at the fire, until Breanna finally said, “This is all well and good, but when are you getting to the scary part?” “On Halloween—” “Aww...that’s more like it!” Breanna tugged at Zach’s arm and wrapped it around her. “On Halloween it was all men on deck. The whole town always went haywire. We had illegal fireworks, DUIs, underage drinking, and property vandalized. That year, someone smashed the window of the auto shop.” “Ryan Baker’s father’s auto shop?” Frank asked knowingly. “Yep. I was on the way to an abandoned hotel outside of town when it happened. The former ‘Hollies Fork Inn’ was a mere ruin, but the kids loved to party there away from their parents’ prying eyes, and the Chief sent me there to make sure it didn’t get out of control. You can guess my astonishment when I met several cars packed with teenagers, barreling down the road back to town. They only slowed down briefly when they saw my car, but then bolted down the road again as if the devil was after them. My first thought was that someone must have managed to spook them pretty good, and I couldn’t suppress a grin, especially as one of the drivers had been the leader of the boys who had beaten up Ryan.” “So, you reached the hotel—” Breanna urged. “Shush, Brea!” “Shush yourself, Dirk!” Ollie grinned. “When I reached the hotel, everything was suspiciously quiet. All what was left of the Halloween party were some empty cans, a few bags of chips, and a not-quite extinguished fire. I got my torch light out and searched around until the beam lightened the parking lot. One car was still sitting there, a car I hadn’t seen in town, and believe me, I would have noticed it.” “Bah! Get to the point already!” Even Zach was getting impatient. “It was an old, dented 1954 Cadillac Eldorado. It was covered in dust and dirt, as if someone had just dug it out or found it in a barn. When I came closer, I saw that it must have been red once, and even the license plates were still there. As it was routine, I shone the light inside and almost dropped it. Two mummified bodies were sitting in the front seats—” “Oh my God!” Breanna slapped a hand over her mouth. “What do you mean ‘mummified’?” Dirk looked intrigued. “Like dried skin stretched over mummies’ bones—” “No!” Hailey cuffed Dirk. “Would you shut up?” “You’re kidding, right?” Frank grinned incredulous. “It was a setup, right?” “That’s what I thought too. They couldn’t be real bodies. I looked around, shone the light between the bushes and along the walls of the hotel, the whole time expecting someone to come out of hiding, laughing their ass off. How they had not only scared the kids but a cop too, you know? Only, nothing happened.” “You mean, they actually were real bodies?” Hailey whispered. “I walked around the car and finally stopped at the driver’s side. The man—I was sure it was a man by then because of his clothes—had his hands on the head of the other, who was lying across his lap. Well, what was left of his hands.” “W-what was left of his hands?” Breanna was almost sitting on Zach’s lap. “The driver’s bones were broken in several places; his right hand didn’t have one finger intact.” “Oh my God!” Hailey burrowed her face against Dirk’s chest, waving her hand in Ollie’s direction. “Go on.” “I looked around again. This had to be a Halloween prank, right? It explained perfectly why the kids had run back to town like scared rabbits. Still not trusting the bodies were real, I fetched some gloves and—touched the shoulder of the driver.” “No, you didn’t!” Breanna shook her head. “Of course I did. I even sniffed at them.” “Ew!” Frank grimaced, and after hesitating briefly he asked, “How did they smell?” “Ew, Frank!” Hailey slapped Frank. “How can you ask something like that?” “What—” “They smelled like decay, old and weathered, but still...decay.” “So, they were genuine bodies?” Dirk perked up. “Yes.” Zach frowned. “What pervert would do that?” “Back then, I thought that someone must have found the car buried in the dunes outside the hotel and thought it would be funny to scare the kids. The desert there is extremely dry—dry enough to naturally mummify dead bodies. I took out my camera and took several pictures, all the while expecting someone to jump out of the woodwork shouting, ‘Prank!’. After that, I freed the license plates of the dirt, and ran the plates through the system. It took a while, but then I knew the car belonged to Ralph Hanson, 34, the owner of the local gas station, who had gone missing without any trace in 1954.” “You stumbled on an old murder case? I can’t believe it.” Zach glared at Ollie. “Why didn’t you ever tell me this story before?” “Does it matter?” Frank rolled his eyes, then he turned to Ollie. “Was one of them the missed Ralph Hanson? And who was the other one?” Ollie grinned at Frank’s impatience. “The remaining clothes suggested they were both male, which was all I knew at that moment.” “So, what did you do next?” Ollie looked at Frank. “At that moment? I still wasn’t one hundred percent sure I had a real case and my colleagues wouldn’t laugh their asses off at my gullibility, but I reported in my finding. Half an hour later, Chief Wagner reached the scene. He took one look at the car and the bodies, and called the coroner. I told him we had to secure the scene first, investigate more, call in the Feds maybe, but he didn’t want to hear any of that.” Dirk put down the beer he was drinking. “What? He just wanted to ignore a possible murder case?” “Yep. Without taking any additional pics, he let the coroner collect the bodies and had the car towed to the local junkyard, all the while lecturing me this wasn’t CSI Miami but reality. It was a cold case, much too late to find out what had happened.” “But how did he explain the car sitting in the parking lot all of a sudden?” Frank asked incredulous. “The same way I did; someone found it and thought it was a good idea to scare the kids. It was Halloween, after all.” “Someone!?” Breanna threw her hands up. “It was disrespectful towards those two people. How can he let someone get away with using murdered people for a prank?” “And it’s illegal!” Frank threw a twig into the fire. “What an asshole!” “The next day it was all over town; after more than sixty years, the police had found Ralph Hanson’s car. Everyone was sure that he was one of the bodies. Curiously, no one had any suggestions about the other person, though. Then I overheard Daisy and Elsie whispering rumors that included my favorite word again: faggots.” “Oh, no!” Hailey exclaimed. “They were killed because they were gay.” “Chief Wagner proclaimed that a misguided individual must have found the car by accident and thought it would be funny placing actual skeletons in the old parking lot of the hotel on Halloween. He said he wouldn’t condone such behavior, and he would ensure the bodies would be buried honorably. He said nothing about trying to find out their identity, or how they died. When I complained about the proceedings, I was informed that should I make a scene, I could forget my recommendation for SWAT.” “And you actually let it go?” Dirk snapped. “I’d thought better of you!” “What do you think? Those men had been murdered, and no one was interested in finding out how or why. That—and I was sure Chief Wagner knew something, seeing how fast he swept everything under the rug. The next evening, I drove to the old hotel to do some investigating on my own. Something was very wrong, and I couldn’t simply let the matter rest. I had this feeling I needed to do something.” “Good!” Dirk nodded. “I sat in my car and stared at the hotel. Suddenly, a man came out. He was about six foot two, with black hair, wearing black slacks, and a white button-down shirt that was splattered with blood. I knew him from old pictures I had seen that morning.” “Oh my God!” Breanna grabbed Zack’s hand and quickly wrapped his arm around her shoulders again. “Ralph Hanson!” “Is this where the ghost story starts?” Frank narrowed his eyes at Ollie. “Tell me you’re kidding!” “I got out of the car and Ralph stopped his approach. I remember thinking he really was a handsome guy in that rakish kind of way. When he knew he had my attention, he turned around without a word walking back to the hotel, while making a gesture with his hand for me to follow him.” “And you did.” Ollie nodded at Dirk’s question. “I did. We went through the lobby, which didn’t look as it had the day before. There was the dusty reception desk, wilted flowers in a vase, and some chairs and end tables in disarray. The whole hotel seemed only to have been closed recently. There was a feeling people had just left.” “Ralph took the stairs to a room on the third floor. There were dozens of flickering candles, a bottle of wine sitting in a cooler, and two glasses set next to some blankets on the floor. A younger man came out of what might have been the bathroom. He totally ignored me and went right into Ralph’s arms and kissed him passionately.” Zach lifted his hand. “Wait! Is there some sort of time travel going on now all of a sudden?” “I wouldn’t say time travel but maybe a flashback. I believe Ralph showed me what had happened at the hotel all those years ago.” “A flashback?” Zach lifted an eyebrow. “Now you’re inventing things, right?” Breanna shushed him. “Of course not! Ralph’s ghost needed Ollie to know. Now shut up already, I want to know what happened to them.” “You—” “Shut up!” Then she waved her hands at Ollie. “Go on!” “I was standing there watching them kiss, when a hard knock on the door interrupted them. It sounded as if several fists were pounding on the door. Both men froze. I guess they already knew what that meant for them. Ralph shoved the younger man out to the balcony. ‘Take the fire escape, Darrell. Hurry!” ‘I won’t leave you, Ralph!’ ‘You must. Quick! Penny said she would cover for me. Just tell them I’m waiting for her!’ The door was shaking in its hinges by then, and finally Darrell went to the balcony and grabbed the fire escape ladder, not a minute too soon. At least five men, armed with baseball bats and logs, pressed into the room. Seeing them, Ralph drew himself up and forced a smile on his face. ‘Chief Wagner! What can I do for you?’ ” “Chief Wagner!?” Zach frowned. “That can’t be. The man must have been too old—” Ollie stopped him by lifting his hand. “I’ll come to that. “ He took in a deep breath. “Chief Wagner hit Ralph in the face without warning. ‘Shut up, faggot!’ Then he looked around. ‘Where is the mayor’s son? Where is Darrell?’ Before Ralph could get another word out though, the men brought down their weapons on him. I tried to help, but I was just there as a witness, frozen in place, and forced to watch. By now, Ralph was lying on the floor, trying to protect himself with his arms, when his gaze was suddenly on me. I could hear his voice in my head: ‘Chief Wagner, Mayor Emerson, Edwin Meyer, Donald Muller, Wallace Green. Protect Ryan and Tyler! It is happening again.’” “Oh my God, Ollie!” Breanna’s hand gripped his arm. “That must have been so horrible, seeing that and not being able to do anything!” “One of the men was out on the balcony, bending over the railing. ‘He’s running into the dunes. Maurice and Gerald are on him.’ “There I was, helplessly watching them beating up Ralph without mercy, their intent clear; they came to kill. They stomped on his hands, broke his fingers, thrashed his arms and legs, kicked him between his legs, and I could do nothing but cry for him.” Ollie swallowed. “It could have stopped there, but it didn’t. I heard yelling from the outside. Pleading. And I realized I could move again. I ran down the stairs, out of the hotel. What I saw made my blood run cold: Darrell was on his knees, begging two men for his life, only to have them cruelly shoot him in the head.” By now, the girls were crying. Even the guys were secretly swiping tears from their faces. “After the ugly deed was done, the men piled into their cars as if nothing bad had happened. They were actually joking around and slapping each other’s backs.” “This is so horrible.” Hailey was sobbing. “I sat beside Darrell, but not able to touch him as my hands ran right through him. Watching the light of his life slowly fading from his eyes was the worst thing I had ever seen. When I heard noises behind me, my first thought was that the men had come back, but it was Ralph limping over to us.” “I thought he was dead!” Breanna exclaimed. “As did I. I don’t know how he even managed to live after the beating he took, let alone walking down the stairs. He sat down beside Darrell, took his hand in his, and we quietly cried for the senselessness of his death, the ignorance, the injustice. My heart broke when Ralph, as injured as he was, took Darrell into his arms and slowly carried him over to his car. They had smashed the windows, dented the metal, scratched the paint, and I think they even pissed on it. Ralph carefully placed Darrell into the passenger seat, then walked around the car and sat down in the driver’s seat. He pulled Darrell’s head into his lap. ‘We waited so long for you come along, Oliver. Don’t let them get away with it again. Protect Ryan Baker and Tyler Meyer. This can never happen again. Make the town see by telling our story.’ “The next thing I knew, I was sitting in my car staring at the dilapidated ruin of the hotel, with tears running down my face. The car with Ralph and Darrell was gone; everything looked exactly as it had in the morning. What should I do? I knew what I had just witnessed was what had happened more than sixty years ago. I couldn’t really call the Feds telling them two ghosts had told me about how they had been murdered years ago. So, with trembling hands, I dialed my instructor’s number.” Ollie’s friends were quietly watching him. That was when he became aware of the tears running down his face. “The next morning, Feds were swarming Hollies Fork, following an anonymous tip. Only I knew my instructor had called in some favors so they would react this quickly. Investigating the room where they had beaten up Ralph, they found traces of blood on the wall and the floor, candle stumps—and a wallet. It belonged to Darrell, the mayor’s son back then. Another team secured Ralph’s car just in time before it landed in the junkyard’s crusher. In its trunk were logs and baseball bats, one engraved with the name of the former police chief.” Dirk fished a beer can out of the cooler. “So, you want us to believe that happened for real?” “You asked for a genuine story. Anything can happen on All Hallow’s Eve when the dead can enter the world of the living.” “I just Googled Hollies Fork.” Hailey held her phone up. “It’s on their website: The Haunted Hotel Rainbow Festival. It says here they celebrate it every year in memory of Ralph and Darrell, who had been murdered in the fifties by bigoted citizens. Wow!” Zach ripped open a bag of chips. “You read that somewhere, right?” Offering it to Ollie, he said, “You never even were in Hollies Fork.” “Three of the seven men mentioned in the anonymous notice had already passed away, the old mayor among them. One finally confessed. Everything came out. After that, it was as if a dam had been lifted. Sometimes, unexplainable things happen and we just have to go with the flow. The important thing is that an old crime has been solved, and a new crime has been prevented.” “A real ghost story?” Frank grinned. Ollie smiled. “Yep.” He lifted a hand, a simple gesture of recognition to those two men who lost so much. They sat across the fire, listening to their story. The young men waved back, before Ralph and Darrell faded away. In his head Ollie heard them whisper, ‘Until next year?’ “Of course.”
  21. aditus

    Purgatory

    Bonfires and ghost stories go hand in hand, like Halloween and hauntings. Ollie's friends are telling tales, and they want to hear a real, scary story. Ollie gives them exactly what they ask for.
  22. The King's Mate series consists of three books. The first is called 'The Holly and the Ivy'. The prologue and first chapter is now life. I aim to update weekly. If I forget, remind me. Thank you to my team: Lisa, Zombie and Val. Couldn't do this with out you.
  23. aditus

    Chapter 10

    It turned out the people Diarmad had tasked with looking after Sundial House had not been as reliable as he had thought. The place was a mess. A leak in one of the upper bathrooms had gone unnoticed for too long, as a result the trickling water had destroyed part of the ceilings of the rooms below. Animals had found their way inside, some even nested in various places. A thorough inspection showed the heating was outdated and needed replacement, as well as most of the appliances in the kitchen. Normally, Simon would have organized the necessary renovations, but as that was no longer an option, Keith’s mate Lionel offered to coordinate and supervise the construction. He moved into a small hotel near the estate, with Keith frequently visiting him to help and prepare for their king’s arrival. Furthermore, furniture, art, and books were in storage, or had found other places in Diarmad’s various homes over the decades and Becca, who organized the actual move, had to collect everything and ship it to the house before she could put them back where they belonged. Overall, it took several months before Diarmad could finally move in. Even then, the construction work wasn’t entirely finished, but at least it was at a state where he could live in the main building without being bothered too much by the noise. However, one problem remained. Sundial House had too much space for one person. Diarmad didn’t need what once had been staff quarters and guest rooms. When Ronan and Becca agreed to move into the remodeled third floor, he was secretly relieved he didn’t have to live alone in the large house. To show his appreciation, he ordered a beautiful nursery, as they were expecting their first child. Keith and Lionel didn’t want to live in the main building. They instead opted to take over the remodeled storage house near the back of the kitchen. This way they lived on their own, but were still available for Diarmad. Unlike the house, the gardens were in perfect condition. Diarmad’s first mate Luis had created them, wherefore Diarmad had always made sure they were properly cared for, demanding monthly reports from the gardeners. Luis had wanted to reflect Earth’s cultural diversity, and of course Diarmad had supported the concept. Even after Luis’ death, he continually extended the gardens. His newest addition was only two years old. Seraei living in Japan had heard of his collection and sent people to create a rock and water area as a sign of their appreciation. When Diarmad walked its paths for the first time, the minimalism had instantaneously spoken to him. Diarmad felt exhausted for months. He had been having difficulties meditating. Only by emerging himself in his new garden's simplicity, he was able to find the order he had been missing. More and more frequently, he could be found sitting on a small stone bench, staring at the stylized composition of rocks, raked sand and gravel, trying to absorb every bit of calmness the landscape emanated. To the council’s continuing displeasure, he missed important meetings and negotiations. He still couldn't completely get rid of his restlessness. He thought it was similar but not quite like the feeling he had experienced in the past when he didn't have Noël around to balance his energy. Since he saw Noël several times the week, it should have been enough to ensure his calmness, but it didn’t. *** Diarmad opened the door from the library but instinctively stopped when he heard Keith’s voice in the hallway. "Mr. Ronan, Ms. Becca told me you visited the spring festival at the Music & Art Center over the weekend.” "That’s right. Becca loves festivals, and who am I to deny my pregnant wife a wish.” “How was it? What did you see?” “It was amazing! On Friday we saw this dance performance where they decorated the whole room to look like a bar in Buenos Aires. Now, imagine a fourteen-year-old girl dressed in a slim, black suit at the piano and a guy, maybe sixteen, also wearing all black, plus a very impressive hat,” Ronan chuckled, “playing the guitar accompanying two couples, who lived and breathed the tango argentine. There was grace, barely-constrained temper breaking through, only to be reined in seconds later by controlled power; it was truly impressive. “Afterwards, Becca made me sign us up for tango lessons.” “In her...er condition?” “She didn’t listen to me when I suggested waiting until the little one is born, and I stopped arguing with her these last few weeks. I don’t want to end up sleeping at the security staff quarters again. If it gets too much for her, we’ll just cancel the lessons and continue later. You offered to babysit, right?” “Any time.” “Wait until the little hellion plays an instrument. Because on Saturday, we looked into the music lab where kids of all ages could try out every instrument available at the center, even the violins..." "Oh... That must have been pretty... noisy, sir." Diarmad grinned when he heard Keith’s polite attempt of paraphrasing ‘horrible’. "Oh yeah. The little one isn't even born yet, and Becca already plans asking Noël for piano lessons." "And he would be happy to help. The young lord told me what he likes the most is teaching music to the very young. Have you talked to him there?” “No, I only saw him on Sunday at the concert he gave with Kris.” “From what I heard it, was a great success." “You didn’t go?” “No, the King had a dinner party with business associates scheduled at the same time, and even though we hired a catering service, he likes me to oversee everything.” "That’s too bad. You missed quite the show," Ronan raved. "The hall was packed, some even climbed on the shoulders of their friends to have a better view of the stage. Those two could make a lot of money if they ever decided to become professionals.” “What songs did they play?” “They mixed their own pieces with cover songs; people loved it.” “The young lord is so talented. When he still lived with us, he sometimes played his own pieces and asked me for my opinion. I always told him how good they were, but then he would laugh calling me biased.” “As an encore, they offered to sing any song the people wanted if they donated money to the center. Never in my whole life have I heard such a crude mixture: Elvis Presley’s In the Ghetto, Imagine Dragon’s Gold, Twenty One Pilots’ Stressed Out, among others. They knew almost every piece people requested, and if they didn’t, they winged it to everyone’s amusement." "I can imagine." Diarmad had heard enough and was about to close the door again, when Keith suddenly lowered his voice. "Did you stay for the last songs?" "You mean did I hear Kris serenading Noël?" What? "So it's true..." "Oh yes. They both sang one last solo. Noël played the piano and sang Love of my Life, fulfilling a girl’s request after she dropped a large sum of money into the pot. Kris, however, didn't accept any requests for his last song. He donated some of his own money and then launched into a heartrending version of I'm Your Man. To everyone in the room, it was crystal clear whose man he thought he was." "I knew it! How did the young lord react?" "I don't know. I didn't have a chance to meet him behind stage afterwards. Becca is so emotional lately; she had been brought to tears by both their last songs, so I had to get her home right after the show." After a slight pause Ronan said, “I was wondering for a while if there is something more going on between them, though.” “It was always pretty obvious that young Kristof is in love with the young Lord.” “Yes, and now that they are living together, maybe he...reciprocates Kris’ feelings?” “Well, the King moved on. Why should the young lord not follow his example?” Diarmad held his breath. There were a few moments of silence before he could hear Ronan’s voice again. "Enough gossiping! I need to get going; the King wants me to accompany him to a court meeting. Say hello to Lionel for me, will you?" "Certainly sir." Diarmad’s hand clamped around the doorframe so hard it hurt. He was paralyzed. A small voice in is head asked, What did you expect?, but he shoved it aside. This snake Kris had been after Noël the whole time... He knew it when he first saw him. All his curly, blond hair and chocolate-eyed innocence... A sudden rage pooled inside his chest, and he grabbed a vase standing on the table beside the door and hurled it into the fireplace. Watching its shards glittering in the sun, his hands began to tremble. Things couldn't go on like this, he needed to calm down and find this place in his head again where he could be rational. With this thought in mind, Diarmad rushed out of the library, totally ignoring a wide-eyed Keith, who was still standing in the hallway, and Ronan, who came out of the office enquiring about the commotion. Diarmad needed the solace of his gardens. Outside, in his small, walled-in Kare-san-sui* Diarmad inhaled deeply, then let his breath out slowly and controlled. Repeating this a few times, he finally found a steady rhythm. His mind still jumped around even though his body had become almost motionless. Since he could not calm down his mind, he slowly detached himself and attempted to watch from the outside. With his gaze fixed on the granite plate bridging rippled water raked into the sand underneath, he finally found a resemblance of order in his chaos. *** Noël's abilities were impressive, but Diarmad didn't know how strong they had become until they had to interrogate a rogue telepath. The man, Grayson, had been sent to him by a clan on the other side of the country whose best telepath couldn't get through his defenses. They had heard of Noël and hoped he could get them the proof they needed. Grayson was suspected of manipulating several humans into giving him money, transferring their land and other possessions to him, and even doing silly or embarrassing things like walking through the street naked. In order to make it legal, the council had to witness the interrogation. Diarmad was a strong telepath, but as he sat behind the one-way mirror with three other council members, he could feel nothing from Grayson; it was as if he had become mind deaf. On the other hand, they all felt a sudden probing even though the suspect was in another room and couldn’t see them. In the end, they had to set up special devices to protect themselves from having him clawing at their shields and invading their heads. Together they watched Noël strolling into the room, wearing red flip-flops, faded jeans, and a white button-down shirt with rolled-up sleeves. His hair was held back in a low ponytail. With sunglasses in his hand, he looked more like he was on his way to the beach than to interrogate a criminal. Throwing himself into the chair opposite Grayson, he leaned back and examined the man without uttering a word. Grayson tried to stay calm, but his fidgeting hands gave him away. Not being able to crack Noël's shields was obviously making him nervous. Finally his control slipped, and he drawled, "Well, well, well, what do we have here, a black triangle telepath? I met someone like you before... and I was not impressed." Not one of the council witnesses believed his nonchalance. "Mr. Grayson, you are suspected of having used your telepathic abilities to swindle humans into entrusting you with their assets and their possessions for the sole purpose of embezzling them. What do you have to say to these accusations?" "I said this already before, but I’ll say it again: these accusations are false." Noël nodded. "Mr. Grayson, I might not look like it but I am a sworn telepath in service of the King's council. If I find that these accusations are true, it will be considered synonymous with you standing convicted. You will be sentenced by the council accordingly. By confessing, however, you could obtain a more lenient sentence." Grayson grinned. He still wasn't aware of Noël's superiority. Diarmad asked himself how the man could be so dense, the fact alone that he wasn't able to read Noël should have pointed him in the right direction. Noël watched Grayson a little longer and then finally sighed. He developed this gesture of showing witnesses he was about to get behind a person's mental shields by pushing away imaginary walls with his hands. Using only minimal movements, like pointing his finger at Grayson and then swishing it to the right, holding it for a moment then to the left, he eliminated the man's protection piece by piece. One time, he even tightened his hand as if he was cracking something. It had been a good thing they bound Grayson to his chair before Noël began the procedure. When the man realized how easily Noël could break through his shields, he started to claw at the armrests, turning his head from one side to the other as if he was trying to shake Noël out of his head. By the end of the process, Noël was ghostly pale and cold sweat was running down his face; one could see what he had to do pained him almost as much as Grayson. Then suddenly, he jumped from his chair screaming, "No! I don't need to see that!" But it was too late; Noël barely lifted his hand fast enough to shield himself. His rapidly reinforced inner barrier seemed to deflect a huge amount of mental energy, which then backlashed to Grayson. The man screamed until his voice was hoarse, then his eyes went blank. He collapsed in his chair, while blood was running out of his ears, eye sockets, and mouth. Diarmad couldn't contain himself any longer. He and Cieran O’Connor stormed into the interrogation room, grabbed Noël by his shoulders, and turned him around to face them. He looked at them with wide eyes and panted," It was a fucking trap, a fucking mental mine." Grayson died within an hour without awakening from his coma. Later, Noël confirmed that the man had indeed misused his telepathic abilities as he had been accused, but he believed it all had been a set up to render the council's strongest telepath useless by overloading his brain. Someone wanted to weaken the council. The question was why... and who. *Japanese dry garden
  24. aditus

    Caesura

    After all the things happened, it's time for Noël and Diarmad to get to know each other. Right?
  25. aditus

    Chapter 9

    Right?
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