Archive | September 2016

First Meeting from Fly by Night by Dellani

first meetingIn Fly by Night, I honestly hadn’t intended Elam to take the male lead. I had intended the ghostly apparition of Malachi to be the one who swept her off her feet, but it simply didn’t happen that way. Blythe met Elam and that was that, she was hooked and so was he.

“Blythe Donovan?” An orderly stood next to her with a wheelchair. He was blond, blue eyed and had lovely dimples in both cheeks. “Hello. I’m Elam, your ride to radiology,” he said with a smile. “Have a seat and we’ll head out in style.” He winked at her, his mouth twitching as he tried to suppress a grin.

“We’ll be here when you get back,” her mother said, sobbing.

Blythe said nothing until the doors closed behind her. “You’d think I’d been half killed,” she muttered. “Which is why I didn’t want Jason to call them.”

“Is Jason your boyfriend? Fiancé?”

Blythe glanced at him over her shoulder. He was tall, broad shouldered and handsome. His short, blond hair was wavy and his eyes were a mysterious shade.

“My brother. Why?”

He chuckled. “Cause you’re very pretty and I’d hate to think you’re taken.”

“The engagement ring isn’t a give away?” She wiggled her finger at him.

“Which is why I asked. So, where is the guy who goes with the ring?”

“Arlington National Cemetery.”

“Wow, walked hard into that wall. I’m so sorry.”

“Thank you.” She looked at the ring. “I suppose I should take the ring off. It’s been a year.”

“You take it off when you’re ready,” he said softly. “And I am sorry. Just, you’re the prettiest woman to roll into my ER.”

“Are you trying to ask me out?”

He chuckled, nodding. “Yeah, well—I’m a guy. Sue me.”

He swung the chair around a corner, slithered past an old man with a janitor’s cart, and guided the chair into the radiology department.

“I’ll be waiting when you’re done,” he said.

“I’d give you a tip, but I left my purse with my mother.”

He chuckled, touching his forehead as he gave a deferential bow. “I live but to serve, miss.”

“Elam, are you flirting with a patient?” the technician teased.

“You caught me. Take good care of this one,” he said with a grin.

“I’ll do my best. Scoot.”

He went into the hall, closing the door behind him.

The technician took a series of films for the doctor to examine. When she was done, she opened the door. True to his word, Elam was waiting for them. He helped Blythe settle in the wheelchair and took off at a brisk pace.

“I’d give you a tour, but I think your presence is required elsewhere.”

“Thank you. I’ve seen more of the hospital today than I’ve ever seen.”

“It’s like a rabbit warren. I know all the best places to hide from the nurses and catch a nap—”

“Or hook up with a hot nurse?”

“Don’t let Grey’s Anatomy fool you. Most of our doctors and nurses are too busy looking after the patients to hump in the on-call rooms. Believe it or not, people actually sleep there.” He gasped a little for effect, taking the last turn so quickly, the chair tipped. He never lost control, righting it safely.

Blythe gave out a little Eep of surprise. Giggling, she thanked him for the ride. He bowed again, handing her a piece of paper with his name and number neatly printed on it.

“For when you decide to take off the ring,” he murmured. “Take your time.” He kissed her hand once more, before going back through the double doors separating them from the rest of the hospital.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 19

He Thought He Saw redIt’s morning and Brian has to get up for school. He spent an uneasy night, getting very little sleep. He wakes to find it unseasonably cold and icy. Rather than walking straight to the bus stop, he stops to pick up Jordan on the way.

The wind picked up as he approached Jordan’s. The moisture in the air coalesced, forming sleet. The icy crystals flew into his face, stinging any exposed skin. A whirlwind, like a tiny tornado, paralleled his path. Adjusting its trajectory slightly, it headed right toward him, kicking up frosty grass, dirt and debris. Faster it whirled, driving straight at him.

Knowing this wasn’t natural, Brian reached into his coat, fumbling for the chain around his neck. Cold fingers grasped the iron and brass chain. It felt unnaturally hot and it glittered in the dim light of streetlights. A phrase came to his mind, whispered in his ears. It wasn’t a language he recognized, but he bellowed loudly and confidently as the growing whirlwind got closer.

He roared, throwing his coffee at it.

The miniature tornado halted in its path, ducking and wavering uncertainly. It tried to approach, but seemed to hit an invisible wall about a foot from Brian. He yelled the words again, feeling them sucked into the wind. The whirlwind shivered, backed up and tried to hit him again, this time from the side. Brian clutched his amulet, bringing it out from under his shirt. The stones and metal seared his palm, making it glow as if it were on fire. With a loud poof, the ice tornado exploded. Crystals and trash flew in every direction, but none of them reached Brian. A barrier stood between them, protecting him.

As soon as the whirlwind disappeared, Brian ran as fast as he could for Jordan’s. Heedless of the ice, he thudded up the sidewalk. He arrived at her front porch to find the lights on and the door open. He knocked on the heavy screen door. Jordan’s worried face greeted him moments later.

“Are you okay?” She opened the screen.

“I don’t know.” He sat on the bench just inside the house.

Jordan closed the door, bolting it. “I had this awful premonition. I knew you were in trouble and I was coming to help you, but I couldn’t get out. Something held the screen in place. It was like it was frozen shut. I tried all the doors and windows, same thing. Are you sure you’re okay?” Her hands moved over his body, checking him for injury.

“I’m okay. But it was close.” He told her what had happened and started to laugh. “I threw my coffee at it. Brilliant.”

Jordan giggled. “We can get more. Come into the kitchen. Mom’s up.”

“Does she know—about all this?”

Jordan shook her head. “No, but she knows something strange is happening. Like I said, she’s intuitive. I don’t think we should keep this from her.”

Brian followed Jordan into the warm, comfortable kitchen. Mrs. Barrett had made breakfast and coffee. She served Brian a huge plate of waffles, eggs and grits. He was a little disappointed to find out there was no bacon, but he wasn’t surprised to find out that the Barretts were vegetarians.

“You’re sure you’re okay?” Jackie asked after he told her what had happened to him. He left out the part about the amulet, but she found the part about hurling his coffee at the whirlwind amusing.

“Yes, ma’am. I’m fine. Shook me up some, I have to admit.”

“That’s settled. I’m taking you to school today—every day. I don’t know what’s going on, but I have a horrible feeling in my stomach.” She pursed her lips, thinking. “I’ll pick you up after school too,” she announced. “And then we will sit down and you will tell me everything. Is that clear?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Brian said, casting his eyes downward. He didn’t want to tell Mrs. Barrett, but he sensed that not only would she get the entire story from him anyway, she could probably help. There was no reason why adults couldn’t be involved. The weird events might be happening to them too, they just weren’t blogging about it. If anyone could understand and assist them, she seemed the best equipped.

It was wonderful riding to school in Mrs. Barrett’s luxurious SUV instead of the noisy, smelly bus. She played some kind of weird New Age flute music as she drove, but Brian found it oddly soothing. One tune in particular, he liked. It had a lot of drums at the beginning and a rumbling bass line that made his heart race. It stayed in his mind even after he was at school.

The main topic of conversation that morning, was the cold. Living in southern Mississippi, the residents weren’t used to weather this chilly so early in the year. It was still hurricane season, for god’s sake. They were prepared to be dodging late season storms, not battling ice.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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Red River Radio Presents What’s Write for Me with Anna, Karen and Rachel!


What’s Write for Me Wednesday, September 28, 2016 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM EDT on Blog Talk Radio


After a brief hiatus, Dellani and Christina are back! Today, Dellani will chat not only with Karen Vaughan and Anna Celeste Burke, but Christina’s alter ego – Rachel Rueben!

Join us for this fun filled chat!


New to the show, Anna Celeste Burke, author of All Hallow’s Eve Heist, Love Notes in the Key of Sea, Gnarly New Year and many more.

Also chatting with us, good friend and another Red River Radio host, Karen Vaughan, author of Jamaica Dead, Daytona Dead, Left for Dead, Holmes in America and many more.

Karen and Anna are also featured in a cooperative book set called Mysteries Gone Mad.

Rachel Rueben is an old hand at the talk show, though she’s usually the silent minority. Today, we’re making her talk about her books Hag, Eternal Bond and her newest venture, Fedelta.


He Thought He Saw – Part 18

He Thought He Saw redBrian finds a note with the necklace, in his father’s handwriting. It directs him to a book called The Encyclopedia Magicka. Curious, he decides to use his father’s laptop to see if he can find information.

He clicked the icon and opened a PDF file. It looked as if someone had scanned an old book. The pages bore the stains of time. In places, the ink was faded and nearly unreadable. Someone had written notes in the margin, explaining the text.

Another file appeared on the screen. This one was a Windows Media file. Brian clicked the arrow, starting the video. He recognized his father’s desk. This was filmed in this office. His father walked into the frame and sat. He looked worried.

“Hi, Brian. If you’re seeing this, it means I’m not there to tell you this personally. My investigation may take me away soon. Things are coming to a head. I’m guessing your mother gave you the amulet and you saw the name of the book. I also assume you came in here to look for it. Smart move. I found it myself a couple years ago. I scanned and hid it. That book holds secrets the other side can’t be allowed to find. Guard this file carefully. Share sparingly and only with those you trust completely.”

He folded his hands, leaning toward the camera. “Brian, you’re in a lot of danger. Things are changing in the world. We are coming to a time of great enlightenment—but only if the balance can be kept. I know strange things are happening. You’re probably terrified and I’m sorry I’m not there to help you. I had to weigh the choices. Leaving you won’t be easy, but investigating this further had to take precedence.”

He sighed, closing his eyes. “I’m not explaining well. You know that people talk about how the world is going to end in December in 2012. It’s not ending, but it will be changing—radically. Everything we take as real and natural—is no longer. Besides, the Encyclopedia, I’ve gathered files to help you. They are all on this computer. I’ve also loaded them onto a flashdrive. Take out the upper right drawer. It’s taped underneath.

“When you’ve watched this, I want you to erase the file. Don’t tell anyone you can’t completely trust. And if your mother tells you something, listen to her. She has amazing intuition. I’m sorry, son. You don’t deserve any of this. I wish it could be different. Read the Encyclopedia. Go through the files—quickly. You need the knowledge to help you.” He held up his hand as if trying to touch his son. “I’m sorry, Brian. I miss you terribly. I love you.” He paused for a moment before rising to turn off the camera.

With tears in his eyes, Brian erased the file. He wanted to watch it again, but he knew his father was right. Things were changing, getting crazily out of hand. He had to tell his friends immediately. He thought first of Jordan and decided to call her before he contacted the others.

Her phone rang twice and she mumbled hello. With a lurch, Brian realized he’d woken her. A glance at the clock showed him it was nearly midnight.

“Jordan, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Well, you did, so what do you need?” she didn’t sound happy, but she wasn’t angry.

“I found some information my dad left. We need to talk about it.”

“Now? Brian, it’s midnight and we have to be up for the bus at the butt crack of doom.”

“I know. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it was so late when I called you. It can wait until morning.”

“It is morning, moron.”

“I’m going to come by a little early in the morning. We really need to talk.”

“Okay. In that case, let me go back to sleep so I can be my usual perky self.”

Laughing at her, he apologized again and hung up. The idea of Jordan actually being perky amused him.

Turning serious once more, Brian retrieved the flashdrive from its hiding place. It was one of the bracelet kind that many of his classmates wore. He had one himself that was the same color and style. He put the flashdrive around his wrist and put the drawer away. He wasn’t sure what to do about the computer, but since it had been fine here until now, he decided to leave it alone. Better not to draw attention to it by moving it.

Brian set his alarm early and wrote a note for his mother before turning out his light. Sleep was hard to come by. His mind spun out of control with everything his father had, or hadn’t, told him. He wasn’t clear on details, but Brian hoped that the files he’d left would explain more.

Finally, around 3:00, he dozed off and woke to his alarm blaring at 5:30. He took a hot shower, hoping it would wake him up, and made a strong cup of coffee. He poured it in a travel mug, left the note for his mother, and headed to Jordan’s.

The air was chilly and damp. Brian hunkered lower into the collar of his coat, wishing he’d worn his beanie. His hands were so cold, he could hardly feel his fingertips. His breath hung around his head in a hazy cloud. Ice coated the sidewalk, so going was slower than usual. He had to watch carefully where he put his feet. His next door neighbors had left their outside faucet dripping. The water had run down the steep driveway and flooded the sidewalk in front of their house. Brian had to walk into the street to avoid falling on the three foot, icy patch.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Fragrance Lingers by Dellani

first meetingFortunately, for Mara Cross and Cole Bayard, their first meeting is a positive one. Mara hadn’t counted on having a vacation fling with a man she hardly knows, but there’s something special about Cole that she can’t quite put her finger on.

At the beach, Mara is doing her best to lose her mid-winter pallor. She’s got her fruity umbrella drink, her sunscreen and a few days worth of time to kill.

Mara tipped the chair up slightly and took out her book. It was a science fiction novel she’d been hoping to read for some time, but hadn’t gotten past the first few pages. She flipped back to the beginning and started reading. She was just getting into the story when a volleyball landed heavily in her lap, dropped to the ground beside her and knocked over her drink.

Mara looked up angrily and saw a man waving to her apologetically. He was medium height and build, with medium length, medium brown hair. He trotted up the beach, hand extended.

“I’m so sorry,” his tone was sincere with a hint of a Southern accent. “I guess my friend hit it harder than he needed to. We haven’t played in years, but he still thinks that he’s the king of the spike.”

He pointed down the beach to a short, squat, freckled, redheaded man in orange swim trunks. He looked embarrassed and his face was so red, it rivaled his hair.

“Sorry about that!” He called. He had a distinctive East Texas twang.

The man next to her picked up the volleyball in one hand. “Cole Bayard,” he extend the hand not holding the ball.

“Mara Cross. Who’s your pal?”

“He goes by Red Gilroy. Bet you can’t guess why.”

Mara chuckled, glancing at the man standing over her. He was better looking up close and had a firm chin and well toned physique. His navy blue swim trunks had big, white tropical flowers on them and rode low on his hips. What really caught her attention was the tattoo on his abdomen just below his navel.

All she could see were two brightly colored serpent’s heads intertwined, facing one another. She wondered how low the tattoo went below the level of his shorts. Shaking her head slightly, she realized he was speaking to her again. Blinking, she looked up at him, trying hard to focus.

“I’m sorry. I guess I’ve got a little jet lag.”

Cole grinned flashing even white teeth in his tanned face. “No problem, Miss Cross. I was just apologizing again for the volleyball. We didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“Not a problem. Call me Mara. Miss Cross sounds too much like work. I’m here to forget the office, not burrow deeper into it.”

Cole bounced the ball back and forth absently as if he were trying to make up his mind about something. “Mara, would you like to join Red and me for dinner?”

“Oh, well… I don’t know… It’s just….”

“I know, it’s abrupt, but we know some of the less traveled night spots. I’m here about six months out of the year and Red comes down fairly often. I sideline as a tour guide. It gives me something to do to take my mind off the office.” He said with a completely straight face.

“I’d like that, actually,” Mara decided. She was determined to enjoy herself. Dinner in a public place sounded harmless enough.

“Super! We’ll pick you up at six o’clock. Dress casually, the fancy spots are for tourists.” Grinning, he saluted her and ran back down to where Red was standing.

Cole moved with easy, unaffected grace, running effortlessly through the sand. When he got back to Red, he popped the ball hard over the net. It landed in his friend’s outstretched hands. Mara watched them play until they went back into the hotel together.

It was nearly one when Mara finally left the beach and went back to her room. A note had been slipped under her door. She opened it and grinned. It was covered in a sloppy scrawl.

“I continue to be sorry about the volleyball, but I’m very glad I met you. I look forward to dinner. Cole.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 17

He Thought He Saw redWhile they are talking, Maribelle tells Brian to go to her room for a jewelry box. He brings it to her and she shows him a medallion he’s never seen before.

“Something I was given many years ago, when I was about your age. I don’t know why my great-grandmother gave it to me, but she told me to keep it. She said there would be a time when it was needed I would know what to do. I always thought she was a little wacko. She was a spiritualist or mystic. You’d call it a New Age freak.” She smiled.

Brian laughed nervously. He knew there was more that she wasn’t saying. He hoped she would tell him. His mother handed him the chain. It was made of dark iron rings laced with glittering brass. The double chain was heavy in his hands. It should have felt like cold, but it was warm. His skin tingled when he touched it.

“The amulet goes on the chain—but you have to have to do it. My great-grandmother was very adamant on that point. I was never to wear it or put it on the chain. In fact, except for putting it in this box seventeen years ago, I haven’t touched it until today.”

Brian took the amulet in his left hand, the chain in his right. He couldn’t tell how to put them together. There was no link or clasp on either item. He stared at them a long time until his vision blurred. He saw his hands drift together as if pulled by a magnet. The lodestone touched the the iron with a snap. The stones and brass rings glowed for a moment and the crystal in the middle flashed.

Brian gasped. “Freaky!” He described what had happened to his mother.

“Put it on against your skin,” she murmured. “Never take it off. Not even to bathe and sleep. It will help you.”

“Help me with what?”

His mother shrugged, shaking her head. “I just know.”

Brian picked up the necklace and put it over his head. It should have been heavy, but it was weightless. Brian slipped it under his shirt. It throbbed a moment, matching its rhythm to his heart. A glowing warmth radiated from the necklace, flowing from head to foot.

“Thank you.” He gave his mother a kiss.

“You be careful. Understand?”

“I do. Don’t worry about me.”

“But I do worry, Brian. Your dad left and I lost my sight. I can’t protect you. I have to rely on you to help fix dinner and do so many things I used to do by myself. I can’t even drive anymore.” She burst into tears. “I feel so helpless. And now all this! I know things are changing, coming to a head, and I can’t to a thing to stop it.”

“What things? What are you talking about, Mom? Why do I need protection?”

Brian tried to get answers but his mother wouldn’t tell him any more. Wiping her tears, she went to her room with her jewelry box. Brian reached out to take the paper and throw it out. It fell to the floor. Leaning over to pick it up, he noticed writing on the paper. The ink was faded, but the script was bold and strong. He unfolded it carefully, smoothing it on the table.

This will keep you safe. The hematite, lodestone, obsidian and onyx help with protection. Amber, amethyst, citrine and lapis lazuli will aid in healing. For psychic abilities, the aqua aura and azurite will assist you. Love, Grand-mère

~ For more information, seek the Encyclopedia Magicka

Brian couldn’t help wondering if the book still existed. He knew his parents had inherited the house and its contents from his mother’s family. His father had used the original study for his office. He hadn’t been in the room since his father left. The memories of his father were too painful. But if he was going to find the book, that was the place to start.

The door moved stiffly, creaking slightly as he pushed it open. The air smelled damp and stale and Brian knew his mother hadn’t been in there either. The lights glared in the ancient brass fixture, illuminating the room in a golden light. There must be hundreds of books here. Except for the name, he knew nothing about the Encyclopedia Magicka.

Maybe he could find an image online. His father’s laptop lay on the old, faded, green desk blotter. He walked boldly over to it and sat in the antique oak desk chair. He almost felt guilty about using his dad’s computer, since he’d rarely been allowed to use it before. His hand trembling, Brian pressed the on button.

The computer hummed quietly, the screen flashed and the desktop appeared. The picture brought tears to Brian’s eyes—a photo of him with both parents. It was Brian’s fifteenth birthday in May. His father grinned at the camera, his arms around Brian’s and Maribelle’s necks. His mother’s eyes glittered and sparked with happiness. The blindness had overcome her only weeks after the picture was taken.

Brian searched for the browser icon. His father had always set up his desktop strangely, grouping the icons instead of listing them alphabetically. Brian clicked the arrange icons tab and put them in alphabetical order. He was about to click on the Google Chrome icon when another one caught his eye. It looked like the emblem his mother had just given him. Odder still was the title—Encyclopedia Magicka.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 16

He Thought He Saw redBrian gets home to find his mother waiting for news of how his visit went. He tells her how good a time he had and she explains why Jordan’s family moved.

“She’s not crazy, Mom. She’s had some weird things happen. That’s all.”

Brian paused, wondering how much he should tell her. So far, he’d kept it to himself, but he knew that he wasn’t the only one experiencing these strange things. She might understand. Then again, she might lock him in his room until he was thirty. Taking a chance, he forged ahead. His mother had never condemned him before. He trusted she wouldn’t start now.

“She’s not the only one who’s had weird things happen. I have too. The other night, when I came in so dirty, it was because I fell in a puddle. But it wasn’t because I wasn’t paying attention.” He leaned forward, taking his mother’s hands. “There’s something in the swamps, Mom. Something that tried to get me and Jordan. I can’t explain it—hell, I barely believe it. But there’s kids all over the place telling similar stories.”

He told her everything that had happened to him. He went so far as to talk to her about Jordan’s experiences too. He even mentioned, in less detail, the things that Andre and the others had told him.

“Oh, Brian! That’s unbelievable!”

“But you do, don’t you Mom? You don’t think I’m totally whack?”

“I believe you, Brian. Strange things are happening all over. The evangelists would have you believe it’s because the end of the world is coming. I don’t believe that the world is going to end in December, but I certainly feel that change is on the way. Maybe these incidents are part it.”

She paused so long, Brian thought she was done talking. He stood, ready to clear his spot, but she stopped him.

“I want you to be very careful when you go out. Don’t go alone unless you have to. Take rides when they are offered. And one other thing. Go up to my room and bring my jewelry box.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He set his dirty dishes in the sink and took the stairs two and a time to fetch her jewelry box.

Brian set the lovely, delicate box on the table in front of his mother. The jewelry box was oval shaped with a slightly domed lid. It was made of some honey colored wood inlaid with other woods and mother of pearl. The pattern had always looked kind of random to Brian. This time, when he looked at it, the negative space between the inlaid pieces stood out. He saw his mother’s name, Maribelle. She ran her hands over the smooth surface, her eyes misting.

“Your daddy gave this to me our first Christmas together. He said he wished he could fill it with diamonds and gold. I told him I’d rather fill it with memories.” She blinked hard. Silent tears fell from her eyes. Wiping them away, she opened the box.

Maribelle felt the contents carefully, selecting a little package wrapped in tissue paper. She lifted it from the box, laying it in front of her as she continued to search. Her fingers closed over a chain. She lifted this from the box as well, placing it beside the package. Before closing the box, she touched each item. Satisfied, she put the lid down and turned her attention to the paper wrapped package.

“Open this. Then use the chain and put it on. I can’t see to do it, but it’s better if you do it for yourself anyway.”

Brian’s fingers shook when he opened the paper. He knew something special lay inside, he could feel it. The hairs on his arms rose and his skin tingled as if whatever was in that package radiated some kind of energy.

He opened the paper, gasping. Inside, lay a ring of metal, too large to fit a finger and too small for a bracelet. It was divided into sections, rather like a compass. In the center, suspended in a lattice work of fine wire, was a clear crystal. At top, bottom and both sides, were four black stones, each slightly different. In between were other stones, eight total, all different. He spotted amethyst, apache’s tear, hematite, onyx and citrine. The rest weren’t familiar to him.

“This is beautiful, Mom! Where did it come from?”

“Look at it carefully. What do you see?”

“It’s a circle—like a ring. Looks like iron. In the middle is a crystal that’s caged in another metal—maybe bronze or brass.”

“It’s iron and brass. Go on.”

He named off the stones he knew. Nodding, his mother took the ring from him, holding it with the onyx at the top. She felt down the right side, naming the stones.

“Onyx, lapis lazuli, amethyst, obsidian, amber, citrine, lodestone, azurite, opal, hematite, blue topaz and aqua aura. In the center is a clear quartz crystal. Now, the chain.”

Brian lifted it up. It was beautiful. “What’s this?”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Crime Makes an Entrance by Dellani

first meetingDeacon Stewart has taken the job as technical director at a small, privately owned theatre in Florida. After a drug and alcohol induced episode, he needed a break from his high pressure job in Manhattan. When the owner of the theatre, Dino, invites him to drive down to the Orlando airport to pick up the lighting designer, he doesn’t know what to expect.

Dino chuckled, enjoying Deacon’s frustration too much. “I guess it’s fine to tell you now. I was able to get Hillary K. Du Champs.”

The name was not unknown to Deacon, he had heard it often enough in theater circles up north.

“Hillary Du Champs? Sounds like a little, old French lady with a bad accent.”

Deacon went on in some detail watching Dino’s smile suddenly fade rapidly. Turning around, he saw a petite, auburn haired woman glaring up at him. She held three or four large bags which she dropped almost on Deacon’s feet.

Dino’s smile was artificial, his tan turned a few shades lighter. “Deacon Stewart, I’d like to introduce you to our lighting designer,” he gulped. “Hillary Du Champs.”

Deacon held out his hand, taking his cap off his head. “Pleased to meet you, Ms. Du Champs.”

She glared at him and didn’t take his proffered hand. “Don’t mind me,” she said with a strong Australian accent, “I’m just a little, old French lady with a bad accent!”

Deacon sighed, realizing he had put his foot in deeply this time. As penance, he picked up three of the bags, Ms. Du Champs snatched the smallest off the floor before he could touch it.

“Who’s the flunky?” she directed impolitely at Dino.

She walked ahead of Deacon, beside Dino who shortened his stride to compensate for her lack of stature. She couldn’t be much over five feet tall, Deacon thought. He’d never gotten along well with little women. They tended to be bossy and arrogant, with something to prove.

Deacon was around six foot three and lanky of build. His dark blond hair was curly, unruly and a constant source of aggravation to him. His blue eyes were rimmed with dark eyelashes, giving him a sleepy look. In high school, he’d been mistakenly accused of being stoned more often than he could count.

In an act of defiance of his military foster father, he’d gotten plugs in his ears and an eyebrow pierced. Several tattoos decorated his arms and another on his right buttock, a challenge from a college Jasper one night when they were too drunk to give a shit. He was sure he presented a bedraggled figure to the compact, attractive and well groomed woman ahead of him. Not quite the picture of a well qualified professional man.

He noted absently that she had a great figure and a nice, tight ass, which distracted him so much, he nearly ran into the door jam as the automatic door slid open. He set the bags down as they waited for the elevator and looked down at Hillary.

“I’m sorry about what I said. I didn’t realize you were there.”

“And that makes it all right to insult me, as I can’t hear you? You’re an uneducated buffoon, Mr. Whatever. I hope to have as little contact with you as possible. So just do your job, tote the bags and don’t talk to me!”

Deacon’s temper nearly got the better of him, but the elevator arrived giving them a few moments of struggle as they pulled her bags on board and hit the button for the parking garage.

Getting to the car, Dino opened the back and Deacon loaded the bags into the luggage space. He tried to open the door for Ms. Du Champs, but she walked pointedly away from him. He slid in the front seat himself, shutting the door in her face.

“Now see here,” she reprimanded him. “Since when does the flunky sit in the front seat and the professional woman sit in the back seat with the cooler?”

Deacon rolled his eyes in her direction, giving her a scathing look before lowering the brim of his cap over his eyes, resuming his relaxed travel position. “Since the flunky is the technical director of the theater and the professional woman is being a snooty bitch.” He said firmly, fastening his seat belt with an abrupt snap.

Dino started the car and took off in his usual cavalier style. Ms. Du Champs was silent for some time, just trying to stay in an upright position while Dino drove down the ramps at forty miles an hour. He cut into the outgoing traffic and sped into the night, zipping in and out of traffic seemingly at random.

“Really, Dino, do you have to drive so carelessly?” She was griping at him now, leaving Deacon off the hook for the time being.

“It’s better when you don’t look,” Deacon murmured, sliding lower into the seat.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 15

He Thought He Saw redJordan’s parents are friendly, even if her mother is a bit different with her beliefs in crystals and meditation. Brian takes it in stride, delighting in her openness.

Jacqueline Barrett gazed at him, tilting her head with her eyes half shut. “Your favorite color is dark green. You were born in May and you love lima beans but hate raw tomatoes.”

Brian’s eyes grew rounder with each pronouncement. “My mom told you all that, right?”

“Nope,” Jordan assured him. “I heard the entire conversation. Lima beans never came up.”

“Are you psychic, Mrs. Barrett?”

Jacqueline giggled, touching his cheek with the palm of her left hand. “Not exactly, dear, but I know things about people that I can’t explain.”

“You’re right, down to the last detail. Not even my mom knows my favorite color is green. Well, she knows, but doesn’t understand that not all greens are created equal.”

“You prefer the subtle ones,” Jacqueline concluded. “No Packers green or emerald for you.”

“You’re good.” Brian pointed at her, winking.

The teenagers ate as they continued to work. An hour or so later, Jordan was caught up in math and had a good start on chemistry. They planned to work on that the following night after dinner.

“I’ll be by to pick you up about six fifty,” Heath said as Brian was leaving. “Would you like a ride tonight? I don’t mind.”

“I’ll be fine,” Brian assured him. “It’s a small town. I’m safe as a baby in a stroller.”

“If you’re sure.”

“No need to trouble yourself. But thanks.”

A block from Jordan’s, he wished he’d taken the rode. The sky opened and it started raining.

Brian thought about turning back, but it was just as far to Jordan’s as it was to get home. His feet moved automatically and he splashed and squished through the rising water. He was about to step into the shelter of a bus stop and wait for it to fsubside, when a car pulled up next to him.

“Hop in, Moby Dick,” Jordan’s father called to him through the passenger window. “I’d have been along sooner, but Jackie had to give me provisions. I have towels and blankets.”

Brian gratefully accepted. The seat was heated and felt wonderful to his chilly body. Fluffy towels absorbed the runoff and a cozy blanket waited until he was settled. Heath laid it over his lap.

“Wasn’t a cloud in the sky when you left. This is plain weird.”

“This is Mississippi,” Brian said, his teeth chattering. “Rain’s like this all the time.”

“You seem like a nice boy, Brian. So I don’t want to bust your chops.”

“Thank you,” Brian replied warily.

“But Jackie and I worry about Jordan.”

“We’re just friends, sir.”

“Right. Yeah, I know. But she’s had—problems. We came here hoping it would do her good to have a change of scene. So, if she spins any tales about fog critters or ghost dogs, just—well….”

“Ignore it?”

“Yeah.” Heath nodded, trying to smile. “Good. We understand one another.”

“No problem.” Brian forced a smile. He had no intention of ignoring it, but he sensed that Mr. Barrett wouldn’t like knowing that Brian had, had some equally strange experiences.

Mr. Barrett backed into Brian’s driveway, getting as close to the side steps and he could. Brian thanked him for the ride and ducked under the roof quickly. He waved to Mr. Barrett and watched him drive away. Inside, the house was warm and inviting. Brian smelled cookies, so he headed to the kitchen.

“Welcome home! I just took the first pan out. Check them?”

“Perfect. Your nose never lies with cookies, Mom.”

“There’s hot water for cocoa. I set out your mug.”

He kissed her cheek. “Thanks. Let me change first. I’m dripping on the floor.” He trotted down the steps to the dryer where he shed his wet clothing and changed. Upstairs, he fixed hot chocolate and ate sugar cookies. His mother sipped tea.

“Have a good time?”

“Yeah, up until it started raining. Jordan’s parents are nice.”

“I enjoyed talking to Jackie. She’s got some unique ideas.”

“They’re both a little out there, but mostly they’re cool.”

Mrs. Casey clasped her mug, sipping thoughtfully. Brian sensed there was something more she wanted to say, so he waited quietly for her to continue.

“They moved here because they were worried that Jordan was too stressed by her environment. She had some strange things happen. Things they couldn’t explain. It prompted them to move here where things wouldn’t be quite so hectic.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 14

He Thought He Saw redJordan invites Brian over to her home that evening to study and have dinner. He’s pleased to be invited and his mother is happy he’s socializing. However, she is worried about him, especially after the incident with the bear.

“I’ll be fine, Mom. Don’t worry.”

“Call when you get there and when you leave.”

“Yes, ma’am!” He clicked his heels, saluting.

Brian arrived at Jordan’s house a little after 7:00. Her mother surprised him by answering the door in a colorful kaftan. Her hair was down, forming a golden halo around her head and shoulders. She wore a necklace made of different polished stones with a bright crystal hanging from it.

“Brian!” She hugged him enveloping him in a rose scented cloud. “Honey! Brian is here!”

Brian expected Jordan to appear. Instead, a tall, broad shouldered man came out of an adjoining room. He wore a lose fitting beige hemp shirt and pants. Another string of rocks circled his neck and he was barefoot. His hair and eyes were dark like Jordan’s. He grinned at Brian, holding out his hand.

“Heath Barrett. Nice to meet you.”

They made small talk for a few minutes while Jacqueline plied Brian with cookies and herb tea. Jordan came in a few minutes later to rescue him.

“Sorry it took so long. I was setting up and then Grandma called. She talks more than both parents combined. It’s never a short chat with her.”

“And your folks wanted a chance to talk to me.”

“Yeah, that. I’m sorry.” She looked embarrassed.

“No, I get it. If I had a sister, she’d never date. Not that this is a date— I mean, it could be— But it’s—not.”

Jordan laughed, patting his shoulder. “Relax. You survived the parental units. They like you.”

“How do you know?”

“If they didn’t, you’d be gone. Dad may be a free thinker, but he’s old school where boys are concerned. I almost had a boyfriend last year. He didn’t make it past the foyer.”


“Nope. Mom didn’t like his aura.”

Brian laughed loudly, until he realized Jordan was serious. He couldn’t imagine basing decisions about people on something so arbitrary. Jordan led him to the dining room. Her books sat on one side of the long table. A laptop and a stack of paper flanked two chairs that were placed a foot apart.

“Welcome to my study. We have no use for a formal dining room, so Dad is going to convert it to a study space. Meanwhile, the table is great to spread out.”

“Let me know when you’re ready. I know a really good carpenter. I’m gonna be working with him sometimes.”

“That’s cool. Have a seat.” She indicated the chairs.

“Okay, what first? Math, chemistry, English or science?”

“Let’s get math over with. I have a prayer with the other stuff, so I’ll be able to work on it if we don’t get to it.”

Brian rubbed his hands together gleefully, giving her a maniacal laugh. “Bring it on!”

They spent an hour on her math. There were many things Jordan didn’t understand, but Brian could see the understanding growing as he explained one thing after another. Her face brightened.

“Now that you put it that way, I get it! This is the first time in my life that I truly understand. Thank you!” She flung her arms around his neck, kissing his cheek.

Of course, it was at that precise moment that her mother walked in. Brian wanted to crawl under the table and hide. Jordan gave him another kiss and hug before letting go.

“Mom, I totally understand now. Brian is a great teacher.”

“That’s wonderful, honey. Would you kids like anything to drink, or maybe a snack?”

Brian glanced at Jordan and his stomach growled. Both she and her mother burst out laughing.

“There’s a yes,” Jacqueline said.

Brian could feel the blood rise to his cheeks. Ducking his head, he thanked Mrs. Barrett.

“Darling, I have three boys. Jordan is my only fledgling left in the nest. I know how young men’s bellies are never full. Especially a man your size.” She fluttered out and came back a few minutes later with tortilla chips, nacho dip and pico de gallo.

“Mrs. Barrett, how did you guess I love Mexican food?” Brian asked.

“Mom always knows. She’s spooky like that.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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