Archive | October 2016

He Thought He Saw – Part 28

He Thought He Saw redWoken from a sound sleep, Jordan his horrified to find that the frost and ice are creeping into her room. She runs the safest place she can think of—the den were Brian is sleeping. She startles him awake when she flings herself under the covers.

“Jordan, what’s wrong?”


“What are you talking about?” He lifted the blankets, talking to the top of her head.

“There’s ice trying to get in my room. It was coming around the window frame. They’re trying to get us!” Her eyes met his, pleading. “I’m so scared! It tried to get me.”

He wanted to tell her it was her imagination and that everything would be all right, but he knew that wasn’t the case. The attacks had been less than subtle and decidedly specific.

“Do you want me to go look?”

“No! Stay here! It will get you instead.”

“Jordan, our parents are up there. Aren’t you worried about them?”

She didn’t respond, but Brian sensed she hadn’t thought of that. So far, they’d been the targets, but what if that changed? Were their parents safe? Could they count on that?

“We at least have to check on them,” Brian told her. “We can’t stay here and do nothing. If the ice is coming in, maybe our folks can help. Your dad was pretty kick ass at the fire.”

“I’m so scared!”

“I know. But I’m not leaving you down here alone and I’ve got to at least check on my mom. She can’t see. How would she even know something was wrong?”

Jordan could understand the logic of that. She didn’t like it, but she couldn’t leave a blind woman helpless and in danger. She sat up, pulling her robe closer around her. Her bunny slippers seemed oddly ridiculous under the circumstances.

Brian pulled on his sweater and a pair of heavy socks. He’d packed a telescoping baton his father had given him for his birthday. He took it out of his backpack, opening it. If there were ice creatures or some other creepy thing in the house, he wanted to be armed. With Jordan following him, he headed to the stairs.

Jordan stopped Brian with a hand on his arm. She reached into the closet and pulled out a baseball bat. Brian hid a smile. How often had he seen horror movies where the gutsy young woman went after the serial killer with a bat? Of course, it usually ended badly for the gutsy young woman. He pushed that idea from his mind. He couldn’t think of the possibility of anything happening to Jordan.

He led the way up the stairs, warily approaching her bedroom door. The upstairs hallway was much colder than downstairs. Wind whistled under her door, chilling their feet. Brian and Jordan exchanged a look. Jordan bit her lower lip, holding it between her teeth. She nodded, eyes wide. Brian reached for the doorknob. It was so cold, it burned his hand. Turning it quickly, he released it and pushed the door open. Ice coated the inside and outside of Jordan’s windows. Frost crept across the windowsill and down the wall, advancing quickly into her room. Brian didn’t like the odds if frost creatures attacked them inside.

“Go check on your folks,” he whispered.

“What about you?”

Brian closed the door. “I’m going to check on my mom. Then we’re going to see what we can do about getting some heat in this house.”

Jordan nodded sharply and moved to her parents’ room. Brian went to the guest room at the other end of the hall. The doorknob felt fine when he touched it, not the burning cold of Jordan’s room. His mother was sound asleep. There was no frost on her windows, except the amount one could expect with an ice storm going on outside. He shut the door quietly, heading back down the hall. Jordan met him at the top of the stairs, directly across from her room.

“They’re fine. I woke Dad.”

Moments later, her father joined them. In his robe and slippers, he still looked commanding. Brian was glad he was on their side. Heath opened Jordan’s door and walked in. Hands on hips, he looked around.

“This won’t do,” he remarked calmly. “Get towels and blankets,” he told the children.

“Do you think that will do any good?” Brian asked him. He followed Jordan to the linen cupboard in the hallway.

“Can’t hurt. I wish I had heat.”

“I have candles, Dad. And we have some cans of Sterno in the pantry.”

“You and Brian go get those and I’m going to see if I can block some of this with towels. Try not to wake your mothers.”

© 2016 

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First Meeting from Snowed

snowed-cover-4Big Mike” Reubens has been seeing more action in the last few days, than he’s seen in quite some time. However, when he finds his mother is driving from Queens to Cheyenne, Wyoming just to see him, he’s puzzled. His confusion grows when she says she’s bringing a man with her, as well as his daughter. He and Sarena bond over the phone, expressing interest in one another. They have finally arrived and Mike meets her for the first time, but his mother interrupts before he even has a chance to kiss her. At the motel, they decide to go out for dinner as a group.

“I’ll grab my coat,” Sarena said, tugging my hand. “Mike, help me find where I left my key-card.”

I followed her into her room.

“Our folks don’t know how close we’ve gotten the last few days,” she said. “I wanted them to feel like they brought us together. It’s like all your mother has talked about for the last hundred miles or so. She really hopes we’ll hit it off.”

“I’m kinda hoping the same thing myself.” I took her hands, drawing her to me.

I wanted to kiss her badly. I knew exactly how she would taste and feel—just like the woman in my dream. The moment I laid eyes on her picture, I knew she was the one I dreamed about that day. That was such a vivid dream, with taste, scent and touch…. It made me hot just to think about it. Okay, face it, just being around Sarena made me hot. I was about to kiss her, when there was a tapping at the door.

Sarena grabbed her things, including the key which was right by her purse, and we headed out. She held my hand excitedly, like a little kid. I led the way to the restaurant, asking about their trip. Ma told me in great detail how lovely the trip had been. Sarena looked ready to laugh any second, so I changed the subject to the concert. I talked about meeting Ms. Learner.

“In that uniform she can tell you have a good build?” My mother is fluffy, but not entirely dumb.

“Yeah, well, the jacket is pretty form fitting, Ma. I guess she saw something she liked.”

Sarena pinched me. I had told her all about the Big Mike fiasco. She thought it was hysterical.

“You should call her about that modeling. It could bring in some good money,” she encouraged. “And I’ll come watch,” she said as our parents got up to go to the salad bar.

“You can get a free show anytime you want,” I told her. “I’ll even show you the nudes.”

“You didn’t send those out?”

“Oh, no! Just one of them without my shirt. You know, ratty jeans, tool belt….”

“Tell me it was pulling the jeans down almost far enough to see…. Leaving that tantalizing trail….” She stopped talking suddenly because our folks were almost to the table.

“Yes,” I said, taking her hand to my lips. “That’s exactly right. Salad?” I tugged her hand, dragging her to the salad bar. “You’re killing me, Serena. I want you so bad right now.”

“Do you think you’ve got an exclusive on that? Cause I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I had anything that wasn’t battery operated and covered in latex.”

I dropped the salad tongs, my fingers suddenly numb. “Oh, God, don’t keep talking like that around the salad bar!”

“What, there’s a new law? Talking dirty taints the food?”

“You’ll make me drool on it.”

She was still laughing when we headed back to the table.

“Is there any way we can escape and head to my place?” I whispered.

“I don’t know. We’ll think of something.”

“I sure as hell hope so, baby, cause otherwise I’m going to explode.”


© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 27

He Thought He Saw redHeath and Jackie decide that Brian and his mother don’t need to be alone and insist that they sleep over at the Barrett home.

“Mom and I heard a weather report. They expect a storm late tonight. Probably won’t be school tomorrow. Even if there is, Mom is so freaked, it’s unlikely she’ll let us go.”

“I don’t want to start on any of this tonight. I’m beat. I just want a shower to get the smell of smoke out of my hair.”

Jordan showed him the bathroom and got him out a couple of towels. Before Brian went in the bathroom, she stopped him with a hand on his arm.

“You saved my life tonight,” she said quietly. “I don’t know how to thank you.”

“It’s easy, you just say it.”

“Brian, thank you for saving me,” she whispered. Her dark eyes filled with tears and she leaned toward him.

Feeling drawn to her like a magnet, Brian leaned over. Jordan’s arms went around his neck and she kissed him. It started as a soft, simple kiss, but soon took on a life of its own. Brian dropped his backpack of clothing, clasping Jordan to him. She stood on tiptoe, arms around his neck, holding him close. Brian opened his mouth a little, teasing at Jordan’s lips. She opened to him, kissing him hard.

They broke away from one another, panting. Neither of them had ever experienced anything like that before. Then again, neither of them had fought off a fire elemental before. Smiling nervously, Brian held her waist. Jordan put her hands on his chest, grinning up at him.

“Wow,” he said. “That was the best kiss ever.”

Jordan tossed her hair, smirking. “Of course you’ve had so many.”

“A few,” he replied, defensively. “Even social pariahs have a chance to make out.”

Jordan shoved him playfully away, but he didn’t let go. She didn’t want him to. Her emotions still ran high—fear and excitement had her adrenaline pumping. Even though she wanted another kiss, she knew they shouldn’t. Stepping away, she pulled his hands from her waist, holding them between her own.

“Thank you, Brian. That’s the greatest thing anyone’s ever done for me.” She gave him a quick kiss on the lips before dashing off to her room.

Brian watched her go, wishing she would stay. He’d had a few girlfriends over the years, but none of them had ever been serious and hadn’t gone beyond kissing. Having Jordan kiss him like that made him understand why so many of his friends were already having sex. Not that he ever expected to get to that point with Jordan—he just could understand it now like he never had before. Maybe it was the fear making his nerves jangle. Or maybe it was the thrill of having a beautiful girl kiss him.

Trying to set those thoughts aside, he got in the shower. It took awhile to get the stench off him, but he eventually toweled dry and got into his pajama pants and T-shirt. Normally, he slept only in his boxers, but it was far colder than most nights. He crawled into the bed, folding his arms behind his head. He stared a long time at the ceiling, thinking over the last few days. His life was crazy, but having Jordan around made it bearable. She understood what he’d been experiencing and didn’t think he was completely out of his mind. Finding out that Chase had been having similar experiences made him wonder how many other people had. He couldn’t think of a good way to find out. Maybe Jordan would.

Jordan’s face floated in front of him and he felt her lips on his once more. With her in his mind, he fell asleep.

Jordan woke in the middle of the night. Despite her pajamas, warm socks and extra blankets, she was cold. A chill wind blew in around windows, finding chinks and gaps that no human ever would. Was this another attack? Or was this simply a natural occurrence? She didn’t know. Her room was dark, not even the night light in the corner was lit. The power was out. Jordan shivered, terrified. She never liked losing power, but considering all that was going on with her, Brian and the elements, she was terrified. At least she had a flashlight in the drawer beside her bed. She reached for it and turned it on. She couldn’t sleep with the lights out, but maybe she could read a book.

Something glittered around the edge of her window. Getting out of her warm bed, she crept to the window. The glass was cold to the touch, Jack Frost’s patterns were scattered across the panes, but didn’t stop there. Little by little, frost crept in around the wooden frame, filling the gaps with crystals. When Jordan came close, the ice receded slightly when her warm breath struck it. It halted, waiting. As soon as she inhaled, the ice advanced again.

Terrified, Jordan backed away from the window. The wind increased. She could feel it sneaking in with the ice. Grabbing her robe and slippers, she ran from her room, shutting the door against the advancing cold. The only thought in her mind was to get somewhere the ice couldn’t reach her—Brian. She needed Brian. Running down the stairs, she burst through the door to the den. Brian sat up in bed, startled and disoriented. Jordan flew at him, hopping on the bed. She scrambled under the covers, pulling them over her head. She huddled under the blankets, trembling. Brian lay on his side, rubbing her back over the covers.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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Red River Radio Presents What’s Write for Me with Deb, Elizabeth and Maggie

WEDNESDAY on What’s Write for Me!

We had a hiccup with Hurricane Matthew blustering through, but we’re back on track and ready to rock. Dellani and Christina are delighted to welcome three of their favorite horror/ paranormal authors.

DeborahCihon, author of My Paranormal Diaries, always has some spine tingling, real life ghost stories to share. She’s back to thrill us with a real life spooky tale or two! 


ElizabethBlack is the author of Don’t Call Me Baby, Trouble in Thigh High Boots, Like a Myth and many others. She’s been known to give us a chill, so we know she won’t disappoint!


Joining us all the way from South Africa is Maggie Tideswell, author of Dark Moon, Silent Night, Runaway Couple and more. Maggie also has her fair share of creepy stories to relate!

So, put on your costumes, break out the candy and listen closely as these ghostly gals weave their tingly tales.

To Listen Live TODAY or later in podcast….

He Thought He Saw – Part 26

He Thought He Saw redAfter the fire is put out, Chase’s mother is somewhat hysterical. Jordan takes her in hand.

“Don’t make me slap you,” Jordan said. “Because I will. These men here won’t hit you because it’s not polite to smack a woman. But I’m a girl, so I can hit you all I want. It’s gone, so calm down and stop acting like a schizy Barbie doll. I want to wash my face and I really need to pee.”

Mrs. Finley blinked at her and stopped babbling. Her face lost its panicked expression. Heaving a loud sigh, she took Jordan by the shoulders. “Of course. Where are my manners? Come inside, honey, and freshen up.”

Brian and Heath exchanged a shocked look.

“Do you think she’d really hit her?” Brian asked.

“My daughter? Oh, hell, yeah. She’d smack the daylights out of her.” His laugh sounded forced, but it broke the tension between them

They chatted a few minutes on the back porch before following the women into the house. Jordan had convinced Mrs. Finley to make some hot chocolate and stood by the stove, helping her stir the milk with cocoa powder and sugar. Mugs were lined up on the counter. Jordan had been busy.

It amazed Brian how she could make a crazy, frightening situation fade away and seem normal. By the time they left, Mr. and Mrs. Finley acted like nothing strange had transpired. The only one in the family still shaken by the experience, was Chase. Brian made sure to make plans to meet up with him at lunch the following day.

“We’ve got a shit ton to talk about,” Brian told his friend. “Lock up tight and be safe.”

“You bet I will! Thank God I don’t have to ride the bus to school. Dad takes me every morning.”

“See you tomorrow.” Jordan hugged Chase before hopping into her father’s car.

Brian patted his friend on the shoulder and got in, closing the door with a thump.

“That was some bonfire,” Heath said as they drove home. “Hope I never see another one like it.”

“Makes two of us,” Brian said. “Are Mom and Jackie okay?”

“They’re fine as can be,” Heath said. “But you two have some explaining to do.” He sounded stern, but Brian sensed worry underneath. “Tell me what’s going on.”

The two teenagers knew there was no point in denying anything. Heath had been there and seen things he couldn’t logically refute. Something that couldn’t possibly happen, had. Rapidly and rather incoherently, Brian and Jordan told Heath what had happened to them over the last few months.

“Why didn’t you tell us?” Heath asked his daughter.

“I did, Daddy. Remember? You took me to a bunch of doctors who tried to tell you I was crazy and wanted drug me and lock me up.”

“I told my mother and we did the doctor thing too. Only they ran tests, just sure I had a brain tumor or something.”

“Well, if you have a brain tumor, then so do I,” Jordan stated.

“Mr. Barrett, I think the reason my dad left had something to do with all this stuff that’s happening. I haven’t even had a chance to tell Jordan this, but Dad left me a message and some computer files to read. He said to read them right away, but I haven’t had time.”

“I’d say now was the perfect time to start. I don’t want you and your mother in that remote house on your own. We’re going to stop and get Maribelle, then take you two home to pack. You’re going to stay with us, at least for tonight. We’ll figure out more permanent arrangements tomorrow.”

Brian didn’t argue. He felt the same way. How could he protect a blind woman all by himself? With Heath around, he had backup. And Jordan. How could he forget her bravery? She held off the fire elemental with two sharp sticks and a lot of moxie.

Heath left Jordan with her mother so they could make up the guest room and den for Brian and his mother. Heath went in the house with the Caseys, checking it carefully before he let them go upstairs to pack. Once they were ready, Maribelle locked up the house and they headed back to the Barrett’s house.

Jacqueline showed Maribelle to the guest room and Jordan led Brian to the den. The futon couch folded out to a comfortable queen sized bed. Warm blankets and a heavy afghan lay on top of the flannel sheets.

“Do you have the files with you? Can we read through some of it now?” Jordan asked him.

“Yes. But we probably should go to bed. We’ve got to get up pretty early.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Something New

something new coverChuckling, Austin shuffled off. His character was called The Magician. He didn’t do magic, but his abilities seemed almost magical to the more primitive people, humans, he encountered.

“Grab your script,” the director called to him.

“Got it.” Austin tapped his temple.

The director, who was new, didn’t believe him, so he grabbed his script for a read through. The young lady opposite him was lovely. She had lush red lips, big brown eyes and walnut colored hair. She was also the one who had made the snide remark about him.

“Austin Templeton,” he said, extending his hand. “But I expect you know that.” He flashed his most charming smile.

“Liat Fogleberg,” she replied, giving him a wan smile. “But I don’t expect you’ve heard a thing about me.”

“No, but they don’t tell me anything and I don’t get introduced unless I do it myself. I did hear you’re slated for three episodes.”

“Unless you don’t like me.”

“I’m not the one who makes that decision.”

She frowned, lips pursed and brows furrowed. “You don’t? But—”

“Places!” the assistant director bellowed. “Run through for blocking.”

The next hour was spent running through the scene. They took a short break before shooting a few takes.

* * *

After the break, places were called. Austin handed Dwight the plate. Rochelle and Bunny descended like hawks, checking his hair and makeup before he went back on the set. Liat stood there, waiting for him, looking annoyed. Rochelle wiped crumbs from his lips and jacket.

“Could you possibly not eat crumbly things while we’re filming?”

“I like scones,” he pouted slightly, sounding like a spoiled child. “And they make them just for me. I’ve got half a dozen more to eat before day’s end.”

Rochelle left, laughing at him.

“Scones?” Liat’s face brightened. “Where?”

“Catering table. Get some on the next break. They’re determined to fatten me up and make me a platter every day. Help yourself.”

“Thanks. You’re sure?”

“I’ll tell them. Ready?”

“Bit nervous.”

“Why? This isn’t your first time, is it?”

Liat’s eyes narrowed and she gave him a skeptical double take. “No.”

“No nerves allowed. Look at me. Not the least bit nervous.” He did an elaborate shiver and shake, rolling his eyes before doing a jerky, robotic dance.

Liat giggled, dark eyes twinkling, as they found their marks. She took a moment to compose herself, watching Austin get into character. He underwent an amazing transition, going from a thirty-something Englishman to an ageless, alien time traveler before her eyes. She could believe he was The Magician, not Austin Templeton, actor.

“Ready? And go!” the director said.

The scene began. Austin and Liat worked well together. She picked up his energy, working with it, making it her own. By the end of the scene, they were really in sync. After a few more takes, they took another break so the technicians could reset the lights for the next scene.

“Scones!” Austin said, rubbing his hands gleefully. “Come, Morgana, the food awaits!”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 25

He Thought He Saw redWhile at the bonfire, things take a nasty turn. The teens notice something dancing in the fire, but are unprepared for an attack by fire elementals.

Brian didn’t even think. With a surge of strength, he threw his end of the cooler at the fire. Without watching it land, he ran across the clearing to where Jordan stood, swatting at the flame creature. Her sticks were blackened and burning, no longer an effective weapon.

Avoiding the fiery grasp, Brian leaped toward the water faucet and grabbed. The rusty metal scraped and cut his fingers, but he wrestled it into the on position. Jordan grabbed the hose, aiming it at the fire creature. Brian turned the faucet full on.

“Put your finger over it,” he called to Jordan.

She did as the said, decreasing the size of the hole to increase the range and pressure. The cold water splashed into the fire creature, knocking it back a step. Its feet advanced haltingly. The ember trail behind it flickered and went out.

By this time, Chase and his father had added their cooler to the flames. The fire ducked and shivered, but still hadn’t gone out. There was a third cooler and Heath already had it halfway to the fire. Chase and his father joined him. They hauled it to the edge of the fire pit, dumping it into the center of the fire.

The creature stumbled, fell and turned black. It crumbled when it hit the ground, like so much charcoal. Brian grabbed the hose from Jordan, turning it on the fire. He walked boldly toward it, as far as the hose would reach.

Chase and his father used shovels to cover the flames as Brian continued to soak them. Heath kicked dirt into the fire pit. Finally, only a thin wisp of smoke remained. They stood around the pit, gasping and shaking.

“Someone want to tell me what that was?” Mr. Finley asked. His hands shook as he wiped his forehead with the back of his hand.

“I don’t know,” Heath replied. “But I hope to God I never see another.”

“That wasn’t my imagination, was it?” Chase asked Brian.

“Not if we all saw it,” Brian told his friend. “Jordan, you okay?”

“It tried to get me,” she gasped. “It was after me!”

Brian took a step toward her and she hurled herself into his arms.

“It wanted me! Why?”

“I don’t know. Shh. It’s okay now. It’s okay. Let’s go home.”

“We’d better go check on the others,” Mr. Finley said calmly. “Heath?”

“Yeah. You kids okay?”

They nodded, mumbling in unison. Heath joined Mr. Finley and the two men walked up to the house. The teenagers followed more slowly. Jordan clung to Brian, shivering uncontrollably.

“You’ve seen stuff before, haven’t you?” Chase asked them. “Cause you didn’t act like that was the weirdest thing you ever saw. You didn’t run away.”

“Yeah, I notice you didn’t run either,” Brian said quietly. “What have you seen, Chase?”

“You’ll think I’m crazy.”

Brian chuckled, hugging his friend with his free arm. “Chase, we just fought a fire elemental together. Do you think I’m gonna find anything else you have to say any crazier than that?”

Chase burst out laughing. “No, I guess not.” He shook his head, walking slowly by Jordan’s other side. “Living out here in the swamps, you see a lot of strange stuff. Mom says it’s swamp gas. Dad says it’s ghosts—but he’s a superstitious Cajun. Here lately, every time I go out by myself, I have this feeling like I’m being watched. And sometimes, I see things moving in the trees that can’t possibly be there, but they are. One time, it looked like the trees were walking toward me. I screamed like a little girl and ran to find my mama!” He laughed nervously. “I never had anything appear in the fire before. That was beyond freaky.”

“How long has this been going on?” Brian asked him.

“Few months, since my birthday in March. It was like, I turned fifteen and I start seeing all this weird shit that wasn’t there before.”

“Or it was there and you couldn’t see it,” Brian corrected.

Chase shuddered. “Oh, man. You had to say that. I’m half superstitious Cajun, you know. My granny has visions. She reads palms and does the tarot. She says big change is coming. But she never said a thing about flames walking out of the fire!”

They got to the house to find most of the guests gone. Heath was on the phone to Jacqueline, assuring her that they were fine. Chase’s mother was hysterical. Mr. Finley did his best to calm her, but she was wild eyed and incoherent. Jordan walked up to her and her husband, who looked near panic himself. Standing in front of the frightened woman, she planted her feet, hands on her hips. She might be smaller than Mrs. Finley, but she was still intimidating.

“Hey,” she said loudly.

Mrs. Finley stopped babbling and looked at Jordan.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – part 24

He Thought He Saw redJordan and Brian arrive at Chase’s house with Heath. Brian introduces Jordan and her father.

“Good to meet you, sir. My dad is right over there, trying to start the fire. Excuse me.” He ran to his father’s side, hollering instructions over the music.

Everyone gathered around as the flames took. Kindling and dried leaves crackled and the flames jumped higher. Everyone grabbed sharpened greenwood sticks and started jamming hot dogs and marshmallows into the fire. Brian got some sticks for himself and Jordan. They roasted a couple of cocoanut marshmallows for Heath, who then opted for a root beer.

Brian and Jordan sat on a log close together, trying to stay warm. Although the fire burned brightly, their faces were toasty, but their backs were cold. Brian gazed deeply into the fire, hypnotized by the movement and color. His father had often teased him about being a pyromaniac. He loved to watch flames in the grill, fireplace or candles.

“When I was little, if I got fussy, all my mom had to do was light a candle and set it where I could see it. Strange as it sounds, it calmed me down when nothing else would.”

“With me, it was water. We had this little miniature waterfall that sat on the table. When I got cranky, Mom turned it on and let it splash. I loved it. I still have it. It was the first thing I unpacked when we moved in.”

Jordan snuggled closer, her leg pressing against Brian’s. She shivered, so he put his arm around her shoulders. Her head drifted to his shoulder and her hand to his leg. They sat quietly, watching the flames.

Brian startled. He’d seen something in the fire that didn’t move like the flames. When he focused on it, all he saw was fire. When he let his gaze soften and go slightly out of focus, he saw a face in the burning wood. Not wanting to draw attention to himself, but needing Jordan to see it, he picked up his stick again and put a marshmallow on it. He poked it toward the flames, indicating the face. It leered at him. A flame shot out, igniting his marshmallow. Brian pulled it out, blowing on it.

“Do you see that?” he whispered to Jordan.

“See what?”

“The face. There’s a face in the flames.”

“Don’t be silly. It’s just a fire.”

“It’s not. I promise you. Something’s in there.”

“You’re jazzed on sugar. It’s just a—” She stopped talking abruptly, her eyes wide. “Oh, my God, Brian! It’s like people in the flames!” She spoke sharply, but didn’t raise her voice.

“I told you!”

“We aren’t safe! My dad. Where’s my dad?” She stood suddenly, knocking Brian backwards off the log. “Daddy!” she screamed.

Heath dashed up, taking her arms. “We need to go, Dad. Something bad is going to happen.”

“What are you talking about? Is this another one of your fantasies? I thought we were past that, honey.”

“Water,” Jordan said. “We need water. Brian, get the ice chest.”

Scrambling to his feet, Brian ran across the clearing to the nearest ice chest. By this time, others had noticed the figures in the fire. At first, they thought it was some sort of illusion, until one of the flame creatures stepped out of the fire and started toward Jordan, leaving a trail of embers in its path.

Heath put himself between Jordan and the fire creature, but she pushed him aside, wielding her wooden sticks like daggers. It took a step toward her and she poked it back. The sticks were greenwood, but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t eventually catch fire.

Brian grabbed at the cooler, tugging on it. It was full of ice and sodas, so it was really heavy. He yelled at Heath to help him. Jordan’s father crossed the clearing, grabbing the other side of the cooler.

By this time, the others were running as quickly as they could for the house. Chase and his father were the only ones who remained with Brian, Jordan and Heath. Seeing what they were doing, Chase and his father grabbed another cooler, hauling it to the fire.

“Jordan, there’s a hose to your right,” Chase called. “Turn it on, quick!”

Holding her sticks in one hand, Jordan ran to the hose. It was draped over a wooden pole

and attached to a metal pipe that stood about two feet tall. A cracked, rusty faucet topped the pipe. Jordan twisted and turned, but the faucet wouldn’t budge. The fire creature came closer, its hand reaching for her. Jordan swatted at it, but it kept advancing.

“I can’t get this,” she called. “Help!”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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Notable Narrative from Alton and Velda

alton-croppedAlton shrugged, stepping back from the perilous edge. If Velda said she could handle it, he wouldn’t argue. If his travels had taught him nothing else, it was not to judge abilities on appearance.

Noiselessly, the slender maiden dove into the icy, turbulent river. For several heart stopping moments, Alton watched without seeing her. A flicker of movement 20 yards away, near the river’s center, alerted him to her presence. Smiling, he relaxed a little. A splash and flash of silver got his attention. Was there something else in the water? Could it be Velda was under attack?

His warrior’s senses cautioned him against diving into the turgid current, but also nudged him to protect the young woman. Common sense held him back. He was not a strong swimmer, particularly in scale armor. He’d surely founder and Velda would have to save him. That scenario held little appeal.

Minutes passed slowly. Alton stood by the water, eyes examining the surface of the rapids. He didn’t lower his guard or forget his environment, but his attention was divided or he would surely have heard the rustling in the bushes sooner. He slid into the shadows, drawing a long dagger from his boot. His dark skin lent itself to concealment. His bronze scale armor helped him blend into the underbrush. He waited, hardly breathing.

A horse in full tack, riderless, walked up to the water to drink. It was coal black with a white sock on its left foreleg. A stallion, he noticed. Kitted out for exploration with bedroll behind the saddle and small panniers on either side. It wore no colors or insignia. The saddle and bridle were unadorned. There was no visible brand on the flank.

If there was a horse, there would be a rider. Where he might be, Alton didn’t know, but intended to find out. Velda was in the water, unprotected. He was vulnerable as well. He stayed in the shadows, casting out with his energy, listening to the vibrations. At first, all was normal forest noise. There was the babble of the river, chattering of squirrels, chirping birds, the swish of a fox’s tail followed by the surprised squeak of the rabbit it caught. Leaves rustled in the gentle breeze, pine needles whispered—and someone drew breath, exhaling slowly.

Focusing on that sound, Alton heard the heartbeat tapping. It wasn’t slow, nor was it overly fast. Like his, it was strong and regular. Adjusting his reading further, Alton probed to see if he’d been spotted. The other person breathed normally. There was no scent of trepidation or fear. For the moment, he wasn’t noticed. The rider posed no immediate threat. Still, why would he stand back while his horse drank? It made very little sense to Alton.

A splash and flicker of movement told him Velda was coming back. The rider’s pulse quickened. He’d heard it too. The horse raised its head, water dripping from its mouth. Eyes as black as its hide scanned the river with almost human perception. Ears pivoted forward, listening. It moved into the underbrush. veldaThe rider followed.

Velda rose from the water, dark blue hair plastered to her slender form, falling well below her hips. Rivulets cascaded down her body which shimmered silver in the late afternoon light. She cast about her for Alton, spotting him in the woods a few feet away. His expression kept her from greeting him. Seconds later, she saw the horse. Gasping, she backed away.

The horse trotted forward, stopping a few feet from her. It bent its front legs, bowing. The rider strode forward. Dressed in black chain mail, he wore a helmet with a white horse’s tail at the crest. His cloak was black, as were his boots and leather sword belt. The scabbard was empty, but the sword wasn’t in his hands. He bowed deeply when he saw Velda.

Velda hesitated once more before stepping onto the river bank. The knight offered her his hand, but she declined. Her foot slipped on the muddy bank. Alton leaped forward, grasping her arm to prevent her fall. The knight cried out, hopping away from the pair. Tripping over a rock, he sat heavily on the ground, scrabbling at a knife hilt in his boot.

Alton whirled on the man, dagger leveled. He strode forward, glittering tip aimed for the downed man’s exposed throat. The knight raised his arms to ward off the blow.


© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 23

He Thought He Saw redBrian and his mother get picked up by Heath and arrive to a delightful meal.

Brian chuckled at himself. “All I could tell was it’s green,” he told his mother. “I had no idea it was spinach pilaf.”

“Well, I’m sure it’s delicious.”

Heath led the blessing and they ate, exclaiming over the excellent meal. Brian wasn’t sure half the time what he was eating, but it was all so good, he didn’t care. At the end of the meal, he had to control a burp. The others chuckled at him as he blushed.

“That’s the nicest compliment my food has gotten in a long time,” Jacqueline said. “I’m glad you liked it. Did you leave room for dessert?”

“Depends on dessert,” Brian responded with a wink.

“I think we can find something good,” Jacqueline replied. “Honey, do the honors?”

“Sure thing. I suppose I should mention that my wife is half Greek. She makes the most delicious baklava in the history of mankind.” He went to the kitchen and brought out a platter of the flaky, honey drenched pastry.

Brian thought he’d died and gone to heaven. He’d never had baklava before, but decided that it was now his favorite sweet.

“I could die right now and be happy,” he declared. “That was heaven, Ms. B.”

“A delicious meal, Jackie,” Maribelle added. “Thank you for having us over.”

“No need to rush off,” Heath said. “You ladies stay here and visit. I’ll take the kids at the bonfire and hang out for a little while. You ladies can get better acquainted. Sound like a plan?”

“That sounds delightful,” Maribelle said.

“Good, because I can’t stand the idea of you spending the evening alone,” Jacqueline said. “Jordan isn’t the only one who left her friends behind. It’s such a delight to find a kindred spirit, don’t you think?”

Brian thought it was a weird thing to say, but apparently his mother agreed with her new friend. Jacqueline had a strange way of expressing herself, but Maribelle liked her. He was glad to see her out with other people. She spent too much time at home alone. Her blindness had isolated a woman who was normally outgoing. This was good for her.

Jacqueline made sure the kids had hats, scarves and gloves before she allowed them to go. Armed with three different kinds of marshmallows, they hopped in the SUV.

“This is one treat Mom doesn’t mind me having, for some reason. It’s sugar and air. Go figure.” She shrugged.

“Because your mother loves marshmallows,” Heath replied. “She’s a closet sugar addict,” he told Brian. “My favorites are the cocoanut ones.”

They arrived at Chase’s house and Heath parked about half a block down the road. Chase lived in the woods a mile or so from Brian’s house. Tall trees ringed the two story home, standing guard over it. The property was on the edge of the swamp, so the pine trees mingled with swamp bay, dogwood, spruce pine, black gum and hawthorn. Holly bushes circled the base of the house and ivy climbed up the walls.

“It’s like something out of the Old South,” Jordan mused as she approached. “I expect to see Scarlet O’Hara running down the steps.” It was oddly romantic of her to say. “Of course, she’d trip on the hem of her dress and fall splat on the ground, but I can totally see her.”

Brian and her father laughed loudly. So like Jordan to find the humor in something that wasn’t really humorous.

“We just go around back,” Brian said. He’d been to Chase’s bonfires many times in the past.

Loud music played and Jordan was surprised to hear Lynyrd Skynyrd crooning Sweet Home Alabama. Most kids their age played rap and hip hop at parties. It was a relief to hear something different for a change. As they walked up, a song by blues guitarist, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, blasted from speakers.

“Your buddy has good taste in music,” Heath commented loudly.

“Yeah, he does. It’s one of the reasons we get along. That, and he actually has read a book or two.”

The fire was set well away from the house in a clearing not far from the swamp. The ground was damp, but logs had been laid out and covered with plastic tarps. When they walked up, Chase yelled loudly.

“Dad, you can light her up. Brian’s here!” He turned to greet his friend. “Hey, man. Good you came. And Jordan, right? Nice to meet you. Can I get you a drink? Totally no alcohol,” he added quickly when he saw Heath’s frown. “Chase Finley,” he introduced himself, holding out his hand.

“Heath Barrett, Jordan’s father.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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