Archive | April 2018

When Tis Done – Part 55

When Tis Done coverThere is trouble in debate, when Jian argues with Brian. He gets so angry, he takes a swing at Brian, who catches Jian’s arm, defending himself. The school security officer, and the principal, are called.

“What’s wrong?”

“He assaulted me,” Jian said, pointing at Brian.

“He took a swing first. Brian just defended himself,” Rhonda said.

The other students backed up Brian. Mr. Wymore was conflicted. By the rules, he had to see to it both boys were suspended for fighting, but it was clear that Jian had initiated it. Rather than throwing a punch, Brian had protected himself.

“Everyone, I’m sorry, but we’re done for today. Brian and Jian will be heading to the office with Mr. Ferris and Officer Wilke.”

“Witness statements will be taken immediately,” Mr. Ferris announced. “Whoever saw it, come to the office.”

They gathered their things and followed them down. Jian refused to let anyone touch him. Brian walked calmly to the office and went to sit by the receptionist’s desk while Jian was taken into the vice-principal’s office.

“What did you do?” the receptionist, Millie Sayer asked him.

“Defended myself.” He wouldn’t explain or say anything more.

“Want me to call your mother?”

“She can’t drive. Call my dad, please.” He gave her the number.

After trying the number twice, Mrs. Sayer shook her head and hung up. “He can’t be reached, sugar. Anyone else”

“Yeah. Mrs. Finley is a friend of the family.”

“I’ll call her. You sit tight.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Dora arrived a few minutes later, eyes wide with concern. “What happened?”

“Can we talk in private?”

“Sure. We’ll be in my office, Millie.”

“No problem. They’ll be with the others for a time. You go ahead.”

They went in her office, closing the door. Brian told her what had happened with Jian.

“We told you not to provoke him.”

“My breathing provokes him. He swung at me, and when I had hold of him, I got a glimmer of something. He’s not who he says, maybe not even what he says.”

“Meaning what?”

“Meaning, we were looking for trouble to arrive. I think it has. And I think he intends to do something quite awful. I don’t know what and I have no idea how, or why or anything else, but he’s dangerous. More dangerous than Mr. D. or Opal.”

“You’re scaring me, Brian.”

“You should be, Dora. Flat out terrified. That boy is evil. I can’t prove it, but I know it. Do you have any blessed salt or holy water?”

“Both. Why?”

“May I have some?”

“Sure. But why?”

She got a small bottle and a salt shaker from her desk drawer. Handing them to him, she watched as he wet his hands and shook a little salt on them, rubbing it around until it dried.

“An experiment. Do you have a charm with you?”

Another drawer provided this. He tucked it in his pocket and got up. Walking into the vice-principal’s office univited, he advanced on Jian, clapping him on the shoulder as he hauled him to his feet. Taking Jian’s hand, he squeezed, rubbing the salt on the other boy’s hand.

“I’m sorry. We obviously got off on the wrong foot. Perhaps it’s a cultural misunderstanding. Mr. Ferris, could we just forget the whole thing? If Jian would simply apologize for coming at me, I’m willing to let it slide.”

Mr. Ferris stared, agap. “I really can’t do that, Brian. I can mitigate his punishment, but he still has to be reprimanded.”

“I understand. Well, I tried.” He turned to Jian, shrugging. Shaking his hand again, he grasped the elbow of the same arm, rubbing the salt on the other boy’s skin. Muttering a counter curse in Old Galic, he released the boy’s arm.

“What does that mean?” Jian demanded.

“It’s a blessing. Something I picked up somewhere. I was really hoping we could put this behind us and move on.”

“Why?”

Brian shrugged. “That’s just the kind of guy I am.”

“I’ll take this into consideration,” Mr. Ferris said.

“Thank you, sir,” Brian said, shaking his hand. He also clapped Officer Wilke on his shoulder before walking out. He shut the door behind him, smiling at Dora Finley.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 54

When Tis Done coverJordan goes to drama rehearsal after school, to find Lien there. At debate, Brian has to put up with Jian. The young Asian man seems determined to annoy Brian.

“I’m going to start with the new kids,” he told Brian. “Think of a subject and get everyone going. Extemp in twenty minutes.”

“Yes, sir,” Brian said. “Okay, y’all. You heard the man. Gather round.”

“Why are you in charge?” Jian asked, his expression and tone nasty.

The other students stared at him, puzzled.

“You just heard the man.”

“I don’t see why you should be in charge. Are you better than the rest of us?”

“Dude, just doing what Mr. Wymore said. He’s the boss. You can join in, or you can leave. I don’t care one way or the other. Maybe you’d be more comfortable in the remedial group?” He invited with a sweep of his hand. “No one will think less of you if your skills aren’t up to snuff. We all started at the bottom.”

That got smiles and nods as each person remembered their early days in debate.

“Up to you.”

“You think I don’t know what I’m doing?”

“I got no clue. Don’t really care, if I’m honest. Put up or shut up.”

Jian frowned, clearly not understanding the idiom.

“He means,” one of the girls said. “Either prove yourself or stop questioning him.” Tossing her hair, she gave Jian a none too subtle reproof.

The Asian boy clearly didn’t like being reprimanded by a girl, but he kept quiet.

“What’s our subject?” one of the boys asked.

“I’m trying to decide. I thought about gun control….”

The girl, Chloe, shiffed, tossing her head again. “So done.”

“Agreed. I thought about political issues, but I think we might end up all arguing on the same side of that. So…. With the ladies in mind: Nice Guys or Bad Boys?”

The girls clapped, cheering. The boys looked at him, stunned.

“What are we supposed to do with that,” the same boy asked.

“You are going to point out the advantages of being a good guy, or a bad boy. Think you can handle that, Ollie?”

“Sure!” Rubbing his hands together gleefully, Ollie sat at a desk and started putting together his argument.

Each student sat and started working. All except Jian.

“This is a stupid subject.”

“Didn’t hear me ask your opinion,” Brian said. “They like it. If you don’t, there’s the door. Don’t let it smack you in your bony, flat ass on the way out.”

Jian bridled, shoulders back, chin jutting, he advanced. Brian stood his ground, looking down at the shorter boy with a calm, placid expression.

“Are you trying to insult me?”

“No. I got better things to do with my time.”

“Since we met, you have gone out of your way to be rude.”

Brian guffawed. “Since we met, you’ve done nothing but give me grief. Trust me, if I really wanted to be give you shit, you’d know it. I’m just going about my business. The fact it pisses you off is just gravy.” He turned away, purposely leaving himself vulnerable.

Jian hopped forward, reaching for him. Brian sensed him coming and spun around, grabbing the other boy’s arm before he could land a punch. He had Jian’s arm in a chicken wing over his shoulder, in less than ten seconds. Yowling, Jian cursed at Brian in his native tongue. He might not know the words, but Brian understood the intent. He’s seriously infuriated the Asian boy.

Mr. Wymore rushed over from the central pod between the classrooms, where he’d been talking to the new students. “What’s going on here? Rhonda, call the office now!”

She hopped up and hit the intercom button. It took a few moments for the receptionist to answer.

“Brian, let him go,” Mr. Wymore said quietly.

Doing as he was told, Brian relaxed his grip on Jian.

“He totally attacked Brian first,” Rhonda said.

“Yes?” came from the intercom.

“Mrs. Sayer, I need the campus security officer in my room to escort a student to the office for discipline.”

“He’s on the way. Is everything all right?”

“It will be. Send Mr. Ferris in, please.”

“He’s coming with Officer Wilke.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

They stood in silence, waiting for Officer Wilke and Mr. Ferris. A few minutes later, the men arrived.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Red River Radio Presents What’s Write for Me with Lory & Shelton

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Wednesday, April 25, 4-6 PM EDT on Blog Talk Radio

Still waiting for Spring to Spring? Here in Florida, it has—mostly—and with it allergies, asthma and annoyance. Nothing like a stuffy head and watering eyes to keep you inside. Or, you can brave the crowds, and flock to the beach—where you battle traffic, rip tides and high tides. The choice is clear, at least to me. Home is where the heart is. (And the Benadryl)

Gosh, if only life could be perfect! You know what? It can, by reading a good book! Our authors today have some great escapes for you, so kick back, sip your favorite cold (or hot) beverage, and enjoy a chat with us.

Lory La Selva Paduano

First up, Lory La Selva Paduano author of historical fiction Crown of Embers, Wonderland Series, Khafa the High Priestess. New to the show, we’re so glad to have her here. Welcome, Lory!

Shelton Williams

Also new to the lineup is Shelton Williams author of murder mysteries Covey Jencks, Washed in the Blood and Summer of 66. Welcome to the show, Shelton! Hope you have fun.

Join us for a fun filled chat, and be careful out there. Mother Nature is a little loco.

 

When Tis Done – Part 53

When Tis Done coverAll day at school, Brian is plagued by Jian, who is in most of his classes. After school, the Asian boy openly expresses his interest in Jordan, which makes Brian angry. She reminds him that he’s supposed to be kind, no matter what, but that doesn’t sit well with Brian. When Jordan gets to the drama room, she finds Lien there, sitting alone.

“Hi, you okay?”

Lien shook her head, eyes wide with fear.

“Is it your brother?”

The other girl shook her head, trembling. She shrugged.

“If he’s so mean, can’t you talk to your dad, tell him?”

“You don’t understand, Jordan. It’s not our way. My brother and father can do or say what they like. I’m only a girl.”

Jordan wanted to scream. Her Inner Feminist grew incensed at the idea. She knew that some countries had a very different view of women, but she hadn’t thought she’d ever encounter it in her home town. Now, she was confronted with a very real issue of discrimination. She wanted to fight it, but knew it really wasn’t her business or her conflict to resolve.

“You shouldn’t let him treat you badly. There are laws….”

“Yes, but not for me.”

Jordan tried to speak, but Lien held up her hand.

“Thank you. I appreciate your support and the fact you want to stand up for me, but this is how it’s been since I was a little girl. It will continue forever, until I marry. Then, I will be under the auspicise of my husband, answering to his rules.”

“That’s so—archaic. Barbaric.”

Lien shrugged. “But it is our way. It’s all right, Jordan. They don’t always get their way, but they can be very unkind when I talk back or refuse.”

Jordan had no answer. Lien had accepted it, so must she. She couldn’t fight every battle, even if she wanted to.

The drama coach walked in, grinning. “We’ve got a new student joining us today,” she announced. “Everyone, please welcome Lien.” She presented the shy young woman.

Smiling, Lien stood and waved at everyone.

“Jordan, will you take over introductions and start the warm up? I have to go talk to Mr. Ferris.”

“Sure. Everyone, up on the stage.” She’d done this before. As a senior, and the designated assistant director, they listened to her. She did the introductions and started a game to help them all learn one another’s names. It wasn’t just because of Lien, there were some new freshmen and transfer students, so it was helpful for them all. By the time Mrs. Joyce came back, they were well into their warm up. She let Jordan continue until they were done, and invited everyone to sit in a circle on the stage.

“I’ve just spoken to Assistant Principal Ferris. He’s informed me that he’d like us to perform for the first assembly of the year, introducing students to the arts. He’s been a big supporter of ours, fighting for the team to have funds, so I don’t want to disappoint him. We need to think of some things we can do that won’t take a lot of preparation, since the assembly is in less than two weeks.”

“We did that short one act last year,” Jordan said. “All three of us are still here. We could do that. It’s about ten minutes.”

“I can do the soliloquey I memorized last spring,” a boy popped in.

“And Dwight can do his Mark Twain,” Jordan suggested. “Lien, is there something from your country that you could perform?”

Taken by surprise, the young Asian woman stared at Jordan.

“Perform something from my country?” She thought a moment. “Well, yes. I suppose. As a project one year, I learned one of the traditional dances. I still have the dress and fan. Would that be all right?” she asked the teacher.

Mrs. Joyce beamed. “Oh, I think that would be amazing! We could start with Mark Twain, go to the soliloquey, do the short one act and end with your dance. I think that would make an amazing performance! Excellent! Let’s get to work. Lien, can you come show me the dance, even if you don’t have your costume and music?”

“Of course. I would be happy to.”

“Great. Jordan, why don’t you three take the stage. Boys, one of you on stage right wings, the other stage left.”

“Yes, Mrs. Joyce!” they chorused.

Brian stood just inside the door to the debate coach’s room, feeling Jian’s eyes on him. He didn’t have to look around to spot the boy, he knew exactly where he was in the room. The weight of his glare wasn’t frightening so much as it was irritating. It made Brian angry, but he pasted a smile on his face and walked over to greet the members of the team. Mr. Wymore was talking to a couple of new freshmen, getting them oriented and finding out how much experience they had—virtually none.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 52

When Tis Done coverTo their surprise, they find out that John Curtis’ brother is the Voice of his Circle. John was just as glad that he wasn’t chosen himself. He has come to them, to ask for help. Their Inner Circle is weak, and not all the families have children. Cynthia calls the other Circle members, asking them to come and meet him.

She walked in about that time, smiling. “They’ll be here at six thirty. They’re bringing food. The local members of all the Outer Circle will be here, the other two will be complete.”

“Thank you,” John said, smiling at her. He cocked his head to one side. “Did you say wife?”

“All this, and you come back to that?” Neil laughed loudly. “Yes, we got married yesterday.”

“Holy shit, you work fast!”

“We felt it was necessary for the Circle. It was severely damaged when my brother was killed. We did the ritual to hand over the position, but the Circle couldn’t fully heal until we married. We’re still coming under attack, if your posession is any indication.”

“You’d still be perceived as weak,” John replied. “Since your bond is new. I’m surprised, though. As Voice and married, you should be strong. Your wards are kick ass. I don’t know how I even got through.”

“Because you didn’t intend to harm us, whatever was inside you, did. But their intentions could be masked by yours.”

“That’s a terrifying thought,” Cynthia said, wide eyed. “What if others can do the same?”

“It has to be something very powerful,” John replied. “Not just anything can possess. Not only that, I’ve had the same training you and Neil had—all my life. I still practice my cleansing rituals. My brother sends me stuff. Now that I’m State Side, it’s easier.”

There was a knock at the door. Neil hopped up and looked out the peephole.”It’s my folks.” He opened the door.

Mr. and Mrs. Braxton came in slowly, with her supporting him.

“Dad, we could have come to you.”

“This is the ritual grounds,” he wheezed.

Myra bustled to the kitchen, coming back with a glass of water. She wasn’t happy until he’d sipped the whole thing. Neil made introductions and waited for his father to finsh his water.

“We came right over,” Myra said. “David knew it couldn’t wait. When you called, we’d been talking about things, looking at some of the journal entries made by Evangeline Cayce.” She pulled a three ring binder from a bag. “Brian is borrowing our audio discs, but I like to read things for myself.” She plunked the thick volume on the table. “Have a look at page four seventy-three.”

Brian’s day wasn’t going well. He found that not only was Jian Fēng on the debate and speech team with him, he was in five of his seven classes. The only ones Fēng wasn’t in were his A.P. English and P.E. classes. For five hours a day, he got glared at by the dark eyed Asian and it made his skin crawl unpleasently. It seemed that no matter where he sat, Fēng was behind him, staring. Disconcerted and irrate, Brian scurried back to his locker, to find that Jian and Lian had lockers nearby his. He wasn’t sure how that worked. They were assigned alphbetically and Fēng wasn’t so close to Casey that they should have been anywhere near one another. Chase’s locker was at the other end of the hall, which was where the Fēngs should be as well—but weren’t.

“You okay?” Jordan asked as he threw books into his locker at the end of the day.

“Yeah. Peachy.”

“You don’t look peachy.” She touched his cheek, a worried frown on her face.

Fēng flashed a toothy, leering grin at her as he closed his locker. The ground trembled slightly as Brian tried to contain his temper.

“Will you get a grip!” Jordan whispered.

“I’m fine.”

“Right. I guess the earth moving under my feet is just because you’re near.”

He gave her a look down his nose. “That guy gets under my skin.”

“You let him get to you. What did Neil tell you? Kill him with kindness.”

“Not kill, just kindness. I know, but it’so hard. He’s such a dick.”

“Then you be that much nicer. The more of a prick he is, the nicer you get. I know it’s not easy, but what in your life is?”

“Loving you,” he replied without thinking.

Jordan stopped talking, staring at him. Tilting her head, she tried to decode what he’d said. Yes, he had said that, and he meant it.

“Brian Casey, you’re a wonder. If we weren’t in school, I’d kiss you.”

He pulled her close, gazing into her lustrous blue eyes. “If we weren’t in school, I’d strip you naked and do more than kiss you.” Letting go rather abruptly, he slammed his locker closed and headed for debate.

Stunned, Jordan took off after him. Her short legs couldn’t catch up. He was in the debate room, the door closing behind him, before she reached it. She didn’t dare go in, Jian was right by the door. He turned around and saw her, flashing another toothy grin. Jordan’s grimace didn’t seem to faze him in the least. She scurried off, worried she’d be late for drama practice. When she arrived, she found Lien there. The shy Asian girl was sitting by herself, looking anxious. Jordan sat by her.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 51

When Tis Done coverCaptain Curtis has been possessed. Neil and Cynthia drive the evil spirit away, leaving him shaken and puzzled. They gather in the kitchen to eat sandwiches and have some restorative tea, while they try to explain to Curtis what happened.

Neil and Cynthia exchanged a look. Normally, they wouldn’t have said anything, but this man had become an unwitting player in their drama.

“We don’t know exactly who, but why should be obvious. Somone wants me dead and used you to do it.”

“Yeah, but why?”

“John, what we’re going to tell you must be in the utmost confidence. This isn’t something anyone else can ever know. If there were some way to make you forget it all, I would. But they might try to use you again. I can’t risk that.”

“Neil….”

“Just don’t say anything until I’m done.”

John nodded.

Neil and Cynthia told him about the Circles, being descended from Druids and having taken up the mantel of the Circle leadership. John listened quietly, far more calmly than they had anticipated. When they were through, he nodded, lips compressed in a tight line.

“My brother is the one from our family,” he said simply. “He’s a couple years older than me and he sent word, asking me to come see you. Not to kill you,” he explained quickly. “I’d still love to know how the hell they did that. I can’t imagine it was easy.”

Neil’s mouth dropped open. “You’re—one of us?”

“I’m what you were,” John explained. “The one left out. Only, unlike you, I’m relieved as hell I wasn’t chosen. My brother’s Circle has had some bad shit happen the last couple years. Their kids, though….” He shook his head. “They don’t all have children, so that Circle isn’t complete. They’re weak, vulnerable. We’re appealing to other, stronger Circles, for help. That’s why Roy sent me. He sensed that you had some troubles, too, with your Inner Circle.”

“How would he even know?”

“Roy sees things—in dreams. He’s got a rare talent….”

“He’s a Dreamer, too?” Cynthia yelped.

“Too? What?”

“The Voice of our Inner Circle is a Dreamer. We thought he was the only one.”

“They’re rare, but there’s never just one,” John explained. “Roy sensed something was happening here, but I don’t think he knew that. It would explain a lot of what he’s seen, though. There’s trouble brewing and it’s closer than any of us would like. Unfortuantely, yours isn’t the only Circle involved. Ours is too. We need your help, Neil. Can I talk to this Voice?”

“He’s at school,” Neil said. “Probably won’t be home until after three. But yes, we’ll make arrangements.”

“He’s in college?”

“High school.”

“So, a real kid.” John huffed out his breath. “Shit. I was hoping for a more mature viewpoint.”

“Don’t underestimate Brian,” Neil cautioned. “He can do things I’ve never seen done, and I’ve been around this my entire life. Even my grandfather couldn’t do the stuff that Brian does, and he’s the most powerful of us I’ve ever known.”

“We can call the Center Circle members,” Cynthia said, pulling out her phone. “And they can bring their children. I think we all need to be in on this.”

“What about your Outer Circle?” John asked.

“They’re scattered,” Neil said. “And some, like my dad, aren’t well.”

“Your father would be very useful,” Cynthia said. “He’s Voice for his Circle,” she explained to John. “I’m going to make those calls.” She got up and walked to the dining room to call so the men could talk.

“Interesting. Doesn’t often become a generational thing.”

“No, but our Circle was in flux for a long time,” Neil said. “It settled on me when we filled in for Cliff and Dora. I hope the Powers That Be know what the hell they’re doing, because I’m completely clueless.”

John put his hand on the back of Neil’s neck, squeezing gently. “I think they know exactly what they’re doing. I’ve never seen anyone as capable as you, or as readily adaptable. You can walk into a situation room completely cold and give an in depth briefing. You take the least explicit directions ever and make a perfect battle plan. I wish I’d been able to convince you to take a higher rank. You were a hell of a Marine, Neil.”

“Thank you, sir, but I liked where I was, still down in the mud and guts with my men.”

“You an earth shaper?”

“Fire and water.”

“Interesting combination. My brother is Earth and Air.”

“So is Cynthia.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 50

When Tis Done coverThey and the house have been cleansed, so Neil and Cynthia settle down to do some studying. They discovered, what looks like, a recipe written in Old Gaelic. While they are trying to figure out its use, Neil’s C.O., Captain Curtis, arrives at the door. Unfortunately, he’s there to kill Neil. Fighting the influence, he begs for Neil’s help. Neil asks her to bring the holy oil, after taking Curtis’ weapon away.

Curtis’ hands trembled. Sweat broke on his brow. Neil held the weapon, pointing it away from them both. Cynthia trotted through the doorway and stopped cold.

“It’s all right, Cynthia. Just bring the oil over and annoint the Captain, please. Someone has taken over his body and we need to help.”

“What’s going on?” she asked as she hurried over. “Who is this?”

“A friend. We don’t wanna hurt him if we can help it,” Neil kept his voice level, his tone calm. “John, my wife, Cynthia, is going to annoint you. It may hurt. You just take deep breaths and let it work, okay? I’m here. It’s gonna be all right.”

Cynthia started praying, unsure what language she spoke. The words came to her and she muttered rapidly as she dipped her thumb in the oil. It felt warm to the touch and tingled against her skin. Raising her hand, she touched John Curtis’ forehead, making the sign of the cross. She might be descended from druids, but she was raised Catholic. Some things were instinctive.

Curtis shuddered, moaning as she touched him. Closing his eyes, he inhaled slowly.

“Look at me, Johnny,” Neil insisted. “It’s worse if you close off. Look at me.”

The Captain forced his eyes open, moaning again. “It hurts, Neil.”

“I know. And it’s gonna get worse.”

“Not a comfort, kid.”

“It’s all I’ve got, sir. Go ahead, baby,” he said to Cynthia. “Hands next. Then heart.”

Trembling, she made the sign of the cross on each of Curtis’ hands as well as Neil’s. She reached awkwardly inside his shirt and made the sign over his heart, then turned to Neil, repeating the forehead and heart on him. Afterward, she poured oil in her hands, rubbing them vigorously together. Unsure what she was supposed to do, she followed her instincts and placed one hand on each man’s head, praying as she pushed at Curtis with her mind.

Screaming, he shuddered, his hands tightening on the weapon. Neil held on, joining Cynthia in her litany. Curtis screamed louder and his skin roiled and writhed under Cynthia’s hand, as if his muscles had all decided to curl up at once. Making sounds none of them had ever heard before, he let go of the gun and fell to his knees on the porch.

Neil took the weapon, releasing the magazine and emptying the chambered round. These went into his pockets, the gun into the back of his pants. Curtis shuddered and groaned on the porch. The ordeal had caused his bladder and bowels to evacuate. Covered in mess, he huddled on the porch, still in agony. Suddenly, he was flung on his back, in full grand mal seizure.

“I can’t do this,” Cynthia said. “I don’t know….”

“Help me turn him on his side.” Together, they positioned Curtis safely. Neil spoke to him calmly, stroking the other man’s hand as he seized. “I’m here, John. It’s almost over. I promise. It’s going to be okay. Baby, get him some holy water for him to drink. Add a pinch of blessed salt and cumin and purifying herbs.”

Cynthia rushed off to do as he asked. Moments later, she was back with a small glass. The worst of the seizure was over, so they helped the Captain sit up enough to drink. Groaning once more, he relaxed against Neil’s chest.

“I’m sorry.”

“No. Nothing to be sorry for, Johnny. Let’s get you cleaned up.”

“I can’t come in like this.”

“I’ve got an outdoor shower. Can you walk?”

“I think so.”

Together, Cynthia and Neil helped John up and led him to the shower. Neil undressed his friend down to his briefs and rinsed his garments at the hose. Cynthia brought towels, soap and clean clothing which had been Cliff’s. Dora hadn’t cleared it all out yet, but she was glad to have it, because the Captain was more his size than he was Neil’s. Left to bathe in the outside shower stall, the Captain spoke to Neil, who waited on the other side of the enclosure.

“What the hell happened to me, Braxton?”

“You were possessed, sir.”

“The fuck you say?”

“When you’re clean and dressed, we’ll go inside and talk about it. It’s gonna sound like witchcraft and hoodoo, sir.”

“You can drop the sir, Neil. You’re a free man now.”

Neil chuckled. “Yeah, well, you’ve earned it the hard way.”

“Didn’t we all?” He came out, dressed in Cliff’s jeans and Pink Floyd T-shirt.

Neil took his wet things to the washing machine before going into the house proper. Cynthia had a pot of herb tea brewing and they sat down to eat sandwiches and have some relaxing, restorative tea.

“I was possessed,” Captain Curtis prompted. “Why? By whom?”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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