Friday, June 14, 2013

The Pirate's Mistress by Lachelle Redd

Old man Layton was putting a book back on the shelf when he thought he heard the shuffle of footsteps.  He turned but saw no one.  He dimmed the light from his lantern and retreated to his bedroom.  He had lived in that community for sixty years and now as a grandpa he thought of a wicked deed tied to an even more wicked past.  For some reason the role he played began to echo in his mind constantly.  It was as if something was awakening in his soul and needed absolution.  For years he had been trying to put the event out of his mind, but recently he could not.  He began to think about the old crew and how they had been so thick in their heyday.  He didn’t see much of them anymore.  One of the guys just disappeared into nowhere, some say he lived deep in the woods, but others say he was dead.  The others had not moved far, but had families of their own.  Layton huffed quietly as he pulled back the covers for bed.  As he placed the lantern on the night table he heard his name on the wind.  “Layton,” she called to him.  At that moment a terror filled his veins and an icy cold shiver raced over his body.  He hadn’t heard that voice in years and knew immediately who it belonged to.  He sat on the edge of the bed reaching under his pillow for his gun.  As he pulled it from its cover a strong force pushed him onto the bed.  He was unable to rise.  His hand scurried for the weapon.  But he would not be able to reach it in time.  “It’s your time now.”  The voice was quiet and foreboding.  He screamed loudly, but no one would hear.  He felt the pressure on his chest build as a tightening throbbing pain raced from his neck to his head.  His breathing became short and labored.  He looked around the room, still unable to move, still unable to see anything.  As his body began to die from under him he suddenly saw the face of his attacker.  At that moment his terror was justified.  It was the rotting corpse of a woman that he had known many years ago.  Well, seems she had kept her promise and now she wanted revenge.  With one last struggle he attempted to break free but it was pointless.  Her grip on him was greater than his force.  His final walk into death began slowly as he hemorrhaged from his eyes, nose and mouth.  He gurgled and spat his own fluids as his head exploded from the inside.  Brain matter oozed from his nose as he convulsed violently.  His death was slow and painful.  It was a reminder to pain he had inflicted so many years ago.  His body would be found by his daughter the next day as she always checked on him on her way to work. 
The next morning the town would be buzzing with the death of Jeffrey Layton.    He was found suffocated in his own fluids and brain matter.  It was accompanied by a stench that sent his daughter running to the front door to vomit in the rose garden out front.  The scene was quiet and no sign of forced entry was detected.  Both doctors were called to examine the body.  The fear of plague immediately raced through the town like a wildfire in a dry forest in the heat of summer.  Dr. Clayton and Dr. Banner arrived quickly and both were astounded by what they saw.  They were immediately able to rule out plague as his most recent checkup was just days before and his blood work was clean.  The sight of the blood in the eyes, nose and ears were symptoms of stroke and severe hemorrhaging.  The brain matter in the nose was the most foul and curious symptom.  It was as if his insides were liquefied and simply oozed through every opening that he had.  Well it was the summer and with the intensity of his stroke it was no telling how long his body had been going through the event.  His insides were simply decaying as the normal process of death took place.  The report would list massive stroke as cause of death.       

Part II
Eisha poured the tea and was shocked at Helen’s revelation. 
“Were you here before?”  She asked as she offered her some fresh sandwiches she had prepared.  Helen began to speak.   
“Long ago this place was full of an atmosphere that wasn’t too polite to special couples like you and the doctor.  We had a fella move in here named LeFevre.  He was the most beautiful person I have ever known.  And he had a woman that was so breathtaking, that she could stop you with one glance.  Her skin was smooth as copper and her eyes were dark as the heart of a sunflower.  Her name was Nadii.  And she was the lady of the house.”
Eisha was enthralled and asked her to continue.
“Of course, at first everyone thought she was the maid.  I would come over and check on LeFevre as he didn’t say much or wanted much with being out and about.  He would always send her and she weathered the town’s racial slurs and awful negative storms.  I would come over to offer my help in anyway.  I was never raised to be that kind of person.  My parents always said that slavery of any soul was against God’s plan.  So know that if you have any problems, you come tell me right away.  I will gladly straighten out any of the backwards yahoos that live around here.”
Eisha smiled and agreed with a gentle nod as Helen continued.
“Nadii and I became best friends.  She would frequent my shop.  My family had a little butchery up town.  My family’s been slaughtering beef from our farm for decades.  Naddi would come by and always get the good stuff.  LeFevre had the money and she was in control of all of it.  She was quite a business woman, especially during that time period.  It was not easy for her.  Sometimes I knew she was coming by just to talk.  She had no family other than me and my kin.  She was a beautiful girl.”   
“What happened to her?  You seemed like you were so close.”
“Well the rest of the town grew suspicious of her and LeFevre’s union.  He never had another woman in the house or in his life.  So they decided to change things to fit their own personal tastes.  A few of our gracious townspeople got together and put this little blonde widow up to attract LeFevre.  Well they got their way and he married Melanie.  I could not understand why but I guess with things the way they were he just went along with it.  But soon after that marriage, I noticed that Nadii’s visits were shorter and shorter until she stopped coming by at all.  Then one day, I heard she was pregnant.  Well I knew LeFevre was the daddy.  I was so happy for her, but I felt scared too.  Something in my soul told me that this would not be a happy day.  I had not heard from her in months and finally when I got the nerve to go see her, I heard she had run off.  Then the most ghastly thing happened to LeFevre.  He was killed in a hunting accident.  That made Melanie a widow once again and the owner of this place, but she didn’t get to enjoy it long.  They found her hanging in the back yard.  She was out there picking apples and slipped from her ladder.  She landed between two strong branches and hung there for hours.  By the time she was found, the birds had plucked out her eyes and tongue.  She was buried closed casket within the next two days.” 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Beast - Lachelle Redd

Charlie Norman often enjoyed Saturday morning fishing and his wife's sausage sammies. Today he packed his gear as always and before the sun could make her move, he was on his way. Down the quiet roads of the small town, Charlie recounted his younger days and a rowdy teen just out to have fun. His first kiss with Linda Darthing, his first time with her sister Leanne, the old timer smiled as his memories kept him company on the long road ahead. As he passed the sign for the local Phosphate plant, he grew giddy knowing the turn off was up ahead. Making the left turn onto the dirt road, his favorite hole lay deep from the main road and secluded by trees, brush and tall grass. His F-150 bobbed and dipped on the uneven pavement. Charlie used his high beams to check his route and make sure he didn't veer off into a tree. At the back of the winding path, his usual parking spot came into view. He maneuvered his king cab and backed the boat onto the ramp. Jumping from the drivers seat, he made all the arrangements to unhook his Lucille from her resting place. Over the horizon, a pink hue began to lighten the sky. Charlie hurried, he wanted on the water and bait on the line. Grabbing his final provisions, the seasoned angler paddled out into the middle of the lake. Crickets, frogs and owls sang their final night songs as the sun continued to paint the early morning southern sky. Charlie prepped his lines and tossed one off. Keeping his LED light handy, and low lying, he wanted to make sure he didn't hook his own hand.

A slight tug on the line, Charlie pulled back gently and felt a struggle on the other end. Not much effort, he pulled a small catfish. Not being much of a catch, he threw the juvenile back. The next two catches were more or less the same. Old Charlie struck out again and again. He decided to paddle deeper to the other side where thicker foliage started to grow. The sun, peaking over fog and clouds began to warm the earth with her morning smile. Charlie sipped coffee from a thermos as he continued to paddle along. Suddenly he felt a thud and the paddle held tight from something underneath. He pulled the paddle free thinking it was more thicket from below. However, another thud and bump alerted him to something more substantial. Charlie ceased to paddle and readied his line, something of formidable size awaited. Since it wasn't a scrubbing sound, he knew it wasn't gator. His line tossed away, he waited and something gave him a forceful tug. Charlie, a new breath of excitement filling his senses steadied and anchored himself for a battle. Pulling back and forth, the being on the end gave Charlie the fight he so longed for. For thirty minutes man versus nature took hold and finally the angler felt the being quiet in his struggle. He turned the rod handled with haste as he waited for his prize to break the surface. The lake bottom was known to house many caves, and his catch had drug his line deep down into the murky depths. Charlie, still anxious with a thin layer of sweat on his brow could finally see the prize start the break through.

At first, he was unsure of what he had snagged. The being had a mouth of sharp pointed teeth and from the initial gaze seemed to be about fifteen feet in length. Covered in black scales and a large dark, villainous eye, Charlie was sure that he had captured something that no one had ever seen. The fisherman was careful in bringing the beast on board, but in a sudden last ditch effort to live the large torpedo like beast sparked to life and bit down on the man's arm causing a river of pain to explode at the site. Charlie screamed in agony as he fought to open the massive jaws. The body of the massive creature thrashed about as the grip grew tighter and tighter. Blood gushed from the wound as Charlie continued to struggle. His arm filled with pain as the creature locked down further, even more awakened by the fresh pumping blood that filled its mouth and senses. The monster thrashed harder forcing the man overboard and into the bottomless lake. Charlie knew he was in trouble as he struggled to come up for air. The being slipped from his arm as the water and impact from the fall loosened its grip. Charlie clung to the side of the tiny boat, his arm throbbing and his lungs stinging from the intake of water and air. He choked and coughed up the contents of the lake as he attempted to pull himself upward. As he tried pulled his good arm over the edge a sharp pain filled his left leg and then his right. The man, now under attack, knew the creature had brought reinforcements. Feeling his jeans and flesh being torn to shreds as he fought to get in the boat, he screamed as loud as his lungs would allow, but no one would hear. Another attack at his stomach and buttocks alerted him to more of the deadly creatures. Feeling himself being eaten alive, the man kicked and thrashed about, his blood filling the water, inviting more of the treacherous beings. A strong, bump to his chest and Charlie was free of his only life raft. He felt more of the beings attacking as he was sucked down into the murky depths of the lake. Once underneath, his attackers ripped through is throat and other soft tissue. As blood spewed forth, and his last moments of life slipped away, the once happily retired angler thought of his wife and grandchildren as the beasts made him the morning feast.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Excerpt from the new short story, Terror In Eden Park by Lachelle Redd

He moved along the pathway to the front gate. His legs were wobbly as he recalled her gentle, "yes." Fumbling with his keys and getting the door open, he then ransacked the vehicle for face tissues. Searching the front, back and sides of the seats and the glove compartment, he was able to score a few delicate sheets. Balled in his hands were the flimsy cloths as he returned to the path that would lead him to his fiancĂ©. In his return, a sudden chill filled his soul. She was gone. Jesse, confused and unsure of the moment began to search for the girl. He sauntered about the park calling for his beloved. As he approached the large fruit tree, he thought he heard a thud so he squinted. Using his cell phone, he made a makeshift flashlight and approached the sound. A soft voice whispered on the wind to him. Unable to make out the voice, he moved closer. The young man moved steady as he began to think his love was playing a joke. He called out to her again in a loving playful manner. "Ana, I know that's you."  There was no response. As he continued to move closer, he recognized the feet protruding from the other side of the tree. Relieved he had found her, he quickened his step and moved in but there was something that was not quite right. The limbs did not move nor did a response emanate from the body. Beginning to feel a shiver of terror as he approached the brutal scene the man was not prepared for what he saw.

Ana lay lifeless, a series of marks on her body oozing blood and some sort of secretion. Foam began to puddle at her mouth, eyes and ears. Her body was a mass of sputtered breaths and jerky convulsions until she moved no more. She was gone. Distraught and in tears, the young lover dropped to his knees pulling her close and weeping as he never had before. Her body was limp and still warm in his arms. Unable to fathom what had happened he held her close until he thought he heard a sound.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Serena Reborn: The Final Battle

Hailey, knowing her friend and the tone of her conversation knew that she did not plan to stick around much longer. She wanted so much to go with her, but knew it could not happen, not this time.

The following morning early in the dark of the day, Liana passed away while sleeping. Serena grieved as she had never done before. The tears seemed to never end as she held her tiny shriveled hand, no power that she possessed would bring her back. She buried her body before dawn in the lush flower pasture behind their large oak. The decisions that followed were quick and quiet.

Hailey slept in that day and when Harley came to her with a small note, she knew.

To my sister Hailey, I love you and will miss you so much. Please place fresh flowers every spring on the mound in the pasture behind the oak. Love Serena.

Serena was far from the village by early morn. Her ability to fly hard and fast had developed into a fine art over the past year. As she darted amongst the clouds and spring sun, the beautiful young sprite felt alive again. Although her tears would continue to flow, there was a part of her that felt a release. Knowing her mother was in a better place made it easier than she imagined. She would continue on her journey to nowhere for the remainder of the day. The young sprite had to compass and no purpose.

For days, Serena veered farther into a foreign world that resembled nothing of her home. She found happiness and peace but missed her friends. By now, Hailey was a mom to a new baby and the town would share in her celebration with a grand party, or at least she hoped. Imagining the many splendid deserts and fine eats, Serena started to miss her home, but she knew there would be no welcome for her. She continued on her way living off the fresh vegetation and water provided by mother earth. She slept in bundles of leaves and from time to time high in hallows of magnolias and oaks. She began to feel more comfort and by the end of week, her new quest would reveal itself.

One night, while she slept and dreamed in the hollow of an old mother oak she remembered life as it was and the happier days. However, something else was happening that made her fears awaken. She noticed a large purplish rash on her upper arm early that morning and by noon, it had spread across her chest. Feeling as if her life force trickled from her body, the sprite rested and sucked on nectar from the honeysuckle and chewed parsley leaves. She had taken ill just as he mother. Maybe her death would be swift.

Serena startled awake in the night by a voice. She thought it was delirium at first, but after a closer listen, she realized it was a voice just like Milan had been.

“Your destiny awaits, find him for he is near.” The voice spoke no more, but Serena needed answers. She called out into the night. "Milan, is that you?” There was no response. "Milan, I need you!” The night remained quiet.

The Evil Queen

Evan looked at her puzzled. He could not believe that she had struck up such a conversation with him especially one about wealth. He was unsure of his response but keeping with his courteous nature he found an answer that he felt would not have him beheaded.
“I realize I am only a servant to the king. No matter what happens, I shall serve him till death.”
She walked towards him in a curvy, seductive motion.
“Oh but I do disagree with you on that. You can be more than just a servant. I’m sure you have dreams of doing more than shoveling horse shit and pushing semen.”
She slinked herself even closer to the young man until she could feel the warmth from his body.
“Now, I will ask you again, what would you do to have just a piece of this land, or just a piece of that dream?”
Evan caved. The pressure and wanting were mounting in his brain. He knew of the wealth of a successful breeding and he had secret hopes of being that one. He blew a deep breath and spoke.
 “I guess if I were given the chance, I would do anything.”
“I thought so.”
She kissed the young man again this time on the lips. She opened her mouth and eased her tongue upon his lips. He tasted of wine and tobacco. It was a taste she found favorable. She let her hands roam over his heaving body. She knew that he was eager to have her. She pushed him back into the open carriage. He would stop her momentarily to give her a quick reality check, or so he thought.
“My lady, this is improper.”
She looked into his brown eyes. Her wanting rising beneath her royal surface. She placed a finger on his lips and then into his mouth.
“Sh, you said you would do anything to rule. I need you to do me.”
He slid down onto the floor of the carriage and gently hoisted her above him. His large strong hands were at her waist. She began to un-strap her blouse revealing her breasts. Chill bumps formed as the cool winter air brushed against them. He cupped his hands onto her luscious flesh. He began to caress them gently. He pulled her down to him where their lips could meet in a kiss. His hands ventured over her soft skin. She unbuttoned his shirt and explored him as well. She started with his firm chest and tight stomach. It was so much more pleasing than the bloated piece of nobility she had the night before. She ran her hands across the buttons of his trousers. She slipped them undone one by one. She slid her hands upon his waiting crotch. His shaft was not only larger but longer than her husband’s. She was now looking forward to having him even more. She eased down closer to the awaiting organ as she began to kiss it gently and lap it with her tongue. Her mouth slid easily over his protrusion. She tasted him in the back of her throat. His eyes closed he ran his hands through her hair. He pushed gently against her mouth just enough to let her know what she was getting. He eased her to his side so that he could taste her as well. She lay beside him for a second as he positioned himself between her thighs. He sucked her clit gently fingering her at the same time. Her wetness began to flow with an immense passion. He could wait no longer. He would be the one to make her cum. He mounted her roughly his insertion was forceful and with only one intent. She stifled back the sounds of her squeal at the opening of her snatch for the larger shaft. She spread her legs wider in order to accommodate his erection and his motion. It was as if she was being broken in by the master. He was strong inside her and touched her every spot. He took great pleasure in her moans and her nails digging into his flesh. He pushed harder and deeper inside her. She arched her body against his. The carriage rocked gently at first then violently then gently again until it ceased. Its passengers were covered in a drench of cool salty sweat.

Bloodline of the Black Dragon

The drunkard stumbled down the dark, slick streets as he caught eye of Nitra Kimble the town seamstress.  She was walking home from her shop, her sewing kit and materials in hand.  She had worked a long night working on a dress for lady Jessie.  It was her first new dress in a year and she wished to attend the annual gala in Talon.  Nitra was the only one she trusted with the task.  She had brought her ideas to her earlier that week and the  pro quickly started forming the materials and pearls for the ball.   
Night blanketed the town as she scurried home to rest her weary fingers and eyes.  She raced on tiny feet to her cobblestone abode, her hair brushed back and forth with the night breeze.  She didn’t realize the terror that followed her home.  Beck prowled carefully plotting her demise.  It made perfect sense.  If the dragon came for her it would not look so suspicious.  It would be a random killing.  There would be no mark and no one would know.  He slowed as she arrived at her darkened cottage.  She lit a candle upon entering and placed her needles into a nearby chair.  She was about to close the door when a pair of large hands grabbed her and forced her to the ground.  That was when she saw his face.  Beck attacked just as she attempted to close the door.  He began to ravage her against her will as he muffled her screams with his large dirty hands.  He stripped away her underwear and forced himself inside her.  The rage heightened as he felt himself plunge deeper and deeper inside her.  He would not stop until his evil release had taken place inside her.  She was completely helpless sobbing heavily as he heaved a solid breath of whiskey in her face.  In a matter of minutes he was up and on his way out the door.  He left her in the floor a heap of tears and shame.  His final threats of death were enough to keep her mouth shut.  Little did she know she was due to death anyway. 

At the End of Her Whip

Grey moved on to other cases but this one seemed to stay nag away at his core. The pictures would play over and over with the words captured in bold letters. He went to the evidence room, gathered the box, and took it home. He rummaged through the contents and at the very bottom was a paperback book. Recovered from Jake's home, the book revealed plenty about Mr. Killyam. It was the story of a man and his lover whom he shared a very special relationship. He picked up the small paperback and began to read. The words glided over his tongue and into his memory. He was able to complete it in one night. He read it cover to cover and in the wee hours of the morning, he understood. He had to find Jake’s Venus. He took a picture of Jake out of the evidence box. It was from the annual company luncheon. He was in the midst of friends, who had no idea of who the real Jake was or his temptation. With the new evidence and renewed steam, he looked at everyone in a different light. He looked deeper into their personal lives. His first run through had been very standard. Now with this new information, he worked in secret. The case solved, or seemed solved, there was no more to do. The seasoned detective, Grey, was not convinced as he later discovered that Jake’s best friend, Kent seemed to be mimicking the same actions as his dead friend. He decided to tag the man for a couple of weeks and uncovered even more clues he also felt that Kent was protecting someone.

Kent sat and sobbed in quiet on the front row at his friend's funeral. Kent had a solid alibi and was nowhere near, but was very evasive about the new Jake. He only divulged that the ailing man grew silent in the days leading to his death. It would be much later that what Kent really knew would surface. He had another story and it unfolded on Friday nights.

Grey trailed Kent for weeks, he was about to give up until late one Friday afternoon his questions were answered. Kent closed the office and headed to his favorite restaurant for dinner and later home. He seemed to be turning in for the night, but around 11 pm, he left his home with a black tightly packed duffle bag. He jumped into his beamer and headed south to I95 to St. Augustine. He would reach his destination in about an hour and a half. Maneuvering the traffic with ease, he drove as a man on a mission. When he arrived at the beach house, he moved quickly. Grey followed and parked up the street a ways by the beach. He watched as Kent moved to the door of a fine address with large palms and a manicured lawn. Running a check on the place, he was not surprised at first at what he saw. The residence once belonged to Jake Killyman. Purchased with cash and kept in pristine condition by a local lawn and garden company, the home now belonged to a familiar name that Grey knew, but did not know why. Passed on in one of his provisions in his will, the new owner had no worries.

The detective crept around to the back of the house. Through dark curtains, he could see shapes and here the muffled sound of a voice. Kent was on the phone with someone and he seemed frustrated, as his voice grew louder. The man grew calm when hanging up moved through the rooms as if checking the scene for an event. As Grey moved in closer, he found a break in the material and could see the events unfold. Kent, now in a black robe and sipping wine, sat quietly at the bar. However, it was the items on the large black leather table that caught the detective's eye. Shackles, straps, blindfolds and the most impressive a long frayed whip dangled off the edge.

The table had a small opening at one end, Grey had no idea what that was for. Well cushioned and wide, it seemed of place. As the pieces fell into place, he started to realize that Kent truly knew more than he told. Just then, the doorbell rang and Kent rose meet his guest.

Grey moved closer to the window to get a look. His heart raced and mouth began to water with anticipation. He had to see her; well he presumed it was a her. When she stepped into the light, she was like nothing he had seen before. Her face painted elegantly, she was tall and slender. The fur coat she wore slipped easily to the floor to reveal a leather corset and thigh high stockings. From her head to her toe she was sensual and sexy, even her footwear seemed to beg for his attention. The 4-inch patent leather, steel reinforced heals shined to a high gloss and clicked attention as she moved across the tile floor. They were the perfect final addition. He took a deep breath and moved in closer. He could see the steam from his breath on the window.

Kent cleared the table and lay down on the leather bed of torture. The opening was for his face. She strapped him in and immediately pulled the long black whip from the gadgets. Grey dropped to his knees in the sand as the he watched the whip break the air and then Kent‘s precious skin. He flinched and screamed in agony as he begged her to strap him again and again. The two were inseparable, the master, and his mistress. The whip, an item of shear torture and lust, beckoned for the pale skin of its victim. Tasting the wounds as they opened, its prey was trapped in a dizzying world wind of ecstasy and pain.

 For the next ten minutes, he watched as Kent submitted himself to the stacked beauty. Then suddenly as if he found the strength of a god, she released him and he made love to her with such passion and anger that Grey felt both aroused and ashamed. Once the session was over he collapsed to the sand both spent and tormented.

Kent, now void of any energy would be nursed and tended He lay on the sofa face down and completely drained. She would watch over him for the rest of that day. Knowing what to do and administering codeine to comfort and ease the pain. Grey managed to creep back to his car staggering as the visions of the events replayed in his head. It was Sunday afternoon when Kent left the house and went back to Jacksonville. Grey had ran the woman’s license plate and gotten her name and address. He knew the name was familiar.

He raced back to Jacksonville to review the employee list. He knew he had seen the name somewhere but she was not on the employee list. She was one of the custodial staff for the cleaning company and she was the one who cleaned Jake’s office as he requested. She still received full pay but he would request her and only her to into his space. Since his death, she had been pulled to clean Kent’s office at his request. She was due to work on that Wednesday. Grey decided that he would be waiting for her. He did not want to see Kent. He had no words and his shame would rush forth. He knew he would lie. The truth rested with Kimaya.
Wednesday night

The Evil Quen

Order Evil Queen
He could see the real Lizbeth. Her face appeared clear and in warning. She screamed loudly but the sound in his head was muddled as if he was underwater. The next face he saw was Evan. His sly menacing grin grew closer as he clutched the throw even tighter. There were other faces as well. They were of the fallen townspeople who had taken ill during the mini plague. They were trapped in the garment as well. They were in hell and there was no rescue. Fernand wanted to take the garment, but just as he turned, he heard Lilly in the hall. She was talking to her father. This was his signal to leave the room. He quickly rolled the throw up tightly and tucked it under his jacket. He slipped quietly from the room unnoticed. He would meet up with Lilly later to explain what he had found.

The visions from the quilt were vivid and draining his very energy. He quickly stored the blanket in a trunk at the foot of his bed. Lilly knocked on his door and entered.

“Did you find anything?”

“Yes, it’s in the trunk, but don’t touch it for long. It’s a witch’s tool. It traps the souls they have taken. I don’t know how it starts.”

Lilly opened the heavy lid to reveal the dark throw. It was beautiful, but very powerful. When she touched it, she felt an energy race through her body as a vision of a macabre nature filled her senses. So many souls taken, they were trapped. Twisted faces and mouths agape as silent screams escaped their lips. Then one vision caught her in horror. She saw her mother, covered in blood and calling out to her. She dropped the blanket and slammed the lid shut. She looked at Fernand in horror. There were no words for what she had seen.

“Why do I keep seeing my mother dead?”