* Excerpt taken from pages 31-35:
Soon, she was walking down the wet street, the dark sky was slowly boiling blacks and grays and wisps of wind swirled leaves and trash in little whirlwinds. When she passed someone, she looked away, not holding his or her gaze. They only saw a beautiful young gothic girl, dressed in shades of blacks and grays, shrouded in sadness, slowly walking down a lonely dark wet sidewalk. She wore her black leather jacket, a dark gray blouse, and a black billowing skirt, with a pair of slits that showed her worn knee high black boots. Occasionally she heard the snide comments, other times she could not. The comments like, “Why is she dressed like that?” that ranged to “You are weird. Take you and your kind else where- you aren’t wanted here.”
She started walking, trying to clear her mind. She remembered a time in the past when she lived in a happier time and a happier world. She was sitting on a pier, quietly strumming her acoustic guitar. Chris walked up and sat down on the stumps. She strummed the guitar slowly and smiled when he sat down. She slowly played the REM song, ‘it’s the end of the world’. Her angelic like singing voice echoed as she slowly strummed the acoustic guitar. She recited the words from memory as she stared into the eyes of the man she loved. The memory faded as she walked out of it. She walked with her head down and she came to an intersection. The pedestrian sign was an electronic red hand sign and she stopped and waited for it to change. A woman with a small child walked up to cross the street. Lavender looked down at the little girl. She had a fresh face and pigtails.
She smiled a gentle smile at the child. The child smiled nervously and looked up to her mom. Lavender looked up at the woman.
“Come on Honey, leave the weirdo alone,” the woman said, as she tugged the girl closer to her side.
The little girl looked back at Lavender.
“Weirdo,” the little girl echoed.
The light changed and the woman and child walked on as Lavender stood there, shaking. The light changed again. Lavender collected herself and walked on through the light and into the darkness of the night.
‘What am I going to do?’ She asked herself, trying to forget the little girl. Her thoughts returned to Chris.
‘I try as hard as I can, but I can’t get him out of my mind.’ She said to herself.
She looked around the city street. The weak streetlights hung low over the cracked and trash-strewn streets like a dull bead of pearls in the gathering gloom of night.
‘It has been almost six years since you left me and I can’t for the life of me stop thinking about you.’ She voiced to herself. Her feet had memorized the path to a location they knew from a long time ago, while she tried to get her mind clear. Soon she looked around and saw it was completely dark. The sun had given up its lonely battle against the darkness. She felt the darkness settle in her soul. She sighed softly as she walked slowly. The sky lit up with blue lightning occasionally. The crack of thunder rolled across the city in ominous echoes and tumultuous waves, echoing off the earth. She realized she was in front of the restaurant where she had worked at one point and where he would meet her after work. She looked into the well-lit restaurant and watched the servers wearing the short skirts and tight blouses for a lingering moment, harking back to a time in the past. She smiled to herself and remembered what the crazy man would do. Chris would always bring her a flower of some kind. It was usually a light purple rose or something. She had kept every one of them pressed in a scrapbook back at the apartment, just like the memories of the love of her life. She looked out at the patio. Young lovers were still meeting there, alone in their own worlds.
The young dark clothed woman walked alone in her thoughts. Lavender moved amongst them enjoying their presence, in a solitary movement meant for two. Soon she wandered away from the restaurant and was alone again… in a haze of emotional pain. Tears rolled down her cheeks. She sighed softly and looked around.
She was in their old neighborhood. Where she and Chris had grown up. She strolled past the house where she had lived as an eleven-year-old foster child. The bright paints were still there just like back then. There was no indication of just how mean the occupants were. The coat hangers. The times when she would have to stand in the closet and scream verses from the Bible from memory. She swallowed and a look of hardness danced across her eyes. It slowly faded and she kept walking. Then she came across the old Talbot residence. The devastated family, grievously wounded by his loss had simply moved away, not uttering so much as a word to anyone. The grass had gone to seed and was now waist high, and the house needed work. However, the old two-story walk up was still standing, shrouded in the darkness of the trees.
Lavender stood at the entrance to the yard for a long time. She looked up and down the deserted street. She could hear the wind rustling the leaves in the trees as she pushed open the small iron-gate. It creaked open, louder than she perhaps wanted. She took a step hesitantly into the yard and looked around. What did she expect? She really was not sure. Part of her mind drifted back to the day the accident happened and how unusually bright it was. She had worked all day bussing tables at the restaurant and her boss, liking the job she had done had let her have the night off. A hasty makeup job and clothes change in the bathroom of the restaurant and she came over to surprise Chris. True to his word, he was working on his hotrod, a beat up Cavalier. With a lopsided grin and grease on his face, he went in to get dressed. Angelina Talbot, his younger sister came skipping out. A defiant and freckled red haired and green-eyed girl, she regarded Lavender intently.
“What’s that on your arm?” the inquisitive nine years old asked, as if the world would end if she didn‘t get an answer. She was carrying out a conversation with an adult.
“It’s a rose.” Lavender replied, of the red and green tattoo on her left shoulder. The little girl reached into the car and hugged Lavender.
“I love you.” She said and then the precocious nine-year old was gone, skipping off to go play with her childhood friends, blissfully unaware of how her world was going to be changed forever.
Lavender smiled sadly at the memory and looked down the shadow- filled sidewalk. She swallowed nervously and continued down the old concrete sidewalk into the darkness. She swallowed again and stepped up onto the porch. The old wooden steps creaked ominously but they held her light hundred and five pound frame. She looked to the right at the wide southern style porch. Streaks of dirt had replaced the clean bright paint that Chris and his Dad had painted.
She smiled at the memory of watching them paint the porch and laughed sadly when she remembered the paint fight they got into. She felt the bastard emptiness laughing in her soul, devouring her heart again. She looked into a dusty and dirty window. The rooms hidden in shadows and darkness were empty dust filled things. She sadly sighed softly and leaned her head against the cold wood of the window frame. After a few moments of trying to collect her wits, she looked around and turned to leave. She noticed a piece of paper on the floor of the porch. She leaned down and had to dislodge it. The corner had worked its way into the crack between the boards. She reached down and picked it up. It was a picture of some kind, but she really could not see what it was.
Absentmindedly, she tucked it into her pocket and turned toward the sidewalk. She heard a creak inside the house, almost as if someone had stepped on a loose board. She hesitated and turned, and reached a quivering hand out toward the peeling door. Her eyes had a forlorn and misty look to them. She turned away from the house abruptly. She slowly walked down the sidewalk, into the weak halo of streetlight, tears streaming down her face. She looked up and down the street, alone in the world, the street lamps vainly attempting to show their light on the street. The lights were gray pearls on a chest of darkness. She wandered down to the next light and sat down on the weed-choked curb. She wiped the tears that refused to go away. After remembering the picture, she hesitated and pulled it out. It had a light covering of dust and dirt on it. She dusted it off and turned it over. It was a picture of Chris and his family, smiling during a happier time-in a happier life. It slipped through her shaking fingers and tears poured from her anguished icy blue eyes.
A wail of soul wrenching torment tore from her throat. The hurt echoed down the empty street. It was the sound of a broken and dying heart.
* Excerpt taken from pages 82-84:
Lavender lay in her own sweat tossing and turning, her mind dancing through it’s own vicious and delicious torture. Scenes of her life with the man she loved danced through her mind. She tossed and turned struggling physically with the repressed memories. She was standing at the gravesite. The sky was overcast and it had taken a court order to get her out of the hospital.
So now here she was, standing with two crutches, the kind that wrap around your forearms. Her injuries read like a really bad laundry list. Compound fracture of the left leg, The tendons and ligaments around her left knee were ripped and ruptured. Her Anterior Crusciant Ligament of her right leg had fallen victim to an attempt to subdue her. Three broken ribs on her left side, two broken on her right. Her Pelvis was cracked in two places. Her left arm was broken with two spiral fractures, and her right arm was severely sprained at the shoulder. That along with a torn rotator cup in her left shoulder, and with two bruised and sprained vertebrae in her back. What didn’t have bruises was scraped. The wreckage of the car was less than three days old and they were burying her fiancé on her birthday. She leaned weeping, her arms in shackles, and an attendant stood to either side of her. Doctor Smith stood back from her. The rest of her Coven were there and their immediate families, but that was it. She was dressed in all black and her sunglasses kept the world out of the sadness that danced in those sky blue eyes she kept hidden. Her bruised head still lopsided and the stitches in the side of her head hurt, the bruises from the brutality of the Police trying to subdue her were dark blotches on her arms. Chris’s family had forgone a public funeral opting instead for a chapel service, and none of them could stomach an outdoor event. Lavender stood at the side of the casket as the Priestess and Priest stood in front of the casket. Their robes were absent and they wore fairly formal dress, The Priestess wore an ankle length dress of a respectful nature and the man wore a fairly formal suit, his black tie, a contrast against the white field of his shirt. The Priestess slowly approached the auburn polished wood of the casket. Her eyes, full of sadness, but the surety of her movements a monument in and of itself to the fallen man. She lit the candle with Chris’s name engraved on it. She stepped back as she looked up and said with a strong and measured voice, “Goddess and God we give Christopher Lucas Talbot into your keeping. May he rest in your renewing cauldron until another cycle of life is decreed.”
The Priest spoke up and said, “Our sorrows come from physical Absence. Yet we know this spirit is not ended in death. It transforms into a different body, to live again in the Otherworld.”
The Priestess sprinkled consecrated water gently on the casket.
The Priest waved a stick of incense over the casket. A wave of weeping washing over Lavender as she sagged in the arms of the attendant. She didn’t know it then, but the eight Paramedics and ten cops she had wounded stood in a small group off to the side, trying to pay their respects in a non overt manner. To a man, they respected the young woman, and the depths of her grieving. They had seen something very rare that rainy night, They had seen the death of a soul, residing in a living body.
The Priestess held her arms up and said, “Lord and Lady, we ask your comforting power to fall upon us so that our sister’s pain and sorrows may ease.
Farewell Christopher Lucas Talbot, Go in peace our brother, May our future meetings be filled with love and joy.”
Her voice was strained till close to the end when it softly cracked.
The people standing close to Lavender stepped closer to her and said in unison,
“Go in peace, we love you.”
Lavender went to step forward but the physical toll of the nightmare had made her legs sore and ungainly. The attendants helped her to walk over to the casket. She put her bruised and puffy and cut hands on the cold wood.
Whatever she thought, she kept it to herself, with her head hung low, standing there. Finally after an eternity, she looked up and sighed softly. Her last words to the man she loved were lost to the ages. She turned and faced the others, the chains of her bindings rattling gently. One by One the members of her world walked up to her and spoke in words of reassurance and condolences. She would nod and speak to each of them and smile radiantly. The sadness settled into her soul, dancing slow and elegant pirouettes in her heart….