Four Hail Marys
Mary is on her way to the new sandwich shop on Saint Michael’s Road, quietly obsessing on the relative merits of coronation chicken versus tuna mayo, when she spots Graham lolloping down the street towards her. At least it looks like him, she can’t be certain at this distance, but who else still wears his thinning grey hair hanging loose to his shoulders? He doesn’t seem to have noticed her, probably plugged into his MP3 player and off in a time-warp with the Rolling Stones, but she isn’t going to hang around to check. She has a moment’s grace to backtrack and take refuge in the churchyard.
Samael, the Half-Malachim
The Nazerites, they trust me with their very lives. They depend on my command to preserve the lives of every soul behind these borders. Without question, we are the legion most equipped for such responsibility.
We hold the line, we are the only ones who can.
We are the only hope that matters, for we are the last hope. And I, Samael of House Thrandiin, lead these gifted vandun, this Nazerite platoon, into the fray yet again. Under the ever watchful eye of Omniabba, and with the endorsement of Melek Tau, our High King.
The Ice-Cream Man
Maple street. The middle of July. An ideal Saturday afternoon with temperatures at a fairly comfortable 80 degrees, the air permeated with the tantalizing smell of a barbecue or two around the neighborhood. Boys played pick-up baseball at the nearby recreational dugout. Girls played hopscotch and giggled at boys they fancied passing by on bicycles. Neighbors waved to each other as they passed on the chalk-laden sidewalks, and the trees were exuding the pleasant song of birds perched upon their branches. This was it. The perfect summer day.
Back in The Day
The eyesore arrived at our house on the evening of November 22nd, 1963, when I was eight and Joey was eleven.
At school that day, the loudspeaker crackled to life, and Principal Edwards announced that President Kennedy had been assassinated. I’m not sure any of us third graders knew what that meant, but we figured it was bad – especially when Mrs. Green let out a howl and dropped her head in her hands, shoulders shaking with each loud sob. The second that happened, all of us girls and a couple of the boys cried, too. About an hour later, Mama came to my classroom to get me. Her eyes were red and puffy.
A Shimmering gauze of mist beckoned her through the mirror, the woods dark and haunting at night under the shadows of the trees were so unlike the daisy chain making summer days she remembered as a child. She looked down into the candle-lit cavern. Alice should have known better than to go into the hole again, but bloody-minded and contrary as always, she would never have been able to persuade herself otherwise.
The Imp, The Shade and Cerberus
The dead cried out, some with remembrance of former lives lost, others with fear for the retribution to come. Ignoring the wailing specters, the imp Deil trudged through the warped corridors and caverns of the Underworld, wringing his clawed hands all the while. Head down, tail and wings dragging, Deil presented himself before the dark lord, Hades. Cringing and stuttering, the imp gave his report.
Jimmy The Shrew
The bedroom was filled with a silvery darkness, save for the small pool of light spilling in from under the door. Most of the care homes elderly residents slept quietly, while the hushed whispers and soft footsteps of the night staff drifted down the empty corridors. Although there was no need for anyone to check on Albert at this late hour, the old man was woken by someone tapping on his door. At least it wasn’t another bad dream that that was waking him up, he thought groggily as the knocking came again, louder this time.
The Ruler in My Head
“Well then, you’ll have to take them with you.”
I stare hard at my book, but I stumble over the words as if I’m back in reception class.
“It’s not fair,” says Leanne. “Why do I always have to drag them around?”
“Because I can’t get anything done with the pair of them under my feet all day,” says Mummy.
There ought to be a way of measuring how big an argument is getting. Like Fahrenheit and Centigrade for temperature. Or the Richter scale for earthquakes.