Fiction Fragment Friday
This week wraps up my October Halloween story exercise. It has been a very interesting journey and I feel like I might have fleshed out a world that could have more stories to tell in it. This last week’s story I continued trying to go outside my comfort zone and wrote in third person present tense.
For the previous parts:
- A Halloween Haunting: Lisa
- A Halloween Haunting: Benjamin
- A Halloween Haunting: Cathy
- A Halloween Haunting: Sam
Enjoy the final and what might be my favorite part of this story.
While not immediately obvious to the casual observer, the man in the black suit is not human. He has gone by many names over his long lifetime, but the one he currently finds the most appealing is Carmen. That is what Elizabeth calls him and hearing it from her lips moves him in a way he has not felt in over a millennium. Thoughts of her always distract him from his duty, but some part of him welcomes the distraction. So few mortals ever see him. Those that do never smile like she does. If they have any idea what he is they generally just run.
He stands before a horrific car wreck. The rain pours down but his suit remains dry and untouched. One of the cars sits on its roof. The occupant has crawled out but is oblivious to his presence. That is not who he is here for. The other car sits in the ditch with a woman behind the driver’s seat. He knows everything there is to know about this woman most importantly the potential for her soul to wander instead of going off with his minions. He waves his crows away. This woman is not for them. She is his purpose for being out in this storm.
The time has come, but he feels the pull. Elizabeth is calling him. It is not a simple request. That woman has found an ancient rite and when she calls it is a demand for his presence. That aspect of her annoys him. A being like him should not be at anyone’s beckon call. Still, it is Elizabeth and even if he did not feel the need to go he always wants to see her. This woman in the car, Lisa, can wait. The night swallows him and the two humans are alone on this stormy night sealing their fates.
Elizabeth is sitting on her couch when Carmen fades out of the shadows into existence. He can tell she has a worried expression on her face, but as usual he hides his own emotions. “This had better be important Elizabeth. You have called me away from my duty.” He tries to keep the softness out of his voice. She must be taught that casual summoning will not be tolerated. Too much is at stake if he does not perform his duties.
“It is. You might want to sit down for this.” She pats a spot on the couch next to her. In his mind he weighs his options. Standing projects an image of power and would help cement the idea that he should not be trifled with. However, the look on her face is one of fear already. His heart screams for him to go to her and provide comfort. In the end he wants to be closer to her and so he moves and sits down next to her. He can smell the shampoo she uses, feel the warmth of her body heat, and hear the beating of her heart. His senses are always good, but around here they feel more alive. Then his eyes see a thin plastic item in her hand about the size of a pencil. “I’m pregnant.”
Dark thoughts race through his head. Who is this mortal that she has been with when she should belong to him? Him mind goes through hundreds of ways to torture this person in the blink of an eye. It is easier to focus on the rage than it is to admit the pain that grows in his chest. This is why he should not allow himself to get attached. He has too much power to be compromised. Just when the rage feels like it cannot be held back any further, he feels her hand on his and it subsides. She always has a calming effect on him.
“I know that look. I haven’t been with anyone else so you just get that thought out of your head.” She looked him directly in the eyes and he knows that she is not lying. It is not just that he trusts her completely, but no moral can lie to him while he is gazing at their soul. He is going to be a father again. This reality is not ready for the power his offspring could wield without any of the inherent responsibility of his station. He glances through time and sees the horrors that his son would bring upon the world and shutters. A son. He is going to have a son, but his job will keep him away. He cannot be a true father.
Carmen touches her stomach, and a darkness covers his hand. “What are you doing?” There is panic in her voice, and she pulls back from him. She does not trust him, and that knowledge brings him pain.
“Any child of mine has the potential for great power. This would bring him pain and deny him a normal life. I am granting you and him a gift. His powers will be sealed, and he will never know of what he could have been.”
“He? It’s a boy?”
“Yes. There is more. I am truly sorry, but I cannot be a true parent for this child. Being around me will weaken the seal. Though I love you and I will love him I can never know my son. You must raise Benjamin on your own.”
“Now you are naming him too?” He could hear the anger in her voice and see the outrage on her face.
“No, that is the name you will choose. After your father I believe. Though now you will always wonder if you would have chosen it if I had not said anything.”
After a long night’s conversation and one last night of sleeping with her in his arms Carmen leaves. The years pass by like minutes for him. He has seen her only a few more times. Then the familiar pull comes again. He finds himself standing in a little girl’s bedroom. Elizabeth is there and though she has aged to him she looks just as beautiful. He had ordered his minions to let her remain after her passing. His eyes meet a little girl for the first time. He sees himself in her. Not just the eyes, but she has a much-diluted form of his power. She can see both him and her Elizabeth. “You call and I am here to answer.” He looked down and smiled at his granddaughter. “Why hello there little miss I don’t believe we have met.”
“I’m Cathy. Who are you?”
“Oh, I’m just a friend of your grandmother’s and now I suppose I’m a friend of yours. So, what can I do for my new friend?”
“The Scary Woman is here, and she needs to stop coming here.”
He turned to look towards the living room. He could feel a soul he had forgotten about. Lisa had been wandering for far too long. “Ah I see. She just ran off into the night. Don’t worry though I’ll take care of her.” He looked to Elizabeth. Since their parting she had been tasked with finding these types of wandering souls for him. It was not a job that she was particularly good at, but an excuse to see her though he would never admit it. Cathy with her gifts would be far better at it, but she was still too young. “Don’t think I’ve forgotten about you Elizabeth my dear. She’s almost ready to take your place and when that day comes, I’ll be back for you.” Carmen turned and went off into the night to finally complete the job he started thirty-five years ago. A soul needed to be escorted to the afterlife.