Friday, October 29, 2010

Magpie Tales: Beloved

Grey skies peek between the skeletal fingers of the trees at the lone man in black coat and hat standing stoically at the foot of a headstone. It is one monument among many that pepper the grass at regular intervals. This resting field that has become the home of many. Tufts of golden hair dance beneath the brim of the hat and a crooked smile cracks his face.

"It will not be long now, my beloved," the wind swallows his whispers as it crawls between the hard stone reminders of lives that once were.
_____

Anxious compulsion propels William around the house, straightening the books on the shelves, the knick knacks on the end table. Not that he is moving careless or fast, he just can not stop. Everything must be right for tonight. Taking a globe of glass from beside the couch, he is momentarily mesmerised by the swirl of crimson rising through its center. Life's blood.

He had bought it on a vacation with Lynda when they were eighteen. Things were so much different then. They were young, in love. It was easy to see in the glow of their faces when they were in the same room together. Everyone expected them to get married once school was complete.

This is what compelled their parents to take a joint family vacation, to give the relationships a chance to breathe the same air. William's father found a log cabin, large enough to accommodate both families, tucked away in a hollow between two mountains, just the other side of the small town of Gimble.
_____

The first several days of the vacation, the families settled into a good rhythm together. There were those tense moments as happen when families get together for the first time, such as when William's father forgetting where he was and singing in the shower, waking everyone. Lynda's mom made an eggplant casserole that most swallowed hidden behind counterfeit smiles, William's dad wishing they brought the dog to feed to under the table.

William and Lynda spent every waking moment together, exploring the countryside, venturing into the small town and lounging by the lake. Trips to the woods were by far their favorite, away from the prying eyes of their parents. Lynda would burst through the surface of the water flinging droplet from her golden hair, stirring William from his place on the beach to join her. The third night, after everyone went to bed they snuck out, choking back giggles as they ran to the lake. They made love on the docks, beneath the stars.

"I want this to last forever," Lynda said breathless, snuggled into the crook of Williams arm, their bodies entwined.

"It will," he assured her.
_____

At breakfast no one confronted them or even pretended to know about the couple's tryst the night prior. Nor did they mention the pink that rose on Lynda's cheeks when William said how well he slept. She knew he saw it.

Swallowing a piece of sausage he had been masticating, Lynda's father announced to the group that they would be going to a fair in town for the evening. Driving in they had noticed banners going up announcing the event and thought it might give the families a chance to have some fun.
_____

Lanterns threw pools of light from each street post, setting the mood of the evening. Brightly colored tents lined the roads, merchants hawking wares; jewelry, crafts, clothing, art and food. Rides were set up in a small grass lot between the buildings for kids to play on, a great inflatable slide towered over everything and squeals of glee could be heard of those that dared to ride it.

Looking for some alone time William and Lynda ditched their parents at a side stage while they watched bluegrass music being performed. Slipping between two tents, they lost themselves in the crowd, clinging tight to each others hands. Assuming they might find solace down a corner street, they rounded the corner only to find a multicolored tent and a grinning gypsy lady.

"Young lovers, come here," the lady beckoned, waving her jewel crowded fingers.

"Let's do it," Lynda whispered to William tugging him by the sleeve into the tent.
_____

"So where have you two been?" Lynda's dad exclaimed when the parents found them sitting on a bench by the food tents.

"Oh, around. We got tired of the music so decided to come sit a bit," Lynda lied, surprising William.

"Whats that you've got there?" Williams mother asked, pointing to the glass globe that sat on the table between them.

Unsure how to continue the story Lynda began, William stammered momentarily. They would not understand if he told them the truth. What would they say if he told them about the ceremony the gypsy had performed, binding them, their mixed blood now encased eternally in the glass that sat between them. Promising their love would last forever.

"Something William bought me. I thought it looked pretty and he...," Lynda saved him, ending in a sigh that won over the mothers instantly.

Taking it in one hand and twining the fingers of her other in William's, Lynda led them along with their parents toward the parking area where they had left their vehicle and away from uncomfortable questions.
_____

Blue sky fades beneath the black blanket drawn across the sky, pierced only by the glow of the moon, full and obese. William rises from the couch where he settled while ruminating. The faintest touch of the glass did that, conjuring images of her. Perhaps this was part of the magic, the magic that could not save her two years ago when she suddenly died. It was not supposed to be this way. They were supposed to be together forever.

Placing the glass globe gingerly on the table, his thin fingers pry at the buttons of his shirt, discarding it in a basket by the hearth. Releasing his belt, his pants slink down his legs, then join the shirt. Naked, he admires himself in the mirror on the far wall.

Skin hangs looser than it once did, silver overtaking the coarse hairs on his chest. Creases mark surfaces once smooth. Finding his face, he imagines the twinkle of youthfulness beneath the clouds that now hover them. There is an emptiness, in his arms, no one to hold. With heavy fingers, he retrieves the glass globe.

Hurling it at the floor, it explodes into millions of shining stars across the hard wood. A crimson puddle gathers at the point of impact, the life blood released from its prison. Turning, he walks to the front door, unlocking the latch so that it will remain open. Shards of the globe bite the soles of his feet, painting foot prints that follow him up the stairs to the bedroom.

Carefully, he turns down the comforter and lays, waiting.
_____

His eyes pop open when the front door howls against its hinges. Stairs squeal with each footfall advancing toward his room. His heart tremors, breathing quickening. His body tenses and untenses, wanting to rise, to escape, but he holds himself steady. A shadow slowly comes into view outside the bedroom door, a gasp uncurling across his lips.

Fresh soil, bitter decay, and a tart sweetness sweep before the advancing form scratching at his nose. Fingers dig into the sheets as she stands by the side of the bed. The hollows, where her blue eyes once resided, long given way to worms or insect, traverse him. A chalky skeletal finger traces the tender flesh of his leg, sending shivers of goose flesh to his toes.

Wispy hair dangles against his cheek as she covers his body with hers and he feels not the mottled bones his eyes see but warm flesh. For a moment he sees her as she was on the dock that day, her skin translucent.

"Beloved...," he breathes as she begins to gnaw at his neck hungrily, him thrashing in ecstasy.
_____

The grounds keeper makes his way methodically through the cemetery in the morning sun on a old red lawn mower, trimming the turf one last time before winter. Approaching the crest of the hill, he stops his progress, turning the engine off, when he sees the disturbed plot.

Wiping his head with a handkerchief he mutters about damn teenagers vandalizing the dead. Crossing himself he surveys the damage. The white headstone rests prone on the ground, broken in two large chunks, the soil in front, peeled back as if rolled away from within and in the hollow of the grave...

Plummeting to his knees, steaming vomit erupts from the groundskeeper's lips in copious lumpy strings. Chattering prayers between his teeth, he looks once more to make sure his eyes were not deceiving him, before he goes to call it in.

...the skeletal remains of one body entwine with the fresh corpse of a naked man, cloudy eyes gazing far off, waxy lips curling in a smile.

Happy Halloween Everyone! Be sure to lock the doors. Smiles.

This is a Magpie Tale.

95 comments:

JeffScape said...

Heheheeh. Love it. There's an episode of Masters of Horror that's pretty similar, but you're finding your stride and, I think, have found your niche.

Keep it coming!

cheryl said...

O Brian, what a story! There is so much masterful imagery you dwell in. I absolutely love this.

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

BRIAN!!!!
Hi! Brian...
This is a very well-written, very
descriptive, and most definitely, very visual pre-Halloween tale...I can just imagine reading this tale in a magazine of "spooky" tales!

Thanks, for sharing the pre-Halloween story for Magpie Tales: entitled Beloved...

...By the way, Happy Halloween! to you, your family, and readers, too.
DeeDee ;-D

Everyday Goddess said...

Darkly lovely.

Gypsy magic is not to be taken lightly. But I don't think William minds in the slightest.

Miss Nikki said...

You've outdone yourself my friend. This was fabulous. The tone, the rhythm, I-I-I'm bewildered by it. Really spectacular. Love Story written by Stephen King.

Fireblossom said...

Good for him, not holding it against her for having gotten a little older. None of us look like we did as teenagers, after all.

Hehehe. I enjoyed your Halloween magpie, Brian. :-)

Hope said...

a very clear and well written haunting story. Great imagery!

thank you

Have a great weekend!

Bernie said...

I hate horror shows or stories, but once I started this story I had to finish it, (I'm kind of glad they are together again).....:-) Hugs

CM said...

This was the best tale ever! Awesome! And in an eerie, dark way...a happy ending.

Hope you and your family have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Linda said...

Great Halloween story. Very descriptive and visual. Definitely didn't see that ending coming, though. I thought something was going to happen at the fair after they saw the gypsy.

Lori said...

Awesome! Love this creepy little tale of yours!

Happy Halloween to you and your family! :)

david mcmahon said...

Great story, well told - love the ending.

Steven Anthony said...

step aside Stephen King...a new sherrif is in town....love this one dude;)

Eva Gallant said...

that was creepy. Great Halloween tale!

THE BEATY said...

wonderfully creepy... I love it

Baino said...

Ah Brian, you nailed that one. Totally.

adeeyoyo said...

Brian, I am covered in gooseflesh! Happy Halloween...

TALON said...

Oh, Brian, this was super chilling and super creepy and just plain super. I especially loved your descriptions. I wanted to vomit along with the poor grounds keeper, but that's truly a compliment :) This is a perfect Halloween story!

A Daft Scots Lass said...

*shiver*

Brilliant Brian!

Happy Halloween

ladyfi said...

Oh my - this was spooky and brilliant!

kathi harris said...

This was aother gd one Bri. I will miss ur tales.

June_Butterfly said...

Now that was totally COOL!!Brilliant write ,Brian!!I just love it!I can stay all halloween listening to scary stories!!

Made my day!!

Lydia said...

Your imagination is so amazing! Just a nicely descriptive love story humming along until it is suddenly no longer a nicely descriptive little love story! Yikes; really scary but somehow satisfying ending. :)

Just Be Real said...

Ooooo Brian what a story. You have such a way with words and putting them together is so very intriguing. Blessings.

Angie Muresan said...

You are good with the scary stuff, Brian. I'm glad it has its own sort of happy ending.

Zuzana said...

It is a glorious autumn morning here, but I swear that a chill passed through the room while I read this.;)))
Happy Halloween my dear Brian and have a great weekend as well,
xoxox

Valerie said...

Brilliant... totally.

lettuce said...

very cool - great ending - this plays with the emotions

Claudia said...

what a read! you should've seen my eyes - getting bigger and bigger - ha - very nice - great imagery - need to do some housework now to recover...

the walking man said...

I was right there with you until I thought of my neighbor who didn't have a globe to break so a year after his long time beloved died he left his brains painting the wall of his living room.

Jerry said...

Creepy romance. In some ways it is like that is it not? YOu had me all the way to the end. I didn't have the right definition of what a tryst was. I will try a tryst with my wife sometime. TMI....oops.

Lyn said...

Always wonder about what is "supposed" to happen. This is a great, chilling tale..
too scared to close my eyes!!

izzy said...

I do like the globe bit- intriguing !
set it free, set it free-
Thanks-

Katherine said...

Wonderful writing in a creepy Halloween style...but you know what!! I think William is happy once more. I just feel sorry for the poor grounds keeper! That definitely wouldn't have been a pretty sight to see! Loved your take on the Magpie Brian...you definitely kept me captivated yet again!!

Anonymous said...

this was spooky. very crisply written.

trisha
mydomainpvt.wordpress.com

Brian Miller said...

thanks all...these are fun for me...willow has done a good job tapping a darker shadow within me...i cut this quite a bit to get it down to more blog length...was afraid i would lose the story line. smiles. i appreciate all of you and your encouragement...

The Bug said...

Yikes! If my doors had double locks I'd be using them! I'm just glad that Dr. M is alive & well - I love him a lot, but I'm pretty sure I don't want a visit from him after he's gone.

Anonymous said...

http://wandascountryhome.com/lookforme/index.html
:)

Raven said...

A chilling tale, perfect for Halloween!

Bee's Blog said...

Many years ago I stopped reading stories like this because they scared the hell out of me! In the same way that I don't watch 'horror' movies.

I knew when reading the first paragraph that it was going to be 'one of those stories' but I continued. I'm so glad I did - what a fabulous read. After reading yours, I think you may have changed my mind for me. Great read.

senderupwords said...

Absolutely perfect Halloween post. Nice Mag. Love and Light, Sender

Velvet Over Steel said...

You did it again, Brian! Wow! I am still shaking!! I know this one should scare me, but it's a different type of 'chill' because of the forever, true love the base of the story is about! Wow, am I a romantic of what?! :-) Great and very original Halloween 'love story'!! ~ Coreen

Carrie Burtt said...

:::GOOSEBUMPS!.....i have them now....:-)

ana said...

Totally locking my doors. These gross images are gonna haunt me today! Happy Halloween!

Becky said...

Oh spooky Brian.Very creative you are.

Happy weekend!Loved the comment you posted on my blog,how nice.:)

Myrna R. said...

Once again beautifully written. But, did you have to scare me like that? Definitely, my doors are locked.

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

Brian, you are most excellent at writing the creepy stuff...I've noticed that.

And the waxy lips made me recall getting wax lips for Halloweeen. Remember those?

Mama Zen said...

Awesome!

Magpie said...

Oh, you devil, you!!! Too scary...and just a little grossness thrown in for good measure. :)

Mona said...

Perhaps that's what they mean when they say," I wanna eat you" ;D

BOO!!

have a happy scary Halloween!

Abhilasha-The Desire said...

you are a master story teller brian, a cunning one but master... the last image was horrifying... but awesome plot

JStar said...

Romeo and Juliet type of stuff with that Halloween flavor :) Love it as always Brian!

willow said...

Scary!! Nice write, Brian. Perfect for Halloween.

Laura said...

This is a true Halloween treat, Brian. I love it. Nothing funner this time of year than a good scare.

william said...

wow Brian fab story, sorry for being absent yesterday friend wasnt feeling well, im back now though, great story :)

Bloggin'withAmanda said...

Wow the ending threw me! So romantic then Wow that ending! From Romeo and Juliet to the Addams family in one shot! Great story!

Suz said...

scary...just in time

Lena said...

What a great mind you have, Brian. This has been my own personal fill of Halloween fun! Scary movies? Pah!

I loved this line:

"Lynda's mom made an eggplant casserole that most swallowed hidden behind counterfeit smiles"......that is SO me, too!

Vicki Lane said...

Wow! You really pulled out all the stops for Halloween!

Jen said...

I know some men like the skeletal anorexic type, but...

Pat said...

You constantly amaze me with your talent. You really are a step above the rest. Seriously. That opening line is stunning. What a tale! One of your best, in my humble opinion!

Brian Miller said...

aw shucks pat...smiles.

jen...haha.

Leah said...

Oooo, what an excellent tale for the season. Thanks Brian! And wow, it's been awhile since I've been around the bloggysphere. So much fun to read your writing again.

kathew said...

perfect story for this week- great read!

KB said...

Welcome to the dark side. Happy Halloween Brian.

Cindybrown said...

Perfect for Halloween!!! Happy Halloween, hope you and your family have lots of fun!!!

steveroni said...

Brian, I just dropped by to SAY "Goodbye"...and could not go away--had to devour every important word, every comma, every piece of this story, so well-told by a well-gifted young man--YOU!

Thanks for everything, Mr 'understanding' man!

PEACE!
Steve E

Joanna Jenkins said...

Creepy! You know me-- I'll be sleeping with the lights on again tonight.
Nice job, jj

sheila said...

You are a bit freaky sometimes! LOVE it!
(actually meant to post this yesterday, I was having issues with firefox and commenting.)

Tracy said...

Oh, Brian this is the perfect Halloween prose!

AngelMay said...

"Jewel-crowded fingers" - I like that image. Have known people like that... and can envision...

Patience said...

whoa, I kinda want that last image out of my head...dead wife chewing on her husband's neck.

awesome, as always.

Mmm said...

Gosh, that is so spoooooky. Brrr. Shivers here. My skin is crawling at the nacromancy. I suppose this teaches one thing--some things are better left as dead.

Daniel said...

Wow, some lasting images roused up with this one. Loved reading this piece.

Sue J said...

Edge of the seat stuff. I really enjoyed reading this.

Beedeebabee said...

I couldn't stop reading and didn't want it to end! That was so spooky-good, Brain. Happy Halloween to you too! ;)

抓姦 said...

You write very well..

mama-face said...

haha. such a beautiful yet creepy love story. happy belated halloween for you.

Syd said...

Wow--that is one macabre tale. I won't visit any gypsies at the fair this year.

Caty said...

This was fantastic! I couldn't pull my eyes away :) Great Halloween tale

Kristen Haskell said...

Brian,

That was terrific writing. I couldn't let it go. I love your style. I reads very visual and the pace is engaging. That is perfection in storytelling if you ask me.

I just finished my seventh episode of Framescape but have four posted to date. I hope you will stop back by and tell me what you think.

Kristen

gayle said...

Oh wow this was awesome!! Great Halloween tale!

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

oh my gosh! I finally had the chance to read it and it was worth the wait. To bad I did it while alone and at night! off to lock the door my scary blogger friend!! tales from the cript finds a true writer ;)

Tumblewords: said...

Well done! I hope I can forget it. :)

Karen S said...

Oooh -- a spooky love story. love it!

Okie said...

mmmmm....I love this.

Very vibrant...full of imagery and emotion. Great fun. :)

Reflections said...

Beautiful tale, youthful forbidden love, turned true, then... the love lost together at last... frightful. nice write.

kaykuala said...

A love story, eerie and creepy but lovely.

Lucy Westenra said...

I love the figure of speech "It is one monument among many that pepper the grass" My pepper is light, dusty stuff., not clunking great lumps of granite. I will carry your image to my grave . . . OOPS!

Helen said...

You never cease to amaze with your words .... I love reading your work!

kkrige said...

ergh, ewww

you are a master of imagery
blah...

chiccoreal said...

Dear Brian: Love this "stiffy" tale of passionate corpse love. Once one goes corpse they dont go back! Glad for the "smile" part at the end. Masterful descriptions!

Flea said...

EEeeeekkkkkkk!! But I couldn't stop reading either.

Goofball said...

creepy & weird

Marla said...

Holy Hell, Brian!!!!

You seriously scare me.