Periwinkle Blue

The scream of a blue jay broke through the shadow of the trees, a war cry as it battled a squirrel in the yard she pushed her daughter by. She paused to dab at her forehead with a silk scarf while her toddler cooed at the squirrel. She enjoyed this street, with its trees so old they cracked the sidewalks, sheltering the stately homes that carved out a well-manicured niche from the old-growth forest.

Periwinkles tumbled down the lawn to kiss the base of the towering tree the squirrel skittered up for safety. Sweet little flowers the color of the dress she wore, that woman he introduced her to at the party. She couldn’t remember her name. She looked so much like the woman on the news, the one that went missing.

She dismissed the thought. Her child thought the billowing white flowers were popcorn. She smiled at the thought of telling him when he came home, it was cute enough that maybe he would listen. Where would she be without him? Could she be without him? Could she do that to their daughter?

A flash of light on fluttering leaves startled her. She was embarrassed at how high she jumped. The leaves were pretty though, flitting in and out of the light. They reached the park, she hadn’t noticed. The clang of the iron gate reminded her of prison bars, but it would keep her child safe while she relaxed.

She sat on the fading bench and browsed her phone, looking for a podcast to enjoy. She tried one of her favorites, always good for distraction. A few minutes into it, she closed it. She tried reading earlier, she already knew she couldn’t focus on a plot. She decided to watch the birds.

The birds are in usually in pairs this time of year. Male birds preening and dancing, showing all their flash and none of their substance, female birds in awe of their skills and flattered with their attention, to be later disappointed when they find themselves chained to the nest.

A tiny white pebble caught her eye, reminding her of the tooth she found wedged between the boards on the porch this morning. She decided to push her daughter on the swing. Maybe the laughter of children would give her the peace she needed.

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Tarot deck: Archeon. Tarot Prompt: Queen of Pentacles, reversed.
Interpretation: A sensual woman, gentle but strong. She loves beauty, pleasure, walk is in the light of prosperity with dignity and grace. A patient, compassionate listener.
Reversed: Falling into despair. Sharp, cutting, regret. Guilt, trapped in past misdeeds, bad choices, falling. Rather than a wealth of joys, narrowed in focus to a singular intrusive thought.

389 words. More tarot stories.

P.S. – Another repost, but things are smoothing out around here some and I should be able to write again soon.

Janice and Claire in the Garden: Knight of Swords

In the sunshine of the patio, they perched on white ironwork chairs, sturdy creatures forged in a pattern to imitate delicate lace. “I assure you, you’ve never had a treat like my cheese puff surprise. Lofty, and oh so sweetly sharp.” Janice beamed as she served her guest a tiny plate.

Claire accepted with a polite smile. She took a couple of delicate bites while making humble mumbles as she wondered how to phrase a comment that didn’t declare them too salty. “These seem like they have quite a bit of um, liquid smoke?”

“Yes,” Janice smiled and leaned on the table, slowly resting her chin on an elegantly poised hand, quietly crossing her ankles before continuing, “I used a heavy hand to cover the taste of the crab, but I rather like the smoldering edge it lends, like revenge served before it goes stale.”

Claire dropped her fork. “Janis, you know I’m allergic. Quick, where’s my purse? I need my EpiPen.”

“I put it in the closet. But your EpiPen isn’t in it. The police will find it, and some other small items that must have dropped out of your purse when you visited the bathroom.”

Claire’s voice was starting to sound scratchy, perhaps the crab, perhaps from confusion and panic. “The police? What police?”

“Well, I’m sure when your husband claims the life insurance, they’ll want to investigate. Don’t worry, I can tell them I didn’t know shrimp was related to crab. If I act pretty enough, they won’t think to much of it at all.” She tossed her head back and smiled like she hasn’t since riding that boyfriend’s Harley, the one her mother hated, purring with a low rumbling fire rising between her legs.

“Fuck your morbid humor. Where is it?” Claire fumbled with her mother’s heirloom pearls, pulling too roughly in a silly attempt to get more air.

Janice waved the cheese knife through the air as if she were tracing a lazy spiral, a distant smile on her face. “Oh look, your body is fighting against itself and forgetting your need for vital breath in the process.”

She leaned closer, her crimson lips reflecting an orange, fiery tint that made her teeth look aged and yellow, but seemed to match the gleam in her eyes, brightening them with a mad rage, “Your face will be too bloated and grotesque for an open casket.”

“Janis, why?” Her voice was thin, croaky.

“Well, Claire, maybe you shouldn’t have unfollowed me on Twitter.”

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Tarot deck: Archeon. Tarot Prompt: Knight of Swords.
Interpretation: Passion and wit. A sharp tongued teenager. Fire and air = smoke. Intelligence to temper burning emotions, but smoldering.
The darkness on the side of her face, reminds me of a certain demonic barmaid with fire in her hair. Looks passive, but smolders. Would totally get you back when you least expect it. Rage filled and overly rational minds bent on revenge might not forgive easily, even when something is forgivable and understandable. Especially if they already have a taste for murder.

416 words. More tarot stories.

P.S. – I already seem to be channeling the voice of the 50s housewife as cheekily portrayed in my new tarot deck, it won’t stop calling my name.

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P.P.S. – I chuckled when I thought deadly crab were a gift that should be salty.

Periwinkle Blue: The Queen of Pentacles, Reversed

The scream of a blue jay broke through the shadow of the trees, a war cry as it battled a squirrel in the yard she pushed her daughter by. She paused to dab at her forehead with a silk scarf while her toddler cooed at the squirrel. She enjoyed this street, with its trees so old they cracked the sidewalks, sheltering the stately homes that carved out a well-manicured niche from the old-growth forest.

Periwinkles tumbled down the lawn to kiss the base of the towering tree the squirrel skittered up for safety. Sweet little flowers the color of the dress she wore, that woman he introduced her to at the party. She couldn’t remember her name. She looked so much like the woman on the news, the one that went missing.

She dismissed the thought. Her child thought the billowing white flowers were popcorn. She smiled at the thought of telling him when he came home, it was cute enough that maybe he would listen. Where would she be without him? Could she be without him? Could she do that to their daughter?

A flash of light on fluttering leaves startled her. She was embarrassed at how high she jumped. The leaves were pretty though, flitting in and out of the light. They reached the park, she hadn’t noticed. The clang of the iron gate reminded her of prison bars, but it would keep her child safe while she relaxed.

She sat on the fading bench and browsed her phone, looking for a podcast to enjoy. She tried one of her favorites, always good for distraction. A few minutes into it, she closed it. She tried reading earlier, she already knew she couldn’t focus on a plot. She decided to watch the birds.

The birds are in usually in pairs this time of year. Male birds preening and dancing, showing all their flash and none of their substance, female birds in awe of their skills and flattered with their attention, to be later disappointed when they find themselves chained to the nest.

A tiny white pebble caught her eye, reminding her of the tooth she found wedged between the boards on the porch this morning. She decided to push her daughter on the swing. Maybe the laughter of children would give her the peace she needed.

PSX_20190605_104307.jpg

Tarot deck: Archeon. Tarot Prompt: Queen of Pentacles, reversed.
Interpretation: A sensual woman, gentle but strong. She loves beauty, pleasure, walk is in the light of prosperity with dignity and grace. A patient, compassionate listener.
Reversed: Falling into despair. Sharp, cutting, regret. Guilt, trapped in past misdeeds, bad choices, falling. Rather than a wealth of joys, narrowed in focus to a singular intrusive thought.

389 words. More tarot stories.

P.S. – A day late because I still can’t find those damn periwinkles I saw that whispered pretty words in my ear. Totally want them for the pic on this.

Fallen Defender: Knight of Pentacles, Reversed

For a minute, I wondered if the killers I used to catch would consider this to be hunting, but monsters get off on this part of it. It brings me no comfort, just part of the job I have to do. We are the only species that seeks justice, it makes us better than beasts. But there is no justice. It’s as much a part of our imagination as God. But these streets need to be made safe for our children

The pathetic wastes are easy to lure into seclusion, the spots in alleys under broken street lights, behind dumpsters, the usual spots they go to after scoring their poisons. This is better. This is the way. It doesn’t matter that I feel less comfort each time, the face of the child still haunts me.

He struggled, and for a moment the look in his eyes froze me, pleading with me, asking me why. For a minute he looked so innocent, so human. I realized I was killing someone’s child, then, as always, I saw the other child, the tiny broken body bleeding out in my arms, the victim of random violence by animals like him.

My hands around his shriveled throat squeeze harder than ever, his jaundiced eyes pleading for mercy, confused, refusing to accept he will crumble beneath my hand. Rage filled my limbs as his eyes glassed over and his head tipped to the side.

I waited for the satisfaction, but it was weaker even than the last time. My momentary indecision ruined it, tainted my victory, stole my release from the unrelenting anger, the memories of all the villains that treated our prisons as if they had revolving doors, in and out like our taxpayers money was to give them a vacation, three hots and a cot.

The thirst that never ends is less appeased than ever. I know I am one of them now, I know how the pattern goes. I can no longer ease the itch that tickles more and more. It’s time to escalate.

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Tarot deck: Archeon. Tarot Prompt: Knight of Pentacles, reversed.
Interpretation: A fallen defender. Knights are full of passion, and fire. He carries the steady shield of earth, the element of the pentacles, moving ever forward. Reversed can mean corrupted, or fallen.
341 words. More tarot stories.

Persephone: 2 Card Romeo/Juliet Spread

His lawn was immaculate, framed in old trees with moss crawling up the bark. Helicopter seeds fluttered down from the maples, catapulting from their mothers in a spiraling, passionate leap, hitting the pavement with a thwack.

It would be hard not to fall for the man who saved her life, rushing to her aid before she fell in the turbulent river. This man so at home with kisses of the wild, like the unexpected thrill of a snake in the grass, and a bunny darting across the road, white bouncing warning flashing from her tail.

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“You know, maybe I should mention, the first time I saw you wasn’t in person. Perhaps it doesn’t count.” She seemed confused, but he clarified quickly. “The paper. When you organized the river clean up.”

She looked relieved. “Didn’t realize you knew who I was.” The kitten’s fur was soothing after the trauma, they were both lucky he was near.

“Didn’t want to appear to be a crazed fan.”

“Oh, I don’t get those. Not many people care about the river”

He smiled. “Yes, you can count on always being alone on the bridge.”

“What were you doing there, anyway?”

“Waiting for you.” He paused briefly, and shrugged at her shock. “I know. I didn’t want to seem creepy, that’s why I didn’t mention it earlier. I saw you when I was hiking, knew you from the paper, thought maybe I’d catch a chance to say hi. It’s lucky I did.” He winked. “Fate was telling me I had to be there to save you.”

She laughed. “I swear that beam shouldn’t have been so slippery. I’ve gone up there before to take photos, maybe that’s why the kitten got stuck. Maybe it was a better foothold when he crawled out there and the morning dew made it slippery.”

“Yes, maybe. Or something else. Very exciting.”

“Not the word I would use. The river’s pretty rough right there.”

“I just mean if you had drowned or hit your head, I never would have had the chance to lead you here.”

Concern furrowed her brow, she seemed uncomfortable at passing through the threshold of a man she knew so little of, and she clutched the kitten to her chest as he turned to her. She realized the sound she just heard was the lock sliding in place, and the kitten hissed at his smile.

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Archeon Tarot Prompt: card. 397 words. More tarot stories.

Vigilante: King of Pentacles, reversed

In the shadows he paused, listening. He took a steady, silent breath, scenting her out. He tasted the air with his tongue, confirming, seeking direction. He walked into a room full of polished wood and the scent from old books. The well-oiled leather chair barely whispered when she turned to face him, a look of surprise not yet upon her face.

He smiled. “You are vile, corrupt, heartless, and doomed. You stand on your shiny money and claim credit for work that is not yours; you lie to the people. You are a stain. You have convinced the city that your generosity and community outreach are responsible for the safety of our children but it is ME. I am the reason these streets are safe, ME. You lie and use your wealth to hide your true nature, your crimes, and you will be destroyed for the good of all.”

She tilted her head before she replied. “A monologue? Are you serious?” She sighed and stood up, brushing the wrinkles from her slacks. She took a step toward him, slinking as her heels traced the winding vines along the carpet. “You are motivated by instinct, a drive you barely understand yourself. An attempt to right wrongs done to you that can not be corrected, over and over and always with fail. You are little more than an animal. You deserve no credit.”

He did not anticipate this. She didn’t seem the least bit frightened, and it was beginning to chill him. She seemed to notice, and the way she moved her head as she looked him up and down reminded him of a snake. “Did you really think that if you sought out those with few ethics, that you would not find one with a darkness to match your own? Sweetheart, I am no mere white-collar criminal or one of the thugs you’ve been whetting your bloody appetite on. I’m just as much of a monster as you are, only more intelligent.”

“I am not a monster! I am a hero!”

“Tell that to McClary’s widow. Or the Johnston kids. They don’t have anyone left.”

He had no response, growing more pale as he noticed the silencer on the gun she had apparently been holding all along. “Did you think you were the one hunting me when you saw my press release? It was easy to draw you here. You are blatant, predictable, and drawing too much attention to my neighborhood.” He stood, waiting for her next words, as her gun hissed and the wall behind him splintered.

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Archeon Tarot Prompt: card. 429 words. More tarot stories.

P.S.- Still not settled in, but it feels so good to be starting up a routine that works in writing again.

Enchanted: 9 of Swords

I couldn’t sleep with the need to see you, so I have come. You’ve held me captive from the moment we met, my mind is a prison dancing with your image, your song, your laugh. My thoughts know nothing else.

You are an artist in your seduction, flirting and flickering around me. Preening, then darting off coyly. You trap me with your enchantment, like a nymph, a will-o-the-wisp.

You gaze at me gently, your skin pales as your love trickles from your fingers in delicate lacework of red, pools at your feet that shiver with every drip, every tiny giggling plink.

Your graceful fingers reach out to touch me, then shy away, beckoning and flirting, the smile glimmering in your eyes as you pout and pretend to be upset, candlelight shining from your manacles like the brightest gems.

But soon you give way to me, relaxing against me in our embrace, weak to your desire. Your hips sway to the rhythm of your chains across the concrete, your movements rich with your love of turning all the world into a song as we dance together in this prison I have come to love.

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Archeon Tarot Prompt: 9 of Swords. 196 words. More tarot stories.

Lover’s Leap

I always thought you had rescued me from the chaotic darkness, with your graceful light. I admired you for how well you knew all the rules, that social dance that overwhelms me. With just a few flashes of your smile and steady handshake, you waltzed us right into the large house on the hill that makes mother green with envy.

You’ve always known what to say, what to do. I’ve never seen you angry. Ever. Not even when I ruined the stove. But there was always something I could never pin down, something that always made me wonder about how perfect your responses were, something that left me feeling like you might not be fully sincere, but I tried to have hope and tell myself it was my past making me nervous.

Now that I am to be a mother though, I feel some other instinct is making me watch you a little too carefully. I think maybe I’m beginning to see what I’ve been seeing all along. The young women that have been on the news have all been so familiar, in a way that bothered me but I tried to dismiss.

I asked about my favorite cashier that I hadn’t seen for a while, hoping she had made it into the school she applied to, and I found she was one of the missing. I just hadn’t recognized her out of context. It opened my eyes. So many faces around me just aren’t there anymore. We knew them all, didn’t we? Shadows from the corner of my life, girls I noticed yet never saw.

And then last night, the blood in your hair, but I could not see a cut. I went through our closet today, and there are too many of your clothes missing that I can’t find in the laundry. Were they burned? Dropped in a river?

I can tell that you know what I’ve realized. I see my time is getting shorter. So I came here, were you proposed to me while we watched the sun set over the ocean. The overlook where the waters are too rough for swimming, were fishermen won’t sail.

I look at my own hands on the wheel and I remember how true it felt when you said I was nothing without you. I could not survive. You are right. You’ve clipped my wings to ensure it. You will not shape your daughter as you have shaped me.

We idle the car near the edge of the world and watch the sun set, and chat pleasantly while you try to figure out exactly how much I know. I smile, and evade as my heart fills with sorrow. As the sun blows a kiss to greet the oncoming night, I let my foot slide and we drive.

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Archeon Tarot Prompt: Three of Cups, reversed. 466 words. More tarot stories.

P.S. – This is my Archeon Deck. Much more serious, dark, and beautiful than my tongue in cheek zombie deck. Perfect to explore the dark hearts of human monsters while I dive into my research on serial killers and enjoy whole new levels of understanding on my latest Criminal Minds marathon.