Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Princes of Tangleforest Chapter 1

The Princes of Tangleforest by Dorlana Vann

The Princes of Tangleforest by Dorlana Vann

How do you change

Frogs Nerds

into

Princes the popular kids ?

The Princes of Tangleforest by Dorlana Vann

(Fairy Tale inspired Young Adult)

The Princes of Tangleforest

by

Dorlana Vann

 Chapter 1

Although the girly-girl-filled lunch table buzzed with excitement over the cute new guy with the mess of blond waves, Julia Webster tried to ignore him. Even if she hadn’t watched Tanner Dobbs ride up on his skateboard this morning, she would’ve guessed he was a skater—graphic tee, baggy shorts, Vans. Plus, it was easy to conclude, after watching him walk into third period with a confident stride and nonchalant attitude, he believed he was cool. And the one thing she knew for sure: his type never liked her type.

One of the girls at her table said, “He’s coming this way.”

Julia wasn’t surprised that, out of the entire cafeteria, he migrated toward her table. Tanner had been through half of his first day, so he must have noticed the strangeness of Tangleforest Senior High. She figured the colorfulness of the students at her table gave him a sense of adolescent normality when nothing else in the school even came close to the norm.

After a loud group-gasp from the girls at her table, her head automatically jolted up and found the source. The Princes stood between Tanner and the safety of their table. Didn’t take them long, she thought.

No matter how much the Princes had changed the other students, they remained the same. First in command was Zachary Davis: Julia’s ex and the son of Dr. Davis, Tangleforest’s own celebrity psychiatrist. Zachary was wealthy, tall, slender, and his nerd roots ran deep: smart, sci-fi loving, black glasses, and a goofiness that couldn’t be suppressed, no matter how popular he became. And the only reason he no longer sported a cowlick was because before they had broken up, Julia had convinced him to let her cut his hair super short.

Next to Zachary sat Julia’s former best friend, Darla. Darla wore her hair in pigtails, which bugged Julia to no end. Pigtails! She was shorter than Julia, skinny-skinny, and was now the most pursued girl in school. However, Darla only had pitiful eyes for Zachary.

And then there were the Pittman twins:  Scrawny Johnny—red straggly hair, and Big Sean—brown flat top. Up to that year, they had spent their school career being shoved into lockers and underwearless, just in case of a wedgy attack.

Julia watched as Zachary tried to touch the new guy’s arm, but he jerked away, giving Zachary a, “What the hell?” glare.  Probably either sensing something off, or more likely, he had a predetermined opinion of nerds and didn’t want to be associated with them on his first day.

Julia took a bite of her salad and felt Tanner’s arm brush against hers as he sat down right beside her. The entire table went on immediate ignore; a rule they had all accepted in order to keep from being too disappointed. They knew, sooner or later, the Princes would have their “little talk” with Tanner, and he would then look down his nose at them, like they were at the bottom of the food chain. As Julia imagined the outcome, Tanner didn’t turn out like one of the nerd Princes at all. Instead, as she thought about him walking into the lunchroom in slow motion, he actually looked pretty hot, dressed in a black suit with his hair slicked back, dark shades and a cool swagger.

“Why do you have that goofy look on your face?” Julia’s new “best friend” Ashley asked. Ashley, the girl whose face had the word “bitch” printed across it in all of Julia’s yearbooks.

“Oh,” she said. “Nothing. Just thinking about my next hair design.”

“Hair, hair… hair. I’ve never seen anybody so obsessed with hair. I mean… I am, but that’s different. I’m obsessed because mine is so fabulous. You actually want to touch other people’s gross, nasty hair.”

“Um… Ashley, you’re in cosmetology classes, too.”

“Yeah.” She rolled her eyes in disgust. “But I’m not actually going to get a J.O.B. cutting hair.”

“I’ll bite. What are you going to do?”

 “I’m going to college.”

“All right. And major in…?”

“Doesn’t matter. I’ll be getting my M.R.S., and then my attorney husband can do all the working, and I’ll do all the shopping.”

“Maybe I should send you over to the Princes’ table.”

Ashley flipped her hair. “I don’t see why my career goals have to be like everyone else’s.”

Julia never considered being a wife as a career, but she knew she wouldn’t want Ashley doing her taxes or her therapy. “Touché.” Julia sighed.

“Too what?” Ashley asked.

“Never mind.” Julia shook her head. “All right.  The only problem I see with your plan is that you have to make the grades to get into college and then law school. Right now, you mightqualify for community college.”

“Whatever,” Ashley said, “because right now I would settle for any place where those so-called Princes won’t be. Once I get out of Nerdville, I’ll be popular again.” She smiled and gleamed up at the ceiling. “The girls will resume their places as my shadows, and all the boys will want to date me again because I’m me and not because…” She glanced at the new guy and then back to Julia. “Well… you know why. I still can’t believe any of this has happened. You don’t understand. You’re used to not getting any attention. It’s so bizarre-o not having boys…” She turned her attention fully on the guy sitting next to Julia. “Hi.” She smiled showing her orthodontist’s daughter’s teeth. “What’s your name? Where did you move from?”

“Ashley!”

“What, Julia? Sorry, but come on… he’s dreamy.”

“Tanner Dobbs,” he answered. “I’m from Dallas.”

“City boy… I like that.”

The fact that Ashley had broken the table silence rule didn’t surprise or really bother Julia because the idea of being able to talk to someone about something other than clothes and boy bands was appealing. However, what did bother her was the fact that Tanner had probably already come to the false conclusion that she was cool. And even if, by some miracle, the Princes decided to leave him alone, she knew Tanner would soon discover that her make-up and black clothes hid more nerd than ninety percent of the school population, and that would be the end of that. Besides, she didn’t need the aggravation or another rejection. Therefore, the best thing for her to do was to not even try.

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Chapter 1 – Passage to Queen Mesentia by Dorlana Vann

Passage to Queen Mesentia by Dorlana Vann

Passage to Queen Mesentia 2013 cover

Chapter 1

Thursday April 14, 2005

“That was so freaking boring,” Wade Roberts said as he lowered the passenger side window. “Please, don’t ever make me sit through one of those again.” He fought with his tie until he won and then threw it in the backseat.

“Really?” Lilly said. “I found it fascinating. Would you mind? With the window… we still have dinner.”

Wade pressed the button, and the window made its way back up. “That’s because they’re your parents: the greatest archaeology team in the whole universe.” Even though he knew Lilly would freeze in her little sundress, he turned on the air conditioner. She had been the one who had insisted he wear the hot, miserable suit in the first place. He knew the reason he’d been the only one Sunday-schooled up at the lecture was because she wanted to impress her parents. That’s what had annoyed him the most about the entire evening.

“That’s not it,” she said. “I mean, I am proud of them. My goodness, they discovered the tomb of an Egyptian queen who no one even knew existed.”

“It doesn’t even make sense. This cat Unas…”

“The last pharaoh of the fifth dynasty.”

“Yeah, yeah. Why wouldn’t he want anyone to know he had this third wife? It’s not like they had to worry about bigamy. Everyone already knew he had two wives. What’s one more?”

“Oh, so you were paying attention.”

He exhaled, causing his lips to putter, and shrugged his shoulders.

Lilly tucked her long, dark hair behind her ear and her face lit up as she said, “But that’s what makes it so incredible. Don’t you think it’s weird how they found Queen Mesentia’s mummy buried off on its own and not with the other wives? No pyramid or any other indication that there was a tomb, just an underground tunnel.”

“Uh huh. Hey Baby, stop over there at that fillin’ station so I can grab me a pack of cigs.”

“Wade, we’ll be late.”

“Well, call and tell them we’ll be a little late. Unless you want me to pace and be nervous all night.”

She huffed but pulled off the highway and then into a Texaco station.

Wade got out of the car and took his time walking inside. No way was he going to hurry. He could see Lilly through the window with the phone up to her ear. Probably saying, “Mommy, I’m so sorry Wade’s such an ass.” Actually, he mused, she would never use the word ass, it would be more like, “He’s such a meanie-wienie,” or some other silly word she had picked up from her 3rd graders.

Wade climbed back into the car a couple of minutes later, hitting his cigarettes upside down on the palm of his hand, packing the tobacco.

“I tried them three times,” Lilly said as she drove onto the access road. “I don’t understand why no one answered. Even if they’re upstairs, Constance should answer in the kitchen. ”

When Wade noticed she had turned the air off, he started rolling the window back down.

“You’re not going to smoke that now are you?”

“Uh… yes,” he said with the unlit cigarette already in his lips and his thumb on the lighter.

“Come on… I don’t want to stink.”

“What the hell did you think I was going to do with the things? Eat ‘em?”

The tires squealed as she turned into the next driveway and made an abrupt stop.

“Get out,” she said.

“What?” His mouth dropped open, and the cigarette fell to the floorboard.

“I’ll wait while you take a couple of puffs. All right? And please, take off your jacket.”

Wade gladly rid himself of the jacket. With the door ajar, he lit the cigarette, inhaling a long satisfying drag.

“Why aren’t they answering the phone?” Lilly asked, holding the phone up to her ear.

“We saw them like five seconds ago,” he said, wishing he had a cold beer to go with the nicotine.

“You know how they hate it when I’m late, and we’re already thirty minutes behind.”

“Will you stop? It won’t hurt them to wait a couple of minutes.” He squished the fire of the cigarette out with his fingers and put it back inside the pack. He sighed as he sat back down in the passenger seat, hoping she would catch his annoyance so he wouldn’t have to tell her what he really thought of the situation. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Perfection. He didn’t understand why Lilly wasted so much energy on people who would rather be half way across the world digging up bones than near their only daughter. He did hate that they were home, but it would be hard on Lilly to see them go back to Cairo in a month to count, or catalog, or whatever people did with mummies, when she hadn’t seen them in over a year.

As Lilly sat there, all tight mouthed and mad at him, he remembered what he used to call her when they’d first met: Princess Lilly. How someone as classy as Lillian Steward had fallen for a blue-collar cowboy like him, he would never know. Her parents still didn’t approve of him and probably hoped Lilly would grow out of her rebellious behavior and get back together with Mr. Sophisticated. They especially didn’t like them living together without a piece of paper but didn’t want them to get married either. He couldn’t wait for their reactions when she finally did say yes. He had proposed to Lilly twice, and even though she had shot him down both times, he knew one day she would be his wife.

As Lilly turned the wheel and pulled into the circular drive that led up to the four-columned two-story, she said, “Answer my father when he talks to you, don’t be bored, and please don’t fall asleep after we eat.”

“Yes, Miss Steward. I will raise my hand if I have to go to the bathroom.”

“I wonder why the lights are out.” She turned the ignition off letting the night sounds in.

“Maybe they got tired of waiting and went on to bed.”

“They wouldn’t do that,” Lilly said as she stepped out of the car.

“Sure they wouldn’t,” he responded, right after she had shut the door.

Wade gathered all the mental strength he could find to face Lilly’s parents before forcing himself out of the car.

Lilly stood on the front porch and slowly turned towards Wade as he walked up stairs. “Something’s… off,” she said.

Wade absorbed the same weird vibe. Other than the streetlights filtering in through the huge oak trees, darkness surrounded the house. After a moment of neither one of them moving, he said, “Maybe we were supposed to meet them at a restaurant.”

“No, Mom said here.” She put her hand on the door knob. The door hadn’t been shut all the way; it silently glided open. After a pause, she looked at Wade with an expression of worry hardening her delicate face.

“Stay here,” he said.

Lilly shook her head. “No,” she whispered.

He tried giving her a firm looking at, but still she shook her head.

“Fine,” he said through his teeth. He walked through the dark entrance with Lilly right behind him, holding onto his shirt. He waited a second for his eyes to focus, and then jumped when the light overhead snapped on. He turned to Lilly, and she shrugged her shoulders, her hand on the switch.

When Wade got a whiff of dinner, the silence and the darkness of the house didn’t add up. And then Lilly glanced past him. Her brown eyes narrowed but then quickly widened. Wade followed her stare to the destroyed living room area.

“Mom… Dad?” Lilly ran past him, stopping for a second to examine the living room.

“Wait! Lilly, don’t!” Wade yelled.

But Lilly didn’t stop. She ran up the stairs calling her parents’ names, each time her voice a little more panicked. Wade chased after her, but as soon as he reached the top of the stairs, he heard Lilly scream.

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Chapter 1 – Jaclyn’s Ghost by Dorlana Vann

Jaclyn’s Ghost by Dorlana Vann

Jaclyn's Ghost

Jaclyn’s Ghost by Dorlana Vann

Chapter 1

Another One Bites the Dust

Jaclyn Jade felt the sensation of a trillion tiny needles prickling just beneath the surface of her skin. She opened her eyes to darkness. “Why am I standing on my bed?” Gradually, the tingling faded, but the overwhelming contentment made it difficult for her to shake the suspicion that something was terribly different. She squinted and blinked her eyes as she searched her bedroom for answers.

The room seemed normal. Even the earliest of the morning brought an orange glow through her sheer curtains; so obviously, she had woken up in the middle of night. Jaclyn’s scan stopped abruptly when she spotted an unfamiliar six-foot silhouette in the shape of a man. It moved, causing an involuntary shriek to burst out of her mouth. As she attempted to run, she stumbled over a huge lump in her bed and fell, face first, onto the floor. She recovered to her feet in a flash, turned to see what she had tripped over, and then dashed out the door.

She stopped in the hallway, right outside the bedroom door, already doubting what she had seen. No one followed her out. “Stupid.” After a moment, she put her hand on her chest trying to regain her composure. Oh man, I slept in my party dress. “Keten’s going to kill me.”

“I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Jaclyn looked up to see a man standing right across from her. She sucked in a deep breath and responded appropriately with another piercing scream and ran back into her room.

“I know you’re confused,” the man said from behind her. “If you will give me a moment, I can explain everything.”

She looked for something to use as a weapon. “If you don’t get the hell out of my house this instant,” she cried and turned around, “you’ll be explaining everything to the police.”

The intruder stood in the doorway, his face covered by the shadow of his hat.

If I can just get over to the table by the bed, I can get my phone.  However, as soon as her focus drifted toward the bed, the heap that had caused her to trip earlier grabbed her attention. Is someone under there?

“What’s the last thing you remember?” the man asked from the doorway. “Give yourself a moment. It’ll come back to you.”

She had to force herself to concentrate. Frustration and fear made it difficult for her to rummage through her memory. I feel so strange. “Why can’t I remember anything?”

All of a sudden, as if someone had smacked them into the back of her head, her memories of the night before emerged. “The party,” she blurted. “That’s it, the champagne.” She nodded her head in satisfied realization. “I just partied a little more than I should have. Keten must have brought me home and just stayed over. He does that all the time. I must have been sleepwalking and caught you in the middle of, who knows what. I suggest you disappear before I wake up my boyfriend and he—”

“Pretty shoes,” the man said and nodded toward the bed.

“Excuse me?”

“I say, your boyfriend sure has pretty shoes.”

Jaclyn stared at the foot that stuck out from under the blankets. When she recognized the shoe, she looked down at her own feet. She wore the same exact pair of pink, pointy-toed sling-backs. Not Keten. Did a friend, who was wearing the same exact shoes, come home with me? She would have noticed that before. She would have remembered shoe duplicity.

“OK,” she said. “That’s it. I’ve got to get this over with.” She took a small step toward the bed.

“Poor bunny, are you sure you want to go over there?”

Jaclyn stared at the stranger. Nothing made sense. He wore a black jacket over a double-breasted vest and dress pants. Clearly it had been bought off the rack, but still, it was a bit much for a burglar. She also wondered why he hadn’t left when he had the chance. If he wanted to hurt her, why hadn’t he even tried? The way he leaned against the doorframe, his arms crossed, he almost seemed to be amused by her chaos. “Did someone hire you to pull a prank on me? Is that it? Are you an actor? Just tell me what’s going on and who’s in that bed, and maybe I’ll tell the cops to go easy on you.”

“If that’s truly what you want.” He held up his hands and took a couple of steps inside the room.

“Now you’re starting to piss me off. Just tell me who is in my bed!”

He grinned. “It’s you. Well, the former you. You see, now you’re you, and that’s just a body.”

The man stood a handshake away. Jaclyn tried to ignore the hazy luster around him—too much to think about at that moment—but she couldn’t disregard his attractive face, his square jaw, and his deep black eyes, which at that moment seemed insanely sincere. “Oh… my… goodness.”

“I know… it’s really crazy.”

“No. You’re psychotic.” Without giving herself another chance to chicken out, Jaclyn marched over to her bed and tossed back the bedspread.

Her mouth fell open as she took a step back. It’s just a trick. It’s just someone who looks a lot like me and went to a lot of trouble to play a joke. She had the same long dark hair, the same skin tone, the same nose and the same… everything.

Jaclyn decided to wake the imposter and tell her to take her boyfriend and get the hell out of her apartment. But when she reached down to shake the woman, her hand went smooth through the shoulder like it was made of smoke. She jerked her hand back immediately and took an apprehensive breath.

“It’s screwy seeing yourself like that.” She heard the man say.

She stood there, examining her body in the bed as a calm embraced her. “Why am I not freaking out? Shouldn’t I be upset, screaming, and freaking out?”

“When you die, the psychological need for your physical body ends. You instinctively know that you don’t need that body anymore.”

“I look really pitiful,” she said. “What happened? I’m not sick or anything.”

She looked around to see if she noticed any hints as to what took place. She eyed the phone, close enough now that she could grab it and call someone if she wanted, and laughed to herself. Who? What could she say? She noticed a container of pills and a bottle of champagne beside the phone on the nightstand. She tried to pick up the pills. Yet again, her hand had no substance and went through the bottle. “Ahh, this is driving me crazy. Can you pick those up?”

The man stared at her blankly, and then a small, concerned expression seemed to grow across his face. “What?”

“Something’s wrong with me. Would you mind?” She moved out of the man’s way so he could get to the table. He inched his hand really close to the bottle and then snatched it back again.

“Oh, just forget it,” she said.

“No, it’s no problem.” He grabbed the bottle and studied it, turning it one way and then the other.

“Well? Does it say what they are?”

“There’s no marking of any kind. The torpedo must have left them. I apologize. By the time I arrived—”

“Torpedo?”

“Hit man, assassin, hired gun… torpedo.”

“Hit man? That’s ridiculous. I’ve accepted every ludicrous thing you’ve said so far, but now you’re actually trying to tell me… what? That I was murdered?”

“You must have your share of enemies.” The man nodded as he looked down at the body in the bed.

Jaclyn stared at the man, not believing his gall. “Wait… who are you, and why are you in my house?”

“The name is Logan Smith.”

“OK… and why are you here?”

“I live here.” Logan crossed his arms as he leaned back against the wall. An arrogant smile appeared on his lips as well as in his eyes. “Just your friendly resident ghost.”

“As in boo?”

“I suppose.”

She ran her hands through her hair and exhaled in defeat. “Well, that would explain your glow.”

He shrugged his shoulders.

“Does that mean I’m a ghost, too?” Jaclyn looked down at her hands. “I look the same.”

“But you’re not.”

Jaclyn thought about it for a moment. OK… I’m a ghost. This warranted sitting down, but when she went to sit on the edge of the bed, she fell through to the floor. She just stayed there with her head poking up through the mattress. She crossed her legs under the poof of her cream-colored gown and sighed as she considered her demise. “You’re wrong,” Jaclyn finally said. “I don’t have any enemies. At least not ones who would want to kill me.”

Logan sat on the bed. “Then, it’s a mystery.”

Jaclyn glared at him. “How did you do that? How come you can sit on the bed?”

“There are things you’ll have to—”

“And where the hell is my light… and tunnel and stairway to Heaven?”

“It’s complicated,” Logan said. “Well… not really. Some people go straight to Heaven and others, for some reason or another, are rejected.”

She stood up and faced him. “Rejected? You’re telling me I didn’t make it into Heaven. What then? You can’t seriously be saying I’m going to—”

“Hello,” a man’s voice spoke from behind her.

Jaclyn shook her head and turned around. What now? She had her hands on her hips, ready for combat, but was ambushed by the new man’s appearance. His beauty rivaled Logan’s masculinity. What is this? An audition for a Calvin Klein ad? She opened her mouth to protest his intrusion, but her voice turned out to be just as flabbergasted.

“Give her a break,” Logan said. “She just bit the dust.”  He stepped beside Jaclyn and then gestured to the new arrival. “May I introduce Charles Charles.”

“Charles Charles?” Jaclyn said, coming out of her trance.

“I’m taking her now,” the man said.

“Taking me? Taking me where?” Panic caught in her throat. She had just found out about this rejection thing and needed more time to process what had happened.

“Exactly where you should be, Butterfly… Hell.”

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Fairy Tale Inspired Short Story by Dorlana Vann

If it Weren’t for Bad Luck

A Rumpelstiltskin Inspired Short Story by Dorlana Vann

 

I walked through the front door a little after midnight. Jana sat on the couch in the darkness covered by the quilt from our bed, the images from the television flickered on her solemn face. “Oh, you’re up,” I said and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

“I want to talk to you, Trevor.”

When I caught a glimpse of deep concern in her eyes, I immediately thought something had happened to the baby. “Is Ethan okay?”

“He’s a handful to deal with by myself… but he’s fine.”

“Good… good.” That’s all I needed to know; I could go on to bed because anything else could wait until morning. “Well, goodnight.” I turned and walked down the hallway. But I didn’t get very far.

She yelled after me: “I hired a P.I. today!”

As I stormed back into the room, fear flushed my face. “You did what?” I stood over her. “Why would you do that?” When I realized my hands had a death-grip on my hair, I tried to relax but still couldn’t control my fidget.

“Because every time I try to talk to you, you walk away. I want the truth. I deserve the truth. Where do you go every night?”

“You know I’m out drinking with the guys. I’ve told you a thousand times.”

I watched her jaw tighten, and through her teeth she said, “Why are you lying to me?”

My heart raced. Had she found something? “What makes you think I’m lying?”

Jana tossed the blanket off her lap and stood up. I tensed my body, prepared for a slap. She eased to her tiptoes, so we were face-to-face, breath-to-breath. “You don’t smell like a bar,” she whispered. “For a man who has been out drinking all night long, you certainly are sober. You don’t drink at home. Why the hell would someone pretend to be a drinker?”

I plopped down on the couch and rubbed my face hard with my hands. “Why are you doing this? Why can’t you just leave it alone?”

“Leave it alone? This is our marriage!”

I had nothing to say, nothing to offer.

“I give up,” she said. “I’m just going to ask, since you can’t be a man and just admit it. Are you cheating on me? Is there someone else?”

An affair. It would be a simple enough explanation. “Would that be something you could forgive me for?”

“Wait a minute. That’s not it, is it? Shit… I can see it in your eyes. Trevor?”

“Just do yourself a favor. Do our family a favor. Call the private detective, and call it off. Let me protect you. Don’t you see? If I tell you, I don’t know what will happen. I’m afraid you’ll never forgive yourself.”

“What? Forgive myself? What are you accusing me of?”

I looked at her, exhausted, tested, tears filling her eyes. It had gone too far. I knew she would probe until she found the answers. And I knew that it wouldn’t look good if a P.I. came back with pictures. Jana would just draw her own conclusions. Conclusions that would end our marriage, and I had lost too much to let that happen. I inhaled and then exhaled slowly. “You tried to sell Ethan.”

“What?”

“I had to buy him back,” I said. “Now I can’t catch a break.”

“Just stop it. Stop it…”

“You wanted to hear this; so here it is.” I stood up and grabbed her hands. “Luck, like anything else, can be bought and traded. Before we met, you made a deal with Luck. Because you had such horrible luck, you agreed to trade your first-born for what you thought was really good luck.”

“Really?” She pulled away from me. “I don’t know what you’re doing—”

“After we were married,” I said firmly, “After we were pregnant, you told me what you did. You told me how you found out too late that good luck was just an illusion; that there were only three types of luck: extreme, medium, and weak. With extreme luck, really good things happen but so do really bad things.”

“Maybe you haven’t been drinking,” Jana said, “but something is wrong with you.”

“You told me you tried to take it back, but it was too late. You had already given up all rights to our unborn child, before we met, to some couple with medium luck.”

“This is crazy, Trevor. Do you know how crazy this sounds?”

“I thought so too… at the time. But still, I asked you where I could find this luck guy. Even though I didn’t believe you, never believed a word of it, I went there. And after I found the guy, I still didn’t believe he was who you thought he was. But for your peace of mind, I made my own deal…” I had to think hard. As time had passed the details had faded. I knew it was only a matter of time before I would completely forget… just like Jana had.

“What kind of deal?” she asked with impatient sarcasm.

“I remember asking if you could just give back the money you had won in the lottery. But that had already happened. He said something like he couldn’t erase time. I had to make a new arrangement so that I could keep my son. He called it weak luck, but it’s worse than that, it’s no luck at all.” I shrugged my shoulders because I knew that even if I would have known the outcome I still would have done whatever I had to do to protect Ethan.

When I looked at Jana’s face—her puckered lips and firm jaw—I knew she hadn’t believed a word I had said. But I had to finish. “I gave myself a little test all the way home that night; I flipped a quarter. Even after it never landed on what I said it would, I didn’t believe it. As each day passed, I pushed the limits a little more. You know, I had to see if it was real. I kept testing my luck, until it became an obsession. Until…” At this point, I couldn’t look her in the eyes. I cleared my throat of my sudden panic and then whispered, “I’d lost everything.”

“What do you mean?” Her words trembled.

“I’ve lost everything that was left from your lottery winnings. All of our savings.”

“No, no, no… this isn’t happening.”

“I’m sorry. I just keep thinking that I have to have some portion of at least medium luck. That’s where I go! To try and win it back.” Suddenly, it became so clear. This could be good. Together we made medium luck! “You can win it all again. All you have to do is buy another lottery ticket, or we could go to the horse races.”

“No! Stop it!” She reminded me of a cat in defense mode: hunched back, hair on end, eyes wild, claws loaded. “I can’t believe you would make up such a ridiculous story so that you could blame me for you losing our son’s future? You don’t have bad, weak or whatever luck, Trevor, you have a gambling problem.”

“What? No…” I wondered how it had happened. How had I become the bad guy? “I know it’s hard to believe. I didn’t believe you when you told me, either. But I gave you a chance.” My body had begun to shake. “Just think about it for a minute. I know the memory of meeting him fades for a reason or everyone would be at his door. But there has to be something there. Think Jana, think!”

“You need help, Trevor. Are you willing to get help?”

“What I need is for you to believe me. How many times have you said it yourself ‘Your luck sucks’? How many times has everyone said it? I traded it for you, for Ethan, and that’s why the car keeps breaking down, the lights turns red at intersections, the reason I have lost so many jobs.”

“What? You’ve lost jobs? More than one? You don’t work for Laurence anymore?”

“It’s been six months.”

She stood with her mouth open as tears streamed down her face. I took a step to comfort her, but she held up her hand and said, “Tell me his name and where I can find him.”

I closed my eyes trying to think again, trying to recall.

“What is it Trevor? Give me something. Is it John? Peter? Frank? Larry?”

But his name had left my memory months before. “I can’t. I don’t know,” I said without opening my eyes. The soft breeze told me she had left the room.

I sat on the couch, waiting for her to go to sleep, thinking we could talk it through in the morning. Maybe as she slept some of the memories would return. But a few minutes later, she walked past. When I looked up, expecting another confrontation, she stood at the open front door, her back to me, Ethan asleep in her arms. And then she said, “Good luck.”

The End

Supernatural Fairy Tales

Supernatural Fairy Tales by Dorlana Vann

If it Weren’t for Bad Luck is one of the short stories included in my fairy tale inspired collection: Supernatural Fairy Tales – Ebook available for .99 cents at Amazon.

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