by Dorlana Vann
“All black doesn’t suit you,” Dominick said. “I think you should choose softer more delicate colors.”
“Delicate?” I said. “Seriously, do I look delicate?”
He grinned like he had me all figured out.
“Tuh … You are such an idiot.” When I spun to leave his presence, he grabbed hold of my arm. I didn’t turn around, but I didn’t pull away either.
“I want you to come to my Halloween party.” He placed a piece of paper in my hand. Finally, after I didn’t answer, he let me go.
I walked down the hall, not looking back until I was about to turn the corner. The bastard was still there, stationary, as the student body seemed to move around him at an accelerated speed. Our eyes remained locked, until a wall replaced my view.
“You should stay away from him,” Amanda, my stepsister/cousin/shadow from hell said. My mom died a year ago, and my aunt— her only sister— moved right in. Two months later, she became my stepmom. My dad died three months after the wedding. I guess he realized that just because Aunt Molly looked exactly like my mom, she couldn’t replace her. I still hate him for it.
“Who?” I asked after I realized I hadn’t out-walked her yet.
“You know who. I saw you talking to him, again.” She cleared her throat and lowered her voice. “I’ve been hearing a lot of stuff about him. Mom would freak.”
“Everything from he’s creepy to he’s fresh out of juvie for murder.”
“Oh, please, this school is so stupid. It’s like no one has ever seen an emo kid before. Besides, he just invited me to some lame Halloween party tonight. He’s not that bad.”
“Mom will never let you go.”
“Grow up,” I said as I turned and went inside my classroom. But at that moment I knew I had no choice but to go, or more like, it gave me an excuse to. I didn’t want to socialize with anyone, but Dominick made it difficult for me to stay mad at the world.
Amanda stood next to Molly, my aunt/step mom/guardian from hell, with a look of, You’re in trouble now—combined with a dash of—Maybe I shouldn’t have told on you. I had to remember that Amanda was used to being a finger-pointer; she had been since I could remember. I also knew that she wasn’t like the other girls her age. For some reason, she seemed to be maturing at the rate of 2:1. When we had lived apart, I could handle her. But now that her tattling neared constant, she really got on my nerves.
“Stella … Pumpkin,” Molly said. “Can we talk?”
My skin crawled at the word pumpkin—my dad used to call me that. I exhaled and dropped my book bag where I stood and then walked over to the couch and plopped. At least it had become a little easier to look at Molly. Her and my mom could have been twins. She even stood the same way my mom did when she became upset: one hand on her hip and the other one fidgeting with her face. I guess I could see how my dad, who loved my mom to no end, could get pulled in so easily.
“I heard about the party,” she said.
“Big surprise there.” I glared at Amanda.
Amanda examined her pink fingernails.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea. Amanda tells me that this guy, Dominick, is bad news. After everything that has happened this year, I think maybe it would be best not to associate yourself with the type of people that might lead you into adolescent …”
I tuned her out at that point. Six months, and I would be out of there. She could have the house. She could have everything. Everything that had been important to me had already been taken away.
“Go to hell,” I said after she had finished her spiel, and then I went to my room.
I didn’t answer the knock at my door because I figured it was just Molly checking to see if I had climbed out my window yet. The door handle moved. Crap. I had forgotten to lock it.
She poked her head in. “Can I talk to you for a moment?”
“Go away,” I said through the muffle of my pillow.
I felt the bed move when she sat down. Didn’t she get it? Didn’t she get that the very sight of her made me want to throw up – made me want to die.
Molly sighed and then said, “I used to be so jealous of her. I had straggly hair and this enormous mole on the tip of my nose.”
I really didn’t want to look at her, but she left me no choice. I didn’t remember any mole.
“I had it removed. That’s why I removed Amber’s, so she wouldn’t have to go through what I went through. But still, she seems to be going through a lot of the same awkwardness. You remind me so much of your mom. She was a beautiful teenager, a cheerleader … and the school’s vice president, and the captain of the debate team. Me? Just her strange older sister, in love with the star football player. Your father.”
“Look, this isn’t helping,” I said and got off the bed she contaminated.
She exhaled. “They didn’t even know each other at the time. Me and your dad were seniors and in a lot of the same classes. He was nice to me, and I fell hard. I was so confused because it wasn’t anything like the fairy tales I had read. I physically hurt for him. I wanted to tell him how I felt, but I couldn’t. I know he wouldn’t have laughed at me, but I was afraid I would look in his eyes and see pity. I couldn’t bear the thought of him not talking to me, either. Complete agony.”
I heard the sorrow in her voice and the tears at the edge of each word. But I felt nothing but disgust. Still, something kept me listening …
“When I graduated, I was finally able to put him out of my mind. Out of sight out of mind, until that next year. Your mom brought home her new boyfriend that she had met in college.”
“Oh, wait,” I mumbled. “Let me guess. My dad?”
“Yes. I never told either one of them. Never told a soul … until just now. “
“Well, you didn’t waste any time going after him.”
“It wasn’t ugly. That’s what I want you to know. That’s why I’m telling you this. I don’t want you to hate me, or your father. I wanted you to know that I had loved him for a very long time.”
Molly’s undying love confession didn’t keep me in the house. Surprisingly, she didn’t take my keys but just assumed that I would be a good little girl and stay put like I was told.
I stood at the end of the sidewalk looking up at the house that sat on a hill. The moon shone down giving it an old school horror movie castle appearance. I laughed but reread the invite Dominick had given me to confirm the address.
As I walked up the steps, a couple of girls dressed in skimpy fairy costumes passed by me. “Invitation only? How lame,” the one girl said.
I nervously approached, a little worried because I wore regular clothes. The invitation did say Costume Ball. Costume Ball. I thought maybe I should have picked a different party to go to; one of those where the kids had given out flyers saying B.Y.O.B.
The vampire at the door didn’t check my invitation; he just nodded as I walked by. When I stepped into the foyer, the faint sound of orchestra music teased my senses, but I should have known better than to expect silly Halloween songs and sounds.
A grand carpeted staircase rose a few feet in front of me, and the gaudy antique-looking chandelier that hung from the lofty ceiling probably cost more than my car. I stood for a second wondering in which direction to go, finally deciding to follow the newly arriving guests.
We walked through a room with table after table of food and drinks and then down a dimly lit corridor with old paintings. The classical music grew louder as we approached a doubled-doored entry.
As the doors swung open, the music whisked my hair back as it flowed out of the room on a breeze. Then the music abruptly stopped with a screech. Everything stopped, except for my heart that I hadn’t noticed, until then, had gained beats per minute.
There must have been two hundred people in that room, all looking at me through their masks. The men wore long black masks that seemed to be glued to their faces, while the women held their colorful, feather adorned ones on long sticks against their eyes.
The women wore elegant floor-length gowns, and the men were in black tuxedos; just like the guy at the door who I had assumed had dressed as a vampire.
I had obviously walked into the wrong party. I wanted to apologize for interrupting, however, my embarrassment made me speechless. I turned to make a quick exit but stumbled over my gown.
The long white dress sat low on my shoulders, tightened unmercifully around my waist and then ballroomed out to the floor. I squeezed my eyes together, hoping that when I opened them again, my delusions wouldn’t soon include the ghosts of my parents.
My eyes opened when a sudden gust of wind just about lifted me off the floor. I became completely nauseated by the change of scenery. Straight back chairs filled the room and were divided by a center aisle. The guests were now all sitting down, but still faced me, silent, and with their masks still pressed against their faces.
When I felt something tug at my dress, I turned around, and there were three little girls holding the train of my dress like it was a wedding dress.
Obviously, I was having a nightmare.
“Stella.” The echo seemed to travel from the back of the room and then reverberate loudly when it reached my ears. This sent a new sensation up my spine and around my neck that made me quiver. Ready to scream, I held my breath as I turned to face whatever came next.
Dominick stood right in front of me, but he didn’t look the same as he did in school. He wore formal attire like the rest of the crowd. And instead of his normal long straight hair that almost completely covered his eyes, he had it slicked back, which made him look a lot older. Oh yeah, and a lot hotter. So gorgeous I almost relaxed at his smile.
He said, “I knew you would come.”
“What’s going on?” I said through my teeth.
“Don’t be afraid.” He held out his hand.
I stared at him for a few seconds until finally forcing my eyes away so I could look around and remember. “If this is your idea of a joke …” Some joke though—the dress, all the people. “… it’s not funny.”
“I know this is strange but let me explain and then you will see how this is meant to be. Since your birth, your mother’s birth, her mother’s birth on up five generations, this has been your destiny. We are betrothed. We must wed and then consummate our marriage before midnight so that my son will carry on my name. My time has come to an end. After midnight, I will be dead. But before I leave, I must pass on my powers. You are the only one in the world who has the right combination of genes for this to succeed.”
“Right …” Well, my brooding finally attracted someone completely insane. And then thankfully, I noticed Mike Cole from 6th period. “Oh, you guys can’t trick me so easily.” I walked over to him and snatched the mask off his face. I gasped and took a step back. Not him. This guy’s face was cruelly cratered and monstrous. “I’m sorry.” I backed away and bumped into Dominick with a gasped.
“Don’t be afraid. Soon, you will be mistress of all of this. And all of them, your loyal servants.”
“That’s a generous offer, really, but I’ve got to go. People know I’m here. Wait, was that a knock at the door?”
The band started up again. I recognized the song: The freaking Wedding March. I don’t think so. I turned so abruptly that I knocked down one of the train-holding little girls, and I was so upset, I didn’t care. I tried to run. But even though I held up the dress the best I could, I stumbled and lost a shoe—high-freaking-heels that I didn’t put on when I left my house.
I was almost to the doors when I heard death curdling screams. I spun around. Like an old cowboy movie, Molly and Amber were at the back of the room with nooses tied around their necks. The tips of their toes were on stools, their mouths gagged, and their hands bound behind their backs.
I charged back down the aisle, but before I reached them, several men jumped up from their seats to hold me back.
My situation had become a little clearer, even though it made no sense at all.
“Do I have your attention now?” Dominick said.
I took one of those double-takes when I looked at him. His hair, that had been dark brown, had turned completely white. I couldn’t take my eyes off him because it seemed like I was watching really good movie special effects as his hair began to move up his head, slowly revealing skin. His ears and nose were bigger than I remembered, and wrinkles formed around his mouth and eyes. “What are you?”
“My name is Dominick Hamsphere. I am a 200-year-old warlock. My time in this realm ends at midnight, but I must plant an heir to carry on my name and to inherit the family wealth and power.”
Did he say 200 years old? “Gaa-ros.” I had been seriously attracted to him. “You have the wrong girl. I don’t know anything about any of this.”
He smiled, showing black rotting teeth.
My stomach churned.
“I have been following your line for five generations. I would have preferred to have met you last year, so I could have spent more time getting to know you. Unfortunately, I lost track of your grandmother when she moved to the states. I found you just in time.” He held out his hand, his fingernails beginning to curl with length. “I’m offering you marriage before the honeymoon because I am a gentleman. However, I do have a deadline.”
“You’re crazy! I’m not marrying you.”
He turned his head toward Molly and Amber. “Which one has to die before we get started?”
Hot tears streamed down my face as I looked up at them.
Amber sobbed, and Molly’s eyes were wide with horror. At that moment, I knew Molly feared for me too, not just for Amber. My mind became clearer than it had been in months. I knew what I wanted. I knew what was important. Annoying, yes, and everything that had happened over the past year didn’t automatically erase. But they were family. The only family I had left.
“Just let them go first,” I whispered. “Then I’ll do what you want.”
With a wave of his hand and a warm wind, they were gone. Now all I had to do was figure out how to get out of there way before midnight.
“I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
I didn’t want to move my attention away from the masked guy who had married us. But I knew I had to. Slowly, I turned my head.
Dominick’s appearance scared the tears right out of my eyes. I couldn’t hold back the whimper. I could see his cheek bones through his thinning skin. He was completely bald, except for one tiny section on the right side of his head. Where his lips had been before, only huge ugly teeth. I squeezed my eyes together as tight as I could so not even light would influence my vision. With a grimace, I puckered.
I felt something graze my mouth and then the atmosphere sounds distorted. I knew my surroundings were different, even before I opened my eyes.
I stood in a cold bedroom wearing the clothes I had arrived in, blue-jeans and a black t-shirt. I didn’t see Dominick, so I ran to the door. Of course, it had been locked from the outside.
Then I heard him say, “Stella,” with his teenaged voice. I turned my head slowly, and there he stood, dressed as he did at school, looking at me through his intensely dark eyes.
“I don’t want you to be frightened,” he said. “I’ve saved my last bit of energy, so I would be beautiful in your eyes. This is what you like, right?” He glided over to me. His skin looked silky white smooth. “I couldn’t ask for a more perfect bride. You look just like your mother, and her mother before that. It is amazing to see how your beauty has progressed through the years. I was a little taken back the first time I saw you, and a little concerned that you had removed the mark that represents your heritage. I can understand the temptation, but you would have looked beautiful with a hundred moles on your face.”
“Moles?” And when did he meet my mom? I began to laugh. I felt drunk with terror and the ridiculousness of the night “Do you think Molly’s my mom?”
Dominick looked at me with a curious smile that slowly became a curious frown.
“Hmmm …” I mocked. “Boy, did you screw up. Molly’s my aunt, not my mom. They had the moles. You thought I was Amanda!” I threw my hand over my mouth, wishing I could take my words back.
Suddenly, the window crashed inward, and a furious wind swept through the room. Dominick’s appearance changed in an instant, and he stood before me more hideous and post-grave like than he did before. The realization that he had redirected his powers to summon Amanda seared from the top of my head down into my stomach. I couldn’t let that happen.
I charged the old witch before he knew what hit him. His frailness lent no resistance as we rushed the window and fell two stories. I felt him crush beneath me.
So much for Midnight.
Midnight is one of the short stories from my collection: Supernatural Fairy Tales. It was inspired by Cinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper by Charles Perrault containing Stories or Tales from Times Past, with Morals, with the added title in the frontispiece, Tales of Mother Goose. France: 1697
I have been editing and revising and adding stories to my short story collection, Supernatural Fairy Tales: fairy tale inspired paranormal short stories. The first edition had 9 stories. I have added 9 more stories plus 13 fairy tale inspired poems. As you can see, the book also has a new cover. Let me know what you think!
Here’s a little something about this supernatural fairy tale world:
There are 18 paranormal short stories inspired by classic fairy tales including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Thumbelina, and more. Inside you will find: a warlock’s indecent proposal, vengeful ghosts, pill-popping wolves, merfolk (Are they just misunderstood?), trees in love, cowboys and dwarfs, mind reading thieves, a bratty princess, wicked grannies, a vampire strolling about town doing lunch, fairy dust, werewolves tamed by muffins, luck for sale, and a morbidly romantic zombie tale. Fair Warning: They don’t always have a happy ending.
Free for Kindle Unlimited customers!
And for the first time, it is available in paperback! Get your copy today!
Love and Laughter,
Silverweed has had a make-over! Revisions, a new cover, & a paperback bonus: 8 fairy tale inspired supernatural short stories! Available only on Amazon.
Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited!
In this Little-Red-Riding-Hood-inspired paranormal fairy tale, the roles of prey and predator are blurred.
Seventeen-year-old Aiden Young travels to Indiana for his aunt’s funeral, where his unfortunate mistake leads to the discovery of the family’s supernatural secret.
Before the weekend is over, he’s trapped by a blizzard in his grandmother’s spooky old house in the middle of the woods, along with his superstitious cousin and his manipulating girlfriend. But the fear growing inside the house might prove more dangerous than the storm. And soon, Aiden faces life and death decisions, but he doesn’t know whom he can trust or who needs to be saved … or who might turn into a werewolf.
Get your U.S. copy here: Amazon – Jaclyn’s Ghost is available free on Amazon world-wide.
The Trouble with Snowmen is that they never ever last forever …
A Romantic Comedy all about heart-breakers (snowmen), fun shenanigans, fashion, séances, downtown Houston, urban cowgirls, and some of that kissy-kissy stuff.
Snowmen drift into your life like they were sent from above. The relationship is great, rolls right along, and builds. Everything seems perfect … until a little heat is introduced. Then they melt, leaving only their hat, their scarf, something to remind their victims of what they’d lost.
Urban cowgirl Haley Monroe is told that the fabulously hot guy who just dumped her was a snowman. Her friend Maximilian convinces her that the only way she’ll ever stop being played by snowmen is to become one. It takes a lot of drinks to work up the nerve, but Haley gets her sexy on and goes on the prowl.
Famous horror author Larry White drops everything to attend a midnight séance at Maximilian’s apartment where he meets Haley. By the way she’s dressed-and just propositioned him-he assumes she’s a hooker. Larry can’t pass up the chance to get inside her head, especially since prostitution is the character’s occupation in his next book.
After spending the weekend together, unexpected sparks surprise both Haley and Larry. The trouble is Haley is dead-set on snowmanning the unkempt “starving artist” she met at the seance, and Larry doesn’t think he could have a real relationship with a woman with a past, so they go their separate ways.
The real fun begins when they meet again and find out neither one of them were who they thought they were. Can they reignite the flame? Or will they have a snowman’s chance in hell?”
Book One of the “Trouble with Men” series (Soul Mate Publishing)
Book Two “The Trouble with Scarecrows” is also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
(Inspired by Prince Ariel from, “The Fairy Tales of Madame D’Aulnoy.”)
by Dorlana Vann
Since Jackson couldn’t channel his frustration onto the blank page, he used his fist to pound it into the desk. “Ahhh,” he cried, swooshing his fountain pen and several loose pieces of writing-paper to the floor.
His caged birds squawked with excitement from the sudden movement in the quiet room. Feathers flew. Jackson stood up, his breaths labored and lonely. “I’m sorry ladies. I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
He draped a stack of dark sheets over his arm. “Are you ready for your beauty sleep, my Echo?” He covered her and moved on to Valley, giving her several sweet kisses. Continuing his ritual, he covered all twenty birds leaving Isis, his two-foot Scarlet Macaw, as his last goodnight. She blinked her yellow eyes at him.
“Sleep well, Love,” he said and then ran his fingers through his slick hair, noticing how dark and stale the room had become.
He opened the window, lit a lantern, and picked up the paper and his pen, setting them back on his desk. He thought about writing another letter but knew they were only stall tactics. “I’m a novel writer,” he reassured himself. “Now write something novel!”
He felt anxious. There was nothing left for him to do. He had moved to one of the most crime-ridden areas of London to conduct his research. When observations had stopped inspiring his writing, he had taken it to the next level. The first hand accounts had given him dozens of pages: a feel for the weapon in his hands; the reaction on the faces of the women when they knew they were going to die; and the color and temperature of the blood. After each attack, he had sped home and written feverishly, until the words stopped, died on the page—
He conducted more studies, pushing himself to the limits of his own capacities. “Why am I still blank?” he said in a sob. “Why?”
Isis began to squawk in her cage, beneath her cover.
“Shush,” he said off-handedly. “I’m having a difficult enough time as it is.”
“Let me out.”
Jackson turned his head slowly toward the covered cage. He listened. Sure she could talk: “Pretty lady.” “I love you.” But never “Let me out.”
She said it again.
Jackson scooted his chair back and stood abruptly. “Was that you, Isis? Did you learn something new?”
“Open the cage, Jackson. Let me out.”
Jackson shook his head, trying to clear the confusion. Obviously, because he was exhausted and tense, he was now hearing things. That’s all. However, he eased toward the cage. One step—stop. One step—stop until he stood in front of the cage. Swiftly, without thinking, he uncovered Isis.
She sat on her perch, head down, asleep.
“Isis?” he whispered. “Was that you?”
Jackson’s heart thumped when he heard rustling coming from the other cages, the sheet coverings moving.
But then he remembered he had opened the window. After taking the six steps to the window and ignoring the lack of breeze, he closed it.
He turned around and gasped, backing against the window, hands stretched out—palms wide, like he was keeping the walls from closing in on him. All the cages were uncovered.
It seemed like morning: birds bounced, stretched out their wings, walked, and whistled, however, much more so. The cage doors were open, and the birds began to explore. Isis, eyes open now and sitting on her perch in her home, stared at Jackson.
Jackson peeled himself away from the window and cautiously moved toward her. “Love?”
“Come closer, Jackson.”
He felt terrifyingly wonderful. Sweat gathered on his brow and above his lips. “Isis? Do you understand me?”
He tried to steady his blinking; he shut his eyes hard and then reopened them. “Why now? Why not before? I have told you my most intimate secrets and feelings and you never spoke an intelligent word.”
“The time was not right. I am here when you need me most. Let me be your inspiration.”
“Oh, Isis! How I do so need someone to talk to. I have many a troubles. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me now.” He put his arm in her cage, enduring the sharp claws he usually protectively wrapped his arm against. He stroked her red feathers. “My beautiful, Isis, what words do you have for me? Do you know what I must do to finish my story?”
“You have watched, but you have never felt. In order to achieve realism and depth, you will need to experience the pain for yourself.”
“Yes, yes! I see. I see what you mean. But how? How can I achieve this insight?”
“I will be near whilst you sink the edge of your knife into your skin. Not too deep my dear, just enough to feel a twinge.”
“Marvel upon marvel, you are my muse!” He set Isis on the back of his chair and ran to his bedside table and pulled out his knife. Its long thick blade still stained from his latest research project. “Where? Where shall I feel it?” he asked, sitting on the edge of his bed.
“The same as you wrote. The same as you gave.”
The coldness of the blade against his neck caused his heart to quicken with excitement. He stared at Isis as she moved her head to and fro with tiny jerks. “Just this fills my head with ideas, with words.” He sucked in his breath and pressed a little harder, the sting bringing quiet tears to his eyes. “How absolutely stimulating.”
He heard them before he saw them, but only by a second. All of his beauties came towards him, Isis in the mix, their feathers, and beaks, and claws causing his hand to yank deeply inward and then slide to the side. Falling backward, Jackson still imagined how his ghastly and perfect pain would translate onto paper.
As the feathers settled and the squawks calmed to a low murmur, Jackson’s last breath was accompanied by his last vision: five faint ghostly figures dancing above him. He heard the words, “Jack the Ripper, our story ends in revenge,” as his eyes closed.
October 2017 Theme: Spa
Book Club Set Up:
Each member of our group (women ages 24-49) draws a month and a theme. Whosever month it is, gets to choose a book in their category and host the meeting.
The group has approximately 3 weeks to read the book and then we get together for themed food and fun & to discuss the book.
Quick Book Summary (from Amazon): The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper byIn this hauntingly beautiful story of love, loneliness and self-discovery, an endearing widower embarks on a life-changing adventure.
This Month’s Meeting:
The theme was spa and our host told us to show up in our pjs and without make-up or fingernail polish. She provided facemask and Bioré nose strips. We painted our nails and had martinis, fruit infused water, and sangrias. We discussed the book while eating our chips and dips and veggies. It was all very girly.
This review is going to be a little different than previous book club reviews because no one (who was able to make the meeting), except for me, could finish the book. The main reason: it was boring. Truthfully, if I hadn’t been reading it for book club, I probably wouldn’t have finished it myself. However, I ended up enjoying the story overall. The character’s began to grow on me about halfway through. It’s a story of family, and marriage, and if secrets and events from your past should be kept from your partner. I did do a lot of skimming, but I also shed a few sentimental tears. I, personally, would give this book 3.5 martinis out of 5.
Since this book moves at a, well … pace of an older gentleman (perhaps that was the point), I would say picking it up depends on your reading mood and book preferences. There are a lot of positive reviews out there. So I would say, give it a chance.
Next month’s theme: Luau
Love and Laughter,