Saturday, January 29, 2011


A billion large daggers made of water pounded on the roof of the cab I was in. While each contraction felt like I was being split in two, my heart burned from the million paper cuts your father left behind. The cabbie weaved through traffic all the time honking his horn and yelling at people to get out of the way. He looked back at me and I glared at him. I was sure he wanted to ask me if I was going to have you right his cab...the one HE would have to clean.

A panic erupted from my.toes and raced all the way up my spine. It stopped when it slammed into my mind.  How was I going to answer the most basic of questions about your existence? All sounds left me in a vacuum of nothing. Even in the Decemberist of days I had never heard such silence. Oh such sweet peace filled me in the moment. Gone was the pain in my body and my heart. I was sure I had began to pass. I was on my way to reunite with your father.

Bliss filled the cracks left in the void of my heart and I could do nothing but allow it to consume me. Images of a white Thorn-bush filled my mind. A light blue fire glowed from within it and voice so powerful it could stop the world from turning, sounded from all around.

"Be still child," the voice said.

A feeling clutched my being. I was not afraid of what I felt. I was overcome with a sense of peace and love. I realized I was listening to a voice from another world. Heaven. Love. Light. Oh be still my beating heart and my restless ways for I was no longer in the world I was born to. Let each passing breath that flowed from my body force me to stay awake just a minute longer. Let me linger here so I no longer feel the pain in my body, mind and soul.

It was not to be though. It is in the smallest of moments when we are made to understand life.We are not alone.  None of us are. How simple could the truth be? How easy it is to see it when it's all around us? How did I miss it for so long?

So many questions flooded my mind. The cab came to a halt. It crashed me back into the reality of this world. Once again pain thrashed my body letting me know it was time for you to come. The cabbie rushed into the hospital and returned with a nurse. I still didn't know what I was going to say about you.

Then a miracle happened. I saw him. He was here, my sweet tender Samuel. He looked at me with the same deep tender loving eyes I remembered. Glittering pale stone skin and the warmest skin I had ever known. I could hear his heart beat and he looked down on me with nothing but love.

"Is this her Mr. Glass?" the nurse asked.

"It is. How is she?" Samuel asked.

"We'll let you know in a minute. I've already paged the doctor," she said. "Follow me."

He took my hand. His gentle touch made me want to scream louder than anything in my life. I wanted to know why he left without a word. Why did he think it was ok to do that to me? Why didn't he just kill me and leave me for dead, because that's how I felt.

Then I heard it. Your heart beat. It was strong and fast. It silenced the room and it made me remember the voice I heard in the cab. It was right. Everything was going to be ok. I was not alone.

A needle was placed in my arm. A few minutes later I was covered by a bright blinding light from above. A soft warm glow of familiar gentleness swept through me. I had left my body to see you come into the world. I looked down from above. I laughed with an alien kind of joy when I heard you cry. You had the most beautiful skin I had ever seen, like a million tiny wet pearls glittering in the noonday sun. Your hair was already full of long blond curls and eyes as green as the grass of the earth. You held the wisdom of all the ages in your eyes and quieted as fast as you cried.

I felt myself being pulled back into my body. My journey with you had just begun. There are such things in life that are beyond precious. I will forever carry the sound of your heart with me. It will comfort me on my darkest days and make me remember the sweet tender peace I felt in the cab when the silence full upon my ears.

There are so many things to tell you, my sweet angel baby. My Irulan, named from a woman of courage and whose life was filled with both joy and despair. I heeded the warning from the day the ethereal rode the rays of sunlight and became a solid. I gave you a name like no other. I borrowed it from a story I loved.
In the days I have left. I will write down all that has happened since you were born. I will tell you how your father denied his own place in the other world just to be with us. I'll tell you everything. For now, my sweet beautiful Irulan let sweet dreams take you and cover you in a gentle light. Know you are loved like no other child on this planet.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Heartbeat ~~ANGEL BABY~~

Sadness shreds you gradually, like a million paper cuts. It is not quick and leaves behind invisible blood upon the soul. The scars are deep crevasses in my bones and yet hope still remains for me. You have been gone for three weeks now and every day, the breath comes harder to my lungs. It's the sadness you see that makes it almost unbearable for me. I don't know how much longer I can stand it. The single thread I have left to hold onto is what you left behind in my belly. The small bulge is my line in the sand at the borders of sanity.

I'm six months along according to the ultra sound, and yet the possibility of you only existed for a few weeks. You're father was an angel, the love of my life, and now he's gone. Our love affair lasted a few months and still, I knew him my entire life. Of that I'm sure though don't ask me how. I miss him so and wonder if I will see him when I look into your eyes.

The sun in the sky was like a dragon's eye looking down upon my face. Sweet warm permeating rays cover the world in a gentle glow. I closed my eyes to take in the sun, for today was like no other. I could feel one of them coming down from the heavens. It was the same feeling I had when I met Samuel, your father. I watched quiet as the rays carried her down from the ethereal to the solid. I can almost feel the sharp knife being sunk deep into the wounds of betrayal I already had.

Her face and hands were made of white glittering stone. A fiery blue glow erupted from her hair and I stood speechless as she spoke.  With one wing dipped in blood and the other in Divine intervention, angels are as beautiful as they are horrible in their fates. All orders from the higher power must be followed without question. Is there any other meaning for perfect love? I had that...once, perfect love I mean. Her voice boomed, sending shivers through my soul.

"She is very special. Just know you are protected," she said. "We will come to get her when the time is right."

I held my belly, protective and maternal in my manners. I didn't know it was a girl,  I just knew my baby needed me. Already her father was taken from me in such an abrupt way I almost couldn't bare to think about him.

"You can't have her, she's mine and Samuel's. You've stolen my heart, you can't steal my hope," I yelled at her.

"You have no choice. This is preordained. This child is going to fight for life itself. It is her destiny," she said..

"What makes you think you're better than I am? What rights do you have?" my voice, barely a whisper.

I knelt down, knees on the ground and tears in my eyes.Grains of dirt punctured my skin , letting my blood soak into the soil. What power did I have against such great odds? Sadness filled in all the voids in my heart. She faded away into the rays she rode down from the heavens. Curse the sun for allowing her to come.

You gave me a little kick letting me know you were still inside me. "Shh, it will be ok," I said.

I rubbed my belly to soothe you. Nothing worked though. The pain shot through my back and down my legs. It pulsated up to my hips. "Oh my god, I need to get to a hospital," I cried.

I jumped in a cab and gave the driver the address. Confusion set in. I've only been pregnant a few weeks and here I was in labor. Deep grey and black clouds moved in on the peaceful blue sky cutting off the transportation rays the angels used. (TO BE CONT'D)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Please excuse the craziness of this

I'm working on a new look for my short stories blog...please excuse the crap look of it right

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lunar Eclipse

There was blood on the moon the night we met. His mystic eyes and magical pull made me stand so still I forgot to breathe. He spoke to my soul without saying a word. My head, dizzy, knees quivered and oh such sweet butterflies filled my stomach. He stepped close, gliding across the ground. So surreal I was sure it was nothing more than a dream.

A whisper of sweet tender love swept through me. I wanted to ask him who he was but couldn't speak. With a wave of his hand, he motioned me towards him and I, oh I could not resist for it was me he wanted.
My body quivered when his cold hand touched my face. Still he said nothing. My pulse quickened sending my mind into a haze of longing and a desire for nothing else except to feel his hands carress my mind...all of me.

He looked deep into my eyes, taking me on a wild ride within the soul. He asked but one question,

"Do you want me?"

 "Yes," I replied in just a whisper.

"For how long?" he asked.

"As long as I can have you." I was afraid to say more for fear of driving him away.

"How about forever?"

The songs of angels filled my head when he leaned in closer. 'My God, how beautiful you are. How can I resist?'

His lips were cold, soft and tender. The slightest brush sent me into flight. I couldn't think, only taste. Look but don't touch didn't apply and I no longer cared about where my soul ended up. I just wanted to feel his tender touch.

His hands were as cold as his lips when he ran them along my side,  but I didn't want to escape his grasp. I knew him then, I've always known him and now after a lifetime of waiting he was here in front of me, sending my being into bursts of flames.

He kissed me along my neck and I felt him breathe me in...all of me. This moment was mine.

"I have watched you for a long time," he said. "Waited until you were ready for me."

I spoke not a word, but let him take me as far into heaven as we were allowed. I felt his hands carress my breast, sending tiny electric shocks through out my body. Seperated only by the cotton I wore, I moaned and asked for more.

One by one I felt my buttons come undone and his tender cold lips were upon my bare skin. I arched my back, craving just a single touch from him inside of me. His mouth brushed against my thigh sending me into a state of glorious expectation. I felt two tiny needle pricks on my inner thigh, the pain and intoxicating touch forced me to drag him up to me. His touch was now mine and I wrapped my entire body around his. We moved the same, insync with one another.

My body screamed for more. A single explosion went off in my body, stronger and more powerful than anything I had ever felt and still it didn't matter because I wanted more. I needed more. I felt a bite on my neck and he pulled back a little.

"How long do you want me?" he asked again.

"Forever," I cried out in revelation.

Our bodies still moving, he kissed my neck again and flew me higher into the heavens. Still I yearned for more. I felt another bite on my neck.

"Then forever it is," he said.

I felt my pulse slow. My body fought to stay in the middle of the pain and exploding joy it felt. I surrendered to him in the last moment. I felt him arch his body forward as he let go of all he held in just to please me.

I moaned and passed out in his cold arms. When I woke, my body was as cold as his. "You're mine forever now," he said.

"I know," I replied. "I'm so hungry."

He gave me a smirk. "Let's go hunting," he said.

In the dark of night we walked through the park. My thirst was overpowered by my deep desire to feel him again. Always him. Always has been and always will be...just him.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Now and Then

Stone guards the part of my heart that holds

my memories of you.
I can't look
for fear of breaking.

Life is anew now.
Sweet and tender.
Still I guard the walls
that contain you.

The pain of your touch
and the scars you caused
can never be healed.

I move forward
ever watchful over my shoulder
Will you appear today?

Forever hoping my new heart won't break
the pieces stay together.
Such is the sweet tender joy
of my new life.

Please dear walls
Please don't break.
Don't steal my life away.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Greenway Part 2 titled Three

I sit here every night and look out the window at all the chaos humanity has turned into. Forever is a long forgotten word and the only real evidence I have of yesterday's existence is a single picture my now dead parents took of me when I was born. It shows the three of us together. They are smiling in it and I don't know why. Perhaps because they didn't know they were going to be dead soon.

I can't complain though. I have six in my life and that's more than most people have. I know he isn't my dad, but I like to think of him as a brother. He always looks like he's about to kill someone. I know he stands guard over me to keep us alive.

I saw them coming from a distance. Trackers...they are searching for more girls for the Greenway. It sucks being a girl here in this time and place. Shock rang through my body when they shined a light on Six.

'Oh no, they've found out who we are and where we are.'

I yelled down to Six and he said to hide. I can't do that though. I won't. I'm tired of living in the hell hole and of having to deal with the Trackers and all the terrible things the Greenway stands for. I've heard the same rumors as Six, even though he tried to keep them from me.

There is a mark on my neck. It's something I was born with. Some of the rumors say the Moor is looking for me. The girl with the mark. I don't get it. I don't know why things can't just return to an easier time. My neck began to hurt. A small glow from the mark began to shine in the darkness of the night. I don't know why, all I can think about is Six. My protector and keeper. Yes, not in blood I know. Still he is all of this to me. Father. Mother. Sister. Brother. Six is all the family I have.

The shots were loud. Six made it up the stairs and grabbed my hand. "To the roof. You remember what I showed you a few weeks ago when the rumors started churning about the mark? Let's go," Six said.

I looked back at the window I stared out of every night. How I wished I hadn't thought of leaving. we made our way to the roof. A large spot light shined on us from below. A giant net gun was shot in our direction. Six pulled me to the ground just as the net went over our heads. We raced to the camouflaged passageway from the roof. I believe it was an elevator shaft at one point. Who knows. I do know the ropes he had placed there remained. Six tossed me a back pack full of things from my room.

I looked up and him and smiled. It was a hesitant grin. My whole belief in man kind restored with a single act from Six. My own dear sweet Six who protected me even from myself.

I heard them approach. I could hear the Trackers loading their guns. A distinct click on the other side of the wall. If they knew where we were, they would have forced their way through the wall. Dust tumbled down from above.

I was being hunted. How were we to escape the madness of the Trackers?

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Eclectic Artsit Cave Presents

Around the Coffee Pot on Blog talk radio. Join me LIVE tomorrow at 10 AM CST when I interview Tami Snow. She is a writer, mother and now she has a new Vlog called Lyrical Lip Service in which she records herself on video reading various writers works. Last week she read from Alice in Wonderland, one of my personal favorites. This week she will be reading from The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Tami currently resides in Las Vegas. When she isn't snow boarding or rushing off on some other adventure, she's writing. Some examples can be found on Slaves to the Muse. A blog that has been co-founded and co-created by herself and Joann Hamann-Buchanan.

Tami Snow has a sweet voice and a great Vlog. Tune in to learn how she gets inspired and inspires others.

Next week,  The Eclectic Artist Cave Presents: James Weil, author of Swiss Chocolate and editor. Learn about James and his bi-polar disorder and how writing helped him to focus on the positive side of life.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I have had several requests for another installment of The Green Way

I should have parts 2 and 3 of The Green Way finished next week. Thank you for your interest in my novella. It has been a story I have enjoyed writing. I will post part 2 next Monday and part 3 the following Monday.

Thank you for all the support and for enjoying my short stories. Huge hugs to all!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Alaynee: A chapter from THE KISS-book 2 of I AM WOLF

The truth sweeps across the wind in a whisper.

It waves in the gentle dance of the leaves

Floating across the ground.

To fix what is broken,

Means only to shed the lie.



Broken heart.

All make for sleepless nights.

Still I wait for you.

Holding my breathe.

Waiting for the sweet rapture

Of the moment to carry me away.



Deep dark colors of grey clouds flooded the sky, yet the brushes of light pink hues held their own against the dying of the light. The air, so cold and frigid, it felt like it could break with the slightest breath. Snow continued to fall on the ground shrouding the world with a sense of sorrow.

Alaynee waited in her car with Squeaks and Ollie. She hadn’t seen Sharron in days and still didn’t know what was going on with her. A small web of doubt formed around the area of her heart where she held her friends close to her soul. Unable to understand why she hadn’t spoke to Sharron in days, Alaynee desperately wanted to talk to her about all that had happened in the last few days. Even though Prom was rapidly approaching, it was the farthest thing from her mind. The whole idea of a lioness being out to get her haunted her every move and she often caught herself looking over her shoulder to see if it was there again.

The trail to the lake that was normally visible during the month of May, was covered in a blanket of hard snow that even the dry porous ground didn’t want to soak up. The three of them sat in the car. Waiting. Quiet. Careful not to speak about what was on their minds. Alaynee looked in the rear view mirror at Squeaks who stared out the window, while Ollie sat in the front seat with a blank look on her face.

“I’ve never seen you have such a blank look on your face. What’s going on?” Alaynee asked.

Ollie looked back at Squeaks. “Here, listen to this song. I think you might like it,” she said, handing him her ipod.

Ollie let out a deep breath and spoke with hesitation. “Have you ever read the legend of the Shakya Clan?” Ollie asked.

“A little, why?”

“They turn into lionesses. You have been attacked by one three times now. And all of that didn’t start until Cleo came to town. Right?” Ollie finished.

“What, you’re saying mom brought a lioness home by accident and she’s here to kill me? Why? What sense would that make?” Alaynee asked.

‘Oh God, maybe I’m not crazy.’

The truth was Alaynee had thought about the same thing when she read about a myth in her A.P English class. Still, it didn’t make sense to her.

“No, you’re not crazy. Look I did a little research when the fire lion attacked you. Here, look,” she said, pulling out an old book she swiped from the reference department at the library.

Ollie opened the book to a page about an old Chinese Myth called the Lizard King. Ancient drawings covered the right side of the page. In one of them, a hunter was covered by a shadow while the gods watched from their clouds and did nothing. The hunter transformed into a monster, part wolf and part lion. Standing by his side was a girl who stared at him with adoring eyes.

“The myth that’s shared every year in a shadow puppet show never talks about the girl. See that picture. Doesn’t it look the least bit familiar?” Ollie said. She pointed out the girl next to the demon possessed man.

“Yeah, but that could just mean that she’s Chinese. You know, like Cleo,” Alaynee said.

She didn’t want to wrap her head around the possibility that a member of an unknown moon clan could be walking around them. “What does the wolf represent?” she asked.

“Us. I don’t know what’s supposed to happen, but somehow, he chose to take a member of Tibolt’s Clan eons ago. It’s just so old, that no one knows about it. This might be why we are here tonight. It could also be the reason for the snow,” Ollie replied.

“When are we getting out? This is boring.” Squeaks wined.

“We have to wait for the others. Look. See the lights from the cars?” she asked.

“Yes. It’s about time. Are mom and dad coming? Why did I have to come?” Squeaks asked.

“I didn’t want to leave you home alone and yes, mom and dad will be here. So will everyone else,” Alaynee told him.

“Oh, Cara too?” he asked.

Alaynee caught a grin form on Ollie’s face and couldn’t help but smile as well. “Yes. She will be here.”

“I’m glad you didn’t leave me with that girl. Cara doesn’t like her. She says Cleo is dark inside. Does that make sense to you, because it didn’t to me,” he said.

“Yeah baby, it makes sense. Did Cara say why she is dark inside?” Alaynee asked.

“No. She did want me to start learning Kung Fu though. I don’t know why, but it sounds like fun so I said ok,” he told her.

“Well, she’s a very good friend to you. She’s what we like to call a keeper,” Alaynee said.

“So we have another werewolf hurting people again?” Squeaks asked with an earnest look on his face.

Alaynee looked into his deep dark eyes and grinned. “No. We don’t. Why would you say that?”

“Because last time we had one, we all had to wait. Just like we’re having to wait right now,” he told her.

Alaynee smiled at his innocence then looked out the window. The rest of the youngling pack began to arrive. Daniel had Sharron with him and Jonah had Cara with him. Dakota, Utah and Nini all came together in Dakota’s Jeep. All their parents, Big Sal, Chief Running Wolf and the rest of the clan arrived at the base of the sacred mountain.

The tee-pee had not been taken down from a few nights ago. Tiokisan lit the fire while Bobby Joe and Lynn helped Chief Running Wolf to the chair they brought for him. Covered in blankets, the clan gathered around the fire. A few of the clan members brought their drums and another one a flute. Chief Running Wolf brought his peace pipe that had been handed down for generations.

Alaynee rushed over to Jonah and let a deep sigh of relief. She wrapped her arms around him. “Safe and sound.”

“Yes, I’m safe. Why? Oh, wait, you’re thinking about the lioness again aren’t you?” he said.

She turned to see Squeaks run to Cara. The two of them already had an unspoken language, one of deep and abiding friendship. Alaynee smiled at the two of them. “Where’s Sharron?” she asked, changing the subject.

“Over there with Daniel,” Jonah said.

“I’ll be right back.”

With a quick peck on the cheek, Alaynee raced over to see Sharron. She was stopped sudden when she realized how pale She looked. “Oh my God. What happened?” Alaynee asked.

Sharron looked at her through red blood shot eyes that were masked in black. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she wore sweats.

“I can’t talk about it now. I’ll tell you about it later,” she told her.

Alaynee gave Sharron a long hug then punched her brother. “Why didn’t you tell me she was this sick?”

“I’m sorry. She asked me not to. She said she knew you would never let her rest if you knew. So she made me promise. Besides, she isn’t sick,” Daniel said.

“What do you mean she isn’t sick? Look at-” Alaynee was cut off.

“We will tell you later. Right now we have to find out why the weather is so weird. Any idea’s?” Sharron asked.

Alaynee knew her diversion tactics all too well. “It’s Cleo,” Alaynee said.

“You can’t blame her for everything. I mean come on, the weather is her fault too?” Jonah asked from behind.

Alaynee jumped. She didn’t hear him come up behind her.

“Ollie and I have a theory. Why are you so protective of her?” Alaynee asked.

“I told you why. Never mind. We can talk about your theory later. Besides, there’s something I want to tell you. It’s about the other day at the diner,” Jonah whispered in her ear.

The eight younglings walked together to the sacred grounds. Silent. Humble. Strong. They were still a pack no matter what was going on in their personal lives. Even though there was so much doubt weaved around them, they all still loved one another.

Alaynee felt the love of the youngling pack surround her soul and she smiled to herself. She missed all of them being together. It had been weeks since all of them had been to long in her mind since they had been together.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Jerry Patterson was a common man. He didn’t have a lot of money, nor did he have any special “it” factor like others in the world. He always wore a grey suit with a white shirt and a black tie. He drove a beige Volvo and he never had the radio turned on. Jerry was a person you would forget two seconds after you met him. He liked it that way. He needed it in fact because Jerry’s job was different then most other people who walked around him on a daily basis. Jerry was a Cleaner.

Jerry came into the business by sheer accident. How does a man become a Cleaner by accident? Simple. He needs a job. His resume’ included sharp shooter in the Army. After 10 years of faithful service, his psych evaluation said he could no longer serve. His old Sergeant used to say, “The dead man cometh, he cometh for you” just before they would go into battle. It was something that stuck, something that still repeats in his mind just before he cleans or when he feels danger coming.

Most people hear Cleaner and they think of the mob or some other nefarious crowd. The truth is Jerry was a Cleaner for the Lenron Corporation. It was his job to get rid of the bodies and dispose of the evidence. It was even his job to make sure anything that escaped was disposed of. He liked his job though, not just because of the money he made, but because it fulfilled another side of his personality.

Last week, a hybrid dog, if you could call it that, managed to get out. The thing looked like a dog, but it had a scorpion tail. On the back of the dog were quills filled with poison. Jerry knew he had to put it down hard and fast. He followed the tracking device to a townhouse complex. In the center of a complex, a group of children played in a little park. The dog laid in the shade under the slide. It didn’t attack or even growl, it just laid there. Jerry walked into the park and sat on a bench. He watched the kids play without a single care in the world. A few minutes later, the ‘dog’ walked to an empty back yard. Jerry hopped the fence to follow it. The ‘dog’s’ body was half in and half out of the house. Jerry stood still for a minute. Strange. Unexpected. Surreal. Jerry pulled a rope out of his bag. In one sweeping motion, he yanked on the rope, dragged the ‘dog’ out and stabbed it with his blade in the neck. He took a black plastic bag out of his bag, wrapped the ‘dog’ in it and carried it away. He did this without a single person noticing him. He tossed it in the beige Volvo’s trunk and drove away.

It was safe to say the things Jerry cleaned were different. He didn’t know how dangerous they were, but he wasn’t going to find out the hard way. Not if he could do something about it. Jerry had to take the ‘dog’s’ body back to the Lenron Corporation for one of the scientist named Max. In his own mind, Jerry called him Mad Max. He hated the guy. Max had an arrogant personality. He once told Jerry he didn’t lose. It wasn’t he didn’t ‘like’ to lose- he ’didn’t’ lose. He drove around the back to the door closest to the lab. He walked into the lab to drop off the body of the ‘dog’ when he saw a newborn, wearing a pink hat laying in a small basinet. He reached down and touched the hand of the tiny little girl. Wrapped her tiny fingers around his first finger, opened her eyes and looked at him. Jerry just smiled at her. “Who do you belong to little one?” he whispered. Though he didn’t know why, for a moment, he felt his mind relax. The baby closed her eyes and let go of his finger.

Eric walked into the lab with a piece of paper in his hand. “Got another one for you today,” he said. “Here’s the tracking number.”

Max walked into the lab and put a hand on Eric’s shoulder. Jerry didn’t know what it was about the two of them in the same room. He didn’t like the uncomfortable rush of feelings in the air when the two of them were in the same room.

“What’s that doing in here?” Max asked, pointing at the baby.

“I don’t know. I thought you brought it in here,” Eric said.

The term “it”, referring to the baby, struck Jerry wrong, he took the paper and left. He looked back at the baby girl with a little pity and guilt in his heart. He tracked the last job of the day to an alley deep in the heart of the city.

He walked down the alley, wearing his black overcoat, gloves and carrying a black bag. Half a million tears washed away the blood left in the cold wet alley, the mixture went down the alley to assault the drains in the street. A row of blue dumpsters sat undisturbed to the left. Two fire escape ladders were down. Jerry walked with caution through the alley. The annoying buzz of flies sounded from the sirens that screamed past him. Honking horns, yelling and music completed the melody of the city. The mind numbing noise didn’t seem to penetrate the alley. It was just Jerry.

A step before he reached the end of the row of dumpsters, he put his bag on the ground. Silence, an important aspect of his job, it took a special art form to walk without sound and even more to open a clasped bag and pull out a stake without attracting attention. The last of the puzzle came together for him. He enjoyed the hunt, the very moment he lived for laid in the middle of trash, piss and who knows what else. He flipped the lid to the dumpster up and jumped in. In a single motion, he brought down the stake, stabbing it through the heart of the beautiful young woman lying dead…well, undead. He didn’t know what Lenron did to her, nor did he want to know. He just knew he needed to clean her from existence. The woman let out a scream then burst into flames. The burst into flames was a new one. It was a quick death. , unsatisfying at best. Zero ichors splatter this time, unusual; but the job was finished and he went about his business. Unnoticed. Forgettable. Invisible. That was the important thing.

Jerry walked out of the alley. The bubble from the alley burst, welcoming in an array of mind numbing noises. He opened the back door on the driver’s side of the Volvo and put the bag back in the same place it always set. Jerry closed the door, then opened the driver’s door and climbed in. The car started with ease. Another reason he liked the car. ‘Volvos, they’re boxy but they’re safe.’ The small thought made him grin a little.

He drove home to his modest apartment and parked his car in the parking garage in the designated spot. The garage was dark as always. He liked that. Just a small amount of light from the exit sign shined. The garage smelled like oil and gas like it always did. The Marlin’s car was gone. Jerry was glad about that. He hated those people. They were loud and parked a little too close for his comfort.

‘The dead man cometh, he cometh for you.’

A lingering presence of something held onto his mind for a moment when he got out of the car. He didn’t bother to look around. He opened the door to the back and pulled out his bag. All the boxes of the checklist in his normal routine were mentally marked in his mind. With a small handkerchief, he wiped the door handles, as he always did, and turned towards the elevator.

The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end when he walked towards the elevator. He pushed the button without pausing to look around. The elevator dinged and Jerry stepped in. Without incident, the elevator closed and opened again when it reached his floor. The whole idea of the lingering presence that had him thinking before was now nothing more than a fleeting thought. Still, the hairs on his neck stood on end.

The dead man cometh, he cometh for you.

He walked down the hall to his apartment and placed the key in the lock. With a click and a turn of the key, he was back in his house. ‘Home safe.’ He thought. He put the black bag on the counter and took off his overcoat, hung it up and placed his gloves on the shelf above the coat.

Jerry walked into the kitchen. It was so small; it made him feel like a giant man. He could stand in the middle and use everything he needed to without moving. Comical as it was, he didn’t mind because he never entertained. Why would he? He was a killer, and he knew it. Try explaining that to a group of people at the dinner party.

He opened the fridge, careful not to hit his hand on the counter, and pulled out a pint of cold vegetable juice. He poured it into a bowl and put it in the microwave for a few seconds to take the chill off it. When the microwave dinged, he took the bowl out and walked down the hallway to the spare bedroom.

He opened the door just enough to step in. There was a bed, with a gold and red comforter on it along with a few pillows. Other than the old rug on the floor and the TV, there wasn’t anything else in the room except the young girl chained to the wall. She had long flowing red locks and pointed ears. She glared at him with her purple eyes when he put the bowl of vegetable juice on the floor.

Jerry pulled out a notebook and wrote down her apparent size. He received her number a few weeks ago; C-192 looked to be about 2 years old. Upon bringing her home, he treated her like a toddler. He held her and talked to her. He even read to her. He didn’t like chaining her to the wall; she grew too fast for him to figure anything else out. If he hadn’t seen it himself, he would swear the girl in front of him was a different child. She looked more like a teenager. The girl finished her food and tossed the bowl at him.

Jerry spoke in a soft calm voice as if he was talking to a rabid dog. “That wasn’t very nice,” he said. He bent over without taking his eyes off her and picked up the bowl.

“What’s your name? Do you understand me yet?” Jerry asked.

Weeks, he waited for her to formulate words. He wanted to understand her more. He needed to be sure she would understand him when he told her she had to stay in the room. Confined. Caged. Trapped. He hated the thought of her in there like that. At that point, there wasn’t another choice.

The girl looked up at him. Her glaring eyes had softened and had a green tint to them. She stood up, took a step towards him. “Karma,” she said.

“Why call yourself Karma?” Jerry asked.

“I heard it on that box,” Karma said. “Where am I?”

Jerry gave her a grin. “I was supposed to kill you. I just couldn’t. I tried, but something wouldn‘t let me,” he said in his ‘as a matter of fact’ voice.

“Why am I chained like a dog? Am I your pet?” Karma asked.

“Pet, hah. No. Science project maybe, but pet, no,” Jerry smirked.

He walked out of the room and shut the door. He waited in the empty hall for a moment to see if she would say anything else. The sound of loud jerking noises made him open the door again. Shocked. Stunned. Miracle. Karma had sprouted wings. The iridescent fluttering wings caused a breeze to flow past him. She looked like something out of a fairytale. Karma tugged with everything she had; still she couldn’t break free of the chains.

“You need to stop that. If people hear, there will be trouble,” he said.

Karma still hovered above him. “I’m thirsty. I want to go outside. You can’t keep me here!” she yelled.

“You don’t exist, so yes, I can keep you here. Now, settle down, and stop flying will ya, it‘s freaking me out,” Jerry said.

He walked away, mumbling incoherent to himself. “She’s gonna be trouble. Shoulda killed her when I got the assignment.’

Jerry didn’t like this at all. He was used to his quiet life. The possession of material things was of little importance to him. The flat screen TV was a 52 inch, with surround sound and when a new techie gadget came out, he had to have it. Other than that, his place was baron. There weren’t any photos on the walls nor were there trinkets hanging around on the coffee table. He did have one plant he called Leavey, who had grown almost a foot in the last few weeks.

The lingering feeling came over him again. The intercom sounded. “Hello?” Jerry answered.

‘The dead man cometh, he cometh for you.’

“It’s Eric, let me in. We need to talk,” the voice said.

‘Son of a-’ It was never a good thing when Eric stopped by. The last time he came over, it turned out a Cleaner needed cleaned. Jerry didn’t mind killing the guy though. He was an asshole who talked too much. It was a pleasure for Jerry to shut him up.

“Ok, come on up,” Jerry said.

Eric was the only real boss Jerry had or knew about. His heart raced and his palms began to sweat. He gathered his thoughts and calmed his nerves. Karma was locked up in his spare bedroom and the slightest noise would cause an entire team of sweepers to descend on his apartment. He would be cleaned. That would be that. He walked to the spare room where Karma was still trying to fly away.

“For both our sakes, be quiet. Get it?” he asked.

She stopped flying and stood still. She studied him without a word then nodded her head in agreement. Jerry thought she could feel his inner thoughts for a moment. Perhaps that was the lingering feeling he had earlier. A knock sounded on the door. Jerry brought his finger to his mouth in a sh-shing motion.

‘She’s smart.’ Jerry noted in his mind.

His pace and heart quickened when he walked to the door. Just before he opened it, he took a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped his forehead then ran his fingers through his hair. A surprised sensation swept his body when he opened the door to see Eric in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, carrying a six-pack of beer and cigars. “Hey buddy. Long time no see,” he said with a huge smile on his face.

“Come on in,” Jerry said, playing along.

Eric dropped the act when the door shut behind him. “Listen, we have a problem. C-192’s still registering. It’s still alive somewhere. You were assigned to kill it. What the hell happened?” Eric asked.

‘Amateur mistake. I forgot the tracking device in her. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.’ Jerry thought.

“Right to it huh? Yeah, that’s the way I remember you. Remind me again what C-192 was. I’ve killed quite a few things in the last few weeks. What the hell are those guys doing to let so many things escape?” Jerry asked.

“It’s a learning program. That’s all I know. The ones who make it out are cleaned. Something about the data. Hell, I don’t know. I do know that the assholes upstairs came to my office today about this one and so here I am,” Eric said.

“I killed her. That’s all I know. She was dead when I stabbed her in the heart. I poured the acid on her and she melted away. Maybe a rat or something ate the tracker,” Jerry said.

A knot formed in his stomach and his pulse quickened. That’s what he was supposed to do that night. He meant to, he really did, he just couldn’t. He found Karma lying in a box, fast asleep like she didn’t have a care in the world. She curled up in a ball to keep warm. Unlike so many other things assigned to clean, C-192 now known as Karma, looked like a toddler. He pulled his knife out of his black bag, raised it over her head. Just before he brought it down, she shivered and let out a small whimper. He took his over coat off, wrapped her in it, and walked to his car without another thought. A panic-bomb exploded in his head when he started the car.

‘What the hell am I doing? They’ll clean me for sure.’ He looked down at the little girl’s small body, “The dead man cometh, he cometh for you,” he said to his reflection in the rearview mirror. His mind snapped back to the present issue-his boss.

“She. You called it-she. You’ve never done that. Where is it?” Eric asked.

“Did I? Sorry. I have a touch of the flu and I’m not feeling like myself,” Jerry said.

For the most part that was true. Always add a little truth to the lie to make it believable, he always said. This time he took his own advice. His stomach was in knots. A single sound from the spare room and he was cleaned. God knows what would happen to Karma.

“Look, I’ll find the tracker, but the thing is dead. What are they doing over there anyways? Why are all these things even in existence?” Jerry asked.

“I’ll tell you, but you have to keep it to yourself. Oh hell, no one would believe you anyways. If I hadn’t seen it for myself, I wouldn’t believe it,” Eric said.

Eric’s hands shook a little when he took a beer from the six-pack. He took a swig of it. “The way it started was an accident. Ya know, like champagne. Some fool was trying to open a bridge to another time. Instead, it opened to another realm. You know that hot shot prick, Mad Max?” Eric asked.

“Yeah, I know ‘em.” Jerry replied.

‘He always rubs his eyebrow when he’s thinking. He’s one I’d like to clean. Max acted too smart for his own good.’

“Well, he brought back a few eggs and a few other things. The eggs hatched and they were strange intelligent creatures. I don’t know what the bridge connected to. One of the things Max brought back was a giant blue-green rose. It glittered in the light. It didn’t look real to me. When the bud opened a couple days later, C-192 was laying in the heart of it, crying like a newborn baby. She was so adorable. Max took to her right away. She looked like a newborn; hell, she even acted like a human newborn baby. Who could blame him? The time came to put her out to perform some tests. She screamed in terror and the glass shattered. Max tried to gain control of it again, but dam it was fast. It was gone before we knew what to do. That’s why we sent you after it,” Eric said.

“Are you telling me that was an alien? All this time, I’ve been hunting aliens. That’s what you’re saying, right? They aren’t some science experiment gone astray?” Jerry asked.

“I don’t know what they are. You can call them aliens. The thing is they live in a world that looks like ours. They’re from the unseen dimension. You know, like heaven and hell. Some of the things Max brought back were ok. Others were like demons or something. C-192 was special. I don’t know how or even why. I think interfering with her lifecycle gave me my one way ticket to hell,” Eric said.

Jerry had never heard his boss sound so distraught. Against his better judgment, he reached over and took a beer from the six-pack. He opened it and took a long drink to try to gather his composure. He had a new angel in his spare bedroom.

“If what you say is true, then wouldn’t it have been better to let C-192 live? I mean it beats hell and damnation,” Jerry gave a hesitated laugh.

“Yeah, well. I don’t know. All I know is the bosses above me are pissed. See what you can dig up will ya?” Eric asked. “I’m going home. It’s been a helluva day.”

“I’ll get started on that tomorrow. Look, it’s dead. I’ll find the rat that swallowed the tracker and that’ll be the end of it,” Jerry said.

Eric went back into character when Jerry opened the door, “Yeah, I hafta go. The old lady’s at home and she’ll kill me if I stay out too late. C’mon over tomorrow?” Eric said.

“Sounds like a plan,” Jerry said.

Jerry pretended to close the door all the way and watched Eric pull out a cell phone. “Yeah, he has it. I’m sure of it,” Eric said.

Jerry rushed to the spare bedroom. “We have to get going or we’re both dead. They’d kill me quick, but you, well you’ll live you’re whole life being used like a guinea pig.”

Karma’s purple eyes changed color to black. She hated the thought of going back to that place. Small razors formed at the bottom of her wings. “I can fight,” she said.

“Oh, I know you can. The thing is we don’t have time to fight. We need to make a stand where we know we’ll win,” Jerry said.

“How do you know?” Karma asked.

“That’s my job. I’m a cleaner,” Jerry said.

He wrapped her in a blanket to hide her wings. Karma smiled at him. “You care about life, don’t you?” she asked.

“Not usually,” Jerry said.

She took hold of his first finger, sending a familiar feeling through Jerry. ’You’re the baby I saw at the lab.’ He thought. The realization warmed his soul. He understood why he was so protective of her. In that single moment, he connected the reason for everything he felt about Karma. They had bonded in that single moment.

They climbed through the window to the fire escape. Without his gloves on, the metal bars felt cold, almost foreign to his grasp. The two of them made their way down to the next window. He shattered the glass with his elbow then climbed through it. He turned to help Karma climb through but she had already flown past him. He stood there. Amazed. Shocked. Enamored. She had grown fast, and learned fast and even maneuvered faster than anything he had ever seen. She hovered down the hallway. A man stepped out of his apartment to see what was going on. He dropped the remote in his hand and crossed himself when Karma flew past him.

Jerry stopped at the elevator that moved up towards them. The panic bomb exploded again in his mind. The carotid artery in his neck pulsated. Jerry pulled the fire alarm.

“Get down here!” he said.

Karma obeyed without question. She stood next to him with the blanket around her once again. All the people from the apartment building began to scurry to get out. The man they passed in the hallway earlier walked up to them from behind. He tapped Jerry on the shoulder.

“This is for the angel,” he said. He handed her white coat long enough to cover her wings. “I don’t know what you’re running from, but if you are an angel, will you tell God I’m sorry for all I’ve done?” the man asked.

Karma gave the man a gentle smile, “Of course,” she said.

The two of them scattered out of the building along with the crowd. They walked down the street towards the nearest bus stop, climbed on with a few other people and sat down in the back. Karma stared at Jerry for a moment.

“You value life more than you know,” she said.

“What are you?” Jerry asked.

“I’m supposed to know that?” she replied. “Really?”

Jerry didn’t reply. In a way, he resented her for existing in his world. He missed his own sordid reality, such as it was. For the most part, his mind couldn’t understand why he had been able to kill so many things, including a man or two along the way. Yet, when he looked at her, all he knew was, he couldn’t be the one to do her in. To top it off, he couldn’t let anyone else do it either.

The bus came to the last stop on the line. Jerry didn’t notice until then most of the people had already stepped off. Another uncomfortable feeling strummed his spine. He was usually aware of what went on around him. His mind kept going over and over the events in his head.

“Shit. The tracking device. C’mon. We have to get it out of you,” Jerry said.

Karma fidgeted a little with her coat when she stepped off the bus. She began to take short breaths.

“What’s wrong?” Jerry asked.

“My wings feel tight. I’m having a hard time breathing. I need to take it off,” she said.

“Not here,” Jerry said. “C’mon. This way.”

There were two levels of the park. A sidewalk encompassed the pond on the lower level. In the center of the pond was a small island with a gaggle of geese along with a few ducks tossed in the mix. Oak trees lined the sidewalk. Just near one of the banks of the pond stood a small playground with a slide, swings, merry-go-round and half a basketball court. There were a couple picnic tables scattered here and there. Another path in the center of the park lead to the second level.

Jerry looked around the park to make sure it was empty then turned to Karma, “Take the coat off now. It should be safe for a minute.”

Karma removed the coat and took a deep breath in. No longer confined, she fluttered her wings with excitement. She lifted a couple feet off the ground. The leaves on the trees began to grow right in front of him. She giggled uncontrollable joy when a bush next to her sprouted flowers. Miracles. Growth. Rebirth. All of it surrounded him. He thought back a little about his plant, Leavy. The single explanation to all he witnessed was so ridiculous it almost seemed unreasonable.

“You’re a fairy,” Jerry said. “Oh shit, the tracking device. Give me your arm.”

Karma graced the ground with ease. She walked over to Jerry and lifted her arm. With a little pressure, he felt both her arms. He found a tiny hard bump on her upper arm just above her elbow. He lifted her arm in the air and saw a small flashing light. Jerry pulled out his pocketknife. Karma yanked her arm out of his grasp.

“This has to be done. I’m sorry, but if that thing stays in your arm, you will be found,” he said, just above a whisper.

Hesitation formed on his face in every line and wrinkle, especially around his eyes. The thought of doing any cutting on such a miracle made him think of what Eric said. ‘It’s my one way ticket to hell.’

‘He’s probably right.’ Jerry thought.

She raised her arm slow, with a large amount of uncertainty of the situation. Jerry brought the knife to her skin. “Hold still,” he said.

She cried out in pain when the knife penetrated her skin. Her blood glowed against the nights twinkling sky. Jerry used the knife to maneuver the tracking device to the surface. With his thumb and first finger acting like a pair of tweezers, he pulled the tracking device out of her arm. His first instinct was to throw it on the ground and smash it; instead, he threw it into the pond. The tears on her face twinkled from her now yellow-brown eyes. Jerry tore a piece of his shirt and bandaged her arm.

Karma hugged him when it was over. Jerry felt a peace he had never felt before. He sat down on the bench and let her lay her head on his lap for a little rest. When she fell asleep, he covered her with the long white coat to keep her warm. For the first time in his life, he loved something other than himself. He felt like a father. Protective. Caring. Warm.

‘The dead man cometh, he cometh for you.’

The cold end of a gun barrel woke him up. He tapped Karma on her shoulder, when she opened her eyes; she curled up in a ball on his lap. The coat still covered her body, allowing her to hide her wings. Ten men wearing Kevlar vests, dressed in swat team uniforms surrounded the two of them. Jerry stood up, putting Karma behind him. A laser from each of the guns shined against his shirt.

‘That’s a little over kill Eric.’ Jerry thought.

Karma tugged on his shirt, “We can take ’em,” she said.

“Are you sure?” Jerry asked. He decided after the rapid growth of the plants around them last night, he wasn’t going to underestimate Karma. She seemed to have a good grasp on the way her powers worked.

Eric and Mad Max walked over to them. Both dressed in funeral attire, black suits with black shirts and a black tie. They could pass as twins...almost. Max’s hard eyes softened when he looked at Karma.

He noticed the bandage on her arm and the amount of growth she had gone through. “What did you do to her?” he asked.

“I stopped her from being killed by the likes of you,” Jerry said.

“Come on Jerry, you knew we would find out what happened,” Eric said.

Eric walked over and landed a right hook on Jerry’s face. Jerry looked at him with contempt. The same contempt he felt for most of the people of the world. He hated the way people took what they wanted without thought or reason. Of course, he had been doing the same thing by cleaning the creatures. He had been taking lives.

Karma dropped the coat, and fluttered her wings. She hovered above the ground. The world moved in slow motion. The sound of sharpening knives sounded from the end of her wings; razor blades tipped them. She twirled in the air like a ballerina, flinging the blades from her wings, hitting all her targets. The men fell to the ground. She raised one of her hands and commanded the trees. A branch wrapped itself around Eric. It held him in the air. Karma looked up at Jerry, waiting for the go-ahead.

Max fell to the ground. “She has so much power. We have to study you. It’s the only way we learn,” he said.

Enraged at the thought of anything cutting her again, Karma’s eyes turned shades of red. Weeds grew up from the ground and cocooned Max. She turned to Jerry. “I want to go home!” she yelled.

“I know baby girl. I know,” he said. Jerry looked up at Eric who was still hanging from the tree. “Put him down. He can help us.”

Karma flicked her wrist and the branch released Eric. Unharmed but shaken, he landed on the ground with a thud. He picked himself off the ground and dusted himself off.

“Look, I don’t know if I can send you home. I need Max,” Eric said.

“None of them are dead. They’re just knocked out. If I let Max go, will you send me home?” Karma asked.

“Yeah, ok. Fine,” Eric said. “I didn’t like bringing you guys over anyways. It felt wrong.”

Karma walked over to the cocoon Max was in and ran her hand along the center of it. He took a deep breath when the tangled mess released him. Eric helped him stand up. “We have to send her home,” he said to Max.

“Home? We can’t send her home. She’s too valuable to everything we’re working on here. I mean you saw what she can do and she’s only a couple months old,” Max said.

Karma fluttered her wings, and then fell to the ground. “I can’t survive here. There isn’t enough green. Do you want me to die?” she asked.

Max looked at Jerry who still stood guard by her. He could see Max thinking about all the different possibilities and angles. His eyes showed a defeated man who was about to lose the biggest discovery since electricity was made.

“No, I don’t want that,” Max said.

The cleaner, the scientist and the boss-all wrapped up in a trinity of the modern age. The cleaner never had a choice when it came to protecting her. The boss needed redemption for all he had done in the past. Perhaps in saving her life, his one-way ticket to hell would burn. The scientist, the person who had treated her like his own from the moment she was born. All of them had their reason. When they weren’t looking, Jerry took a handgun off the closest ‘swat team’ person to him. He tucked it in his jacket. Reasons or not, he didn’t trust them.

‘The dead man cometh, he cometh for you’

The four of them climbed into one of the black SUVs, Jerry and Karma climbed in the back while Eric drove and Max sat in the front passenger. The leather interior felt soft against his body. Exhausted from the last twenty-four hours, Jerry wanted to allow his being to melt into the interior, but the panic-bomb exploded again. ‘Mad Max is lying. He’s obsessed with her. He’ll never let her go.’ The single thought popped repeatedly in his head like a rope of blackjacks. He watched while Mad Max nonchalantly looked back at her in the mirror more than once. She faded off to dreamland with her head on his shoulder.

“Stop looking at her,” Jerry said.

“I just don’t get it. I was the one who held her when she was a newborn. How is it she trusts you over me?” Max asked.

“I was sent to kill her and couldn’t. You abandoned her when she needed you most. That’s how,” Jerry responded.

“Do you even understand what you have next to you?” Max asked.

“I may not understand all of it, but I know this, if we don’t send her home she dies. She isn’t suppose to be here. Look at her. She’s an innocent freethinking being from somewhere else. Now I might not get all the science behind the bridge, but I know you made a mistake. Now, you’re going to make it right.” Jerry said.

“What are you after? Redemption? Money? We can pay you more,” Mad Max said.

The single question felt like an annoying mosquito sucking the blood from his heart. He sat quiet for a second or two. The uncomfortable itch from his statement irritated his brain. He pictured cleaning Mad Max. He even liked the thought of putting the gun to his head and pulling the trigger. He wanted to splatter his grey matter. He smirked a little at the thought. ‘Splatter his matter. I’m a poet and didn’t know it.’ Jerry wiped the smirk off his face.

“I’ve killed too many creatures for you over the years. I’m not looking for blackmail, or for redemption. I just love her, that’s all,” Jerry said. “Now, stop looking at her, and get it out of your head about keeping her here.”

Max turned towards the front. His brought his hand up to his eyebrow.

The SUV pulled into the front of the Lenron building. It was an architectural structure of beauty. There was a circular drive had a large fountain with a marble statue in the shape of hands holding the world. A square hedge wrapped around the fountain and a brick path went from the center to the front doors of the building. The building itself had a terrarium attached to both sides of it. The rest of the building was made of thick mirror glass.

Twelve-foot heavy glass doors lead to Lenron’s lobby where a security guard sat at a desk. The elevators and stairwells had two guards dressed in black. Both guards had guns bulging from the suits. Mad Max and Eric walked right past the guard. Max brought his hand to his eyebrow when he looked at the guard.

“How’s it going today Mr. Pampas?” the guard asked.

“Good, we’re just going to the lab,” Mad Max said.

‘Pampas? No wonder the guy was called Mad Max.’ Jerry smirked to himself.

“Ok. Who’s the girl?” the guard asked.

“My niece. She’s visiting. I thought I would show her around the building,” Max said.

“Well, you guys have fun,” the guard replied.

The elevator dinged. Mad Max walked in first. Jerry saw the gears in his mind working. He was good at that little trick. Reading people when they don’t know it. He had to be. He was the cleaner. Max opened a panel and put a key in, then scanned his retina. The elevator went down. Jerry watched Max look at Karma again. A panic bomb went off in his mind again. ‘He isn’t used to losing.’

“Don’t do it,” Jerry said.

Eric looked at Max then to Jerry. “What’s going on?” Eric asked.

“Nothing. He wants to keep her and experiment on her. I can see it on his face,” Jerry said.

“You know, while we have a moment, I have a question. Why in hell did you let them escape? I mean really, we wouldn’t be in this mess if they hadn’t been allowed to escape,” Eric asked.

“What? Let them escape. We didn’t let them escape. They were all so much smarter then we expected. You cleaned the dog right?” Max asked Jerry.

“Yes, what of it?” Jerry asked.

“That dog, if you can call it that…had the ability to walk through walls. The woman, she was able to get into your head and control you. We didn’t let them escape. The creatures you hunted and cleaned, they aren’t hybrids of anything. That is how they were born. We took them from across the bridge. When the girl escaped, she really just vanished,” Max said.

“You told me she-” Max interrupted Eric.

“I know what you were told. I made it up. All of it. We couldn’t let people know what we’re doing here. I couldn’t let you know. You would have hated me for it. Think about what would happen if someone saw C-192,” Max said. He cupped Eric’s face as a lover would.

“She has a name. It’s Karma,” Jerry said.

“Karma, fitting name. We may all pay for it before time takes us,” Max said.

“Why did you bring them here? Why not study them in their own environment?” Jerry asked.

“The cost of keeping the bridge open was too high. This was the compromise we made in order to learn all we could. It wasn’t my choice, believe me,” Max said.

Karma fluttered her wings in excitement. “We’re almost there. I’m going home,” she beamed.

‘The dead man cometh, he cometh for you.’

The elevator came to a stop. Max stuck his badge and a key into a separate compartment causing the elevator to move sideways. Jerry’s eyes widened at the feel of it. “Elevators aren’t suppose to do that. Where are we?” Jerry asked.

“We’re heading to the bridge. The elevator is part of the bridge. We needed a way to keep people safe while they crossed it. The elevator will open to the other dimension like it would any other floor. We also needed to disguise it until the patent went through. It’s the only one of its kind. Due to the size of the span between the two worlds should a person leave the elevator mid trip, their molecules would be spread across several light years,” Max said. “A special plating lines the panels. We had it designed to withstand the heat and cold along with the pressure created by spanning the bridge it’s the lightest stuff we’ve ever made we call it Impervium ,”

He beamed with pride while he talked about the ingenious way the elevator worked. Max brought his hand to his eyebrow again when he looked at Karma. The panic bomb crackled louder in Jerry’s mind.

‘The dead man cometh, he cometh for you.’

The elevator’s quick stop jolted the four of them forward when Max pressed the emergency stop button. Karma fluttered her wings; she hovered above the rest of them. Leaning against the wall, Max pressed an emergency hatch button. Jerry pulled out the gun he had hidden in his jacket. Eric punched Jerry in the face. Max lunged at him, he pinned him against the door. Karma kicked Max in the face making him hit the floor. Her wings slowed down bringing her down to the elevator floor. Eric still tried to wrestle the gun from Jerry who brought his empty fist down on his jaw more than once. Eric let go of Jerry’s wrist. Tripping over Karma’s foot, Max lunged towards Jerry and missed. His body fell out of the elevator. Jerry looked outside to see a black wasteland of nothing out the elevator. Eric tried again to take the gun from Jerry. Without warning, the gun went off. The bullet ricocheted off the elevator wall and grazed Karma. She let out a shriek of pain. The distraction of Karma’s shriek gave Jerry enough time to knock him out with the gun but.

He rushed to Karma’s side. The cut from the bullet wasn’t deep, but it hit the right spot. Her glowing blue blood spurted out of her body. Jerry took off his coat and shirt. He wrapped the wound in his shirt and tightened his belt around it. “Apply the pressure by pulling on the belt here. Will you be ok if I get you to your home?” Jerry asked.

In a weak voice she replied, “I want to go home.”

“Ok baby girl, we’re going,” he said.

Jerry took a deep breath to hold the tears back from the fear. He picked her up off the floor and pushed the button on the elevator. The elevator doors opened to a beautiful live painting. A soft hue of light shined in the distance. Trees covered the landscape. Flower petals flowed through the air like rain from the sky. Thunder followed a herd of wild stallions racing across the turquoise sky. It really was a gateway into heaven, or at least how Jerry pictured heaven. “Look Karma, you’re home,” he said in a weak voice.

Jerry stepped out of the elevator with her frail body in his arms. The elevator door closed behind them and disappeared. The air in Jerry’s chest felt heavy and wet. He heard water flow somewhere to the right. He needed to clean her wound. He walked as fast as he could to the water, but his legs felt heavy.

With tears streaming down his face, he fell to his knees upon reaching the water. Jerry’s mind swirled in circles. His strength failed him with every breath. He pulled a leaf from a plant and filled it with water then put it to her mouth. When she didn’t open her mouth for it, he cried.

“God, I’m so sorry. Please help me save her. She should never have been taken from this place,” Jerry cried.

The silent echoes of his tears falling to the ground called to the land around him. A whimsical rainbow colored bird called causing a bright blinding light to float up from the river. When the light faded, a seahorse waded in the water next to them. The animal looked at Jerry’s heart then to the small frail girl he held in his arms. The seahorse brought its head down on Karma’s wound, healing it. She opened her eyes, and smiled at the gentle creature. For the first time in his life, tears of joy touched his heart. He loved the little girl as if she was his daughter.

A foreign sound made the seahorse scurry back into the water from where it came. It was the all too familiar sound of the elevator. The elevator ding rang for miles. Jerry covered Karma with some loose brush and put his finger to his mouth in a sh-shing motion. Once again, she was in danger from those in his world who thought it was better to take- damn the consequences.

Jerry pulled the gun out of his coat pocket once again. Staying low to the ground, he crawled through the foreign dirt towards the elevator. Eric stood at the entrance to the world he had only heard about. He fell to his knees in awe and wander.

“Jerry, can you hear me?” Eric said. “We have to destroy the bridge. If we don’t, this place will be strip mined for all its resources. The thing is, I can’t do it alone,” Eric said.

Jerry’s mind felt dizzy. There wasn’t enough oxygen in the air for his body to function properly. “How do I know I can trust you?” Jerry said.

His voice slurred when he spoke. Gun in hand, Jerry staggered towards Eric. The gun felt heavier in his hand, so much so, he had a hard time lifting his arm. Eric held his hands in the air. “I don’t want a one way ticket to hell. I’m lucky to have had a ticket to the show,” Eric said.

“I have to tell Karma,” Jerry said.

He turned back towards the river where he left her lying under a bit of brush. In his heart, he knew he couldn’t stay. He leaned in and kissed her on the forehead. “I have to go. You’re going to be ok. I have to go back and make sure no one comes here again,” Jerry said.

His heart heavy, Jerry, in a dizzy state made his way back to Eric. Together, they walked into the elevator and pressed the button. Eric turned the key Max left in the panel. The air in the elevator leveled out when the elevator doors shut. Jerry felt his mind begin to return. He turned to Eric, “How are we going to destroy the bridge?” he asked.

“There’s a fail-safe code. Max and I are the only people who have it. It has always been my job to make sure our world was kept safe from what Lenron was up to. I wasn’t privy to all of the science, but my job required knowing that,” Eric said.

Eric turned the key on the panel causing the elevator to stop at the computer lab. Jerry walked into a fantasyland for scientist. The transparent touch computer screens hovered above the glass desks with art deco chairs. The floor was a single white sheet of marble. Along the walls were inlays of small workstations. Jerry put his hand in one of the holes. His hand, covered by a shield, could feel all the items he touched. He had never heard of, let alone seen anything like it in the world.

“How long did it take to build this place?” Jerry asked.

“Twenty years, give or take. I planned each section with meticulous precision.” Eric said.

“You…planned?” Jerry asked.

“Eric Lenron. Owner of the Lenron Corporation. I’m surprised you didn’t put it together sooner,” Eric said.

He put his hand on the main wall panel. The wall opened up. Eric stepped in. Jerry watched him, curious about what was about to happen. “What are you doing?” Jerry asked.

“The code requires a person to stand here and enter different sections of it at different points,” he said.

Jerry was a forgettable man. He knew this. He liked it, even relished in it. All the killing and all the blood on his hands made this a necessary way to live his life. The words Karma spoke on the bus echoed in his mind.

‘You value life, don’t you?’ She had said. In fact, he didn’t…not until she came along. She touched his heart in a way no other being, person or otherwise had. She changed him, made him whole and now she was too far away to watch over. He loved her like a daughter. The thought of being alone again was just too much.

‘The dead man cometh, he cometh for you.’

“He cometh for me,” Jerry said.

“What was that?” Eric asked.

“I’m staying here. I deserve to blow up with the rest of this place,” Jerry said.

“I know you do,” Eric said.

He raised a gun towards Jerry. “Did you really think I would blow this place up? It’s taken me 20 years to build this place. Look around! We have things here no one else has. There are patents still pending on most the shit in this place. I had to get you back here to this world. I need you to pay for killing Max. Mad Max was my friend. He was my lover and he was the one with all the brains of this operation,” Eric said.

Jerry didn’t dive down to miss the bullet. He took it in the stomach the way he thought he should. He pulled his gun out of his coat again. “You didn’t think I still had this, did you?” Jerry asked.

He lifted the gun at Eric and fired. The shot bounced around his brain before he knew what hit him. Eric fell to the floor. Jerry fought to get off the floor. Blood oozed out of his stomach. Jerry mused at his end; fitting really, that his life would end with a bullet. He was a cleaner. Exasperated, he made his way to the panel. A panel in the shape of a hand was labeled, “Self destruct.” He dragged Eric’s body to the panel and placed his hand on it. Alarms sounded and red lights went off.

“This building will self destruct in 1 minute,” the computer voice sounded.

Jerry lay on the floor, waiting for death to take him. He pictured his life. Regret filled all of it except the last couple of days. He thought about Karma. How surprised he was when she sprouted wings. He pictured her smile-how her laughter filled the air. He thought about how happy she was when she was almost home. She was the one good thing he had done in his life…the only good thing. Jerry was a common man who drove a beige Volvo. He wasn’t special in any way. In fact, most forget about him two seconds after they meet him. He would be remembered by one single fairy whose life and world he saved.

“The dead man cometh, he cometh for me,” Jerry said just when the building exploded.

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