Would you make a pact with the devil!

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One of my short stories in my book Flight of Destiny is called “The pact” it is about a desperate man, whose wife is dying, who is forced into making a pact with the devil.

History is littered with people who have taken this dramatic step.

There is even a Pope, namely Pope Sylvester II, who seemingly was way ahead of his time, and of high intellect. This French pope is credited with inventing the hydraulic organ, pendulum clock, and introducing Arabic numerals to Western Europe, on top of this he also wrote books on mathematics, natural science, music, theology and philosophy. Due to his incredible intelligence, highly tuned scientific mind,  and ingenuity  people suspected he had made a pact with the devil. He is not the only senior church figure to turn to the devil. Saint Theophilus the Penitent turned to the devil to make a deal, in order to gain a high ecclesiastical position. The contract signed in his own blood proved to be a heavy burden for Theophilus. German alchemist Faust also  is supposed to have made a pact with the devil, in order to pursue his “boundless desire for knowledge” for the next 24 years.

It seems a recurrent theme that if you are highly talented, it seems there is the possibility you have formed a pact with devil, this was the case of virtuoso violin musician Nicolo Paganini. His great virtuoso performances led people to believe he had formed a pact with the devil, and that it was the devil who was aiding him during the course of his performances. He was  refused the last rites,  and it took a while before he was finally laid to rest.  Paganini was not the only violinist to come under the microscope. It seems to be an Italian thing, Giuseppe Tartini, claimed that he dreamed that The Devil appeared to him and asked to be his servant, not only this, the devil composed piece for him, which Tartini transcribed when he awoke.  The devil is also accredited for turning Robert Johnson  a noted American blues artist into a genius. Rather than quash rumors he encouraged them.  There are quite a lot of modern day musicans who it is claimed have a made a pact with the prince of darkness, Bob Dylan, Jay-Z? Led Zeppelin, to name but a few.

Below is an exert from Flight of Destiny as Jarret encounters a man who says he can save his sick wife and unborn baby and Jarret is forced into making a pact with the devil.

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Suddenly, he became aware his was not alone. A well dressed

man with shiny patent leather shoes was walking purposefully

towards him, as if he had something important to say.

“Jarret Lamb?” the dapper man asked in a sweetly scintillating

voice, pausing before the distraught Jarret.

Jarret froze, astonishment momentarily replacing pain.

“I can see you’ve a lot on your mind just now,” the man said

calmly, examining Jarret minutely in profile.

Jarret eyed him suspiciously, not knowing what to say.

“It’s your wife and child, isn’t it? They’re in mortal danger,”

declared the man.

“And how could you possibly know that?” demanded Jarret,

stunned.

“I just know,” the man replied matter-of-factly. “And, what’s

more, I can help.” The man’s eyes had a chillingly hypnotic draw, as

did the mesmeric tone of his voice. The man’s clothes, posture and

demeanor echoed confidence. He also emitted an enchanting aroma,

rather like an orchard of ripe fruit trees.

“How?” faltered Jarret.

“Your wife and child will survive,” avowed the man, resting a

hand gently on Jarret’s shoulder, like a father might when consoling a

son. Then his voice dropped and took on a more cautionary tone. “But

only if you do something for me in return.”

“And what exactly might that be?” asked Jarret confused, but

desperate for any shred of hope.

“You need only shake my hand, and everything will be righted. In

a few days you will receive a letter with instructions. In exchange for

your wife and child’s lives, you must carry out the instructions exactly

as written.” The man’s voice lowered to a rasping whisper. “You have

no alternative, really.”

“I see,” replied Jarret. Though trembling, his heart racing, he

couldn’t help but think, What do I have to lose? This man is probably

just a lunatic, but regardless, he’s seems more purposeful and sincere

than the doctors, who’ve thus far offered no concrete solutions or hope.

Crazy or not, he’s all I have at the moment. Jarret shrugged his

shoulders and slowly offered the man his hand. The man’s hand felt

strangely cool, and Jarret felt an icy-cold electric spark jump from the

man to him as they shook.

“There. Done and agreed,” said the man with a sense of agreeable

formality, like some of the businessmen Jarret dealt with at work.

“Now finish your walk, and return to your wife and child.”

Part of a Halloween holiday  blog hop, read other articles by writers and bloggers.

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Bizarre happenings on Halloween

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When children tuck in to their Halloween candies, they might get more than they bargain for. Ronald O’Bryan had his own distorted vision of Halloween when he laced Trick or treat sweets with cyanide.

Kevin Toston a five year old also met a tragic end when he took his uncle’s heroin stash to  be sweeties. The family later tried to cover up the crime to protect the uncle, sprinkling heroin over sweeties. Drugs creep their way into Halloween sweets, a twenty three year old Mancuria  gave out packets of cocaine to children instead of sweets – despite the fact he didn’t hide it in any sweets, and police said he’d given the items “in error.”

If you get a sudden doorbell ring late into the night, think twice before you open the door.   Peter Fabiano was just about to go to bed, when the doorbell rang.  Grabbing some candy he went to accost his late night visitor,  only to find on his doorstep, not a child  enacting trick or treat, but a grown up porting a cheap mask.  On top of this the late night visitor was carrying a gun, concealed in a paper bag, pointing at his chest.  Once the late nigh visitor had slain Peter, she sped off.  The police at first were mystified by this “senseless murder” .

Peter who worked as a hairdresser was hardly the type to have enemies who would want to see to his demise.  They unearthed an ex-employee, namely Joan Rabel, aided by an anonymous caller they discovered the gun used to shoot Peter.  The locker was rented however by Goldyne Pizer,  who happened to be Ravel’s lover. Rabel twisted the mind of Pizer with stories about how Fabiano abused his wife.  It was Pizer who arrived and just about managed to fire the bullet that was to end Fabiano’s life.  In reality Rabel’s motive was to rid Betty Fabiano of her husband, because she herself was Betty Fabiano’s lover. In the consequential trial followed Rabel pleaded not guilty, and Pizer pleaded insanity.

An important part of Halloween is the decorations. It is true that Halloween has become very commercial. So imagine if you are driving in your car and see a woman hanging, the chances are you would simply deem it to be just another decoration.  Four days before Halloween in Frederica Delaware, there was a woman dangling 4.5 meters directly above the road.  When somebody realized this body was real and not some morbid decoration, the police were called to the scene. Sadly it turned out to be a 42 year old woman who took her own life.

In Ohio there was a similar occurrence, again it took a while before people dared to  verify whether they were looking at a genuine corpse.

Part of a Halloween holiday  blog hop, read other articles by writers and bloggers.

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Out of the Dark Claire Riley

Out of the Dark full wrap

‘Out of the Dark ’

We are temporary. Finite.

The choices we’ve made, the people we have loved. Who we used to be no longer matters.

Because now it is all about the ending. And the ending always comes too soon.

There’s fear in the dark. And behind every drop of light, the shadows creep and the darkness comes in the form of clawing, red-eyed monsters. They hunt us—stalk us…they are desperate to destroy us.

But I have a reason to fight the darkness and everything in it. A small glimpse of light that lives within my golden-haired daughter, Lilly. She is my strength. She is my everything.

Every life is an untold story, each scene unfolding until the final act. But our ending has yet to be written, and I will continue to protect us, until I can not.

Add it to your bookshelves here –> http://bit.ly/1Sd6pE4

Review quotes:

 Riley delivers a story that is equal parts thrilling and breathtaking. It beautifully illustrates the lengths we go to survive and what it means to love when we’ve lost everything.

NYT & USA Today bestselling Author A. Meredith Walters

 

Riley’s ‘Out of the Dark’ holds a special place in my heart. Before I’d devoured it, I’d never read a book that so beautifully and eloquently captured the distressing, aching love a mother holds for her child. It is built into the heart strings of a woman, natural and uncontainable. It goes past biological and into spiritual.

In her most unique and mysterious way, Riley has given us a transcendent picture of love in the midst of a terrifying climate. She has shown us what it means to choose your family, that it is a matter of honor and earning and not a matter of a blood bond and obligation. I am honored to have read this book pre-release and I know it will stick to me like honey, nearly glued onto the fabric of who I am as a human being.

Speculative fiction author – Eli Constant

 

A beautifully written story that makes you realize that you should always have hope, even in the most desperate of circumstances. It will tug at your heart strings, until by the end, there isn’t a dry eye in the house.

Goodreads & Amazon reviewer

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Claire C. Riley is a USA Today and International bestselling author. She is also a bestselling British horror writer and an Amazon top 100 bestseller.

Her work is best described as the modernization of classic, old-school horror. She fuses multi-genre elements to develop storylines that pay homage to cult classics while still feeling fresh and cutting edge. She writes characters that are realistic, and kills them without mercy. Claire lives in the United Kingdom with her husband, three daughters, and one scruffy dog.

 

Author of:

 Odium The Dead Saga Series (3 books),

Odium Origins Series (3 books),

Limerence (The Obsession Series) (2 books),

Thicker than Blood series (2 books),

& Shut Up & Kiss me,

Plus much more.

 

Contact Links:

 

www.clairecriley.com

www.facebook.com/ClaireCRileyAuthor

http://amzn.to/1GDpF3I

 

‘She writes characters that are realistic and then kills them without mercy’ – Eli Constant author of Z-Children, Dead Trees, Mastic and much more.

Out of the Dark front cover

D is for death and the afterlife.

D Finished

 

What happens after we pass over to the other side? It is a question that dogs us as soon as we become conscious of what death  is all about.  Of course points of view on this subject are colored  by  the religion that a person follows.   It is a commonly banded about  idea that some Muslims  believe  they are promised 72 virgins,  upon entry to paradise,  particularly those who fight in the way of Allah.

What do Catholics believe? At the moment of death, the soul is separated from the body and no longer sustains order within the natural body; as a result, the body begins to corrupt and left to its own will decompose. The soul, however, is immortal and never ceases to exist, once created. Immediately upon death, the soul of each person is judged by the Lord, either to eternal life or the damnation of hell.

There must be many permutations depending on which religion a person follows. Buddhists give two permutations,  If you still have unresolved kamma (Sanskrit: karma), if the conditions for rebirth are present, “you” are reborn. Alternatively If you have achieved nibbana (Sanskrit: nirvana) during your life, you will have no more kamma, and so the conditions for the creation of the five clinging-aggregates will no longer be present. Consciousness will cease, activity in your brain will cease, and your body will decay. Meaning you will die, and that’s your lot.

The Buddhist  version of life after death,  seems to not only be more appealing than the threat of damnation in Hell  but also seems to  be more logical, as well giving a meaning to life, in that through a life we learn and develop until we reach the point whereby it is unnecessary to learn any more.

From my point of view it is only when we all finally embrace death itself  will this vexing question about what happens after death will finally be answered.  There are those who have recently had their quest  to answer this  question satisfied.  David Bowie is no longer with us, having succumbed to cancer.  He was the type of man a person might imagine could live forever, he was such a part of my life as surely he was for many others.  Is he now in some other dimension  working on celestial music? Has he been interacting with other departed souls,  other geniuses,  departed family  members of the Jones family  (Jones was his real family name).

In my book Flight of Destiny, I present an image of both Heaven and Hell. In my story cast from Hell,  a man is rejected by Hell (for being too good)  and is sent back in the guise of a woman to wreak havoc.  This is his take on Hell.

As you can tell, my expectations of hell were quickly dashed.It was far removed from William Blake’s famed illustrations of Dante’s Inferno, and it didn’t even remotely resemble a Brueghel painting.To my surprise, there was no evidence in Hell of people being  grievously punished. The slothful were not being goaded with burning coals. The gluttons were not being tormented with thirst and hunger.There were no hedonists being bathed in burning pitch and stinking brimstone, or envious individuals howling with grief over that which they could never possess. The proud were not being brought down.The covetous were not being denied. In fact, the damned seemed to be living in a modicum of comfort. I never detected any weeping, wailing or gnashing of teeth. The place, called by some gehenna, the bottomless pit, was admittedly no holiday camp, but things there had grown shoddy and dysfunctional. It would require major rehabilitation to scare even a child. Being lodged with fellow rejects was sobering experience, not unlike being in a holding center for suspected criminals, refugees or illegal immigrants.

This is his take on Heaven.

I took a last look survey of Hell. It looked like a vast airport terminal: vacuous, tedious, and hum-drum. By now I couldn’t wait to leave. By contrast, I have often tried to imagine Heaven. To me it would be one long party in a great vivant night club, not unlike this second life to which I was now looking forward to I closed my inner eye as instructed and waited while Charon transported me to earth’s dimension.

What happens after death, is the ultimate, unanswerable question.

Francis H Powell is a writer. His recently published book is Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories.

http://theflightofdestiny.yolasite.com/

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How Christmas features in Flight of Destiny

Little Mite 2014

Christmas features briefly in one of my short stories. However it offers a poignant end to “Little Mite”. Little Mite  is a young girl, who has done a very wicked thing and is being punished. The story starts off with a lawn lunch party. Little Mite’s sister is to marry the man of her dreams. Both set of families are meeting to organize what will be a lavish wedding. Little Mite however intercedes, taking the younger brother of the future groom to her father’s carpentry shed, then gluing his hand to a coffee table. She then lashes him with stinging nettles.

Here is an exert…

Carpentry was her father’s passion. He loved the feel of the
different kinds of wood, and whenever he got the chance, enjoyed
working the various woods into useful furniture, which, when
complete, were placed in conspicuous places of honor around the
house.

Little Mite called out Jed’s name in a luring sing-song voice, and
he shuffled nervously closer to her, not knowing what to expect. “Give
me your hand again,” she commanded.
Jed was unsure whether to do so. Still, he’d enjoyed the feeling of
her soft hand in his while running together from the lawn party to the
shed. She was the first girl who had ever really shown interest in him.
Though he continued vacillating between obeying this intoxicating girl
and running to his family, he finally gave in to her and bashfully
extended his hand.

The moment he did, Little Mite grabbed it and slapped it into the
middle of the glue, holding his hand there with all her might with both
her hands.

Jed, shocked by the abruptness and the unexpectedness of the act,
stood paralyzed, mouth open, staring at his hand while the glue
quickly hardened. By the time he’d gathered back his wits, protested,
and attempted to withdraw his hand, it was too late. After a hopeless
struggle, he resigned himself to waiting to see what the little vixen had
further in mind.

When the young girl’s gaffe comes to light, the wedding is soon thrown into turmoil. The young future groom soon turns his attention to an old flame, having been put off marrying a Dashville, following Mitzi Dashville’s prank. Her older sister is bitter towards her younger sister for destroying her dream of marrying Connor Johnson.

Little Mite is punished, but vows to win back her parent’s favor. This is where Christmas comes in. The Dashvilles, less Little Mite, who is grounded go to buy their Christmas presents.

Later that year, at Christmas, when the whole event should have
finally passed into ignominy, Hannah and her parents left for town to
do some last-minute shopping, leaving Little Mite behind. To Little
Mite it all seemed so unfair, but then, she was still grounded.
The time alone got her to thinking. She went downstairs and
opened the family dressing up box, tossing clothes all over the place,
until she found a bright and colorful dress from her mother’s short-lived
hippie days (her father had often ribbed her mother about it,
saying it resembled a clown outfit more than a dress). Slipping into it,
she looked in the mirror. It made her look totally ridiculous. Her plan
wasn’t her best or most original, but without a better idea, she decided
she to hide in her parent’s upstairs clothes closet, and, when they came
home and couldn’t find her, she would jump out and surprise them.

When her parents return, Little Mite’s prank goes horribly wrong…Little Mite’s parents believe they are victims of a burglary. However her older sister knows that the ongoing situation has all the hallmarks of a Little Mite prank and sees a gaping opportunity of gaining revenge on her sister…

 

A short story for Christmas, “Angel Child”

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Angel child
I had been woken up, by the sound of wailing. Such sorrow. emanating from next door. It was my neighbor I presumed. The sound of such melancholy prevailed in my head, relentlessly. I had only seen my neighbor from afar, she was a blurred image of beauty and turbulence. Added to this terrible noise, I began to be aware of smell of burning wafting into my room. I bolted upright. I wrestled with putting on some clothes. I frantically banged on my neighbors door. With all my force I kicked open the door. I was confronted with a thick blanket of smoke. I wrapped my shirt around my face, as a meager form of protection. The sound of hysterical crying was coming from behind another door. I foolishly tried to open this door. I reeled in agony on contact with the door handle, my hand severely burnt. I managed to catch the vague sight of a figure in white, consumed in thick white smoke. The wailing sound was curtailed and tranquility prevailed. Defeated by the smoke, I left the apartment. I took time to compose myself. There was a mounting sorrow welling up, at failing to save this woman, as well as a sense of urgency to alert others of the urgency of the situation. “Fire” I screamed in a hoarse fraught voice. I heard a few doors opening, a few exasperated sighs. An old woman shuffled out of her apartment, looking dazed and confused. As the realization of the situation began to take hold. parents desperately ushered their bleary eyed children towards the stairs. Panic started to grip the building. I grabbed a bag from my apartment.

The stairwell was starting to get clogged up, with families frantically trying to get out of the building. I heard a voice. It might have been telepathic, a voice in my head, it was ticklish and soft, the voice of a child. “Water” the voice said in this temperate tone. I turned round. The child was dressed in blindingly white dress. Her hair was curled and blond, her eyes sparkling blue azure. For a moment the excruciating pain of my hand disappeared. I reached into my bag. I happened to always carry a bottle of water. It was probably a few days old. It didn’t matter, she let out this delicious smile and cupped the bottle in her gentle hands. “Where are your parents”? I demanded. She looked like a child that was on her own, forgotten by the rest of the world, on her own in this time of need. She didn’t answer, her face remained inanimate and serene. Suddenly I was jerked forward. A large man with a ruddy face, snorting, jostling to make it down the steps. “We want to get out of here mister,” he bellowed. His wife nodded in accord, reinforcing his statement. They both looked dehumanized, their faces white and severe, crazed looking. A melee of other people swept me further forward. The child was lost from my vision, but not from my thoughts.

Fire fighters were on the scene. A man with a hose trying to make his way in the opposite direction of the crowd. “Let me through” he shouted in gruff officious voice, to the residents so intent on getting out. I reached outside. The cold night air hit my face. The street was awash with activity, parents huddled closely to their children. I searched intently for the young girl, but she was nowhere to be seen and nobody knew of her whereabouts or indeed who she was. I was shepherded into an ambulance. My time in hospital was long and arduous, my hand injury horrific, my hand now horribly disfigured. The pain was significant, coupled with the fact that in a matter of days I was due to get married. My future wife was away, visiting some relations. She was now due to marry a man with a grotesque looking hand. How she would react? This would surely test our love. My moment of attempted heroics or perhaps folly had meant
my hand would never be fully functional, even withstanding many operations and physiotherapy, the doctor had painted, such a gloomy picture. As I was making my way home, I was fearful and indeed despondent. I had been pumped with drugs to alleviate the pain. I had no inclinations about what I would find when I finally got home. The building seemed to be back to normality. People sleeping soundly, after their broken sleep. I trudged upstairs. My neighbors door had been boarded up. There was a distinct smell of smoke, but the fire had been put out abruptly and proficiently.

I went into my apartment, managed to take off my clothes, with my one able hand, wincing with the occasional shots of pain. I finally put my weary head down. After a short while, I was drifting off asleep. When I woke up, my mind was filled with images of the previous night. It was the face of the young girl, that dominated. My phone rang, it was my fiancé, I had almost obliterated her from my mind, less thoughts of my disfigured hand, and how she would react. She spoke with great enthusiasm, up to the point, she detected, there was a big problem my end. Her voice dropped. “What’s the matter”? she demanded. I had to explain all the events of the previous night. “Oh my God” she spluttered. I explained that my hand was now bandaged up and was not in a good condition. She had cooed at my attempts of rescuing my neighbor, heralding my bravery, but mention of my hand had taken the shine off the conversation. Walking down the aisle, to a man with a bandaged hand, on what was to be the greatest day in her life, had limited appeal. “Won’t it heal” she asked in a displeased voice. “I am afraid not” I said philosophically, with a voice of stark resignation. I put the phone down feeling somewhat let down. The wedding seemed of weightier importance, to the fact that I had a horrifically burnt hand. I called work to say I would not be in, explaining the severity of my injury.

I then drifted in and out of an uneasy sleep. I woke up finally to the sound of muffled voices. As slowly came round, my interest mounted. It was apparent that the conversation was between a fire officer and a policeman. I managed to get some clothes on, withstanding some pain. I opened my door. “I am her neighbor” I said. “Her neighbor” muttered the policeman incredulously, lifting an eyebrow. “The woman who died, I was her neighbor”. “We found no body” said the fire fighter, with a flippant voice. “What are you saying” I demanded, “I saw her in the smoke, I tried to rescue her.” The two men laughed mockingly. “This apartment has been empty and derelict for years, there was a small fire, but nothing too significant, probably some old wiring, our boys had things under control in no time.” I felt indignant , as well as confused. “So you found no body”, I reiterated in desperation. The Policeman, who had a huge snout of a nose, and a derogatory demeanor, ridiculed “what a dark mind you have. sir” He followed his comment with a scornful laugh, which was accompanied by the fire fighter, whose face was lit up with mirth. It was like the two were in collusion, undermining anything I said,

I returned to my apartment, slamming my door with venom. After a while the voices from outside, drifted away. The two men sauntered down the long flight of stairs, still ridiculing, sardonic cackles interspersed. I felt angry. I spent the day recovering and trying to take my mind off the pain of my hand. I asked some of the other residents, if they knew of the young girl. Nobody seemed to know anything, I was met with blank looks. Even though I tried to give as full a description, as I could, I got nowhere. Nobody equally told me anything of the apartment and my “neighbor”. “The apartments been empty for as long as I can remember” said one old lady. “But I saw this woman on a number of occasions, just through the door” I protested, “I saw her last night.”. The old woman moved shakily away, muttering, probably deeming I was insane and deluded. I watched some mindless television, but my mind was too agitated, to digest anything. I tried to sleep, it was impossible. I had curiosity dictating my thoughts, never relinquishing. I got up, almost mechanically, unsure what I was about to do. The answers to this mystery, lay next door. I slung on some clothes and went out of my apartment. Momentarily I looked at the apartment, that had a notice “Police notice keep out”. As with my folly of the previous night, I decided to make a bold move. I re-entered my apartment and picked up a crowbar. With my one decent working hand, I managed to prize open the door.

The apartment seemed empty, cold and vapid. I held my arms close to my chest and shivered. I felt like an intruder. I began to question my own actions. What I wondered had led me to break in to this latent
apartment, which seemingly had nothing for me. I was about to turn on my heals, when I felt a presence.
She appeared so suddenly and deftly . She looked miniscule in the vastness of the apartment. She glided towards me, she had a blithe look on her face. She was wearing the same immaculate white dress. She did not speak, I would not have expected her to, her face expressed it all. I pitifully tried to communicate with her. “What’s your name” I asked in a soft voice, worried I might alarm her. She looked right through me. A smile reached her face and she seemed to enact a dance movement, she twirled and then giggled, her arms cutting an arc shape through the air. Any question I asked was met with total insouciance and disregard. Her dancing became emphatic, she began to circle me, dancing round and around, to the point where I began to be mesmerized. My legs began to give way. I was blinded, a bright light seemed to illuminate the room. I was now a crumpled heap on the floor, my body immobilized. Something miraculous was happening and I was the beneficiary of this magic.
The young girl lent over me and unraveled the bandage on my hand. I did not protest. She was so gentle, and proficient in the way she went about things. She was still smiling and joyful. Once the bandage had been unraveled, she held my hand. There was no pain however. Indeed any pain I’d had previously was now alleviated. I drifted off and went into a deep sleep. When I came round I was alone. I felt a bit groggy, but as the grogginess began to wane, it became apparent a big change had happened.

My hand was as it was before the fire, perfect without a single blemish. I gave the apartment a closer inspection. It was now back to this imposing emptiness, the child having disappeared. There seemed nothing of value. Under a dense film of dust on the mantelpiece, there was a photograph. It had faded in time, but the resemblance was most apparent. The photograph was of a young woman, it was obviously the young child, some years on., having matured as an adult There was still the discernible beauty , but there was also some sadness engrained in her face. The young child was joyful and optimistic, the adult version, tainted by angst. I had encountered the optimistic one. Something significant had taken place, in her life, the bright glowing child had been lost to the world, or had it? It seemed like the glowing child had the capacity to rematerialize.

I took the photograph and went back to my apartment. I took stock of events, made some telling decisions. I put my impending marriage into perspective. I came to the decision I could not commit to a marriage, where I as unsure I would be loved. My confidence in the union had been broken, her love for me superficial, her reaction to my disfigured hand, had proved as much. I was cowardly in the way I broke the news. The fact that my hands were both in a perfect state, also besmirched me further. I skirted around all explanations, I would never have been believed anyway. I had left my now ex-fiancé weeping, great sobs, her head in her hands. I felt terrible, maybe there had been some love between us, I had underestimated her. I lived in almost solitude. I was trapped, unable to think beyond those events and the angel child, as I had named her.

What had happened previously in the apartment, was hidden in a veil of secrecy and I imagined deceit, none of the residents would let me in on the secret. I even had to question myself about the events of the fire and the days that followed. After all my hand was now in a perfect condition, with burns or marks to show, evidence that I had entered a burning apartment. I had no name, just images in my mind, images that would diminish in time. The residents of the building ostracized me for daring to question them, to probe into the deep mystery of what had passed in the apartment next to mine. There would never be any explanation, my mind would be in darkness.

A few years on and with the value of local property escalating, the boarding around the door were taken away. Some property developer, had purchased the property and was investing money into it. In time so doubt rich owners were installed. They seemed friendly enough. One day the door to the apartment, was slightly ajar. I was sure I could make out the image of a young girl with a mop of thick curly blonde hair dancing with a scintillating smile of contentment, on her angelic face, it must be the angel child, but then again…

 

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Francis H Powell, author of Flight of Destiny, 22 quirky short stories…

I enjoyed these tales as they gave me a fantastic break from my daily routine and I enjoyed remembering them and day dreaming about them afterwards. They’re a little Ray Bradbury, a little Stephen King, but with Powell’s own unique twists. Very interesting read.

 

 

 

 

What you wouldn’t want for Christmas.

raleghexecute

 

What you wouldn’t want for Christmas.

I was doing some research on an explorer, adventurer, favorite courtier of Elizabeth 1 , poet, amongst other things, Sir Walter Raleigh, a man known to many British children who have studied the basics of British History, when I unearthed an interesting fact concerning what happened to the executed Sir Walter’s head, following its encounter with an axe.

Sir Walter who discovered and brought back tobacco and the potato, was implicated as a foe of King James I and imprisoned with a death sentence hanging over him. He was later freed and was sent on another expedition, which ended in failure.

At his execution in 1618 in the Tower of London, Sir Walter Raleigh asked to see the axe that was to behead him and said, “This is a sharp Medicine, but it is a Physician for all Diseases.” This leads us to think he still had a bit of a sense of humor, despite the fact that he was about to shortly parted from this world. It took the executioner two blows to remove his head, and then after it had been displayed to the crowd that had assembled for the event, it was placed in a red bag, covered with velvet, and presented to his wife. Imagine getting a knock on the door and then someone hands over the head of your dead husband. Apparently it was the custom that the head of the person executed would be presented to the widower.

Most people would freak out, however Lady Raleigh, once Elizabeth Throckmorton, lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, retained her love her doomed husband, never remarried, and somewhat bizarrely kept her husband’s head with her until the day she died, she lived to her eighties no less. She had his head embalmed and kept it by her side for the 29 years she outlived him. According to some stories, she kept the head in a glass case in her home, and curiosity seekers and family friends alike would travel to visit and pay their respects to the head.
Once she passed away, like mother like son, the head passed on to their son, Carew. That son continued the tradition of keeping the embalmed head, and when he passed away, the head was buried with him in Surrey.

 

 

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Francis H Powell, author of Flight of Destiny, 22 quirky short stories…

I enjoyed these tales as they gave me a fantastic break from my daily routine and I enjoyed remembering them and day dreaming about them afterwards. They’re a little Ray Bradbury, a little Stephen King, but with Powell’s own unique twists. Very interesting read.