The Cursed Wolf (Chapter 12)

Chapter 12

David let the hot water cascade over his body. He watched the shampoo and soap mix with the reddish-brown water as it all swirled down the drain. He wracked his brain trying to remember where he had been tonight. His last clear memory was of Sky. They’d had dinner and then they went to the park and then… what? Had he hurt Sky? He couldn’t remember. Texting Sky would be the first thing he did when he was out of the shower.

Three nights, three blackouts, and three times waking up covered in blood. Matt’s idea was ridiculous and impossible, but it was also the idea that ran through his own head. Skylar told him not to think that until all other possibilities were ruled out. It looked like that time was now. A werewolf. Was it too late to convince Matt that he was just trying to fit his own nightmares into David’s reality? How much did Matt know? He’d have to have a long talk with Matt when he got out of the shower. He just couldn’t have that conversation standing there naked and covered in blood.

David stepped out of the shower and toweled himself dry. He slipped on a pair of sweats and went back into his room to talk to his brother.

—————————————————————————

As soon as David closed the door, Matt leaped to his feet. “David, you have to listen to me. I never told Brad that the wolf in my dream had blue eyes and now he says he has seen a blue-eyed werewolf and has pictures of it! And I know that it was a wolf and not a dog that bit you in the backyard. Add that in connection with what’s been happening with you and how can it be anything else?”

“Matt, werewolves don’t exist outside of stories. I can’t explain my lost time, and yes, I am very concerned about waking up covered in blood. But a werewolf? Come on.” David sat on his bed while Matt paced back and forth in front of him.

Mat stopped directly in front of David and held up both hands clenched into fists. He raised one finger with each point he made. “Gramps’s stories. My dreams. The wolf biting you. Your lost memories. The blood. The animal attacks in the park. And Brad seeing the blue-eyed werewolf.” Matt shook seven fingers in front of his brother’s face. “What more proof do you need, David?”

“I…” David sighed. “Ok. I have considered it. I’ve even talked it over with Skylar. I didn’t want to worry you. There has to be another more rational explanation.”

David sighed and looked up at his brother. “Stay with me tomorrow night. Record me all night. Brad too. Even if I’m not a werewolf, I may be dangerous in my sleep. The blood worries me most of all. Especially with the deaths in the park. I don’t want to believe that I’m responsible, but I guess we have to be sure. Will you do that for me? You and Brad record me all night?”

“Of course, I will, David. It’s kind of scary. We should do it somewhere else though. Not here. Somewhere safe just in case I’m right. Don’t you agree?” Matt asked.

“Yeah. I’ll meet you guys at the abandoned warehouse down by the school at six. Okay?” David ran a hand through his still damp hair, concern evident on his face.

Matt’s brow furrowed while he considered the meeting place. “That’s as good a place as any I guess.” Matt glanced at the clock. “It’s almost morning. Thank God it’s Saturday or it would be almost time for school. I’m going back to bed. I’ll see you in a few hours, David. Try and get some sleep. You look exhausted.” Matt turned and left the room.

David flicked off his light and lay down on his bed. He stared at the ceiling and thought about everything his brother told him. He was anxious to see the photos that Brad took, even if they were super blurry. David did not want to even consider the possibility that he was a werewolf. Not only was it ridiculous, but if it was true, then that meant that he had killed two or, more probably, three people. That was just unthinkable. There had to be another explanation.

Considering the hour, he doubted that Sky would be awake, but he couldn’t fall asleep without sending his boyfriend a text. He was just too afraid that he possibly hurt Sky. He knew he would never be able to live with himself if that happened. He didn’t expect an immediate response, but he sent it anyway.

David: Hey. I need to hear from you as soon as you get this. I don’t care what time it is. I                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            had another blackout. The same thing happened. I woke up the same way again.                                                                                                                           My brother found me this time. Please call. The last thing I remember is I was                                                                                                                                             with you. I hope I didn’t do anything to you, Sky. I love you.

David set his phone on the nightstand and closed his eyes. He tossed and turned, trying to force himself to fall asleep. He nearly jumped out of bed when the text alert on his phone notified him of a new text message. He glanced at it. The message was from Sky.

Sky: I’m ok. I haven’t been able to sleep all night, though. I’m not hurt, but there is a lot                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   that we have to talk about. I’ll be over your house in a few hours. Try and get some                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             sleep. I’ll text you when I’m on my way. Good night, David. Or morning or whatever                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             it is. Haha. See you soon. I love you, too.

David could tell that something had happened, but at least Sky was ok, and he was coming over to talk. David closed his eyes and tried to fall asleep.

————————————————————————————————————

After Matt left his brother’s room, he went to his own room to try and sleep. Before drifting off, he sent Elias a text.

Matt: I just found David outside in the bushes. He was covered in blood, dirt, and what                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            looked like chicken feathers. We were right. He’s not ready to openly admit it, but                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   even he knows that something is seriously wrong. I guess he’s already been talking                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               to Skylar about it. He’s had blackouts and memory loss three nights in a row. I have                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               to see Terrie first, but I’ll meet up with you later for sure. Things are starting to                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        happen quickly. More and more people are figuring this out. Brad has pics, but I                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 guess they are super blurry. I’ll see you soon. I miss your touch on my skin.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 (Blushing emoji) (Heart emoji)

Less than a minute later, Matt’s phone beeped with a text alert from Eli.

Eli: Wow. Things are happening quicker than even I expected. We can’t let word of this                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        get out to the wrong people. We have to handle this ourselves. It’s almost morning.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       I’ll just get up now and get to the research. I miss you, too. See you soon. (Hug emoji)

Matt put his phone back on the nightstand, turned over, and tried to sleep.

————————————————————————————————————

Fresh out of the shower and still fiddling with his hair, Matt went downstairs and into the kitchen. David was already sitting at the table, eating a bowl of cold cereal.

“Where’s Aunt Nancy?” Matt asked.

“She’s in her home office. I think she’s going to go pick up Brad soon.”

“Did you get ahold of Sky last night?”

“Yeah. He was a little mysterious about it. I’m going to meet him in about an hour.”

“He was cryptic in his texts to me, also. He might have seen you transform. I know you’re not ready to admit what we both know you are yet, but too many pieces are falling into place. We have to decide what to do before the moon rises tonight.”

David sighed, his eyes downcast. “I know. I know. Let me talk to Sky, and then we will both meet up with you and discuss everything.”

“That sounds like a good plan. You talk to Sky, and I’ll find out exactly what Brad knows. I also have to meet up with Terrie and have a completely different kind of stressful conversation.”

“Everything ok, little brother? Trouble in paradise?”

“I…” Matt sighed, looked down, and blushed a deep scarlet. “I almost kissed Eli last night.”

“What?! I thought we always told each other everything. I didn’t know you were bi! What happened?”

Matt rolled his eyes. “You know I hate labels. I don’t think bisexual would fit me anyway. I’ve never been attracted to any other guy in that way. I mean I’m not afraid to admit that a guy is attractive, but I’ve never been interested in touching them or kissing them or whatever. There’s just something about Elias. The attraction is intense. He touched me and it felt like my whole body was on fire. I wanted him more than I’ve ever wanted anyone, more than I’ve ever wanted any girl, even more than I want Terrie. I guess, if you have to put a label on it, I’m pansexual more than bisexual. I want him because he is Elias, not because he is a guy.”

“And you’re going to tell Terrie?”

Matt shrugged. “I have to be honest with her. Hell, I don’t want to break up with her. I really like her a lot, but I really like Eli, too.”

“Good luck with that, little bro. I doubt that either one of them will let you date them both. I know I wouldn’t stay with Sky if he was dating someone else!”

“You’re probably right. I’m just going to talk with her, be honest, and tell her everything. I’ll see where things go from there. There’s other stuff that I need to tell you about Elias. He is deeply involved in all this werewolf and curse stuff. When I meet up with you and Sky later, I’ll tell you both at the same time. I might even bring him along.”

“It feels like we’re living in a movie. I can’t believe this is all real.”

“What movie are you boys living in now?” Aunt Nancy asked as she walked into the kitchen.

“Not sure what we’ll name it yet, but I’m ready to change the channel.” Matt quipped.

Nancy laughed. “Do either of you need to be dropped off anywhere? I’m heading over to the Hanson’s to pick up Bradley.”

Matt stood up. “I need to talk with Brad before I meet up with Terrie, so I’ll go with you.”

“I’ll just hang here and chill. I’m meeting Sky in an hour.” David said.

“How much trouble is Brad in?” Matt asked his aunt just as they pulled into the Hanson’s driveway.

Nancy’s expression grew thoughtful. “I’m not making a decision on that until I talk to the sheriff and see those alleged werewolf photos, but regardless, he’s in big trouble for running off and putting himself in danger without telling anyone.

“Such a crazy story.”

“People deal with tragedy in a lot of different ways.”

“I get that. So much has happened in the last six months. I can barely wrap my head around it.”

Nancy put a hand on her nephew’s shoulder. “If you ever need to talk, I’ll listen. You know that, right?”

“Of course. Thanks, Aunt Nancy. Anyway, we’re here. Let’s go get him.” Matt smirked.

————————————————————————————————————

Matt knew he’d get more information from Brad alone, so, while Aunt Nancy marched straight into the den to talk to Sheriff Hanson and Brad, Matt snuck off into the kitchen to find Terrie.

Terrie jumped up from the table as soon as she saw Matt enter the room. She rushed over and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Hey, you. I didn’t expect to see you for another couple of hours.”

“I came with Aunt Nancy to pick up Brad.” Matt rolled his eyes. “I didn’t even want to witness that reunion, though. I’m excited to hear about what he saw last night, but I’ll talk to him when we’re alone.”

Terrie huffed out a laugh. “You should have just waited for him at home then. Less chance of getting caught in the crossfire.”

“He texted me. He’s going to have her drop him off at the library. He plans to tell her it’s for a school assignment, but it’s for more werewolf research.”

“I still have a hard time believing that we’re seriously considering the possibility of werewolves. Did you find anything out from Elias last night?”

Matt couldn’t hold back from blushing. “I… yeah. A lot happened last night. We’ll talk at lunch. You’re still meeting me down by the lake at noon, right?”

She smiled up at him. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world! It’s our first real date.” She ran her fingers through his hair and pulled his face down to hers. Their lips met in a kiss that started tender and quickly turned passionate. The sound of someone clearing their throat from the kitchen doorway caused Matt and Terrie to separate and look guiltily toward the sound.

Brad stood there, grinning. “You ready to go, Matt, or do you need a condom and another twenty seconds?”

“Shut up, perv.” Matt rolled his eyes. “Ignore him, babe.” Matt said, turning back to Terrie. He leaned down for one more quick kiss and then left with his cousin.

————————————————————————————————————

“The library closes at three on Saturday. You better be home before three-thirty, Bradley.” Nancy said just before the boys got out of the car.

“Yes, mother. I’ll go straight home when I’m done with my research.”

The boys sat down on the front steps to the library, and they both sighed. Matt looked over at his cousin. “You didn’t just lie to your mom, did you?”

“Nope. I said I’d be home when I’m done with my research. I never mentioned the library or what type of research.”

“Clever. So, I have a lot of news to share, but I want to hear about your close encounter first. Do you have the photos with you, or did you leave them with the sheriff?”

“I gave my thumb drive to Sheriff Hanson, but you couldn’t see much anyway. Just a big brown blur with two little blue blurs for eyes. Let’s wait on the story until Nate and Devon get here, so I don’t have to tell the same story two or three times in a row.” Brad laughed.

“That’s fair.” Matt said with a grin. “I feel the same way about my news. We really need to get everyone together. So much is happening so fast.”

“It’s so crazy. I can’t believe it’s real.” Brad looked at his phone. “Nate and Devon should be here any minute.”

Just then, Devon walked around the corner and up onto the steps of the library. “Are you using my name in vain again, Holliday?” He smirked.

“Every chance I get. It’s about time you got here.”

“Looks like I beat your boyfriend here, so shut your face.” Devon’s smirk turned into a wide smile. “Hey, Matt, what’s up?”

Matt looked surprised. “Boyfriend?” His head swiveled from Devon to Brad and back again. “I thought I only missed updates on research. What’s this about a boyfriend?”

“He’s not my boyfriend. At least not yet.” Brad blushed.

“Who? Who isn’t your boyfriend yet? What did I miss?”

“Well, duh! He’s the only other person who isn’t here yet.” Brad rolled his eyes.

“You mentioned someone named Nate.” Matt shrugged. “Have I met him? Does he go to our school?”

“No. That’s true. You probably haven’t met him. So much has happened, it seems like you’ve been here forever, and not just a few days.”

“So? Who is he?”

“He’s the assistant librarian now. He’s older than us. He graduated last year.”

“Did you guys ever date? Were you friends? Two years older isn’t really that much.”

“I barely knew him. I mean, I knew who he was, but we weren’t close. Now shut up, here he comes!”

Nate walked up and smirked at the three boys waiting on the steps. “Gee, I’m not used to so many eager faces waiting to get into the library on a Saturday morning.” His gaze stopped on Matt. “You must be one of the Montana’s. Matt I’m guessing. I’m Nathan or Nate. I’ll answer to either.” He stuck out his hand toward Matt.

Matt shook the offered hand. “Nice to meet you. We were just talking about you. You are everything that I expected.” Matt winked.

Nate shot a look at Brad then grinned at Matt. “I hope you were only told good things.”

Brad piped in. “I barely had a chance to tell him your name before you showed up. He’s exaggerating as usual.”

Nate winked at Brad as he finished climbing the steps. “It’s good to know that I left enough of an impression to be talked about.” Then Nate unlocked and opened the library doors. The other boys followed Nate into the library, and they all settled in at the same table in the research room.

“I may need to be out front from time to time, but I should be able to help in here again, too. What books do you need me to find today?”

Brad spoke up. “Anything you have on werewolves. Specifically related to this area if there’s anything, but werewolves for sure. They exist. I saw it again last night. Possibly a different one, I’m not sure. I took pics, but they are super blurry. The sheriff might try and get them cleaned up for me.” Brad looked right at Matt. “Johnny Hanson was there. He saw it, too.”

“Sky came home from his date early last night, and he was acting weird. He went right to his room. Matt, how was David acting last night after he got home? Did they have a fight?” Devon asked.

Nate was practically jumping up and down. “You saw a werewolf again? Did it attack you? How did you get away?”

“Loud music and yelling. He ran off. I probably got lucky; I don’t know for sure. I think it was a different wolf than the other one that I saw, but I don’t want to believe that there’s one, much less two!”

Matt sighed. “There are two. The monster that bit my brother, and my brother himself.”

All eyes turned to Matt. Brad spoke first. “Do you know for a fact that David is a werewolf? Have you seen him change?”

“I haven’t seen him change, but I dreamt about it.”

“A dream? Come on, Matt, that isn’t proof!” Devon said.

“Elias helped guide my dream last night. It was very vivid. Then, later, I found David outside our house in the bushes. He was nearly naked and covered in blood and what looked like chicken feathers. I’d like to think that the blood was chicken blood, and that my brother isn’t eating people. We need to find out exactly what is going on, and we need to do it fast!”

“Elias was in your dreams?” Brad asked, one eyebrow arched.

Matt blushed. “You were right. I was blind. There’s… something more there. I hope that’s ok with you?” Matt said, looking pleadingly at Brad.

“Oh, wow. I figured that he liked you. I didn’t expect you’d like him back. Yeah, it’s fine with me. No big deal. Terrie might have a different take on it though.”

“I will be having that conversation with her today.” Matt said with a worried expression. “Anyway, I did find out a lot from Eli last night. The curse is real. Eli’s magic is real. That’s where you guys should focus your research, in my opinion. Try and find out as much as you can about the witches. Elias will do research at his house, but the town records and newspapers may say things about the witches that they wouldn’t say about themselves. Knowing both sides is always best.”

Devon looked totally confused. “You’re gay? And you like his ex?” Devon pointed at Brad when he said “his.”

“I am not gay, but I’m not straight. I’m dating Terrie Hanson, at least for now, but I do have strong feelings for Elias Carrier. Call me bi, call me pan, call me whatever you like. I hate labels. I like who I like. That’s good enough for me, and it should be good enough for everyone.”

Nate stood and clapped. “Here, here! Great speech! Everyone should feel that way. I mean labels do sometimes make people comfortable, but if you don’t want a label, society shouldn’t force one on you.”

Matt cleared his throat. “Thanks, but right now the labels that matter are werewolf and witch. There’s a lot more that I need to share with you guys, but there’s also people missing that need to be told. It would be easier to tell everyone at once. For now, you guys research the witches. In particular the coven that lived here. If you happen to find anyone named MaryAnne Carrier, find everything that’s available. Eli’s ancestors were a big part of this. I’ll go have a talk with Terrie about everything. Obviously, I’ll have to talk to her about the Eli stuff, but also, the monster stuff. We need to find out if her father has found anything. I hope she’ll still help us after we talk. Hell, I hope she’ll still date me!”

Nate gave Matt a sympathetic look. “Figure out what you want,” he tapped Matt on the chest with one finger, “before you let other people’s decisions affect what you do.”

“I want them both, but I know that’s unrealistic.” Matt blushed.

“I wouldn’t agree to that, but hey, you never know!” Nate huffed out a laugh.

“I’ll cross all my fingers and toes.” Matt laughed. “Ok, I’m gonna take off. You guys get to the research, and I’ll try not to get murdered by my girlfriend.” He looked at Devon. “Sky was going to meet up with David. If you hear anything, let me know. I’ll do the same if I hear from David. Later we all have to meet up somewhere and share all of our various stories.”

“Definitely, dude. Call us if you wanna bring you girlfriend back here or your boyfriend or both or your brother or whatever!” Devon giggled hysterically.

“On that note, I’m outta here!” Matt said and turned and started toward the door.

“Bye, Matt!” Devon yelled.

Matt turned just before he was out the door. “Later, guys. Good luck with the research!”

————————————————————————————————————

David was nervous and pacing in the kitchen when he heard the soft knock on the door. He raced over and yanked the door open. “Sky! David wrapped his arms around Skylar. “I’m so happy to see you! What happened last night?”

Sky hugged David tight, and then he stepped back. He looked at David with a worried expression. “You don’t remember anything?”

“It’s just like the two nights before. I only remember up until a certain point and then nothing. The last thing that I remember, I was with you. That’s why I was so worried and texted you.”

“You were with me. I know what happened. I know why you are losing time. Our worst-case scenario is true, David, you’re a werewolf!”

David slumped into a chair and took a long drink of water. “I kinda knew. We both did. I guess there’s no denying it now.”

Sky huffed out a laugh. “No. You can’t deny it now. Not only did I witness the transformation, but you also bit me!”

“I bit you? I thought you said you were ok. Sky, I’m so sorry! Are you hurt?”

“I’m fine. At first, I thought you were being a little too aggressive. You barely drew blood. We were kissing, and you bit my lip. I pushed you backward, and I was going to scold you for being too rough, but then I saw you transform. It was scary as hell!”

“I can never apologize enough. I don’t think Hallmark has a “I’m sorry I turned into a werewolf and bit my boyfriend” card. Now I guess I have to worry even more that I may have killed people.”

Sky sighed. “Even after seeing you change; I just don’t think that you would kill anyone no matter what form you were in. Have you checked out the news yet today? We know about the deaths from the other two nights, we should find out if there’s anything else today.”

The two boys walked into the family room and turned on the tv. They sat on the couch, shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip. They sat like that for a few minutes, not speaking, just watching the local news reports. David nervously drummed his fingers on his thigh and kept casting furtive glances at Skylar. Sky smiled and turned toward David then clasped David’s hand within his own. “It’s ok. I’m fine. We’re fine. I know you didn’t mean me any harm.”

“I could have hurt you, though. I could have killed you.”

“I honestly don’t think you would have. You said that your brother found you this time. Was there anything else different? Did Matt notice anything that you didn’t?”

He found me outside in the bushes underneath my bedroom window, so that was different. He also said that Brad took blurry photos of a blue-eyed werewolf. I guess people are starting to piece things together. I’m really scared, Sky. The only relatively positive thing that I’m holding onto right now is that this time, even though I was covered in blood again, there were lots of feathers around. Matt and I think they were chicken feathers. We hope that the blood was also from chickens.”

“See! It’s still possible that I’m right. Maybe all three nights all you did was raid farms and kill animals.”

“I guess so. We can hope. Hey, wait a minute. Let’s listen to this. The sheriff is on tv.”

The boys listened to Sheriff Hanson talk to the local news. He was standing in front of the park which was almost completely roped off with yellow crime scene tape now. The sheriff looked into the camera and began to speak. “Citizens of Roxbury Falls, it is with a heavy heart that I am speaking to you today. For the third night in a row there has been a vicious animal attack in the park. A third teenager is dead. For now, we are not releasing any names. We are giving the families time to grieve. I am extending the 8pm curfew indefinitely. We believe that there is a rogue bear coming into the park at night to hunt. We ask that you do not go and hunt this animal yourselves. We are searching for the bear, and we are confident that it will be found and destroyed very soon. If you spot a bear, or anything else suspicious, please report it to the sheriff’s office immediately. Thank you for your time.” The sheriff turned, ducked under the crime scene tape, and walked into the park.

“A third teenager is dead! There was an attack last night. What if it was me, Sky? What if it really was me?”

“You said that Matt has more information, and Brad has photographs, why don’t we chill here and try not to think about it until we hear from them. My brother is with Brad at the library, so I’m guessing that he’s in on the research. There’s more than just the two of us to figure this out, David. We’ll help you get through this.”

“Matt has been talking to some kid named Elias about this, too. I guess his family is also tied in with the story of the curse. A week ago, I would have laughed at the idea of a witch, but, hell, now I’m a werewolf. Witches probably exist, too.”

Sky pulled David in close and gave him a quick, tender kiss. “Let’s ‘Netflix and chill’ until they text us.”

David smiled for the first time since the new report. “That is a fantastic idea.” David slid his arm around Sky’s waist and snuggled in close to his boyfriend.

Sky leaned down and softly kissed the top of David’s head. “We will figure this out, babe. I promise.”

The Haunting of Tommy Mills

“Tommy, who were you talking to?”

“My new friend Lucas. He said he lives here.” 

“Where is he?”

“He’s right next to you. Geez, mom.”

“Tommy, no one’s there. Stop fooling around and help me bring these boxes in the house.”

“Now he left. I think he’s mad.”

When Tommy walks into his new bedroom, he sees Lucas sitting on his bed, and says, “I thought you were gone for good.”

 Lucas stretches out on the bed. “Nope. You’re stuck with me. This is my room, but I guess I can share.”

“Mom can’t see you. “

Lucas laughs. “Good catch.”

“So, you lived here before? What happened to your family?” asked Tommy.

“Dad deserted us when I was real young. He used to hit mom and she cried a lot. We were both happy when he left.”

Tommy opened a box full of clothes and began putting things away.

“Where’s your mom?” asked Tommy.

“We were in a car accident,” said Lucas. “A drunk ran a red light and t-boned us. Mom died immediately and I was taken to the hospital. I died in the emergency room. Now I can’t find mom, so I came back here.”

Tears welled up in Tommy’s dark brown eyes.

“Please, don’t be sad Tommy,” Lucas said as he began to phase in and out then disappeared.

“Lucas, where did you go? Please come back.”

Lucas reappeared then explained, “Sorry about that. Sadness drains my energy field.”

“You can bet as soon as my energy recharges I’ll be back,” Lucas said. 

Tommy asked, “Can you please tell me what’s going on with you?” There was a silence that seemed to go on for what seemed like forever, and then can the loudest boom and everything shook violently.

Tommy’s mom yelled from the other room, “Tommy! What was that? Are you ok?”

“I’m ok, mom! I’ll be right there!” Tommy looked at Lucas. “What was that?” 

“He’s coming! Get out! He can’t find you in my room!” Lucas looked scared and used his energy to nudge Tommy towards the door.

In the hall, Lucas held onto the doorknob, while Tommy cringed at the loud, angry voice booming from inside his bedroom.

“Lucas! I can smell him. If you’ve shown yourself again, I’m going to kick your friendly Casper ass!”

“W-W-Who’s that?” asked Tommy, backing down the hallway away from the bedroom door. 

“Someone you never want to meet,” cautioned Lucas.

Tommy suddenly backed into a body and he thought that thing, that monster, whatever it was had escaped the room.

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”

Two hands grabbed Tommy’s shoulders.

“Tommy! What was that loud noise? What are you doing?”

Tommy was never so happy to see his mom. He grabbed her and hugged her tight.

“Oh, my God, Mom!  You literally scared the sh__” he caught himself, “livin’ daylights out of me!”

Tommy looked as white as a sheet as he continued to shake with fright.

“You look like you have seen a ghost, son.”

“Duh, Mom. That’s what I have been trying to tell you.”

“Stop being silly. There are no such things as ghosts.”

Suddenly, all of the walls started shaking pictures flew off walls and the lights flickered! “Mom, see that it’s the mean one he’s messing with us now!”

 Mom said, “That’s utter nonsense. It’s either a jet flying over or an earthquake. “Go to your room and stay there. You will scare your brother.”

Tommy made a move as if to re-enter his bedroom. A cold force stopped him. “No, Tommy, you can’t! Please don’t go in there!” Lucas wailed. 

Tommy looked from the ghost back to his mom. Tears of anguish stung his eyes, “Mom, I’m sorry,” and he rushed past her and down the hall.

Sobbing loudly, Tommy bolted wildly out of the house, down the street, and into a public park. He slowed and threw himself on the grass near a picnic table. 

As he used his tee shirt to wipe his eyes, he felt guilty about leaving his mom alone.

“You run pretty fast, Tommy.”

“Lucas? You followed me? That thing in my room has got to go. Mom and I can’t live there like that,” said Tommy.

Tommy sniffed and wiped his nose on the arm of his tee shirt.

“What is that thing?”

“I don’t have all the answers,” said Lucas. “I haven’t been dead long enough.”

“I wish there was some kind of instruction manual for dead kids,” said Lucas. “Maybe we could find something at the library.”

“The LIBRARY?” yelled Tommy. “We can use my iPhone.”

“Your what-phone?” questioned Lucas.

“Hey! Just exactly how long have you been dead?”

“I really have no idea. I can’t feel time pass at all. I remember playing Galaga at the arcade next to Blockbuster video store yesterday.” Lucas answered.

“The arcade? Blockbuster? They have been closed for years. l can play games and watch movies on my iPhone.” Tommy explained.

Then all of a sudden, the phone rang. It was Mrs. Winslow his next-door neighbor. “Tommy you need to hurry home. Something has happened. Your mother said to call you and tell you to rush right home.”

“I’m on my way. I’ll be there soon as I can.” Tommy hung up phone and ran home quickly.

Tommy slowed as he got home. His mom and brother were out front with a cop. His mom waved him over. “Why didn’t you say there was someone in the house? I didn’t see him, but he pushed your brother!” 

Tommy’s younger brother, Brandon, scowled right at Lucas. “Who’s he, Tommy?”

“I’m Lucas. I met Tommy at the park. Right, Tommy?”

 “Uh, yeah. Right. We met at the park.”

 “Hello, Lucas. I’m Tommy’s mom.”

 Tommy looked from his mom to Lucas. “Mom, you can see Lucas?”

 “Of course, dear. Really, I don’t know what’s gotten into you!”

Lucas grinned.

“0kay,” said the cop. “Why are you pretending there’s some invisible kid there?”

“Wait, you can’t see him?” asked Mrs. Mills.

“See who?” asked the cop.

“Him!” she said, pointing at Lucas. “That boy! Right there!”

“Look lady, do you want to report a crime?”

“Ma’am tell him no,” said Lucas.

“Errrr, I’m sorry, Officer. There’s been some sort of mixup,” said Mrs. Mills.

The cop mumbled something under his breath and returned to his car.

“What’s going on?” asked Tommy’s mom.

“No human can see me unless I let them,” explained Lucas.

Tommy, Brandon and their mom walked back into their house. The air in the living room became as cold as ice. A loud crash came from inside Tommy’s bedroom.

“It must be that thing again!” Tommy yelled. “We really need to find out what that thing is, Lucas.”

As Tommy slowly moved to his bedroom door he was sweating profusely and couldn’t calm his breathing. “Are you coming Lucas?”

“No. I can’t, Tommy, be careful!” Lucas said.

Tommy opened his door and stepped inside. His stuff was floating around the room and bright lights shined out of the closet.

Before he could take another step, Tommy felt a cold breeze and Lucas was there in front of him. “I can’t let you face him, Tommy. He’s my problem.” 

“Who…” Tommy started to speak but was cut short by all of his stuff crashing to the floor.

“There you are, boy. Daddy is home.”

Tommy was scared but he just had to know who or what was behind this. He finally got his nerve up enough to speak.

“WHO ARE YOU?” Tommy shouted in his most demanding voice. 

A disembodied voice shouted back.

“SILENCE YOU LITTLE HUMAN TWERP OR YOU’LL JOIN MY SON IN DEAD LAND!”

“Dead Land?” Thought Tommy. 

Now it began to make sense. Lucas’ dad treated him bad in life, and now he must have died and is hunting him down in the afterlife. Tommy had to help his new friend… somehow… no matter what it took.

Tommy yelled, “SHUT UP YOU BIG BULLY!”

The demon inside of Lucas’ dad had completely taken control of him in the afterlife. Its eyes were now glowing bright red. Lucas floated in front of Tommy to protect him. 

“Ah, there you are Lucas boy! Looks like you found a new boyfriend. You filthy freak!” 

Suddenly, with a sudden upward motion Tommy was lifted off his feet with force so strong he blacked out. Lucas screamed at the demon that his dad turned into, “Stop! You want me, not Tommy. Please! He’s just my friend and I don’t want nothing to happen to him. Please, oh no!”

Brandon raced into the room and knelt by his brother. He shook Tommy, trying to wake him. Lucas growled, blasting a wave of energy at the ghost of his father. 

“Just as much of a sissy now as when you were alive. How many of your little boyfriends am I gonna have to kill, boy?”

As Brandon was shaking Tommy, trying to get him to respond, his eyes focused on an object hanging on the wall. It was a large religious cross. He remembered seeing a movie where a cross was used against evil.

Brandon jumped up and grabbed the cross from the wall.

He raised it high above his head until he could reach no higher. Brandon yelled at the top of his lungs.

“I COMMAND YOU IN THE NAME OF CHRIST… LEAVE THIS HOUSE AND LEAVE US ALONE!”

The demon inside Lucas’ dad turned into mist and flowed out through the air duct. His ghostly shell was left laying on carpet, unconscious. The cross and incantation also made the ghost of Lucas light up like a Christmas tree. He too collapsed onto the floor. 

Brandon yelled for his mom. “Mom! Hurry!”

Slowly, mom walks into the room with an evil laugh, “Hahahaha! You think you can get rid of me that easily little boy?” With a gust of air, the cross was chucked out the window. “Awe, what’s a matter, son? Mommy is gone for a while!”

Lucas’ energy levels fluctuated then stabilized just in time to hear what the boys’ mom said. “Brandon, help Tommy get up. I have to get you guys out of here quick. We’re in double trouble now that the demon and my dad have separated!” 

The ghost of Lucas’ father began to move.

Brandon helped Tommy to a standing position and as Tommy’s senses started returning, he saw his mom standing there.

Without knowing, Tommy instinctively ran to his mother’s waiting and protecting arms.

Brandon made a grab, but Tommy slipped through his fingers.

Simultaneously Lucas and Brandon yelled to Tommy.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

As Tommy reached his mom, the evil within her possessed body grabbed him and pulled him close, their bodies melting into one large evil entity.

Meanwhile, the ghost of Lucas’ dad awoke. He saw Lucas and said, “I’m so sorry for what I did and said to you son. The demon took over. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”

Lucas’ dad lunged at the demon possessing Tommy and his mom. “Take me!”

The demon used his powers to take Lucas dad and send him away from the house to the netherworld! “Now, as for you, little boy, we have plans for you.”

Lucas stood in front of Brandon and said. “You will leave him alone! What if I take his place?”

 “No! Lucas, you can’t I won’t let you!” Brandon screamed.

The demon hesitated and almost split back into two. Lucas took the opportunity to fling it against the wall. A path to the front door stood clear. 

“Brandon, come on! We need to get outta here and come up with a plan!” 

With a final glance at the demon, Brandon followed.

Lucas ran out the front door and just as Brandon reached it, he noticed his Super Soaker Water Canon in the top of an unpacked box. He grabbed it without stopping and continued out the door.

“Lucas!” he yelled, “Look!” Brandon held up the water gun for Lucas to see.

“That’s only a toy,” said Lucas.

“Yeah, but what if we filled it with… Holy Water?” suggested Brandon.

“It could work,” said Lucas. 

They stood out in the middle of the street, looking one way, then the other.

“But where are we going to find Holy Water?”

Brandon thought for a minute then said, “We could order holy water on Amazon or go into that church across the street. They have it for baptisms.”

“Going to the Amazon is too far.” Lucas replied.

“Not that Amazon,” Brandon giggled. “Forgot this is all new to you.”

“Well we can’t just go into the church and get it,” Brandon said.

“I know. I can’t enter the church. I’m dead and it is a barrier to me,” Lucas said.

Then all the sudden a lady in white came floating down the road with beautiful flowing blond hair and emanating light all around her.

“Mom?”

Lucas’s voice trembled as he watched his mother float towards him. “Mom! I looked everywhere for you! Where were you?!” 

“I was stuck in an in between place. I tried to get to you, but I couldn’t. Your father freed me and said you needed help!” 

Brandon watched, mouth agape.

Lucas and his mom hugged, creating a bright, white halo around them. Brandon was frozen in awe at the miracle he witnessed.

“Mom, I want you to meet Brandon. He’s a human. His family is being possessed by an evil entity. We need to find Holy Water… quick.”

The mother spirit glanced around and saw the church nearby.

“Brandon,” she instructed, “You need to run inside that church and yell for help. If no one hears you, look for a stone structure that looks like a wishing well. That’s where you’ll find Holy Water.”

Brandon opened the heavy, oak church doors and stepped inside. He looked around but didn’t see a soul. He did however see a bird bath looking thing with water. “This must be it.” Brandon thought to himself. He hastily filled up his super soaker then ran back outside.

“Now that I have my super soaker filled with holy water, I’ll see what I can do.” Brandon thought to himself. Then out of nowhere a swarm of mayflies started descending towards him. Brandon started to run as fast as he could, but when he turned down the alley, a pack of wild dogs chased him to large fence.

Brandon backed against the fence at the end of the alley and raised his super-soaker. He had to try something, and it was the only weapon he had. He shot at the cloud of mayflies and each one that was hit by the holy water burst into flames! 

Now the dogs were closing in.

Brandon aimed carefully at the lead dog and squeezed the trigger. It was a direct hit and the dog howled as it burst into a small fireball and disappeared. 

Brandon smiled and quipped, “Yes!”

This was just like a video game and he was good… really good at games.

He looked down the barrel of his super-soaker and kept his eyes focused on the sights.

Each time he aimed and pulled the trigger, he uttered, “Pow!”

“Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow!”

Every shot was a hit. Every hit destroyed its target. Finally, he stood alone, his heart beating hard.

Suddenly, the demon possessing Tommy and his mom appeared. 

Brandon yelled, “Get out of my mom and brother now!”

He pulled the trigger on the super soaker, but it was dry. The demon smirked.

“Lucas, help!” Brandon screamed as he too was taken into the demon.

As Lucas watched Brandon be taken in, he felt so defeated. After all he was just a simple little boy ghost. “What am I to do? I brought this on this family.” He thought. In an instant he had idea. “I will go sit outside the church and leap into the priest when he comes out. He can help me figure this out!”

The priest exited the church and walked down the steps. Lucas leapt forward. Just before he reached the priest, a blast of cold power pushed him aside. 

Lucas’s mother stood on the sidewalk. “You were always an impulsive teen, even when you were alive. There are other ways.”

The priest stopped suddenly as a cold shiver ran through his body. He looked around, but saw no one.

“Hello! Is someone there?”

He got no answer, so started on his way.

“WAIT!”

He stopped again and turned around. Slowly, out of thin air, a young boy started materializing.

“Sir, we need your help. Please. My human friends and their mom are all possessed by a terribly evil spirit.”

Suddenly Lucas’ mom’s spirit materialized next to Lucas and confirmed what he said.

“It’s got three humans and grows bigger and stronger with each passing minute.”

Another spirit appeared next to Lucas and his mom. It was his dad who had been freed of the demon. He hugged his family saying,

“Love you both. I’m sorry for the bad things I did in life. We must stop the demon from destroying another family. Can you help us priest?”

“I don’t know if I can,” said the priest. “but I can try to do my best and assess the situation. I will consult with God and see if he can help me out.”

 Meanwhile, the demon was trying to talk with Satan. The demon snarled, “This is not just my battle, it’s the ultimate evil vs good!”

The sidewalk cracked under the demon’s feet. Smoke and the odor of sulfur filled the air. The priest uttered a frightened squeak and fled back into the church.

A voice bellowed from the crack. “It is not your place to question me, demon. Collect the souls, especially the boy!”

The demon headed toward Lucas, but Lucas’ dad jumped in front of him. 

“LEAVE HIM ALONE!” yelled the dad spirit, as he made the form of a cross using his arms and held them up in front of the demon’s eyes. “I COMMAND YOU TO LEAVE!”

The action did nothing but annoy the demon.

“GET OUT OF MY FACE,” bellowed the demon. “Satan wants the boy’s soul and he shall have it.”

The demon swatted at the dad spirit, knocking him off his feet, then grabbed at Lucas. 

Lucas saw the evil claw-like hand coming at him and bolted for the church door.

Lucas’ mom and dad continued to fight the demon as its clawed hand grabbed Lucas’ head. The memory of his death rushed back to Lucas. He recalled his dad yelling at him in the arcade, running into the basement and falling down a shaft. The same shaft he saw in Tommy’s basement.

Lucas remembered he came face to face with Satan before. He was told that one day they had plans for him and that he was the chosen one to lead them to victory over the forces of good. But remembers that something was told to him by something else but he can’t focus on what.

Lucas felt himself being absorbed into the demon. His parents continued to fight but it did no good. Then the church doors flew open and the priest stood there holding the biggest balloon that Lucas had ever seen. The priest threw it at the demon’s face. Water sprayed everywhere.

The Holy Water spilled down over the demon and its skin began burning and smoking. It released its hold of Lucas’ soul and Lucas slowly returned to the Holy Spirit that he had been.

The Demon becomes transparent and the human bodies of Tommy, Brandon and Mrs. Mills are released.

The six of them stood there with the Priest looking on, thinking the demon had finally been defeated.

The ground suddenly rumbled, feeling much like an earthquake and the small crack that had opened previously got wider.

A netherworld voice trumpeted from the depths of hell.

“Spirits back to limbo where you belong!”

Huge vines grew out from the crack, wrapping around Lucas, his mom and dad slowly dragging them underground.

“Tommy, you will find our bodies in the shaft. Give us a proper burial so we can finally be at peace!”

“I will Lucas. I promise!”

As Tommy made his way back home, he thought about all that had happened he was still shocked to know ghost and demons existed he made a promise to himself right then and there that he would always help kids and families being haunted or possessed by demons. He headed for his basement.

As soon as they reached home, Tommy’s mom and brother collapsed on the couch and fell asleep. The ordeal inside the demon wore them out. Tommy was too restless and was determined to find the bodies. He went downstairs and located the opening to the shaft and peered inside.

It was pitch black inside, but Tommy could see that the shaft went down a short way, then cut its way back into a tunnel. A rickety wooden ladder was attached to the side of the shaft’s wall.

He climbed onto the ladder and carefully made his way down to the tunnel.

He peered into the tunnel.

“HELLO!”

‘Hello… Hello… Hello…’ only an echo answered.

Tommy pulled his iPhone from his pocket and turned on the flashlight. He pointed it into the tunnel but could see only a few feet ahead.

He cautiously entered the dark, damp space.

Tommy was glad to be on solid ground. He thought to himself since he almost slipped off the ladder a few times coming down, “I’ll bet that when Lucas’ parents came looking for him, they fell to their death climbing down that rickety old ladder.” He shined his phone’s flashlight on the floor and saw three skeletons. He carefully collected the bones in the three canvas bags he had brought with him.

Before he could start climbing back up, Tommy heard a loud booming voice, “You Can’t Have Them! A swift glowing red hand snatched the canvas bags out of his hands. They belong to us and now so do you! You will never be able to get out of this portal to Hell!

Something grabbed Tommy’s legs and pulled him deeper into the tunnel.

Tommy kicked at the claw that held him, but he couldn’t get free. In desperation, he yelled into his cell. “Text Brandon. Help! I’m in the tunnel! Found bones but the demon got me!”

The one bar he had on his phone disappeared so he tossed it behind him, hoping it would be found.

Brandon and his mom had been sleeping upstairs, but Brandon had found the urge to pee. As he stood at the toilet relieving himself,

“Ding!”

He pulled his phone from his pocket and clicked on messages, seeing what Tommy had just wrote.

He zipped up and ran back to his mom.

“MOM! WAKE UP!”

Brandon showed the text to his mother. Mrs. Mills jumped up and the two of them hurried to the basement.

“TOMMY? TOMMY?”

They found the uncovered shaft entrance but couldn’t see or hear anything. 

“Brandon, run upstairs and get flashlights from the kitchen.”

Brandon quickly got the flashlights and ran back into the basement. He and his mom were right under where the arcade was years ago. They shined their flashlights down into the dark shaft and yelled, 

“Tommy!”

“I’m going down.” Brandon said.

“Be careful honey!”

He was getting scared as he made his way deeper and deeper, it was so dark. He got to a spot that was so hot that he was sweating badly and was hearing screaming and very loud voices. “Boy, how dare you come down here. You can’t help your brother. He’s mine now. Replacing Lucas in my army! Roar!”

Brandon recognized the voice of the demon. The same demon who he had just recently escaped from. He stopped and picked up his brother’s iPhone. Further along, he found the three canvas bags. He wondered to himself, “If I bury the bones, will they be free to help me again?”

He grabbed the bags and quickly made his way back to the basement. 

“Mom, these are the bones of our three spirit friends. I think we need to bury them to lift this curse and get Tommy back.”

“I think you’re right, son. Take them to the church yard and hallow ground. Hurry!”

Brandon grabbed his folding Boy Scouts shovel and ran to the church. His mom had phoned ahead, and the Priest was waiting. He quickly led Brandon around back to the cemetery.

“Dig right there,” said the Priest, pointing. “Make it deep enough so we won’t ever have to disturb it.”

Back in the tunnel, the demon had Tommy pinned to the wall and was ready to consume his soul. Suddenly, a brilliant white light flooded the tunnel. The demon screeched then disappeared as three angelic beings appeared. It was Lucas with his mom and dad.

“Our souls have been freed.”

Tommy was then greeted by an angelic figure. The angel spoke, “You are the guardian of good here on earth. I am bestowing you with special abilities to help you in your journey of fighting evil demon spirits and protecting souls from evil. Do you accept?”

Tommy grinned. “Yes! I will gladly accept. Thank you! I am ready.”

Tommy looked at his mother. She nodded, knowingly.  He faced the three spirits. “As Guardian I can release you to Heaven.”

Lucas blurted, “I wanna stay with you!” As Lucas’ parents agreed they shimmered and were gone. Tommy took Lucas’ hand and Lucas became a live boy once more.

Epilogue

Tommy led Lucas into his bedroom, hand in hand. “I’m so happy that mom got all the paperwork sorted to let you live here. I even started cleaning out the spare room to make it into your bedroom.”

“Don’t you mean your bedroom? This is my bedroom.”

“Very funny. This is my bedroom.”

“It was mine first. I guess we’ll have to share it.” Lucas smirked and winked.

Tommy blushed a bright red. “I wish. Mom would never go for that, though.”

Lucas sighed. “Ok. Ok. Let’s go check out this new bedroom.”

Back down under the arcade, the tunnel began to glow with an orange light again. Heat and the smell of sulfur poured forth. A clawed hand appeared out of the darkness pulling its owner forward. The demon’s eyes flashed with Hellfire. “I’m not done with you yet, boy. I’m coming and Hell is coming with me.”

The End…. For Now.

The Witch

Finally, able to close my eyes tight,

I’d managed to survive to see daylight.

Last night was ruled by goblin and ghost.

The whole land was overtaken by an evil host.

Halloween used to be a time for fun,

Now, it’s a time to scream and run.

Many a fateful year ago,

A wicked witch put on a show.

At first, she wasn’t all that mean,

Then she was taunted by every teen.

She cast a spell over this town,

That begins on Halloween, at sundown.

Each teenager becomes a huge beast,

Hungering for flesh to make their feast.

Though the spell lasts but one night,

It’s enough to cause a fright.

The body count, last night, was small,

Just three more bodies killed in all.

As morning light turns into day,

We who survived begin to pray,

That next year we break this spell,

And send that witch back to hell.

The Hunter

The bat fluttered through the sky,

In a blink, gone from my eye.

A shadow broke away from the wall,

The vampire stood over six feet tall.

With looks and swagger, he stalked the night,

He used his charm, he did not fight.

Many women and some men,

Became victims in his den.

He used them for sex and for food,

Depending on his whim and his mood.

A hunter appeared one October night,

Looking to end the vampire blight.

The hunter lured him to a place,

Where he could see the vampire’s face.

He looked the vampire in the eye,

And told him that he would soon die.

The vampire could not charm this man,

So, he tried a different plan.

He tried to turn, he tried to run,

But his long-lived life was done.

A wooden stake thrown like a dart,

Hit the vampire right in the heart.

Another town safe at last,

The hunter’s fame growing fast.

The Last Prophet (Chapter 1)

Chapter 1

Grayson sat at the bar, nursing his drink. He stared down into his beer, letting his mind wander over the disaster of his life. Just this week, he found out his parents were getting divorced. His grades were in a steady decline, and now, just this morning, he walked in on his boyfriend cheating on him.

Maybe breaking up with Sebastian would help him study more and bring his grades up, he chuckled. There you go, Gray put a positive spin on it. The sound of the door opening in the nearly empty bar caught his attention. It brought his focus back to his present surroundings.

He glanced towards the door, and his jaw dropped. The man from his dreams stood framed in the doorway. Gray always had weird dreams, but for the last week or so, they were exceptionally weird. And a guy who looked exactly like this guy in the doorway was in every single one of them. Gray looked away before the guy caught him staring.

The man walked up and sat down right next to Gray. Gray finished his beer and tried to concentrate on the TV over the bar. He heard the man say, “Bartender, two beers. One for me and a refill for my new friend here.” Just the voice alone sent shivers down his spine. Gray turned, and the man was smiling at him.

“I thought it looked like you needed another one. You look a little stressed.” The man said.

“Thanks. Its been a long week. I’m Grayson… well, just Gray is fine.” Gray took a good look at the man beside him. Tall, over six feet, jet black hair, and deep dark chocolate brown eyes. The eyes held Gray’s gaze. For just a second Gray thought he saw bright crimson sparks at the center of the eyes, but then the sparks were gone.

“Nice to meet you, Gray. Different people have called me by different names, but you can call me Luke.” He smiled and extended his hand.

Gray shook his hand. “Very mysterious answer, Luke. Do you go to college here? You look familiar.”

“No. I just got to town today. I’ve traveled around a lot in my lifetime, but this is my first time here.” Luke said.

“What brings you to this boring, tiny town? Not much here but the college and this bar.” Gray laughed.

“I guess you could call it a family drama. I am looking for my Father. No one has heard from Him in quite a while.” Luke said.

“I hope you find him, and everything is ok. I know how rough families can be. I just found out that my parents are getting divorced.” Gray rolled his eyes.

“Thanks. The sooner I find him, the better it will be for everyone.” Luke said and then leaned in close to Gray and placed his hand on his knee. “So, do you have a boyfriend?”

Gray smiled a crooked half-smile. His eyes flicked down to Luke’s hand and then right back up to his eyes. “What makes you think it would be a boyfriend and not a girlfriend?”

Luke slid his hand halfway up Grayson’s leg as he leaned in even closer. “Because, ever since I walked in the door, you have looked at me like you’ve wanted to take a bite out of me.”

Luke smirked, then he added, “Do you have somewhere private we can continue this conversation?”

Gray knew he would probably regret it, but he said, “I should say no, but yeah. Follow me.” He led Luke out of the bar and two blocks over to his small apartment, just off the college campus.

The barely got in the apartment and closed the door, and Gray was kicking off his shoes and grabbing for Luke’s shirt. After removing the shirt, he pushed him into the small bedroom and down onto the bed. Luke was taller and had a more muscled body than Gray, but Gray was eager and determined to work off some of his built-up stress from the last week.

He crawled up Luke’s body, planting kisses along his chest and neck. He covered the other man’s mouth with his own, and then he felt Luke’s hands in between them. Luke gently pushed Gray up to a sitting position and looked deep into his eyes. “Gray, slow down a minute. We need to talk.”

Gray tried to push Luke back down. “Talk later. There are other things I’d rather do right now.” He leaned in and nipped at Luke’s ear with his teeth.

Luke pushed back again. “You’re not making it easy to stop.” He nearly growled. “But we have to talk. It’s important.”

Gray looked a little hurt. “What’s wrong? Don’t you want this? Don’t you want me?”

Luke took his face between his two strong hands. “Baby, I want you more than I’ve wanted anyone in over a millennium, but that’s why we have to talk now. Before we go any further. I want you to know what you’re getting yourself into. There’s a lot we have to talk about.”

Gray looked completely confused. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. You aren’t making any sense.”

Luke grabbed Gray’s hips and flipped him over on his back as easy as flipping over a piece of paper, then he sat upon the edge of the bed. Gray sat up and leaned back against the wall, waiting for Luke to speak.

Luke sighed and began. “Remember, I said I have gone by many names?” Gray nodded, a curious look on his face. “The names you humans most commonly call me are Devil, Satan, or Fallen One. The name my Father gave me upon my creation was Lucifer.”

Gray laughed out loud. “Come on. Did you interrupt the hottest sex of my life to tell jokes? I thought you had something serious to say.”

Luke rolled his eyes and stretched out his right arm, then he snapped his fingers and opened his hand. A small ball of fire appeared, hovering over his palm. “Is this a joke? May I continue?”

Gray’s eyes widened in shock and fear, he scooted back against the wall. He started to get up, but Luke stopped him. “Please stay. I would never hurt you. What I have to tell you is vitally important.”

Gray relaxed back against the wall again, mumbling to himself. “I can’t believe I just made out with Satan.”

Luke chuckled. “Whatever!” Then he continued. “My Father, God, has not been seen or heard from since the time of Creation. I tried to keep order the way I knew he would have wanted, but my brothers disagreed with my decisions. It was not God who cast me out of Heaven. It was my brother, Gabriel. Once he got Raphael and Michael on his side, the others all fell in line. The few lesser angels that tried to help me were cast out with me.”

“Wait. Wait. Wait. So, you’re saying that they cast you out of Heaven because of sibling rivalry, not because you are pure evil and tried to overthrow God?” Gray asked, mouth agape.

“Yes. My Father had no part in my banishment. I tried to honor Him the best way I knew. Gabriel is power-hungry. Always was and still is. It is Gabriel who has spread the lies and propaganda about me to you humans.” Luke said.

Grayson sat there, shaking his head. “I’m trying to soak this all in. Keep going.”

“I was cast out along with a handful of loyal lesser angels. We couldn’t stay on Earth, so we were forced into the Inferno dimension.” Luke looked pointedly at Gray. “Though a substantial portion of the Inferno is indeed a fiery prison for evil souls, I have fashioned a Paradise separate from the Fire Pits. Not all the souls barred from Heaven’s Gate deserve torture. The Inferno accepts any who wish to enter. Once there, we judge your soul and process you into either Paradise, the Fire Pits, or Limbo.”

Gray looked lost deep in thought. “That sounds fair, to be honest.”

“Thank you for your approval, kind sir.” Lucifer scoffed.

Gray smiled shyly.

“There is so much more I need to tell you, but we are pressed for time. Gabriel’s thirst for power reached a new level three days ago. He sent a force of angels into the Inferno, where they united with a force of traitorous demons. Their combined army is marching against my loyalists at the Fire Pits. Gabriel wants to set all the damned souls loose upon the Earth. He wants the humans destroyed in such a way that he can blame me. Then he will swoop in as a savior. He will destroy the damned souls, and he will have won Heaven, Earth, and the Inferno.”

Gray was shocked. He didn’t even know what to say or how to respond. “Luke, why are you even telling me this? Angels and demons are real. God is missing in action. The Archangel Gabriel is a dick who wants to take over the world, and the Devil himself is half-naked in my bed. Why me? Why are you here? You should be out leading your army and saving the world.”

Luke stared at Gray with a look of fierce determination. “My army can hold the Pits without me. At least I hope so. But here’s the thing. The only way we stop Gabriel now is with my Father’s help, and you are going to help me find him.”

If anything, Gray looked even more shocked. “How am I going to find God if you can’t?”

Luke grinned at him. “Because you are the last Prophet of God.”

Gray laughed despite everything. “What are you talking about? My life is a disaster. How am I a Prophet?”

Luke cocked his head to one side. “Have you ever had dreams that came true? Or you were somewhere, and something happened, and you felt like you’d seen it before even though you knew you’d never been there?”

Gray thought for a minute. “Now that you say it like that, yes. Those things happen often. And you have been in every one of my dreams for the last week.”

Luke smiled. “You have been touched by God. You have a connection to Him. You will help me find Him. We just have to make sure that Gabriel or his goons don’t find you first, but based on your dreams, it sounds like I was meant to find you, and you are meant to help me.”

Gray nearly screamed. “What?! Does Gabriel know about me? Are they coming after me? What should I do?”

“We leave this town first thing in the morning,” Luke said.

“I suppose I don’t have a choice, do I?” Gray asked.

“Gray, I need your help. God has chosen you. If you learn to focus, I believe you can lead me to Him. You can help me save all of humanity.” Luke said.

“And when I brought you back to my apartment, all I wanted was to get laid.” Gray laughed.

Luke joined in the laughter. “Let’s get some sleep. We should start early tomorrow. We have more to talk about as we travel.” Lucifer lay back on the bed and pulled Gray close to his side. “Is this ok?”

Gray cuddled in close. “It’s probably a huge mistake, I mean you are the Devil after all, but yeah, I’m ok with it. Wait, are you even gay? Was all this a big plan to get me to help you?”

Luke heaved a big sigh. “There is no label to describe me. Over the centuries, I have slept with countless men and countless women. There have been few, however, that I have cared for. A kind and loving soul attracts me, not sex. Man, woman, angel, demon… these things do not matter if the soul inside is pure. Do you understand?”

“I think I do. That was actually a really great answer.” Grayson said as he drifted off to sleep wrapped in Lucifer’s arms.

The Clown

A long time ago on Halloween night,

A villain decided to blot out the light.

Many fell with a slash of his knife,

Starting with a farmer and his young wife.

Next was a stranger, just walking by,

Not knowing that this was his night to die.

The villain then wandered into the town,

Dressed like a smiling, happy clown.

Trick or treaters ran by him, like a live flood,

Never noticing that he was covered in blood.

The clown’s death toll now stood at eight,

He continued to hide, continued to wait.

The police were now aware of this clown,

The deputies searched all over town.

The finally found him, perched on his twelfth kill,

They drew guns and shot him, firing at will.

Dozens of bullets hit their marks,

The clown just smiled his eyes like twin sparks.

Riddled with bullets, yet still standing strong,

The deputies now knew that something was wrong.

The clown charged at them, wielding his knife,

Every deputy fell, empty of life.

The clown was covered in blood, head to toe,

Never have we seen such a villainous foe.

He turned to go up the next street,

But then there came the thundering of feet.

A mob turned the corner and stared at the clown,

He slashed with his knife, he would not back down.

According to legend, I tell you this day,

The mob was all children, not one hair was grey.

The clown’s grin widened, as he faced them down,

The children never wavered as they charged the clown.

The children were armed as if going to war,

The clown’s laugh was gleeful as he started his chore.

He slashed, and he killed as the children came near,

Never once showing the least bit of fear.

The children continued to stab at their foe,

The clown started to weaken, his arms moving slow.

Though he was weaker, the clown still wielded his knife,

Each swing of his arm ended a life.

The situation began to look quite dire,

Until one small boy lit the clown on fire.

The fire burned him right down to his core,

With a bright flash of light, the clown was no more.

They lifted the boy and began to cheer,

Shouting his name for all to hear.

The boy never sought to accomplish this feat,

He only wanted some candy to eat.

When he left his house all he’d want to do,

Was to go trick or treating with a friend or two.

The Spider’s Web

The spider’s web stuck to my skin,

But the fear, I would not let in.

A hundred eyes stared at me,

I tried to run but could not flee.

The web held me, stuck in place,

As the spider crawled towards my face.

I’ve never seen a spider so large,

Nearly as big as a fishing barge.

It’s venomous fangs, three feet long,

Eight hairy legs muscled and strong.

Then a noise caused me to shake,

My alarm buzzed, and I did wake.

It was a dream, I’m safe in my bed,

Halloween thoughts drifting through my head.

The Monster in My Head

There’s a monster in my head,

It killed my cat, my loyal Fred.

Soon, all the local neighbor pets,

Disappear just like casino bets.

My neighbors have blamed only me,

But it’s the monster they cannot see.

I tried to tell them to run away,

Before the monster comes out to play.

They thought they’d caught the guilty foe,

So, they didn’t turn and go.

They yelled and pushed, scaring me,

I closed my eyes, let the monster free.

The room grew quiet as a mouse,

My eyes opened to a bloody house.

All my friends, dead at my feet,

My hands covered in bloody heat.

They were right, but they should have fled,

It was always me, the monster in my head.

Time to Trick or Treat

My brother yelled with boyish glee,

That I should quickly come and see.

The costume that he’d picked to wear,

With a painted face and dirty hair.

I laughed at his zombie face.

It just seemed so out of place.

This happy boy was now a ghoul,

And he thought that was super cool.

Life-like blood dripped on his cheek,

Making me just a little weak.

I told him that he looked just great,

But, for me, he’d have to wait.

My costume is almost done,

Then we can go and have fun.

With a zombie growl, he left the room.

I heard the door slam with a boom.

I check my clothes with great care,

And try to calm my crazy hair.

My vampire costume now complete.

It is time to trick or treat.

The Werewolf

The angry mob stormed the street,

With burning torches and stomping feet.

They chased the beast through the town,

Even in buildings, upstairs and down.

He led them on a merry chase,

Never slowing his steady pace.

They finally caught him in the town square,

They saw his body was covered in hair.

The full moon shone down on them all,

They were scared but they could not stall.

They had to kill this fearsome foe,

Before he caused even more woe.

The werewolf howled and snarled at each one,

The leader of the mob drew his gun.

This gun contained a secret or two,

For, when it fired, a silver flash flew.

The silver bullet hit its mark,

And the wolf’s yellow eyes turned dark.

The mob broke up, nothing more to do,

The town now safe for me and you.