Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Undoing of Catherine

I can’t imagine being soulless, in fact the very thought scared me, there wasn’t very many things that had, so why was I bothered by this?

Sitting in my living room, I realized that I hadn’t been told her name or anything about her life. The only remembrance of her was this picture that hung above the mantel. She was a vision, beautiful, with ivory skin and eyes that shone like brilliant jewels. I was envious of her.

“I see you have met our Elizabeth, beautiful is she not?”

Grandfather, a walking encyclopedia had just entered.

“Yes she is, very beautiful…who was she?”

With a sigh he continued, “She was my Great, Great, Great Aunt. Obviously I had never met her, but was told many stories of her tragic, short life.” He sat down in his lounging chair, dressed in his robe and slippers looking pensive.

“Tragic? You look troubled Grandfather, why?” I knelt down at his feet. Something in the way he looked just then concerned me.

“I’m alright Catherine, it’s just that what was done to her…it was unspeakable, truly a heinous crime.”

I couldn’t imagine what had gone down, especially when it happened before he was born, but whatever it was must have been truly horrific. My skin prickled at the thought and I stared back at him-was that a tear I just saw or had I just imagined it?

“I’m sorry if I have upset you Grandfather.”

“Catherine nothing you could say or do would upset me…you must think I’m an old fool. Here I am, a grown man, and I’m getting all emotional over someone I had never met, but It does bother me greatly. After all, she was family.”

I wasn’t sure if I should ask how she died, not wanting to troubled him further, but I wanted to know more and as it was, he continued.

“It was a very long time ago. Our heritage dates back to England. She lived in Berkshire. Back then, as you well know, modern medicines weren’t as evolved as they are now and so many people died needlessly because of it…she had taken ill.”

“What did she have?”

“Consumption…she was only in her twenties when it happened and from what I was told she endured much pain. It was late Fall when she finally died and being contagious, was buried that same night. There was no funeral per say, just a quick burial.”

He took this time to pause and reflect before continuing on and it had looked as though he had aged slightly in those few minutes of our conversation. Thinking how odd that was, I had to look harder at his face, making sure I wasn’t seeing things. It was rather dark in the room and I thought that maybe the lights were playing with my eyes…they weren’t. I hadn’t noticed just then, but my Grandfather, sensing my confusion alerted me back to present time. I blushed.
“Catherine, why are you staring at me thusly?”

“Oh, sorry, it’s just…never mind, I guess I’m just tired.”

His puzzled gaze pierced through me as if to say, “I know what you are thinking.”
“Anyway, her brother, Paul, went to visit her grave a few days later. She always loved flowers, any kind and so he wanted to place some on her grave, but when he got there she was gone-someone dug her up. Her coffin was desecrated and her body...missing. The only thing that was left was her shroud. Paul went crazy. He didn’t know who would have done such a thing, it was incomprehensible and set him on the path of madness to which he took his own life.”

I understood the sorrow that they must have had, losing someone to an illness and then on top of that,someone steals the body. It must have been truly heart wrenching, but what I didn’t understand is the way my Grandfather was handling it. It was as if it had recently happened, in this century, when in actuality, it took place before he was born. A slow, but steady uneasiness crept up my spine, rendering me chilled and …

A warning cloud settled on his features as he gazed intently at me and I, being made to feel very much the prey inched myself away from him.

“Catherine you seem…scared. Is everything alright?” He said smoothly, with no expression on his face.

Awkwardly, I cleared my throat. “Um, sure…great, why do you ask?”

His eyes were icy and unresponsive as he approached me.

“Catherine, come now, let us be honest with each other. You know something don’t you?”

I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. With every moment that passed by, he would age in front of me. Not in a fast way mind you, it was ever so faint like, but the difference was there. This not only puzzled me but scared the hell out of me as well. I didn’t understand what was happening or why and why now, why not any other time? What was so special about right now? I was trying to think of anything that I could connect it to, but was coming up blank.

“Do you Catherine know what day it is? You must otherwise you wouldn’t be backing away from me. Please stop…” His eyes that once seemed kind and gentle were now dark,and hard like bits of stone…cold.

“Stop I said!” He said the words with the certainty of a man who could no longer deal patiently with me.

I froze in my spot, too scared to get up and run for the door like I had wanted to just then, but I couldn’t, literally. His gazed was so fierce, so strong that it was as if some power held me there.

“Now, answer…”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I only know that you’re scaring me. I thought you loved me.”

“Who said I didn’t? Catherine, I’m your Grandfather, I love you as if you were my own child, but now tell me, what day is it?” He asked again, and this time his voice had changed, it was friendlier, but I was on to him.

“I don’t know, why not clue me in…Grandfather.” My voice was shakier than I would have liked, but I said it in a firm tone.

There was a trace of laughter in his voice, “Just like her too, pity.”

I lifted my chin, meeting his icy gaze straight on.

“I see your defiance and it’s very admirable of you, but also very foolish, not to mention rude. I can see you refuse to answer my question and so I’ll tell you. Today is the day she died.”

“So, what do you what me to do? Grieve with you?” I know I sounded a bit disrespectful, but my gut feeling told me that something was up and that something wasn’t good.

“No, but celebrate with me...and her.”

The surprise siphoned the blood from my face and I started, realized he was not what I thought. Just then, I creak was heard behind me and I turned swiftly toward it.

There on the staircase was this woman, dressed in a billowy gown of ivory. So light and translucent that I could see her body underneath it, supple and pale. Her thick dark hair hung in long graceful curves over her shoulders and her face was austere, her manner, haughty as she descended down to meet us.

“Catherine, this is Elizabeth…meet your maker of darkness.”

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ghostly Apparation


Light pierced my eyes as I wearily opened them. A drowsy humor, like poison flowed through my veins burning. I screamed out in pain only to find that I had no voice. What hell is this that I should be put to such torture? My throat is parched, I need of drink. Beads of sweat rolled into my eyes, stinging like needles. I went to wipe dry but found that my arms were bound with iron shackles and my legs too.

My weary body ached all over and with every motion brought new pain. I forced my eyes to see what was happening, but the sun glared down into my eyes. I flinched at the brightness.

A noise much like that of many people was heard all around me. I turned my face to see, and there, before me a crowd, they jeered and called me names. They threw spoiled food at me and shouted, “Kill him!” Then I remembered. They are fools who follow a leader that takes their money and keeps it for himself, but I, for standing up and protecting what was rightly mine, am tortured. They killed my family, my only son who by all means was innocent. They will have their day.

“Art thou in pain?” A voice, rough and demanding shouted at me. Am I in pain…am I in pain? What are you blind man. Bastard. You, who hide behind a mask, be a man yourself. For this injustice, I will keep my silence and bare no ill effects from this game you play. I spat on him.

“Thou insolent beast, I’ll make thee pay for thine impertinence. Tighter!” He roared and the crowd cheered.

More spoilage was thrown upon me as the sounds of rope rubbing against wood pulled taunt. Bones that were once joined together, now split. My eyes and mouth flew wide opened as new pain made the old feel ten times worse. Tendons, ligaments ripped blood vessels that once were canals of life now stretched beyond their will, broke opened and my flesh turned into ghastly shades of blue as it pooled within the skin.

I wanted to scream the pain was unbearable, but I held fast. They laughed and cheered the monster on as he ordered the ropes still and then that is when, through pain of death, I saw a child…there in the crowd. He was so angelic, so beautiful. He did not join in with the rest; he just stood there and watched. I felt a connection, a bonding, something I hadn’t felt in years, and then he smiled. It was him; it was my child, my son. I tried to reach for him, but he shook his head against it.

“We want justice! We want justice!” They taunted him on.

I looked up toward the heavens and pleaded with God to take me now. To end this pain, but my words were unheard as vinegar was thrown on me. A searing, like that of a fire, burned my skin. I clenched my fists, my teeth to keep silent, they would not be sated. This is my revenge.

I glared at the hooded man, I showed him that he could not and would not win this and screamed, “Imigh sa diabhal!” It took all what strength I had left in me to scream it loud enough for all to hear. I screamed it again and again. I wanted justice for those that died at their hands, for the innocent lives they took…woman, children, wives and husbands. “Imigh sa diabhal!”

“Thou wilt pay for that blasphemy!” What I saw next, I knew was my end. A hook, black like death and sharp to do vile damage, he held it high. The crowd roared their delights; they were going to get their wish. I was going to be gutted, like a fish. In front of those that cheered him on. In front of my child, my son.

“I will give thee pardon, if thou speak loyalty to his Majesty.” He waited as if I would give him such satisfaction. The bloody bastard, who killed my family, killed the families of those that knew me well, and hung them like a whale in the court yard, dead or there soon would be. No… “No!”

Then, in one fell swoop the hook plunged deep within my belly. I gasped eyes wide with fear and pain. I tried to breath, but all that came was blood. Choking I looked into the crowd, but saw no one, no one but my son, whose smile was even brighter than before. Whose little hand reached for me and nodded.

Entrails ripped from me were held high for all to see. They applauded and cheered, but I didn’t see them, didn’t hear them. The pain was all but gone…I was finally at peace and I could give my soul to God.

“Father! It’s me Jonathan, you’ve finally come home!”

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Hey guys! Having my first book signing event at the Cresthill McDonalds. Odd place you might think, but not really. You see, I worked there for over 17 years and became manager of it, so I know alot of the seniors who come everyday for their coffee clutch and some of the crew that I worked with still are there, so what better place than...there!

Here's the information again:

Cresthill McDonalds
1704 Plainfield Road
Cresthill, IL

Time: 2-5pm

November 8, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I just wanted to say congratulations to:

Joe Beekman
Sandy M
Jason Darrick

You will be included in the upcoming sequel to Birthright! I want to thank those of you that did stop by and made such nice comments on the blog and the excerpt from Birthright. Thank you!

What a great way to meet new and awesome writers such as yourselves! (Round of applause)

Book Cover of the Month! Vote now!

Vote here!    My book cover, Elspeth, has been nominated for Cover of the Month. I'm am currently in the 2nd rounds of voting. Please vo...