Chapter 1, part 2
The shop owner had Kaylee open the book in the middle. Kaylee said, “you aren’t supposed to open a book in the middle. You start at the beginning and read to the end.” He said, “we aren’t going to read it we just want to see the pages.” She did as he said and the book just opened for her like it was any book of the shelf. Together the three of them looked at the page. It was another knight in gold armor. This knight wasn’t the typical knight. It was a woman with curly chestnut or auburn hair. The man looked at Kaylee a little strangely then he closed the book. For a second Kaylee felt a little heavier. Like her clothing gained weight. She was expecting the shop owner to offer to buy the book. Instead he told her to keep the book close. He said, “sometimes books call out to you. Some books own you.” To Kaylee, he sounded bat-shit crazy but he didn’t want the book so she was happy.
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To the outside world Kaylee is a 16-year-old girl with curly auburn hair and a sun freckled face. Then they speak with her. When she was 13 she was in a bad car accident with her best friend and a couple of boys. Kaylee was the only one to survive, but she had a bad head injury. The trauma and brain damage set Kaylee back almost like a reset button. She would have to relearn how to be someone again. The doctors who said she wouldn’t make it through the night now say she may never fully recover. She was sort of stuck in a perpetual state of adolescents. Outwardly she was 16 maybe 17 inwardly she was maybe 9-years-old. A year before the accident she lost her bother in an accident in the Army. A training mission went wrong and her brother David and his crew in their Blackhawk crashed in the desert near a town named Hope, Arizona. Every year her parents go to Hope to see the site.
Most people see Cathern and Donald Bishop as saints in the way they take care of their daughter after the accident. None of them know about the nights where her mother stood over Kaylee’s bed with a pillow wondering if she would be doing her a favor. Kaylee’s life may have been spared by what the Rolling Stones called “mother’s little helper.” They don’t know about how many days her father has taken off because his drinking is totally out of control. The whisky helps him forget about his dead son, brain damaged daughter and estranged wife. Some mornings start with Jack and orange juice and end with ripple and nausea.
That night in the hotel room her mother rented, Kaylee dreamed of a clear yet dark lake set among mountains and a forest. There was a strong wind blowing from the mountains but the lake remained still. On the opposite side of the lake she could see a herd of deer. Near the right side of the herd stood a buck with a rack that had at least 16 points. While the rest of the deer drank from the lake, the buck kept its eye on Kaylee. The deer eventually took a drink, but it was quick and it never broke eye contact with her. Then one by one the deer fell over. The last one was the buck. As he fell his rack broke against the rocks. The sound was horrendous. Kaylee’s heart sank at the sight of the herd down. She turned to run away when she saw the knight. He was in a shiny silver armor with the face plate down. As he approached her he lifted the face plate then removed the helmet letting it fall to the ground. Unlike the night from the street this one was younger and handsome with thick curly blonde hair. About twenty feet from Kaylee the knight stopped and bowed to her. Then he went from a standstill to a run and dove into the water. His dive didn’t make any waves or ripples in the water. One minute he was there the next he was gone.
Kaylee woke up in the strange bed to find the book in her arms. She had left it in her suitcase but now here it was. She held the book so close she could feel the marks from the spine pressed into her skin. Her mother was asleep in the bed next to hers. She had on her eye mask that had the words F off I’m Sleeping printed across the front. Next to her on the bed was a container of pills and a bottle of vodka. The vodka bottle wasn’t opened. Kaylee got up and went to the window. The city she grew up in somehow felt strange almost foreign. It was maybe 3am and there was no one on the street. In the distance, a street light would blink out then back on. Every other blink she thinks she sees a form. A man would appear then disappear with the light. The light would blink on and he was there. It would blink out then back on and he was gone. He was dressed in a silver armor.
A car drove by where the knight was. As the headlights lit up the sidewalk the knight was gone. He was gone for the rest of the night. Kaylee went back to sleep. She found herself in her house. It seemed bigger than before. She was dressed in a night shirt she used to have when she was a tween. She came down the stairs to find her father in the kitchen. He was dressed in a work shirt with an untied tie and no pants. Her mother came in with a pair of pants for him. She kissed him and then slapped him on the back of his boxers. They both were younger. Less gray, less fat. From behind she heard a formilar yet unfamiliar sound. A handsome young man came down the stairs. He was dressed in military camouflage. He said to her, “hey Lee are you going to school like that?” It was her brother David. She for the longest time couldn’t remember what he really looked like. His pictures did him little justice. He called her Lee and she called him D. She wanted to say something to him but her voice was gone.
David turned back to her, but this time he was dressed in a black suit. The suit his parents buried him in. His face was all distorted. The funeral home tried to rebuild his face for the funeral but the final attempt was more plastic than flesh. So, they had a closed casket. As he approached her his face split open and blood welled in the split. He said, “Lee you mustn’t open the book again. It will be the hardest thing to do but you must get rid of the book.” As he spoke their parents took him by both arms and forced him out of the house. Kaylee followed them to the door. David disappeared just outside. The outside was a nightmare of fire and destruction. Kaylee could see something moving in the shadows. Human forms with glowing red eyes and sharp almost glowing white teeth.
These are short stories I wrote. Some are connected to the larger books I am working on others are just for the fun of story telling.
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