Short Story

The Guardian of Time

“The Guardian of Time” is a Mayhem Universe trilogy featured in my upcoming short story collection, Mayhem Genesis. You briefly met Father Aetas in The Tempest’s Tower 2: New Beginning. What is his story? How is he linked to the gifted? Does he have powers?

All regarding Nerio Aetas, aka The Priest, will be revealed in Mayhem Genesis. His origin story is linked to the universe’s origin story, making The Priest a key player in many of my tales of mayhem.

The book is set to include 12 unique stories, 4 separate trilogies. I absolutely love to tell stories. Writing poetry is a very close second. I figured out a way to do both within the pages of this book. For example, here’s an excerpt from “The Guardian of Time: Part 1”:

With the breath of this clime
Conjure forth sands of time,
So that they may merge,
Under the eye of Demiurge,
With the fruit of the land
Upon which I now stand.

I would love to give you some context, but that would ruin the story. I certainly welcome your theories though! You just have to wait for Mayhem Genesis to find out if you were right.

 

Photography: http://fav.me/d8w4lxx

 

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Cheers to 1 Year!

Thank you to all of Carrie Mayhem’s followers! It has been an incredible year. I had no idea what I was doing when this blog first hit WordPress on January 16, 2014. Not only that, but I had no idea where I was going with it either. I owe my WP family a debt of gratitude for all of your guidance, support, and friendship. Thanks to you and my real life friends & family, I finally have direction. I am so excited about what 2015 is set to bring!

I’ve been working so hard on Mayhem Universe’s first publication, Mayhem Genesis, that this blogiversary snuck up on me. I have great big plans for Mayhem Universe. If things go well, this little world that started as a summer project for me and my son, will become bigger and badder than either of us ever anticipated. I wish I could share our scheme in greater detail, but it’s not time yet. Stay tuned..

Since I am so excited, I’ve decided to give you a sneak peek at a new Mayhem Universe short story trilogy, “The Twins”. The conclusion to this story, and 2 brand new stories related to these characters will be included in Mayhem Genesis. Enjoy and THANK YOU! MY LOVE TO YOU ALL! This dream wouldn’t be my reality without you!

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Introduction: The Twins, part 1

“…Yes ma’am, twins, a boy and a girl… Yes, yes, I know you requested just a single male, but we did not realize… No, ma’am this is not how we usually do business… No, of course not, no additional cost… I know, it is very last-minute. We can find her another family if… Of course, I take full responsibility. I am very sorry for the mix-up… Yes, that price does include new identities and documentation for both siblings… Very well then, I will meet you there personally… Goodbye ma’am.”

Harry Mountebank exercised all of the restraint that he could muster and gently set his phone upon the desk. He rested his balding head in his hands and massaged his own temples. He inhaled sharply and growled to his son without looking at him, “Boy, you’ve managed to displease Victoria Vicious herself.”

“Father, I did as you said. I entered their quarters, grabbed the baby basket. It wasn’t until I was outside, when they both began crying, that I realized…” Stewart whined.

“So you didn’t glance in the bassinet before you grabbed it to make sure the boy was even in it?” The volume level of Harry’s voice rose as he continued his inquiry.

The girl child began to whimper and stir again in her bassinet.

“Shhhh! Don’t wake her!” Stewart whispered desperately. “The other one hasn’t stopped crying since I grabbed him. I can’t listen to them both wail again.”

Harry looked at his son incredulously. He rose from his seat and peeked into the bassinet. “What are you talking about?” His irritation was becoming concern.

Stewart covered his ears and shook his head. “Ms. Vicious should thank me. At least the girl is not miserable. Victoria is going to wish I had left that boy behind. He shrieks incessantly!”

Harry secured the girl’s pacifier. She was immediately soothed. As the siblings lay huddled peacefully together, he replied, “Son, I think you need to get some rest. This baby boy hasn’t made a peep since you walked in here with him.”

 

To be continued… Mayhem Genesis, coming soon!!

 

 

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Hot Garbage

What I am about to say is not about my social beliefs or feminism. It’s more about OCD. I needed to say that before I say this… taking out the trash is man’s work. I don’t have a garden, nor will I ever own a pottery wheel. I thoroughly detest having filthy hands. I refuse to grow out my fingernails because of the disgusting, bacterial contaminated shit that gets under them. The very thought of getting dirty launches my gut into my throat. Sure, maybe that does speak volumes about the state of my sanity. However, to those who know me, this is not news. My husband did not marry me for my willingness to touch waste. So, when I do tackle the monumental task of removing the full trash bag from the trash can inside and transporting it to the dumpster outside, I kind-of expect to be thrown a goddamned parade.

I almost never ask my husband to do anything around the house. I’ve pretty much got that covered. Plus, he has the gift of sight. He can see what needs to be done. Typically, he doesn’t need to be told anyway. He’s totally willing to help… except when it comes to the garbage and recycling. If I don’t specifically ask someone to remove the bag when it is full, my hubby and my son will cram their waste into that can until it is threatening to vomit hot garbage all over the kitchen. I hate to nag, so it gets to that point more often than I should publicly admit. I am also starting to think that the recyclables are invisible until I point out that the heap is nearing counter height. Only then does anyone but me seem to notice that repugnant grime is reaching critical mass.

This morning, the kitchen smelled like burning death. Initially I was just going to leave it until my husband got up, but I was consumed by the stench. Plus, he has a rare day off from work. I decided to grant him a reprieve and just take care of it myself. Sometimes a vacuum effect causes the bag to get stuck, making it a real challenge to hoist the trash out of the can. Not today. Today that sucker slid right out. I should have been wary but I was too busy being pleased… until I realized why. Seems there’s not much of a vacuum effect when there is a large vertical tear in the bag.  This one spanned from the very bottom corner all the way to 3/4 up the side of the bag. The minute that sack was liberated, 4 day old refuse began spewing free of its confines.

I’ll spare you the details of the moist, oozing hell that I had to touch with my now forever unclean hands. It’s not that I don’t want to gross you out. It’s just that we haven’t reached the worst of it yet, and I am already grossed out myself. For God’s sake, swampy garbage bread disintegrated in my fingers. I cried a little.

I finally managed to cage the steaming heap of trash can discharge. I transported it outside, gagging and convulsing along the way. The dumpster is almost as tall as I am, so holding the lid open while hoisting a rather heavy bag into it is awkward, to say the least. I managed to heave my swill bag up and in successfully. However, the weight of that percolating rubbish jarred the lid free from my hand the moment it hit the bottom of the dumpster.

Before I tell you what happened next, I should mention… it rained here for 4 days straight. There is water everywhere…

That lid slammed closed with what seemed to be the force of an Oldsmobile falling off of a bridge and crashing into a swamp 30 feet below. The water on top of the lid, the water under the lid, pure, vile garbage water, sprayed clear to my neighbor’s yard. You know what was standing between the dumpster and the neighbor’s yard? ME. I took the vast majority of that disease polluted wave of scum water directly to the face. Oh yes, I GOT DUMPSTER WATER IN MY MOUTH.

So, from now on, unless I’m ferried down Main Street as the Grand Marshall of the Garbage Day parade, sporting a sash & crown, sitting atop a streamer adorned float, while princess waving to my adoring masses, I am never, ever taking out the trash again.

 

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The Tempest’s Tower 2: New Beginning

Need to catch up first? Click here to read The Tempest’s Tower 1: Vengeance.

“Cara?”

Mother. She was too distracted to hear Susan coming. Cara quickly wiped her eyes. She hoped her mother didn’t notice. The rain softened to a drizzle.

“So, it was you. “ Susan joined her daughter at the window. “Ah, and now I see why.”

“Go away.” Cara mumbled.

“I’m going to help you. Come with me,” her mother requested before she exited Cara’s room.

Cara rolled her eyes and shook her head. Right, SHE’S going to help ME. She returned to the window in time to see Allie wrap her arms around Ryan’s neck and glare directly into Cara’s window. As the skies suddenly darkened, Cara determined it might be in everyone’s best interest if she distracted herself with her mother’s drunken delusions.

Cara’s mother was at the dinner table, already drinking directly from a bottle of cheap vodka. Apparently using the empty glass next to her was too many stops on the way from tipsy to drunk. Cara sat down across from her mother. Susan poured some of the vodka into the empty glass.

“Don’t bother classing it up for me, Mom.” Cara jabbed.

“Brat. This one is for you,” Susan retorted as she handed the glass to Cara.

“You’re drunker than I thought,” Cara refused the glass.

“Take it. Trust me. You’re going to want it.”

“I’m 12.” Cara reasoned.

“So?”

Cara took the glass from her mother’s persistent hand but did not drink from it.

“You’re going to change your mind,” Susan insisted.

“You said you were going to help me.”

“Cara, I know I am a terrible parent. This probably seems like an all-time low, even for me, but I promise you, it WILL help.”

Cara looked into the glass before she placed it to her lips. The reflection that stared back at her seemed to transform from her own likeness to that of her mother’s. She set the cup down and shook her head.

“Suit yourself,” Susan continued, “I know more about what you’re going through than you think. You are not unique, Cara. I’m cursed too.”

“What?” Cara looked at her incredulously. “By alcoholism?!”

“You’re a funny girl tonight. Your powers, where do you think you got them?”

“I thought I was cursed.” Cara replied honestly.

“Well you are, but you are not alone.” Her mother confirmed as she took another swig from her bottle.

“No. No way, I would know. This is not something you can keep secret.”

“I know what keeps the curse at bay, baby girl,” Susan slurred, “a bottle of vodka a day.”

Cara picked up the glass and reconsidered. However, the aroma of its contents brought her back to reality. “You’re a drunk,” she told her mother, “and a liar.” With that, Cara stood up from the table and turned to leave.

“You don’t have to take my word for it. You’ll see. I’m dying, Cara. The cure to my curse is killing me slowly,” She stood and took her daughter by the shoulders, forcing Cara to look her in the eyes, “but it’s worth it. I poisoned myself to keep from killing someone else, and it was worth it.”

Cara was tired of listening to her mother’s booze-fueled meltdown. She shook free of her mother’s grasp and retreated to her bedroom.

“You’ll believe me soon enough,” Susan proclaimed just before she downed the contents of the glass she had previously offered to her daughter.

The rain fell steadily throughout the night as Cara quietly wept into her pillow.

***************

It was Halloween morning when Brandon arrived in Crystal Bay. He did not know why Father Aetas had beckoned him so urgently, but the priest never sent for him if it wasn’t something of vast importance. Brandon headed toward the temple. As he hurried by, he was surprised to barely recognize the place he used to call home. The quiet little village he saved from fire many years ago was now a thriving resort town, serving primarily the country’s elite.

Father Aetas greeted him inside the sanctuary. “I’m relieved you were able to get here so soon, Waterbender. This is a pivotal moment in Cara’s life.”

“Who is Cara?” Brandon inquired.

“Cara is the reason you are here,” the priest replied, “she is powerfully gifted, my boy, dangerously so.” Father Aetas poured them each a cup of tea and explained Cara’s situation to Brandon.

“This could have dire consequences, son. That is why her mother came to me,” The priest concluded.

Brandon understood the importance of the father’s request. “I will not let you down,” he assured his old friend.

***************

Cara checked and double-checked her hat and wig in the mirror. She had to ensure that not a single strand of her hair was exposed. Glaring reminders of the night her father died haunted her still. The lightning bolt she absorbed transformed her hair from golden blond to stark white. Her once cobalt eyes were now icy violet-blue. Spidery scars sprang out from the electrical burns on her palms, all the way around the sides of both hands. Halloween provided the perfect cover to allow Cara to escape the confines of her house.

With her hair concealed, Cara donned her go-go boots, gloves, and 60s sunglasses. Satisfied that she was unrecognizable, she grabbed her bag and hurried out the door. It had been 3 weeks since the night her supposedly terminal mother tried to promote her from daughter to drinking buddy. For the first time in 2 years, Cara actually wanted to get out of the house.

It was an unseasonably pleasant night for mid-autumn.  She was more interested in people-watching than candy. Everyone was smiling and laughing, enjoying their warm Halloween. None of them realized that it was Cara’s exuberant mood that provided them all with such a perfect backdrop for a night of epic trick-or-treating. She was basking in the sights of new faces, the sounds of unfamiliar voices when she was unexpectedly jolted back to reality. She stood for a moment, stunned, after a baseball struck the side of her head and knocked her sunglasses to the ground.

“Robby, you brute!” Lissa shouted. “Hey, are you OK?” She called to Cara.

Cara panicked. A sudden gust of wind caught her wig. She quickly bent to the ground and fetched her glasses. She managed to cover her eyes before Robby came running up. Unfortunately, several pieces of snow-white hair peeked out from beneath her windblown disguise.

“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to… whoa, Cara?” He backpedaled slowly.

Seeing their friend’s reaction, Lissa, Allie, and Ryan quickly rushed to Robby’s side. When they realized who he was talking to, they collectively gasped.

“P-pl-please don’t hurt me. It was an accident, I swear. I didn’t know it was you.” Robby sniveled.

“Oh my God! Get out of here, psycho!” Allie hissed.

“Yeah, get out of here! Leave us alone!” Lissa echoed.

Cara’s heart was pounding. The wind began to whip. “I’m not going to hurt anyone,” she choked. Even as she said the words, the skies began to darken.

“OK, everybody just needs to relax.” Ryan interjected, “Cara, is your head OK?”

Cara did not expect a gesture of concern. She loved him more than ever in that moment. She didn’t even know that was possible. She smiled meekly. “My head is fine, my glasses took most of the impact. Thank you for asking.”

“I can walk you home, make sure you get there ok,” Ryan suggested. Allie shot him a look of disgust.

Cara nodded in elated agreement. “I’d like that,” she replied.

“OK. Guys, I’ll be right back.” he assured the group.

Despite his promise to return, Allie promptly proceeded to follow the twosome down the street, flanked by Robby and Lissa. Cara and Ryan walked in silence, except for the sounds of the girls jeering behind them.

“What is she supposed to be, an alien?”

“I don’t know. She should have been a witch, an ugly wicked witch.”

“Or a serial killer.”

When it began to sprinkle, Ryan finally broke the quiet that hung between them. “Don’t listen to them. They’re just scared.”

“I don’t blame them.” Cara said as she wiped the tear from her cheek.

“Take care.” Ryan told her when they reached Cara’s front walk.

“Thank you for walking me home.” She replied genuinely.

Cara hustled into the house and watched through an open window as Ryan returned to the group. She could still make out their voices as they talked.

“What, so now you love The Tempest?” Robby teased.

“No, he does not love The Tempest, do you, Ryan?” Allie demanded.

“Settle down guys. No, I do not love The Tempest. I just wanted to get rid of her before any of you got hurt.” Ryan laughed as he hugged Allie from behind. “I was protecting you from the go-go demon,” he joked.

A wave of dejection washed over Cara. As the rain returned, the foursome bolted out of sight of The Tempest’s Tower. The winds gusted and swirled. Cara’s sorrow deepened and fear grew as she watched the trees bend and sway. She needed to calm down. Maybe booze isn’t the worst idea, she decided.

Cara dug a small bottle out of her mother’s nightstand. She held her breath, put it to her lips, tossed her head back and drank it in a single gulp. She retreated to her tower and waited for the elixir to take effect.

Soon a warm sensation filled her from the inside out. The winds began to ease. The rain became a mist.

“I’m tired of the rain.” Cara stated aloud. Another drink was in order. It actually seemed to be working. She tiptoed down the stairs to where her mother was sleeping on the couch. Cara couldn’t believe her luck. The bottle in Susan’s hand was nearly full. Cara gently attempted to pry it from her mother’s grip. While doing so, a sliver of light from a passing car crossed her mother’s face. Susan’s eyes were wide open. Cara retreated in shock. When her mother did not blink, Cara reached out hesitantly and touched Susan’s hand. It was ice cold.

Cara fell to her knees and knelt before her mother. Her blood curdling wails filled the air and rattled the windows. The heavens turned a familiar apocalyptic shade as lightning erupted in webs across the sky. Cara stroked her mother’s cheek, then brushed her hair away from her face. She lowered a hand to Susan’s eyes and closed them for the final time.

When she returned to her feet, her eyes glistened with electricity. She cried static tears. The strands of her hair thrashed like angry snakes as they crackled and popped with voltage. She shrieked again and unleashed a torrent of lightning through the palms of her hands. She turned and walked out the front door, leaving the house to burn in her wake.

***************

Brandon did not need to know the one they called “The Tempest” to know that their current weather conditions were likely her doing. He feared that death had come for Cara’s mother just as the doctors predicted it would. He hastened his pace.

Cara rounded the corner a block ahead of him and stormed down the sidewalk. He did not need to be able to see well through the torrential rains to know it was her. Electricity illuminated even her veins. He noticed almost simultaneously that flames from her house flickered over the tops of the trees. He rushed to the scene before the inferno could spread to any other homes.

The Waterbender cupped his hand and twisted his wrist subtly. It took centuries of training and practice to perfect the ability to summon powerful forces without drawing unwanted attention to oneself. His slight gesture collected the pouring rain into a cyclone in the sky. When the cyclone grew large enough to douse blaze, Brandon opened his hand. The contents of his water tornado poured down upon what was left of Cara’s home and snuffed out the flames. He quickly fled in search of Cara, before she could do any more damage.

***************

Cara zapped Ryan’s front gate off its hinges. She walked half way up the walk and stopped. She could see Ryan peeking through a curtain, watching her.

“Mom! Come quick!” She heard him call. His voice dripped with terror.

The front door opened. Ryan’s mother emerged. “Cara, honey, what is happening to you? Are you alright?” Her voice trembled as she spoke.

“No.” Cara stated simply as she raised a hand and snapped at Ryan’s mother with a rope of electricity.

The horrified woman screamed, “Call 9-1-1!”, as she quickly slammed the door shut and locked it.

The bolt whipped wildly and struck the porch swing, causing splinters of wreckage to blast through the nearby windows of the house. Cara summoned another charged whip with her other hand.

“Cara! Stop!”

Cara spun around to see who dared disturb her blaze of glory. “Who are you?” She demanded. Her voice echoed fiercely, no longer sounding human at all. “What do you want?” She bellowed.

“I want to help you.” Brandon assured as he cautiously approached her.

She laughed wickedly, “The last person to tell me that is lying dead in the burning hell that used to be my home.”

“Your mother did the best she could. Her death was not your fault, Cara.” He yelled over the din of the whipping winds.

“You seem to know a lot about me…”

“Brandon,” he finished.

“Brandon. So you should know, I have nothing left, nothing to lose.” With that she directed a gust in his direction, knocking him off his feet. “Don’t get in my way,” she warned.

Cara returned her attention to Ryan’s family home. She again started to raise a lethal hand when an irresistible force caused her to stop.

“I can’t let you do this!” Brandon persisted.

Cara was defiant. She fought against the unseen force holding down her arm. The Waterbender stood unmoved, holding his hand close to his body, palm facing the Cara. The harder she resisted, the more the paralysis consumed her. It felt like she was suffocating. “What are you doing to me?” she besought.

“I’m sorry,” he replied, “so, so sorry. It’s called blood-bending. It is a matter of last resort. You cannot resist. Please, just relax, Cara. You will be more comfortable, I promise. I suspect the police will arrive soon. We must go, now.”

The girl whimpered in agony as she continued to oppose her captor. She learned one thing was true; she could not resist. Against her will, Brandon proceeded to move one of her feet after the other. He controlled her like a puppeteer. Cara couldn’t imagine a greater sense of violation. She wished he would just kill her and end this once and for all. She could hear him behind her, uttering “I’m sorry” over and over. She would not accept his hollow apologies. She couldn’t even turn her head to look at him when she declared her undying hatred for him.

Brandon walked her directly through the doors of the church and released her before Father Aetas. Weakened from the toll the Waterbender’s invasion had taken on her, she fainted into the priest’s arms.

“Good work, Waterbender, thank you.” the priest exalted.

“Don’t thank me just yet, Father. I fear I may never gain her trust now.” Brandon responded honestly.

***************

She woke the next day to find Brandon sitting at her bedside, his hand cupped over hers.

“Cara? I wanted to be here when you woke up. Please you must understand why I did what I did. I am so deeply sorry. I wish I had handled it differently.” He admitted remorsefully.

Cara trembled as she withdrew her hand. She looked Brandon directly in the eyes. “You’re a monster,” she whispered…

***************

Want to read what else is happening in the Mayhem Universe?

The Waterbender, part 1
The Waterbender, part 2
Baan the Deathlord
The Tempest’s Tower 1: Vengeance

Keep up with all of the superhero action by using the “Category” menu on my blog’s main page to select the Mayhem Universe option.

Photography: http://fav.me/d8wzq17

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Closure

Nick knew she wasn’t coming after 20 minutes, but still waited a full hour. What choice did he have? He endured the hassle of driving into the city. His 2 hour journey took closer to 3 hours. Some simpleton on a cell phone stepped into oncoming traffic just blocks away from his destination. Emergency personnel had to detour traffic around the entire area while they dealt with the carnage. That slight deviation from his printed directions was enough to have him driving aimlessly lost for an hour. He was thankful he had the foresight to leave the house early. Otherwise, he might have kept her waiting.

Funny how things can change in 60 minutes. She made a complete fool of him. It was Emma who had insisted that they meet in person. He was still completely content with their relationship exactly the way it was. It was thrilling to hear the laptop ring out with the sound of a new message. The online conversations that ensued could go on for hours. She had a such a beautiful way with words. She made him laugh too. Why did she have to mess with perfection?

He paid for the coffee he consumed while he pathetically waited, then exited the cafe. The dark clouds that loomed overhead let out a roar and spilled their contents. Mammoth drops of rain soaked him as he sprinted for his car. At least the accident scene was clear. He could get the hell out of there unimpeded.

Soggy and pissed, Nick made his way home. He didn’t even bother to change before he sat in front of his computer and fired off a message to Emma.

“I waited for an hour, then got stuck in the rain, Emma. You could have called.”

He waited, refreshing his screen every few seconds, becoming more despondent each time his effort proved fruitless. Dispirited, Nick logged off and dragged himself upstairs to shower and change. It was morning before he had the nerve to check his messages again. Still nothing.

“Did you drag me to the city just to break it off? What happened? Decide it was easier to just stop talking to me entirely?”

All day Nick tried, in vain, to forget about being so unceremoniously dismissed. However, he required closure. Out of desperation, he attempted one last message.

“I didn’t know you had the capacity to be so cruel, Emma. I love you, truly and deeply. I was going to tell you at the cafe. I honestly believed that you felt the same. If that has changed, please, I’m begging you, just tell me.”

He fell asleep at his keyboard that night, waiting for Emma to admit she’d made a mistake and confess that she loved him too.

During the 2 days that followed, Nick’s heartache became anger. He was convinced that she intended to end their relationship that day in the city but got cold feet and blew him off instead. By the 3rd day, when a message from Emma finally did arrive, he was too furious to acknowledge it.

Nick selected the message, held down the Shift key, and pressed Delete. He had his closure. He got to give sweet Emma a dose of her own medicine.

Nick never did learn what the contents of that unread message explained…

“Dearest Nick, You don’t know me, but I’ve just recently learned that you do know my sister. Unfortunately I have terrible news. I am sorry to tell you this way. Emma was struck by a vehicle last week and was killed in the accident. I am so sorry that you were not contacted sooner, but the police kept her phone for their investigation. According to them, she was drafting the following message to you when the accident occurred,

I am so excited to see you, touch you, hold you, kiss you. I want to look you in the eyes when I tell you how I feel. I’m almost to the cafe already, I think I’m over an hour early. I’m that eager to begin our next chapter, my darling. Hurry and get here Nick, I…’

 

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