A theory of mine

It’s been ages since I’ve blogged anything, and I don’t quite know why? It isn’t that there aren’t plenty of subjects that I could write about, it’s just that I find myself lacking motivation and time.

Since my last post, the world has pretty much gone berserk. I mean seriously. Last 12 months include the election farce in the US, consequently followed by a Trump presidency and all the drama, nepotism and blatant corruption that it has brought with it. In Europe, we are struggling with the alt-right’s rise and dealing with devastating tragedies in London, Manchester and anew with the fire in London. My heart goes out to all the families and persons affected by these tragedies.

The Euro-centricity though, makes any other attacks and tragedies drown in the background noise. There was a bomb attack in China, which prompted only a few small headlines. And then of course there is Syria, which is barely mentioned in the news anymore since more important people are dying (pardon the sarcasm).

Syria, the apparently never-ending source of human tragedy. Innocent people are being killed, caught in the bombing as ISIS is being hunted down without much care for the tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the cities being bombed. Children are suffering, and the world has shut its eyes and ears. If the situation in Syria is not clear to you, I recommend watching The White Helmets on Netflix. The voluntary first responders dig out families, kids, dead or alive from the rubble of houses bombed from above. Mind you, only the government and the foreign countries participating in the war have airplanes. The cruelty of so called leaders is mind boggling.

But enough about Syria. Back to Europe, well, kind of, since it’s all intertwined.

I have a theory. It’s about terrorist groups like ISIS and why they do what they do. I mean, ordinary Muslims are just as outraged as anyone else at these idiots killing people in the name of their religion. In my eyes ISIS does not represent Islam any more than the KKK represents Christianity. There are nearly 2 billion Muslims, and for some reason they are being judged by the actions of a few thousand lunatics. No one asked Christians to denounce the actions of Breivik when he attacked in Norway. Catch my drift? No one thought it was because of his faith.

And this brings me back to my theory. Deep down I don’t even consider these terrorists Muslim. All they do is harm the Ummah. They harm the Muslims all over the world. And believe it or not, this is exactly what the terrorist leaders want. They don’t want Muslims to have normal lives, to melt into the population of their location, to fit in. No. Their objective is to make ‘the others’ hate – dislike – discriminate against Muslims. Because if they don’t, then the terrorists will not have anything to base their propaganda on. If you are a part of society, if you feel like you belong, why would you harm your friends, your family? My point exactly, you wouldn’t.

Same goes for the school shooters etc. Often the attackers have a history of being bullied, or socially shunned for whatever reason. And it’s this feeling of not fitting in, not being accepted, that the terrorist leaders want. They want people to feel out of place, so that their propaganda will work. If you are happy with your life, if you feel like you fit in, why would you leave it all for a (fake) promise of something better? The terrorist groups seek out these young men and women, who have little to none grasp of their religion, a lot of frustration against the society they are living in, and with a bleak prospect of a future. These youngsters are then promised things, and ultimately brainwashed, to do whatever the terrorist organization wants, to finally make them feel like they fit in somewhere. Now, if these people knew their religion and not just the out of context taken cropped parts of the Quran, that even the alt-right uses to taint the religion with, they would know that what they are being brainwashed to do is against Islam. If they felt like a part of society and had hopes for a brighter future, there would be no ground for terrorist ideas to grow in. And this doesn’t go just for so called religious terrorists. It goes for all extremism.

So, the division of us vs them plays ultimately into the hands of these terrorist groups.

I can’t be the only one that sees it like this?

Sorry for the overly political and serious post. Next time I’ll try to keep it a bit lighter. But with the state of the world being what it is, who knows.


Daily Prompt: Clumsy

via Daily Prompt: Clumsy

You know that feeling, right? The one, in where you feel like every set of eyes in the room are on you, as you stumble and trip, landing on your hands and knees, sending your coffee flying in a magnificent arch, just to splash all over the polished sandstone floor. No? That never happened to you? Well, good for you, pal. Good. For. You.

That did however happen to me, this morning to be exact, on my first day of work. No biggie. It’s not like first impressions count or anything.

As I picked up the shattered pieces of my pride, a set of designer shoes with Armani slacks stepped into my line of vision. I didn’t want to look at the face of the person attached to those shoes. I really didn’t. But it’s not like I had a choice. He held out his hand, and offered to help me up. What was I going to do? Say no thanks, Mr. Guy-in-Armani? Need I remind you I was on my knees in a pencil skirt in the middle of the in-company cafeteria, and all what was left of my dignity was about to be mopped up with the much needed boost of caffeine I wasn’t going to get.

So, I took his outstretched hand, and let him help me up. Alas, I had to thank him, and for that I needed to look at him. Yup. Big mistake. Big. Huge even. I’m serious. I’ve never seen a man like him in real life. I mean, holy macaroni, Batman. With wavy black hair combed back, a five o’clock shadow on his chin, and striking green eyes focusing on mine. I don’t dare to guess what he must’ve thought of me. Village idiot must be close, since it seems somewhere between tripping and falling, I also lost my ability to speak.

Eventually I managed to stutter a thank you. Mr. Green-eyed-stranger nodded, flashed me a smile that made me weak in the knees, and wished me a good first day at the office.

Holding my head high, I went back to the barista and ordered a new latte. While waiting for it, I realized, that apparently Mr. Armani-guy knew that it’s my first day here.

Note from me: Haven’t written in ages, so this just for trying to get my imagination going. I’m on sick leave today, so what else is there to do (besides binge watching stuff on Netflix) than to pick up the keyboard and trying my luck at writing. My muse has been very evasive so it’s not at all given that it’ll work…

A lemony writing prompt

Okay, so I wasn’t going for smut, but just a random writing prompt to get me out of my writing funk. But random is what random does. So, the prompt I got was this “It will be Friday, the day of perversion.”

Here’s what I wrote (somewhat unedited, since it was too late at night).

It will be Friday, the day of perversion.

The girls were the last ones to leave the office, so they locked up, and set the alarm knowing no one would be back before Monday morning.

“Any plans for tonight?” Sadie asked Kathryn who was getting her bike helmet on.

“Huge plans. Laundry, take out and Netflix.” Kathryn replied with a wink and snapped shut the lock beneath her chin.

“I’m so jealous. Not!” Sadie grinned.

“What do you have planned?”

“Oh, nothing much.” Sadie bit the inside of her cheek not to smile widely. “Ben is taking me out.”

“Somewhere fancy?”

“I’m not sure, he didn’t tell me where we’re going yet.”

Kathryn got onto her bike and placed her foot on the pedal. “Well, enjoy your mystery date.”

“I will. Hey, do you want to tag along if we go to a club? Ben could ask Jake to come too.”

“No thanks, I don’t want to intrude. Besides I’ve been waiting for ages for the last season of White Collar.”

“Call me if you change your mind, okay?”

“I will, and I won’t. See you on Monday!”
Kathryn took off with only a quick glance at the traffic before slinking in between two cars waiting for the traffic-light to go green.

A few minutes later a black Jaguar stopped by the curb. The back door was opened by the driver who got back behind the wheel as soon as she had entered the vehicle. Sadie could barely contain her excitement as she got into the car.

To her surprise the backseat wasn’t empty, but there were Ben and Jake, both in black slacks and grey shirts, the upper buttons undone.

“Hi.” Sadie said, a blush creeping up her cheeks as the men assessed her every curve. She didn’t mind it when Ben looked at her like this, but now Jake too was blatantly staring at her in front of Ben. It made her uncomfortable, and not entirely in the bad way. The men were both worthy of a modelling deal, Ben with his black hair and dangerously dark eyes, muscular body that would’ve made Adonis pale and Jake a sandy blond, blue-eyed hunk of beef.

“How was your day?” Ben asked and kissed her on the cheek, his voice a low rumble that caressed her skin.

“Same old, same old. Yours?” She replied trying not to let her sudden nerves be to evident in her voice.

“We had a long day,” Ben answered her. He leaned in to kiss her, his hand trailing up her thigh, the flimsy summer skirt sliding up beneath his touch. His lips hot against hers, made the fact that they weren’t alone in the car vanish from her thoughts. She parted her lips, and shifted in her seat. His fingers brushed the satin between her thighs and she sucked in a sharp breath, heat spreading over her body and concentrating where his fingertips touched her.

“It was a long day indeed, but I’m sure it was worth it.” Jake added, breaking Sadie’s illusion of Ben and her being alone in the car. She snapped her thighs together and tried to pry Ben’s hand away, but he refused.

“Forget him, for now,” Ben whispered, his voice deceivingly soft although it was a direct order. She knew not to talk back, not when he used that tone. Her body complied quicker than her mind did. It wasn’t that she was afraid of him, no, he knew exactly how to play her body. It was a fine tuned instrument in the hands of a skillful musician. She had her safe-word that would make him stop if it ever became too much for her, but she had never needed it. But they had never had an audience either.

He kissed her again, her breath hitching as he pushed the satin covering her to the side and circled her sensitive nub with his fingers, and she did exactly what he had asked her to do, and forgot all about Jake being in the car with them.

He thrust gently into her, his fingers moving with ease, covered in her wetness. His tongue teased her, their mouths merged together. She tasted whiskey on his tongue, and figured that he had probably drank some after work. Her breath hitched as he thrust another finger into her, his thumb playing with her clit, whilst wrecking havoc on her sense of decency.

Ben got up for air, and Sadie opened her eyes, blushing crimson at the sight of Jake looking at her, his trousers doing a bad job of hiding the major hard on he was sporting. The fact that he kept on stroking himself through the fabric didn’t help either.

Ben realized what she was looking at, and his eyes gleamed with erotic promise. He pulled his fingers out from her, and took them to her lips. She kissed them, tasting herself on his skin, and then he put his fingers in his own mouth, sucking off the residue of her arousal. It was a move that never failed to shock her, no matter how many times she had seen him do it.

“Change places with me.” He ordered her, and she complied, a wave of excitement with a twist of apprehension, made her skin break out in goosebumps.

She opened her seat-belt and clumsily lifted herself off her seat, she shifted to the left, with Ben’s strong hands guiding her by her waist. He sat her in his lap, his erection poking against her derriere as he kissed her shoulder.

“Or maybe I should make you come like this.” He murmured as he bit her neck and slid his hand back in between her legs. She closed her eyes, as her being placed on his lap in the middle of the car made her hyper aware of how exposed she really was.

To her surprise and humiliation, the thought of being on display, made her even more aroused. Ben noticed it too and chuckled, his muscles rippling against her back. “I never pegged you for an exhibitionist, Sadie. Come on, baby, give us a show.”

He peppered kisses on her neck, nipping and sucking all the spots that seemed to be connected straight to her core.

He pushed her legs apart, spreading her further on display. With one hand inside her panties, and the other one grabbing her breast and tugging on her nipple ring, he stroked her into a frenzy.

She felt a hand on her thigh, and then it moved up. At first she didn’t think more of it, but when she felt a hot breath on her cleavage, her heart leaped up her throat and she stiffened. Warily she opened her eyes and saw Jake’s sandy blond hair in front of her face. He nipped on her skin and it was complete sensory overload.

Ben’s fingers inside her, his hand on her breast, his lips on her neck were alone enough to push her towards the edge of oblivion. The added surge of hormones zinging through her by Jake’s touch and the oddness of the situation sling shot her far into the abyss of sexual bliss, her body shook and throbbed as she moaned through her release. Sweat glistened on her skin, and both men kissed her, Ben on the back of her neck, and Jake on her front.

She slumped against Ben’s chest, her body utterly spent and exhausted. He shifted her off his lap so that she finally was seated I’m between the two men. He smiled as he met her eyes, his expression an odd mixture of shy and cocky at the same time.

“Thanks for the show, baby.” Ben kissed her lips.

She didn’t reply, because if she did, she would have had to face the reality of what just happened. And she really didn’t want to disrupt the post orgasmic bliss with thinking about the fact that Jake had been fondling her while Ben had been fucking her with his fingers.

“Take us home.” Ben tapped on the window between the backseat and the front of the car. “We will continue in a more private setting,” he then told her, and she couldn’t help but wonder if they all would be taking that one step further tonight.

“Yes, Jake is coming too.” Ben answered her unasked question.

“Hell yes”, Jake added with a grin and a few strokes over his bulging trousers.

Why, what and how come

Picture from Pinterest.

So, perhaps maybe you have noticed that I’ve been away. Probably not, but someone might have.

Well, I haven’t been away, but I have been struggling ever since early morning Sunday 17th of January, when my dad called and said “I believe your mother has passed away, the paramedics are here.” Of course the conversation wasn’t in English but anyway… He sounded totally strange in that call, I remember. “Are you sure? No, that can’t be, I’m sure they will fix her.” I think I said, but it’s all a bit blur. “No, I don’t think they will, I’m sorry but she’s gone,” my dad said and we ended the call because he needed to talk with the people (paramedics, doctors, police, I guess even the firefighters because the emergency dispatch sends anyone who is near) there. I hanged on to the hope that they would get her heart beating again, you know like in the movies, where someone yells “CLEAR!” and then they jolt the person with electricity and they wake up. Yeah, apparently all the other things – except the waking up part happened. A few minutes later my dad called me again, and just repeated. “I’m sorry, but she’s gone.”

So, I called my brother who had just traveled on a working trip to the other side of the world. He was in the cab on his way to the hotel from the airport when I reached him and blurted out “You need to call dad. Mom died.”  I did apologize later on for not softening the blow, but at the time I barely managed that.

We had no real warning signs, okay, she had a bit of a flu and was coughing the last week, but nothing _serious_ that would’ve led us to believe she’s about to die. On Christmas she was doing her thing like all other years before. And then less than a month later she’s gone.

Basically her last words were (just a few minutes before she died) “Let’s go back to bed and lie down for a while, it was so warm and comfy, we’re not in a hurry anywhere.” Dad tucked her in and said he’d come to bed too in a bit. He sat in the room adjoining to their bedroom when he heard a strange sound, jumped up and by the time he got to her he couldn’t get any reaction from her at all, when he tried to wake her up. She wasn’t breathing anymore. He called 112 (our 911) and started with CPR. The ambulance arrived quickly, as did all the others, but there was nothing they could do.

So what a start to the new year, eh?

I notified my boss about what happened and then stayed with dad for a few days until my brother managed to fly back (18 hour trip one way, so that doesn’t happen just like that) and come stay with him. After that it has been a bit blurry. February went by, we had the funeral and all the legal stuff what needed to be done. March, April and May just flew by…

Work has been busy, in a good way but since my brain has been a bit off due to all of the stress of this spring, I’m now cleaning up the messes (not big ones, but I hate fixing my own mistakes) I’ve made working on overdrive when I should’ve taken a step back and said – I can’t do it.

Outside work, I’ve been arranging a two-day football (soccer) tournament, that is a week away, or actually less than a week away, because this time next week it’s over and done with. Yeah, I do question my own sanity volunteering for these things. Needless to say, had I known that I would lose my mother, I wouldn’t have volunteered. Why didn’t I back out of it, I don’t know.

So besides work, kids, tournament arrangements, I have taken on worrying about dad, checking up on him, first few weeks (months?) I made sure he always had ready food in the freezer that he could just heat and eat. After all, they were an old school couple, married for more than 50 years and mom always did the cooking and washing – so he has had to learn how to fend for himself. But he’s doing okay, considering he lost the love of is life.

So there you have it, my excuse for being AWOL, for leaving my stories hanging, for ignoring my blog.

I hope to get back to writing, but before that I need to find myself again, and I just don’t have the time or the energy to do soul-searching.

Ten annoying things successful people do before breakfast

Apparently the one writing the list doesn’t have kids… Or if he does he leaves his wife to tend to them. Just saying.

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

Did anyone see the recent article outlining 10 things successful people do before breakfast? You can probably guess it wasn’t sleep like normal people. It was the sort of thing that exposes your own grappling with the morning gloom, having overslept again, as less than satisfactory. As if you needed reminding.

The main thrust was ‘do you aspire to have the pizzazz (whatever that is) of Heidi Klum? The inventive streak of Martha Stewart? The $US3.1 billion net worth of Starbucks head honcho Howard Schultz?’ Well, it turns out that waking up a few hours earlier could be the secret. To be honest I’d rather have another hour’s sleep, but that isn’t what thrusted the western world from darkness into the industrial age.

The thing is, it’s about the pursuit of wealth, and pizzazz of course. But what’s wealth if it can’t buy an extra hour in bed? Everyone is obsessed with money…

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Just a one shot…

A writing prompt on FWAR lead to this:


”No! Don’t touch her,” the young man screamed and then cried out in agony as a heavy fist made contact with his jaw. He tasted copper on his tongue, and spat blood onto the deck. He hung his head and opened his eyes just enough to see the new red stain joining the others on the wet wood. The strong hands gripping his tied arms were the only thing still keeping him standing.

“You forget your place, boy,” the captain spat at him. The girl cried silently as the captain held her still. She was a pitiful sight with her hair glued to her face, her soaking wet dress stuck to her figure and her tears blending with the rain running down her cheeks.

“And you.” The captain turned the girl’s face towards him. “You know what is expected of you. Lord Bytes will be here bright and early, and he expects his fiancée to be waiting. Pure and pretty.” He growled the last words and shook his head in disdain. “But no. You could not obey the Lord’s wishes… You are a slut, just like your mother.” The girl’s shoulders shook with fought back sobs.

“Don’t you dare talk to her like that,” the young man intervened, but was only rewarded with a swift kick to the stomach by one of the captain’s thugs holding him still.

The captain took a few quick steps, and grabbed the young man by his hair and twisted his face up against the pelting rain. “Get it into your thick head, boy. You don’t tell me what to do.” The captain said, grinding out the words between his teeth, and then he nodded at the thug holding the young man standing.

The girl whimpered as she watched her lover be dragged across the deck and then unceremoniously thrown into the raging sea.

“No!” She cried and rushed to the railing, but the unforgiving waves showed no sign of the young man.

The captain stood beside her and watched her despair.

“Enough.” He ordered. “Get inside, and clean yourself up for Lord Bytes. And you better pray that he will still make you his wife.” The captain’s eyes were black as a coal as he stared her down. But she did not cower, nor did she turn her gaze away as defiance flared within her.

“I will not.” The girl said and looked up at the captain. “Lord Bytes may come as he pleases, but he will never have me as his wife.”

She grabbed the hem of her drenched skirt, and stepped to the edge, not hesitating for a second. “Because I will follow my heart.”

With those words, she plunged herself into the darkness.

‘Tis the season…

…To be sick. Yup. Nothing jolly about a cactus stuck down your throat. But I’m fighting it. I’ve loaded up on vitamins C and D – and ibuprofen, now writing this as I’m waiting for my tea with honey to cool a bit.

So not to worry, I’ve got this covered!

Last year this time I was posting daily updates to a story. This year… Well nada, niente, zilch. The writing bug is still avoiding me like the plague. But hey, at least it’s not November anymore so I don’t have to worry about not taking part in NaNoWriMo. Yay. -__-

Keeping it short this time. Got tea to drink and a flu to beat.

Falalalala la la la laaa…..




Got into my typical weekend funk it seems. Regardless of the amount of coffee, I just haven’t got into gear today. But hey, slouching around in your PJ’s all day is not a bad for a Saturday, right?

Do you ever get that feeling when you look around your house and go, oh crap. Yup. One of those days, definitely. It seems certain things won’t ever end. Cleaning and laundry… Cooking, doing dishes… Picking up Legos… Ad nauseam.


Although, I do feel quite proud about myself as I managed to filet a salmon. Okay, Gordon Ramsey would have died laughing and then thrown me out of his kitchen, but hey, I got that fish (somewhat) nicely into three pieces. So salmon soup on the menu tomorrow.


Now, I don’t know where you guys and gals are at, but over here winter has descended upon us. And not in the nice snowy way, but in the dark, darker, wet, rainy and generally blaaaah way. Mark my words, I want snow! Then at least there would be some light out. Because now it’s just dark. It’s dark when I go to work, it’s dark when I get back. And you know what? People need light. Ugh.

Anyhow… Got to go get my beauty sleep (baahahahahaha – like there would be hope left) so that I can drag myself to a Futsal game at 9 am on a Sunday… The life of a soccer-mom.



Stuck, busy and exhausted

That just about sums it up, really. I can’t get anything written, the infamous writer’s block has struck – well, that, or my imagination has gone AWOL. Either way, I hope it’s only temporary.

I know, I know. I should take my time, and it will come back when the time is right, but still, I can’t help the guilt that spikes every time I get a notification for a new follower, a new review or a PM on FF. People are waiting for me to write (which is still mind-boggling BTW) and each day that goes by without a single word typed just makes me feel like I’m letting people down. I’m sorry, okay? Bear with me.

So as you might have guessed, NaNoWriMo, is so not happening for me this year. I’m seriously starting to doubt that I ever will manage to participate.

For the last x months I’ve been waiting for things to calm down. Real life has slowed a bit, but work is still really busy. My bad, I know. No one forced me to take on the projects, I wanted to do them. So I don’t have a right to complain. Right? I come home, my head buzzing with work-related stuff and even when the buzzing finally subsides and I sit down to write, it just doesn’t happen. My muse (or whatever) has packed her bags and left an ‘I might not be back’ sign on the door.

Then to my other permanent issue…Weight-loss. Ha! What a joke. I can’t get my head on straight, how am I supposed to keep track on losing weight? Trying to ignore the whole issue at the moment. Which really isn’t helpful. But stress and dieting (yeah yeah yeah, dieting doesn’t work anyway) aren’t really the best of friends.

Can you tell I’m in a foul mood tonight? Just waiting for the weekend so I can catch up on sleeping. Here’s to hoping I’ll manage without a headache this week. Stay strong, it’s soon Thursday.

A Strange Dinner – Chapter 4

I untangle myself from the sweet, rose-scented body of Anastasia and shiver as a cool breeze sweeps over us. Spent and sedated, I feast my eyes on her delicious figure. The pale skin of her heaving bosom, is covered with my marks, my fingerprints on her skin, bite marks on her neck. I fight the urge to bang my chest like some fucking mountain gorilla staking claim.

She looks up, licks away a dark red pearl of blood that has appeared on her lip, and her eyes flash with contentment as her lips curl into a smile.

“Rough. Just the way I like it.” She gives me a copper tasting kiss, gets up, and walks naked into the narrow hallway. The thick fog flooding down the walls makes her feet and the ground beneath her invisible. “Come on, Big Boy is waiting.” Her voice echoes through the air, bouncing against the thick stone walls.

I gather my torn clothes from the floor, and barely manage to make myself decent as I stumble after her. The air gets cooler, and there’s something very familiar with the way the roots are creeping their way across the walls.

I follow her scent, the fog now too thick to see through. The floor that was hard beneath my feet has become squishy and then muddy. My foot hits something hard and I stumble face first into the putrid soil. I grab the first thing that my hand lands on, just to realize that it’s a human skull.

The ground swallows me whole, and for a brief moment I’m surrounded by an awful stench, engulfed in a darkness darker than the darkness of the darkest pits of hell. Then in a flash the world around me is rebooted, and I land with a thud on a cold concrete floor.

“Oh fuck, that hurt.” I groan as I crawl onto my hands and knees. The smell of decaying corpses evaporates and gives way to the sweet rosy scent of Anastasia’s skin.

“Sorry, I should have told you that the landing might be a bit rough.” She smiles as she brushes my hair off my forehead. “But you could’ve used the door.”

A familiar fur soon blocks my view, a hard tail wags against the side of my head as I fumble up from the floor.

“Hey Beast,” I pet the huge wolfhound. He growls at me, and bares his teeth.

“Big Boy. Behave,” Anastasia quips. The dog sits next to her and ignores me for the time being.

“He doesn’t like to be called beast, Grey. Being stuck within you really brought out the worst in him. Big Boy is such a sweet puppy.”

Enough about the fucking beast already, he’s no sweet puppy, I’ll tell you that. I’ve felt the way rage flooded through the both of us during the full moons, I think, but bite my tongue not to say it out loud.

“Where are we anyway?” I change the subject.

“The rage of his ancestors, not him,” Anastasia replies to my unspoken rant. Fuck. I forgot she could read my mind. “Don’t you recognize your father’s castle?”

“This is Grey tower?” I take in my surroundings and bits and pieces start to fall into place. The stones on the walls, the stench of unspeakable cruelties, and the fucking cold. It’s all starting to make sense somehow. “Are we…? When are we?”

“2015 of course, good to have you back, son.” Carrick’s voice booms through the air, and a flock of bats fly across the room.

I turn and see him standing by the door in the end of the room.

“So you survived? I figured you would.” He grins, showing off his two razor sharp teeth. “Did you get what you went for?”

“Yes.” I hesitate in my answer, because I’ve just realized I’m alone in the room with Carrick. Anastasia and the Beas…Big Boy have vanished into thin air.

“Good, because that means you owe me.” His eyes are like two pieces of coal, glowing red in the dark.

My heart becomes cold as stone. An IOU to Carrick is usually not much short of a life sentence in hell. In silence, I follow him up the labyrinth of dusty stairs. The cobwebs stick to my hair, and I have to kick away a rat or three on the way to his tower overlooking the everlasting darkness of the grounds of Grey castle.

“I need a few things from the forest.” He finally speaks.

“What things?” It sounds a bit too easy to set my mind at ease. “And which fucking forest?”

“Oh, just a few souls.” He says it like it’s no big deal.

“Um… Does Mother know about this?” I ask and take a few steps around the new coffin that Grace bought for him, placed in the middle of the room. The black silk is only slightly crumpled in the middle. It really is the Lincoln of coffins.

Carrick’s eyes flash yellow.

“No. And we better keep it that way.” He turns; his cape swooshes through the air, blowing out one of the few candles placed by the window. “I lost a poker game with… Well, you’re better off not knowing his name. Long story short, he took Mia and…” He pauses, and I hear his knuckles cracking. “That boyfriend of hers.” Carrick hisses the last words.

“The one in the wall?” I ask, trying to remember if we walked past the place where that poor bastard was embedded in the concrete.

“No. Not him. Ethan.” Carrick spits the name as if it was lethal.

“So, did I get this straight? Someone or something took Mia and Ethan, and you want me to go get them back? From a forest?”

“Yes. But not just any forest, son. The forest.” He waves towards the northern window.

A chill goes through my body, when I understand what he means. The Magic Forest, the lost and found of miserable souls, where the trees are made of people, and the people are made of wooden stone. It’s the place people forbid their children to visit, the place the people try their damndest to avoid as adults. At night, the forest is filled with cries of agony and despair as vile creatures go to collect firewood, breaking off arms and limbs of the poor fuckers stuck in rotting timber. Fuck. I haven’t been there in fifteen full moons. Last time, I barely made it out. Going there now, without the Beast in me, the odds for surviving are slim at best. Anorexic even.

Resigned, I grab a coat from Carrick’s closet and head towards the north gate. Desperate to see Anastasia again, I sniff the air for roses, but I smell none. I hope she wasn’t just a fabrication of my delirious mind; after all, I was under the influence of Carrick’s poison, not to mention the moonshine I had at the tavern, if that even happened.

Carrick’s spies, the annoying as hell group of bats, fly over my head and swirl against the dark sky, but even they are smart enough not to follow me when I push past the wall of weeping spruces. Chickenshit flying rats. I watch them do a half circle and return towards the castle.

The ground creaks beneath my feet and the wind carries the whispered tales of wretched destinies.

“Mia?” I holler and the forest becomes all too quiet around me. The whispers fall silent, the eyes and ears hidden between branches alerted by the sudden intrusion.

On gut instinct, I walk through the thickest of bushes. I try not to step on anyone, but that’s definitely easier said than done. The roots are everywhere, and in each, a soul is trapped. These bodies have long since become one with the trees holding them captive.

A familiar scent lingers in the air, and hope returns. Roses. Anastasia’s here, somewhere. Thank fuck.

A howl in the distance makes my skin tingle. I’d know that sound anywhere. That’s Big Boy. Stumbling over the rugged ground I search for any trace of her. Mia and her boyfriend are now a vague memory on my list of priorities.

“Help… Us… Please…” Three whispered words carried by the wind reach my ears. The hair in the back of my neck stands on edge; I’d fucking know that squeaky voice anywhere. That’s Mia.

“Where are you?” I whisper. The creatures around me are listening, and I don’t want to give them any more clues to where I am.

“Over… Here…” The words echo, and there’s no way to tell where they’re coming from.

I run tree to tree, and press my ear against the stems, until my lungs ache and my feet are giving way. I’m about to give up, when my gaze lands on two trees tangled together. The longer I stare at the trees, the more parts of Mia I manage to make out. A teardrop, or sap – who the fuck knows – is rolling down her cheek, but because she’s bound by strong branches she cannot wipe it away.

“I’ll get you out. Don’t worry.” I wipe the hardened cheek of my little sister and pure rage takes over. I grab hold of the bark, pull and twist, tear and beat the tree until branch by branch it starts letting go of her.

As soon as her hands get free, she joins me in freeing what I can only assume to be Ethan, from his wooden prison. All bits and pieces seem to be accounted for. I make a mental note of asking Gail to whip up brain bleach when I get back. Seeing my sister’s boyfriend’s johnson, on the first time meeting him, is by far more than I care to remember.

As the last vines are torn from their bodies, I feel a sharp sting in my back. I fall to the ground and see pure horror in both Mia’s and Ethan’s eyes.

“Go. Run.” I urge them to leave. The coldness is creeping through my limbs, and I know there’s no hope left for me. “I’ll be fine,” I lie.

My heart beats, and then it doesn’t. The colors of the forest fade into fifty fucking shades of grey, as I lie on the ground watching Mia and Ethan run to safety. I can’t move, I can’t breathe, but I’m still there. The hours turn to days, maybe weeks, I can’t really tell, and I don’t really care. I can smell roses, and it makes my mind at ease.

Days come, and days go, as I lay on the ground. The insects are getting a little bit too familiar with my body, and the foxes and ravens have been circling me for days. Something chews on my toes, and I suppose I’m going to be their next dinner. But I don’t care. I don’t feel anything. I just exist, or maybe I don’t even do that anymore.

A pack of wolves chase away the smaller animals that were planning their Halloween brunch. The wolves’ noses are cold and wet as they sniff me all over, their fur soft and thick as it brushes against my cold skin. The wolves inspect me all over, and then howl, before laying down by my body. The warmth of their bodies is comforting. And since they don’t seem to be interested in eating me, I relax.

The wolves stay, lying next to me and on top of me. And for the first time in days, I sleep.

I wake up to soft lips pressed to mine. A bitter liquid poured into my mouth follows. I nearly choke before my brain finally reconnects the synapses controlling my body. My heart starts beating, and my lungs are filled with fresh air. I open my eyes and my heart fucking soars.

The sun is high in the blue sky, and the forest has been filled with roses. But what really takes my breath away is the beautiful woman kneeling by my body.

“Anastasia.” I croak.

“Rise and shine handsome.” She kisses me anew, and I taste strawberries on her tongue. My muscles snap and crack, as life finally returns to my limbs, every single one of them.

And they lived happily ever after. Or did they?

With time travel, vampires, werewolves and witches running around, who knows?!

This was chapter four of my crazy Halloween fanfic. Writing it has been a fun exercise in stretching the limits of my imagination, hope you liked reading it too! You can find all the chapters here or over there.