Sitting on a tree branch, Suzi clutched her stomach, gasping for breath, laughing so hard she nearly fell out of the tree. The rabbits were back and Heidi was mad. All her lovely new plants… rabbit food. But the situation got even funnier when she called her dog Jack to chase away the furry varmints, and he Nonchalantly gave them a cursory look and meandered in the other direction. But it was the look on Heidi’s face that had her rolling and in tears. Finally able to catch her breath, Suzi wiped her cheeks and stood up. Taking her wand out of her bag she prepared to send a bolt of lightening to one of the furry little behinds hopping all over the garden.
Taking aim, Suzi flicked her wrist and a silver white streak of electricity arched out of her wand and zapped the bunny in the butt. But wait… what? The bunny just picked up its head, stared at her for a moment then went back to eating. Hmmm.. Suzi thought as she examined the business end of her wand, maybe it need more juice.
Once again taking aim, Suzi flicked a little harder. This time the arch of lightening was bigger and brighter, leaving a big black whole where a newly planted flower used to be. Unfortunately the rabbit chose that moment to move and… well… she missed. Never one to give up, Suzi tried again, but this time on another rabbit. “Damn!” she grumbled “ Missed again.”
Still not willing to give up Suzi decided that if she shot faster she had a better chance of hitting the rabbits. So flicking her wrist up and down she shots out bolt after bolt of electricity. But the rabbits still alluded her, and the more frustrated she became the harder she flicked, the bigger the bolt… and before she knew it, no more garden. As the smoke cleared Suzi surveyed the damage and loudly gulped. This is not going to end well she thought. But on the bright side, the rabbits wouldn’t bother Heidi any more, and the ground was all turned up to replant…
Heidi stepped out into the back yard, waving away the smoke. Looking at her garden, her mouth hung open and she stared in horror. Suzi really wanted to laugh at the look on her face, but then she noticed Heidi’s face turning a bright red… she knew that look. Searching the trees Heidi’s eyes flashed like daggers as she spotted Suzi.. “Oh Shi….ZAP!
Life was feeling crazy, and I was in need of a break. So my best friend offered me her beach cottage, on her private beach, for as long as I needed. So I arranged with my business partner to take some time off and headed for the shore. Everything about the cottage felt peaceful, from the soft pastel colors of the walls to the turquoise colors of the sea, and I couldn’t wait to settle in.
I didn’t need to look at the bright red numbers on the alarm clock to know what time it was. Three AM, the same time as every other morning for the last few weeks. That’s when my eyes sprung open and my body decided it was time to wake up.
Knowing I wasn’t going to get back to sleep anytime soon, I threw on a lightweight jacket over my nightshirt and headed out the door and onto the beach. The moon was almost full and its light sparkled and danced across the ocean. I loved to walk at the edge of the beach where the water and the sand met, feeling the cool wetness of the water washing over my feet. As I looked behind me, I noticed the waves stretched themselves out over my footprints, and gently wiped them away as if I was never there. That thought left me a little sad, but I continued my walk down the shore, letting the sea breeze blow through my hair and cleansing my mind of the darkness that had been following me.
Heading towards the jeddy, I found a flat rock and sat down to watch the Light of the moon play on the water. The waves gently lapped on the sea rocks, and I closed my eyes so I could better hear the music of the sea. I must have fallen asleep, because I began to hear the sound of someone singing the most beautiful song. There were no words, just this melody I never heard before, yet it somehow felt familiar, and it called to me. Rising up off my rock, I walked to the edge of the Jedi, looking out into sea, searching for something, someone. There! Off into the distance I saw a splash in the water, it almost looked like a large fish jumping. Splash! A little closer this time.
Rising up in the light of the moon, she flew out of the water with the grace of a Dolphin, only to dive back under. I stood staring in amazement. How can this be? I thought’, Mermaids aren’t real, they are just a myth! Yet I knew what I had seen. Once again she rose out of the water, much closer this time. The moonlight illuminated the scales of her purple and green tale, and her long red hair flew behind her. I kept thinking it had to be a dream and I pinched myself. The pinch was enough to awaken me, but I wasn’t on the jetty, I was in my bed. Feeling very confused, I sat up and replayed the nights events over and over in my mind, but it made no sense.
The sound of my phone ringing snapped me out of my musings and I reached over to answer it. “Hello?”
“”Good morning” replied my best friends warm and slightly amused Voice “Did I wake you?”
“What? Oh…no” I stammered. “I just had the strangest dream”
“Mmmm” she replied “Want to share?”
Thinking for a moment I said “No.. maybe later”
“.Ok luv. So.. how do you like the cottage?” She asked enthusiastically.
“I love it” a smile in my voice “It’s… special”
“Oh my friend” she answered ” You have no idea. Well… enjoy yourself and I will see you when I see you. Love you!”
” I love you too” Hanging up the phone I checked the clock and noticed it was mid morning. It felt so good to sleep in, but I was wide awake now, so I hopped out of bed and started my day.
I spent my day exploring the Island, and I found an ancient little book store that I just had to wander into. The proprietor was a tiny little woman with Snow White hair and little silver spectacles that rested on the tip of her nose. Greeting me with a friendly hello, she told me she was here if I needed any help, and she continued with her dusting. Thanking her, I began to look through the books on the shelves before me. There was nothing I enjoyed more than a quant old book store, because you never knew what you would find, and this store was no exception. Just as I went to reach for a well worn classic, the shop keeper handed me a book and said “.I think you might enjoy this one”
The old leather bound book was the color of the ocean itself, and on the cover was a picture of… Oh no! It couldn’t be! The Mermaid I saw last night. But that’s not possible I thought, it was just a dream…
Looking for the shop keeper so I could ask her why she would hand me this particular book, I found that she just seemed to have disappeared. I called out for her several times, but to no avail. So not knowing how much the book was I placed a twenty dollar bill next to the century old register with a note, and I walked out the door with my book. What in the world I thought to myself as I hugged my new book to my chest and headed back to the cottage.
Nightfall came and it found me with my nose still in the book, I couldn’t put it down. But my stomach started to growl, so I went into the kitchen and made a sandwich for supper. Pouring a glass of wine I headed back into the living room, planning on reading some more, but my eyes were getting too heavy to read, so I closed them for just one minute… Three AM and once again wide awake. Letting go of a deep and heavy sigh, I turned my head to look out the glass doors, and I once again felt the pull of the ocean, so I grabbed my jacket and headed for the beach.
The sand still held a hint of the suns warmth and felt so good on my bare feet, but the cool wet sand at the waters edge felt even better, so that’s where I headed. Tonight the moon had reached its fullness, and its light brightened up the private cove. Walking out onto the Jetty, I once again headed to the very end and waited. I wasn’t sure for what, but I knew I had to be there. I didn’t have long to wait before the music started, and once again I closed my eyes and let its beauty fill me.
In between the gentle flow of the music I heard a soft whisper calling my name and telling me to open my eyes. Hesitant to obey, but too curious not to, I opened my eyes and gasped in surprise. There before me was the Mermaid I saw last night in what I had convinced myself was just a very vivid dream. I could hear her voice in my head as she softly laughed. “Come with me my sister” and she reached out her hand. Shaking my head no, I stepping back and began to shake. “Do not be afraid.. come with me” Here voice was hypnotic, and I found myself no longer able to resist. So stepping back to the end of the rocks, I stripped off my clothes and without a second thought dove into the chilly ocean water. Coming up for air I began to tread water and looked around for the Mermaid. With a hard yank she pulled me back under the water and held me there. Not having time to take a breath I started to run out of oxygen and began to struggle, trying to rise to the surface. But she wouldn’t let me go and I could feel my vision getting dim, slowly losing what little air I had left. Just as I was ready to lose consciousness she pulled me close and put her mouth over mine, breathing into me. A shiver raced through me and I began to feel my body change. From the waist down instead of my legs I had a long single tail covered in scales the colors of the ocean. And as I bent what used to be my knees, my body moved through the water. But that wasn’t the only change, my hair, which was always long, flowed in thick luxurious waves, covering the top half of my body like a silken black Not understanding how I was able to breathe, I felt the side of my neck, and there to my amazement were gills. Looking around for the Mermaid I found my vision was perfect underwater. This could not be real, but I didn’t care because I was free.
Mimicking the way I remembered the Mermaid moved I began to test out my new body. Slicing through the water I gathered up speed and heading towards the surface. Faster and faster I swam until I broke through the waves and flew through the air. The sense of excitement I felt had no words, and as I began my descent back into the water, I tipped my body and cleanly dived back into the ocean. Once again the music began to fill my mind, but this time I knew where to find it, and I followed.
The sunlight filled the windows of the spare bedroom I slept in and woke me from my sleep. Memories of the night before filled my head and I let replay over and over. But something was different this morning. The smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the air, but I never set the coffee pot up the night before. Cautiously getting out of bed I crept to the door, only to notice I was naked. Oh Crap I thought and reached for my bathrobe. Slipping it on, I tied the sash around my waist and quietly headed for the kitchen. Standing in the kitchen with coffee in hand was my best friend. Greeting me with a big smile she handed me a steaming cup of coffee. “Good morning” she sang. “Good morning” I replied. She was always the morning person, me… not so much.
Ash new better than to talk to me before my first cup of coffee, so we sat in silence until I finished drinking, and I reached for the coffee pot for a refill. “So… I’m surprised to see you” I said
” Pleasently surprised I hope” she responded. Handing me the cream, I poured a dollup into my coffee. “Of course” I replied
“Now tell me how your vacations been so far” I knew I could talk to Ash about anything, so taking a deep breath I told her everything that had happened since I arrived. As I filled her in I couldn’t help but notice she didn’t seemed surprise. I also began to notice that she looked an aweful lot like my Mermaid. Stopping in mid sentence I just stopped and stared at her with my mouth open. No way I thought. She just stood there and smiled. It was as if she heard every thought that went through my head.
“You are not wrong dear sister” her voice filled my mind. “How?” I asked. Sitting down across from me at the small round kitchen table, she put down her coffee and began to explain.
” My real name is Ashera and I am a daughter of the sea. You my sweet sister are also one and the same.” I sat there staring at her with my mouth hanging open, none of this seeming real, yet it felt true. Reaching over, she placed her finger under my chin and closed my mouth “Our father wanted us to experience life outside the ocean, so he used his magic to allow us to live on land, erasing our memory of who we were until we came of age, and being as I am the oldest, I awakened first.” Nodding slowly I sat silently as she continued. “We dear sister are of a generation that allows us to live in two worlds, land and sea. And we can call both places home.”
Ashera and I spoke for several hours about our combined history, and as she told our tale, my memories returned, and I understood. As the conversation ebbed, I reached out and grasped her hand in mine. ” Come my sister, lets go home.” Sharing a smiled we left the cottage, divested ourselves of our clothes and dived into the moonlit surf, Mermaids once again.
As far back as I can remember I loved to write. From the creative writing class I took in high school to the Romance novel I was writing on lined paper, and kept hidden between the mattress and the box spring. When I wasn’t writing I was reading. You guessed it, Romance.. I started with Gothic Romance, then I joined a Harlequin book club and had the books delivered to my home. After that I got into paranormal romance, still my favorite. Taking a romance break I went into spiritual books and books about Angels. I think that’s why all my stories have an uplifting message and a happy ending.
With all the reading I was doing I had little time to write, until Twitter and Annie. Scrolling through Twitter I came upon these lovely photos with short poems attached, and I became intrigued. They belonged to a wonderful writer that went by the name @txstarkeeper. ( and still does). I found myself reading her pic poems and wanting to continue the story. My writing switch was clicked back on and it couldn’t be ignored. So finally getting up the nerve I reached out to Annie. To my happy surprise not only was she receptive to my ideas, but she took me under her wing and taught me how to be a better writer. She encouraged me and gave me the confidence to share my writing. Annie also introduced me to another amazing writer Heidi Barnes, and between the two of them I blossomed, and I grew as a writer. Now I’m a senior columnest at DowntowLA life magazine, and my journey continues.
Even though I’m a few month behind with my writing for Annie’s Writing outside the lines, the desire to express myself through the written world will always be strong inside me. It’s in my genes, my heart and my soul. And I will always be grateful to those who have been there from the start, the middle and those in the future. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
In a busy city filled with people of every conceivable nationality, faith and economic status, four young boys began their journey into brotherhood. Four very different boys, all from very different ethnic backgrounds, Haitian, Polynesian and American ( but looking really Irish). Each had their own traditions and way of life, yet universe saw fit to bring them all together, to allow them to re- form an ancient bond of family, to once again be brothers.
Meeting in middle school, they quickly formed a friendship, and in the summer before high school they became brothers. As teenagers, they all made unfortunate decisions to say the least, but they made them together and they had each other’s backs. Their personalities, all though very different, worked together like a well oiled machine.
Eddie was the groups voice of reason. Strong and calm, usually quiet, very tall for his age and well versed in martial arts, he was the body guard. But Eddie also had a special gift, beside a heart of pure gold he was a gifted musician. And he had a plan, a goal, and he didn’t stop until he saw it to fruition.
PJ was the warrior. Not really shy about bending the rules or ignoring them all to together, he had a deceptive sense of humor. His one liners were priceless and often, not always meaning to be, quit funny. His dream was to become a Marine. And although small in stature he made up for it in self confidence and balls -to-the- wall bravery.
Josh was the old soul. Having to grow up quickly, he had a maturity he hid behind a sarcastic whit. And although he could be rough around the edges at times, he hid a secret. Highly intelligent with a heart made to heal, with calmness and assurance, he knew how to help those in need, and he did so without question or second thought.
And then there was Shaun. Growing up in a city, where curly orange hair, blue eyes and pale skin was most definitely not the norm, he always seemed to be able to transform himself into someone that appeared to effortlessly fit in. With the silver tongue of the Irish, he could talk his way in and out of pretty much anything. A quicksilver personality that allowed him to fit in where needed in order to survive. Yet, he was fiercely protective of his brothers, and let it be known.
As individuals they all had very different dreams and goals, which as they grew into men, would geographically seperate them. But together they were a force to be reckoned with. It didn’t matter that their skin was not the same color, or that their heritage was different. And although they would have very different lives, they had one very important thing that bound them together… the love of brothers, a bond that began many life times ago, and would continue on to the next.
Their furtures were as diverse as they were. Eddie worked very hard and saved enough money to buy an abandoned building, only to turn it into a music studio. Not only did he create and produce his special style of music, but he opened his heart and his talent to young musicians in the inner city who just needed a break. A place to hone their craft and to share their gift for music.
PJ enlisted in the military after high school and became the Marine he always wanted to be. He was well know for his intelligence, bravery and his innate toughness, not to mention a touch of recklessness. And as he worked his way up the ranks, he used his gifts well, marking his place in history.
Josh easily worked his way through college and medical school becoming a World renowned heart surgeon. But if truth be told, all he really wanted was to make a difference to those who needed it most. So packing up his black medical back and healthy fortune, he traveled to third world countries, healing the needy, saving lives, and making the difference he knew he could make.
Shaun, as always, did things a little differently. Bouncing around from job to job, he finally found his passion. Adding that to his gifted tongue of gold and his ability to manipulate any given situation, he became a Lawyer. But not just any Lawyer, but a very competent, undefeated, sought after Lawyer. He tried his hand at corporate law, but that left him feeling empty. So he turned his attention to those who were unfairly judged and prosecuted. He fought for their freedom and always won.
The brothers four made a pact the day of graduation to meet wherever they could on the last day of June. Spending a weekend, they would use that time to catch up on their life, their loves, their growing families and their careers. But mostly, they used that time to reconnect as brothers. A bond that was created life times ago and could not be broken, and never would.
As the sun dipped beyond the horizon, and the moon rose in the night time sky, Raven left her tiny cabin and headed to the stream for her evening bath. Wearing nothing but the skin she was born in, she reveled in the feel of the cool night air. Stepping into the chilly water, goosebumps rose on her naked skin, but she didn’t mind, it made her feel alive. Using her homemade lavender soap she washed her long, lean body, enjoying the sensual feel of her hands as they slid over her slick skin. Rinsing off, Raven then washed her long black hair. Stepping into the deepest part of the stream, she ducked under water, allowing her hair to fan on top of the water like spilt ink on a vellum page.
Standing on the cool grass the air around her began to shimmer and vibrate, and a slow sensuous smile formed on her face. Acting as if she hadn’t noticed the disturbance, Raven pulled her wet hair to one side and began twisting it like a wet towel, wringing out as much of the excess water that she could. Walking towards her cabin, her hips undulated with a little extra swing, for she knew she was being watched. Her Carpathian lover had risen from the earth and was following her every move with hungry eyes.
Sitting on the stool by the fireplace Raven picked up her brush an began running it through her hair. “Let me my love” came his whisky colored voice as he removed the brush from her hand and began to run it through her midnight tresses. “Cole” she whispered. The feel of his lips as he skimmed them over her bare shoulder sent shivers down her spine. She loved the way it felt when he brushed her hair, and she released a sigh of contentment. Chuckling in amusement, Cole put down the brush and turned Raven to face him. Taking both her hands he helped her to stand. Looking deep into her eyes, he cupped her face and leaned down to kiss her. Gently his lips touched hers for a soft kiss, only to be repeated. Wanting more she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her body against his. Holding her tightly his kiss changed from gentle to deep and passionate, giving to her all the love he felt inside. Just as the spark of their passion was starting to turn into a burning flame, he released her lips and stepped back.
Feeling berift from the loss of his heat, Raven opened her eyes and pouted. With a wave of his hand she found herself in a flowing white gown, made of the finest silk. Two tiny speghetti straps held up the sensuous material as it lovingly hugged every curve of her body. Smiling in approval she looked up at Cole with questioning eyes. “All I good time my love” Taking her hand he lead her out the door, and wrapping his arms around her from behind and whispered in her ear “Are you ready to fly?” Nodding her head excitedly she replied “Oh yes!” And in the next moment they were flying over the tree tops to an unknown destination.
Raven loved when Cole took her flying, the feel of wind blowing through her hair, the sense of freedom. And on a moonlit night, just like tonight, she felt she could touch the stars. Approaching the mountains tops they easily landed in a clearing between two of the highest peaks. How it was possible, Raven didn’t know, but there before her was a grassy knoll with a beautiful waterfall spilling into an inviting pool. The moonlight danced upon the beating water, making the droplets look like tiny diamonds. “Oh Cole” she whispered ” How beautiful!” Turning from the waterfall she wrapped her arms around him and squeezed him tight. ” Thank You” Snuggling into his embrace Cole rested his head on top of hers. “There is more my lovely” Stepping back to look into his face, he bent forward to place a kiss on her forehead. “Come”
Keeping a secure arm around her waist, Cole led her to the wall of the mountain, and with a wave of his hand a doorway appeared and he led Raven through the opening. Looking around she gasped in amazement at the beauty surrounding her. The walls of the cave illuminated pinks, greens and blues, yet there were no visable lights. It was if they had a life of their own and radiated their essence to create this beautiful display of color. In the center of the room was a long wooden table with at least twelve chairs set around it. Tall potted plants were set in the corners of the room and a lovely centerpiece of bright colored flowers sat in the center of the table. The air began to vibrate around her, and one at a time a Carpathian appeared, until there were ten. Feeling her fear, Cole tightened his arm around her and whispered “Don’t be afraid my love, these are just my brothers” Looking up at him with eyes the size of saucers, Raven began to shake.
After the introductions were made they all sat around the table and the questioning began. “So little brother” said the eldest ” This is your human we have heard so much about.” Looking at Raven with all the love he felt for her shining in his eyes he replied “Aye Lucas, this is she” Nodding his approval he then asked “And is she your mate?” Cole looked his eldest brother directly in the eyes “Yes brother, she is” once again nodding ” Is she willing to turn?” As Cole was getting ready to respond, a very agitated Raven responded instead. “Please stop talking about me as if I’m not here!. If you want to know how I feel… ask me!” The look Lucas gave her would terrify a grown man, but not Raven. She stood her ground and never looked away. Moments ticked by until he through back his head a laughed. ” Ok then” he replied. The room seemed to let out a collective breath, and the tension ebbed away. “So tell me Raven, do you love my brother?” Looking at Cole, her eyes reflected what was in her heart ” With all I am and ever will be” she answered. “Then I will ask you, are you willing to give up the sun for the dark of the night? Will you allow yourself to be turned into a Carpathian?” Leaning forward Raven kissed Cole with every ounce of love she had, then looked at each and every man sitting at the table. “Cole is my life, the beat of my heart. I had nothing before him, abandoned and left to die in the forest, I fought to survive, and I won. And my reward was Cole.” Stopping for a moment she once again kissed him. “I gave up the sun the day I lost my soul to this man and I have never looked back. The night keeps all of my heart, and Cole is it’s keeper” Once again the room went silent and one by one the brothers disappeared with the exception of Lucas and Cole.
Cole and Raven stood before Lucas and awaited his judgement. “Cole and Raven, as the eldest, it is for me to decide what is best for our family. I see the love you share and I believe this feisty young women is indeed your life mate.” Taking Ravens hands in his own Lucus continued. ” Welcome to the family little sister.” Grabbing her up in a bear hug he held her tight for a moment, then kissed her on the cheek. Reaching for Cole he repeated the process. “At the next full moon, I expect the transition to be complete, then we will perform the uniting ceremony. Until then..” and he was gone.
Laying naked. entwined by the side of the waterfall, Cole and Raven rested after hours of loving. “The sun will be rising soon my love” Cole murmured between kisses. “We need to take you home” Sleepy and satisfied she allowed him to help her stand, and with a wave of his hand dress her again. Wrapping his arms around Ravens waist they once again took to the skies. Once back at the cabin, Cole tucked a sleepy Raven into bed. “Sleep well my love” Opening a hole into the ground, Cole slept the sleep of the dead below ground, as his love slept above. Soon they would share the some underground bed, and the night will keep their hearts.