Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Vengeance is Mine Part 7 by Dellani Oakes



My boot scraped against the stone and Luigi's head came up. He turned to me slowly. I stood a few feet away, my hands in my pants pockets, waiting for him to recognize me.
Do you come to pray with me?” he asked, obviously not knowing me.
No.”
Did you know my brother?”
I did.”
Why are you here, if not to pray?”
I am here to prey,” I replied, liking my play on words. “Upon you. Just as I preyed upon your brother.”
He stood up, yelling in fear when he saw me. “William! But you're dead!”
Yes. You and your brother killed me. I am here for my revenge, but also to pay a debt that's owed.”
You owe no debt.”
No, it is owed by another. His name is Michael.”
Michael who?”
I hadn't thought to ask. “That's not important. Suffice to say that his retribution is mine. Have you prayed sufficiently? Are you at one with God?”
You can't kill me here, William. This is a house of God!” He backed away from me, trying to get away.
I shrugged, moving closer. “That matters little to a dead man. Do hold still, won't you? It will be ever so much easier to kill you if you don't run.”
Father!” he yelled. “Father! Sisters! Help me!”
No one responded, for the good padre and the sisters hadn't lingered. They were tucked safely in their beds. I cornered him by the Communion Rail, pinning his body between my own and the wooden barrier between us and the alter. It seemed fitting he should die here. My fingers closed around his throat. I had no weapon, but the grip of death is sufficient to end a life. I watched the breath leave his lungs, the life dim in his eyes. Crushing his throat, I heard bones crack and I dropped his empty husk to dangle over the railing.
Now, to exact my final vengeance. I might not be able to harm Camille, but her brother had no such protection. She had told me to kill the Bartollis, I had done so. She promised me revenge, and I was not yet finished. I remembered her brother, though it took me mulling it over all day. He had worked for me, at one point, and had turned coat to work for the Bartollis. It was his betrayal which had led to my death. If I were to have my full revenge, then he would also have to pay. I knew his favorite haunts and visited them one by one.
In very little time, I found him, collapsed in an opium den, pipe in one hand, nubile, naked woman in his embrace. I dispensed with her easily, breaking her delicate neck. I regretted having to do that, but I wanted him to suffer. Rather than kill him myself, I chose to let the law do it for me. Once I had positioned him with his hands around her throat, I stood in the open doorway and called for the watch.
Murder! Death! He's killed her!” Running away from the den, I continued to yell. I passed one policeman, then another. Yelling and pointing, I set them off in the right direction. Satisfied that I had done enough mischief, I went back to my crypt.
Early the next morning, just as the sun rose, I felt the tingling on my spine once more. Taking my time, I strolled to her apartment. I thought it quite foolish that she summon me in daylight, but she didn't seem to care if I were seen or not. Greeting the milkman and bin men, I entered her apartment.
Camille stared me down, eyes rimmed red, tears blotching her face. “What have you done?”
I've done nothing but what you told me,” I lied. I wasn't nearly this dishonest in life. Funny what death does to a man. “I killed Luigi at the church.”
And got my brother arrested for murder. He'll hang!”
It was your brother who set the wheels of my destruction in motion. Your brother who turned coat and betrayed me to men I once considered friends. I have exacted my vengeance, that which you promised me. Be thankful that he's going to die by the law and not my hand. And be thankful, madam, that I do not turn my sights on you. Don't think I haven't seen that doll of yours.”
She tried to hide it behind her back, but I knew it was there.
It might protect you now, but it won't forever. Unless you set me free, I shall do all within my power to make you suffer and pay.”
Me, suffer? How dare you!”
You have made me suffer, shall I not get revenge for that as well?”
You? How?”
You made a killer of me. You forced me to do things I would never have done in life. You robbed me of my death. For that, I seek justice. And as you promised it to me, I will not rest until I have it.” With that, I left.
The compulsion tingled at my spine, but I ignored it and I knew it could not hold me forever. I made my way back to my cozy crypt, prepared to spend eternity seeking retribution. Yes, it's cold here in October, but how much colder is the living hell in which she now must live.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Vengeance is Mine Part 6 by Dellani Oakes



With a gurgling groan, Marco fell to the ground. I drove his knife into his chest, though he was already dead. Suddenly, the place was full of police. I shuffled into hiding, sidling toward the back door.
Steady, lads. Police!” someone bellowed.
The lights blazed on and the screaming started. One of the women had spotted Marco's body. In the confusion, I was able to slip out the back and leave. Rather than looking for Luigi, I headed back to the cemetery. I had no desire to go to Camille's home. For the moment, I was free of her manipulation, and I hoped to stay that way. With luck, she could not compel me from a distance. I supposed I would find out soon enough, if she summoned me.
I spent the rest of the night, as well as the day, in my crypt. However, at sunset, I felt a tingle at the base of my spine. It was not quite unpleasant. In fact, in life, I might have felt it oddly stimulating. It was accompanied by the urge to visit Camille.
By all things damned,” I fumed. Rising from my perch on Charles Marmont's headstone, I walked into the city.
Camille's door was unlocked when I arrived. She seemed strangely satisfied when I entered.
You're late.”
I had to come on foot. One can hardly summon a cab in my condition. Besides, I have no money with which to pay.”
I see you did my bidding.” She tossed the daily news upon the table.
The headline read Marco Bartolli Brutally Slain in Police Raid.
They can call it that if they wish. I slit the bastard's throat and stabbed him in the chest with his own knife.”
Good, now you can find his brother.”
That won't be as easy. It was merely a fluke that Marco was at the warehouse. If Luigi has a brain in his head, he'll go into hiding.”
Then you must find him.”
I put my hands on my hips, tapping my foot. “I'm not Sherlock Holmes, Camille. I cannot deduce his whereabouts.”
But I can. His brother died last night. Tonight, they sit vigil with him at Saint Mary's Church, but a stone's throw from here.”
You wish me to commit murder—in a church? By all the saints, if I was not damned before, I will be then! How can you ask such a thing of me?”
I am giving you the chance at revenge.”
You are giving me the threat of irrevocable damnation!” I bellowed.
Go!” She twisted something in her hand and I turned around, heading stiffly out the door.
The more I fought it, the more awkwardly I walked. It was starting to draw attention, so I followed the compulsion rather than battling it. The time would come when I exacted my final revenge. She might think she could control me, but now that I'd seen what she used against me, I could, perhaps, combat it. I'd spotted a crudely fashioned doll in her hands. It was a fair representation of me, in that it wore a suit and had a shock of hair that I assumed she got from me. Otherwise, it was featureless. I had heard of such things whispered about, though had never seen them used.
The church was lit from basement to belfry. People streamed in and out. How was I got get inside and kill Luigi with every criminal in the city walking the streets? I saw many of my old competitors, and compatriots, going inside. I would have to find a place to wait and get to him later, after they left. I knew, if he followed custom, Luigi would sit all night with his brother. I presumed that my mother had done so for me, though that was during my spate of darkness. How I longed for that nothingness. I had not noticed it at the time, but I surely missed it now.
Hours passed, it grew late. People left the church in small groups and pairs, wandering back to their lives. When I sensed that most of them were gone, I mounted the steps to the church and walked inside. Stopping to dip my hand in holy water, I wondered if it would do me harm. Chancing it, I crossed myself. My skin did not boil or melt, my bones did not catch fire and I wasn't sent, screaming, unto Hell. Satisfied, I walked boldly into the sanctuary.
Luigi was kneeling in front of the cross, head bowed in prayer. I heard the familiar Latin spilling from his lips, though I did not join him in his litany. Marco's coffin stood nearby, the occupant pale and still. The nasty gash I'd put in his throat was stitched to near invisibility and he wore a high, stiff collar to cover it.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Monday, October 29, 2018

Vengeance is Mine Part 5 by Dellani Oakes



Where are you going? I haven't given you permission to leave.”
You want a job done, I shall do it. But mark me well, I shall not forget, Camille.” My dead, unblinking eyes met hers. “Forever is a long time, my lass.”
Before she could say a word to stop me, I left. I had no notion of how she could control me, or the extent of her power over me. If I did what she wanted, why did it matter? I took the steps to the road two at a time and struck out for the headquarters of the Bartolli Brothers. I lied about that. Some criminals do have a place to meet. In their case, it wasn't so secret. They had a warehouse on the docks, much as I had, where they stored their opium. Mine also housed my antiques, for I had a legitimate business in that. It was nowhere near as lucrative as the other. I wondered what had happened to all my lovely things and suspected my mother had probably sold them for a pittance of their worth.
The Bartolli Brothers' warehouse was on the other end of the docks from mine. From Camille's flat, it was closer by nearly three miles. I knew the way well, for at one time, Luigi and Marco had been my friends. That was years ago, before they grew greedy and challenged me for my territory. Many a night, we had shared a cognac and a Cuban cigar, laughing happily. If I had yet a heart, remembering would pull at the strings. As it was, a dull ache filled my chest. Was it regret?
There was an unusual amount of activity at their warehouse and I presumed that they were expecting a shipment. Underlings scurried about, taking positions around the yard. I found a spot to observe, waiting to see the Brothers. Though, if they operated as I did, this was done through intermediaries. I never showed myself, preferring the anonymity of my social status. A gentleman does not sully his own hands. The Brothers felt much the same way, though if it were important enough, a negotiation, as it were, they would appear. I could only hope and wait. Watching from afar, I saw a boat appear. It was a small skiff, rowed in by two men. It sat heavily in the water and they strained to dig in their oars.
Silently, the little craft docked. Men walked forward to help unload. The crates were marked with the Chinese symbol for tea. My opium arrived much the same way, smuggled in with tea packets surround it, so that nosy inspectors would not find it. My wiliest manufacturer had devised a way to fashion the powder into jars. Once the product arrived, the jars were smashed, beaten to their components and sold.
I sensed movement to my right, within the shadows. My heightened senses observed men waiting in the deep darkness. Uniformed police were here, to stop the shipment and arrest the Bartollis. If I could have smiled, I would have. In the confusion, would another man be noticed? Might I rush in to the fray and kill the Brothers? Or would Camille be satisfied with their arrest?
Somehow, I doubted that she would. Admittedly, I wouldn't be either. I wanted to rip them limb from limb, but such might be noticed. Instead, I moved silent as death, a term I use with all the irony imaginable, to take a position behind the warehouse. I knew there was a secret portal hidden behind a pile of crates. I knew, because I had used it on more than one occasion. It was well oiled and rarely locked, so that the Brothers and their men could come and go silently and in secret.
Were I able to breathe a sigh of relief, I would have. I went through the motions of exhaling, but my breath was conspicuously absent. One thing I have retained in death, the sense of smell. If anything, it is more heightened than in life. Or perhaps, as it is one of only three left to me, I notice it more. I smelt cigars, fine wine and cheap women. The latter are characterized by too much perfume, and not enough soap. I also caught the scent of Marco's aftershave, an appalling concoction of lime and mint.
I crept closer, watching and waiting. The crates were on their way inside. Marco stood nearby, watching the off loading. I did not see his brother. Either this wasn't important enough for the older sibling to be here, or Marco was pulling a fast one. I strongly suspected the latter.
Put them over there,” he commanded. “Carefully! We cannot have them coming open! Hurry!”
The men from the boat were not to be seen. I presumed they were unloading onto the dock. These men were all Bartolli's. No, dammit, some of them were mine! They certainly jumped ship quickly. I'd been dead a span of weeks, and they were already working for the men who killed me. So much for loyalty.
What was that?” Marco held up a hand, commanding silence. “Lights!” He whispered harshly.
Someone doused the lights and we all stood in darkness for several moments, unmoving. Now was my chance. Since the dark did not disturb me, I crept up behind Marco. I knew the odious man carried a knife on his belt. Slipping it silently from the sheath, I closed my cold fingers about his throat.
Guess who,” I hissed as I slit his throat.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Vengeance is Mine Part 4 by Dellani Oakes



I paid a vast sum of money for the spell to resurrect you. I hadn't the coin to purchase the second.”
So, once I do your bidding, I am on my own?”
I fear so, yes.” Wide eyed, she inhaled slowly.
I do not like this.”
There is no liking or not in the matter, William. I need your help and will give it freely—or not. Another spell I did purchase, along with the one to raise you, was the one to compel you to do my will. I would that you agreed willingly, but if you don't....” She left those awful words hanging in the air.
You are an awful woman.”
You were an awful man. Because of you, and others like you, my brother is in the thrall of opium. You will rid me of these men. In doing so, you may gain retribution for the wrong deeds you did in the name of business.”
I'd quite started to like her until she said that. Anger welled in me and I lashed out. Mind you, I've never struck a woman, but I could not control my anger. She condemned me without knowing me. My hand froze before I raised it off the table. Shaking, it twisted back upon itself and I heard bones break. Though I felt nothing but an odd snapping, no pain, it still convinced me not to touch her. It's amazing what a small thing like a shattered hand, can do to convince a man to behave. No matter, I might not get her now, but she would let her guard down, and then she would join me in the afterlife, or the undeath.
When do I embark upon my quest?”
Immediately.”
The hand reshaped itself, but I still could not raise it.
Where are the Brothers?”
Her puzzled expression told me that she had no idea why I wanted to know that. In addition to that confusion, the wonderment that I did not already know.
Where they always are, I expect.”
And where is that?”
I do not know. A headquarters of some sort? Don't all you criminals have a secret place to gather?”
You've read too many Penny Dreadfuls,” I scolded. “No, we criminals do not. Of an evening, I was as likely to be at home, as I was to be at the opera. I did not crawl out of an odious hole.”
Oh. Then I expect you'll have to find them.”
I see. Not only am I to rid you of this nuisance, I must find them first. A dead man, whose face is not unknown to these men, wandering around looking for them. I can hardly ask directions.”
I hadn't thought of that.” Her eyes teared. “I just want Michael safe.”
I have the notion that I'd as happily kill her brother as the Bartolli Brothers.
Perhaps he can find them for you. If he's so busily avoiding them, knowing where they can be found, would be advantageous.”
That thought had not occurred, I can see it in her face. “I shall ask him. Tomorrow. The streets aren't safe at night. I dare not go out alone. Not a second time.”
I could go with you. I was not incapable of defending myself in life.”
You were murdered, William.”
I was caught unawares, ambushed. One trusts that on a busy city street, one does not worry so about such things.”
Were you in your secret hideout?”
I was at home. Enjoying a fine cigar and a snifter of brandy, to be exact. I keep telling you, I was a businessman.”
Whose trade was people's lives!”
Whose trade was in antiques. And the delivery of opium to those who wished to buy it. I forced no one's hand.”
But if you hadn't given access to it....”
They would have gotten it elsewhere. And if they had a whit of self-control, they would not be addicts, and I would have gone out of business.”
What are you implying?”
Nothing. I am saying that your brother is weak. He poisons his body with a drug, yet you blame me. Or the Bartolli Brothers, or the Queen, I shouldn't wonder. He made a choice, a bad one, as it happens. I had far easier access to the opium than your brother, and I never touched it.”
I suppose you think that makes you the better man?”
No, by damn!” I cried, standing, hammering my fist into the table. “It makes me a dead one!” Spinning on my heel, I headed for the door.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Vengeance is Mine Part 3 by Dellani Oakes



Invited to sit, I take off my hat, setting it on the table between us.
It's my brother, you see. He owes money to a very unfortunate individual.”
Do you mean unsavory, or simply unlucky?”
This cast her situation in a different light. She said she needed an item retrieved. Puzzled, I listened.
The former. Michael, my brother, has overextended himself, living beyond his means. Certain threats have been made against his person and I need you to ferret out those responsible and—take care of them.” This last is a mere mumble.
Sly minx lied to me!
By that you mean, I should kill them.”
Yes.” Her chin trembles, coming up almost defiantly. “For my brother's sake.”
Why should I do this for you? I don't know you or your brother. This isn't something I would have done in life, it isn't something I feel compelled to do in death.”
But I need you! I went to all this trouble. It is the least that you can do for me, since I have brought you back to life.”
Do I look alive? Do I breathe, or eat or blink? Come to that, young madam, did I have a choice? Though I did not wish to die so young, with so much left undone, I find that having my death interrupted is—unsettling.”
Surely it is a simple thing.”
Taking a life, simple? I never killed when I had breath, yet you ask this of me in death? How do I know that God doesn't curse me for crimes committed even now? Because I am dead, does that negate my guilt? I am able to think and speak. Surely a cognizant human, one capable of reasoning, is still as guilty of a crime if it's committed after death?” My mind was, as it were, boggled. I've never been a philosophical man. Though, were I one, I cannot imagine that this subject ever came up. A priest might speculate, but I dared not approach one.
You have to help me. My brother's life is in danger.”
I sat back, hands on my knees, considering. How any of this was possible, I didn't know. Honestly, I didn't want to know.
This is a terrible imposition.”
I am sorry.”
I don't even know your name.”
Camille.”
Who are the men to whom he owes money?”
The Bartolli Brothers.”
If I'd had breath in my lungs, I would have expelled it. “Luigi and Marco Bartolli?”
Yes, the very same.”
The bastards who killed me because they wanted to muscle in on my trade. I was the most prosperous purveyor of opium in the city. They murdered me, shot in cold blood, so they could take my enterprise from me. Here this lass gave me the very means to exact my revenge, albeit posthumously, from the very men who ended me. I dearly wanted to say no. I cared little what fate her brother suffered. If he owed money to the Brothers, it's because he was either a distributor or addict—probably both. There were a fair few who sold the product to support a habit of their own.
It isn't his fault,” she started to explain.
It is, though. If he is in league with these men, it is because he is no better man than they. I was not a good man, Camille. But I was no killer.” Not directly, though my product had likely taken a good few lives. There was a fine line, to be sure, but I had never taken a life with my own hands.
I did not come across you entirely by accident, William. Many people die in this city every day. Do you think finding a fresh corpse is difficult? I chose you because I hoped that, given what these men did to you, that you would kill them for me. How often does one have the opportunity to exact vengeance from beyond the grave?”
Her logic gave me pause. The cold, heartless calculation of it all was off-putting, but, dare I say, titillating as well. Though I'd not have thought it possible, a thrill ran down my spine. I found the idea appealing, when put in that framework.
We have no idea that I will be capable of doing what you ask. What if they shoot me?”
Again? You are already dead, William.”
Cut off my head, hang me. Can I die?”
How could you do so twice?”
When this is over, will you lay me to rest once more?”
I can't make that promise.”
But you brought me back. Surely you can give me some rest in the hereafter!”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Friday, October 26, 2018

Vengeance is Mine Part 2 by Dellani Oakes



Gasping loudly, she spun around, clutching her throat. She is a pretty thing, delicate of feature. Her dark brown eyes look nearly black in the twilight. She takes a step away, tripping over a divot of soil. I, ever the gentleman, reach out to steady her. Her skin is warm and she smells sweet. Though she is certainly afraid, she doesn't pull away as one might expect.
There you are.” She smiled up at me.
I do not know you. Do I?”
No.”
Then why have you brought me back, to this? Have I wronged you in life?”
No, not at all.”
Then why,” I asked again, more patiently, “have you brought me back?”
I need your help.”
Dear madam, surely a living man would be of more help to you than I.”
No, you are precisely what I need.”
I beg you, tell me how. For I cannot conceive of how I will be any help at all.”
I need for you to retrieve something of mine that was stolen. It is a very dangerous task, and cannot be entrusted to anyone living.”
Crossing my arms, I frowned at her. It must be a horrifying sight, for she cringes away from me once more.
It must be a very precious item, indeed, for a lass such as you to go to the trouble of raising a dead man. This is extremely inconvenient,” I continued. “I should like to have been consulted.”
I couldn't consult you before hand, you were dead.”
Why me?”
Because you are newly dead. Too old a corpse, and the body has forgotten what it means to be alive. You can't call the spirit back. You have been dead a handful of weeks. Your spirit was still lingering. It was quiet easy to summon you.”
I dislike the idea that I can be called like a dog, to do her bidding. The words formed on my lips, but I didn't utter them. I can see her casting about, afraid.
Can we leave here?” she asked.
I don't know if I can. I haven't tried. There is nothing here to hurt you. No other spirits linger.” I objected strenuously to that word, for it makes it sound as if my spirit hung about like a pair of old socks. “Only you and I, and I shall not harm you.”
Why not?”
I tried to blink, but I'm not sure I accomplished it. “I have no reason to do so.”
I should still, very much, like to leave.”
We can hardly wander the city together. I fear I look a sight. I can't be certain, but logic dictates....”
Aside from being somewhat pale, you don't look too bad. You were a handsome man, William. Pity we never met when you were alive.”
Precious little good it does either of us now that I'm dead,” I muttered.
She is not a bad looking woman, with hair and eyes like coal. Her complexion gleams pale in the moonlight. It occurs to me that she is not much more rosy cheeked than I. Though a most resounding difference separates us—she has breath. I do not.
We walk a very long time, or so it seems. I was a robust fellow in life, and such a walk would not have hurt me, but she is slender and more delicate. I slow my pace, setting my steps to match her own, which she seems to appreciate.
What is it that you need of me?”
I'll tell you when I get you home. It is not something easily described.”
So I had gathered, for why else resurrect a dead man if the task were easily accomplished by a living one?
We come to a row of flats, neatly stacked side by side, and one upon the other. She is on the bottom floor, her apartment somewhat submerged. The windows look out upon the mews, such as it is. More of a rubbish bin and scraps of paper twisting and billowing in the wind; not quite writhing away.
Would you like some tea?” she asked as we entered her flat. “Can you drink tea? That is....”
No, thank you. I no longer drink nor eat. I have no notion if I even have my organs anymore.”
She wrinkled her nose at that remark. It's not a pretty image to instill in her mind, but it is the fact of my existence and I find that such things no longer make me squeamish.
Do you mind if I do?”
No. Perhaps while the kettle boils, you can tell me what you need of me.”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Vengeance is Mine Part 1 by Dellani Oakes


Vengeance is Mine is a step in a different direction for me. I originally wrote it for an anthology, but changed my mind. I thought it would be a fun way to herald Halloween. So sit back, sip your favorite hot beverage, and enjoy a slightly creepy story from me to you!

It's cold here in October. A scattering of snow already covers the ground. Funny, I don't remember it being quite so cold when I was alive.
Perhaps an explanation is in order. I am dead. Or at least I was. I remember taking my final breath. Time passed, I assume my body was processed as is acceptable by law. I awoke in a coffin in a crypt and cannot but wonder how I came to be there. I have no memory of the time between, not even of a sojourn in Heaven, Hell or Purgatory. There was a vast nothing when I closed my eyes for the last time, until I woke again.
I am dead. I assure myself of this fact in that I have no pulse, nor do I breathe. I stand in this freezing cold, no mist of steam comes from my mouth and nose. I do not inhale or exhale. I do feel cold, though perhaps that is simply me and not the environment at all?
This state of physical limbo, in which I find myself, is quite inconvenient. My home was sold, my belongings given away. I have no way to clothe or feed myself. Then again, I have no need for food, being dead. However, a warm coat would not go amiss. I have yet to see my image in a glass. I hope that it's not unseemly, for I would welcome someone to talk to. If my visage is altered by my time in death, it would be terrifying to others, so I have kept to myself, wandering the cemetery aimlessly.
I tried to see my face in the brass plate of my tomb, but it's covered in lettering, telling all who care to look, my name and dates of birth and death. I was not yet an old man, being less than fifty, though more than thirty. I have no wife to grieve me, no children to put flowers by my tomb. I had a mother, my father gone these many years. I do hope she is well. Though I am dead, I take solace in the idea that she is still alive, remembering me fondly. Perhaps not so fondly. There were many times she and I did not get along. Not entirely my fault, though not entirely hers, either. Families argue, children defy their parents. Parents go out of their way to annoy their children.
So it was with my mother and me. She took umbrage to my choice of profession. I took offense at her scathing remarks of the same. However, when I was able to pay fully, in cash, for my home, rather than taking it out in installments, she felt differently. I became quite wealthy, dealing in antiques and, dare I admit even now, opium. This latter was kept well to ourselves, for not all consider the trade acceptable. Nor is it. Though one has to admit that feeding another's addiction is often quite lucrative.
But, I digress.
Taking a seat on a headstone, that of a Charles Marmont, no friend nor kin of mine, I watch the city slow its pace. The sun sets in magnificence, a blaze of red, orange, rose and violet. Situated on a hill, the cemetery has a priceless view. How wasted this is upon the dead, for we have no need of it. The living, who would appreciate it more, hardly notice, caught up in the bustle of their lives. I, having naught else to occupy my mind, have ample time to note that there was more red in it this time yesterday. Less pink, and a touch of fawn. I wish that I had my paints, for it would occupy me. I must admit that immortality is somewhat dull.
There is a rustle in the bushes. Rather than a dove or a wayward hare, I sense a presence. A person, alive and breathing, has entered my domain. A peculiar happenstance at this time of day. In fact, in the week I've been undead, this is the first person to grace this solitary setting. She doesn't see me, intent upon her destination. She moves quickly, as if the coming of the night frightens her. I would offer to accompany her, but a man, especially one who is undead, would very likely give her a turn. Then again, if she were to die of fright, she might provide a companion for me in my tedium.
I do not move or speak, merely watch her through night's eyes. One advantage to being less than alive, I do so tire of saying undead, is that I can see in the dark as well as I may in full daylight. As I say, I watch her walk through the gathering gloom, intent upon her purpose. It is then that I notice she has headed to my tomb! Why? I wonder. For she is no one that I remember from my life. Indeed, I had no special someone. A man in my profession does not often interact socially, except with a rather putrid underbelly of society. The women one meets in those circumstances, are hardly the type one takes home to meet mother.
William?” I hear her voice call my name. “William, where are you?”
Do I answer her? She is obviously looking for me. Why should I answer? Surely, she cannot know that I am alive—undead?
I know you're here, William. I raised you myself. Come, let me see you.”
What need have you, of me?” I asked from behind her.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Red River Radio Presents What's Write for Me with Jenny and Mark

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TODAY Wednesday, October 24, join Dellani and Christina as they chat with authors JS Burke and Mark Stevens. This is Jenny's second visit, and Mark's first. We know they'll have a great time, and so will you!

Stevens Head Shot 

The son of two librarians, Mark Stevens was raised in Lincoln, Massachusetts. He graduated from Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in the suburbs of Boston and from Principia College in Illinois. He worked as a reporter for The Christian Science Monitor in Boston and Los Angeles; as a City Hall reporter for The Rocky Mountain News in Denver; as a national field producer for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (PBS) and as an education reporter for The Denver Post.

After journalism, he worked in school public relations before starting his own public relations and strategic communications business. He lives in Denver. Mark and his wife have two grown daughters.

Mark is currently president of Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America and hosts a regular podcast, The Rocky Mountain Writer, for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Mark is the author of the Allison Coil Mystery Series which includes Antler Dust, Buried by the Road, Trapline, Lake of Fire and his newest release, The Melancholy Howl.

JS Burke

J. S. Burke is the creator of the award-winning Dragon Dreamer series: Science Fantasy Adventure with flying dragons and an undersea world. Burke has worked as an author, artist, and marine biologist, studying creatures of the dark abyss and diving on coral reefs. The author lives in Georgia with family and rescue pets. Burke loves chocolate and so do the dragons!

The Dragon Dreamer series grew from years at sea, a fascination with the alien, intelligent octopuses, and a love of dragons. These stories blend imagination with real science and author experiences. The deadly sea storm that threatens Arak, a young dragon, is one Burke survived. This series of young adult books is for age 9 and older. "Fantasy Snowflakes Coloring Book" has original, hand-drawn snowflake mandalas inspired by the Dragon Dreamer series. J.S. Burke is the author of The Dragon Dreamer and Dragon Lightning and Fantasy Snowflakes Coloring Book.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Bedfords Have Traveled From Sea to Sea by Nelda B Gaydou


For the past year or so, I've been helping to promote other authors. I recently got a few new ones, so I decided to share their work here, along with mine.



From a three-week voyage of more than 7000 miles from New Orleans to Buenos Aires in 1964 through an eight-day, 3258-mile round-trip drive between Evanston, Illinois and Clovis, New Mexico in 2017, whether in their prime or in their nineties, the Bedfords have packed a lot into their life's journey. Follow their inspiring story of faith and service, set in fascinating times and places in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres.



Thursday, October 18, 2018

Police Sergeant Ronan McCullough's Investigation Leads Him into Deep Trouble Fragile Brilliance by Eliot Parker


For the past year or so, I've been helping to promote other authors. I recently got a few new ones, so I decided to share their work here, along with mine.



When off-duty Charleston police sergeant Ronan McCullough responds to the assault of a college student outside a downtown sports bar, he is brutally attacked and nearly killed by the assailants. As he struggles with the physical and emotional damage and doggedly pursues the perpetrators, his personal and professional relationships are strained to the limit; and what he uncovers in his investigation takes him to heart of a deadly drug ring threatening the very core of the city.








Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Follow the anecdote-driven story....To Ends of the Earth: High Plains to Patagonia by Nelda B Gaydou





On the road to seek work in the cotton fields of Texas, an old Ford Model T truck breaks down and forces a change of destination that ultimately leads the protagonists to the Argentine Patagonia. Follow the anecdote-driven story of a devoted couple who spent their childhood in the U.S. Southwest during the Great Depression, met and married during World War II, and together undertook a lifelong journey of adventure and service.




Poplar Mountain Part 48 by Dellani Oakes

After talking to the sheriff, Luke and Will decide that spending the night with the girls again, is a good idea. They talk about Big Ear...