These stories are works of fiction and their characters do not exist outside the stories. Any resemblance to living people or places is strictly coincidence. These stories are 2004 - 2015 Julien Gregg. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. These stories contain material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of these stories may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retieval system without express written permission from the author.


Again

There he was in all of his glory. I’d seen him for the first time after only being awake for a short time. Now I was seeing him in the sunlight with the golden rays around him. His dark hair was perfectly parted and nicely styled. His squared jaw line was prominent even when his breathtaking smile was played out on his beautiful lips. His eyes sparkled as he looked back at me and I knew that my heart was his.

The strange way that I found out that he liked me too is now something we laugh about. I can’t put into words what it meant that this beautiful boy wanted me just as much as I wanted him. It had been Hell not being able to tell him how I felt. Now I could shout it out to him with more than words. He was mine now and that was what made my heart swell.

Even now so many years later the sight of his smile will make my heart beat faster. I love him with every part of my body and soul. To hear him say those three little words back to me is like heaven again.


Always Remember I Love You

He sighed in his sleep as he turned on his side to face her. She stood there, dripping and cold to watch him for a moment. How could she say goodbye to him? This was her love, her heart. His heartbeat was strong. She could hear it from where she stood. Would he still love her? Would he move on and forget her? She couldn’t stand to think about that. She had to tell him.

“Will,” she said, reaching out a cold hand to touch him.

Instantly he was awake. He sat up, smiling at her as he rubbed sleep from his beautiful green eyes. His chestnut hair was messy from sleep, and he was beautiful. Oh how she loved him.

“Abigail?” he asked in confusion. “What are you doing here?”

“Oh, Will,” she said, tears coming now. She sat beside him and wrapped her arms around him.

“Abby, you’re so cold! My God what happened to you?” he asked, rubbing his warm hands up and down her arms as he held her. “Talk to me.”

“I wish we could stay like this forever,” she said as he looked into her blue eyes.

“What do you mean?” he asked in confusion as he ran his fingers through her wet red hair. “Abby, what’s going on?”

“They’ll come to tell you soon, Will,” she said, crying harder now. “Always remember that I love you, Will. Please don’t forget me.”

“Forget you?” he asked, holding her tighter. “What are you talking about? Abby, you’re scaring me.”

“Will, just know that I love you,” she said, holding him just as tightly. “Don’t forget me.”

“I could never forget you, Abigail Moss,” he said. “We’re going to get married in three days. What’s gotten in to you?”

“Will, I can’t tell you what happened,” she sobbed. “I don’t really remember it myself. But I know that I don’t have long. I can only stay until the sun rises. Please just hold me until then, and remember that I’ve loved you so much.”

He was confused, but he held her against him. He pulled the quilt around them to try and warm her cold skin. Had she been swimming in the lake at this hour? He couldn’t imagine it. He was sure that she was delirious from the cold. The things that she was saying made no sense. He just held her against him and watched as the dawn filled the sky. Then someone was knocking on his bedroom door.

“No, Will!” she cried, trying to hold him tighter. “Don’t answer it. I can’t stay if you answer it.”

“Abby, just wait here,” he said. “It’s probably my mom.”

He went to the door and opened it to the terrible news. His mother told him about Abigail drowning in the lake behind their home. He couldn’t process this. How could she be dead? She was sitting right there on the bed. He turned, but she was gone!

"Always remember I love you!"


Beau

I stood frozen in fear as I looked into the darkness. I could just make him out as he stood there at the gate. Beau Carpenter had died three nights ago. I hadn’t made it to the hospital before he died, but they'd told me that he’d lost too much blood. My heart died when they told me.

But there he stood at the gate, looking back at me with a small smile on his face. It was a smile that I’d seen a thousand times. It was a lopsided kind of grin that he was famous for. Tears streamed from my eyes as I stood and looked at him.

“It’s me, Evan,” he said. The voice was that of an angel, yet I could still hear the underlying timbre that was all Beau.

My mind screamed that this was impossible even as I found myself walking out my front door and down the walk to the gate where he stood. This was the love of my life. He was alive somehow and he’d come back to me.

“Oh, Beau,” I sighed as I reached out and touched his face.

Then I instantly recoiled as every fiber of my being screamed out that what I’d touched was too cold. Not alive is what my senses kept screaming at me. Beau was there, but he was not alive.

“Don’t fear me, Evan,” he said, stepping closer to me. His cold arms went around my waist as I tried to step further back. “I came back for you.”

It must have been the moon catching his eyes, but at that moment I swear they shined liked an animal’s but with the façade of humanity. My hands shook as I raised them to his face again to touch his cold skin. Then I just didn’t care if was alive or not. He was there. The man that I loved was standing before me. My arms went around him as he buried his cold face in my neck.

The pain was only slight as his fangs sank into my vein. I heard his heartbeat, or maybe it was mine. It was loud in my ears and it took a minute for me to realize that I was hearing both of our hearts beating as one. Then I was staggering, and he caught me up again.

“Don’t be afraid,” he said, but his voice came to me as if through a long tunnel. “It’ll only hurt for a little while. Then we’ll be together forever in the night.”


Darkness Calls

It’s time. The sun has set and the moon is now bathing the world with its pearly glow. Insects begin to make their strange music that only the night listens to. Leaves begin to rustle with an unfelt breeze as the night shifts deeper. I stir. I inhale slowly, letting the sweet breath fill my slumbering lungs. This is my time, this darkness, time for my stagnant heart to quicken once again.

I stretch my arms over my head, smiling and running my tongue over the sharp points of my teeth as I contemplate what this glorious night has in store for me. This is my time. I live for the darkness that quickens my heart and fills my lungs with the breath of life. It’s time for me to move out into the world and see what there is to see on this night.

I come out of the darkness of my tomb to greet the children of the night with just one of the million smiles my lips will form this night. My heart soars as I greet the night and know that something delectable is waiting in the darkness just out of my mind’s reach. I can sense it waiting for me, most probably unaware that it is waiting. Is it a man? Is it a woman? Is it even human? My pallet doesn’t discriminate of late. I am a prince of the night and my hunger will guide me.


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Frozen Forest

The hike had been hard. He remembered that much. He remembered the crunching of the snow under his boots and the biting wind as it battered what was exposed of his face. He remembered falling, but he couldn’t remember why he’d fallen. Night had fallen ages ago. The sky was beginning to lighten again as he lay there staring at the receding stars. The pain was gone now. The night had taken it from him. Now he was just cold.

Someone had been with him. He couldn’t think of who it was. Was it Tina? He hoped it wasn’t. If it was Tina then the woman he loved was out there somewhere in the forest. She wouldn’t have survived this night. He wasn’t so sure that he was going to survive it as he looked up at the sky as the midnight blue softened and turned a deep violet almost plum before giving over to a scarlet mixed with violet and blue.

It would be about an hour, he knew, before the sun finally made itself known to the sky again. It struck him, how beautiful the sky was. The falling snow seemed to be spilling forth from the last of the night stars. He accepted as he looked up at the magnificent heavens that he would die here. He was sure he’d be dead before the dawn could fully overtake the sky.

He thought again about who it was that had been with him on his hike when the sun was still in the sky and the snow hadn’t yet started to fall. Who? It wasn’t Tina. He remembered that much. Tina was waiting at the lodge, preparing for the day. They were to be married today, and his heart broke with the knowledge that he would let her down by freezing to death in the forest beyond the lodge.

Consciousness was slipping away from him. Already a deep blackness was seeping around the edges of the beautiful sky. He knew that his time was short. He just wished that he could tell her that he loved her one last time. Just one last time was all he wanted.

Then he heard it. It was a rustling in the snow covered bush. It got louder until a bright yellow animal burst through the brush. Porthos! His faithful golden friend. His dog had returned, and as his eyes closed he saw that he’d brought people!

They worked quickly to get him off the ground. They’d brought a body sled with them. No one had died in this woods in over sixty years, and Jacob Allen Parish, the rich son of Deacon Parish wouldn’t be the one who broke that record. Not today. Thanks to his beautiful Golden Retriever, Porthos, they’d found him.

They missed the wedding, but Tina was so happy to be sitting by his bedside at the hospital, reading to him. She’d even made sure that Porthos was there too. The frozen forest hadn't won after all.


Gone Forever

It was my turn to stand before the still form of the only woman I’d loved for my entire life. Her face was peaceful as if she were merely sleeping.  It took more of myself than I thought it was possible to give to be able to stand there and keep from falling apart. She was gone now and there would be no way to bring her back. 

Tears fell from my eyes as I remembered the times that she had held me in her arms. Her beautiful voice had told me time and time again that I was the most important person in the world. Her unconditional love gave me strength to face the harsh realities of life. Now all of that was gone and I was alone.I lost my battle with the fragile grip I had on those tears that hadn’t fallen and they became a sea as my heart shattered with pain in the knowledge that she was really gone. I can’t say that I’ll ever get over losing her or that the pain will ever really go away. She was a remarkable woman, friend and lawyer. Most of all she was my mother. Gone forever.


Into the Light

It was quick and painless the way he died when the sun went down. He just closed his eyes and breathed one last time before his life slipped out of his body and into the blazing light that the human eye cannot see. In the morning family and friends will mourn, but tonight the dead are at peace with the darkness.

How much darkness does one life really see? How much hatred and pain can one life actually cause another? Questions that remain unanswered, but the dead know these truths. One day we will all know them like the dead do now.

What is the light? Religions around the globe have an answer for this question, but is it the truth? The dead know the true answer, and one day those who are alive will know it as well. Until that time we must go through our lives without the truth that we seek.

We have faith in many things, but do we truly have faith that what lies in the light at the end of our lives is peace? Can anyone really say they believe that with their whole heart? Some say that you won’t go when they do. What does that really mean? Are they privy to some secret that you do not possess? Will you know this secret when death comes to your door?

We will all go one day to that light that only the dead can see. I can only hope that when I go into the light I can meet it bravely and with a clear heart. For it will be too late to change things once I see it for real.


Joy

I’m here, my beloved. I know that you can’t see me, but can you feel me take your hand? I want so badly to comfort you in this time of suffering, but it won’t be long now. I can feel it, my love. We’ll be together again when this is done. I’ll be here to teach you and show you that it isn’t the end. Oh how your suffering pains me.

Just a little while longer, my love. The time is close. You’ll not feel the suffering any longer when this is over. I promise you this, my love. Nothing will touch you again after this. I’ll be with you. I swear I’ll finally take your hand and we’ll be together again. Oh but it’s been so long!

I’m here and you’ll feel me soon. My lonely walk in your shadow is nearly over now. I’m torn between joy and sadness now. I want to feel the joy of being reunited with you, but the sadness of watching you suffer so  badly is making it hard for me. I’ve longed for this day to come, but I didn’t think that it would be so painful for you.

Outside your window I see the coming of the dawn. Will you be with me before it arrives? Can we walk in the magnificence of the waking day together at last? I dare to hope that this is over before the day comes. I want this to be the last night that I’m alone while you suffer. I want the suffering to be over. Please let it be over now.

“I’m scared.”

Shock fills me! Are you speaking to me? Oh it won’t be long now, my love. There’s nothing to fear. I will be with you. I promise. I can feel you stronger now, my love. It is coming! I’ll never leave you again. I swear we’ll be together forever.

“For so many days I’ve thought I could feel you with me.”

I am with you! I’ve been with you every day, my love. Oh how I wish you could know!

Then I see you. I’m holding your lifeless hand while you stand in the doorway in front of me. Oh the joy of seeing the years lifted from you! My love! Here, take my hand.

I see the dawn!

Yes! Isn't it wondrous? Oh, my love you're with me at last!


My Answer

Every day I thank the Gods for bringing you into my life. You’ve held me up when I was so close to falling and never once have you complained. You are the strength that I depend on and the man that I can count on. I love you more with every passing day. There are no words to tell you how much you mean to me. If I could show you in just one way then here it is. You asked a simple question and this is my answer.

I promise to be your best friend and care for you until my life’s end. I swear to you that my love is the truest thing you’ll ever know in life. My soul has been waiting for a love like yours to complete me and raise me up higher than the mountains. I hope to love you the way that you deserve for the rest of my life on Earth. Beloved, my answer is yes.


Sadness

I see you every day when the sun is in the sky, but you don’t pay any attention. In the shadow of the night I watch your every move and you still don’t know. You walk with your head held high in the light, but once the darkness comes you cry tears for the love that you lost.

I’m here, I try to say, but I have no voice to speak with now. It happened so suddenly that I don’t even know for sure what it was. I follow you through your days and nights trying desperately to tell you that I’m here, but fate is being cruel to both of us.

Am I doomed to walk in your shadow until you join me in this new existence? Why can’t I talk to you now? I wish you would tell me what happened and why you keep going to the cemetery at night to sit in front of a stone that I can’t read. I hear you talking to me as if I am not here and I can’t figure out why you can’t see me. Is it the darkness of the night that masks me? I’m so close to you that if you would just turn and look at me I’m sure you would see me.

You place flowers at the base of the stone and call out my name, and that anguish I hear in your voice finally makes me realize that what is chiseled into the stone is my own name! You can’t see me because you belong to the day and I am not part of the night. I’m here, my love. Hopefully one day you’ll hear me again.


The Terrible Dawn

The shadows stretch. My time is limited, but there is beauty here that I long to see. My heart tries to sing the song of the light, but there is no song for one such as me. The night is nearly over. There’s just time to get back. My hunger is sated, my bones are weary and this prince of the night must find his shelter from the scorching dawn.

This is sorrow and joy intermixed and indivisible for me. My memory is long and covers each of the nights of my existence. How I long for the days of my mortality; at least the memory of them. Maybe then I could finally watch the magnificent dawn overtake the darkness and spread light across the land.

I listen to the life of the forest and know that time is growing ever shorter as the children of the light wake up and shake off the dew and sleep that night had brought upon them. My time is done. It’s time to sleep. I am always jealous and fascinated by the children of light as they scurry and play around me while I make my way back to my hidden crypt. They’ll not think of me for hours as the day goes on, but when the light recedes once more it will be my time again.

Oh the colors of the dawn! The magnificent bronze and burning purples. The land turns gray before the light fills it with green and gold and beauty once again. I must hurry. Nothing must stand in my way. The dawn is approaching, and I must take shelter before the beautiful murderous rays find me.

And here inside my crypt just before I lay myself in the death pose inside my coffin I can see the horrifying rays of the light that touch the land just a few feet from the doorway to my chamber. Oh but the beauty of it all. It could quite possibly drive my vampire mind insane with heart breaking joy. Oh but to touch that light, to bask in its warmth and be a child of the light. Do I dare it? Nigh.

Already my bones are weary. I can feel the sleep steeling over me like a thief, making my movements slow and unsteady. Inside my coffin I breath out my last breath before the terrible dawn and lie back. My last though before the sleep takes me completely is of what it would be like to let those rays burn me until there was nothing left of me but energy. Is there more for one such as me?


The Flood

I was shivering so hard that my teeth felt like they would break. My older brother, Seth had me in his arms, but the water kept flowing over us. The river just kept rising. It was rising so fast that I couldn’t believe it. The water was so frigid that ice was floating on it in chunks.

“Are we going to get out of here?” I asked through my chattering teeth.

“They’ll find us, Scamp,” said Seth, and I realized that he was shivering just as violently as I was. We were freezing; probably to death, and there was no way that they would find us in time. I knew it, and from the tone of his voice he knew it, too.

He held me tighter, and I felt his body shaking. We were really going to die in our own back yard. The water kept flowing over the roof of the shed and down to where we were, the icy river of death washed over us over and over again. It drove the chill deeper and deeper into our bones.

“I wish Mom and Dad were here,” I moaned with my shaking voice.

“Mom and Dad are safe, Scamp,” he said, but his voice was low.

“Seth?” I said loudly, trying to turn in his vice like grip. “Seth, are you all right?”

“I’m with you,” he said in that low, dead voice. “Just hang on to me. They’ll come for us.”

I couldn’t remember why we were in the back yard anymore. I remembered the flood warnings and the call for the evacuation of our small town, but why we were in the back yard when we should have been out front to wait for the boats I couldn’t remember. There was a reason for it. I knew there was, but I couldn’t think about what that reason was now. I was too cold to think of anything other than that and the dead sound to my brother’s voice as he held my head above the water.

And then I saw it. The light from one of the boats was shining between the house and the trees. They were coming. I started to scream to them that we were in the back yard, but my voice wasn’t very loud. The water had frozen it, but they came to us. I could hear the men talking, but at first I couldn’t understand them.

Then there were hands pulling me into the boat. My brother! I kept trying to tell them to help him, but when I turned around in the man’s arms I saw Seth’s dark hair sink into the water. He was gone. I was saved, but my brother was gone. What would I tell them?


The Mist

It rolled in like fog off the water, but that was impossible. There was no water anywhere around the city. It was thicker than fog, yet it was so light that I could see everything around me as if it weren’t there. Then I felt it. The hairs on the back of my neck stood and I shivered. I stood there in the mist and watched the specter as a cold like I'd never known before washed over me. It was the cold of pure fear.

It moved as if it was floating. It glided closer to me and I could make out the face. This was the haunt everyone had been talking about for the last twenty years. The Wandering Man had finally shown himself to me, and I was terrified. I was so terrified that I couldn’t move.

He was dressed in a uniform just like they had all said he was. I’d always dismissed the local legends as superstitious nonsense, but now I was looking into his blue eyes. I could see his very short blond hair and his chiseled jaw line. His heavy brow was furrowed like he was confused.

I noticed the uniform and paid attention to it somehow. It was a soldier’s uniform, Army or Marine. I knew when my eyes lifted to the patch over his right breast exactly who I was looking at. The Wandering Man was my own father. He’d died coming home from Desert Storm, which was what made it so much worse. He had made it all the way to our home town only to be killed by a drunk driver on this very stretch of road.

He reached out his hand as if to touch me, and his lips moved silently. I could tell that he was saying my name and I started to cry as a car turned the corner and the headlights shone on me, breaking the spell. The mist was suddenly gone, and my father was gone with it. I stood there weeping as the car sounded a horn and swerved to go around me. I heard the driver all out something rude, but I didn’t care. The Wandering Man was my father and I’d finally seen him.


The Promotion

“Are you every going to say more than three words to me again?” he asked, crossing the room to sit across from her at the table with a sigh.

“What?” she asked, looking up from her newspaper.

“I asked you if you were going to talk to me like you used to again,” he said, looking at her intently.

“What do you want from me now?” she asked, folding the newspaper and placing it on the table in front of her. She still hadn’t looked him in the eye.

“You said that my taking this job wouldn’t change anything between us,” he reminded her.

They’d both been up for the job and when they’d offered it to him instead of her she’d said she was happy for him and that nothing would change. Now that he’d been in the job for more than a month things had definitely changed between them.

“What do you think has changed?” she asked, a slight sarcastic tinge tinting her tone as she finally looked him in the eye with such a cold gaze that he shifted his own eyes to the table.

“Everything,” he sighed. “I mean we used to at least talk things out, you know? But lately you only say a few words directly to me at most unless you’re telling me something needs fixed or a bill needs paid. It’s all because I took the job when they offered it to me instead of you isn’t it?”

“I don’t know why you have to make everything about you,” she said hotly. “Did you ever stop to think that maybe I’m tired after working the graveyard shift? Or did you think that everyone would magically be rested and ready just because you now work first shift? Tell me, Todd, what exactly do you want from me?”

“I want my wife back, damn it,” he said, slamming his hand on the table so hard she jumped. “You told me to take this damned job when they offered. I was ready to turn it down flat because I knew you wanted it. Then you talked me into it and swore that nothing would change between us, but if I touched you now I’d get freezer burn!”

She was silent for a moment as she stared at him. At least the frigid look was gone from her eyes, but he knew that she was gearing up for a big scream. He could see it in her tensed jaw muscle, her furrowed brow and the set of her shoulders.

“All right,” she said finally in a dangerously soft tone. “I hate it that you got this damned promotion instead of me, all right? I hate it. I’m tired of you getting everything when I’m the one who is more qualified.

“I guess this is as good a time as any to tell you,” she said, sighing. “When you get off work today I won’t be here. It’s over, Todd. We’re through. Have a nice life.”


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