Thursday, December 19, 2019

Notice about serial I'm Something Else

I'm afraid the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations have been taking up my time, along with my card designing. Fear Not!  I will be back to continue this serial after the Christmas Festivities. In the meantime I wish you all a Joyful Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful 2020


Credit: Holly spray coloured by Helen using graphics by Joanne's Digital Designs under licence.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

I'm Something Else - Part 3

When I reached the corner, it was nowhere in sight. I slowed my pace and proceeded down the road. It could be anywhere, waiting, watching. I scanned the surrounding area, paying special attention to the darkest nooks and crannies of the street. 
- ----------------- -

These creatures were cunning hunters, feeding upon the soul of the living. They inserted their fine needle like nails into their victim's neck and somehow drew out their soul to feed greedily upon it, leaving their victim an empty shell that  crumbles into a dusty heap. They only need one soul a night to survive, which means the one I'm tracking still needs to hunt.

Where do these monsters come from? I expect you're wondering and what makes me so special that I can face them? Perhaps I should give you a little more detail.  

The creatures have existed long before I was born. I remember mama telling me that they did not know where they had originated from, only that they knew about them. It was several years into the battle with them that one of my ancestors came upon a nest buried deep within a rock face. She apparently had a vision of this nest and following her instincts found it. There clustered together were several small bundles covered in a fine sheath of skin, waiting to break free. As she proceeded to draw her knife to cut these into shreds, two bright blue bulging eyes glared at her from a dark corner within the cave.  Clutching her knife, she steadied herself as it rushed towards her. The story goes that this one was different, bigger, brighter and somehow transformed itself into a human figure. Now it was less clumsy and more agile. It stood a good six foot plus, dark hair, rippling muscles but still with the needle like nails. The fight was a fierce one, she had to avoid those nails getting anywhere near her neck and although the skin on her her arms were ripped to shreds, she managed to make the one cut that counts and sliced out its heart.  Mama said that it is thought that this creature was the first and produced all others. It is believed that its not of this world but a much darker one, one that exists alongside our own. Mama also said that no one since has seen one transform and I often wonder why that is? There have been no more nests and that leaves us to believe that they can move freely from their world to ours as they wish.

As to my race, we are said to originate from another that visited our world and mixed their genetics with our own, resulting in a people that look like ordinary humans, but  have a more resilient skin that heals itself, a strength that could lift 5 times that of a normal human and as you already know a faster speed.  There are at any 200 year span, only 6 of us that exist, doing just as I am, hunting down these dark creatures from a parallel  world to our own.

 - --------------------- -

 In the distance I see a figure walking towards me, a man wearing a rain coat, collar turned up, trilby hat on his head and hands in his pocket. He is walking quite fast and I think he must be in a hurry to get somewhere. As he approaches me I see that his hat is pulled down over his forehead almost but not quite hiding his eyes. I smile as he reaches me and he nods as he passes by. Out of the corner of my eye I catch him make a side way glance at me. For a second I freeze. Did I see a flicker of blue? It couldn't be could it? One who can transform? I swung around in time to see the tail end of his raincoat disappear back around that corner and if I'm right, back to that night club.

To be continued.....

©Helen A. Howell 2019

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

I'm something Else - Part 2

The world has changed so much since mama's time, she wouldn't believe it. Here and now in 2019 I have lived for 159 years. Instead of the ball gowns she use to go out in, I go in tight jeans, skimpy tops, midriff bear, hair that is allowed to tumble wildly around my shoulders. My lips the colour of stawberries, red, lush, tempting. Ha, poor mama, she would turn in her grave to see me now.   

Yes, I know that you are wondering what a 159 year old woman would look like in that get up, but there is something I should also tell you not just about me, but about my kind, that is, we don't age past 35years. Young forever, every woman's dream I expect you'd say. However, I couldn't do what I do if I were to become haggered.  

I now have 41 years left to my 200th birthday, and I am being pressured to produce an heir - did I mention we only bear a girl child?  I know I must think about that soon and find a suitable partner. Not your ordinary man, something special, something that will contribute to what she will have to undertake.

 - ----------------- -

The streets are dark and wet, the lamp lights reflect upon the pavement. I pull my leather jacket tighter around myself as I head to tonight's destination. They seem to have a fondness for the nightclubs. Perhaps it's easy pickings for them.  There are places where these things lurk. They can hide in the shadows, hang against the walls, waiting, watching for the right moment. 

I reach the entrance, take the steps that lead to the club below. I part with a $20 bill and step inside. The coat check girl smiles and points to the hangers.
I shake my head, and move forward. The lights are dim, the atmosphere smokey. No bans on cigarettes down here. I make my way through the crowded  tables, across the small dance floor, where several couples gyrate together to the very loud music, and arrived at the bar. I perch on a stool and wait for the barman to notice me. His eyes meet mine and he walks over to where I sit.

"What can I get you?" His gaze cruises over me and I know what he is thinking.
"Make it a Wicked Lady." I run my tongue over my lips to moisten them.
He turns towards the bottles behind him and puts together my drink.
"Here you go." He smiles as he places the champagne glass down.
"Go on say it, I know you want to." I smile back.
He laughs, "You look wicked enough to me, without having that drink."
"Why, thanks, you don't look too bad yourself." 
I raise my glass in a salute and take a sip. I didn't want to be rude, or draw anymore attention to myself  but experience told me, flatter them and they'll go away happy. He tips his head and as I hoped, went to take care of others waiting to be served.

I pick up my drink and look for somewhere I can sit and observe the room. I sense a presence lurking. I just needed to pin it down. There is a comfortable chair over to one side that would enable me to see all around. I sit and take another sip of my drink. I'm going to need it before the night is over.

An hour or two passed but I could still feel it. I scan the room once again, paying attention to the darkest corners. Nothing. Then as I look away from the back wall, I catch something in my vision. I turn my full attention to that area. It is hiding so well that even I had to concentrate to see it. It is bigger than any I have seen before, dark as a black cloud, hovering over the back of a young woman who was totally oblivious to it. I see its long bony fingers with nails like needles reach towards her neck. I put down my drink, now was the time to act before it can claim another victim. I reach into my jacket and pull from a hidden pocket a knife, not just any knife, but one that is able to slice the heart out of this monster. 

I move swiftly across the floor in its direction, but just before I reach it, someone scrapes back their chair, stands and bashes into me making me lose my balance for a split second. In that second, disturbed by the sudden noise, it turns its head. Bulging eyes, shining bright blue, stare straight at me. It realises I can see it and it sees the weapon in my hand. It snarls and turns disappearing through the solid wall.

I rush to the entrance and up the stairway. Out on the street I look around, then I see it several yards down the road, turn the corner.

I dash after it at twice the speed of a normal human being.( But then I'm not human am I.)  Every bone in my body was telling me this was going to be a long night.....

To Be Continued.....

©Helen A. Howell 2019



Monday, November 11, 2019

I'm Something Else - Part 1

It's time for me to tell you about myself. I have seen so much in this long life I have endured, things you wouldn't believe, things you wouldn't want to know about, things that would make your flesh creep and your heart beat out of control.

Let me start at the beginning. My name is Della and I was born in 1860. Yes born, not changed by anyone, but pure in blood. As a young child I was free of the knowledge I now have. Free to be   innocent of the world we all live in.  As I grew I started to sense those things around all of us, that others seemed oblivious to.

I remember my mother, Helena was her name, going out of an evening. She looked beautiful. Her dress hugged her torso and tumbled into silken folds that cascaded down to her tiny feet. Her auburn hair glinted in the moonlight. It was piled on top of her head, small ringlets escaped to frame her face. She had a pale porcelain like skin, her cheeks bore the merest smudge of pink.

"Where are you going, mama?"
"I have things to take care of. Nothing for you to worry your pretty head with."
She smiled not just with her lips, but her eyes also. A deep blue sapphire colour, they sparkled in the dark of the night.
"You go out every night, mama."
"I know my child. One day you will understand."

That day dawned on me on my 16th birthday. Mama took me to one side and whispered what I needed to know. What I needed to understand about myself.  At first it confused me, but then certain things dropped into place. My ability to sense them around me, even if I didn't know what they were. But now I did and it horrified me.  

Mama explained that we came from a long line that stretched back into the past centuries. That this task we are burdened with has been ours and ours alone. She said we do not live forever, just for a couple of hundred years and that I must carry on after her. That her time was almost up. She said she must prepare me and that I should learn all that I can.

Over the next few years I developed the ability to not just sense those things that move through our world, now I could see them, which meant, if I was not careful, they could see me watching them.
By the time mama passed on, I had learnt all that I could from her.  This legacy she had left me, was a dangerous one. I could only hope that I had the strength to see it through.

To Be Continued.....

©Helen A. Howell 2019


Saturday, September 28, 2019

Ticket To Ride - A Ghost Story

She waited by the edge of the track. The trains always made her feel alive as the draft of air whooshed past her and the wind whipped her hair from side to side. Her eyes followed the retreating iron horse as it sped away; the rumble of the wheels resounding on the metal. She fancied she could hear words in the rhythm of those wheels as they danced their way along the cool steel.  Marley stood listening to the echo carried by the breeze that followed in the wake of the locomotive.
What happened to the steam trains? she thought.
Marley frowned as she tried to remember when things had changed. One minute they were there and the next gone. Trains had always fascinated her. She lived just beyond the train tracks and could hear them, no not just hear them, see the steam rising in great white puffs to float across the sky like smoky tendrils reaching for the heavens.
She would run down the garden, her mother calling after her.
“You stop this instant Marly. Come back girl or they’ll be hell to pay.”
Marley didn’t care; swinging the gate wide, she would fly down to the tracks, pinafore billowing out, her boot clad feet slid and scraped in the mud as she clambered down the embankment to arrive just as a train went by. The driver would pull the whistle string and two loud toots would explode into the air. Marly would laugh and clap her hands as she stood and waved to the passengers who raised a hand in greeting at the small girl on the bank.
No one waves these days. Marly sat down on the grass and rested her elbows on her knees and her head in her hands. She knew when she went home her mother would be cross. She could hear her voice in her head and knew by heart what she would say.
“I told you not to go. I should beat you within an inch of your life my girl.” But Marley knew she wouldn’t. Her mama was just frightened that some harm would come to her that’s all. “Look at the mud on you! What is it about trains and you?” Her mother would  shake her head, but a smile always was on her lips.
Dear mama and papa. Marley’s eyes glassed over but no tears fell. She hadn’t cried in such a long time, in fact she couldn’t remember when she last did. She lifted her head off her hands, stood up and smoothed down her pinafore. “Another train,” she whispered. She cocked her head to one side and listened; in the distant a faint rumble could be heard. She stood ready to wave, but the train flew past at breakneck speed, the updraft created by it swept her skirt upwards. She grasped hold of it and held it down.  Those trains travel so fast, no wonder no one waves. Disappointed she plonked herself down again on the bank.  One more train, then I’ll go home and face mama.
No one else every came down to this part of the embankment, it was her own private place. She didn’t know why, but she felt connected to the trains and to this place. It was special, it was hers and hers alone. When the trains flew passed her, it was as though her whole body vibrated; an energy flowed through her that lasted only for those few seconds. As she watched the trains disappear into the distance she felt as though she too was disappearing.
Clackety clack, clackety clack, Marley jumped to her feet, a train was approaching much slower. Perhaps they would see her this time and wave. An excitement filled her as she anticipated its arrival.  Clackety clack, toot toot—this was what she had been waiting for. A steam train at last!  A smoky haze drifted into the air as the old train came into sight. Marley held her breath, it seemed she had been waiting all day just for this moment.  She slid down the bank and stood at the very edge of the tracks, her heart beat in time with rhythm of the wheels, clackety clack, clackety clack, claaaackety  claack. The train pulled to a halt with a hiss. The driver, a rosy cheeked man with a large moustache leaned out of the window.
“This is your ride lassy.”
 Marley so wanted to jump aboard, but what would mama say? “I can’t come with you, mama would worry.”
“No she won’t not now my dear. Don’t you remember?”
“Try to remember my dear.”
Marley was silent, what was he talking about remember, remember what?
“The trains my dear. What do you know about the trains?”
Marley stood still while her mind searched, trying to grab at something just out of reach.  The trains, they’d changed, this was the first steam train she’d seen that day. That day….? The last steam train before this one was? I remember. I was standing near the edge, waving, yes waving, then running and waving. I tripped, the wheels…. Marly let out a gasp as she raised her eyes to meet those of the friendly driver.
“You remember?”
“I’m dead aren’t I?”
“What you are my dear is free to ride on this train. Ride and see where it takes you, or stay on that embankment forever, the choice is yours.” He pulled the string and a loud whistle hit the air. “All aboard. What are you waiting for?”
Marley took a last look at the embankment, she still didn’t remember how long she had been there watching the trains slowly change from steam to those mad things that flew past,  then she climb aboard the carriage. There sitting on the other side, were her mama and papa. How long had she been dead? For the first time in a very long time tears rolled down her cheeks as she ran into their arms.
“Together again,” her mama whispered.

©Helen A. Howell

Sunday, March 31, 2019

They called her Bags

 She hurried down the street ladened with bags, one around her neck, four on a trolley and two slung over her arms. Her whole existence was carried in them.

She had been on the streets for many a year and all of her life was packed carefully into each one. The one around her neck carried what few photos she had of a previous life, comfortable, homely sort of life. The four on the trolley each contained what few clothes and toiletries  she had acquired.  The two slung over her arm were the most important to her, for in each of these bags slept an ageing cat, one ginger, one black and white. These were her companions, and they loved her as much as she loved them. She knew each of them were nearing the end of their days, and she also was on her last journey.

That night the wind howled, such a bone chilling noise, it was almost like it too was lamenting that their time was coming to an end. Snuggled up together on a shop doorstep the three of them gave warmth and comfort to each other. She fed the cats the last of the food she had. They returned their love with a soft purring noise. She drew her old raincoat over them all and knew tonight would be the last time they closed their eyes together.

She was found by the shopkeeper in the morning with her two cats. They all looked like they were sleeping peacefully. The old lady had an arm around each of her companions and a smile was fixed upon her lips. The bags were piled behind her, all that was left of the life that was hers and yet there she lay with a smile.

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