Like many of you, (I’m sure) I was traumatized, and conflicted after watching Infinity War last week. Conflicted because, let’s be real here, Thanos’ argument makes sense. I mean controlled culling of the herd is an environmentally sound and accepted practice. This is what makes him a great villain, right, that from a purely logical standpoint, he’s not wrong, and we all get that. Morally, ethically, we know, that’s genocide, that’s murder, that’s wrong. The thing that really gets us invested in the conflict however is the knowledge that, should Thanos’ plan be put into action, we could lose people that we love.

It’s the emotional element that, (unsurprisingly) makes us care. The writers and directors know this of course and waste no time drawing us in emotionally by killing off the best character in the series in the first 5 minutes. The trauma is real. From a “how to emotionally manipulate an audience” view Loki was the perfect death to start with. Why? Because, just as Thanos is the ultimate super villain; Loki is the quintessential anti- hero. Where Thanos is motivated by cold calculating logic; Loki is motivated by jealousy, feelings of inadequacy, fear, a desire to live up to his older brother, coupled with a complete ignorance of how to do that, and most of all a keening need to be loved for who he is. In short, Loki appeals to the damaged child hiding within us all.

So as a fairly damaged person myself I have been whole heartedly team Loki from day one. Therefore you can image how soul crushing it was for me to witness what appeared to be his true end. My devastation was so complete in fact it took me 9 whole days to figure out what had really happened. Here’s what went down;

Loki, having already had dealings with Thanos would know exactly what they were up against when Thanos attacked the ship, therefore he never would have tried something as lame or obvious as the old, “falter him until you can get close enough to stab him” ploy. Also Loki had the Tesseract, by all accounts a source of great power. I postulate that Loki used the Tesseract to amplify his own abilities. We know from countless examples that Loki can project images of himself, we also know from the scene where Thor came to talk to him after their mother died, that he can create a glamour over his surroundings. It only stands to reason therefore that Loki used the power of the Tessract to help him show Thanos, and the Avengers exactly what Thanos wanted and expected to see, in other words the whole rest of the movie. This would have served two purposes first, showing the Avengers exactly what they were up against and second getting Thanos to remove the gauntlet. I believe Tony even foreshadowed this in his first scene, where he is talking about dreams that convince you they are real. This, of course, would prove diffidently that Loki is The most badass hero in history.  : )


(Image Via, Judy Black Cloud)

And this is the reality I will choose to believe in until and unless the next movie proves me wrong.

Blessed be everyone

Morning everyone,
Don’t forget I’ll be at Turn to the Stars Holistic Fair this Saturday from 10 to 4 signing copies of my new book, Thinking Outside the Quadrilateral Parallelogram, the latest in my book in my retelling of the Pandora myth series. There will also be Tarot, Angel and Animal readers, crafters and mediums and I will be bringing a batch of Aunt Catherine’s famous “Crud Muffins. The fair is being held at The Yard restaurant, 1211 S. Mammoth Rd. Manchester. Also I’ll be on Stu Taylors radio show this upcoming Monday at 9:45 am. To find your local station go to Scroll down from RADIO SHOWS and see coverage area on “Stu Taylor on Business.” Can’t wait to see you all at the fair.
Best, Laura

This ones for all you Supernatural fans out there. Cheers!

If you give a Cross Roads Demon a plate of cookies,
He’ll take it back to hell with him, and try to hide it from all the other Cross Roads Demons;
But of course they will find it.

And when they do, they will hang the first Cross Roads Demon by the hair, and gobble up the cookies as fast as they can.
In fact, they will gobble them up so fast; they won’t even notice the Enochian sigil impressed on each one.

And when the Cross Roads Demons eat the Enochian sigil, they will find themselves bound to a Guardian Angel.

And when a Cross Roads Demon and a Guardian Angel are bound to each other, neither Angel nor Demon can do anything without the others consent.

Which of course will mean that Crowley and Cass will have to pay a visit to the boys.

And if Crowley and Cass pay a visit to the boys, then Dean will ask if they brought the cookies.

And if Dean asks if they brought the cookies, then Cass will tell him, “You can’t eat the cookies Dean, they are incredibly dangerous.”

And once Dean understands that the cookies are dangerous, he will set Sammy to “Start doing some research.”

And when Sammy does the research, he’ll discover that there is an unpublished Caver Edlund text, which may mention something about binding Angels and Demons, currently in the possession of a Demi- God deep inside Louisiana swamp country.

And once they vanquish the Demi- God and read the text, they will discover that the text refers to a recipe on the demon tablet, and since they don’t have the demon tablet anymore, all they can do is go back to the bunker and comb through Kevin Tran’s notes.

And when they go back to the bunker and comb through Kevin Tran’s notes, Sam will discover the recipe for the Demon and Angel binding cookies, but the recipe calls for, milk from the fatted calf, an egg from a red cockerel laid at moonrise on the summer solstice and, flour ground from the Manna gathered on Mount Sinai, along with several other non-conventional ingredients.

After reading the recipe Dean will say, “Awesome, who the hell has that kind of crap laying around their kitchen?”
To which Cass will answer flatly, “You do.”

And once every one understands that the ingredients for the cookies are in the bunker’s kitchen, Sam, Dean Cass and Crowley will all head that way.

Half way there Crowley will say “Moose, Squirrel, I think you’ve got mice in your pantry; listen.” At which point the others will notice the refrain from “Carry On My Wayward Son” coming from behind the kitchen doors, which will cause Sam and Dean to draw their guns, and Crowley and Cass to make speculatively resigned faces at each other before moving on.

And when Sam, Dean, Cass and Crowley all go into the bunker’s kitchen, guns and supernatural powers cocked and ready, they will find, Kevin, Bobby, Charlie, and you.

And when Same, Dean, Cass and Crowley all stop short, just over the threshold staring at you, Charlie, Kevin, and Bobby, you’ll all say, “Hello Boys.” Just before the music swells.

“All right beautiful, just wanted to make sure you guys were o.k.” Reggie said using his most soothing tone in an attempt to diffuse his wife’s mood. She was always slightly agitated at the end of the two hour drive to her sister’s house with three kids in the back seat. Add to that the news that he was on the phone looking for her as soon as she walked in the door and she could get positively short tempered.

He didn’t mind, she’d get over it by the time they got back, besides it served the dual purpose of making him look like a dotting, protective husband and making the call to her sisters number rather than the cell phone gave him the reassurance he needed that he was free for the weekend. It was a safety measure he’d implemented after a near disaster when one of the kids had started throwing up halfway there.

“Ok” he said now in response to her harried assurances that she loved him but one of the kids had just knocked over a plant. “Have fun at your sisters beautiful, can’t wait to have you back in my arms.”

Hanging up with his wife he hit the next number in his contacts list before his phone had time to go black. Just like always she picked up on the third ring. “Hey sexy.” She said by way of greeting.

“Hey beautiful.” He answered, using another trick he’d learned out of necessity; you couldn’t mix up the wife and the girlfriends’ names if you used the same endearment for both. “The kids’ aunt just picked them up for a surprise weekend at her house, want to come over.”

“Ohh.” She squealed “someday I’m going to have to meet that woman and thank her.”

“Someday beautiful.” He promised and then putting just the right amount of stress into it he added. “I just don’t think the kids are quite ready for that Bethany.” He used her name deliberately there, it added sincerity. “You know I appreciate how patient you’ve been so far but I can’t put a time table on how long it will take the kids to get over their mothers’ death. If you’re tired of waiting, if you want to move on I’d understand.”

“No nono Reg,’ she interrupted a little desperately, just as he’d known she would. Playing the grieving widower left with three small and vulnerable children was the best cover he’d come up with yet. Had the duel benefit of keeping him tantalizingly on the edge of being available without looking bad for not being able to commit. “I didn’t mean it that way. Give me an hour to make myself presentable and I’ll be right over.”

“Ok beautiful,” He said “but only if your sure.”

“Double sure.” She told him.

“See you in an hour then. Can’t wait to have you back in my arms.” Hanging up he smiled at his own cleverness, didn’t even have to take the pictures off the wall this way, though it would be suspicious if he smelled of his wife’s perfume. Reluctantly he headed to the shower. He hated to do it, it really turned him on when he could go from one directly to the other. Just thinking about it got him going. He hesitated a moment then decided to go ahead and pleasure himself while he was in the shower it should make him last longer anyway and Bethany loved that.

For the next twenty minutes he relived last night with his wife, throwing in a few bonus scenes he planned on enacting over the weekend with his girlfriend.

When he finally climaxed he couldn’t help but smile at the puddle of cream colored spluge that hit the shower floor just outside the splash zone. With one hand braced against the shower wall and the other still wrapped around his manhood he reached out with one foot to nudge the ejaculate toward the drain. Miscalculating his foot landed in the middle of it and flew out from under him. The back of his head hitting the tub spigot on the way down knocked it to an improbable angle and fixed the leering rather inane grin to his face.

It was the first thing Bethany registered when she found him a half hour later, at the bottom of the tub; one arm flung upward the other still cupping his favorite toy. A fact she explained rather awkwardly to his less than dead wife at the hospital latter that night.

There it was, the moment I’d been waiting for, that break between challengers when she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, and for just that moment however long it lasts, I am free look at her. If I were the lord of time I would hold this moment still and live in it forever. Spending the rest of eternity sitting across the room from her would be such a sweet torture all things considered. As I indulged in my tragic romantic fantasy I watched her third eye straining against the block we’d put up around her. As much as I knew it had been a necessary evil.  I couldn’t help but squirm slightly in my seat, with my whole being I wanted nothing more than to stride across the room and remove ever layer of obstruction between us, consequences be damned. Except that my Pandora would not thank me for that, not when she learned exactly what the consequences would be and in my heart I knew she’d be right.

I kept that insight in the forefront of my mind as I watched the barkeeps’ uncouth attempt to seduce her. As usual knowing I was on the high road didn’t make the journey any easier,  I found myself rubbing both thumbs across my fingertips to disperse the pent up anger energy before it vibrated this body into a puddle of mush.

Oh and now he was going to have the impertinence to try and throw me out. The hubris of the whole thing would have been comical in different circumstances. As it was it was all I could do to keep myself from smiting him and his establishment. Instead I offered him a banal smile and my full attention while he enumerated the reasons why I was going to leave immediately and never dare to let him see my butt ugly face anywhere ever again.

“Ok Martin.” I said when he’d finished “you’ve laid your cards on the table now it’s my turn. I know.” I told him simply.

His reaction was stereotypical of the kind of man he thought he was. “I don’t know what you think you know jack ass and I don’t care this is my bar and,”

“Yes this is your bar but I know where you got the money for the bar Martin. I know you like to tell people you were a marine, but you were really a weekend warrior. I know as far as the government is concerned you were K.I..A in an ambush that took out your whole squad. I know that it was really a trap and that you were paid off to lead your buddies into it. And I know that when you were trying to decide on your new name you chose Dean because you wanted to sound cool like that guy from the Supernatural show.”

He considered me for a moment before saying.  “That is an awful lot to know sir. Usually when a man knows so much and tells you freely it’s because he wants something in return for keeping his mouth shut.” I smiled in a way that confirmed his supposition.  “What do you want from me?”

Here was the tricky part I couldn’t technically make him to do anything all I could do was offer him a choose of two evils and hope he would stay true to form and pick the one that kept his own ass out of the fire, at least for the moment.. Leaning across the bar I told him, “I don’t want you to do anything Martin not really.” he took a couple steps back eyeing me warily. “But I will offer you a proposition. In exchange for keeping what I know about you to myself all you have to do is not walk Pan out to her car tonight and lock the door behind her.”

“What? Why?”

“Doesn’t matter. But I promise I’m not going to hurt her if that’ll help you make your decision.”

It was agonizing watching him mull it over, mostly because I knew he wasn’t torn about whether or not to betray another friend but that he hated the thought of losing all that potential revenue she could bring in. When he go to the point in his musings where he started calculating his odds against me in a fight I had to stop him. For his own sake. “Martin you have a cluster of berry aneurisms nestled between the frontal and parietal lobes of your brain just above the left temporal lobe. One well placed thump from me and, well it wouldn’t kill you, but you’d wish that it had. But again it’s up to you.” I didn’t necessarily need him to believe me I just needed him to be afraid it could be true. Of course the fear and testosterone driven pissing contest were bound to draw unwanted attention. I really needed to get out of here and see if I could pull it somewhere else.

“Fine” he grumbled. Not good enough I needed him to specify what he had decided.

“It’s a deal then?” I asked. “You’ll do what I asked in exchange for me keeping my mouth shut.

“Yes” he barked refusing to meet my eyes.

“Smart move on your part I think Martin.” I told him pushing away from the bar. “Kudos to you. Oh just one more thing before if you could just keep our little conversation just between us. Please.” He nodded once head still cocked at a hangdog angle.

Now all I needed to do was fend off the God of war. I wish I didn’t have to do this without back up but mom and Selina weren’t convinced that this was the moment grandfather had been talking about and although Artemis had voted with me I hadn’t wanted to ask her to openly defy her mother by coming with me. Maybe I could find a way to use that.

Though I could feel him coming like a storm, it still took him till the place was cleared out to arrive. I needed to get rid of him before Pandora left the building. He pulled up in front of me on a black and silver motorcycle spewing gravel like it proved something about his manhood. “I knew it was you from seven league off.” he said when he’d cut the engine. “Know how? Smelled like someone was burning a roast.”

“Fraid I’m getting a little hard of hearing in my old age Ares, why don’t you get off that motorcycle come over here and say that to me.”

“No thanks cousin, I’m fine where I am.”

“Come on Ares you’re the God of war.  You’re not afraid of little old me are you?”

“Afraid of you. Hah no cousin. I’m not afraid of you. My orders were to observe not engage. Father was very clear about that.”

“Oh so it’s your father your afraid of then.”

“I’m not,,,,,,,,, father will be very happy to hear we’ve finally found her. The Pandora.”

“Have you? Where?”

“I’m not stupid Prometheus.  Why else would you be here?”

Instead of answering I just nodded as if he’d asked a good question and shifted just a bit to block his view of the window more effectively.

“I mean she looks just like her.” I could tell by the pitch of his voice that it wasn’t me he was trying to convince.  “And she’s cut off her own hand before she’d steal a penny from a purse snatcher and her luck. This girl, holy crap, even I feel bad for her. And this place this is exactly like the place she described to Phobia.” He stopped abruptly as though he’d just thought of something, eyes flicking over the nearest shadows suspiciously. “And why else would you be here?”

“Why indeed.” Normally I would have left it at that just to watch him squirm, but I needed to get him as far away as possible before Pandora came out of the bar.  “You’re right Ares what would I be doing here, confronting you, if she isn’t Pandora? And where are my mother, sister and niece? I mean with all Zeus’ most staunch and militant supporters here on earth, circling this woman’s family like vultures, where could they be.  What’s that term you coined? Ahh yes. Divide and concur. How long do you think you and your obnoxious offspring will last once Zeus is in Tartaros? I hear there’s a vacancy on a mountain we both know. ”

“You lot  can’t do that.”

“Can’t we?” Just like with Dean I just needed him to think that it might be true. “You know maybe your right. Why don’t you check in with your dear old Dad? I’ll wait.” It was less than effortless to throw up a block around Ares like the one we had Pandora ensconced in. “What’s the matter? Having trouble getting through. What was that first rule of conquest you came up with?” He took off like a bat outa hell. “Oh yes cut off the lines of communication.”

Here she comes. Thank goodness Hephaestus is the brother with the brains. The night was so black that for a moment she stood in a tunnel of light created by the open door. I watched as she casually strolled in the direction of her car shoving the nights take into her bag as she dug for her keys. She was singing, she’d always sung her feelings, most of the time completely unaware that she was.  It used to be a game I played against myself when we were together all those  long years ago, to figure out what kind of lover she needed what she’d been singing that day.  My record had stood at 13,023 for, 692 against when I lost her.

I listened now, imagining. She was singing low and sultry taking innocent phrases and turning them into something salacious. I recognized that mood, if she were mine the ride back to the house would be spent playing with her hair one handed. Once there I’d put on some suggestive jazz and slowly undress her while we danced, gently lay her on our bed once she was nude and massage her entire body before,,,,,

Oh crap the singing’d stopped.  She was staring wild eyed at me looking like she was getting ready to make a run for it. Crap.  My hands came up automatically to in a gesture designed to reassure. “Excuse me.” I blurted out desperate to keep her from running. “I’m sorry, I must have startled you.” She chanced a glance back at the bar no doubt assuming Dean/Martin wouldn’t be far behind her. She did a good job hiding it but I knew her too well to miss the way her posture drooped when she realized he wasn’t. I needed to keep her attention, keep her from coming up with a plan b. “I got to see most of your victories tonight. That’s an impressive talent you’ve got. Pan, isn’t it?”  I moved a few careful steps toward her, not to close for comfort, but close enough for her to be able to get a good look at me. Maybe just maybe she’d recognize me. “That’s quite a lyrical name; a name for a strong individual.” She was staring at my hands. Maybe it could be as simple as that.

“No offense.” She called in a strong voice. “But I can’t help but be reminded of the fox and the crow.” I couldn’t contain a small burst of sardonic laughter at that. Of course she would remember Aesop and his stupid fables but not me. And of course she took advantage of my distraction. She was halfway to her hillock of a car before I looked back up.

No, no I couldn’t let her go. This had to be the life grandfather had been talking about, I just knew it. Even if it wasn’t I couldn’t do this anymore. I needed her back in my life, in any capacity. What could I tell her, what could I offer her that would get her to choose to spend time with me. “Of course. You’re right. I admit this is huuh, stupid on many levels. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Biting my tongue on my ramblings I looked into her eyes determined to get as much out of this our first conversation in millennia as possible.  “But the bartender told me that this was your last night.” Was that a hint of recognition in her eye? “I’ve tried to get your attention before, but it’s so noisy and crowded in there. Anyway I was afraid if I missed you tonight, I might not get another chance.” To intense, lighten the vibe.  “Which of course sounds traditionally serial-killer, doesn’t it.” Great job idiot. Damage control. Now! “This must be very scary for you. I am truly sorry.” About so many things.  “Please Pan, please forgive me.” Because I don’t think I ever can.

She paused for a moment, studying me, I held my breath not quite dareing to hope but wishing I could. When she said, “So I assume you’ll understand then when I ask you to take about a hundred steps back.” I couldn’t even be upset about it, there was no reason she should not view me as a threat.

All I could think to do was to try to express my grasp of her perspective. “I do, I understand completely, and I will, I will, but,” without thinking I took a few steps forward, reaching out to run my fingers through her hair the way I used to, causing Pandora to retreat even further. I knew it was done in ignorance, but still the slight stung. “If you could listen for just one moment; I realize how bad this looks but I promise, I SWEAR, I don’t want to hurt you in ANY way.”

“Oh yeah, and I’ll just take your word for that, ‘cause that wouldn’t be gullible at all.” She countered. “Everybody knows that villains are required by law to announce ‘I’m planning on killing you in the most gruesome and painful way I can come up with’, right?” the worst part was in any other situation I would be proud of her stubborn refusal to be taken in. Having finally managed to make it to her car she began to fumble behind her back for the handle I had only a matter of moments to convince her to trust me and absolutely no argument to make my case with.

Except perhaps this one, “Okay, yeah, you’re right again. Trust is something that’s earned, not given. And I have given you no reason to trust me, unless you count the fact that if robbing you, or killing you, or hurting you at all was what I wanted, I could have at least five dozen times by now.”

“Is that supposed to be,” she searched for the word she wanted, “reassuring?”

Seriously woman I wanted to scream at her. Instead I forced myself to say.  “I see your point,” biting my lip I dispersed some of the energy that all this nervous tension had built. I glanced over my shoulder wondering how long till either Ares came back or we were discovered by some other deity. It couldn’t be long, time to through caution to the wind. Walking right up to her I said “Now here is mine,” wondering what exactly I was going to come up with.

Maybe if I started by stating the facts something would come to me. “You’re in need of cash, lots of it and fast. Why else would a mother of,” I peeked over her shoulder to make it look like I needed a clue “I’m guessing at least three young children, given the two booster seats and their position in your car, choose to leave them to work these hours, in a place like this? No offence intended to its proprietor.” The bar and Dean suited each other actually. “Now, as lucrative as your particular gift is, you must admit that the situation is not only less than ideal, but also dangerous, as proved by this conversation.” Good appeal to her sense of responsibility to her children.  “Besides, you deserve better than this.” That was merely a statement of fact.  “So here is what I’m proposing;” If I could design the perfect job for her what would it be? “I own a book shop that is in need of a manager.” Yes that would be it, but don’t make it sound like her dream job or she’ll dismiss it as too good to be true.  “The money, I’m sure, is nowhere near what you can pull in here. But it’s consistent; ten hours a day, five days a week and we pay overtime.” I tried not to smirk at what I said next. “I can’t offer you the excitement or glamour you enjoy here, but the hours are more mainstream, and a person is far less likely to get robbed or arrested while working for me. You can start Monday. The address is on the card.” Manifesting one I indulged in a long meaning full look into her eyes to fortify me in case she refused.

She stared back at me, it almost seemed like she was entranced and I didn’t even bother to try and mask the love, longing and desire I felt for her.  “Mother Goddess!” she whispered. Oh fuck that did it. I had no idea which one would answer but I had no doubt one of them would. And when they found out what I’d done there would be hell to pay. “Do I know you from somewhere?” she asked in a soft half aware tone.

Not now Pandora why would you ask me that now.  We are out of time. “TAKE. THE. CARD.” I growled through clenched teeth. She accepted it like someone acting without volition; her tiny, silken fingertips brushed one of my hot tender scars on that hand.

I barely had time to revel in the wave of pleasure the small touch had caused when Artemis’ voice came out of the darkness. “Uncle, Unnncle…”

“Here, I’m here!” I yelled back, stepping hastily away from Pandora. I knew it would be better if I kept Artemis and Pandora apart till I had a chance to fill my niece in on our cover story.

“Came as soon as I heard.” Artemis informed me pointedly, and just as pointedly demanded to know.  “What have YOU been up to?”

“Nothing much, had a few drinks, hired a new manager.” I told her as lightly as I could “We’ve needed one for ages. She starts on Monday, and then I was waiting for you.”

Though I knew I was in for a fight with the others it was nice to see the happy surprise on Artemis’ face. She began trying to force thoughts into my mind at a supersonic rate. I caught “Really? How much does she know? How much can we tell her? Am I allowed to take her out and play with her?” before I got a stabilizing hand on her elbow, a gentle reminder that she was in human form and her current enthusiasm was dangerous to it.

I took a last look at Pandora taking the time to read the card I’d given her now that she was safely inside her vehicle. As I watched she ran her fingers lightly over the embossed lettering and a soft smile stole across her face.

Come on Artemis I said leading her away. Not only do we have to turn the sanctorum into a bookstore/ coffeehouse by Monday, but we also have to convince your mother and mine that it’s a good idea.






Misanthropic, hapless do-gooder Pan Blair works through various family and personal problems in her journey of self-discovery, along the way seeing herself not as the everyday stay-at-home mom she expects but Pandora of Greek mythology, with Zeus hot on her trail.

Pan is trapped in the last place she wants to be: a surprise party in her honor. The bash was her husband Sedryck’s idea—in reality, it’s a business schmoozing session. The story proceeds through a series of domestic issues. Her husband’s “sure thing” business deal, in which he has invested all their savings, turns out to be a scam, just as Pan suspected. She’s even scammed by a woman named Phobia and her son Damon, a duo that later returns as hostile deities. When her husband’s scheme fails, Pan gets a job managing a bookstore owned by a family of kindred souls who are actually gods and goddesses. Through them, Pan discovers both the frailty of her marriage and her once-and-future soul mate. During this self-discovery, author Fedelia makes use of Pan as an ignorant narrator: Though she tells the story, everyone knows what’s coming but her, which can be a bit frustrating. Regardless, from Pan’s unusual curses (“Crud muffins,” “Boogers”) to her innate distrust of nearly everyone but her three girls, Pan’s character is painted with charming strokes. Her transition from mom to semideity presents a difficult challenge, but Fedelia wisely avoids presenting the gods as intimidatingly godlike or turning the narrative into a mock-heroic farce. The author chooses instead to keep the deities’ language contemporary—a wise decision until Pan learns her true identity by watching memory discs, presumably recorded when the incidents occurred in mythical times. Here, the modern speech rings jarringly false: The centaur Chieron uses the word “wonky,” and the Titan god Chronos, lord of time, says, “you must be tripping.”

A captivating, largely successful attempt to meld everyday life, romance and fantasy.

For those of you been trying to trick or in some cases even coerce me into giving up juicy information about book two here is a small taste, a micro bite if you will.











If a person is still a person no matter how small,

Is a virus still a virus no matter how tall?

Is a pillow still a pillow no matter how lumpy?

Is a person still a person no matter how grumpy?

Is left still left even when it turns right?

Is the dark still the dark once you’ve turned on the light?

“Those were the words he whispered to me the first night I saw him my little Lilliputian.”  The child in my lap was rapt, gazing up at me in an open mouthed stare, cocoa brown eyes wide as saucers, the rather pungent tang of milk breath particular to little children drifting up to me.

Closing her mouth she sniffed wetly and asked “Really Great Nanny.”

“Umm hum.” I assured her pulling a handkerchief out of my sleeve to wipe the partially crusted green snot rimming her nose. “ Just those words.” I confirmed “and nothing else. “He whispered them ever so softly right into my ear, with one cold powdery smelling thumb pressed against my lips.” I showed her what I meant with one hand smoothing her russet colored flyaways with the other noticing as I did that she was still in pajamas. “Are you home sick today little dove?” I asked

Instead of answering she drew my face down to hers with a pudgy little hand on my cheek and rubbed her slightly moist nose back and forth across mine giggling “uga muga muga.”

I didn’t like the thought of the little one being ill, it distressed me. “Where is your mother?” I asked her in an effort to make sure the child was being taken care of. “Is she here?”

“What did you do then Great Nanny?” She lisped

“What did I do when child?”

“After the man said the poem to you, don’t you remember Great Nanny?”

“I remember it like it was yesterday.”  I confirmed giving her a little squeeze “I was too terrified to do anything right away. I waited till he’d been gone from my room for a little while, I remember it seemed like hours then but I don’t think it could have been more than a few moments really.”

Then what did you do?”

“I screamed bloody blue murder.”

Then what happened?”

“My mother came running in, my little brother in her arms. At first she couldn’t be heard over the both of us crying.” The little one in my lap smiled at that, nodding and bouncing her encouragement for me to continue.  “Then Mrs. Tashos from down the hall bustled in, she was staying with us while my mother recuperated from having the baby.  She was a strange woman always so flousy and flustered and she never stopped talking about her teeth. Who does that I ask you. Anyway she bustled in and my mother handed my brother off to her and I told her what happened. At first my story seemed to scare her, but after she’d checked and found no one in the house and nothing amiss she lectured me about waking people up in the middle of the night especially when there was a new baby in the house and most especially knowing how early my father had to get up for work.

And then we all went back to bed.  The next morning it was my mother’s screams that woke us.  My little brother had passed away in the night. That was the first time I saw the ageless man.” The little dove in my lap sniffed again looking quite serious and subdued. “And the next time I saw him at my aunt Geani’s house was just before my cousin Sarabeth got lost for three days taking a short cut in the woods. She was never the same. After that I knew, I just knew, whenever that man turned up there was trouble coming, I used to try to warn people but nobody ever listened to me, I suppose because nobody else ever saw him.”

“When does he come Great Nanny? Does he come once a year like Santa?”

“No, there is no telling when he’ll turn up. Could be half a decade could be less than a week. He can turn up anywhere too, in your house, at a friend’s, in the store, on vacation. One minute everything is normal the next there he is, propped in a corner, watching you, his green eyes following every move you make. Like a predator.” Suddenly I found I simply couldn’t say anymore.

“He is not here Great Nanny I promise.” she told me with a child’s firmness, coughing thickly she smashed the back of her hand into her nose, smearing the moisture there.

Folding my hankie I cleaned her face asking again. “Where is your mother?”

Not hearing me at all the little girl jumped off my knee declaring, “And if he ever shows his face here I’ll kick and I’ll punch him and I’ll chop him.” she demonstrated as she spoke.

“No no, no you will do no such thing.” I told her rising as fast as my rusty knees allowed and then dropping back to the floor on them in front of her I took her shoulders in my hands. “If you ever see him you are to run, run right in the opposite direction do you understand? As fast as you can.”

Just then a man barged into the room wearing a sour expression. “There you are. You know you’re not supposed to be in here. Come on Lilly, let’s go.” He demanded beckoning the little girl with one hand. She backed closer to me unwilling to go with him and I didn’t blame her I’d never seen a less endearing fellow in all my hundred and one years.

“Over my dead body are you taking her anywhere.” I informed him clutching the child to me.

“Ruth,” he called over his shoulder making and even more nasty face, “come talk to your grandmother. She is refusing to let me parent our child again. RUTH.”

“I’m coming I’m coming,” called a young woman wiping her hands on a dish towel as she entered the room.

“Margret” I called out lifting the child and myself from the carpet. “Margret sweetheart what are you doing here why didn’t you tell me you were coming?” I asked pulling her into a one armed hug while the other held the child.

“Not Margret Nanny, Ruth, Margret is gone, I’m her daughter.”

“Ruth, oh yes of course.  I am sorry; you look so like your mother did at your age.”

“It’s ok Nanny but it’s time for you and Lilly to get to bed.” She said taking the little girl from me.

“Bed? But I haven’t even gotten dressed yet I exclaimed looking down at my night dress.”

“You did get dressed this morning Nanny right after breakfast; we just put a fresh night dress on after you had your bath do you remember.”

I didn’t but the little girl was nodding and I had no reason to distrust her. “But we haven’t had dinner.”

“Yes we did.  We had chicken soup and salad.”

“Oh yes, the soup was very salty dear.”

“You mentioned.”

She walked over to the twin bed on the other side of the room and began turning the covers down one handed; the little girl hitched to her other hip. “That man,”   I whispered “the one out in the hallway, the man who came looking for the little girl.”

“His name is John Nanny, he’s my husband, Lily’s father, it’s ok for him to be looking for her.”

“He doesn’t like me very much”

“He doesn’t know you the way I do.”

“Tell you the truth I don’t care for him very much either.”

“Well you don’t know him the way I do. “

“Humph” was all I had to say to that.

“All right Nanny that’s enough of that tonight.” she said walking back over to me. “say good night to Great Nanny.” she told her daughter holding her forward so she could wrap her hands around my neck, kissing my check she transferred some of the slime from her nose.

“She’s sick.” I told her mother cupping the little girl’s cheek. “She’s getting a temperature.”

“It’s just the sniffles Nanny; it’s nothing to worry about.” She said turning to go

I grabbed her sleeve. “The little girl.”


“Lilly, is she baptized?”


“Because my little brother James he wasn’t baptized and,” I lowered my voice so as not to scare Lilly “I think that’s how he got him.”

“Nanny,” she began tiredly, but I put my foot down.

“Don’t sass me about this Ruth you haven’t seen the things I’ve seen I know what I’m talking about.”

“Nanny, James was your son, George was your brother and you had James baptized in the hospital, he still passed, because he was sick and they didn’t have the medicine back then that could have saved him,  not because of some evil spirit that haunts the family that only you can see. Now it’s late I need to put Lilly to bed. Ok? She needs a good night sleep so she can get better right?”

“Of course dear,” I agreed.

“Ok.” Ruth confirmed kissing my forehead. “Are you alright to get yourself into bed Nanny?”

“I can get myself to bed. Yes.” I snapped.”

Smiling sideways at me she sighed and nodded, “Love you Nanny. Good night.” She said and leaving the room she closed the door behind her.  I stood there for a moment, wondering what to do for the best, before shuffling weakly over to the bed. Slipping my house shoes off and slowly lowing myself onto the bed I listened to the conversation passing on the other side of my door.

“I’m not going to store her in a nursing home, John waiting for her expiration date come up.” He must have tried to interrupt her, for she went on more forcefully. “If you knew the kind of life that woman has had to live the sacrifices she’s made.”

It sounded as though they paused for a moment right outside. “I know I know Ruth trust me I know I’ve heard it all about a thousand times. The story gets more biblical each time I hear it. All I’m trying to get you to see is that that person is already gone. All that’s left in that room Ruth is a centuries worth of half remembered anecdotes and closed minded opinions.”

“You just don’t like that she’s so open about her opinion of you.”

“I wish that was all it was. This is not healthy for you Ruth It’s too much for you to handle.” I heard a scoff but he went on. “And these stories she is telling Lilly there not healthy they’re not good I don’t want her growing up with these things in her head.”

“John your exaggerating there impact”

“Ruth the other day I found her baptizing herself and her baby dolls in the toilet bowl, just to be on the safe side she told me.”

With that they moved out of earshot.

Leaning my back against the head board I pulled the covers over my lap and prepared for my nightly battle. I couldn’t tell of course how many nights we had spent staring each other down but it was enough that the sudden sight of him lounging in my rocker, though still unnerving was not surprising. Tonight I decided to open with a threat. “You go anywhere near that little girl and so help me God I will find a way to kill you.” Just like any other time I could recall addressing him my words drew no verbal responds at all he merely shrugged his shoulders adjusted his slouch and settled in.

By ten I had decided that it was the sameness of him that disturbed me most. Not the way his glittering green eyes never blinked, not the way he could keep completely still, or his ninety six year silence after our cryptic introduction, but the way absolutely nothing had changed about him since then. Aside from the fact that his face remained unwrinkled his body firm and lithe, his hair never seemed to be in need of a cut or his nails trimmed or new clothes. It was preternaturally uncanny.

Around midnight I started throwing small items from my night stand at him, but stopped when I heard the little girl in the next room tossing restlessly. Somewhere around two I started to doze only catching myself when some movement from him startled me awake. At dawn I unintentionally gave up the fight.

Only to be woken a few hours later by a cacophony of light and sound.” Moring Nanny”   A girl who looked like my Margret but wasn’t called cheerily, pulling the drapes back to the window frame. “Time to get up sleepy head.” she added holding out a hand to help me. But I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak it was all just too much. “Nanny” she said again a little tensely, then again with a bone jarring teeth rattling shake of my arm. I cried out at the pain of it.  “Oh my god John, John call the Dr. John.” She shouted running from the room.

And then for the first time since I was five he spoke to me. Rising from his seat he strolled across the room, perched on the side of my bed and took my hand tisking as he did. “I know, I know, it hurts to move, the lights too bright, the noises are too loud, and you can still taste the salt from last night’s soup can’t you.” I couldn’t answer I could only stare at him terrified.  He didn’t seem to need acknowledgment, turning my hand over he ran his fingers over the creases in my wrist. “It’s going to be ok,  trust me Lillian Ruth Launtner this is what we’ve been waiting for, it  means it’s almost over. With that he raised my wrist to his mouth and bit hard and fast.  “Mmmmm” he sighed, slurping a little he wiped his chin with his hand. “Sweeter than honey.”

Once upon some unspecified temporal coordinates, in a land of ever shifting geopolitical boundaries many, solar rotations from where ever you are; there was a young man (are you surprised) who lived in a village that sat in the shadow of a great mountain. He was a good young man, a strong young man, a handsome young man, a smart young man, but he was not a happy young man. There were many reasons he was not a happy young man, the most obvious reason was that his father had died when he was only a well grown boy and since that time it had fallen on him to provide for his kind but sickly mother.

That was the reason his neighbors would have given anyway but really the boy was unhappy because he was smart enough to see that though his looks had earned him many admirers there was no way for him to enough money in his little village to support himself a wife and his sickly mother, and he worried about what would happen to them both when his strength started to fade, but he was too good to leave her, even to go find better work. It was the puzzlement of his life and led him often to wonder aloud. “Why? Why is my life this way?”

One day a young monk of about his own age happened to over hear him make this very exclamation as the bottom of his basket split, spilling its contents into the muddy street. As he bent to help the young man he explained in a gentle voice. “We are taught in my order that there are infinite realities playing out in infinite dimensions where the consequence of every possible decision plays out, and that this is but one possibility.” Without saying any more the initiate monk smiled warmly and was on his way.

So busy was our young man with absorbing what he had been told that it was not till the monk was far out of earshot that he regained his wits enough to say “But I still don’t understand. Why?

Now it was the custom in this village when a person would lament against the fickleness of fate for them to receive an answer of, “Only the man in the mountain knows, go ask him.” This is just what the butcher stopped laughing long enough to say. It was a phrase the people of the village had stopped using with any meaning like we would you ‘bless you,’ or ‘good bye’, but when the butcher reflexively pointed over his shoulder to the temple that sat atop the mountain the young man suddenly recalled that the man in the mountain was more than just a quaint colloquialism used by the villages, but referred to a real Master Monk living within sight of his very home and he started to wonder things he had never wondered before.

Later that night he asked. “Mother, why dose no one ever go and ask the man in the mountain?”

“Oh my son,” his mother answered somberly, “there are many dangers on the way to the temple on the mountain, raging rivers, long stretches where there is no water at all, steep escarpments were a single misstep can send boulders crashing on your head, berries that appear edible but are poisonous, hunting beasts, and worst of all the higher you go the colder it gets till simply continuing the journey could kill a strong man. What question could possibly need answering that badly?”

The young man did not answer but only looked at his mother thoughtfully until the frail woman becoming afraid put both hands on either side of her son’s face and begged, “You must not go my son. You would not survive. Promise me you will never go.”

In the face of his mothers heartfelt supplication what would the young man do but comply. “I promise you Mother.” he agreed earnestly “I will not go.” And at the time he meant it.

“Good.” His mother breathed in relief, “After all what would I do without you.”

For some while the young man kept his promise with little trouble, but as summer turned to fall and fall became winter, the work needed to keep them alive seemed to grow in direct proportion the shortening of the days the young man became more and more preoccupied with what the possible answer to his question might be.

So much so in fact that when his mother was unexpectedly invited to spend a moon cycle at her sister’s house in a neighboring village the young man decided that promise or no promise, dangers or no dangers he simply could not pass up what might be his only chance to get the answer he craved. The very next thing he did after waving his mother off was to start gathering supplies, portable food, his mothers best knife and pot, all the bottles, skins or flasks he could find, rope and most importantly warm clothes. Once his pack was filled he settled it on his back and without a thought for the time of day set off into the gathering darkness determined to get his answer.

It took many times longer than the one moon cycle his mother was to be away, and he had lost, broken or eaten all his supplies but finally one morning as the sun came up behind the temple the young man crested the mountain, foot sore bedraggled and covered in a filthy half cured bearskin and could hardly believe his eyes. Sitting serenely in what appeared to be the center of the rising sun was virile looking man of mid years with legs and hands folded, greeting the new day.

The young man stumbled forward eager to ask his question and unreasonably afraid he might miss his chance if he did not act quickly. “Master.” He cried, “Master, may I ask you my question.

“Of course my son. What is it you have journeyed all this way to ask me?”

“Master I have been told that there are an infinite number of realities where every conceivable out come for my life has come to pass.”

“Yes my son.”

“Then master my question is, why am I stuck in this one?”

The Master of the temple leaned back, smiled broadly and answered, “That my son depends greatly on what your definition of I is.”