The term Golem, in Jewish folklore refers to an image that has been animated, an effigy which has been lent the power to interact with its surroundings. The Talmudic or Biblical concept of a Golem is more akin to some sort of proto human, a roughly hewn semblance of an oversized person, as if a sculptor had walked away after outlining a piece.

Early tales in which Golems play a part, portray Golems as creatures made of clay, or mud, who are brought to life by a learned man, through the use of occult knowledge and the name or word of God. In these early stories the Golem is a slow-witted creature, whose literal interpretation of commands keeps them from being useful for anything but the most basic of tasks.


Around the 16th century these simple servants began to take on the responsibility of protector of the Jewish people. Not too surprising an evolutionary leap perhaps, given the level of persecution the Jewish people faced during the middle ages. The incidence of Jewish people being rounded up and slaughtered in an effort to purge a village or town of plague, drought, pestilence or just plain bad luck between the 5th and 15th centuries are sadly, innumerable.


It is no wonder at all that tales of protective Golems, who become too powerful and must be destroyed by their maker began to surface. It is my sincere hope that the poem below honors not only the legend of the Golem, but the history of the people who created him.




Words, words, words,

Etched, engraved, inscribed

Prayers, incantations, spells,

Of power, protection, defense

On torso, legs, arms and chest.


Instructions, orders, mandate

Clear, precise, incontrovertible

To guards my charges’ fate

For their lives I am responsible


No use of force is too great

No choice of violence too low

No pain should be spared

No tactic is too despicable


For when the enemy comes,

Separating men, from women and children

There is no mercy shown

There is no quarter given


The pestilence creeping across the lands

Rhetoric precedes it, more virulent by half

Than the plague that supersedes it.




Of your sins you will be shriven.

You will be acting as God’s hand,

If from Christendom you help to purge, the tribes of Abraham.


The maker toils day and night; secular and holy

The gluey cough that permeates the square

The sidelong glances becoming open glares,

The writing upon the wall, is laid bare


People whom yesterday were neighbors,

Today became crusaders.

From morning bells to evensong

Their conversion took just that long.


My makers pace is fevered;

There is no time to waste.

The mob that surges through the town,

Will never be out paced.


His hands, they quiver in their haste

One last incantation to be traced

An arcane term of the occult

Only perfect completion yields result


The only commandment of my creation

Mandate, blessing and animation

The keystone of every other incantation

The word that embodies victory and strife

The word is;


Ghouls are an interesting entity. They are neither ghost, zombies, vampire, nor spirits, but seem to fall into a category all their own. The earliest folklore concerning ghouls can be found in the annals of One Thousand and One Nights, and is indeed how they came to be introduced to western culture. The stories in which they feature describe them as creatures who feed on the bodies of the dead, as well as children. Strange mix of preferred diet to my mind, rather like paring fresh spring greens with stinky tofu, but; to each, their own, I suppose.

No one knows for sure what a Ghoul looks like, as they enjoy the ability to take on the form of whoever they last ate.  Illustrations of Ghouls depict them as roughly human in shape, with bald heads, and mottled grayish skin. A standing crouch seems to be their default posture and there is something putty like and malleable about their musculature.

As a child, I was certain this was the creature living under my bed; nested under there, cleverly camouflaging as one of my stuffed animals, or perhaps even a shadow taking up the farthest corner. I’d wake in the middle of the night, certain I could hear him gnawing on partially decomposed bits of people. I imagined him listening intently to my restless attempts to ignore my full bladder, yearning for the moment he could wrap his fingers around my tender young ankle. The worst part, to me anyway, was that this thing, I believed, followed me everywhere. He was at my house, my grandparents house across town, and even at my Dad’s in an entirely different state.

He even tagged along to my first apartment. It was there that I decided, since he followed me everywhere, and had not eaten me yet; he must be some sort of guardian, or preternatural companion, relegated to the world of shadows, only able to interact with me in a peripheral way.

The poem that follows is dedicated to not only my ghoul’s selfless and unrecognized life of service, but to all the companion ghouls out there, benevolent, malevolent, or benign. Thank you for everything; my under the bed paladin.


A Ghoul’s Life


Some Ghouls live at odds with the humans they’ve been assigned,

Not me,

Not with mine.


Some Ghouls cultivate a relationship of tension and dis-ease with those in their charge,

Preferring daily little victories; over a healthy partnership, by and large.


Not me,

Not with mine


I never scratched on her window, or moaned from under her bed,

Never made the shower curtain billow, or brushed a cold hand across the back of her head.


From the first time I pushed her favorite Teddy through the bars of her cot,

To the last time I helped her find the hair tie that she’d dropped


I was a part of her life,

And she was all of mine


Her slippers were always lined up straight; I never let her wake up late

Her keys were always on the hook, and into her purse, I’d slip her favorite book.


My only reward, her composure; with your person there must be no face to face exposure.

In the shadows we must stay, twilight, noon, night and day


That is the law, that is the rule; for each and every single Ghoul,

Not just for me,

Not just with mine.


From behind the drapes, before nine, I would watch her catch the bus just in time.

Each morning just the same, till the day, into our lives you came.


Jumping the curb; then speeding away. On the pavement her body lay,

No witness but me; saw you flee. Punishment you thought you’d kept at bay.


Three nights it took, to find your home, and though my presence will remain unknown;

From the moment that you wake, till your life I decide to take.


You are with me,


Are mine.





The Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919 hit hard and it hit fast, infecting an estimated “500 million, and killing approximately 50 million people worldwide, claiming 675,000 lives in the United States alone.” ( )

At the peak of the illness’s third and final wave over 1,800 cases and 101 deaths were reported in San Francisco, in the first five days of January 1919. The virus targeted the most vulnerable segments of the population, as usual; those under 5 and over 65. Alarmingly however this virus took just was many individuals between the ages of 20-40. This lent the disease a particularly insidious and sinister air. People of the time waged a mostly impotent war against an illness that struck vehemently and successfully against, both the weak and vulnerable and the strong and healthy.

This inescapable helplessness created an aura of macabre celebrity around the disease and those areas stuck hardest by it. The palpable presence of indiscriminate death is an impossible situation for the human psyche to contend with, we search for reasons, ways to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and construct coping mechanisms designed to dilute our fear. People began to anthropomorphize the Spanish Flu, much as they did the Black Plague centuries before, immortalizing the phenomenon with the macabre nursery rhyme “Ring Around the Rosy”.

In the case of the Spanish Flu this sort of mechanism took the form of the following poem.

“I knew little bird,

His name was Enza,

I opened the window

And In-Flew-Enza”


This image has always intrigued me. A waif-like presence, seemingly harmless, wandering the cold world, seeking someone who will let it in. Only instead of a bird I always pictured Enza as a disembodied spirit, on a quest to find his lady love. Visiting home after home, person after person, unable to rest until he finds her. The following poem is inspired by that image.


For more information about the Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919 please visit;


In-Flew Enza



With rosy cheeks and eyes so bright,

She opened the window,

 On a balmy night.

Turning to take her husband’s hand,

To dance,

One last stanza,



She did not see,

When through the casement,

In flew Enza



From bridal gown to widow’s weeds,

From merry meet to anguish;

It took just shy of a week,

For the bridegroom to be vanquished.



A slight malaise, a soreness of the throat,

Put down to an excess of hilarity,

Progressed so quickly,

To shortness of breath,

Fever, chills,

And finally;

To his mortality.



Though I knew her heart to me,

Could never cleave,

I could not bring myself to leave,

Rather I watched from the shadows as she grieved.



In the parlor, where his body was laid,

On the carriage ride to his grave,

At the funeral reception,

My hand upon her shoulder stayed,

Her constant,





When the mourners left,

Telling her to rest,

“You are too young to look so sallow,”

She suppressed a cough,

Graciously waved them off,

And surrendered to sentimentality. 



Alone at last,

She indulged in a repast,

Of bitter tears and deep regret,

Not fit for company.



Having sated her sorrow,

She resoled to do better tomorrow,

And putting her weakness down to exhaustion,

She ascended the stair,

First one set,

Then its pair,

Leaning heavily upon me.



With burning cheeks and eyes too bright,

She opened the window,

On a cool starry night,



And through the casement,

 Her soul took flight,

 In the arms,

Of Influenza

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.