SHE was in the basement again. It was pitch black, the only illumination a glowing, quarter moon etched into the floor. A burst of light split the darkness, and she moaned low in her throat.
Please, I don’t want to see anymore. . .I don’t want to look.
Yet her feet moved of their own volition, inching toward the
mark. . .and the twisted bundle now lying in its center. A man lay curled upon the stone. He wasn’t breathing, and his limbs were tiny
and withered. But she knew he wasn’t dead.
He wasn’t human.
The daemon opened his eyes. I’ve been sleeping. But for how long? He could feel his arms and legs, but the sensations were muted as if they’d traveled from a great distance.
Then he remembered. He’d been imprisoned – snatched from his
body by the magic that had trapped him here. Even now sleep, like a
delicious drug, threatened to overtake him. But he fought it away.
How many centuries would pass while he slept?
A doorway appeared in his mind and just beyond it, a tattered
clump of flesh and bone. . .
Karla’s eyes flew open–the scream caught in her throat. It’s just a nightmare. I’m Ok. I’m here now, at home.
The Indigo woman turned her head to look at the bedroom console. Six- thirty glowed on the screen. She scooted out of bed, picked up a remote from the nightstand and turned off the alarm. Karla walked across the wooden floor of her living area into a kitchenette. A press of her fingers on the first sphere of a triangular pod started coffee brewing.
She filled a cup with chicory, walked back into the living area and
pushed the second button on her remote, activating a blue panel beside
the window. Jazz music filled the apartment. Like her bedroom console
the unit kept time, transmitted holographic images and played tapes.
Using the third button, she opened the curtains. Curled upon her
futon, the Indigo woman watched as the illuminae changed Topaz’s
violet sky into a mellow shade of peach. She thought of the dreams.
For as far back as Karla could remember, she’d had them. Otherworldly, exquisite and always with an unsettling clarity so different from the normal phantasms she read about.
When I eat, I wake up full–and stay that way until lunchtime. If somebody hits me, it hurts like hell. . .
And her dream lover left her limp with satisfaction, even after she
awoke, sure he was still beside her.
At night Karla wrote them down, pouring all of her fears and desires into the notebooks. She spent hours in the library, reading stories of reincarnation and demonic possession, searching for answers. She’d found them too–dozens of them. But none could satisfy the yearning that burned inside her.
Every time she closed her eyes to sleep they beckoned, calling to
her. Mornings, she awoke like a swimmer who’d been underwater for too
long, grasping for the fabric of reality–-moaning with pleasure or
trembling with exhilaration.
One night they’re going to swallow me whole. I’ll never wakeup or maybe I’ll just fall through to whatever’s on the other side. . .and this new one, something’s different about it. I know the others but this one–- this one scares me so bad I’m afraid to sleep.
“What time is it?”
The top left knob of her console blinked. “The time is 7:00
am,” a pert, female voice replied.
Seven o’clock! I’d better hustle! Karla gulped down her coffee,
and hurried back into the bedroom to dress.
Tehotep watched the tall, slender woman thumb through her closet. He wasn’t invisible, only dim. As long as he stayed in the shadows,
she couldn’t see him. But noise couldn’t be cloaked by magic.
The Indigo woman tossed a red knit, shirt and jeans on the bed,
slipped off her pajamas and walked into the bathroom. As she stepped
into the shower, the nozzle automatically clicked on, spraying her body
with water. He followed, standing just beyond the doorway. . .
Karla finished bathing, and Tehotep quickly moved back into the
shadows – all the while devouring her with his eyes. Her skin, dewy with
moisture, looked like melting chocolate her nipples, blackberries.
She toweled off her full breasts and long legs and he licked his
lips imagining the things he would do with her-–to her–the endless
perversions he’d force her to submit to. Things she’d come to enjoy,
when she tried to please him.
The young woman walked into the bedroom. He watched her pull up her panties, hook her bra, slip her arms into the straps. Image after image flooded his mind. Tehotep felt himself harden; a soft groan
escaped his lips. . .
Karla froze then stared into the corner facing her bed. It’s only a
bunch of dirty clothes, you’re hearing things!
In that instant he appeared: an Indigo man with full lips, slanting
onyx eyes and a shaven head. Voluminous garments hung from his
muscular frame. Their eyes locked, and she gasped in recognition. The
dark man smiled, nodded his head. . .
Karla gazed at the pile of laundry – all that remained of him–-and wondered if she’d lost her mind. With trembling hands she finished
dressing her thoughts scurrying about like rats in a maze. It’s him! I
didn’t imagine it! He was here, but that’s impossible–!
There was a knock at the door and she jumped. Get it together
girl, that’s the twins.
She walked into the living room, picked up her remote and pointed it at the entrance. It slid open and the eight-year-old twins, Carlos Jr. and Ashley, small and brown like their mother, ran inside. Ashley’s shoulder length braids were tied off with ribbons.
“Good morning Karla,” they sang in unison, hugging her.
“Good morning love bugs. What do you want for breakfast?”
“Waffles,” said Ashley.
Carlos Jr. flapped his hand at his sister. “You always want waffles.
Make mine French toast.”
When Karla and the twins’ mother had first become friends, Tatiana and Carlos were both working nights, and she’d offered to make breakfast for their children during the week. That was two years ago.
Now Tatiana worked as a beautician, although her mate stillworked evening shifts at the metal emporium. But fixing meals for the
twins had become a habit Karla didn’t want to break. She was crazy
about them, and Topaz’s food prices were next to nothing.
“Coming right up.” The dark woman took milk and breakfast pellets from her cold box, and slid the nuggets into a diamond shapedoven. In twenty seconds, they expanded with heat.
“Done,” the oven announced. The children sat at the table, just
outside the kitchenette.
Karla served them, walked into the living area and took a cipher
from the box on the coffee table. She lit it and puffed nervously; with the other hand combing her fingers through her short, wavy hair.
“Smoking is stinky,” Ashley pronounced her mouth full of waffles.
“Don’t talk with your mouth full.” How did he get in my
apartment? Piss on that! How did he get out?
“Mommy’s mad at Daddy ‘cause he ain’t been home in two days!” Carlos Jr. announced, snapping her back to the present.
“Hasn’t, not ain’t and your mother probably wants to tell me
about it herself,” Karla scolded gently.
“Yeah,” piped Ashley, “don’t tell family business.”
There was a knock at the door, she opened it and Tatiana strolled in: an Indigo woman with her hair coiled into tiny braids.
“Hey girl.” Tatiana greeted her.
“Hey yourself, want some coffee?”
“Definitely,” the petite woman flopped on the couch, “Kids
hurry up; the transport unit will be here in minute.”
After the twins left for school, the women sat on Karla’s futon
“Carlos hasn’t been home in two days.”
“Your son already told me.” Karla eyed her friend with concern.
“So what are you gonna do?”
“I don’t know.”
“You said the next time he pulled this shit, you were gonna put
Tatiana stared into her cup. “When he comes back, I’ll talk to
him –really talk to him,” she mumbled. “He‘s got to get it together, or
find someplace else to stay.”
“Yeah, you said that last time too.”
“Karla he’s a good man and he loves me, he’s just got issues! His
daddy used to beat him up. Carlos gets depressed when he thinks about
it so he smokes rush. He doesn’t do it every day–”
The dark woman gritted her teeth. “Ti, I don’t wanna hear that
shit! He’s a junkie-–if he was serious about dealing with his addiction,
he’d check into a clinic!”
Tatiana’s small, oval face narrowed with anger. “I’m not one of
your residents so don’t preach to me, Ok? It’s my life and my man!”
“I’m not trying to preach,” Karla said softly. She touched her friend’s hand. “It’s just that you deserve better – better than him. You need a man that’s gonna be there for you all the time. Not somebody who keeps giving you love, and taking it back.”
“Look, I know what you’re saying, up here,” Tatiana tapped the
side of her head with her fingertip, “but relationships aren’t simple,
they’re tangled like vines. You don’t make up your mind to leave
someone you love just like that.” She snapped her fingers for emphasis.
“You ever been in love?”
“Uh-huh, I have.”
“Really, with who? I mean, I’ve never seen you with anybody for
more than a few months.”
“With–” a brown face appeared in her mind’s eye. Loved. Cherished. But Karla had never met him – not while she was awake. She looked sheepish. “It’s been a while.”
The Indigo woman furrowed her brow. “So long ago you don’t
remember his name? Then you weren’t in love.”
Karla avoided Tatiana’s searching eyes. “I don’t wanna talk about him,” she fumbled for the words to stop her friend’s questions, “it’s too
“Oh, it’s like that huh? I understand…Karla, he took my ID
“Damn! How’re you going to make through the week?”
The petite woman shrugged. “I’ll figure something out.” She set
her cup on the table. “Thanks for the coffee.”
“You need some credits?”
“Probably. . .I’ll let you know. You better get going.”
Karla activated the door lock then watched Tatiana slowly climb
the steps to her flat. How could Carlos do this to her again?
The elderly woman held the curtain back from her window. She was short with large eyes, a wide nose and full lips a shade lighter than her ebony skin. Her thick salt and pepper hair was twisted into two braids atop her head. Her calico spotted cat, Nutmeg, rubbed against her
legs, meowing plaintively, but she ignored him.
Opal watched the tall, Indigo woman descend the stairs and cross the street. Once Karla was out of sight, she opened the door, walked down the hallway to the back exit and followed the brick path into her garden.
There was a pecan and cherry tree, a profusion of roses, lilacs and daises, and the bees were having their breakfast. The garden square was
hemmed in by apartment buildings and faced a tool shed. She continued down the end of the path to the shed. This time Nutmeg didn’t follow and he’d ceased to beg for attention. Instead, he sat solemnly on his haunches and watched her pick up a can of oil, and a rag from beside the doorway.
Opal oiled the door hinges and wiped away the excess. She squirted more oil on the cloth and rubbed it into the door. Anyone observing this ritual would see an elderly woman polishing a tool shed. If they looked more closely, they’d notice her whispering to herself and think she was senile. And that was just fine with her.
The old woman stepped back: admiring her handiwork. She strolled up the little path, and took a seat in one of the cushioned lawn chairs beneath her trees. Nutmeg stopped harassing the bees, bounded over and wound himself around her legs.
Opal reached down and stroked his back. The illuminae was
beautiful today. Perhaps she’d linger a bit and enjoy it.
Dressed in breeches and sandals, Joie rode through the forest of his ancestors. The illuminae filtered through the trees, sketching filigrees in the mulch below.
The warrior was tall, with reddish brown skin, almond eyes, and high cheekbones. Jet black hair hung loosely about his shoulders. Silver and turquoise rings dangled from his ears and wrists. Joie was half asleep, his muscular thighs loosely gripping the mare’s flanks, for she knew the way to their favorite stream better than he did.
They reached the brook and he dismounted, kneeled and splashed water upon his face and neck, finally cupping a pool in his hands to drink.
“Joseph. . .” He glanced around, instantly wary. The forest was
teaming with supernatural life–-and not all of it friendly.
Among the most dangerous were Wood Sprites–forest succubae that took the form of human women to capture men. Their victims slowly starved to death, losing all grasp of time as they languished in their captor’s embrace.
A mahogany shaded woman emerged from the grove of trees to his right…
Copyright Valjeanne Jeffers-Thompson 2007, 2009 all rights reserved
available at http://www.vjeffersandqveal.com