Tag Archives: #SilentlyWatching

Silently Watching One Week After The Buck Moon

dark-angel

One week later the air was heavy and muggy, a thunderstorm gathering overhead. As he jogged up the hill towards the graveyard, it matched his own mood. The first drops of rain fell as he climbed the steps into the cemetery. As he approached the tree, a bright flash of lightning lit up the dark sky, revealing the dark angel herself who was standing in the shadows.

“Well met, Son of Perran,” she greeted him formally as she stepped forward.

“Hey,” he replied forcing a smile. “Looks like we’re about to get wet.”

“Not at all,” she said stepping forward. “We’re leaving.”

Before he could protest, she swept her wings around him. The world went black and everything felt still.

When the world cam back into focus, he wasn’t surprised to find himself in the dark angel’s mausoleum home.

“Is this the way I’m going to have to exist?” he asked as he sat up and looked round. “This place feels different. Smells different.”

“It’s the oils,” replied the angel calmly.

“Oils?”

“Lavender and geranium,” replied the angel lifting a large box from a previously unnoticed niche by the door. “Take your shirt off.”

“Pardon?”

“Remove your shirt,” she said slowly and deliberately.

Without argument, he removed his running top, tossing it onto the stone bench. As he stood in the middle of the tomb, stripped to the waist, he was acutely aware of the angel’s gaze on his lean toned body.

“Enjoying the view?” he teased as she walked behind him.

Her green eyes dark and intense, she stared at him, the gaze boring into his soul. She moved round to stand directly behind him. She studied his back for a few moments then ran her cool hand over his shoulder blades. Tiny sparks of electricity pulsed through him as her cold fingers caressed his warm skin. He felt her pause and run her thumbs over the tips of his shoulder blades.

 

Taking a step back, the angel studied his smooth skin, tanned from the summer sun. At first, she couldn’t be sure and she thought for a moment that his luck had held then she noticed a slight circular discolouration. There were two patches of skin about two centimetres across that were a darker shade than the rest of the runner’s bronzed back.

“The buds are there,” she said quietly as moved round to face him.

“Buds?” He looked at her with a face filled with confusion.

“Your wing buds are forming.”

“Ah!”

“I have worked out a way to slow their development but you’re going to have to work out a way to administer the treatment on your own,” she explained, her tone serious. “How are you with pain?”

“I’m tough. I can take it,” he replied, sounding calmer than he felt.

“Each of the phials in that box contains an oil that you are going to have to use once a month. I can only stall the development for so long. This treatment had to be prepared in a single batch. I cannot make any more. There are three hundred phials in the box for you. Do not break any. Do not drop any. These are the only ones in existence.”

Glancing into the cardboard box, he saw that it was filled with slender phials containing a dark liquid.

“I’ll administer the first dose,” the dark angel explained pointing to a larger phial that lay on a black velvet cloth on the bench alongside her ornate knife. “I need to ensure that I treat the centre of the buds. I’ll make the first cuts. You will then use the same holes each month.”

“Holes?”

The angel nodded, the white streak of her hair almost shimmering in the candlelight.

“Wait a minute,” he stalled sounding anxious. “What’s the plan here?”

“The phials contain an infusion of horse chestnut bark, lavender oil, geranium oil and thyme plus a few other items. The oil needs to be poured into the centre of each bud once a month and the wounds covered with the moss that’s at the bottom of the box. The moss has been treated with the infusion. You’ll only use a couple of strands at a time.”

“And how a I going to explain two holes covered in moss on my back to my wife?” he demanded sharply.

“You like to decorate your body. You’ll get another tattoo across your upper back. The holes will be lost in the design,” explained the angel calmly.

“Oh, will I?” he retorted. “And I assume you’ve picked the design for me too?”

“I’ve designed it for you,” she replied calmly. “The design is part of the enchantment. It needs to be identical to the drawing inside the box.”

Before he could protest further, the angel reached into the box and pulled out a single sheet of paper with a Celtic design expertly drawn on it. Looking at the detail in it, he wasn’t averse to having it inked across his back. There were two points in the design where there was an obvious cross over and he deduced that those would mark the spots that matched the holes.

“Fine,” he said. “I’ll get it done. I’ll get someone at work to recommend a place. That won’t be cheap to get that inked.”

“There’s money in the box to cover the cost.”

“Thought of everything, haven’t you?”

Lifting the knife, the angel said, “I hope so.”

With the knife poised over his smooth skin, the angel asked, “Are you ready?”

“Go for it.”

“This is going to hurt.”

“Just do it.”

As the sharp tip of the blade bit into his skin, he flinched but never utters a sound. When she pierced the second hole, he was ready for it.

“This will burn,” she said as she picked up the large phial. “Really burn.”

“How am I meant to get tattooed if the skin is burnt?” he asked.

“The skin won’t be burnt. This will burn inside you. It will feel like fire.”

He gritted his teeth and clenched his fists as the angel poured the liquid into the two open wounds on his back. Pain ricocheted through him as the liquid worked its way around the nubs of his wings.

“Christ!” he yelled as the heat intensified.

“Almost finished,” promised the angel rubbing some strands of the pale green moss into the wounds. Instantly the pain stopped spreading and began to ease. “Done.”

“Whew!” he said rolling his shoulders stiffly.

“Well done. You handled that well,” she praised with a smile. “Guard that box with your life. One phial is enough for both buds. One phial once a month. When the phials run out then we have to last nature take its course.”

Pulling his running vest back on, he nodded.

“These should last you about twenty-five years if you don’t smash any.”

“I’ll be an old man by then,” he joked lifting the box.

“No, you won’t, Son of Perran,” she countered. “You’ll look exactly the same as you do just now. You’ve not aged one day since your transformation. Time will be kind to you.”

“Ok so how do I pour that stuff in on my own?”

“You’ll find a way. Pierce the holes open first then pour in the infusion.”

“Not quite the DIY I had planned but I’ll figure something out,” he muttered. “And I’ll get that ink done.”

“Get it done this weekend. It should then be healed before the next full moon if you can.”

“Fine,” he agreed bluntly. “Any more orders?”

The angel smiled and shook her head. “You can find your own way home from here.”

She pushed open the door of the mausoleum to reveal the dark stormy night outside. “Follow the path to the right.”

“Till next time,” he said as he headed for the door.

“Soon, Son of Perran. Soon.”

 

Over the years the box had sat on the second top shelf at the back of the garage. Its contents steadily dwindling as the months and years passed. In the box, wrapped in an old t-shirt, was apiece of wood with two nails driven straight through it, their tips sticking out proudly. Those tips had been filed until they were needle sharp and had been sterilised until they now shone silvery in the light of the garage.

Carefully he hung the piece of wood on the nail on the garage wall, making sure it was level. He unbuttoned his short and laid it on the bonnet of his car then lifted the last glass phial out of the box.

With well-practiced ease, he stepped back and leaned his full weight against the piece of wood, feeling the nails piercing their target for the final time.

 

(Image sourced via Google- credits to the owner)

 

 

 

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Silently Watching At The Buck Moon

dark-angel

Blind fury surged through his veins as he pounded out some long, angry miles along the trails behind his village home. He could feel the blood burning through his lean body. By running hard and fast, he was trying to distract himself from the cries of the Rabbia Sanguigna. His changeling soul was screaming for blood.

It had been an infuriating day from the moment he’d opened his eyes. Breakfast has been beyond chaotic as the kids had been fractious, each squabbling with their siblings over nothing. The family cat depositing a live bird in the middle of the kitchen hadn’t helped matters. He’d left with his daughter’s shrieks of hysteria echoing through his mind.

A white pebble had sat on the wiper blade of the car when he’d left to go to work. He was being summoned. His intention was to end his evening run with a visit to the graveyard.

A long hot day in the office hadn’t helped. There were new members in his team and his boss had buddied him up with one of them. The guy was a “know-it-all” who knew nothing and talked crap all day. Despite his best efforts to calmly walk him through the correct processes, his colleague knew a better way to do everything. After lunch, he’d adopted his “fuck it” approach and left the guy to it. He’d emailed his boss to express his concerns over the less experienced team member’s attitude to following documented processes and his understanding of the importance of complying to regulation then left for the day.

Over the months, he’d noticed that it proved more challenging to control the urges associated with the Rabbia Sanguigna around the time of the full moon. For four or five days his already heightened senses were on edge and the least little thing sparked the urge for blood. The dark angel had tried to teach him how to control the desires and how to prepare for them to lessen the effects but, four months down the line, the blood from his mother had long since worn off and none of the techniques were working.

Up ahead, at the side of the road, he spotted a cyclist standing beside his bike studying the front wheel. His sensitised nasal passages caught a whiff of blood in the air.

“Hey, everything alright?” he asked as he approached. It looked as though the cyclist had crashed. Blood was trickling from cuts on his arm and thigh and he was holding his arm protectively over his ribs.

“Car clipped me,” explained the cyclist through gritted teeth. “Think I’ve broken my collar bone and some ribs. Bike’s wrecked. Wheel’s twisted.”

Glancing round, the runner noted there was no one in sight. His blossoming vampire urges seized control. In a split second, before either of them had had time to think, he stepped towards the injured cyclist, reached out as if to help him then sunk his teeth into the ripe throbbing vein in his neck.

The clean vibrant human blood flowed into his veins tasting divine. He drank deeply.

It hadn’t been his intention to drain him dry but, before he realised what he was doing, the cyclist crumpled at his feet. His eyes were open and glazed.

He’d killed him.

He’d made his first human kill.

His satiated blood ran cold. What had he done?

 

 

A crimson sunset was lighting up the sky as he ran up the steps into the quiet cemetery. His earlier blind fury had been replaced by blind panic and he prayed the angel was waiting by the tree.

“Care to explain yourself, Son of Perran!” she hissed in his ear as he walked towards their usual meeting point.

“Jesus!” he yelped. He hadn’t heard or felt her approach.

“Careless! Messy! Sloppy!” she berated him angrily. “Have you learned nothing from me? What were you thinking about? You never even attempted to cover your tracks!”

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled staring down at his feet.

“Too late for sorry!”

“I lost control. My blood’s been burning all day. I hunted last night but I was so thirsty. He was bleeding…” he faltered. “I didn’t mean to kill him. I meant to stop like you explained. Leave him alive.”

“But you didn’t!” raged the angel, her green eyes blazing with fury. “Fortunately for you I was nearby and smelled the blood. I’ve covered your track this time. Heed me well, Son of Perran, this is the only time!”

“I’m sorry,” he repeated quietly, feeling like a child being chastised by its mother.

“You will be,” she muttered, her voice a little calmer. “Think! Was the moon visible while you drank from him?”

“No idea.”

“Oh,” sighed the angel, her voice ringing with exasperation. “What have you started?”

“How’d you mean?”

“There is no going back for you now.”

“No going back where?”

“You may have just made your first human kill under the rising of the full moon. The Buck Moon at that, you fool!”

His dark brown eyes suddenly filled with fear, the runner stared at her.

“Sit,” instructed the angel, indicating their usual bench beside the tree.

Without complaint, he sat down and watched as she took a seat beside him, angling herself in such as a way as to prevent there being any damage to her majestic wings.

“The full moon always acts as a catalyst. It strengthens the effect of things. It speeds up the changes. It enhances the desires. It heightens the senses,” she began calmly. “Some full moons have different effects. That’s why I wanted to speak to you. To warn you about the dangers of tonight’s full moon. I knew you’d hunted last night. I thought there was time….”

“Time for what? What dangers?” he interrupted.

“The Buck Moon is powerful, Son of Perran. Have you drunk your mugwort today?”

A realisation dawned on the runner. He hadn’t taken his mugwort tea for three days.

“No,” he confessed. “And I might have missed a day or two.”

“Missed a day or two?” echoed the angel sharply. “Golden rule, Son of Perran. That was one of your golden rules!”

“Sorry.”

“Stop apologising,” she snapped. “It’s too late for apologies. If there’s been damage done, it’s too late to stop it.”

“Stop what?” His tone was sharper and more demanding than he’d intended.

Taking a deep breath to calm herself, the angel said, “By making your first human kill under the light of a full moon, you have increased your body’s need and desire for human blood. Animal blood may no longer satiate your thirsts. You, Son of Perran, have made yourself a killer.”

With his head in his hands, the runner sat trembling. What had he done?

“That’s only part of it,” continued the angel. “The Buck Moon is so named as it’s the moon that marks the time when young male deer start to develop their antlers. For our kind, it’s the moon when wings are most likely to bud. I had been going to warn you to double up on the mugwort for the next few days but it’s too late for that now.”

“Fuck,” he muttered.

All of his worst nightmares were gathering in front of him and becoming a cold harsh reality.

“Now what do I do?” he asked when he was finally able to speak.

“For a start, double up on the mugwort for a week. If your wings are going to bud, you’ll feel it by the end of the week.”

“I can’t grow fucking wings!” he growled. “How will I explain them?”

“There may be a way to slow their growth,” she said slowly, “If they bud.”

“Great! More hocus pocus!”

“Quiet,” she cautioned sternly. “How you feed is now a more pressing issue.”

“Why?”

“Have you listened to a thing I’ve said?”

Gazing at him with almost motherly concern, the angel wanted to reach out to reassure her fledgling at the same time as she wanted to scream and yell at him for his stupidity. Her own anger was rising and she knew if she didn’t hunt soon, she’d lose her temper with him.

“Son of Perran, I’ll be blunt. Your impetuous meal tonight has ensured that you’ll need human blood at least once a week to survive. You might want to work out a plan on how you are going to find the source of your sustenance!”

“Once a week? I’ll need to kill once a week?”

“Not necessarily kill if you can master the art of restraint,” she said.

“I’ve really fucked this up, haven’t I?”

“Succinctly put,” she said getting to her feet. “Go home. Drink your mugwort then drink some more. Keep your temper in check. Meet me here one week from tonight.”

Before he could reply, she’d spread her majestic wings and vanished from sight.

 

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

 

 

 

 

Silently Watching at the Storm Moon

dark-angel

Finally, the pungent aroma of decaying flesh became too much to bear. Grimacing at the pain it caused her, the dark angel dragged herself up into a sitting position. After the warmth of the animal furs and the velvet blanket that she had been shrouded in, the air of her mausoleum home felt icy cold. Reaching out a withered hand, she pulled herself onto her knees and then finally, her balance unsteady, she stood naked in the middle of the floor. Her weeks of enforced dormancy had left her severely weakened and somewhat vulnerable. Unnourished, even vampires wither and age.

Blood!

She needed blood and she needed it urgently. But, did she have any strength left to hunt? She was going to have to try then she needed to check on her fledgling. Had the blood from his mother tamed the Rabbia Sanguigna?

Dressing sapped more of her limited strength but, eventually, just as the sun rose over the horizon, she was ready to venture out into the world again. Drawing her cloak around her for warmth, she set out in search of much needed sustenance.

 

A lone commuter stood on the platform at the station, engrossed in a news article on his phone. Her fangs found his jugular vein before he even realised that he was no longer alone. As his warm blood flowed smoothly down her throat, the dark angel felt life seep back into her ravaged body. With the businessman’s body drained dry, she pushed him off the platform onto the tracks, kicking his bag and phone after him.

If she could feed again before the sun set, she might just recover before the full moon.

A glance at the newspaper the man had dropped informed her it was 20th March   confirming she had been dormant too long.

 

Eleven long weeks and two full moons had passed with no sign of her. Eleven long weeks since she had delivered the two flasks of blood with her gentle kiss. It had been a rare show of tenderness and that kiss was imprinted on his memory.

Every Friday night he had checked the tree for his expected blood ration only to find the hollow empty.

He had been left with no choice but to hunt for himself. The blood from the flasks had sustained him for almost a week before he felt the now familiar hunger start to grow. Before she had vanished, the dark angel had promised that he’d “know” if the blood from his mother had calmed the rage of his Rabbia Sanguigna. Within twenty-four hours he’d noticed a change in himself – a subtle change. He had still craved blood as badly as before but he felt more in control of his desires. Over the next few weeks he learned if he stayed calm and relaxed, the desire melted into the background; as soon as he became angry or frustrated, the urge returned instantly and the desire to taste the warm ferrous nectar from a live creature pulsed more overwhelmingly than ever.  Once, when he’d almost lost his temper while driving, he’d felt a sudden craving for human blood. That thought had chilled him to the bone.

Calm……how could he stay calm when the angel had abandoned him and vanished without a trace?

Hunting during the months of winter had proved challenging. He had taken to hunting on his way home from work, feeding from the livestock in the fields behind the village. There had been plenty of sheep to choose from but the blood of the expectant ewes soured his stomach, leaving him nauseous. After a third day of vomiting rings round himself, he decided that sheep were off the menu. At the back of his mind, he recalled the angel’s warning about drinking from expectant mothers and deduced that this must hold true for expectant ovine mothers too.

Cows’ and horses’ blood sustained him. Deer, despite tasting divine, proved too quick for him. A feast of deer blood was a rare treat obtained through sheer dumb luck rather than hunting prowess.

The day before March’s full moon fell on his scheduled day off from work. With the kids at school and nursery and his wife out running errands, he decided to treat himself to a long run along his beloved forestry trails.

It was a clear crisp Spring day, perfect for a long run. He’d hunted on the way home the evening before and, with his music playing through his iPod, was content just to allow the ground to pass under his feet without the need to watch for a possible victim. Deciding to deviate from his usual route, he set off in search of a small remote reservoir far up in the hills behind the village. His plan was to circle the small loch then head east along the trail to the larger reservoir that served the area before doubling back and returning home via the remote B class road that led into the back of the village.

When he reached the trail that led down to the small reservoir, he found that it had been washed out in a storm and was unpassable. Changing his plan, he stayed on the trail he’d been following. The reservoir was about fifty yards off to his right. A movement caught his attention and he paused to gaze over at the shaded expanse of water. For a split second he thought he’d seen someone bathing in the icy water. He could have sworn it was her.

Deciding that his mind was playing tricks on him, he returned his focus to his run and set off again, upping his pace.

 

Breaking through the surface of the cold water, the angel came up gasping for breath. That has been close! Thank God for that infernal noise he chose to listen to. If she hadn’t heard it, she would never have known he was close. That thought triggered a fresh concern for her. He might be oblivious to it but her fledgling had developed a new vampire talent – silent footfall.

As the water stilled around her, she glanced down at her reflection. Her skin had rehydrated after her breakfast of human blood. There were still dark shadows under her eyes with deep wrinkles around them. A wide white streak had appeared in her raven black hair.

Her trip to Spain had certainly left its mark on her.

There was no time to dwell on things beyond her control. She had neglected her fledgling for too long. It was time to resume his education.

 

Next morning dawned wild and wet, a strong gusting wind sending wheelie bins flying across the roads. When he left the house, running late for work, he almost missed the sign that had been left on his windscreen A white pebble had been balanced on the wiper blade and a small black feather with a purple tip was tucked under it.

She was alive!

He let out a long, relieved sigh, releasing weeks of tension that he hadn’t realised had built up.

But where and when was he to meet her?

First things first, he had to get to work.

 

It was growing dark when he finally logged off his pc and gathered up his belongings. His last conference call of the day at four o’clock had over run, ending with an action for him to revise a paper he had prepared before the end of the day. He’d managed to pull the figures together in record time and hoped they met with the approval of those further up the food chain. It had been a long day and it was now an hour and half past the end of his shift. Pausing to wish the security guard goodnight, he left the building and headed across the car park towards his car.

As he unlocked the car, he felt the air move beside him.

“Son of Perran,” whispered a familiar voice. “You ignored my sign.”

“I didn’t ignore it,” he replied as he spun round to find himself face to face with the angel. “I didn’t understand it.  I needed to get to work. I was planning to look for you in the cemetery on my way home.”

Staring deep into his soul, her green eyes locked with his brown ones. Unable to look away, he felt her probing into his mind uninvited.

“Praise be” she sighed. “It worked.”

“Eh?”

“Your Rabbia Sanguigna is under control.”

“If you’d asked, I could’ve told you it was” he snapped, his hand clenching tight around his car key. “Don’t enter my mind uninvited again!”

“My apologies. That was unforgiveable,” she said, bowing her head. “I needed to see for myself. Needed to know for sure.”

“Yeah and I’ve needed you. Where have you been for the past eleven weeks?”

“Indisposed,” replied the angel softly.

Looking at her properly for the first time, he saw that she had aged. Without thinking, he reached out to touch the white streak at the front of her hair. “What happened?”

“My trip to find your mother took its toll,” she replied evasively. “I drank tainted blood on the way home. That and the effort of keeping the blood warm for so long almost ended me.”

“You ok?”

“I’ll recover,” assured the angel forcing a smile. “And you, Son of Perran, are you well?”

“I think so,” he replied sounding a little unsure.

“Is the blood rage really under control?”

He nodded, “As long as nothing winds me up. If I get frustrated or pissed off at something, I can feel it rising. I’ve not reacted to it…. yet.”

“Well done,” she praised. “You’ve shown maturity.”

“You didn’t leave me much choice!”

“True,” she conceded.

“Look, I need to get home. I’m late,” he began awkwardly. “Can we talk later?”

“I need to hunt later.”

“Get in,” said the runner impulsively as he opened the passenger side door. “We can talk on the way.”

“I can’t sit in there,” answered the angel, rustling her wings gently.

“Shit! Forgot about those,” he muttered slamming door shut then not to be thwarted said, “Get in the back. You can lie along the back seat.”

“How undignified,” complained the angel as she slid into the backseat of the car.

“Sorry. It’s the best I can do,” he apologised as he climbed into the driver’s seat.

As he exited the car park, he could feel her eyes boring into him. She watched him in silence for a few minutes before saying softly, “I saw you yesterday.”

“So, it was you I saw at the reservoir?”

“Yes,” she replied. “If it hadn’t been for that awful noise you listen to, I wouldn’t have heard you approaching.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You run soundlessly, son of Perran.”

“Pardon?”

“You’ve developed some new vampire traits while I’ve been absent,” she observed. “Some full blood traits.”

“I still don’t understand.”

“I’ll make this easy for you to understand, fledgling,” began the angel sounding irritated. “Your partial transformation has failed.”

“Failed?”

“Yes, and I am truly sorry about that,” she apologised sincerely.

“So, what does that mean?” he demanded as he stopped the car at a red light.

“From what I saw in your mind, the blood from your mother calmed the Rabbia Sanguigna but it also disturbed the delicate balance of your transformation. Your full blood faculties are developing. You run and walk without making a sound. You could already read minds. You had perfect vision. Now, you also have perfect hearing over long distances, if you choose to listen.”

“I don’t get it,” he said as the traffic lights turned to green.

“Visualise your home, son of Perran,” she instructed. “And listen.”

He did as she asked then felt a chill run through him as he heard his wife talking to the kids as clearly as if he was standing beside her.

“How?” he spluttered, not fully comprehending what was going on. “Why?”

“It had to the blood from your mother. She must be more of a full blood then I detected.”

“Christ, I don’t believe this is happening!” he growled, slamming his hand onto the steering wheel. “So, now what? Am I going to grow a set of wings and go around killing people to survive?”

“In time, most likely.”

“You have to be kidding me? This is not what I agreed to……. You promised me!”

“I know,” she interrupted him. “And you have no idea how dreadful I feel about all that has happened. Maybe if you spoke to your mother. Found out about her history.”

“No way!” he declared loudly. “Besides, she’s disappeared.  I’ve not heard from her since Christmas. She’s not been home since her trip to Spain.”

“Disappeared?”

“Yeah,” he muttered sourly. “She’ll turn up. She always does.”

“Has she vanished before?” quizzed the angel sharply.

“Many times, but, sadly, she always turns up.”

“Where does she go?”

“No idea. She never says and I don’t care enough to ask.”

In the rear-view mirror, he could see the dark angel looking thoughtful and he wondered if his mother’s vanishing acts were somehow important.

They drove on in silence for several minutes and, as he indicated to turn off the dual carriageway to take the back-road home, the angel said, “Stop when we are out of sight of the farm.”

“Sure,” he said as large drops of rain began to hit the windscreen.

A loud peel of thunder rattled over head and the rain instantly grew heavier. As he pulled off to the side of the road, the sky lit up with a flash of fork lightning.

“Do you want to wait here till that storm blows through?” he asked as he killed the engine.

For a moment the angel hesitated then said, “No. I need to feed and the storm will afford me some cover. People die easily during thunder storms. Unexpected unexplained accidents.”

A chill rattled through him as he realised that she intended to dine on human blood when she left his car.

“What’s the plan here then?” he asked, still struggling to process the information she’d given him

“We need to resume your education,” she answered simply. “You need to learn our old ways, how to feed properly and how to live unseen and undetected in the human world.”

“How long will that take?”

“Years, I hope,” said the angel quietly. “The partial transformation enchantment should slow your maturity. We can work together to slow the changes. Double your mugwort. That should be strong enough to prevent your wings from budding.” She paused for a second then added, “You need to continue to hunt for yourself. Hone those skills. Not too often. Vary your targets. Choose different locations. You’ll learn in time what your body needs most.”

He ran his hand through his hair and yelled, “This is all a fucking nightmare! And it’s all your fault!”

“Yes, it is,” she agreed reaching through to touch his slender shoulder. “This storm will pass though. You’re young. You’re strong. You’ve matured since the start of the year. With a bit of luck, your life can continue as normal for many years yet.”

The touch of her cool hand was comforting. While it rested on his shoulder, he felt an energy from her easing into his blood. With each breath, he felt his anger abate.

“When will I see you again?”

“Soon,” she replied evasively. “If I leave a pebble for you, meet me that night at dusk by the tree.”

“And if I can’t make it?”

“I’ll come for you,” she said bluntly. “Regardless of where you are. Now, I need to depart.”

 

Next morning, the area was littered with storm debris. Wheelie bins and tree limbs were scattered around the village and surrounding areas. As he was preparing to leave for work, his wife asked if he would drop the kids off at school first.

“Right, you two, out to the car,” he called as he drained the last of his coffee. “We’re leaving now.”

With the kids safely buckled in, he started the engine and pulled away from the kerb.

“Dad,” said his daughter. “Where did this feather come from? It’s pretty. Can I have it?”

Glancing in the rear view mirror, he saw that his little girl had one of the dark angel’s long wing feathers in her hand.

 

 

image sourced via Google- credits to the owner

 

 

2019 ….and the goal is…..

untitled

And in the blink of an eye 2018 has been and gone. Can’t say I’m sorry to see it go.

At the start of last year, I set myself three goals.  Here’s a reminder of what they were

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/2018-so-whats-the-plan/

Did I meet them all?

Yes I did 😊

OK, Book Baby 4 was launched a little later than planned. Ellen was finally launched on 1st September and quickly found her feet, earning herself five-star reviews on Amazon and Good Reads…whew!

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I brought Jake and Lori back to out to play as promised. On 8th May 2018, exactly five years after I sat down to write the story that became Book Baby 1, I sat down once more on my front doorstep and began to write Book Baby 5. Writing about all things Silver Lake has been like being reunited with old friends.

 

My third goal from last year was to blog once a week. Guess what…. I’ve met that goal too.

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Go me!!  LOL

So, what creative goals will I set for 2019?

Well, I feel it’s time to cut myself a little creative slack so I’m going to keep it really simple.

My 2019 goal is simply to finish and publish Book Baby 5 in 2019. The first draft is about 40% of the way there but it’s a VERY rough first draft in places!

What’s that saying? …. your first draft is like shovelling sand into the sandbox. You can build sandcastles later ….. or something like that. I’m still shovelling like crazy!

It goes without saying that I’ll continue with my weekly blog posts and who knows, everyone’s favourite dark angel may make an occasional appearance. (I have a longer term plan for those stories but I don’t want to say too much just yet.)

If you read my Christmas Eve short story then you will already have met two new rock star characters. I have the beginning of an idea for them too. (That may need to be in the five year plan!)

I’d like to thank each and every one of YOU  for your ongoing love and support. It makes the creative journey so much easier knowing that you guys are there.

What are your goals for 2019? Feel free to share the details in the comments box below.

If your own goals include “read more books” I can think of four to get you started…. Hint hint…

Regardless of what your personal goals are for the coming year, I’d like to wish you health wealth and happiness to pursue them. Remember “Dreams get you started. Discipline keeps you going.”

Love n hugs

Coral  xx

 

 

And if you want to catch up on your reading….

 

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Ellen – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

 

 

Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Ellen – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

Silently Watching At The End Of The Year

dark angel

The year was rapidly coming to an end …. only five hours left. Part of him was going to be glad to see the back of it; part of him was looking forward to a fresh start, a new year. It was never an occasion that they celebrated much as a family but this year was going to be different. They’d been invited to see the new year in at a neighbour’s house.
While his family were getting ready upstairs, he had seized the opportunity to slip out to the garage for his daily dose of mugwort tea. Running his tongue over his teeth, he reasoned that his “fangs” hadn’t developed any further and were still fairly unnoticeable. After his son’s innocent observation, he had tried to curb his hunting instincts and had stuck to the regime laid down by the dark angel. It hadn’t been easy but, on the whole, his will power had held strong.
As he drank the daily measure of mugwort, he wondered where she was. Five weeks and one day had passed since she had left.
He’d spoken to his mother on Christmas Day. He’d almost been relieved to speak to her. She hadn’t mentioned anything out of the ordinary other than an infected bug bite on her wrist that refused to heal. As ever, their conversation had been brief as she had cut the call short to dash off to join her friends for Christmas lunch.
Part of him wondered if the “bug bite” was the angel’s doing…….

Travelling didn’t agree with the dark angel. It took her ten days to reach the Mediterranean coastline of Spain. As a rogue vampire, she chose to avoid flying too close to London and Paris en route for fear of attracting any undue attention from the vampire elders who resided there. Avoiding Barcelona had proved to be more of a challenge as she searched for the runner’s mother in the unfamiliar territory. One young Spanish vampire had crossed her path but, after an exchange, they had reached an accord, with him promising to keep her presence in the area quiet.
It took her until mid-December to locate the woman she was seeking. From a distance, she observed her for a few days to establish her routine and to try to determine her vampire strengths before working out a plan.
Deciding to keep it simple, she opted to obtain the blood while the woman took a nap on her balcony in the afternoon. It was unusual for vampires to sleep outdoors and even more so for them to sleep during the day, causing the angel to wonder if her transformation had also been a partial one. For three days she watched the runner’s mother take a swim after lunch then retire to her shaded balcony for a siesta. On the fourth day, she made her move. Rather than biting her, the angel decided to use a sharpened thumb pick. Almost as an afterthought, she smeared a sedative and some of her own blood onto the point to numb the “pricking” sensation. With next to no knowledge of the woman’s powers, she wanted to be as discrete as possible.
Reaching the balcony unseen posed a further problem and the dark angel had no choice other than to risk exposing herself to direct sunlight during her rooftop approach. Stealthily, she slipped onto the shady balcony from above, pricked the inside of the woman’s wrist, acquired the two flasks of blood then retreated to the shadows.
Drained and slightly burned by the Spanish sun, the dark angel sought refuge in a nearby church until dark.
Keeping the blood at human body temperature was her next challenge. With no other option open to her, the angel used an ancient incantation to raise the temperature of the flasks themselves. By heating the metal, it would keep the contents warm. She just had to be mindful of where she stowed the flasks in case she burned herself. Sustaining the heat spell however sapped her energy.
On the return journey, she had to stop to feed three times. Her first two victims were elderly residents in remote mountain villages. Fortunately, both of them had been in good health despite their advanced years and their blood of a surprisingly high standard. She selected her third victim at one of the French channel ports. In her hurry, she chose poorly. Her victim had been high on opiates and their blood contaminated by a cocktail of drugs. The effects hit the angel hard as she drained the last drop of blood from the now lifeless body. Instantly, her stomach began to cramp and her vision blurred. It took all of her energy to crawl into a safe hiding place in an empty container in the freight yard. With the last of her strength, she reinforced the heat spell then lapsed into unconsciousness. She remained that way until Boxing Day, awakening to find herself ravenous but severely weakened.
The first thing that she checked was the blood. It was still warm. With a sigh, she sank back onto the floor of the container and tried to figure out her next move. As dusk fell, she fed on several large rats that she caught running between the containers. Their blood helped to revive her but she needed to make a fourth human kill to get enough blood for the last leg of the journey home.
Soundlessly, she prowled the ferry port in search of a suitable meal. As she slipped through the rows of trucks and lorries that were waiting for the early morning ferry, she identified one truck driver who was going to Manchester with a load of furniture. If she could hide in his trailer, she reasoned, it would get her closer to home quicker than she could fly in her current weakened state.
The last lorry in line was being driven by a woman in her forties. Her trailer was full of clothes destined for the high-end fashion boutiques of London. Carelessly she had left her cab unlocked when she had retired to her bunk for the night. The angel bided her time then struck shortly before dawn.
Her hunger satiated, she had returned to the furniture lorry and slipped into its trailer to stowaway for the trip back to England.

By late afternoon on New Year’s Eve, she as within reach of home …. and, by some miracle, both flasks of blood were still warm.
She prayed that her fledgling had managed to stick to the plan and fretted that she had been gone so long. Leaving him to fend for himself at such a young vampire age had been a high-risk strategy but she had had no choice. His Rabbia Sanguigna needed to be calmed as a matter of urgency before he became a danger to his friends and family and himself.
The church roof came into sight and she sighed.
“Home sweet home,” she muttered to herself as her feet touched the soft ground outside her mausoleum.
Exhausted, the angel reinforced the incantation one more time then settled down to rest for a few hours.

As New Year’s Eve parties went, it had been a good one. There had been plenty of food and alcohol, the kids had had fun with their friends and he had got on well with most of the neighbours. There had been worse ways to end a year.
Shortly after one, he led his tired family across the street and home to bed. While his wife put the kids to bed, he stayed downstairs, hoping to grab a few moments for a first cigarette of the year. When he entered the kitchen, he filled the kettle to make a cup of tea then stepped outside for a smoke while it boiled.
He had just lit the cigarette when he felt the air stir beside him and heard the familiar rustle of feathers.
“Son of Perran,” she said softly, her voice barely above a whisper.
“What are you doing here?” he hissed, horrified that she would visit his home.
“Sh,” said the angel. “Two minutes. Less. That’s all I need. I’m exhausted. I need to hunt then rest.”
Before he could comment, she brought the two flasks out from the inner folds of her cloak.
“Drink,” she said calmly. “Both of them.”
“But,” he began anxiously.
“Just drink, son of Perran,” snapped the angel, “My patience is worn thin. Time is short.”
Hearing the kettle come to the boil, he drained the first flask then opened the second. As the kettle clicked off, he drained the second flask dry then handed them both back to her. The blood had tasted sweet and somehow familiar.
“Now what?” he asked.
“You go back indoors and make your cup of tea and I go and hunt before going home to rest.”
“How will I know if this has worked?”
“You’ll know,” she replied cryptically.
She turned to leave then paused. Gracefully, she stepped forward and brushed a kiss on his cheek, “Happy New Year, son of Perran.”
She spread her wings then soared off into the night.

Silently Watching on the Blessing Moon- seven days later….

 

dark angel

Exactly one week later, he entered the graveyard as the sun began to set and took a seat on the bench. He had feigned a headache as the excuse to go for a walk and now felt slightly guilty for lying to his unsuspecting wife.
Subconsciously, his hand went to his jeans pocket and fingered the green velvet bag containing the three crystals. He had slipped easily into the habit of handling them whenever he felt something was “different”.
The dark angel had been right about one thing. He had slept soundly and dreamlessly the night following his transformation. In fact, he had slept right through his alarm and had almost been late for work. That morning he had noticed the first change in himself. Having had a hurried shower, he had gone to put his contact lenses in before getting dressed. Following his usual routine, he had settled the squishy discs into place. Immediately the world about him went fuzzy. Assuming that he had put them in the wrong eyes, he switched them over and the bathroom blurred even further out of focus. Somewhat confused, he had removed them and put them back in their plastic case. The world around him came back into focus. For the first time in many years, he had 20/20 vision.
Over the next couple of days, he spotted a couple of subtle changes. At work, instead of reaching for the calculator for the necessary arithmetic calculations his role required, he was doing them mentally with ease. He also realised, during a meeting with his boss, that he could read her mind. Despite what she had written on the appraisal document lying on the desk between them, he “heard” her true thoughts and had to bite his tongue to stop himself from commenting to her. The same thing had happened with two colleagues later the same day. At home that evening, he did discover that this new skill had its advantages as his young daughter tried to plead her innocence as to how the TV remote had been broken.
Mid-week, he had gone for a run to try to clear his mind and make sense of it all. As he ran, he found a new turn of both speed and stamina, not dissimilar to how he had felt after the angel had attempted to bite him. Another definite plus point to his new-found self.
One thing that scared him was the thought of sprouting wings. He became almost paranoid about taking the small measure of the mugwort tincture. Fearing that his family would discover it, he had stashed it behind a loose brick in the garage then used the excuse of stepping outside for a smoke to slip into the garage to take the daily dose. He had brought the small jar with him. After seven days, it was almost empty and his paranoia about wings sprouting overnight was growing rapidly.
To the best of his knowledge, his nearest and dearest hadn’t detected any changes in him and for that he was thankful.

A subtle movement in the air behind where he sat caught his attention. Turning round, he wasn’t surprised to see the angel standing in the shadows.
Another thought immediately struck him – no pain in his tooth and no throbbing at his neck. Putting his fingers on the spot on his neck, he smiled when they came away clean. No blood.
“Good evening,” said the angel as she came to sit beside him on the wooden bench. “You are well?”
“Yeah. I’m fine. Good actually,” he replied. “You?”
“Restored,” she said cryptically before smiling and revealing both her sharp fangs.
“It grew back,” commented the runner.
“It did. The moment your transformation took place. Have you noticed any changes?”
“No toothache or blood running down my neck when you arrived,” he said with a grin.
“And apart from that?”
“A few subtle changes. Not as much as I had worried about,” he answered then added, “And food still tastes the same. I’m not craving raw meat!”
The dark angel laughed, “You’ve watched too many vampire films. It’s not all about a craving for blood and meat, son of Perran. Some experience cravings for different things.”
“Like what?”
“Sex.”
Eyes wide, he almost choked before looking away to hide his embarrassment.
“Your transformation was only partial,” she continued. “So, you might not experience any unusual desires for years or even centuries.”
“I’ll bear it in mind,” he mumbled, conscious that his cheeks had flushed scarlet.
“Before I forget,” said the angel, reaching into the inside pocket of her cloak. “Your mugwort tea.”
She handed him another glass jar, a slightly larger one, and a piece of paper.
“This is the instructions for how to prepare it and on where to find the mugwort. You’ll spot it easily. You run past several patches of it on your trails.”
“I do?”
“You do,” she echoed with a hint of exasperation. “I’ve drawn a picture of the plant. There is a large patch of it ten paces east of the oak tree at the end of your trail.”
“I’ll find it,” he promised as he read over the instructions. Her handwriting was beautiful, he noted, and closely resembled Gothic script.
“And you need to drink this,” she ordered as she handed him a slender pewter hip flask. “I will leave this once a week on this day in the hollow of the tree to our left.”
“What is it?” he asked, already pretty sure of the answer.
“Blood.”
“Whose?”
“Does it matter?” she quizzed. “You need it to thrive, son of Perran. Drink!”
Without argument, he drank the flask dry, surprised to find the blood was still warm but with a tangy taste to it this time round.
“Once a week. Don’t forget,” she cautioned as he handed the flask back to her.
“And if I miss a week or am late?”
“Don’t,” she stated. “The desire to kill will mount quickly. You may not be able to control it.”
Slowly, he nodded, recalling her previous warning about the possibility that he could harm his children.
“Do you have any questions for me before we part?”
“I don’t know,” he confessed quietly. “It all feels a bit different. It all feels good. A bit different. Nothing major. I guess it’s too soon to say.”
The dark angel nodded, understanding and remembering the “newness” of those early post transformation days.
“Let’s keep this simple. Live your life. Enjoy your life. Drink your mugwort. Drink your blood ration. If you need me, use the white pebble code we agreed on and I’ll find you. Otherwise, I’ll leave you be for now.”
“When will I see you again?” he asked, realising she was about to leave.
Getting to her feet, the angel said, “When the time is right.”
“Are we talking days? Weeks? Months?”
“When the time is right,” she repeated.
In the blink of an eye, she was gone. All that remained was a small black feather with a bright purple tip. On impulse, he picked it up and slipped it into the green velvet bag with the gemstones.

Silently Watching on the Blessing Moon

dark angel

 

Midgies were swarming in thick black clouds as he ran back along his trail route towards the road. A warm, damp July evening was the perfect breeding ground for these tiny, vicious, bloodsucking creatures. Focusing on the music playing through his earbuds and on the uneven path in front of him, he did his best to ignore the myriad of miniscule flies that his sweat was attracting. 

In the shade of a tall oak tree that grew on the corner where the trail met the single-track farm road, the dark angel stood waiting and listening. From a distance she had watched him set off on his run and now she was patiently awaiting his return.

It was time to get her answer.

Four months had passed since she had offered him his choice and she had deliberately given him time and space to consider his options. Twice, when she had watched him pounding the forestry trails from a discrete distance, she had almost approached him but her will power had remained steadfast.

However, time was running out and, if he were to choose transformation, the ideal opportunity was a mere seven days away.

The steady rhythm of his feet on the stony path and the rattle of that infernal noise that he called music brought her attention back to the present.

As she breathed in her nostrils were filled with the tantalisingly arousing aroma of his blood and sweat.

 With the oak tree in sight, he picked up his pace, promising himself a hard, fast last mile home. A sharp pain in his tooth and a throbbing at his neck caused him to miss and almost stumble.

She was close.

He hadn’t seen or sensed the dark angel since their meeting on Easter Monday when she had offered him his choice of future. Over the months, he had thought long and hard about the options, weighing up the pros and cons. He had found himself lying awake in the wee small hours contemplating how life would look if he decided to take up her offer. During his all too brief lunch breaks at work and while out pounding the trails, he had worked out various ways to kills her. He’d wasted hours Googling “how to kill a vampire”.

As the tree grew closer, he realised he’d never once tried Googling “how to live as a vampire.”

When he next looked up, he wasn’t surprise to see her silhouette before him.

“Hey,” he greeted her somewhat breathlessly.

With a nod of her head, she smiled then said, “Well met, son of Perran.”

“I guess.”

“Turn off that noise,” she instructed sharply. “It pains me.”

Laughing quietly to himself, he paused his rock playlist and flicked the earbuds out of his ears, allowing them to rest over his slender shoulders.

“I need your answer.”

“Now?”

“Now,” she repeated. “Depending on your final choice, there are preparations to be made and time is short.”

He could feel her green eyes boring into his very soul as she stood facing him in the fading, dusky sunlight. Gently, her wings rustling softly, she took a step towards him.

“Well, what’s it to be, son of Perran?”

“Can I ask something before I give you my answer?” He was stalling for time and they both knew it.

“If you must,” she replied with a sigh then, indicating a small path no wider than a sheep trail, she said, “Walk with me.”

Without argument, he followed her, marvelling at how gracefully she moved. Once they were out of sight of the farm road, she turned and said, “Ask what you must?”

“If I let you change me…. let you make me like you….. how will I be able to live as normal? Won’t I need to kill things and drink blood?”

The words tumbled out and he suddenly felt that his questions where childish and idiotic.

“It’s all about balance, son of Perran,” she began, her tone that of a school teacher. “Your transformation can be partially done at first. If you choose that path then you will need some blood to thrive but I will be here to provide for you, to teach you and assist you until you learn how to care for yourself. If you drink your blood rations then you won’t need to kill. I promise you will only need to kill for survival if you change your mind and opt to be fully transformed. As you have a young family, I’d advise against full transformation for several years. A child’s blood is so tempting and you won’t have learned the skills to resist.”

“I’d want to kill my own kids?”

“You might,” she replied calmly.

Her words sent icy shivers down his spine. Picturing his three children, he couldn’t even begin to contemplate hurting one of them never mind killing them and drinking their blood!

“And if I choose to kill you, how will I do it?”

“I don’t believe that’s the option you will choose,” she replied sounding calmly confident.

Silence hung in the air as they stared at each other.

 Watching the vein at his neck pulsing, the angel tried to read his mind. Her instincts were screaming at her that he was about to choose transformation but his facial expression was giving nothing away. Gazing into his dark brown eyes and wishing that they weren’t blood related, she waited on him reaching a decision.

“Will transformation hurt?” he asked quietly.

“No,” she replied. “Not the way I have planned. You may suffer a mild stomach ache but nothing worse than that.”

“What differences will I notice in myself?”

“Many. Too many to explain and they are impossible to predict. To everyone around you though you will still be the same man.”

A horsefly landed on his arm and bit him before he could swat it away.

One tiny drop of blood oozed up. He noticed the dark angel twitch as she fought to resist the delectable drop of poison.

“I need your answer,” she said keeping her eyes locked on his.

Biting his lower lip, he paused then said, “Transformation.”

“Partial transformation?”

He nodded, not trusting himself to speak.

“An agreeable choice,” she acknowledged with a smile.

“Now what happens?”

“You finish your run and go home,” replied the angel. “Meet me one week from now in the graveyard. It must be after the moon has risen so around midnight.”

“What’s the moon got to do with it?” he asked curiously.

“Your transformation will be blessed under the full moon,” she replied. “July’s full moon has two names. Some call it the Meadow Moon. Others prefer its ancient name of Blessing Moon.”

“Ah……”

“Till next week, son of Perran.”

With one strong beat of her wings, she was gone.

 

Alone once more, he gazed around him wondering where she had disappeared to. The pain in his tooth was gone. His neck was no longer throbbing. Gently, he reached up and touched the spot where the angel’s fang tip was embedded. His fingertips were instantly coated in fresh blood.

As he turned for home, he wondered for the first time if he had made a wise choice.

 

Alone in the mausoleum, the dark angel began the detailed preparations for the runner’s transformation. Since learning his decision, she had scoured the areas for the items she needed to ensure the ceremony went smoothly and painlessly. Sourcing some of the items had been easy. Others had proved more difficult. Three specific crystals were also needed and finding those had proved to be the greatest challenge. Late on the day before the full moon, the dark angel ventured further afield. Her instincts led her to a small New Age shop in a village some twenty miles from her home. Biding her time, she had waited until the owner, a young woman with long, thick red hair had moved to shut the shop. As she had reached to turn the “open” sign to “closed”, the dark angel had swooped in. The shopkeeper’s death was swift and painless; her blood had proved to be surprisingly refreshing. To the dark angel, it had tasted clean and clear and pure. A virgin’s blood. A rare, very rare treat indeed.

The shop proved to be a treasure-trove of valuable objects. Lifting a large canvas tote bag from a hook on the wall she took her time filling it with crystals and other items that she could put to use. Behind the counter, she found some small velvet drawstring bags. Selecting a few of differing colours, she added them to the tote. Almost as an after thought, the angel lifted some incense and candles then left the shop.

 

As the sun set on the day of the full moon, the dark angel laid out the items she needed for the transformation along one of the stone benches. Anticipating how the evening would pan out, she lit two fragranced candles to improve the aroma in the confined space.

 

Standing in his back garden with a mug of coffee, the runner watched the sky turn gold to red, blood red, as the sun set. Despite the summer warmth, a chill rattled down his spine. There were less than three hours to go until he was scheduled to meet the angel. Much to his own surprise, he felt calm about the impending appointment. Since giving her his decision, he had on occasion pondered if he’d made the right choice. Not being of an angry or aggressive nature, he couldn’t contemplate killing her. There had really only ever been one choice.

 

An owl hooted in the trees to his right as he walked down the single-track road to the graveyard. Behind him, he’d left his family sleeping, oblivious to the fact that he had slipped out into the night. Only the family cat had watched him walk off down the hill.

It only took him a few short minutes to reach the cemetery. As he walked along the narrow gravel path between the graves, he scanned about searching for the angel in the shadows. A subtle movement of the air and the softest scrunch of gravel caught his attention.

“Good evening, son of Perran.”

The angel’s voice spoke from behind him. Slowly, he turned round to face her, his heart pounding in his chest as adrenaline kicked in.

“Come,” she commanded, stepping toward him.

Before he could utter a sound, her majestic wings wrapped around him like a cloak and the world went black.

 

Flickering flames and a delicate perfume were the first things he sensed as he felt the angel’s wings unfold from around him. Glancing about, he deduced he was in some sort of stone temple or mausoleum.

“Where are we?” he asked, keeping his voice quiet for fear of it echoing round.

“My home,” she replied, her own tone soft and warm. “Not as far away as you might think but well-hidden from prying eyes.”

His eyes landed on the black velvet cloth draped along the bench and scanned over the various objects lying there.

“Sit,” instructed the angel, indicating the space beside the cloth. “I’ll explain.”

“Explain?”

“Yes. I’ll tell you about what is going to happen to you. Explain what is involved and why I’ve included it,” she replied, resuming her school teacher tone. “I’ve given this careful consideration, son of Perran.”

From a nook in the wall, the dark angel lifted down an ornate pewter goblet.

Silently, he watches as she poured some clear liquid from a small glass vial.

“Holy water,” she said, pressing the stopper back into the thin tube. “Keeps this pure.”

“I thought this would involve blood,” he commented nervously.

“It will but I want to make sure this transformation is partial so I need to include some preventative ingredients.”

“Whose blood will this involve?”

“Ours,” she answered as she added a pinch of silvery powder. “That was the dust of a moonstone. It signifies that two species are to be intermingled.”

She added a pinch of white powder.

“White agate to signify new life and to nurture your transformation.”

He watched as the angel added a third pinch of powder. This time it was pearlescent.

“Opal dust. Perhaps the most important. It will ensure any subtle changes, physical changes, remain invisible. It will also assist you to be more understanding of yourself. Adds a little self-compassion.”

“Some oak,” she continued, adding what looked like a pinch of sawdust to the goblet. “And some mugwort.”

“Some what?”

With a smile, she said, “It prevents your wings from developing. You will need to drink a tincture of it daily. Just a few drops.”

“And where will I get that from?” he asked a little sharper than he had intended. “I’ve not seen it in Tesco for sale.”

“Sarcasm does not become you, son of Perran,” she chastised. “I will prepare it for you to begin with. I’ll teach you how to make it then it is up to you. If you stop drinking it daily, your wings will bud and develop. Consider yourself warned.”

“Sorry,” he apologised. “This all seems so complicated.”

“It’s preventative and for your own good,” she replied. “And for the safety of your friends and family, especially your children.”

She reached into her cloak’s deep inner pocket and produced an ornate dagger. Unsheathing it, the angel handed it to him.

“I need to add your blood to this first.”

“Mine?”

“Yes. Yours. It will bind these ingredients to you and protect you. Just a few drops are all that is needed. I’ll allow you to choose where you make the cut.”

Swallowing hard, he accepted the knife from her outstretched hand. Holding it in his left hand, he flicked the tip of the blade along the inside of his right wrist. The cut was about an inch long and deep enough to immediately bleed freely. On the angel’s instruction, he held his wrist over the goblet until nineteen drops of blood had been added to the concoction.

“Bind it with this,” she said, passing him a strip of white cloth.

“Once you drink the contents of the goblet, it will heal over almost instantly. There will be a distinctive silver scar left though to remind you of this rebirth.”

Bandaging his wrist tightly, he nodded.

“It’s time,” declared the angel. “Follow me.”

Taking the knife and the goblet with her, the angel led him from her mausoleum home and into the night. She took a narrow path to the left and followed it until she came to a small clearing in the trees. Setting the knife and the goblet on a nearby flat rock, she removed her cloak and spread it on the ground.

“Sit,” she suggested softly.

Above them, through the gap in the tree canopy, they could both see the full Blessing Moon. In the distance, the owl was still hooting.

“Now what?” he asked a little nervously.

“I fill the goblet with my blood and you drain it dry,” she said simply as if it were the most natural thing in the world to do.

Understanding that they had gone far beyond the point of no return, he nodded. Wide eyed, he watched as the angel took the dagger in her left hand and made a deep cut in her own right wrist, allowing the blood to flow into the goblet.

When the pewter cup was full, she murmured a short incantation and the flow of blood stopped instantly.

Passing him the goblet, she said simply, “Drink.”

With a trembling hand, he accepted the cup and put it to his lips.

He was prepared for the liquid to taste warm and metallic and vile. True, it was warm but the taste was mellow, slightly sweet with no hint of the true nature of the contents.

“Every last drop, son of Perran,” instructed the angel.

Feeling the liquid coursing through him, he handed the empty goblet back to her.

“You did well,” she complimented warmly. “Did it taste so bad?”

“No,” he admitted. “It tasted alright. Sweet.”

“Good. It tastes different to each of us.”

“So, now what?”

“You go home. It’s late. You need sleep.”

“Sleep? You expect me to sleep after this?”

The angel nodded. “You’ll sleep soundly. Dreamlessly. When you waken, your transformation will be done. If there are to be any changes, physical changes, you will notice them over the coming days. I’ll see you safely home.”

“That’s it? I go home and go to bed? Act like nothing’s changed?”

“Precisely,” stated the angel. “Come.”

He got to his feet and watched as she lifted her cloak, shook the leaves and moss from it, then fastened it securely. With a smile, she beckoned him to step closer, then, once again, her wings enveloped him.

 

Seconds later, he felt his feet touch down on soft grass. When he looked around, they were standing in his back garden. Reaching into the pocket of her cloak, the angel withdrew two items – a small glass jar and one of the velvet drawstring bags from the shop, a green one.

“Drink five drops of this each morning. It’s the mugwort. Do not forget. Drink it at the same time each and every day,” advised the angel as she handed him the jar. “Carry this with you at all times,” she continued, passing him the small, green, velvet bag. “It contains the three gemstones I used in the drink. The dust was taken from each of them. They must go everywhere with you. Do not lose them. Do not let anyone else handle them. They are for you and you alone.”

Accepting the small bag, he nodded.

“Meet me one week from tonight in the graveyard. We will talk then.”

“If I need to ask anything before then? If I need any help?” he gushed, a wave of panic beginning to rise inside him.

“Relax,” she soothed warmly. “Place a white pebble on the bench we shared in the graveyard. I’ll find you when I see it there.”

“Thanks.”

“You need rest. Sleep,” she said softly. “Good night, son of Perran.”

He watched as she spread her majestic wings then disappeared into the night.

 

Before heading indoors, he removed the bandage from his right wrist, hoping that the angel had been correct and that the cut was healed.  He gazed down at the smooth skin in wonder. The wound was healed, fully healed, and in its place was a silver scar in the shape of a crescent moon.  Stuffing the bloodied piece of cloth deep into the wheelie bin, he reflected back, sure he had made a straight cut with the blade.

  

A few hours later, as the sun rose, the dark angel sat on the roof of the church, her favourite vantage point. The transformation had gone smoother that she had dared to hope it would.  It truly had been blessed by the lunar energies in the air. Running her tongue over her fangs, she smiled. The tip of her broken fang had regenerated.