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May 31, 2014
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  2. There Was No Penis. – Kathy Nida
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  4. There Was No Penis.

I see nothing offensive there, and I saw no penises. Keep on doing your own art as you see it, and teach anyone that learns from you that to each person their art is their own. And as for an obvious penis quilt, I say go for it. Make them obvious, make them subtle, big, small, circumcised, uncircumcised, deformed, erect or flaccid, natural colors, unnatural colors, and definitely offensive.

I have actually studied your quilt for a long time. On the tree, the little birdie is right there in plain sight. Laugh a little and love a lot. Life is to short. Nothing will change unless me make it. I AM going to say- keep it up. Art is meant to stir reactions in people, so well done. The problem lies in the censorship. Shame on the people who pulled your quilt. Rock on, Kathy. My first reaction to what penis lady should have done in this situation was the same as yours-walk on by.

Keep up the good work. Maybe in future, AQS will come to their senses. Since when do we let one critic decide what goes into an art show of any kind? Actually, I DO see a penis like shape. But only in the blow up of the hands…in the closeup hands picture. It is a very sjort penis, but the coloration of the fabric males a vaguely phallic shapex. Obviously this was a person that is immensely interested in phalli is that the plural of phallus? My question is how did this person get close enough to spot the shrinky dink? Sex maniacs….. You create the most beautiful original pieces of art and I am astounded by your talent.

Shame on them. Onwards and upwards! I would be honored to so offend someone that they pulled my quilt. Seriously, I have seen some people offended by the dumbest things. I have come close…. I had the breasts on my mermaid quilt covered by masking tape in one show…. I kid you not. Keep it up. Art should never be ashamed. I have not been a fan of AQS for a while now for a number of reasons, and this just validates my opinion of them.

That woman was a complete twunt. You made a breathtaking, thought-provoking quilt. That woman would have a heart attack if she ever walked into the Accademia Gallery in Florence and saw David; what would she do then? Ask them to please remove the statue to a back room because her sensibilities were offended? After they finished laughing, they would have shown her the door, which is what AQS officials should have done. I thought of David immediately too!

I saw this quilt hanging in Daytona earlier this year. Certainly did not see a penis, would have remembered that! I do not envy your dreams! But, you make incredible art out of them! Keep shaking people up! White Boy Privilege is absolutely everywhere. So why keep penises hidden? I think your work is terrific! I would stop and look at your work in person. Offend away! I thought I had weird dreams… Inspiring! How incredibly frustrating!!

Keep on making beautiful art, with or without penises! It was to be used on a boat in the Florida Keys where the people who own it live and drink beer. I bought beer fabric and had some of the sea creatures drinking a beer. They took every beer bottle off because it implied I thought they drank too much! What the fuck? At least your quilt still has the phantom penis. Just move on and look at the next quilt is right, I hope they never go to France or Italy and see the great museums.

Oh my. Ok, the obvious thing is the judge or person who rejected the quilt is fairly undereducated. Both in art and human anatomy. I suppose the dirtier the mind, the dirtier the images it wants to see. The art in question was created by Kathy Nida. Quilts are breaking out of the design of squares and triangles and that should be celebrated. Honestly, conflict draws attention and me personally, I would have used it as a media event to draw attention to the show! It could potentially bring in a new audience to what may be a dying art. Shannon AQS and the quilt world missed a great opportunity to reach outside of its comfort zone to draw in a new audience.

I feel this way too. I wish everyone would just calm the hell down. Life is fleeting and should be savored and enjoyed. We should all be open to new and exciting things, or penises. I am SO disappointed to read this! I saw your quilt at the Phoenix AQS show. How could your quilt hang in other AQS shows without a problem and then all of a sudden grow a penis not that a penis should have precluded it from hanging? And seeing your sketch book and description of its birth see what I did there?

Your technique and execution in making this quilt is truly awe inspiring. As I said, I stood in front of your quilt for a long time. I saw many reactions. I understand you do not make your art for reactions but it was so fun to watch! Two older women in their 70s easily were literally stopped in their tracks. Mouths dropped open and they quickly looked away and walked on. The woman with the imaginary penis ruling should have done the same! Mostly though, the reaction from most viewing your quilt was one of wonderment and awe. Thank you, a million thank yous. Oh to make a quilt that offends.

To rattle cages and create controversy. You are a muse. I believe that creating is our Great Spirit creating through us. Our dreams, happy and unsettling, are a reflection of our experiences. I am inspired by your work and words. Feel honored to be among the Bad Ass Artists. Heck no… Because this quilt portrays nightmares all of us have!!!!

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It scares me! Move us? I absolutely love quilting and my ability to express myself but absolutely HATE the close minded people that feel it is their place to judge! Love the quilt and even if there were hundreds of penises penii?? I bet she would chop the dicks off the statues in museums if she could…. Molli Sparkles dick quilt will cause an uproar, look what happened to the pattern on Craftsy — bet it was the same woman who complained.

Amen sister! If you are offended by something, walk the hell away! After all, you have the full support of this conservative. I love love your work and your comments. I vote for a huge penis style quilt next. My question is.. Boobs and vaginas are OK, but not a penis?? When Xavier arrived he was dressed as a cowboy in faded jeans, tan boots, and a checkered shirt. He even wore a leather cowboy hat. He was always uncomfortable with outward displays of affection. It was a half-hour drive to the old abandoned homestead.

The black stretch of highway was dotted with the headlights of other partygoers, and nothing but open fields surrounded us. We were strangely elated that night. It was an odd feeling, like the whole world belonged to the students of Bryce Hamilton. The party marked the end of an era for us and we had mixed feelings about it.

We were all on the cusp of graduating and shaping our futures. College life with all its associated independence was just around the corner. Soon friendships would be tested by distance and some relationships would not survive. The night sky seemed vaster than usual and a gibbous moon drifted between wisps of cloud. As we drove, I watched Xavier out of the corner of my eye.

He looked so at ease behind the wheel of the Chevy. His face was free of anxiety. We were cruising now and he steered with one hand. Moonlight fell through the window, illuminating his face. He turned to look at me, shadows dancing across his even features. I could have asked him for an explanation but all that mattered was that we were together. So what if I missed the occasional joke? It made what we had even more intriguing. The boys were lounging in the back of the truck, chainsmoking and working their way through a keg.

Once the truck was parked, they let out a wolf cry and leapt out, heading toward the house. One of them stopped to throw up in a nearby bush. The house itself reflected the Halloween theme. It was old and rambling with a creaking porch that stretched across the length of the front. The house was badly in need of a paint job. Its original white paint was cracked and peeling, revealing grayish weatherboards underneath and giving the whole place an air of neglect.

There Was No Penis. – Kathy Nida

There was no other form of civilization in sight. If there were neighbors, they were too far away to be seen. I understood now why this house had. We could make as much noise as we wanted and no one would hear us. The thought made me a little uneasy. The only thing separating the house from the highway was a collapsing fence that had seen better days. I could see a scarecrow propped on a stick in the middle of the yard about a hundred meters from where we stood. Its body was limp and its head lolled eerily to one side. It had been vacant so long that the power had been disconnected and the whole place was lit with lanterns and candles.

To the left was a sweeping staircase. Someone had put a candle on the edge of every step and now the wax dripped down, pooling like frosting on the wooden boards. Empty rooms spilled off the wide hallway. I knew drunken couples probably occupied them, but the darkness was still unnerving. We made our way down the corridor, weaving. Some had gone all out in terms of costumes. I caught flashes of vampire teeth, devil horns, and plenty of fake blood. Someone really tall and dressed as the Grim Reaper glided past us, his face completely concealed beneath a hood.

It was like all the characters from horror stories suddenly coming to life around us. The only thing that took the edge off the eeriness was the constant flow of chatter and laughter. Someone plugged in an iPod dock and suddenly the house was filled with music so loud it shook the dusty chandelier above us. We picked our way through the crowd and found Molly and the girls in the living room, ensconced in a faded tapestry club lounge.

The coffee table in front of them was already littered with shot glasses and half-empty bottles of vodka. Molly had stuck with her original idea and come as Tinker Bell in a green dress, tattered at the hem, ballet flats, and a pair of fairy wings. But she had chosen her accessories carefully and in keeping with the spirit of Halloween. She wore silver chains around her wrists and ankles, and her face and body were smeared with fake blood and dirt.

She had a plastic dagger protruding from her chest. Even Xavier looked impressed, his raised eyebrows indicative of his approval. We took a seat on the divan next to Madison, who, true to. Her eye makeup was already smudged so she looked as though she had two black eyes.

She downed another shot and slammed the glass victoriously on the table. I smothered a smile behind my hand. Xavier had never liked Madison much. I heard them greeting Xavier in the. When Xavier surfaced he had been stripped of everything but his jeans. His hair, which had been smoothed back neatly when we walked in, was now ruffled. My attentiveness raised a few eyebrows among his friends.

Xavier laughed. Pink-and-green paper lanterns hung from the eaves, casting the withered yard in a soft light. Beyond it, the fields stretched out to the edge of. Aside from the rowdy antics of the partygoers inside, the night was still and tranquil. A rusty tractor stood abandoned in the high grass. I was just thinking how picturesque it looked, like a painting from a forgotten time, when a lacy undergarment floated out of the side window coming to land at our feet. I quickly averted my gaze and tried to imagine what the old house might have been like in the days before the Knox family let it fall to rack and ruin.

It would have been grand and beautiful back in the day when girls still had chaperones and dancing consisted of a graceful waltz played on a grand piano, nothing like the gyrating and thrusting going on inside right now. Social gatherings would have been stylish and tame compared to the havoc being wreaked upon the old house tonight. I imagined a man in coattails bowing before a woman in a flowing dress on this very same porch, although in my imagination it was polished and new and honeysuckle wound around the quaint posts.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see his hand hanging loosely over my shoulder. I liked seeing the. It seemed oddly out of place on an eighteen-year-old boy so beautiful and so popular. Anyone else seeing him for the first time would take one look at his perfect form, his cool turquoise gaze, that charming smile, the shock of nutmeg hair falling across his forehead and know that he could have his pick of girls.

They would simply assume that like any normal teenage boy, he would be out enjoying the perks of being young and attractive. Only those close to him knew that Xavier was completely committed to me. Not only was he breathtakingly gorgeous, he was a leader, looked up to and respected by everybody. Sometimes I worried he might be a dream and if I let myself lose focus, he might fade away. But he was still sitting beside me, solid and secure. He answered Ben when it became apparent that I had zoned out. Ben was the sort of guy who thought everything was puerile and beneath him. He managed to maintain his contemptuously superior persona by engaging in nothing.

At the same time he always turned up just in case he might miss out on something. I quite liked the idea of matchmaking and was fairly confident in my skills. He chuckled and downed the rest of his beer. The screen door was thrown open and a group of boys from the water-polo team appeared on the porch. It was amazing, I thought to myself, how much they reminded me of young lion cubs, jostling and tumbling over one another. Xavier shook his head in gentle admonishment as they stumbled toward us. I recognized the faces of Wesley and Lawson among them. They were easy to pick out; Wesley with his slick, dark hair and lowset brows and Lawson with his white-blond crew cut and hooded blue eyes.

Both boys were shirtless and striped with war paint. They acknowledged my presence with a curt nod in my direction and I thought fleetingly back to a time when men would click their heels and bow in the presence of a lady. I returned their acknowledgment with a smile. Xavier got up reluctantly and I stared at him in surprise. They went crashing through the overgrown shrubs and headed for the open fields like a stampede. She and the girls had moved and were now huddled secretively in a little cluster by the foot of the stairs.

Abigail had a supersize paper bag tucked under her arm and they all looked very serious. I tried a different technique. He looked like he could really use some company. But tonight, not even he could distract her from the plan at hand. She got up and began to drag me up the stairs after her. The others followed eagerly. I wished Gabriel were here. He had that effect on people. Here I was sounding like nothing more than a wet blanket. Some ministering angel I was turning out to be.

If anything happened, at least I could be there to deal with whatever they encountered on the other side. On the landing the striped ivory wallpaper was peeling away in sheets from the rising damp. Although we could hear the party raging on below us, it was preternaturally still on the second floor as if in anticipation of some paranormal experience. The girls lapped it up. Suddenly my concerns seemed disproportionate to the situation.

Was it possible that I was overreacting? Why was I always assuming the worst and letting my conservative nature bring down the mood of everyone around me? I scolded myself mentally for always jumping to dire. It had been known to happen, but it usually required the guidance of a trained medium. Anyway, the girls would probably get bored when they failed to get the results they anticipated.

I followed Molly and the others into what had once been the guest bedroom. Its tall windows were opaque from a fine layer of accumulated dust and grime. The room itself was empty except for an iron bedstead pushed up against a grimy window. It had a rickety iron frame that had once been white but had tarnished to a buttery color over time. There was an equally faded quilt scattered with pink rosebuds. The window frames looked weathered by the sun and there were no curtains to block out the moonlight. I noticed the room faced west and overlooked the woods at the rear of the property.

I could see the scarecrow standing guard in the field, its straw hat flapping in the breeze. Without needing any prompting the girls arranged themselves cross-legged in a circle on the threadbare rug on the floor. Abby reached into her paper bag carefully as if she were withdrawing a priceless artifact.

The Ouija board she unpacked from its green felt cover was so well-worn it might have passed for an antique. Next Abby withdrew a fragile, long-stemmed sherry glass wrapped in tissue paper. She tossed the paper aside impatiently and placed the upturned glass on the board.

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Aside from me, she was the only other participant not brimming with anticipation. I suspected it was more due to the lack of alcohol and boys in the room than any concern about our safety. We all need to concentrate and each put our index finger on the base of the glass. Everyone put your fingertips on. She was pretty convincing considering I was quite sure she was making everything up on the spot. The girls complied eagerly with her instructions. What stops everyone from just spelling out whatever they want? Besides, the spirit will know things, things no one else could.

Now, are we ready to start? I dug my fingernails into the rough carpet beneath me, wishing there were some way to slip out of the room unnoticed. When Molly struck a match to light the candles someone had arranged on the floor, I jumped. She brought the flame to the wicks and the candles sizzled to life.

It has to feel comfortable with us. People sometimes caught flashes of the dead as they crossed between worlds. But most of the time ghost sightings were the result of a rampant imagination. A flash of a shadow or a trick of the light could easily be mistaken for something supernatural. It was different for me—I could sense the presence of spirits all the time—they were everywhere. If I focused, I could tell who was lost, who had just passed on, and who was searching for their loved ones.

But not all spirits were as gentle as Alice; the ones that were unable to let go of their earthly attachment lingered for years, becoming more and more twisted, driven mad by the life around them that they could never be part of again. They lost touch with humans, came to resent them, and often acted out in violent ways.

I wondered how keen Abby would be if she knew the truth about what was really out there. But there was no way of telling her, not without giving myself away completely. The girls nodded in agreement, happy to relinquish rights to the role of medium. I felt Molly shiver beside me. We need to form a protective circle—if you break the circle you set the spirit free. Conducting a seance on the one night of the year when it was actually likely to work was stupid in the extreme. I shook my head and tried to banish my doubts. I reminded myself this was nothing more than a childish game; something most teenagers dabbled in for fun.

The sooner we got it over with, the sooner we could go downstairs and enjoy the rest of the night. Molly and Savannah, who were sitting on either side of me, each took hold of one of my hands and gripped them tightly. Their palms were clammy and I sensed a combination of fear and excitement.

Abby bowed her head and closed her eyes. Her blond hair flopped inconveniently in front of her face and she interrupted her invocation to tether it into a loose ponytail with the Day-Glo hair tie she. Then she cleared her throat theatrically, cast us all a meaningful look, and began to speak in a low voice that sounded like a chant. We mean you no harm; we only want to make a connection. Do not be afraid. If you have a story to tell, we want to hear it. I repeat, we will not harm you; in return we ask that you do not harm us. The girls exchanged uneasy glances.

I gritted my teeth and turned my thoughts away from the distasteful ceremony that was taking place before me. I had enough sense to know that disturbing the dead was not only unwise, but insensitive too. I sighed heavily, hoping they would soon get bored when no response was forthcoming and abandon the game. Molly and I exchanged dubious glances. Five long minutes elapsed with only the sound of our breathing and Abby periodically repeating her incantation. Just as the girls were beginning to get restless and someone complained openly about a leg cramp, the crystal glass began to wobble.

Everyone sat bolt upright, each. The glass shook for a moment longer and then began to teeter its way across the board, spelling out a message as it went. Abby, as self-appointed medium, called out each letter the glass touched until it had spelled out a clear message. Stop now. Leave this place. You are all in danger. The others looked at one another uncertainly, trying to determine the person in the group who was behind the prank. I felt Molly clutch my hand tighter as another message began to be spelled out.

Evil is here. It swam across the board and came to rest defiantly on the word YES. For several long seconds the glass seemed to stall. At first it seemed confused, lingering under some letters and then steering away suddenly as if to tease us. It seemed uncertain to me, like a young child, not entirely familiar with the process. It careered across the board spelling out T-A-Y. Then it stopped as if it were unsure what to do. The glass slunk back to the middle of the board and slowly looped across to spell out the final three letters, L-AH.

It was Molly who broke the uncomfortable silence. Then she furiously blinked back tears and glared around the circle. What the hell is wrong with you guys? Deep down I knew none of the girls would stoop so low as to bring their dead friend into the game. And that meant only one thing—Abby. We were treading on dangerous ground. What if it really is her? But just as suddenly she vanished, leaving nothing but a cold space in the air. The room suddenly felt very cold, and Molly wound her fingers so tightly around mine she was almost cutting off my circulation. At that moment the window flew open and a harsh wind rushed into the room, snuffing out the candles in an instant.

I felt the wind on the back of my neck, like cold, dead fingers. I shuddered and hunched forward, trying to protect myself from it. Savannah whimpered and I knew she felt it too. These girls might be oblivious to most things, but anyone could sense that there was now a presence in the room and it was none too friendly. I knew then I had to say something before it was too late.

It came to rest on the word YES. Then it loped gracefully from letter to letter as it began to spell out a name. Abby looked confused as she put the name together in her head. I felt a claw of ice fasten around my heart. That name might not mean anything to them, but it meant a lot to me. That same feeling flooded back to me now, and I felt my throat go dry and my chest begin to seize up. Could it really be him? Had an innocent prank really summoned something so monstrous? That message was intended for me and me alone.

Jake Thorn was back and right here in the room with us. My gut reaction was to instinctively tear myself away, but I fought against it. Protecting the others was the only thing that stopped me. What was she doing? I was about to take charge and demand that Abby stop when the doorknob began to rattle vigorously. It shook and twisted from side to side as if some invisible force were trying to get out. By all logical reasoning it was impossible—the door was unlocked.

Molly pulled her hands free and scrambled backward on all fours. In the process she kicked the board with her foot and sent it skidding across the floorboards. The sherry glass flew into the air and landed beside me, splintering into tiny shards. At that moment I felt a rush of frosty air hit me in the chest, almost knocking the wind out of me. The bedroom door flew open, rattling on its hinges. She wrapped her arms around her torso, as if she could hug the warmth back into her body. Somebody needed to stay calm. I wanted to tell her it was nothing but a stupid game and we could all have a good laugh about it later.

But deep down, I knew this was no harmless prank. She was still kneeling on the floor, picking up shards of broken glass, her eyes fixed on the mess before her. I stood on the landing watching my hysterical friends stumble down the stairs two at a time. While no one had actually seen anything, I was sure the story would be embellished many times before the night was over.

A sudden wave of dizziness caused me to reach for the banister to steady myself. So far what had been planned as a night of fun had turned out to be anything but. It was time to leave. Now all I had to do was find Xavier and ask him to take me home. When the dizziness passed, I found my way into the kitchen where I was grateful to be greeted by a much more innocent Halloween activity. A group was taking turns bobbing for.

A girl was on her knees practicing taking deep breaths before submerging her face in the water. The onlookers cheered her on. When she finally rocked back on her heels, her dark hair clung to her exposed neck and shoulders and a rosy apple was clenched triumphantly between her teeth. When someone propelled me forward, I realized I had unwittingly joined the line to play.

I resisted by digging my heels into the floor. I was just watching. Despite the voice in my head telling me to run, to leave this place, I found myself on my knees staring at my own reflection distorted by the movement of the water. I squeezed my eyes shut and forced the warnings out of my head. When I opened them, I saw something in the water that made my heart stop. Hovering just behind my reflection was a wobbly image of a wasted face, its skeletal features concealed behind a heavy hood. It clutched something in its crooked, clawlike hand. Was it a sickle?

Its free hand reached out toward me and its abnormally elongated fingers seemed to curl themselves like tendrils around my neck. I knew it was impossible, but the figure was startlingly familiar. It was a representation of. But what did it want from me? It was an omen. But of what? I panicked and pushed my way roughly out of the circle and ran for the back door.

Outside I could still hear the muffled cries of protest at my alleged lack of participation. I ignored them and put a hand on my chest as if willing my heartbeat to steady. Are you all right? I was taking long, gasping breaths. Ben Carter got off the porch and came and stood beside me, shaking me gently as if I needed to be woken from a trance.

The human contact made me feel marginally better. You sounded like you were choking …. I tried to catch my breath but failed and began to fall forward instead. Ben seemed to be of the opinion that I had caused my own state of suffocation. He peered at me closely. Beneath his apprehension I saw a new idea dawn. I backed away from Ben, fighting the urge to burst into tears.

Where was Xavier? Something was wrong. I could feel it. Every celestial instinct warned me that we needed to get out of here. I found a weeping willow in the front yard and leaned against its sturdy trunk. I could see Ben still standing by the front porch looking at me with an expression of concern mingled with confusion.

I had more important things to think about. Could it seriously be happening again? Could demons have returned to Venus Cove? I knew for a fact that there was no more evil in this place. Gabriel and Ivy had seen to that. But why was every hair on my body standing on end? Why were chills coursing through my veins like tiny lightning bolts? I felt as if I were being hunted. From where I stood alone on the gravel drive, I had an uninterrupted view of the back fields and the thick woodland beyond. I could see the scarecrow in the paddock, his head drooping onto his chest.

I hoped Xavier was on his way back from the lake. Together we were strong and could protect each other. I needed to find him. Just then, a gust of wind set the dry grass rustling. My heart somersaulted in my chest and I let out a piercing scream. I spun on my heels and started back toward the house. You look kind of freaked out. He was standing with a huddle of people who had gathered outside the front porch.

A half-consumed cigarette dangled from his hand. The group regarded me with sluggish disinterest. I lifted a hand to my cheek, felt it burning hot, and was grateful for the cool night air against my skin. The last thing I wanted to do was raise unnecessary alarm based on my own misgivings. Was it me, I wondered?

There Was No Penis.

Was I going completely crazy or was this bizarre party to blame? I jumped when the screen door slammed. Molly appeared on the porch. Molly caught sight of the hand-rolled cigarette in his hand. No way am I spending the night in this creepy dump. By the way, I think I need a bucket …. We had just headed back toward the house in search of Xavier when the sound of a motorcycle tearing through the grass caused us to turn around. There was something urgent about the way it screamed to a halt in front of us, spraying gravel through the air.

Molly shielded her eyes against the glow of the headlights. The rider slid off in one easy movement but left the engine running. He was dressed casually in a worn aviator-style leather jacket and backward baseball cap. I recognized the tall, well-built boy immediately as Wesley Cowan. Xavier and I passed his house every Friday afternoon on our way home from school.

Like Xavier, Wes was one of the hardest boys to rattle. There was very little that succeeded in shaking his air of confidence. It was surprising to see him now with his shirt muddy and his face creased with worry. Instinctively Molly reached out to grab his arm. He shook his cell in frustration and cursed under his breath.

Before he spoke, Wesley threw me a strange look; it was almost imploring, like he was seeking my forgiveness. He hit his head. Why was he singling me out like this? Xavier was the responsible one who had gone down there to keep an eye on the others. Xavier was probably down there right now, using his first-aid training until help arrived. But in that moment, all I could feel were my legs giving way beneath me. My worst fear—much greater than anything happening to me—was that any harm should come to Xavier, and now it had just come true.

For a second it was too much to take in and I sagged helplessly against Ryan, who tried to hold me up, despite his own lack of balance. So this was what Xavier and I got as reward for spending time apart. The one night our paths diverged he ended up unconscious. Wes put his head in his hands and groaned. Then I felt her arm around my shoulder and her auburn curls brushed my cheek as she leaned her head against mine. Wesley watched us. His panic seemed to have transformed into a perverse delight in my distress. Others had gathered now and everyone had an opinion to voice on the best course of action.

Their voices combined to create a meaningless babble. Should we try getting him to a doctor? There was a fair bit of blood …. We gotta get help. I can take you. Find his number. I looked impatiently at Wesley. The shiny motorcycle glinted like some alien insect in the moonlight. What about a helmet? He resented the school jocks and their daredevil antics. I understood that Ben was only being protective, but right then I had only one objective in mind and that was to get to Xavier. He reached back to grab both my arms and positioned them securely around his waist.

I tried reaching out to Xavier to sense the extent of his injuries. But I drew a blank. It surprised me; I could usually sense his moods even before he did. Gabriel had told me I would know immediately if he were ever in trouble. Wes had just turned onto the highway and begun to pick up speed when I heard a voice calling my name from behind. It revived me. Wes swerved the bike around, and I saw Xavier standing, washed in moonlight, on the side of the road.

My heart lightened immediately. He looked perfectly healthy. Maybe you have a concussion. Wes, let me off this thing. His ocean blue eyes darkened as understanding dawned. The bike was still vibrating beneath me and yet the person in front of me remained motionless, his gaze fixed ahead. Xavier strained to take a step forward, but something prevented him and he remained rooted to the spot. Get off now! I had to clutch him even tighter to avoid falling off.

Then I saw Xavier run a hand helplessly through his hair and watched his forehead crease in anguish. He wore that same look now —the one that told me he was desperately searching for an escape, even though he knew we were cornered. It was as if he were facing off against a poisonous snake that might strike at any moment and the slightest wrong move could be fatal. Wes spun the bike in random circles, enjoying the. Xavier yelled out and tried to run forward but an unseen force held him back.

He gritted his teeth and hurled himself against the invisible barrier blocking his way, but it was no use. The bike careered tauntingly in all directions. Now I knew I was in real danger. Maybe we both were. I tried letting go of Wesley. They seemed to be pinned by an invisible force. Let me off! His voice was now slick and smooth, a polished English accent clearly detectable. That voice had haunted my dreams for so long, I would have recognized it anywhere. The body I had my arms wrapped around began to shift beneath my fingers.

The broad, muscled chest and welldefined arms shrank to become leaner and colder to the touch. The backward baseball cap flew off to reveal lustrous black locks that danced in the wind. For the first time he twisted his face around to confront me. The sight of him so close made me sick to my stomach. Black shoulderlength hair contrasted. I recognized the narrow nose that drooped slightly at the tip and the cheekbones carved out of rock that had made Molly once compare him to a Calvin Klein model.

His pale lips parted to reveal small and dazzlingly white teeth. Only the eyes were different. They seemed to pulse with a dark energy, and as I looked into them I saw that they were neither green nor black as I remembered but a dull shade of burgundy. Just like the color of dried blood. His voice was swallowed by the wind on the empty highway. I knew Xavier was somehow released from his immobility because I saw him sprint full speed toward me. My arms too became free and I tried to wrestle myself off the bike but felt a searing pain in my head and realized that Jake was now holding a fistful of my hair.

He was maneuvering the bike singlehanded. I ignored the scalding sensation and struggled harder, but my efforts were useless. It was the sound of a contented predator. Jake twisted the throttle hard and I heard the engine roar to life like an angry beast.

The motorcycle bucked and lurched unsteadily forward. We simultaneously outstretched our hands and our fingers nearly met. I heard a heavy thud as the metal slammed into his body. I screamed as Xavier. The bike sped past, leaving him lying in a cloud of dust. Out of the corner of my eye I could see people starting to make their way up to the road, attracted by the commotion. The bike hurtled up the deserted highway that uncoiled before us like a black whip.

Jake was driving at such breakneck speed that when we rounded a bend we found ourselves almost parallel with the ground. Every fiber in my body yearned to return to Xavier. My one true love. The light of my life. My pain was so all consuming that I hardly cared where Jake was taking me to or what horrors awaited. I just needed to know that Xavier was okay. I tried not to allow myself to consider the worst although the word dead rang in my ears, clear as a church bell.

It took me a moment to realize that I was crying. My body convulsed with huge, wracking sobs, and my eyes burned from the scalding tears. There was nothing else to do but call upon the Creator, praying, begging, pleading, bargaining—anything to make him protect Xavier. I could survive emotional turmoil; I could survive the most intense physical torture.

I could survive Armageddon and holy fire raining down upon the earth, but I could not survive without him. A strange thought entered my head: If Jake had killed Xavier, Jake would have to pay. I was willing to pardon any crime, but one against Xavier, and so help me, God, Jake would get his comeuppance. I wanted to scratch and tear at the body in front of me—to punish him for once again infecting my life with his black presence. I felt contaminated even being near him.

I considered flinging my weight to the side and trying to topple the bike. Before my thoughts could rage further out of control, something happened—something I could never have imagined, not even in my most twisted nightmares. It should have terrified me; the very idea of it should have knocked me into unconsciousness. It was so unfathomable that I felt nothing but a sickening feeling that seemed to come from my core and spread like poison through my body. The highway defied gravity and suddenly reared up in front of us. A deep, jagged crack appeared in its center. The highway was splitting open.

The crack widened like a hungry cavernous mouth, waiting to swallow us up. The wind that whipped my face grew warmer and steam rose from the broken asphalt. I knew instinctively what it was from the feeling of hollow emptiness that emanated from it. We were heading straight toward a gateway to Hell. And then it was upon us. I screamed again when the motorcycle hovered a moment in midair. Jake cut the engine just before we plummeted soundlessly into the void.

I turned around to see.


  1. Folsom Prison Blues.
  2. Camgirl Confessions: Making a Friend (Exhibitionism, Lesbian Sex, Shower Show);
  3. The House on Summer Street!
  4. The Inquisitive Man.

I had no idea how long it would be before I saw it again. The last thing I was aware of was falling and the sound of my own ragged screams before the darkness consumed us. I looked around, disoriented, and shivered in my flimsy satin shift. I figured they must have come loose and been wrenched off during the turbulent ride.

I was standing alone in a dark and cobbled laneway. Fog swirled around my feet and the air was pungent with a strange odor. It smelled like decay as if the very air itself were dead. It looked like the derelict part of some urban landscape because I could see the smoky outline of skyscrapers and spires in the distance. Where I stood there were only brick walls covered in crude graffiti.

The mortar had fallen out in places, leaving openings that someone had stuffed with newspaper. I heard or imagined I heard the scuttling of rats coming from behind them. Overloaded Dumpsters were scattered around and the walls were windowless apart from a couple that had been boarded up. When I looked up, I found that there was no sky, only a strange expanse of darkness, dim and watery in some places and thick as tar in others. This darkness breathed like a living thing and was much more than the mere absence of light.

An old-fashioned lamppost shedding a milky light allowed me to identify a black motorcycle propped just a few meters away. Its rider was nowhere in sight. Seeing the bike made my mind reel and forced me back to my current predicament. I fought to make sense of what had just happened but memory failed me. Random images flashed through my mind in no apparent sequence.

Then the harsh sound of an engine being revved and someone calling my name. It was dishing them out in fragments that made little to no sense. Suddenly one vivid image crashed through the barrier and the recollection caused me to gasp aloud. I was back aboveground,. How was that even possible? My thoughts felt thick and sluggish, and trying to navigate my way through them was arduous. I massaged my throbbing temples and groaned. Jake Thorn materialized out of the shadows to stand by my side. He spoke to me with such lilting familiarity, as if he and I had known each other long enough to dispense with formalities.

His sudden appearance put my senses on high alert. His nonchalant tone was astounding. I looked at him not even trying to conceal my skepticism. I looked at him wide-eyed. A song I recalled from last summer blared so loudly it ricocheted off the walls. It appeared to be coming from behind solid steel doors at the far end of the lane.

They looked how you might imagine the entrance to a maximum-security prison. I saw the tail end of the letter P trail off across the roofline in what was meant to represent peacock plumes. Shall we? Jake was forced to take my arm and escort me. The fog cleared to reveal a young man and woman standing outside the doors. Fine silver chains hung via silver hooks from her bra down to her navel, creating a mesh curtain in front of her torso. Her platinum blond hair was cropped short, and a cigarette hung from black painted lips. I was surprised to see the young man. His eyes were boldly outlined and there was black polish on his nails.

He wore a leather vest over a bare chest and checkered pants that tapered at his ankles. Piercings were visible on every body part exposed.

The woman traced the outline of her lips suggestively with the tip of her tongue on which I could see a silver stud. Her eyes had a hungry look as they traveled over my body. It made me feel like some kind of trophy. If I had been less disoriented, I might have expressed my disapproval. Instead, I asked the only question that sprang to mind and my voice came out sounding childish and waiflike.

They cocked their heads and continued to study me with an unsettling intensity. Nobody gets in or out without our say-so. Elliott raised a quizzical eyebrow and waved his hand vaguely behind me. Surrounding the alleyway was nothing but an oppressive swirling blackness, the kind that looked capable of devouring you. There was only one path with one door at the end of it. Only one direction any of us could take. As if I actually had a choice. Larissa bared her teeth in a smile before grabbing a tight hold of my wrist and turning it upward.

Her grip was cold and claw-like, but I tried not to flinch. She held my wrist faceup as Elliott pressed something down on the inside. It was a stamp of admittance in the form of a smiley face. Larissa pressed a buzzer and the heavy doors slid open. Jake ushered me into a vast carpeted foyer where flights of narrow corkscrew steps veered like a labyrinth in several directions.

There was no time for closer inspection as he steered me swiftly toward the central steps.

Ding Dong Bell - English Nursery Rhyme with Lyrics

The pumping music grew louder once we started our descent underground. The sound was so overpowering that I looked hesitantly back toward the open door.