Cousin Twice Removed

We tried to have cousin Henry removed from the family.

We tried twice, but it refused to stick. He just kept coming back.

So, we hired a professional. He swore that his methods were fail-proof.

We believed him.

We trusted him and his methods. Why wouldn’t we? He was a professional.

And so he did it.

He got the job done.

He removed cousin Henry from the family.

We all smiled and thanked him profusely.

He smiled and declared, “That’s what I do.”

He left.

And cousin Henry came back.



He and She

“I’m sorry I ever fell in love with you!”

The words hung in the air between them – dense and heavy, like a brocade tapestry.

He stared at her. His mouth was open. His eyes reflecting his hurt and shock.

The argument was officially over and so was everything else.

She opened her mouth to apologize.

He walked away.

She closed her mouth and turned away.


Days came.

Years passed.

And they stayed out of each other’s way.

He avoided the Starbucks that she always went to.

She avoided the bookstore he loved.

There were no phone calls.

No letters.

No text messages.

And so they lived.


Once she saw him at the grocery store.

Once he saw her at the movie theater.

She wanted to run to him.

He wanted to beg her to take him back.

But she did not.

And he did not.



One day came.

And he returned to the Starbucks that she always went to.

And she returned to the bookstore that he loved.

Somewhere in between, they found each other.

He said, “I love you. I never stopped.”

She said, “I’m sorry.”

And she knelt before him.

“Can we please start again?”

He knelt before her and whispered, “If you will have me again.”

She whispered, “I will.”


Writing About…Misunderstandings

Have you ever seen the title for a movie and made vast assumptions about what it was going to be about?

I have.

There’s a movie coming out called “The Disaster Artist”. I haven’t read up on it. Haven’t watched the trailers. No clue what it was really about.

Based on the title alone, I assumed it was about the following:

It’s the early 1930’s. A man moves into a rural Irish town with nothing but the clothes on his back. No car. No suitcase. Just himself, his clothes, and his walking stick. He is known as The Disaster Artist, because he is an artist who creates works of art from scraps of wood and metal that he finds at disaster sites.  He is young, handsome, eccentric, and so all that, but he is unable to stay in a steady relationship due to his debilitating eccentricities.

Until…he meets the one who can love him as he is. The one who can make him stay.

Needless to say, it was not about that.

It’s actually based on a book of the same title, about the making of  the Tommy Wiseau film “The Room”. And the Franco brothers are playing the main male leads. And there’s a whole slew of other big name actors in it.

I was totally confused and mind-blown. Like, I had no idea that enough people in Hollywood were aware of that movie to want to make a movie about the making of that movie.

Just so weird.

A Beast And A Beauty? Prologue.

The beast prowled her castle, certain that her rescuer would never come. Even if he did, there was no guarantee that he’d see beyond her appearances.

He’d see her and see only a monster. Never anything more.

She thought of the warlock who had cursed her.

Warlocks were famous for being broody and self-centered, but this one took the whole cake and swallowed it whole.

This one had taken the time to turn all of her vintage rosebushes into snowdrop bushes because they reminded him of his dearly departed Ophelia.

Of course, he had refused to turn them back into rosebushes. He had no care for anything outside of his own broody self. He’d barged into the castle and tramped mud and horse manure and some bubbling pink substance all over the hardwood floors and plush carpets. He’d dropped into the fine living room couch and plopped his filthy boots on the armrest.

That had been the last straw for her. She’d summoned her guards and ordered them to drag him out.

He had taken offense to the very idea of being hauled out. So, he had cursed her to find her own true love while trapped in a monster’s body.

Then, he had disappeared.

Fifteen years later, she was still a beast.

No suitors came.

No knights in shining armor.

Not even a single farm boy.

And she was fine with it.

There were advantages to being a beast. Especially a beast with wings. True, she couldn’t fly outside of the castle’s yard. The best she could do was fly in a big loop.

But it was exhilarating and she loved it.

She hoped that no one would come for her and change her back into normal.

But she knew that her idyll couldn’t last too long.

Some gentleman, knight, farm boy, stable boy, hero wannabe would surely come.

Then, she’d have to decide what she truly wanted most in her life.

A Reverse Angle – Part Ten

Victor laid his hands on the table and propped his chin on them.

Everything was quiet.

No weird sounds.

No heavy breathing.

No screaming.

Yet, it wasn’t a good kind of quiet.

It was a strained, someone holding their breath kind of quiet.

The silence before the sound.

Victor listened hard, waiting for the sound.


“Children. Come to me. Speak truth to me. Come. Come. Come.”

I tried to keep my thoughts clear and my mind calm.

It was a struggle.

I couldn’t help but feel nervous.

Something was going to happen.

Something big was going to happen and I would have to make a choice: Stay or leave.


The front door banged open.

Victor raised his head.

Someone ran through the front door.

He jumped out of his seat and grabbed his chair.

What if they come in here?

They did not.

They ran upstairs.


“Children. Come. Tell me why do you cry? I will not harm you. I wish to help you. Come, children, and speak to me.”

The bedroom door opened and closed quietly.

I looked towards the door.

No one was there.

The closet door opened and shut on its own.

Yet, no one was there.


Victor ran to the kitchen door.

He opened it.

A cold gust of air rushed past him, bearing the scent of faded roses.

He staggered back into the room, too afraid to advance.


I must go to her.

Yet, he was too afraid to move.


“Come, children. Tell me. Why are you here? Why do you cry? Speak truth to me, children. Come and speak to me.”

The closet door opened.

I glanced over there.

I saw nothing but the open door and the dark, empty closet.


The bedroom door opened.

No one entered the room, but I heard a soft, distant gasp.

I shivered.

“Tell me. Speak truth to me. What did your mother do to you? Why do you cry? What did she do to you?”

Lydia tilted her head. “A pillow? Is that how she killed you?”

One of the gentlemen glanced at Lydia. “She says they’re not dead.”

The gentleman holding my hand spoke. “He says they’re not dead.”

“Not dead.”

“Not dead.”

A cold wind rushed at us and the table pounded and shook.

“The mother says they aren’t dead. We are wrong. They aren’t dead.”

“Not dead.”

“Not dead.”

I trembled as I heard the mother’s distant scream coupled with her children’s incoherent yells.


Everything went silent and still.

Lydia bowed her head, softly gasping for breath.


Victor came to his senses.

He took a deep breath and ran to the door.

He ran out of the room and up the stairs.


He burst into his bedroom.

Lydia raised her head.

His mother rose from her seat and hurried over to him.

“Mother, I felt a horrible coldness downstairs. It was…It was…”

“Shh.” She hugged him. “Don’t worry. We’re safe.”

“What happened?”

She looked back at Lydia and repeated her son’s question.

Lydia gave the gentleman on her right a questioning look.

“We made contact.” he said.

She nodded as if remembering hazy details from an almost forgotten dream. “Yes. All three of them. The mother. Anna. Nicholas.”

“They don’t know that they are dead.”

Victor looked up at his mother. “What are we going to do?”

She released him and walked over to Lydia. “Are they gone?”

Lydia’s expression turned sad. She shook her head. “They are too deeply attached to this house. They will never, ever leave.”


I shivered. “What happened to them?”

Lydia’s old eyes teared up. “I don’t know all of the details, but the mother smothered them in their sleep. Then,” Tears fell down the lines and wrinkles. “she shot herself in the head.”

I felt utterly sick to my heart and to my stomach. “There is no question of what I need to do.”

Victor came over to me.

I hugged him. “I will not stay in a house where children were murdered.” I kissed the top of his head. “We will move in with my mother until we can find a more suitable place to live.”

Victor nodded.

I released him and shook Lydia’s hand. “Thank you. Thank you so much for your help.”

“You are most welcome, Polly dear.”


Lydia Toomey and her companions packed up their séance equipment and left.

Victor and his mother packed up only what they did not want to leave behind and hurried down the stairs.

As Victor followed his mother, he heard the echo of shushed whispers.

“The house is ours.”

“The house is ours.”

“The house is ours.”


Victor and his mother left the house.

The door slammed shut behind them.

“Victor, hurry. To the car!”

He ran to the car and opened the back door.

Victor was about to get in, but he felt compelled to look back at the house.

A woman in a black dress stood in the window of what was once his bedroom. Two children stood on either side of her: a young girl in a white nightgown and a much younger boy in white pajamas. They stood still and silent.

He shuddered and hopped into the car.

They drove away.


The ghosts’ whispers echoed in the silent, empty house.

“The house is ours.”

“The house is ours.”

“The house is ours.”

*********THE END************

A Reverse Angle – Part Nine

I debated back and forth within myself if I ought to allow Victor to witness the séance.

I, of course, had to be there. I was the house owner. It was my right and responsibility to be there.

Yet, Victor was only a child.

There was a possibility that the séance might conjure dark spirits who could take possession of the youngest and weakest member of the group.


Yet, after all that he had witnessed, perhaps the séance would provide him with closure.

Yet, I did not want him to be harmed by any wayward spirits.

On and on the debate waged in my head until, at last, I simply could not take it anymore.

I sat Victor down and asked him what he wanted to do.

“What do I want?”

He thought it over.

I was certain his mind was traveling down the path I had blazed.

“I wish to see it.”

I sighed.

It was not the answer I had been expecting, much less hoping for. “Are you certain? It might be dangerous.”

“You will be there, won’t you?”

“Well, yes.”

“Then, I have nothing to fear. You’ll protect me.”

How could I refuse him after that?


A couple of hours later….

Lydia arrived with three gentlemen.

Victor and his mother stayed out of their way as they set up the séance table and such.

They all look too respectable to be doing this sort of thing. thought Victor. The gentlemen look like they ought to be handling money in a bank, not dealing with ghosts. I wonder if they even know what they’re doing.

He looked at his mother and considered asking her, but decided against it.

She looked worried enough as is.

There was no need to worry her further.


Lydia came downstairs alone.

She found Polly and Victor in the kitchen.

“Come. The room is all ready.”

Polly and Victor rose from their seats.

Lydia looked at him and shook her head. “I’m sorry, my dear, but a séance room is no place for a child.”

Victor frowned. “But I want to see it.”

She came down to his level and set her delicate hands on his shoulders. “Please. For your own safety, stay down here. These spirits are sad and in pain. I cannot guarantee their behavior when I call upon them. They might act out. I don’t believe they are dangerous, but spirits can be very unpredictable when they feel cornered.”

He looked up at Polly.

“If that is what you believe would be best.”

Lydia stood with utmost care and released the young boy’s shoulders. “I do.”

“But Mother will protect me.”


He sighed and sank back in his chair. “Very well. I’ll stay down here.”

Polly looked relieved. “Thank you, dear.”


I followed Lydia upstairs to Victor’s bedroom.

I hated the idea of a séance being done in my house.

Having it in Victor’s bedroom…Well. That took me yards beyond hate. Yet, I had no say in the matter. It was the room she had chosen. So, it was the room we were using.

No questions asked.

No debate required.

Her companions were already in their seats.

Only two seats left: one for Lydia and one for me.

We took our seats and held hands.

Lydia bowed her head and went silent.

She went terribly still.

I wanted to tap her to verify that she was still well. Yet, I knew the most important rule of séances: Do not break the connection.

That was all well and good, but if she toppled over, I was going to  break the connection. Rules or no rules.

She raised her head.

A strange, distant fog swirled in her eyes. It startled me. I wanted to release her hand.

But no.

I held tight.

“Children. I can hear your pain. I can hear your cries. Come to me and speak. Tell me, children, why do you cry? Come to me. Come to me. Come to me and speak truth to me. Why do you cry? Speak truth to me. Come to me. Speak!”

A Reverse Angle – Part Eight

Lydia came into the kitchen. Her face was pale and drawn.

I guided her into a chair and made her a spot of tea.

“Did you see them?” asked Victor.

She looked at him as if he were a mile away.

“Victor dear. Give her a few moments to recover.”

Lydia blinked. “It is all right, Polly. No, I didn’t see them, but I know how many there are. Three.”

I gasped.

“A woman. Her daughter. Her son. Something happened to them. I believe the mother may have…”

The tea kettle whistled, startling us.

I pulled it off the stove and poured the water into a prepared tea cup. I brought the tea cup to the table and put it in front of our guest. “Please go on.”

Lydia stirred the tea bag in the cup and watched the color blossom. “I believe the mother may have killed her children.”

I sat there, stunned. I was vastly unprepared for such a possibility.

“Is she going to kill me too?” asked Victor.

Lydia shook her head. “I firmly believe that she and her children are no threat to either of you.”

“Is there a possibility that you’re wrong?”

“Polly darling. I can tell when a spirit is a danger to the living. If they were a danger, I would know. I would feel it. And I would certainly tell you, dear.” She removed the tea bag and took a cautious sip.

“So, what do we do now?”

She set her cup on its saucer. “I will contact a couple of my most trusted friends and we will have a séance. Tonight, if you wish.”

“I hate the idea of séances happening in my house, but yes. Let’s do it tonight.”

“We will do it in Victor’s room, if that isn’t a problem?”

I shook my head. “I don’t want him to sleep alone until we can get this resolved. So, yes. That is not a problem at all.”

“Good. We will gather here just at the beginning of dusk.”

I nodded for there was nothing more to be said.


We stood in the doorway and watched Lydia leave.

“After the séance, will the ghosts go away?” asked Victor.

I wrapped my arm around his shoulders. “I hope so.”

“If they don’t?”

I didn’t reply.

“Will we have to live with them?”

I didn’t want to surrender the house, our home, to spirits.

Yet, to willingly live with them and their unknown temperaments, that would surely be madness.

“We will see, Victor. We’ll see what happens next.”