The Joy

I returned from the war in Europe. It was over. Yet strangely, the numbness that accompanied me through the hardest times still lingered. The blankness of emotion that was in some ways a shield against the insanity still enveloped me. 

Only in my dreams did an unsettling feeling arise, a drowning sensation that woke me from my sleep. A dream that always ended the same, trapped in a tank like a fish, staring out into a room distorted by the glass that held me, prisoner.  

I traveled home without a feeling of purpose. Rather, an internal drive like a homing-pigeon tugged at me.

I looked out from the bus window. Numb from the horror of war, I thought. 

Shell-shocked, that’s what they called it. 

The view from the window of the bus resembled the landscape of the French countryside I traveled through from northern France. And though some soldiers laughed freely, there were others that stared out of their window in quiet contemplation. I was neither of those. 

I placed my hand upon the pane of glass. It filled me with a terror that I could not explain except to say that it resembled my dreams.

#

In my small town, I departed the bus. A friendly-faced man reading a newspaper looked up with a smile, “Ian.”

He folded the paper under his arm and stood straight from the car he leaned against. The side of the car read “TAXI,” in large letters.

“Well, isn’t it a pleasure, boy,” Said he, as he walked closer.

I smiled, more as a reflex than from friendship. I know him, I thought, if it was only the smile which told me so. He grabbed my bag and placed it in the rear seat and then opened the passenger door. I only knew to sit, but nothing else.

“Boy, they’ll be happy to see you.” He said after the doors shut. We drove away through what I knew to be familiar streets, but with the rememberance of a postcard.

“We got a new clock there in front of the bank,” He said as he took a toothpick from his mouth and pointed. The convex windshield distorted the objects as they passed by its furthest edge. A sickening feeling stirred in me. 

“Your mother will be overjoyed.”

Mother, yes, my mother, I remember now.

For the first time in two years, I smiled, then looked at the driver, “Yes, my mother.” Then, back through the windshield where my smile faded.

We stopped in front of a home, “This one’s on me Ian, I doubt you’re loaded with cash.”

“Yeah, right, thanks, uh…”

I stepped from the car as the driver, whom I could not place a name, pulled my duffle bag from the rear seat and dropped it on the curb.

He tipped his hat and there was a moment of silence, “Well, it’s good you’re back. Ya look a little tired,” He said with a smirk. “I suppose I’ll see ya around.” With that, he sat in the car and drove away.

#

I stood near the street and gazed up the pathway to the house. Again, this home and street of my childhood provided no memory. 

I grew up in this house. This is where I lived.

A sudden fear rose in me, suffocating, drowning. I closed my eyes to stop nausea that lumped below my throat. 

Something bad happened, tied, screams, splashing caustic water. 

I struggled to breathe as I felt pushed below the surface of a murky tank of evil-smelly liquid.

My eyes sprung open. My heart raced as I felt something of an animal’s instinct to flee, yet there was that drive to move forward. I knew this to be my truth, the purpose of my journey.

It’s my imagination, I told myself.

I approached the home. The quiet street, the trees, the gardens, all the colors were as I imagined, but only at the moment, I saw them. A breeze blew past with a faint sense of familiarity, of knowing what it was, but without memory. Zombie-like, I stepped forward with an emptiness, tired and numb. 

In front of the home, I stopped. The house was picturesque as if unspoiled by the world that had pulled itself apart.

Two years of fighting in a war, what did it do to me? 

For a moment, I pictured a boy that cheerfully waved goodbye to a family so many years before. When exactly that was, I was unsure. Something blurred the faces, their bodies were formless.

I took a deep breath and stepped up to the front entrance. As if outside of my body, I watched my hand rise and knock upon the door. A tingle of anticipation quivered through me with a notion of the old wooden door creaking. I closed my eyes and imagined the exact time it took for the door to open. I waited, and there was a call from inside the home, “Coming.” 

A woman opened the door, flowery dressed and bosomy, gray-haired and scarfed, with a kind smile and wearing glasses.

Had things changed?

Our eyes met. And though I could see the regret in her face, I knew it was because of the pain in mine. 

She stepped back and pulled the door wider. Her head tilted sideways with an encouraging grin. 

I dropped my bag inside the door as I entered, but felt nothing as the woman embraced me. I followed her direction, and she closed the door behind me, “Oh dear, you’ve lost it, tsk, tsk,” she sucked her teeth. “Your skin is lifeless, and your eyes have sunken. You look near death, my son.”

“Mother?” I questioned.

“Yes, my boy, you still remember a bit.” 

I looked at her, straining to make a connection. 

Mother.

“Oh, you’ve nearly lost it. We’ll just have to get you that joy back. Oh, I’m so happy you’re home. I’ll make you something to eat, my dear. Just come in and relax.”

She pulled me by the arm and lead me to a sitting room. 

“That war is over, it’s over.” She demanded.

My eyes became teary. The sound of her voice, the aroma of the home, all meant something, but what?

“Mother,” I repeated with certainty.

“Oh, my dear boy, yes?” she asked with a coo in her voice. 

I stood silently, satisfied that she answered. 

With her hands on her hips, she shook her head, “You must have finished that bottle I sent you long ago. Just relax, no worries now, I’ll have you back to your old self in no time.” 

She scampered to the kitchen. Her hefty hips rumbled under her flowery dress. She muttered unintelligible sentences that included names I had once heard, “The Taylor’s sold their house and that Conners girl was asking about you since her brother Tom returned home.” She continued about uncles and cousins that I could make no connection between.

I replied short and cordial, “Oh, ok.”

“I’ll be down in the cellar,” she called out.

“Ok, sure,” I answered as her steps faded into an underground space I faintly remembered. I followed the circumference of the room with my eyes and reacquainted myself with the furniture and photos. I stepped near the mantel. Above a fireplace that showed no sign of use. A picture of two men and a boy caught my attention. I put my finger to the boy’s face. 

It’s me. Yes, they must be my father and uncle. 

Next to this photo was another, and then another, sequentially older. The black and white photographs provided an impulse of memories but seemed superficial.

Bungling movements in the cellar space below grabbed my attention. I walked to a doorway in the kitchen and called down, “Mother. Do you need help?” 

“No, no, I’ll be right up. Stay up there. Just take your things to your room. I’ll just be a few minutes.”

I stepped back through the house that led me to a small hallway with many closed doors. I turned the handle on the first. It creaked open to reveal a boy’s room.

This is my bedroom.

In the doorway, I stopped to look, then walked in. I dropped my bag on the floor and looked around the room to see a baseball, a model boat, some books on a desk, and a bed that was neat and unused. 

The old days, the old ways, the joy, yes, joy. I remember that word.

I sat on the bed and stared at the neatly placed things about the room, the ball, the bat, the boat. Each item had a story I could not remember, but there was an impulse to remember. 

Why are these things important to me?

I held the boat and looked upon it. It was a child’s toy. That was all. I set it down and looked at each object with the same emptiness.

“Oh, Ian darling? Help me set the table.” My mother called.

I stood and walked back through the house, remembering the boat. I wiped my brow, blinking and dazed, then put two plates on the table from a stack she handed me.

“Better set two more. Your father will be home soon and your uncle George might stop by.”

“Father?” 

Yes, my Father, why didn’t I ask earlier? 

I remembered the picture on the mantel.

“I can’t wait. How is dad?”

“Oh, he’s just fine. He hasn’t changed a bit.”

“Oh, joy!” I said aloud.

Mother turned with a bright smile. “Yes, you remember now, son, the joy. Here, sit, have some soup, and feel the joy come back.”

I sat. In front of me, she placed a bowl of soup and a spoon.

“Now when you’re done, don’t forget to drink the broth, drink it all down like a good boy.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

I held the spoon I felt I had held countless times before. The curve of the neck and shaft fit into my hand with body memory. I submerged it into the murky broth and lifted a spoonful to my lips, with closed eyes. I could smell a briny sour aroma waft up into my face before I sipped. The taste was unique yet familiar. It was singular in dimension, yet salty, meaty, and ambiguously decayed. My first instinct was to choke it off. I opened my eyes only to see my mother patiently waiting for me to swallow.

“That’s it, take it all down.”

Her request drove me forward. In her guiding moments, I had another and another spoonful until I was tipping the bowl for its last drops. 

I sat the bowl down with a clack, “Oh, I’m full. That was wonderful… The joy.” I said as I held my hand over my belly.

“Yes, yes, that’s right. Now, why don’t you lay down and I’ll call you when everyone gets here.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I mumbled, then stood.

My numbness retreated as I walked back to the bedroom. There I sat on the bed before laying down and picked up the boat. I held it close to my face with curiosity. Deep inside the ship’s deck, I could visualize myself with others as if I was there, all of us together aboard a boat. Each one of us going about tasks. Casting lines, steering, and hoisting sails. 

Yes, I remember it now.

I set the model down as a queer smile grew upon my face. I lay back and fell into a grand slumber the moment my head sunk into the pillow. I dreamt a twilight night of dreams. For once in years, my thoughts were not those of drowning but of hopes and desires. 

I awoke and sat up cheerful, alert, and optimistic. The light from the window had shifted. I knew a considerable time had passed.

What dreams, I thought as I placed my hands over my abdomen with fingers locked. I looked around the room at the things of my childhood and smiled at the bountiful memories they brought. Then, stood and walked to the bedroom door. Beyond, I heard the gleeful laughs and conversations of many people. I pushed the door open and ahead of me were my father and uncle from the photo. Children danced and ran about.

“Come here, my boy! Come here and give your dad a hug!” A barrel-chested man sang with a baritone voice.

Eagerly I hurried to him and indulged my father’s whim and received not just one hug, but another from my uncle as well. All felt warm from the gaiety of the moment. My mother commented on the spirit of it, “Oh, it’s back in you again. It’s back.”

Everyone beamed with happiness and told stories of family splendor. I looked into my mother’s face. She was as happy and young as I had ever remembered her. I now recalled her radiance and everlasting beauty, the same as when I was a young boy. Everyone sang in harmony, “oh the joy, oh, the joy.”

My father exited the basement with champagne bottles. Glasses were poured for all, even the young ones had a taste. My mother ladled soup into bowls around the dining room table and everyone sat sipping the soup and then stood drinking champagne and still others danced about.

So filled with merriment, I spun off into the kitchen where I found my champagne glass empty. I turned to look for a bottle and then entered the cellar where I remembered father had brought them up. I could not recall the way, but carefully I made my descent down the dark steps. A cool wet breeze blew from the rear and I followed the earthy moist ventilation. I fumbled for a light switch and recalled a dangling string with a cap on its end, a light that hung from the center of the cellar’s one large room.

Upstairs, the festivities carried over into the space below. The lumbering steps of my family resounded and the words of “Oh the joy,” were ever-present like a chant.

I found the string and tugged it. The flash of light was blinding, and I covered my eyes. As I slowly opened my fingers, my eyes adjusted. Oddly, I could not adjust my sight to what stood before me. At the back of the room, gargantuan pickle jars lined the wall. 

Electrified with fear, I shrieked. A paroxysm similar to looking out of the taxi window, but ten times greater, overwhelmed me. As horrifying as it was, I could not look away. From inside the jars looking out were tortured faces floating within the murky brine; ghoulish expressions bent in the glass’s curvature.

What kind of monstrous thing is this? It can’t be real.

Slowly, the faces looked familiar. My legs weakened, and I turned away when I realized these were the faces of everyone I loved. My father, my mother, my uncle, and cousins, and worst of all myself, all stared back at me. Many had open mouths that held a drowning scream and the one like me floated with hands clawing at the glass. Strangely, the figures appeared younger and dressed in clothing from an earlier time.

I held my hands out in front of my face to question my existence. 

If my parents are here… then who is up there, and who am I? 

I spun from dizziness and struggled to stand.

My ears rang as my heart pounded in a panic. I turned completely away in disbelief. In doing so, I saw my mother and father standing before me at the bottom of the steps in solidarity, hand in hand.

“You weren’t supposed to see this yet,” my mother said in her sweet voice. “This is the joy. This is all of their happiness and life bottled up, preserved in jars that will keep us alive and happy for many years to come,” she glanced at my father, then looked down at their hands that embraced, “You don’t need to trouble yourself with this right now. We’ll tell you everything when the time is right.”

Slowly, they stepped toward me. I was torn between them nearing me or walking back against the jars. I froze and closed my eyes. Then, with nowhere to go, my legs folded, and I slowly crouched to the floor, quivering with fear. As I held my breath, they cradled me in a smothering hug and lifted me up.

“Everything is going to be fine, son,” my father said confidently as his strong hands urged me to stand, “Let’s go back upstairs.”

They steered me toward the steps, and my mother’s calm voice spoke words of encouragement. Again, I felt numb, not from emptiness, but with the truth, with the completeness of everything which finally made sense. We climbed up the stairs as my mother’s warm hand led the way. My father grabbed two bottles of champagne and something of a calm normalness happened between us. Above, we reentered the dining room. There, I was once again surrounded by what I believed to be my loving family. The young cousins continued to play, and I pretended to play along as best I could. We toasted to life and everyone around me reveled in the moment’s joy and slowly I resigned to the idea that I was one of them, whatever that was.

###

The Scary Nary (A wicked rhyme)

Children never ventured into the Nary wood.

They knew all too well and understood

of the dangers that fell,

and tales that were told,

and retold again;

stories of now and then.

#

They were handed down

by infinite numbers

of older sisters

and older brothers,

of brood before

and since brood began.

You must pass this on in hand.

#

A thing that tricked with a joy, so fresh

it beguiled you, then riled you,

then wrenched your flesh.

Against its hide, it wrapped you up.

It sucked you dry to fill its cup.

#

You knew it was close if no bird flew by,

or no chipmunk popped his body outside.

You might see a snail

or worms at the bottom

where the air was stale

under leaves that smelled rotten.

The feet of the Nary could be seen in this dirt.

Beware if you step on its toes, be alert!

#

Where the wind did not blow,

it was too big to hide

but, you were too close to know

the Nary next to your side.

Once you were caught you were gone forever.

The Scary Nary was very clever

#

It would hold you then scold you with fingers of whips

like willow tree branches with needles as tips.

It had arms that were lengthy and wretched like rakes,

and toes that were wicked and snarky like snakes.

It had hands that were haunted and hanging with hooks,

and eyes that were void like the specs of a spook.

#

Grown-ups never ventured to the wood past the meadow.

It was misunderstood, not amused by its shadow.

They had forgotten and joked and jeered at the fable.

They worked and toiled, and no longer able.

#

But when boys weren’t boys and not yet men,

they neglected their toys for adventure, and when

their courage was built and they longed to do what their minds intended,

the Nary woods brought a challenge anew, that could not be dispelled or amended.

#

And somewhere between

foal and mare, not pup or dog, not cub nor bear.

A boy was brazen and forced to dare.

#

So, when a school year was ending and the air was still cool.

One gathered the hearty and not the fool.

A group of three decided to venture

to the forbidden wood to test their measure.

#

After one had gathered them up,

they three, all wrestled and riled and thumped.

“We’ll go to the forest and see if it’s true.”

The first said it was, but second wasn’t sure.

The third said it wasn’t, so the challenge was pure.

#

Meticulously they planned with tact and tool.

They pilfered and packed what they could from their school,

from their father’s sheds, and from under their beds.

They were ready for the worst kind of ghoul.

So, they spit and shook for now and forever.

They would not dampen their oath nor sever

the pact they had made or themselves from adventure.

#

Before the cows on the farm

they were a long way from harm.

Near the grouse in the meadow

they felt slightly unsettled.

Past the deer in the dell

they were halfway to hell.

#

Beyond the dells, the three stood one by another,

“It all looks too gruesome,” they shuddered.

They’d go if they could,

but were frozen by the wood.

#

One said to his friend,

“go in and return and bring back the news.”

“You’re crazy my brother the Nary is true.”

And they could not agree on none or all three,

and all three was the best they could do.

So, as boys dare and dare as they do,

one dared another and another made two.

When one stood alone he rallied behind.

Now all three were stalking in line.

#

They crept through the thickets, the vines and the nettles,

milk-thistles, pines, and peddles.

Until the vines became few and the ground became grey

and worms squirmed about in the rot and decay.

Still deeper they slunk til’ they stood near a giant

that had a large trunk; a tree that stood high and reliant.

It spread out like a dome where no animals roamed but the boys grew more bold and defiant.

#

The tree stood tall with arms outstretched;

hanging limbs with leaves like gnarled nets.

Draped with toys and forget-me-nots.

All made of wood and carved to a liking

that boys adored and girls found striking.

#

Nothing shined though objects shown,

no more than figures it had grown

of things that resembled fun and good.

All for the taking, if you could.

Oh what a dare, oh what a deed.

Their childish hearts were filled with greed.

#

And of all that was rotten,

they might still be alive and forgotten.

For if only they feared what the fragile fear

of shriek and terror and hold me, dear.

#

They stepped on the roots and the twigs that were buried

that crunched and alerted the hives of the Nary.

They grabbed at the branches like shelves of a store,

and tugged at the toys that it carried.

There the wind did not blow

and this carnival show

was too much for the boys to ignore.

It awoke in a sudden. It wrapped them up tight.

They were coiled in a thicket, of gossamer plight.

#

The one who was leader became embroiled in thorns

that wove like a web, and tightened its horns.

It squeezed and released until his screams had ceased

and tossed him atop where it finished the feast.

At the highest branches, he stopped.

#

Another was grabbed by the face and shook.

By the eyes and mouth, he was took.

Driving its shanks down his throat to its length

and out through his head like a hook.

#

Out of his back more branches emerged,

more leaves were sprouted and his juices were purged.

He sagged there a carcass to be siphoned and squeezed

where his skin became bark and dry like the trees.

#

The last one was pulled to the side of the trunk

as a mouth and eyes opened it swallowed a chunk.

With teeth like daggers and eyes deathly dark

the lad was halved at the waist as from a shark.

But nothing was wasted and it took the last bite.

Of the last boy it tasted he tasted of fright.

#

A prize for the Nary, oh how he was good

and this one’s face forever stood

in the crags of the bark

on its trunk in the wood.

#

The Nary wood, as time does tell.

Not a childish place of Jack and Jill.

Not on hill or dale,

but a forest of fear and fail.

#

So, remember,

when you see a face gnarled in wood

on a tree, in a forest,

beyond a meadow and dell

and you know that you shouldn’t

yet, you do just as well.

Just remember the childhood

stories they tell.

A lesson of will

so that you will grow merry…

No child escapes the Scary Nary.

Follow My Frozen Heart

My face freezes as I peer out from my mountain cave overlooking the village. The cold seizes me with shivers as my breaths quiver from sadness and anger.

The village glows through the falling snow that ever thickens. I can’t tell if I am numb from cold or grief as I peek down below at the cozy cottages resembling the embers of my fire.

Where my home sits at the edge of the forest, there are no lights. I can picture my mother laying in her bed. 

If only I had said I loved her.

My small fire pops and crackles with white flames. I sit back and poke the wood that glows orange through charred patches.

My cave is only big enough for me, but there is only me. The sides are rough and the opening is narrow. I stare out through its mouth and into a starless black. Around it, the windswept shards of accumulating ice point horizontal like teeth. Bit by bit, they grow and threaten to close as hunger and loneliness gnaw at me.

They must be searching for me. 

They won’t look far. Only a fool would leave the safety of a home in this weather, but I did.

You can’t take it back.

He deserved it. I had to do it. Everyone owed him. They should thank me, but they’ll hang me.

The fire.

With my last stick, I push the glowing parts together and then throw it in. I pull my feet close, my knees to my chest, and hide my face beneath my collar. My fingers clench, hidden in my coat sleeves. I shiver and weep for my mother, who I will never see again.

Oh, mama, I miss you.

“It’s not fair!” I cry out, but nobody can hear me as I sit against the back of my hideaway and look into my small fire that shimmers. It wavers from the gusts of frigid air that carries ice crystals from the storm. 

Blackened lines and spots are etched into the burning sticks. They resemble archaic writing on ancient scrolls. Their stories unfold as the heat scorches and shrinks the branches, releasing their memories.

I stare into the fluttering flames that dance upon the shrinking pieces of wood and drift into my memory of what happened.

***

My father made a life for us, herding goats. My mother made cheese. Now, at fourteen, I tended the goats and milked them while my father only sat and watched us. 

As we prospered, he disappeared at night. My mother said nothing, but became distant and sulked. A coldness grew between them. I often awoke to angry shouts that ended with a slammed door, and my father’s steps disappearing outside. My heart ached with a pain I could not understand.

My mother loved me, I knew this above anything else and I was her little boy. Though I was becoming a man, I cherished her touch on my cheek and the love she cooked into every meal like I was still a child. 

I escaped on mountain strolls, tending the goats. With only a walking stick and a knife, I would visit my secret place and daydream. Here I could vanish from the pain.

Upon my last return home, a large man stood at the door. Gundersen, the fat financier, stood with a smile of sadistic pleasure in a large fur coat and boots. My mother crumbled to her knees as she wept. I stood speechless as he held out a note of promise in front of our faces. My father borrowed against the farm and lost it.

A stabbing pain struck my gut as my mother released a horrid unnatural cry. Distraught, her eyes stared wildly and she stumbled to her bedroom, holding her arms over her chest in pain. Gundersen left and promised to return the next day. 

I stood alone in our cottage, petrified. The fear of Gundersen’s return was a nightmare.

Where will we go? What will we do?

I fell asleep, waiting for my father, who never returned.

The next morning I awoke to the bitter cold. Snow set on the window sills as a frosty powder misted in under the front door. A fire had not been started and everything seemed frozen from the horrific news of the previous day.

I entered my mother’s room where she lay in bed.

“Mother,” I whispered and stepped near. She didn’t move but lay pristine and angelic. I hesitated to wake her, but we had to go on. 

I put my hand to her shoulder. It felt rigid and I pulled my hand back. I reached out again. Her body was stiff. A strange sensation quivered through me, a paralyzing fear, followed by nausea. I sank with weakness but wanted to run. The sole anchor to life, my mother, was dead.

My mind swirled and I stepped back out from the room. In a panic, I ran from the home and staggered into the nearby woods. The world spun around me. I grasped the trunk of a tree, the only thing that stood strong. My feet stung with a fringed bite as I hugged this unmovable thing. The world stopped spinning and it filled me with an impulse to return.

I crept into the icy cottage. It now appeared as a replica of the place I once lived. Everything was frozen in time. Above a dormant fire pit, a cold iron pot with the last meal my mother cooked hung from a blackened bar. An emptiness tugged at my stomach, but the thought of food sickened me. 

I could not eat and I could not enter my mother’s room but tinkered with the thought she would emerge. Again and again, my mind rehearsed the moment only to swirl downward in despair knowing that she died feeling unloved. This overwhelmed me until my agony gave way to pure and corporeal hatred. My heart froze, my life ceased. Then, as if reborn, I saw beyond this crippling sadness. Though my father was to blame, Gundersen was at the heart of my hatred. His repugnant smile begged for revenge.

The snow continued. The cottage became colder. My breath fogged with the wickedness of death. I paced the front room holding my knife as I filled with rage. Then, I wandered out into the blank slate of wintery white.

Snow crunched under my steps as I ventured through the village. The homes glowed with fireplaces while the windows flashed with signs of life, laughing, singing, and some silent shadows.

I was but a shadow now. A figment that lived through the one motivation that filled my body, revenge. All sense of fear left me. Revenge burned within me. It was a wicked warmth, burning with anger. There was nothing else.

I stopped at the home of Gundersen and stood upon the landing before his front door. With my knife in hand, I waited and stared forward. As I knocked, a baritone voice surprised me from behind.

“I am here, boy.”

I turned around to the sight of the rotund man who stirred from drunkenness. Like an involuntary reflex, my arm thrust forward. The knife slid into his belly. I had the sensation of watching it happen from outside my body. My hand retracted and he fell to his knees, facing me with a howling expression of surprise. Again, the knife lunged forward and slid upward through his throat. He gagged and swirled his arms as if catching his balance.

At that moment, the door squeaked opened behind me and I heard a voice gasp in shock. Gundersen’s body tipped backward as my hand remained where it held the knife. The hair stood on my neck as a women’s scream shrilled from behind me. Gundersen clomped onto his back. I ran from the landing and out into the cold twilight.

My snow-filled steps lead me back to my home. I stood and looked at it for the last time. Then, I turned and fled to my only place of safety, my secret cave.

***

Here, I sit inside this rocky crag. The wind howls as curious snowflakes enter and twinkle before dying in the faint orange glow that surrounds me.

My head droops as I cry between shivering breaths. The storm moans through the narrowing mouth of the cave. My hunger aches, as the fire dies, and my eyes struggle to stay open.

My mother’s image fades as the flames flicker. The last stick puffs and joins the other blackened figures. They crackle and finish burning their stories as the darkening cave closes its icy jaws, as I drift into a freezing slumber and follow my frozen heart.

#

CAUGHT IN PIE TOWN

CHAPTER 1

NATE

Had you shaken a snow globe, then flash-froze it, the action, though unmoving, would still be expressed. This was the appearance of Nate Jackson. His eyes welled with a horrid vision, his hands clenched something that wasn’t there, and his mouth stretched open cupping a moan that never emerged as his motionless body lay near the entrance of a vacant lot. Something had shaken him, rattled his soul and then froze it…

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THE FLAVORIST

the-flavorist_sm

     “Mortem praeparare meum novum maximum cofectio!”Adolf Van De Groot bellows from the mezzanine above a gathering of chocolate makers in the grand hall of the Van De Groot Chocolaterie located in the heart of Brussels. 

     His commanding voice reverberates through the hallowed hall with the reverence of his great ancestors, “I have chosen you all to witness my greatest confection. Chocolate so creamy, so decadent, so perfect, it will be the joy of the world. A raging storm of flavor I have named Chocolate Thunder!”

 

 

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