Sunday, November 9, 2014



            The house was dark and dingy.  It was kept tidy but the walls were dark, no longer bright and vibrant like they were when she was little. They didn't have much stuff, anyway, to keep clean. The carpets were worn down from foot traffic, with stains here and there.  The windows had layers of filth on them, blocking out the sun some.  She slowly stepped down the stairs, being sure not to step on any of the sweet spots that would alert her father or brother she was coming down the stairs.  She knew they were up to something.  Something bad.  Not that they ever did something good.  They claimed she was the bad one.  The dirty whore.  The unwanted bitch.  Anything that they could throw from their tongue that they thought would hurt her.  It never did, though.  She was used to it. 
            As careful as she was being, she hit a squeaky board.  Stopping, she frozen in the position she was in, and held her breath, waited, and listened to see if she had alerted them.
When she was little, she dreaded leaving her school.  Most kids couldn't wait for that three o’clock bell to ring.  She hated it.  Life at home, it wasn't easy.  Her father was a drunk and her mother was weak, all she did was do whatever her father told her to do.   At the age of six, she learned what a blow job was because her father told her mother to do it in front of her.  He hadn't cared, nor had the woman who was supposed to be a mother to her. 
            She spent years locked up in her room, with the lock on the hallway side of the door.  Trapped.  She had a mattress on the floor, some toys her grandparents had given her.  A few books, which she had read over and over again.  She liked getting lost in the worlds of Little Women and The Secret Garden.  Her grandmother on her mom’s side had sent her the Anne of Green Gables series, and those were her favorite books.  Especially since she could identify with Anne. 
            In grade school she was expected home immediately.  When she got home, she would get shoved into her room and pushed down.  The door would slam shut behind her and the echo of the metallic click of the lock would echo through the room. They would bring her a plate to eat at some point, usually it was cold. 
In middle school, she was allowed to join after school programs or sports, her parents didn’t want to draw attention to their family, they felt if she was active after school she would appear more normal.  So she joined the Track team and Photography Club.   That allowed her to be home a lot less, so she took every opportunity not to be home.  It was then that the beatings started.  He’d hit her … places people were less likely to see, and he enjoyed it.  He loved it. 
            Her brother was treated completely different.  He was only a year older than she was, but he was treated like the prodigal prince.  He did anything their father said, and was twisted like he was.
            In high school she continued with both clubs.  They no longer locked her in her room because she didn’t leave her room, she preferred to be as far away from her family as she could.  At school she noticed her brother was constantly watching her.  Then one night her door opened, and he came in.  He had just taken a shower and was only in a towel.  Her gut twisted inside her, as if to warn her she’d never be the same.  He let the towel drop.  When she screamed, she thought she could hear her father laughing from the hallway.  He had come to her all through her freshman year.  Then it stopped when he got a girlfriend.  She knew that he abused the girlfriend, and she knew it was bad that she was thankful his attention was off her. 
            During her sophomore year, her mother disappeared.  One weekend there was an out of town track meet and she had been allowed to stay with a friend, she had come home and been told her mother ran away.  Several months later, her brother’s girlfriend disappeared.  The police kept showing up, dragging her father and brother down to the police station to question them.
            Then she noticed there was more and more woman going missing around town, her Dad and brother were spending less time at home and when they were home they were usually in the basement.   In her gut, she knew.  But she had to be sure. 
            It didn't seem like the squeak had gotten their attention.  She wasn't sure where they were.  So she knew she had to be sneaky. 
            She allowed herself to breathe again and continued down the stairs.  She tip toed through the living room and into the kitchen.  That’s when she heard them coming up the stairs from the basement, talking.  She hit in the little nitch the pantry in the kitchen made.  A tiny box the walls made.
            “What are you going to do about her?”  It was her brother’s husky voice.  You could hear the anger dripping from every word.  Anything coming out of his mouth had rage dripping from it. 
            “Well, we do what we do with them all.”  Her dad growled.  Neither of them knew how to talk.  They both sounded completely uneducated. 
            “What about the parasite upstairs?  When are we going to take care of her?”
            “Soon,” her father said as they opened the back door.  “Can’t do it too soon, they’ll look at us cuz of your mother and Vicky.”  Her heart dropped.  This confirmed it for her.  They had been involved with the disappearance of her mom and her brother’s girlfriend. 
            “I want to do her,” her brother said, she could almost see the disgusting smile spread across his face with the thought, like the Joker in Batman.  “I want to watch her bleed while I am inside her.”
            Her dad laughed and the back door shut.  She soon heard the roar of the run down, beat up car they had.  They were leaving. 
            She sighed, in relief.  She moved quickly through the small kitchen, through the mess they had created, making her way to the basement steps which were by the back door. She expected they would soon go to her room, drag her down by her hair, as they had done before, and demanded she clean up after them.  She wasn't allowed to eat with them, she got scraps when they were done, if she was lucky.  There were days she didn't eat at all.
            She went down the stairs and saw they had added a lock to the door.  She panicked for a moment.  Then looked around.  On the window sill was a key.  She grabbed it and prayed it opened it.  When the lock clicked, she took a deep breath and opened the door. 
            The smell is what she was met with first.  It was horrible, and she had grabbed the top of her shirt, and covered her mouth and nose with it.  Then she flipped on the light, and saw blood.  So much blood.  There was a woman in a cage, tied up and gagged, she didn’t respond to the light.  Her eyes stayed shut and she was slumped over in the corner of the cage. 
            She almost vomited.  So many thoughts rushed through her head.  She knew … she knew what she had to do.  She shut off the light, shut the door and put the lock back on.  She ran up the stairs and practically jumped on the kitchen counters, causing dishes to clang to the floor, to find the coffee can her mom use to hide money in, hoping and praying it was still there.  She reached up and patted the top of the cupboards around, because she couldn't see, praying she’d find the metal can.  When her finger tips touched it, she struggled to get a grasp on it.  When she did, she grabbed the can, pulling it out as quickly as she could.  She paused long enough to pull the plastic cover up to see if there was money in there, and when she saw there was, she closed it and ran through the house and up the stairs.  She grabbed her backpack, throwing a few things in there, threw the can in there.  She turned the radio on that they allowed her to have, and stuffed anything she could find under her blanket on the mattress making it look like she was laying under the covers.  She looked around her room.  One last time.  When her eyes rested on the blue teddy bear her grandmother had sent her, the last thing she had ever gotten from her, she grabbed it and opened the bag one last time and closed it again. 
            Her heart was racing so hard she thought it was going to jump out of her chest.  She turned off the light, slammed her bedroom door and ran out of the house.  She didn't know what she was going to do, but she knew she had to do something.  She had to … she could hear the car coming down the street.  She ducked into a bush and watched them pull into the driveway and to the back of the house.  She stayed there until she knew they had gone in.
            She had to save herself.  She had to try to save that woman if she wasn't already dead.  
            It was only then that she ran.  She ran like her life depended on it, because it did.  She ran to her friend’s house where she broke down crying, sobbing, and telling her frightened parents everything.  Every dirty rotten secret she held in her heart.  Everything she saw.  Everything she knew in her bones.  Her father and brother were murderers.  They killed her mother, and all the women on the news.  She knew it. 


Friday, November 7, 2014

McCrady Manor: Blood Curse - Chapter Four


          Meghan walked through the curtain of white and blue beads into the small room.  She saw an older woman sitting on the other side of a small round table.  The table was covered with a soft blue cloth with moons and stars stitched with silver thread.  A large crystal ball sat in the middle of the table on a silver stand.  "Come on in and sit down."  The woman spoke so softly, with a trace of an irish lilt.  She instantly made Meghan feel comfortable, and welcome. 
          She walked towards the table that sat in the middle of the room.  "My child, you are awful young.  Why are you here?"  She asked as Meghan sat down in the chair across for her.
          Meghan slowly took a deep breath.  She caught the fragrance filled air and let it out just as slow as she took it in.  It smelled of vanillia with hints of citrus.  "I want to make sure that you are who you claim to be.  That you are for real."  Meghan told her honestly.  She looked around the room at the shelves of candles and crystals.  Rock gardens and mini running waterfalls.  Artwork of various mystical things, ranging from the zodiac to, legendary creatures, to a framed picture that caught her attention.   It was a picture of the an accident sight, around it you can see this haze swirling, but not through the whole picture.  It seemed to linger right around the crushed car.   You could almost distinctly make out the form of an angel, from wings to eyes.  She shook her head and rubbed her eyes.   It couldn't be.
          "Yes, that is real.  I had a gentlemen come in one day, and he was rather distraught."  She explained.  "I had warned him to be careful in cars, but he didn't really believe me, but he wondered.  I could tell.   He was one that wanted quick answers, he was still so heartbroken.  He came back to me, two months later.  He handed me this picture," she smiled lifting it from the shelf that sat near her. "He told me I had been right," she whispered softly.  "See, the accident almost killed him, but I had told him that his wife would be there with him.  She would see to it he would be alright, if only he took great care.  His wife had died a few years before from a serious form of cancer, leaving him to be the only provider for thier three children.  He handed me the picture, told me I was right, then broke into tears thanking me.  Said if I hadn't warned him, planted that in his head, he thought he would seriously not be here on this earth.  He says he is a better man today, for him, and his children.  She opened up the back of the picture, pulled out a small wallet size picture of a family.  A man, woman, two boys and little girl.   "This is his family, his wife," she said, putting the picture next to the angel.   You could see the resemblance in the face of the angel, and the women in the family photo.  "A reporter had snapped the picture while the mans was still in the car.  She was lingering there.  He said she was talking to him."  She put the family picture back in the frame, and closed it.  Then put it safetly back on the shelf. 
          "Wow," was all Meghan could manage.
          She looked back at Meghan.  Her small emerald green eyes seemed to look right into her soul.  "I understand your hesitance," she spoke gently.  Her silver hair falling over her shoulders, with the top half pulled up in some sort of knot.  "Alright then, we'll get started."  She looked deep into Meghan's large grayish violet eyes.  Eyes that change color with the young girl's mood.  "Don't tell me anything.  Not your name, nor birthday.  I shall figure out all I can.  All that you will allow the Old Crystell to feel...and to hear.  All I need you to do is let me know if I am right or wrong.  A simple yes or no will do fine."  The woman explained.  She played with some rocks, in a rock garden quickly, then reached out and put her small hand in the middle of the round table.  "May I have your hands, please?"  The woman asked.  Meghan put her hands in the woman's and watched as the woman lowered her head and closed her eyes.  "First, I see, twenty candles.  You are twenty years old, correct?"
          "Yes," Meghan simply answered.
          "Alright now....I am picking up two sets of initials, no three...which is very phenomenal.  K.L.M. is the strongest of the three sets.  Are those your initials?"  She quizzed.
          "No," Meghan whispered with an uncertain expression upon her face.
          "How about M.A.Q. which are the second most intense of them."
          Her heart stopped.  "Yes," she responded astounded.
          "The third set is M.A.K.L.M. which I have the feeling are a combination of the two sets and is yet to come.  But does it mean anything to you at the moment?"  The woman asked.  Meghan shook her head.  "It seems as if the first was past and the second current.  So I will focus on the second set of letters.  Your name is..........Megas,it is Meghan, right?"
          "Yes," Meghan slurred the word.  From that she was practically convinced that this woman could be the real thing.
          "You come here to Independence in the end of March to work on a house... a big house...or some sizable land.  Is that true?"
          "Yes, both."
          The woman paused for a moment before she continued speaking.  "You met a man with two faces.  That means that either he has a good and evil side or he is a twin.  I feel firmer about the twin.  Is he a twin?"
          "Yes," Meghan could feel her eyes growing larger with every true statement she made.
          "This man, the younger one, his name starts with a 'C'.  Am I correct?"  She watched as Meghan's head nodded.  "Well," she paused.  "I feel something awful has happened to you by this Mr. C."  The woman paused.  "He left you?"
          Meghan thought for a moment.  "You could fairly say that, I guess."
          "I feel him the night he left.  He physically said good-bye.  Maybe a love.  The feeling is yet stronger...and there is resentment on your behalf."  Suddenly the woman's eyes shot open for the first time since she had closed them when they begun.  "He raped you!"  She announced just like that.  Plain as day.  Outloud.  All Meghan could do was nod as her blood ran cold.  "I am sorry."  The woman quietly spoke.  "I am so sorry."  She paused as a single tear ran it's path down Meghan's cheek until she wiped it away with the back of her hand.  "Would you like me to continue?"   Meghan nodded again.  She didn't want to speak until the cold went away.  "Alright," she whispered as she re-closed her eyes.  "Mr. C left you over a few months ago.  I see a three.  It was three months ago be exact, correct?"
          "Yes."  She somehow managed.
          "I see white roses.  That means either there are births or weddings or both are in your near future.  Yes, both, I believe.  Before and after New Year's.  I see Raven birds close by.  So near you.  There are two, circling over your heart and soul.  Two people very close to you have died. Oh wait, there are two more Ravens flying in the distance, watching over you."  The woman took a deep breath.  "I see a stork carrying a pink bundle."  The woman opened her eyes for the second time.  "You are carrying his baby, aren't you?"  Meghan just nodded some more.  The cold was still there. The woman went back to her previous state and continued.  "I see two girls.  They are almost identical to yourself.  Though I get a strong feeling from these girls that I can not pin point.  It's as if there is more to your friendship then has been told."  The woman paused for a moment or two.  "I see three connected pink roses and one red.  You have two sisters and a brother.  The red one is larger than the other three.  You have an older brother and two sisters close in age to you."
          "No, because I am an only child."  Meghan corrected.
          The woman opened her eyes again and met Meghan's curious gaze.  "I see three connected pink rose and one red.  That is a sure indication that you have two sisters and a brother."  The woman thought for a moment.  "The only explanation is that you  were adopted.  That would explain the first set of initials, also."     
          "I am adopted."  Meghan said slowly.  It wasn't the first time she had said it, but the words seemed harder to get out.  "I didn't find out until last year before my father died.  My mother died a few years before him.  Dad told me that my parents were dead so I haven't done much about it.  I've lived in a small town about thirty-seven miles from here, with my father's sister and brother-in-law."  Meghan explained almost choking on the words.
          "I see.  Then that explains it."  She smiled to try and cheer her young believer up.  "You are one of four children.  The first set of initials is your birth name."  The woman shifted her position on her chair slightly and continued.  "Would you like me to tell you about your future now?"  The woman was looking at Meghan's palms.
          "Yes."  Then she quickly changed her mind.  Then quickly changed it again before she said it..
          The woman turned to Meghan's hand looking at different areas of it.  "You have a decent life.  Nothing too remarkable I am sorry to say.  Unless you consider fighting evil remarkable," she woman said with a sly smile, opening her lids.   Meghan narrowed her eyes at her, and she met Meghan's gaze with her own.  She laughed.  "You'll understand sooner then you think," she smiled.  She closed her eyes again.  "You are married once.  The man loves you dearly and like no other.  You grow to trust him although it does take you some time.  Your already existing love grows.  You never divorce although you do have problems, no marriage is perfect.  You always work things through, though.  You become pregnant six times and have eleven children.  Some of which have tragic times.  I see the possibility of at least one young fatality, but there could be more.  Be wise with your children."
          "Can you tell me who I am going to marry?"  Meghan interrupted.
          The woman closed her eyes.  "I see the other half of the same face."  She paused.  "The letter 'M' becomes very apparent to me."   She took a deep breath.  "The other twin."  She told Meghan as she lifted her eyes to watch the girls reaction.  A small smile turned the corners of her mouth.  "Now, dear, will you tell me why you have come?"
          "Yes,"  Meghan answered.  "I've been having some very weird dreams."
          "How so?"  The older woman questioned.
          "Well, since I've been pregnant I guess that I haven't been sleeping  as deep as I use to.   Maybe I've been sleeping deeper than I use to.  I just don't know.  Anyway, I have been having these dreams about least I think that it is suppose to be me.  The woman is pregnant in my dreams sometimes.  Other times she's not.  It seems the range of her age, in my dreams, are as young seventeen up to the age of thirty when she's looking up at this monument of her triplet daughters.  It seems that they died but I'm not sure."  Meghan told the older woman.  "It can't be me," she whispered.
          "Do you believe in past lives?"  The woman asked.  "Reincarnation?"
          "I.....I don't know."  Meghan laughed.  "I didn't exactly believe in people being able to tell your past or future until now."
          "There is a possibility of past lives.  At least I believe in them.  I believe in a lot that most don't."  The woman smiled.  She looked about the age of sixty.  There were very few wrinkles on her oval face.  She looked good for her age.  "You could be dreaming of one of your past lives.  Maybe you are drawn to the land because of this."
          "I did feel drawn to the land."  Meghan threw in.  She had totally forgotten about the strong feeling she had had the day that she met Nathaniel McCrady VIII.  The day that she had her interview.  It was something deep and strong in her gut.  She felt as if she were scared.  Yet, she thought that if they told her she didn't get the job she would surely have to beg.
          The woman nodded.  "On the other hand, you could be channeling into someone else's life.  Some poor soul, that has past on, yet, is not resting peacefully.  Do you understand?"
          Meghan nodded. "Yes, but why?"  She asked.
          "No one knows why things like this happen.  You have to study this persons life in order to find out.  Maybe it is as simple as they were murdered and want some sort of justice for their murderer  Maybe the killer already died but they want someone to understand and know what happened.  Maybe they have things that they didn't accomplish and need somebody on this side to finish it for them."  She started nodding.  "Maybe I could help you out.  Why don't you tell me about one of your dreams?  Will you do that?"
          "Yes, but there are so many."  Meghan told her.
          "Did you have one last night or today?"
          "Tell me about that one,"  the woman said.
          "Alright,"  Meghan took a deep breath.  She remembered the beginning of the dream and tried to explain it as best she could.  "A woman stands in a tower window.  It's almost exactly like the one in the house where I work.  The east tower bedroom in McCrady Manor.  She is looking out at the front the fountain and the stone lions.  I can't see through her eyes, but I know what is out there because I have looked through the windows many times myself.  The lady is beautiful.  She has long dark brown hair that reaches her waist in spiral curls.  She has big brilliant blue eyes that are so full of happiness.  She has a round face, like mine, and a long slender nose, but she has full cherry red lips.  It's possible that she's wearing lipstick.
          "She walks out of the tower into the main portion of the bedroom.  Then over  to the perfectly made bed that sits in the middle of the room.  Her face seems to be glowing and full of emotions.   Her stomach is big though, and full of life.  She's pregnant.  She sits down on the bed.  The white lace Afghan that lay on top of the bed wrinkles under the her weight.  Then suddenly she grabs her stomach as if she's in pain.  A loud long agonizing scream passes through her lips.  Somewhere else in the house, someone else is doing the same."
          "Wow," the woman whispered thinking for a moment.  "I believe that is someone else trying to tell you something."  There was a pause.  "I am thinking that this woman is from this home that you work in.  I'd like to visit this house if you'd not mind.  Then maybe I can tell you more."  The woman explained.  "Is that possible?"
          "Yes, of course.  But I cannot guarantying that you won't have to pay."  Meghan told her with a little trace of  laughter in her voice.
          "No, that's fine.  I don't want to get you in any sort of trouble with your boss."  She said.  "I am very intrigued by you and all of this goings on.  A young girl so troubled."  She smiled.  "My name is Crystell Tear," she said offering a hand.   "Would you be willing to do one more thing?"
          "Ah," Meghan paushed.  "Sure, I guess."
          Crystell got up and disappeared behind a dark curtain that covered a doorway.  She hear some water and some humming.  Smiling to herself Meghan reached over and touched the crystal ball lightly.   She felt the cool glass under her finger tips and this, almost, an electric current.  She pulled her fingers away quickly as the woman walked back into the room.  "I would like for you to do me one last thing," she smiled setting the white cup on the table infront of Meghan.  She looked down and saw that there was grains mixed in with the water.   "It's called Tasseography," she smiled.  "Or in more common terms, I'd like to read your tea leaves.  My grandmother use to do this, when we were in Ireland, and it's something she taught me before she passed.  I just need you to stir it, let it settle and run the water out, leaving the tea leaves."  Meghan stirred as she was instructed, waited for them to settle a little, then slowly poured the water out in the bowl Crystell had put on the table.   Inside there were grains left all over the sides and bottom of the cup.   The woman reached for the cup, and Meghan handed it over.   "Good, good," she whispered.   Turning the cup this way and that way, looking and making small noises in her throat.  "I see a bell here," she said pointing to it on the side of the cup.  "That is a sign of unexpected news, since it is near the top it is good news."  She turned and pointed to another.  "Here is a book, it's about half way open, do you see?"  Meghan nodded, surprised by the pictures she pointed out.  "There is something you need to investigate," she told the young girl.   "And here is a chain," she said almost running her finger the length of it across the cup.  "Means engagement and a wedding," she smiled.   "There is a heart here," she said pointing to the large heart covering almost half of one side of the cup.  "Means pleasure, love and trust.  And here, here is the one that concernes me."  She pointed to a large picture of a knife.  "A dagger, that is danger, so beware."   She smiled.   "What do you think?"
          "Wow," was all Meghan could really manage.  She was in shock, and awe.  Amazed at how a lot of what she seemed to say had made complete sense. 
          "I'll be over sometime this week, if that is alright," she said.
          "Yes, that would be fine.  Thank you very much."  Meghan whispered before she rose to leave.  "Oh, how much do I owe you?"
          "On the house," Crystell winked.  "Next time you can pay for my services, this time, my gift."

          Meghan picked up a little pink outfit from the rack.  From what Crystell had told her she know that it was a little baby girl that she was protecting inside of her.  "A stork carrying a little pink bundle."  She repeated in a whisper.  She looked up and glanced around the baby store.  "I need to get so much stuff."  She muttered looking around the store at the cribs, changing tables, clothes, bibs, bottles, diapers, food, and everything else.
          Then she spotted Paige McCrady in the store.  She was Nate's  wife.  His parents died when he was 11 years old.  His Great Aunt Ashley raised him until she had died a little over a year ago.  He spoke of his Aunt with such fondness that Meghan almost wished she had met her.
          Paige stood looking at the boy clothes for her son, Austin.  Her long blonde hair was pulled up into a ponytail.  Meghan walked over to her.  "Hello, Paige."
          "Meghan!  Hi!"  She shouted hugging her friend.  "What are you doing here?"  She asked.
          "Oh, just looking.  How about you?"
          Paige smile, then looked down at her rounding stomach and laughed.  "I'm picking up a few new things for this one, and some new clothes for Austin. He is growing so fast.  You have to come over and see him soon."
          "I will."  Meghan smiled.  "Congratulations, you hadn't told us this."
          "Thanks, we didn't find out until a few weeks ago ourselves.  I am so excited."  Paige beamed.
          "How far along are you?"  Meghan asked curious on how far apart they were.
          Paige answered with a large smile across her face.  "With everything going on I didn't even realize that I was even late."  She laughed.  "I found out 3 weeks ago and feel so bad about being so far along with no pre-natal care.  They think that I am about four and a half months."
          "Really?"   Meghan asked.  "We are about a month and a half apart."
          "Huh?"  Paige stammered confused.  "Are you pregnant?"
          Meghan's head fell. She hadn't ment to say it outloud, just to herself.  "Yes," she whispered.  "I just found out too."
          Paige pulled her aside, away from all the other busy shoppers.  "You don't sound happy."  She commented.  "What's wrong?"
          "A lot has happened the past day."  She forced a smile.  "I found out that I'm pregnant...3 months along...and Macen proposed to me."
          "You and Macen?"  Paige asked a little shocked, but more happy.  "I had no clue."  She smiled reaching out and pulling Meghan into an embrace.  "Congrats Meg!"  Meghan wondered how the rest of her friends would react.  "I really had no clue."  Paige repeated.
          "Well,"  Meghan said on the edge of laughter.  "Feel privileged.  You are the first to know."  She remarked.
          "Leigha doesn't know?"  Paige questioned knowing how close the two girls were.
          "She is going to kill you!"  Paige laughed.  "Or at least freak out.  So will Kellie and the rest of them."  Paige lifted up one of the outfits she held in her hand.  "Do you think that this will fit that big chunk that I have?"

          Meghan walked up to Macen's cabin door.  "Macen?"  She called out as she opened the door.
          "Just a second!"  He called out blocking the door.  "Wait outside for a minute."
          She stepped back.  She held the note she had found taped to her cabin door in her hand.  She opened it back up and read it agian.

Meet me at my cabin.
I have a surprise for you.
The one and only man in your life.

 So she had walked right over.
          He popped his head out but continued to hide behind the door.  "Alright,"  he whispered.  "Close your eyes."  She complied.  She heard the door open more.  Then she felt his hand cover her eyes as he moved behind her and placed his other hand on the small of her back.  "Step up," he told her gently.
          She did. 
          The door shut behind them as they walked in, Macen gently guiding her.  She could smell scented candles.  "I smell smoke."  She said.
          "Don't worry about it."  He laughed leading her to the middle of his living room.  "Sit."  He demanded.
          "Yes sir!"  She laughed as she sat in the chair.  "You got a new chair,"  she whispered feeling the cushion and a wooded back of the chair and how comfortable it was compared to regular back chairs he had.  He uncovered her eyes and told her to open them.  She did.  It took a minute for her eyes to re-focus.
          The room was pitch black except for the soft glow from the candles he had placed on the small table he had set up in the middle of his living room.  Two empty clear plates and two clear bowls with salads in them sat on each side of the table.  Twelve roses sat in a small crystal vase in the middle of the table.  Three roses of four different colors.  The whole set up was beautiful.  She looked over to Macen who was in a tuxedo and on his knee right next to her.
          "I wanted to properly ask you to be my wife."  He opened the small red velvet square box that he held in his hand.  "Will you spend the rest of your life with me Meghan?"  He asked as he revealed the half carat diamond ring.

          She gasped, and forgot to breath until she looked into his eyes.   She let it out slowly.  "Yes," she whispered after she gained her ability to speak.  "Oh, Macen!"  She shrieked.  "Yes, I will!"

McCrady Manor: Blood Curse - Chapter Three

August 2

          Kellie sat on the beach, her shoulder length blonde hair blowing wildly around her pixie face.  She had her chin resting in the crooks of her knees with her arms wrapped around them.  While she sat staring blankly at the sparkling water as the sun rose.  Her violet eyes were very distant as she thought about the night she shared with her boyfriend the night before, and the surprising news they got recently.
          Leigha walked up to Kellie and stood beside her for awhile.  Her friend didn't even notice she was there.  She stepped forward and sat in the sand right next to her friend.  "Hey," she whispered as Kellie finally realized she was there.
          Kellie looked and Leigha. "Where did you come from?"  She asked a little startled.
          "Um...I would guess my mother and father had something to do with that."  She retorted.  "Don't you work today?"  She asked setting her friend up for what may be a trick question.
          "Yeah, at 7 o'clock.  Why?"  Kellie asked.
          "Do you happen to be wearing a watch by any chance?"  Leigha asked looking out to the waves crashing on the beach, but watched her friend out of the corner of her eye.  Kellie looked at her funny and nodded.  Leigha waited a moment hoping Kellie would come back from where she was because she sure the heck wasn't back in reality yet.  "Well?"  Leigha said a little impatient while digging her toes in the sand.  "What time is it?"
          Kellie looked at her watch on her left wrist and said, "Seven-thirty...why?"  She paused.  Leigha raised her eyebrows and could see how Kellie's eyes slowly got wider as she crawled back to reality.  Then it hit her.  "I'm late!"  She exclaimed.
          "I know!"  Leigha said matching the pitches of Kellie's shock.    "I got Meghan's jeep on the road.  We can take a walk up there and then go to work."  They both got up, brushing the sand off of themselves, and started walking to the road.  "Now what's going on....Miss Space Cadet?"
          Debating on what to say, she decided it was better to say nothing and not dwell on it all anymore today.  "Nothing, why?"  She said after a pause. They had made the short walk up the small hill to the area they always parked.
          "Bull, I don't believe you.  Now spill it!"  Leigha said climbing in  behind the wheel.  Kellie just continued to sit next to Leigha in silence.  "Kellie Lizbeth Smithen!"  Leigha shouted.  "I know that this is not normal behavior from you so you better say something or I will tell Nate that you were late and he will have your butt flying out of here faster then you can imagine."
          "Yeah, sure he will.  I was just thinking about Kennedy."  She retorted quickly.
          "Finally," Leigha sighed getting some sort of answer.  "I was only kidding about them firing you.  They'd never do that."  Then she paused waiting for her friend to say more but her silence was matched with Kellie's.  "So things are getting serious, I take it?  Maybe more then serious?"  Leigha whispered starting the jeep and slipping it into drive.
          "No...yes..," she paused.  "I don't know what is going on between us."  She admitted.
          "So what else is going on?  There is something more then just Ken,"  Leigha asked trying to encourage her friend to talk.   She obviously needed to, something was bothering her.
          "Nothing," Kellie said shortly.
          "Kellie..knock it off!  I know you.   I know when something is bugging the hell out of you.  You are completely spacey and you forgot that you had to work.  That is not like you, it's not like any of us."
          "I didn't forget," she objected.  "I lost track of time."
          "Well, you never do that either."  Leigha threw in knowing that the two were very much the same, but giving her friend the room.
          "I don't get this?"  Kellie yelled.  "Why are you on my back?" 
          Leigha looked at her friend, a little shocked.  It definitely wasn't like Kellie to snap like that.  She glanced into her friends eyes and thought that she saw hurt and worry.  "Because you are one of my friends and you are as cranky as Meghan."  Leigha whispered.  It was no fun getting snapped at by both her best friends right away in the morning.
          She just continued to stare out the window as Leight made the five minute trip to the house.  "Why is she cranky?"  Kellie asked softly after a couple minute silence.
          Leigha hadn't gotten back to Meghan the night before, with good reason, and hadn't had time to talk to her yet that morning.  "I don't know.  All I know is that she wasn't feeling well yesterday and she went to the doctors.  I haven't found out what the doctor said yet, though.  I got to work, you weren't there, she was crabby, you were late, so I left to find you." Leigha smiled with the memory of the night before.  "But I do have good news."  She chimed in showing Kellie the ring on her left ring finger.
          "OH MY GOSH!  Congratulations Leigha, when?"  She asked with a trace of excitement in her quite voice.
          Leigha parked the jeep at the back of the house.  By the time she had locked the doors and got out of the car Kellie was waiting at the employee entrance door.  "No date is set yet...but I am thinking next summer.  In May, maybe."  Leigha said.  They walked into the door and entered the kitchen.
          Kendall Nelson, one of the contracters for the construction work on the house, and Nate McCrady VIII had set up the kitchen entrance for the employee entrance because it was in the back of the house and that way they had a corner of the house for employee's only.  The side entrance, known as the Carriage Entrance, was used by the visitors.  The front doors weren't used at all, and infact, Nate asked they be locked at all times.
          The house was huge.  Four floors, an attic and a basement.  Leigha, Kellie and Meghan had met in the end of March when they had all come at the end of the restoration. Clear Water Estates to open up to the public for a trial period, with only McCrady Manor being open to veiw.  They had helped make everything looked as it had back then, in the time period it was built.  They learned a lot for the people Nate had brought in to help.      They soon found out that their beloved boss was the famous singer Nate the Eighth, and he  was the only McCrady adult known still alive.  He had married Paige a few years before and they soon had Austin, their son. 
          Leigha walked through the modernized kitchen and into the hall.  She walked to the left and around the corner to the front desk.  She noticed Meghan wasn't there.  Kellie came around the corner from the hall that was open to the public.  "Where's Meg?  I thought you said that she was here."  Kellie questioned.  It wasn't like them to be at their post, the front desk, when they were the only ones there.  Unless someone wanted a person to person guided tour, but that's why there was normally more then one of them there.
          Leigha shrugged her shoulders.  "I don't know, maybe she's giving a tour."  Leigha looked around for a sign that they had a customer or "guests" as Nate told them to refer to the visitors as.  There wasn't any sign of one though.  She looked out the window and didn't see any cars.  "There's no cars parked out there."  Leigha told her friend.  She looked down counting the tape recorders and headphones they had with tapes of the three of them giving the tour, for those who wanted to go at their own pace.  All thirty seemed to be there.    "Meg!"  She yelled.  "Are you here?"
          "Yes," said Meghan's distant and muffled voice, from another room.
          "Where are you?  What's wrong?"  Leigha called back figuring she was down the hall in the bathroom.
          A door opened and Meghan's heavy footsteps walked down the  short hall Leigha had started down.  "Nothing much.  All I can say is that my breakfast did not taste good the second time around."  She moaned.
          "Yuck!"  Kellie yelled, as her friends joined her.
          "Sorry," Leigha whispered to her sick friend.  "Are you okay?"  She asked as she watched Meghan lean against the front desk.
          "What did the doctor say?"  Leigha asked as she sat on the stool.
          Meghan paused as she thought of what to tell her friends.  The bell over the visitor entrance jingled before she could say anything.  Stephen Zelmoore, Leigha's older brother, and his girlfriend, Jakie O'Havee, walked in.  Everyone was quite for a minute or two.  No one dared to move.  The friction that Leigha sent off was enough to make her two friends back off a little. 
          "I am so glad that everyone is happy to see me."  He said with disappointment in his voice, looking at the faces of the three girls.
          "I am sorry,"  Leigha told her brother sarcastically while she glared at his girlfriend.  She was happy to see Stephen, she loved him with all her heart.  She just detested the choice of his companion.  "My wonderful brother, what a staggering surprise.  What on earth are you doing here?"  She asked looking up at him.  He stood much taller than she did.  His black hair was messed up and his big brown eyes starred at her. 
          "I decided to stop by since I had the day off at the clinic.  I wanted to see how the place turned out.   I did help put it back into shape."  He reminded her of the fact he was one of the ones who had worked her for almost a year, and told her about it.  "Which helped get you this job."  He said practically yelling the word "you" to empathize his point.
          "I know, I know. So do you want a tour or what?"  She asked.
          "Yes, my darling sister."  Stephen declared watching her shoot daggers out of her eyes at his girlfriend now and then.  "And I want to see everything."  Then he looked at Jakie.  Her blonde hair was cut a lot shorter than Kellie's shoulder length blonde hair.  Her oval green eyes were full of, distaste.  Leigha couldn't stand her, he knew it, and it sometimes made him wonder what she knew about her that he didn't.  She got along with almost everyone.
          "Are you both going?"  She asked Stephen quietly.
          "Yes, " he slowly said back.
          She looked up at her brother in disbelief and disgust, he was going to make her do the tour and spend time with him which ment spending time with her.  "You want to see everything?"  She asked amazingly calm, even though her temper built to a high peak, and she felt the quick need to go grab a handful of Jakie's hair and pull as hard as she could.  Stephen nodded.  "The first, second, and third floors cost five dollars.  The attic, basement and open air towers are an extra four dollars.  Do you want a grounds pass?" 
          "Yes!"  Jakie said really excited.  Leigha knew she was being sarcastic, the girl wasn't as dumb as she looked.  "I want to count the brown grass blades."  She said almost like she meant it.
          "Oh, how exciting!"  Leigha said right back and just as hostile.  "That's fourteen dollars each."  She told him flatly.
          Stephen handed his sister twenty-eight dollars.  "Are you going to give the tour?"  He asked hopeful.
          Leigha looked at her two friends.  "Who's turn is it to give the tour?"  She asked.
          "Mine!"  Kellie piped up catching her friends drift.  She walked around the counter and nudged Stephen.  "I need the tip."
          "Okay, so Kellie will give you the tour.  The grounds close at seven for all visitors," Leigha told the couple as she handed Stephen the ground passes.  "That gives you about eleven hours to lose the ditz and run,"  she whisered under her breath so maybe Stephan caught it.  "Enjoy the history of Clear Water Estate." 
          "You go on with Kellie, Jakie.  I need to talk to my sister."  Jakie gave Stephen an angry glare before letting Kellie lead her into the first room which was the McCrady Office.  "Alone!"  He snapped with a smile at Meghan who was still leaning against the desk.
          "Excuse me!"  She snapped back as she started to walk away.
          When she was down the hall Stephen turned to his sister and asked, "Why do you hate her so much?" 
          "She is no good for you!"  She yelled empathizing her no.
          "You should have some compassion for my feelings.  The girl has some good points."  Stephen defended his girlfriend.
          "Name five!!"  Leigha challenged
          "Well, she has an up lifting attitude."  He explained.
          "She's a depressing dolt."  Leigha countered.
          "She has a good attitude and disposition."
          "She's a freak."
          "She has a wonderful sense of humor."  He said.
          "More like a sick sense of humor."  Leigha admitted.  "If you told her a dog died she'd think it was a joke and laugh her head off." 
          "She loves me, and has a great body.  That's five."
          "Those two don't count!"  Leigha said pushing her long hair away from her face.
          "How come?"  Stephan asked innocently.
          "Because you do not know for sure if she loves you and her body has nothing to do with this."  She explained.
          "I do to know that she loves me!"  Stephen said matter of factly.
          "How?"  Leigha challenged.
          "Well...because...cuz she said it."  Stephen stammered.
          "Yeah, well I can say it too.  It, it, it, it, it, it...there I said it six times."  Leigha said triumphantly.
          "Okay fine.  I got your point."  Stephen finally said.
          "Good,"  Leigha declared folding her arms over her chest.
          Stephen reached over and touched her curly red hair.  "Why do you always win our fights?"  He asked.
          "Cuz, I'm always right."  Leigha declared matter-of-factly.
          "Like when you were six and you told me frogs could fly.  I'd still like to see that."  He laughed staring into her violet eyes.  Leigha joined his laughter.
          "You better go finish your date with....her."  Leigha finally said, making her sound like the biggest nightmare in the world.
          Stephen noticed the ring on Leigha's left hand.  "What's that?"   He asked pointing.  Then grabbed her hand to exam it closer.
          "Um....."  She looked down, smiled, then looked back up at her brother.  "Are you ready to have a brother-in-law?"  His mouth dropped.  "Alec asked me to marry him last night.  I said yes."


          Meghan was leaning over the kitchen sink holding a glass under the running water.  The employee entrance door opened behind her.  Macen walked in and was surprised when Meghan hadn't noticed that he had.  He stepped up behind her, then looked at her face.  Meghan's eyes were shut.
          "Hey,"  Macen said grabbing her around the waist as she started to fall to the side.  Meghan jumped and dropped the glass in the sink.  The glass shattered.  "I'm here," he whispered as she automatically reached down in the sink to pick up the pieces.  "Don't," he told her quickly pulling her hand away from the sharp glass.  "I'll pick them up.  I don't want you to cut yourself."
          "Macen," Meghan whispered.  She was still half asleep.  He could hear it in her voice.
          "What?"  He whispered taking Meghan into his arms. 
          "What's my name?"  She asked with her voice slurring.
          Macen laughed.  "You should go to the cabin and get some sleep."  He told her.   He raised his hand and combed it through his thick golden brown hair.  He always did that when he was nervous or worried.  "You are carrying a baby.   A baby that's going to enter this world in six months."
          "Don't you think that I know that?"  Meghan snapped, waking up suddenly.
          "I'd be worried if you didn't."  He said with a laugh.
          "Meghan,"  Leigha said walking into the kitchen.  "How are you feeling today."
          "A little better."  She told her friend.  She felt fully awake now.   She stood there a minute between Macen and Leigha and wondered how the heck she could have fallen asleep at the sink.  "If you don't mind, " she finally said.  "I think that I am going to get out of here for awhile."
          "Are you sure that you're feeling okay?  You threw up about a half hour ago."  Leigha muttered.
          "You threw-up?"  Macen asked protectively.
          "I do feel a lot better, Leigh.  I just...I don't know.  I am a little tired I guess and I have some things to do in town.  I want to do them before I fall asleep again."  She explained to her friend.  "I'll be back later."
          Leigha nodded, very concerned, and watched as Macen followed Meghan out.  She stood there for a moment and wondered what was going on with Meghan and Kellie.  They were both acting very strangely.  All of a sudden she felt lost.  Then she wondered what was going on with Macen and Meghan.  It looked as if things had gotten serious with them too.  She decided that she needed a run as soon as possible.  She walked back out into the hall and to the front desk.

          "Where's your jeep?"  Macen asked as they walked outside. 
          "Leigha parked it around the other side of the house when she came back with Kellie this morning."  Meghan explained.
          Macen could tell how distant she was.  "What's wrong?"  He asked.
          "I want to go shopping."  She said.  "I want to be alone for awhile," she paused.  "To think some things though."
          "Alone?"  He questioned.  He didn't feel exactly comfortable about that.  "I donno if that's a good idea Meggie.  After all you did just fall asleep at the sink...standing up."  Then he looked into her big gray eyes and saw a flash of anger fade like a shooting star.  "But if you really want to and think that you can handle it..okay.  I just worry about you."  He told her pulling her close.  He kissed her forehead and than looked back into her expression fill windows of gray. They were gray today, he realized.  Not the calm pools of violet. but more a confused gray. "Can I at least walk you to your jeep?"  He asked.  He watched her eyes smile.  Then her mouth follow.

          "I'd like that," she whispered.