Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Follow the White Rabbit...: Raven's Blood - Chapter Two

Follow the White Rabbit...: Raven's Blood - Chapter Two:
The new Chapter for Raven's Blood, the new exciting story written by none other than, me.  With this chapter we open it with the Goth band, Children of Gaia playing at Raven's adopted parent's restaurant for Halloween night.  Will their show be a success?  Will Raven finally get to go on a date with the new sexy stranger that frequents the restaurant she and her best girlfriend work at?  Find out in this new chapter.

CHAPTER TWO           We opened our show with an acapella round.   Sissi and Chella were very good singers and sometimes we’d write ...

Raven's Blood - Chapter Two


          We opened our show with an acapella round.  Sissi and Chella were very good singers and sometimes we’d write acapella songs that reminded us of the traditional tunes that were written during the Victorian era as well as the Medieval era.  As our choral round grew more intense, Sissi began drumming out a tribal beat.  Fredrick added a single, low, droning note on his bass guitar.  It was then my cue to begin to sing the lyrics and play my cello.

          The whole restaurant stood or sat quietly and listened.

          “Hello, have you met me?  Hello, have you been waiting for me?  Where did you come from?   Did you know that I can hypnotize you with my eyes?  Did you realize that you’d never be free?   Free from my gaze, my sweet seduction, my power over you.  When did you realize that I was the one?  When did you realize that you’d never leave?” I sang.

          Michael and Fredrick picked the lowest strings on their guitars while I played a haunting melody on my cello and began singing again.  Chella played the xylophone softly.  Our song was like a seductive funeral dirge.

          That’s when I saw him.  He was standing directly in front of me, staring at me with adoration.   I stared right back at him and sang the lyrics to the song, as if I had written them specifically for him.   The corners of his sensual lips curved into a slight smile.  He was dressed like Gary Oldman from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, in a gray Victorian suit, complete with white hand gloves, a gray satin top hat, blue circular sunglasses, and, tucked under his arm, an antique cane.  My body seemed to vibrate.   I noticed that I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.  I also noticed that my hips were literally gyrating to the beat of the song.  I’m sure people were thinking I was masturbating (or pretending to be like the singer Tori Amos, who always moves sexually as she plays her Bosendorfer piano) but I couldn’t stop myself. I didn’t want to stop, either.  It felt so good.

          The song was over but, I kept singing quietly—almost whispering, until I felt like the spell was broken.  The crowd cheered and clapped so loudly, I thought my ears were going to explode.   Chella quickly started playing the next song, while Marcus cued in the sound effects from the laptop.  I looked away from Darrien to the set list that was taped onto the floor of the stage, as a reminder of what songs we were going to play.  When I looked back up, he was gone.  I could still feel his presence.  I knew that tonight—I  would finally get a chance to talk to him again.  Perhaps, even go out with him after we played.

          We played ten songs and ended the set with a cover of the song, My Funny Valentine.  It was Chella’s idea to perform the song like the group, Miranda Sex Garden, did on their third album.   Slow and jazzy.  That’s when everyone picked up their other orchestral instruments and played.   Fredrick plucked out the bass notes on a string bass instead of his bass guitar.  Michael picked up his violin and played along with me, playing the harmony.  Sissi still played her drums, but used a bass drum mallet to hit the snare drum and brush for the cymbals.  Chella played her viola along with Michael and me; and Marcus, who never played any instrument other than his precious laptop computer, surprised everyone by picking up a tenor saxophone.  It was truly awesome.  The reaction from the crowd was quite overwhelming.

          When we were finished, the DJ took over and began playing the song Superstitious by Stevie Wonder.  Mama ran over to me and gave me a huge hug and kiss.  Papa was right behind her and smiled brightly.

          “Raven, you guys played exceptionally well!  I’m so proud of you.” Mama cried.  Then she looked over at the rest of the band.  “You all played marvelously!”

          “Ah, thanks, Mrs. Mercucio.” Sissi said.

          “You guys should be famous!” Papa beamed.

          “We’re workin’ on it, Papa,” I said smiling at both him and Mama.  Then I turned towards the rest of the band and gave them the thumbs up.  Chella motioned to me to come over by her.  I nodded and gave Mama and Papa a hug and kiss and excused myself.

          “Did you see him?” Chella whispered in my ear.

          “If you mean Darrien, yes I did!  I’m going to go look for him as soon as we pack up.”

          Michael looked at me and frowned.  I knew he didn’t like the idea of me going after a total stranger.  Then I thought to myself, why should he care, anyway?  He doesn’t want me for more than a friend anyway.  I should be allowed to see whomever I want.  I hurriedly packed my cello up in its case and took it back into the employee’s locker room.  I was afraid of Darrien leaving before I had a chance to talk to him.  To my surprise, he was waiting for me by the door that was marked, “Employees Only.”  I nearly tripped over him when I ran out the door.

          “And where are you going in such a hurry, my lady?” Darrien asked me.  I had fallen right into his arms and when I did, I felt this surge of excitement that flowed throughout my body that made me want to kiss him.

          “I was afraid you’d leave before…” I suddenly couldn’t help myself.  I pulled his head to mine and kissed him full on the lips.  It felt like I was on ecstasy.  He felt so good.  He pulled my body closer to his and I felt his arousal.  I didn’t care.  I wanted the kiss to go on forever.  Instead, it ended, leaving me feel hungry for more.

          “Is that the way you always greet total strangers?” He asked quietly.

          “No,” I said and began blushing.  What just came over me?  Why did I feel the need to kiss him?

          “You shouldn’t be embarrassed, Raven.  I wanted to kiss you just as badly as you wanted to kiss me.” He then leaned over and whispered into my ear.  “Would you like to go for a ride?  I have my carriage waiting for us.”

          “Your carriage?” I asked.

          “I wanted to really fit the part of a true Victorian gentleman and went ahead and rented two horses and a carriage for tonight.  I thought it would be more romantic to ride around the city in a carriage drawn by two horses than to ride the busy streets with a silly limousine.”

          “Are you asking me out for a date?” I asked him with a sly grin on my face.

          “Of course, my lady!  A true Victorian gentleman needs a Victorian woman to romance and woo.” His voice was music to my ears.  “We have all night to get to know one another better.”

          I nodded.  Yes, we have all night to get to know one another.  I suddenly blushed.  I was very inexperienced in the dating game and I was still a virgin.

          “You have me at your expense all night, Raven.” He held out his arm and I curled my arm around his and smiled.  “I’ve been anticipating this date for a long time now.”

          “So have I.”  I was so surprised at how honest I was with him.  Maybe it was time to move on and look for someone who wanted to love me and not wait around for Michael to make up his mind. He never seemed to care about me anyway, other than friendship, and I was certainly not going to wait my entire life for him to make his move.

          “Lead the way, my dear,” I said and pointed towards the entrance to the restaurant.

          “Raven!”  I heard Michael call out.  I ignored him and let Darrien guide me out to his carriage and horses.  “Raven, wait up!  I have to talk to you!”

          “Too late, Michael, she’s with me.  You had your chance.” Darrien said when Michael stopped us by standing in front of the door.  I no longer cared about Michael.  Darrien was right.  Michael had his chance and blew it.

          “Please, Raven, I really need to talk to you.”

          “I’ll talk to you tomorrow, Michael.  Can’t you see that I’ve been invited out on a date?”   Michael cringed when I said “date.”  Yes, you had your chance, Michael, but I’m not waiting for you forever.  Michael stepped away so we could exit the restaurant.  The look he gave me made my heart ache.  He walked away slowly with his head down and went back to help the band pack up.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

          The night air was crisp and clean.  The smell of the fallen leaves was intoxicating and the night sky was clear of clouds and sparkled with its blanket full of stars.  Darrien led me out to his rented carriage and horses.  I immediately went to the solid black horses and gently patted each ones’ nose.   Darrien handed me some sugar cubes and I allowed the horses to lick my hand and take the cubes.

          “I think they’re in love with you,” Darrien said with a smile. “They certainly trust you—and  that’s a good thing.”

          I nodded and took Darrien’s hand.  He helped me up into the carriage.  It never dawned on me that there wasn’t anyone to help guide the horses.  Then, as if he had been waiting for us in the shadows, a tall, handsome man clambered on board and took the reins in his hands.  The interior of the carriage was decorated with red satin.  I noticed a sterling silver bucket of ice sitting on the floor holding two bottles of what I thought was champagne.  Tiny lead crystal vases hung delicately from each corner of the carriage and each one of them held a single blood red rose.  Romantic indeed!  I sat down and straightened out my skirt.  I let out a little chuckle when Darrien took his place next to me.

          “What do you find so comical?” he questioned me.

          “Oh, it’s silly really.” I replied.

          “Now, come on, no secrets. What made you chuckle just now?”

          I couldn’t resist and began to chuckle again.  “Oh, you said something about a Victorian gentleman needs a Victorian woman,” I said, looking down at my attire and then at my reflection in the window. “I’m far from being Victorian.  At least, not the kind of Victorian woman you had in mind.”

          Darrien leaned forward and spoke into what looked like some kind of microphone.

          “Ren, lead the way, please.”

          “Yes, sir.” Ren replied; and the carriage began to stroll down the city street.

           “You were saying, Raven?” Darrien asked me.
          “I just meant that I look like a vampire with tattoos and body piercings—and  not Victorian at all.”

          His face lit up when he smiled and he chuckled softly.  “I see your point.  Women did not dare decorate their bodies in that fashion during that time period;  you, however, have an essence that says you are Victorian.  You may not be wearing pastels, pearls, lace, and cameos.  And your corset is exposed, which was definitely not done back in those days.  On the other hand, this isn’t that time period; and what you’re wearing –is alluring, to say the least.”

          “You’re not from around here, are you?” I asked.

          “No, I am not. I don’t like to stay in one place too long.  I get bored so easily as time goes by. Why do you ask?”

          “You just speak and act like you’re not from the city.  You also have a hint of a foreign accent.”

          “How right you are,” he replied“I’m originally from London, but certain circumstances brought me here to the States when I was but a wee lad.”

          I looked into his eyes and noticed he was wearing contacts.  He saw that I was looking at his eyes and removed the sunglasses.   “I just love the outfit Gary Oldman wore when he met Winona Rider for the first time in the movie…”

          “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” I finished.  “It’s one of my favorite movies too—although , it isn’t true to the book.”

          “Then again, do most movies based on books stay faithful to the stories?”

          I smiled, “No, they aren’t. Sometimes they are, but for the most part, Hollywood likes to add things to make the movie more appealing.  Disney movies have a habit of making every fairytale a happy ending.  Don’t get me wrong, I love happy endings, but when it screws up the story, it pisses me off.” I was suddenly embarrassed by my language.  I didn’t want to sound like some kind of mouthy kid.

          “You didn’t offend me, Raven.  You could never offend me.  I’ve heard all kinds of insults and foul language.  And I’m just as guilty because I swear at times too.”

          “Thank the Goddess!” I sighed.

          “Now there’s a phrase I don’t hear too often. I take it you practice Witchcraft?”

          I nodded.

          “You remind me of a sexy witch,” Darrien said, and reached out to touch my face.  His hands were still gloved; and I gently took off the suede glove that touched my face, so I could feel his skin.   He let out a sigh when his hand touched my cheek without the glove.  I closed my eyes as I allowed him to caress my cheek.  It felt heavenly. When he stopped, I opened my eyes and looked into his.   I wanted him to kiss me again.   As if he could read my thoughts, he leaned in and pressed his lips to mine.   The kiss made me tingle from head to toe—and  I wondered to myself what it would be like to make love to a man like Darrien.  As quickly as the thought came to me, I shrugged away the images and broke the kiss.


          He raised a finger to my lips and stopped me from saying sorry.  Then he reached down, making sure his hand brushed up against my leg, and took a bottle of champagne from the bucket of ice.

          “Would you care for a drink?”

          “Yes, that would be lovely.”

          With ease, he popped the cork and poured the sparkling liquid into one of the lead crystal glasses that sat on a tiny bar above the bucket.  He handed me the glass, then poured champagne in a glass for himself.

          “What shall we toast to?” he asked.

          “To new friends and relationships, perhaps?”

          “Yes, that’s perfect,” he raised his glass and toasted.  “To new friends and relationships.”

          I repeated the toast after him, raised the glass to my lips and took a sip.  The champagne filled my mouth; and I sipped at it slowly, savoring its flavor.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

          Michael finished cleaning up the apartment and went over to the kitchenette.  He opened the refrigerator, took out a bottle of beer, twisted off the cap, tossed it into the garbage can and took a big gulp.  He was angry with Raven.  He was also scared for her.  He knew, for weeks, that Darrien had been coming to the restaurant to see her.  Maybe it was jealousy; but, he didn’t like the guy.  There was something about him that made Michael shiver to the bone.

          “I’m such a fucking coward!” he said and chugged the rest of the beer.  He placed the bottle on the countertop and went to get another beer.  Normally, he hated to drink, especially beer, but, at that moment, he didn’t care.

          Chella entered the apartment, went straight to the bar and poured herself a glass of red wine. Tonight had been such a blast; but, she was tired and wanted to relax now.

          “Hi,” Michael said to her, from the kitchenette.

          Chella almost dropped her glass of wine. “Jesus, Michael, don’t do that to me!  You scared the absolute shit out of me just now!”

          “I’m sorry,” he apologized. “I thought you went home.”

          “Nah, I didn’t feel like going home.  It’s Halloween!  We should be celebrating.   Plus, I’m too awake to try and sleep.”

          “Yeah, I know what ya mean,” Michael said, with a depressed tone in his voice.

          Chella saw he was drinking beer—and  instantly knew he was upset over something.   Not to mention, he didn’t sound too happy when he greeted her.

          “Care to tell me what’s on your mind, Michael?”

          He shook his head and went over to the stereo to pick out a CD. He found what he was looking for and put the shiny disk into the stereo. My Bloody Valentine’s album Loveless began playing.

          “You’re upset because of Raven, aren’t you?” Chella dared to ask.

          “Is it that obvious?” he asked her.  He went over to the couch and sat down.  An open pack of Camel cigarettes sat on the coffee table near an ashtray.  He reached for the pack, took out a cigarette and lit it.  Chella sat down beside him, took out a pack of cloves and lit a cigarette.  They sat quietly for a moment and listened to the CD.  The voices of Bilinda Butcher and Kevin Shields filled the apartment’s living room.

          “I wanted to talk to her, but she ran off with that weird guy,” Michael started.

          “Darrien? Oh, he’s harmless.” Chella said. “He’s been coming to the restaurant now for a whole month… almost every day.”

          “Doesn’t that seem weird to you?” He asked her.

          “Not really. He’s seems pretty cool.  I’ve waited on him several times.  He sometimes just orders wine.”

          “Really now?  Why doesn’t he just go to some bar or lounge to do that?”

          Chella smiled. “Sounds like the green-eyed monster is lurking within you.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you have a thing for Raven.”

          Michael sighed. He was in no mood to fight with her.   Then again, what harm would it do if I told her the truth, he thought to himself.

          “Are you going to talk to me or are you just going to sit there sulking?” Chella asked him.

          Michael butted his cigarette then reached into the front pocket of his jeans.  He pulled out a small sandwich baggie filled with pot and a pack of Zig Zag rolling papers.  Silently, he began rolling a joint to share with Chella.  The beer just wasn’t enough.  It made him sick to his stomach.

          “Would you do me a favor, Chell, and throw this fucking beer away and get me a glass of wine?” he asked her.

          “Sure, babe,” she said and grabbed the bottle of beer from the coffee table and went back into the kitchenette to dump it down the sink.  She dimmed the lights and walked around the room, lit some candles and incense then plugged in the Christmas lights that were arranged in an unorganized fashion on the ceiling; then went over to the coffee table and picked up her half empty glass of wine and walked back over to the little bar to add some more wine to her glass and pour a glass for Michael.

          “Do you think Raven loves me?” Michael asked Chella when she sat back down on the black velveteen couch that showed every piece of lint and hair possible.

          She patted his leg and smiled. “Of course she loves you Michael! How could you doubt that?”

          He lit the joint and deeply inhaled its spicy smoke.  Chella took the joint from him, took a hit and passed it back.   She picked up the remote control, turned the TV on and muted the sound.  The station, that was playing, was showing the classic silent film, Nosferatu.

          “I love this movie!” Chella said, as she exhaled the marijuana smoke from her lungs.

          “Me too,” Michael replied. He took another hit off the joint and passed it back over to Chella.

          They sat there together, passing the joint back and forth, listening to My Bloody Valentine while watching the classic adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Neither said a word.  There was nothing to be said.  Chella didn’t want to betray Raven by telling Michael how much Raven loved him.  Better yet, how much she was in love with him.  It was none of her business to get involved with the situation. Besides, if Michael was in love with Raven, he should act on it, instead of holding back all his fears of rejection, Chella thought to herself.

          The CD ended and Chella got up and went to change it.  She picked out Switchblade Symphony’s CD, Bread and Jam for Frances and began playing it.

          She glanced up at the wall clock and saw that it was almost three in the morning.  Raven had left the restaurant with Darrien around 11:00.  I hope she’s having a good time, Chella thought.  She deserves to have fun.  Chella made a mental note to tell Raven about the way Michael was acting and what he had said to her.  Yes, it would be considered as betraying Michael, but it would be for his own good.  Maybe she could convince him to make the first move, since she knew that’s what Raven was waiting for.

Copyright © 2012 Karen Elizabeth Waters
Edited by Zyris Wa

Monday, October 1, 2012

Raven's Blood - Prologue and Chapter One


Where does one begin such a long story as mine?  From my childhood?  Perhaps, my days of suffering as a so-called freak (meaning—my teenage misery)?  Or should I pick the day I died?  You’re probably wondering—what on earth is she talking about?  I guess I shall begin, by introducing myself. My name is Raven Jada Mercucio.  I’m the adopted daughter of Luigi and Jada Maria Mercucio.  Neither my real parents nor my adopted parents knew what would become of me (at least, that was the impression that I got) and both sets of parents loved me very much.

I learned I was adopted, when I was seven years old.  Before I found out I was adopted, I had always wondered how an Italian family had a daughter with pale skin, ice-blue eyes and copper hair.  As Fate would have it, I was always tormented by my fellow classmates because I didn’t “look” like my adopted mother and father.  It was on a day that I was beaten up by Sophia Cicci, a girl from an extremely wealthy Italian family, that I was told part of the story of my life.  Sophia claimed I wasn’t worthy of having an Italian name.

I cried all the way home.  When I got there, Mama gathered me into her arms and asked me what had happened.  After I told her about my horrible experience, I begged Mama to tell me why I didn’t look like her or Papa.  She held onto me like I was dying.  Little did she know that I truly was dying! (Not because of some disease or perhaps it is some kind of disease that most ignorant people think to be just a tale.)

“Raven, my child, the reason why you don’t look like either your Papa or me is because you’re not our ‘real’ daughter.  We adopted you.”

I was considered a genius—a trait, I would later learn, I’d inherited from my father.  And it was because I was so smart—that I somewhat understood what was going on.  I also knew in my heart, even though I loved Mama and Papa dearly, that they weren’t my real parents.  When Mama confessed that I wasn’t her flesh and blood, I had already figured out that I was adopted.  I just needed to hear, for myself, the truth.  So, when Mama told me, I felt relieved—yet, very unhappy.

“Where are my real mother and father?” I asked immediately.  I was sorry that I asked when I saw the tears begin to form in Mama’s eyes—tears of pain and sorrow.

“Before you were born, your real mother, Raven,” she began and smiled to herself as she remembered the days before I came along, “worked as a waitress for our restaurant.  She rented the apartment above the restaurant from us shortly after she moved to the city.  Your papa and I were unable to have children and your mother was an orphan.  We treated her like she was our own daughter.  We helped her get an education and even helped her so she could live out on her own. Before she came to work and live with us, she lived in a homeless shelter.  It was just a few months before she graduated from trade school that she had waited on this young man traveling through the city.  He fell instantly in love with your mother and even moved here so he could date her.  He even went to the trouble of buying a mansion on the outskirts of the city.  We thought nothing of it, him, or the situation.  We were actually very happy that she’d met someone.  Soon their dating became serious and their love grew stronger until…” Mama paused and wiped away the few tears that fell onto her cheeks.  I was afraid to hear anymore, but to prove that I was old enough to understand, I urged her on.

“Until…well, Papa and I became suspicious of this man. We didn’t know anything about his background and noticed he had very strange habits.  When he’d come to the restaurant to eat, he’d only come at night.  He’d only visit your mother at night, always using the same excuse that he was a night owl and couldn’t sleep well during the night because he suffered from weird anxiety attacks. When he came to the restaurant to wait for your mother’s shift to end, he always ordered food but never touched it, unless it was a rare steak, which he’d ordered once or twice a month. He always seemed to have money, yet no source of a job.  Your mother told us that he was extremely wealthy and didn’t need a job to support himself.  He came from a wealthy family and inherited a fortune from his father when his father passed away.  The creepiest thing about him was he always kept to himself. Your mother, God Rest her soul, saw a bright future with him,” she said and shook her head.

“He had lived here for almost a year before he asked for your mother’s hand in marriage. Two or three days later, she came running to me in tears.  At first, I thought he had broken off the engagement or she discovered he was having an affair.  That would have been easier to accept. But of course, it was worse than that. Your mother was pregnant with his child.  That child was you.  She cried to me, blabbing all this silly nonsense that your father was some kind of…” Mama looked frightened, all of a sudden.  I could tell she didn’t want to continue telling me about my parents.  I tugged at her dress and pleaded her to go on.

“Well, my dear, I really can’t tell you anything more, other than your mother loved you very much.  During the months that she was pregnant with you, she changed.  She hardly ate a thing, which made both your papa and me worried.  I noticed that when she did eat, it was things like rare steak.  She also drank nothing but black coffee and red wine.  No matter how often she went to the doctor’s, he proclaimed that her strange eating and drinking habits were normal.  I never believed him, but then again, I’ve heard that some women ate stuff like clay while they were pregnant.  We noticed that she looked paler than normal, and began wearing turtlenecks and thick sweaters, claiming she was so cold. I should have seen it coming.  I should have put my foot down when it came to your father, but she always said to us that she couldn’t live without him.  Who was I to tell her what she could or couldn’t do? After all, she truly wasn’t my daughter.

“During the last month of her pregnancy, your father deserted her.  She became very reclusive. It was so hard for us to talk to her.  She’d get angry at the littlest of things. I can’t tell you how many times we’d hear her screaming while she slept.  I wanted to know what she was dreaming about. She’d kept to herself and refused to seek counseling.  Then the night came when she went into labor.  So, it was up to us to take her to the hospital.  She died that very same night you were born.”

I gasped. I felt like a murderer because I was the cause of her death.

“What happened to her?” I asked Mama.

“She wasn’t able to give birth to you the natural way, so the doctor was forced to do an emergency Cesarean.  There was so much blood.  I knew she was dying and I’m sure she thought she was dying too.  I was with her when she spoke her final words and held her hand as she took her last breath.  Before she died, she said, ‘Name her after you and me.  You’ve been like a real mother to me. The only mother that I had, I should say.’ We were both crying. I held her in my arms as best as I could while the nurses cleaned you up.  Then they brought you over so she could hold you in her arms.  She held you and kissed your tiny face.  The she looked up at me and said, ‘You must promise me something.’ I could only nod my head, because I was losing her so fast. She then said to me, ‘Never let him come for her. He’ll come back! I know he will. He’ll come back and try to take her!’ I leaned over the both of you and kissed both of your foreheads.  She smiled one last time, gave you a kiss…and…and then she just stopped breathing.  The doctors and nurses tried everything they could to save her, but in the end, they failed. I went into shock and just slowly walked out of the operating room like I was in some kind of a trance and went to your papa.  He knew, by the look on my face, that we lost her.  You spent a week in the hospital and after all the documents were signed, sealed, and delivered, we were able to adopt you.”

“I’m glad you did, Mama,” I told her and hugged her.

She sniffled and used the back of the sleeve of her dress to wipe away her tears. “Her name was also Raven,” she said with a warm smile on her face. “You know, you look just like her.” Mama said hugging me closer to her plump body.  Then she released me and stared down into my eyes.  I could see she seemed scared about something else.  Then she spoke.  “You look just like her, except you have his eyes.”

I wanted to know more about my mother and, especially now, my father. I was sure he was the reason why I was developing these strange and interesting powers.

“Mama, what was my father’s name?”

Her eyes grew big and serious, then she turned and looked away from me, as if looking into my eyes would force her to say his name. “I won’t speak it, Raven. I absolutely refuse to say his name, so please don’t ever ask me to.”

I hugged her and told her I wouldn’t ask her again.

Eleven years passed since I was told the tale of my beautiful mother, Raven, and my mysterious father with ice-blue eyes.  I was eighteen now, a senior in high school and planning to attend college to pursue a career in music.  One of my best friends, Chella Jenkins, worked for our restaurant so she could save money for college.  I too worked for Mama and Papa, just so I could save every penny to use towards school.

Chella and I were very different from the rest of the teenagers that went to JFK High School. We had mysterious qualities that some kids actually were scared to confront us. It made me feel powerful to know that I could give off a presence that kept the very same kids who picked on me when I was a little girl to keep away from me.  Once I hit high school, they never picked on me again.  I had matured into a very beautiful young woman, with certain gifts.  I could read minds sometimes.  I was stronger than the average teenage male.  So no one fucked with me.  Sure, I heard what they called me, but it didn’t bother me.  I actually enjoyed hearing what names they called me.  I was called almost everything but human.  I was a witch, one day; then a psychotic killer another day.  I was pure evil.  And my favorite, I was the daughter of Satan himself!  As if!?  Not all my so-called gifts prepared me for the pain I would have to suffer.  The pain of losing the people I loved the most.

Everything changed for me the day Darrien entered my life. And I mean everything.


It was October when I met Darrien.   Mama was scared half to death when she laid eyes on him the first time he showed up at the restaurant.   He was, of course, perfect in my eyes and I soon became obsessed with him.  I wanted him more than I had ever wanted any man.   It only took one look from him to make my blood boil with desire and lust.   Chella always teased me because of how I drooled over him.   She called him the “Goth Prince looking for his Goth Princess.”   How true, I thought.   And perhaps I was that “Goth Princess” he sought out.   I looked and dressed like a “Goth Princess of Darkness.”   My skin was so pale it almost looked translucent and my ice-blue eyes seemed to glow with a cold fire.   My hair was below my waist and layered with thick crimson curls.  The girls in my school were extremely jealous of me.   I had grown to be very beautiful and so they feared me.   As for the guys I went to school with, they wanted me even though I seemed untouchable.   I always had to face challenges with guys who asked me out.   Most of the time, the guys who drooled over me had girlfriends already, so I made a ton of enemies.   Despite all that, I’d smile to myself, as I walked through the hallways of the school like I owned everything and everyone.   Teachers were even intimidated by me.   I was smarter than all of them and I did what I wanted to do—so no one argued with me.  The only two kids at my school, that I ever allowed to get close to me, were Chella and another outcast kid named Michael Xanders. 

Michael was an absolute sweetheart—and a harmless kid that I adored with all my heart. We were more like brother and sister than just friends.  Chella, too, was like my sister.  The three of us were inseparable.   We always did everything together.   We even went out of our way to get identical tattoos (except for one tattoo, a raven holding a bleeding black rose located on my right shoulder blade) and body piercings.   Mama and Papa didn’t approve of my tattoos or my tongue, nose, and eyebrow piercings; but, they accepted them.   They knew how much I wanted them’ and Mama even went behind Papa’s back to fill out the permission slips for me to give to the tattoo and body piercing shop. She just shook her head from side to side and signed all the papers that I gave her to have my body art done. When Papa took one look at me after I had “mutilated” myself, as he likes to say, he just threw his arms up in the air and didn’t even bother to ask me ‘Why?’.   At first, he wouldn’t allow Chella and I to expose our body piercings and tattoos at work; but, eventually, he gave in.   Most of our customers asked us if it had hurt to get tattooed or pierced in the locations we had chosen; and, as always, our reply was that the tattooing hurt more than the piercing.   At least, what we had done was tasteful and not like some of the weirdoes out there.

 For the month of October, we went all out and decorated the entire restaurant for Halloween.   I dressed up like a vampire and Chella dressed up like a faerie.   The other waitresses and busboys dressed up in various costumes, from pirates to French maids.   The customers loved our costumes and even gave bigger tips.   For some odd reason or another, this specific October brought in more customers.  Papa was absolutely tickled pink over the profits.   I asked Mama and Papa if we could host a Halloween costume party and have our band play on Halloween night.   I had a horrible feeling that Papa wouldn’t hear of it.   Needless to say, he shocked me by giving us permission to go through with our plans. Three weeks before Halloween, we made our announcement that ‘Luigi’s Fine Italian Dining’ was throwing a special party for Halloween night—for anyone who wanted to enjoy good food and great entertainment.   The entertainment was to be provided by a DJ, with a special guest appearance by our band. 

Promptly, at nine, the Halloween party began.   Most of the people who attended were around my age; but, some of our regular customers showed up; and several people, who were just “passing by”, decided to stop in and see what all the fuss was about.   It was fantastic!   Every imaginable costume glittered and gleamed throughout the restaurant—turning  it into a world of the supernatural and fantasy. 

Michael, Chella, and I sneaked upstairs to the office and smoked a joint, before attending the party.   Michael dressed up like a Victorian vampire. He looked so hot that I kept telling him I needed to suck on his neck to taste his sweet blood.   He laughed and gently shoved me away when I tried to bite his neck.   The look in his eyes, though, said something else.   Chella stood in silence as she watched how the two of us flirted with one another.

                “Okay, you two, either go get a room or get ready to perform. Fredrick and the others are waiting for us so, I think we should…”

     “I know, I know…I was just havin’ some fun before stage fright takes over.” I giggled.

                 “Is your cello tuned?” Michael asked me. I played the cello and sang for our band. Michael played lead guitar and Chella played the keyboards and her violin and viola. The other members of the band, Fredrick Cowder, Marcus Donovan, and Simone Harper (who preferred to be called “Sissi” and nothing else) were waiting patiently for us, when we went into the apartment that I rented from my adopted parents. I didn’t really live there; it was more like my home away from home. A place where we could write, record, and practice our songs—and hang out and do “bad things.” 

“Yep, ‘Romania’ is tuned and all shined up.” I replied. I named my cello “Romania”, after my obsession with the gypsies that originated from—Romania .   I named my computer, Transylvania, or Sylvia for short, after my “Vampire” obsessions.

 “Well, we better go meet up with everyone else.   I hope your parents will like us.” Chella said.

 “Chella, my darling, my parents will love us no matter what!   You know it, as well as I do.   Hell, even Michael knows that.   We’re all talented musicians; and, personally, I think we even have a chance to make it big out there in the world. We’re just as good as, if not better than, some of the famous bands playing today.” I always wanted to be a famous musician.   I started the band because of my ambition to succeed as a musician.   Our band recorded some of our favorite songs onto my computer; and then, later, we burnt our own CD’s, to sell at some of our performances—to  bring in some extra cash.   Michael’s father worked with graphics.   He made our liner notes; and even designed some t-shirts for us to sell at our performances.   Most of the time, because of school and our ages, we had to play at select bars or clubs—on  the weekends.   Gradually, we were booking our band for gigs all around the city.   I truly loved life!   All the dedication, work, hours, “smoke breaks” for inspiration and just being together—was  what I lived for.

 Fredrick was tuning his bass when we entered the apartment.   Sissi was drumming out beats, with her drumsticks, on one of the walls.   Marcus, on the other hand, was rolling a big fat joint—while a clove cigarette hung from his lips.

                “You didn’t already smoke, did you?” Sissi asked, as soon as we plopped down on the couch.

 “A little, but that’s okay!” Michael confessed. The one thing I loved so much, about Michael, was how he loved to have fun. His quiet presence, at school, made everyone think he just stayed at home and drowned his sorrows in poetry and Anne Rice novels. In truth, he was a club kid. Together, we always went out club hopping—both  Friday and Saturday night or whenever they had under—21 nights. Most of the time, after our performances, we would just hang out at the clubs we had played and have a good time dancing and taking smoke breaks out in one of our cars.   Chella really wasn’t into clubbing, so she’d just sit at the bar and talk to people, while Michael and I danced.   If the rest of the band stayed behind, Marcus and Fredrick, who were old enough to drink, would hit on girls and get drunk.   Sissi would either sit with Chella, to keep her company, or dance with us.   I loved it when it was just Michael and I hanging out at our favorite clubs.   Secretly, I was madly in love with Michael but, too afraid to tell him—for  fear of messing up our perfect friendship—and  rejection, as well. Many nights, I would lie in my bed, stare up at the glow-in-the-dark galaxy I had created on my ceiling and wonder, to myself, what it would be like to kiss Michael.   Sometimes, I saw us kissing tenderly.   Other times, the passionate enchantress in me saw us kissing hungrily—almost  as if we couldn’t control the lust that boiled in our veins; but then, I’d come to my senses and get all depressed; because, I knew, deep down in my heart, as much as I wanted to be Michael’s girlfriend, it just wouldn’t happen.   He was like me, in the sense that we’re just plain old untouchable.   I never wanted any man, but the right one, to know how exotic I could be. I wanted Michael to know.   He didn’t see that side of me.   I protected that identity when I was around guys, especially him.   I was afraid of letting my walls of protection fall to allow anyone in my world.   I knew I was beautiful with a hint of danger in my eyes; but, I never wanted anyone to know my passionate side—unless it was through my writing or the songs I composed. 

The band and I passed a blunt around; and then, practiced a few songs.   My stage persona was that of a Victorian Mistress of the Dark.   I was wearing a black satin-velvet corset with black laces and ribbons.   My skirt was a very full, black crinoline, that I’d found at a second-hand shop.   Its layers, of black chiffon, lace, and an iridescent black-red gauze overlay, made me feel like I was in an emotional cocoon.   There was also another reason that I wore fuller skirts, thanks to my past experience with dresses.   The fuller the skirt, the easier it was to straddle my beloved cello—and  still look like a lady. The corset was useful, in a sense that it helped keep my body in perfect posture, so it was easier to play my cello and breathe correctly, while I sang.   My Mama thought I was insane.   She didn’t know how a corset could help me gather the air in my diaphragm while I sang in my operatic voice and sit on a folding chair with the posture I needed to play my cello. I wore a replica Victorian ruby necklace, matching ruby teardrop earrings, and hand-length black lace hand-warmers. What I spent most of my time preparing—was  my crimson hair. Almost all of the girls in school hated me, because of how beautiful my hair was. I imagine that, if I were to straighten the natural, soft-looking curls, my hair would be almost to my knees.   Whatever the reason was, I never had to deal with expensive hair cosmetics or frequent trips to the salon.   My mama adored my hair; but, always seemed to be spooked out by my eyes.   I knew that she could see my mother when she gave me that distant look, while she was talking to me; but, then she’d make eye contact with me and grow eerily quiet. It always spooked me out—the way she would stare at me and not say a thing.   So many times, I wanted to ask her what was wrong; but, held back, because of the promise I had made long ago about revealing the identity of my real father. 

As a child, I always wondered why everyone, that I loved, feared my eyes.   I loved my ice-blue eyes.   Every time I played my cello and sang, Chella told me that my eyes seemed to glow.   I’d always tease her and say that it was my “magical powers and passion.” I also noticed how my eyes seemed to glow when I was angry and or excited.  I would later discover that my eyes would show their true nature—the  furious passion of sex and hunger—a  hunger I had yet to discover.   As I grew up, I found out why my eyes made Mama shiver. My mother’s eyes looked nothing like mine. Her eyes were blue but, not that blue.   All the photographs that I had of my real mother, I kept sacred- and stored them in an expensive storage case that was decorated with purple satin, black bugle beads and amethysts. 

I had bought the antique case while Chella, Michael, and I were going shopping in our favorite antique stores.   I had no idea how old the case was; but, as soon as I set my eyes on it, I knew it had to be mine.  I asked Henry, the antique dealer, if he could locate any information on it.   He was successful; and told me that it was made during the Victoria era.   I’d sit alone, in my bedroom or the apartment, drinking glasses of Absinthe—a  very religious ritual I’d do when I felt melancholy. After consuming about half a bottle of my favorite brand of Absinthe, and spending countless hours starring at my mother’s pictures and crying, I put two and two together that my eyes resembled my father’s eyes. My eyes reminded Mama of the man that seduced my mother, got her pregnant with me, and then suddenly disappeared.   Tragically, it was my birth that killed my mother. She bled to death while giving birth to me. Mama never told me what exactly had happened in the hospital. She only told me the small details, leaving quite a few parts—out  of the story.   I knew it had to be a terrifying experience for Mama to talk about; so, I never asked her about it.   I wanted to ask her; and, someday, I’d get enough courage to ask her to tell me the whole story… and then, I would know everything. 

I finished playing around with my hair and decided to tie it up in a Gibson Girl twist, with scattered braids and ribbons and scattered loose curls, specifically styled so the curls would be encircling my face.   I wore bright red/black lipstick, translucent foundation, black mascara, and black eyeliner.   I refused to wear anything that was too gaudy when it concerned my make-up.   Because my complexion was already sickly pale, so pain-strikingly pale, I was almost forced into wearing make-up to hide the changes that I was going through. Since everyone around me found me to be some kind of Goth Princess, I had enough money to fulfill the perfect cover-up. 

My ice-blue colored eyes were glowing from the anticipation of performing live, for the very first time, in front of my family.   I knew that a lot of the people, that came here to see us, were regular customers; so, our music might be a little unsettling to them—but, that didn’t bother me one earthly bit.      I was a musician and nothing would ever stop me from continuing my studies and performing. “Children of Gaia” were begging to be heard; and I wanted to make that dream happen for everyone.   It wasn’t just a selfish wish, was it?   To be successful?   I figured my powers would come in handy someday, if a talent scout was out in the audience listening to us. 

Chella wore her faerie costume. She resembled a sexier Tinker Bell from Peter Pan.   She had the perfect haircut that made it possible for her to spike it and achieve the perfect pixie look.   Michael, as always, was a distinguished gentleman in his Victorian garb.   Every time I looked at Michael, I smiled and thought to myself that we were a Victorian Gothic couple.   I loved him so much but was too fucking scared to ever act on it.   There had been many times that just the two of us hung out and wrote music together, while drinking absinthe and smoking pot.   I treasured every second I spent with him.  It saddened me, as well, because I knew he didn’t feel the same way about me that I felt about him.   It was heartbreaking. 

I constantly wrote in my diary—sharing  my secrets and fantasies about Michael.   One day, he almost read my diary by accident.   I had left it out on my desk and he thought it was a book of poetry or lyrics.   He innocently began reading it, while I was getting ready to go out with him. When I saw what he was reading, I freaked out!   I know I scared him, because I overreacted and yelled at him.   He began to cry, and then, I started crying.   I told him that it was my diary; and I didn’t want anyone read it because, I had written really private thoughts and things that I was slowly discovering about myself.   After I had told him that, he apologized and I told him to just forget about it.   Since then, I kept wondering what he had read that day.   I wanted to ask him, but as always, I became too scared and never asked.

                After we finished sharing the blunt, I watched the other members fix their costumes and tune their instruments.   Fredrick was wearing a dark red velvet suit.   Marcus was wearing his usual black t-shirt and black corduroys and Sissi was wearing a tight black vinyl mini-skirt, black vinyl corset, fishnets, and combat boots. We were definitely a very interesting band. Our music ranged from loud gothic rock to baroque grunge to medieval choir.   Chella always compared our music to the band, “Miranda Sex Garden.”   It was Chella who came up with the band’s name, Children of Gaia.   Everyone in the band loved the name and began plotting our stage persona, our photo shoots, and even the composition of our music.   I loved playing my cello and singing.   Sometimes, some of the members would play their string instruments instead of their usual guitar, drums and keyboards.

                Marcus grabbed his laptop computer and zipped it up in its protective case. I sat on a folding chair and rosined my bow.   My mind was working overtime.   I wasn’t even paying attention to anyone until Michael came over to me and shook me a little.

             “Earth to Raven, come in Raven?” he teased.

 “I’m sorry. I was just rehearsing the lyrics to our songs in my mind and lost track of the time.”

 “I’ll say you lost track of time. We have exactly ten minutes before we’re supposed to perform!” Chella exclaimed. 

“Let’s get downstairs now, okay? We certainly don’t need to be in a negative mood about this, Chella,” Marcus said.

                We picked up our instruments and headed downstairs. When we reached the lower landing, I felt Darrien’s presence. I looked out over the crowd but, didn’t spot him. I knew he was there, though. I smiled and started for the stage.

Copyright © 2012 Karen Elizabeth Waters

Edited by Zyris Wa