THE AIR LEAVES WITH YOU


 

When you exit the room all the air leaves with you,

And the world is not the same.

I still hear your voice.

I continue to call your name.

Time hesitates, suspended in air,

I’m confused and lost, without you there.

The world is bleak within my sight.

There is no color just black and white.

I gasp, I choke,

 Clocks have stopped in mid-stroke.

Where is love without you near?

And where is music for my ears?

Nothing is the same as it needs to be.

Please come home and bring air to breathe.

july 21, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

The Coin (Conclusion)


One Pysar Coin from Zanzibar circa 1299 AH (18...
Image via Wikipedia

The Coin  (Conclusion)

Reggie
waited confidently by the river.  There
was no point chasing Vanna.  The coin
would bring her to him.  She would know
it was their fate to meet and interact.
Reggie was sure she would think he was on the run, afraid of her and the
coin.   But she would not know this was a
trap. The coin would not warn her in time.
Reggie knew the coin had powers over people and Vanna controlled it.
That’s why she would be overconfident until it was too late.

Reggie had a
secret.  The coin’s powers would work for
Vanna while it was in her possession unless….someone had control of the rest of
the coin collection.  Fortunately he
still had the collection and it was nearby, locked in his car. He The
collection was nearby so the powers would be stronger. She would walk right
past it and never know.    When
she was least expecting it, the coin’s powers would be turned against her.

Reggie
stayed in the shadows where he was less likely to be noticed.  He wanted to surprise Vanna.  If she was accidentally alerted by someone, Reggie
wasn’t sure how she would react, or for that matter, how the coin would
react.  The situation could get ugly.

Two young
men loitered by a bar on a nearby street.
Reggie wondered if they were looking for an easy mark, someone tipsy or
alone.  He hoped they would leave soon
and be out of the way.  If not, he would
have to take matters in his own hands.

Vanna
arrived later than Reggie expected.  He
was tense and irritable and eager for a confrontation.  The two men were still there, apparently unaware
of him, staying close to a streetlight.
Reggie was tired of waiting and ready to make their lives uncomfortable.

He had
almost given up and was sliding out of the shadows when a bus stopped at a
corner two blocks away.   A woman got off
and the bus pulled away.  Reggie knew it
was Vanna even before she turned and walked towards the river.

A woman
alone was easy prey.  He could feel the men’s
excitement increasing.  He wasn’t worried
because he knew she had the coin and at any time she could unleash its powers
against them.  He was uneasy about
letting others crash his party,  but he decided
to relax and enjoy the show.

Vanna stopped
and talked to the young men.  That was
unexpected. They didn’t follow her which also surprised Reggie.  They stood there for a few seconds surveying
the scene, trying to determine if they were being watched or followed, before
disappearing into the darkness.  Reggie
decided the coin had worked its magic and they wouldn’t be a problem.

Reggie was concentrating on Vanna and the coin
because its power was zeroing in, challenging his authority.  Because his attention was diverted the sound
of  breaking glass never registered, and
he never dreamed that the two young men would ransack his car.

Vanna stopped a few yards away and called out,
“Reggie! I know you’re there.  Come
out!  Don’t make me use the coin’s
powers.”

He
laughed.  ”Vanna, you don’t have as much
power as you think.  The coin is mine and
will do anything I demand of it.”

Her knees
were weak and her stomach was churning.  The
coin was vibrating and she felt her control weakening.

“Just like
before, Vanna.  You’ll do what I want.”

She stared
at him for several seconds and then began slowly gyrating, dancing to music she
remembered from before.  Reggie urged her
on.  “Keep going, baby.  Feel the rhythm.”

She wanted
to resist but resistance was futile.
Unbuttoning her blouse as she danced, she watched Reggie. There was no
change in his expression but she could feel his hatred turning into
indifference.

At first she
was chilled by his expression and the cool breeze coming from the river.  Then a strange warmth began in the pit of her
stomach.  The warmth came in waves, each
wave increasingly invasive.  She hated
him and yet she was beginning to want him, feeling love in spite of her hatred
of all he had done.  She continued to
dance for him until she stood before him naked and waiting, obediently ready
his next command.

The coin,
still clutched in her hand, began to vibrate.
She took several steps back and pressed her hands to her head.  The trance was broken.  Suddenly she looked up and defiantly said, “Where
are your powers, Reggie?  Did you lose
them?”

Reggie
stared in disbelief.  “Don’t even try,
Vanna,” he snapped.  “Do you really want
to challenge me?  Vanna,” he ordered, “go
jump in the river.  It’s time for you to
go.”

She ignored
him and began getting dressed.

Reggie was
losing his self control.  “What did you
do?   Where is my collection?”

He noticed
the two young men standing nearby.  “This
is your chance!” he shouted. “I won’t stop you whatever you do. She’s yours for
the taking.”

“Reggie,”
one man said, “you don’t have power over us anymore.”

Reggie’s
eyes narrowed as he recognized one of the men.
“Karl, where is my collection?”

“I put it in
a safe place for Vanna.  I trust her. She
is in charge now,” Karl responded.  “She
can answer your questions.”

“Vanna, give
me my collection and I’ll let you go,” Reggie gasped.

“Reggie, it’s
too late for you.  You won’t hurt anyone
ever again.  Karl found the collection and
it’s in my possession.  You wanted me to
die in the river.  I’ve decided you can
take my place.”

Vanna rubbed
the coin.  Reggie backed down the levee
bank and stood ankle deep in the water.  “Vanna,
please,” Reggie begged.

She rubbed
the coin again.  Reggie’s hands gripped
his throat and he fell to his knees.  He
gasped twice and then pitched backward into the current.  He was visible only for a moment before he
sank into the darkness.

Vanna turned
to her brother.  “It’s over, Karl.  Now you’ll have to get your life in
order.  You can’t continue being with a
gang and living on the edge.  The coin
will turn against you if you forget. Now you and your friend go home.  No more trouble.  Understand?”

Karl knew
she was right and he knew he had no options.
She would be in charge and life would be different.

When she
returned to the apartment there were several messages from George.  She didn’t want to deal with his probing
questions or even to talk to him.  She
didn’t feel the same towards him. Yet George was persistent and one evening she
found him waiting at her front door.

“You don’t
want to see me, George,” she warned.  “I’m
not the same person you knew.  So much
has changed since I last saw you.”

“I don’t
care,” he insisted. “Whatever you’ve done or wherever you’ve been does not
matter to me.  I don’t want to know
unless you want to share.  All I know is
that I can’t live without you.  I love
you, Vanna.  I always have and I always
will.”

His arms
surrounded her but she pushed away.  His
arms were too confining and reminded her of the humiliation and torture she had
endured and the conflicting moments of pleasure.  Could she forget any of that?  Could she ever be a good wife and mother?  George would expect life to be orderly and under
his control.  She had gained her
independence and it was too soon to give it up.

She looked
into his eyes and said, “I’m not ready to make any commitment.  Give me some time.  You deserve someone special.”

“Vanna, you’re
the one I want.  I’ll take care of you.  Get those silly notions about being
independent out of your head.  I’m
disappointed that you don’t want to have a life together.  You’ll change your mind.” He grabbed her arm
and pulled her towards the door.   “You’re
going with me to the priest right now and we’re going to say our vows.  You’ve been brainwashed by someone.  You’ll be straightened out in no time.”

“Let go of
my arm!”  Her tone got his
attention.  “I said, let go of my arm!”

“You’re
different,” he said, “but you’re mine and you’ll do what I tell you.”

She rubbed
the coin and George fell to the floor temporarily paralyzed.  “Don’t ever touch me again without my
permission. You don’t own me and you never have.  I’m not a possession. Stay away from me
unless I decide you can be in my life.
Do you understand?”

Perhaps the only way he could learn was a
simple jolt that would shake him to the core.
She waited a few moments before releasing the power that held him.

“Go,
George.  Someday we might work as a team,
but for now I have my doubts.”  She would
have preferred a less harsh way of dealing with him.  That door to her past was closed and George
was probably gone from her life.

Vanna knew
her life would be going in new directions.
She was not timid or obedient anymore.
She was ready for excitement and with the coin in her possession she
would turn her neighborhood around and make it safe again for families.  For now, she had much work to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Coin (Part 9)


Right knee.
Image via Wikipedia

Vanna was
emotionally drained and ready to abort the mission even though two of her
original targets were left.  Reggie was
one, but the other person she didn’t know.
She was afraid of Reggie and she knew something had to be done about
him.  The other man was a mystery and she
didn’t want him killed. Her anger had dissipated long before the judge had
died.

In spite of her reluctance the coin had become
active and was willing her on again.  Its
mission and her mission seemed to be going in different directions.  Where was she heading now?  She didn’t like having blind faith in a coin,
especially one she couldn’t control. She was glad when the coin directed her to
a bus going out of the city.  Maybe the
killing was over.

The bus
stopped several times to pick up riders or let them off.  When the bus stopped at a small mall in the
suburbs the coin began vibrating again.
Vanna was surprised because the location seemed so unlike the bustling downtown
office building or the court house.

She
disembarked in front of a small grocery store and looked around.  The stores and businesses were mostly chain
stores and unpretentious. The parking lots were almost full and people were
arriving and leaving.  Two security
police cars patrolled the lots while two security cops strolled through the
mall.  With all the things that had taken
place Vanna felt safer knowing they were there.

Suddenly two
men burst out of one of the stores, each carrying a bag and waving a gun.  “Get out of our way!” one man yelled.

A clerk
emerged from the store.  “Stop them!” he
yelled.  One of the gunmen turned and
fired but the clerk jumped back inside unscathed.

Vanna
realized the men were running in her direction.
She wanted to dash into a store but she stood frozen.  The one in the lead grabbed her arm and spun
her around.  Vanna’s purse swung out and
up, catching the second gunman by surprise and throwing him off balance.  His head hit the pavement and he lay still.

The other
robber stood there, momentarily shocked by the turn of events.  Without thinking, Vanna drove her knee into
his groin.  He collapsed to his knees
next to his accomplice.  Vanna stepped
back, watching the man, knowing he still clutched a gun.

Recovering
quickly, he staggered to his feet and raised his gun.  His eyes met hers.  Her eyes widened in recognition as one
thought raced through her mind.  “They’re
just boys and this one is my brother!”

“Karl, what
are you doing?” she hissed through clenched teeth.

“You shouldn’t
be here interfering, Vanna!” he snapped.
His eyes hardened and he pointed the gun at her.  “Goodbye, sister,” he said slowly.

She heard two shots and closed her eyes. Expecting
pain, Vanna waited for the agony but nothing changed.  Death must have been swift.  She opened her eyes and realized that nothing
had happened to her.  Karl stood there,
his eyes unfocused and his face pale. Vanna watched in horror as blood dripped
from his arm.

The other
boy clambered to his feet and put his arm around Karl’s shoulder. “Come on,
Karl! Let’s get out of here!”

With a quick meaningful glance at Vanna, Karl warned
weakly, “Don’t say nothing!”  Then he
followed his friend into one of the shops and out the back.

A mall
security coop ran towards her yelling excitedly, “I got him! I got him! I can
see drops of blood!” He was right.  Spots
of blood marked a clear trail, one that the police could follow later.

Ten minutes
later two squad cars and an unmarked car pulled up to the main entrance of the
mall.  While policemen secured the area
and looked for any gunmen or victims, detectives began taking statements.  “Lady,” a detective said, “You’re both a hero
and very lucky.  You could have been
killed.”

She mulled
over what the detective said and realized he was right.  During this whole time the coin had been
still.  It had not protected her.

The coin
stirred and began vibrating.  Her head ached
and her knee was throbbing.  She knew she
couldn’t chase after Karl.  He would only
become angrier.  She would have to wait
until he calmed down.  He might listen to
her then, if he went home, and if he could get home.

Vanna
hobbled over and leaned against a wall.
She noticed the name “Sports Therapy” on a nearby door.  A man came out and looked around
nervously.  “Miss, are you all right?”

“My knee
hurts.”

“Come inside
and I’ll check it out.”  He extended his
hand.  “I guess I should introduce myself
first.  I’m Steve.  I’m a physical therapist.”

Vanna
followed him inside and sat on the edge of a bench.  At his direction she flexed her knee forward
and backward.  “You’ll probably have a
bruise but I see no swelling. Don’t get up yet.
I’ll get some ice.”

Vanna looked
around the room.  Various kinds of
equipment were spaced strategically.
There were weight machines, a stationary bicycle, other benches that
were fitted with sheets and pillows, large elastic bands, and other equipment
she couldn’t identify.

Her gaze
settled on a framed picture on a desk nearby. “Is that your family?” she asked
when he returned.

Steve
smiled.  “Yes.  My wife, my son, and my two daughters.”

As he placed
a towel filled with ice around her knee she noticed a small tattoo. Suddenly
she knew why she was there. Her thoughts raced. “He had helped her.  He had a family.  She didn’t need or want revenge anymore. She
needed to go and find her brother. How could she have forgotten him?”

The coin was
humming.  “No!”  Vanna stated emphatically.  “No!”  This
has gone far enough!” But already the coin was out of her control.

Steve looked
at her oddly.  “Did you hit your head or
get bumped outside?  Lady, I think your
knee will be fine.  I think you should go
now.”

He took the
ice pack and hurried her towards the door.
The mall was quiet.   Yellow tape
stretched around the crime scene and police swarmed everywhere.

Off to her
left a man stepped back into the shadows and she had the impression he was
avoiding her.  Even so, he was vaguely
familiar.

In front of
her a security cop twirled his gun as he told anyone within listening range the
story of his heroic act.  One of the
detectives looked disgusted.  “Put your
gun away, George, before you hurt someone.”

George
twirled it one more time.  The gun
slipped from his hand, fell to the concrete, and fired.

Steve followed
Vanna to the door and as she stepped outside Steve unexpectedly gave her a
push.  As she tumbled to the side the
bullet from George’s gun whizzed by and struck Steve in the chest.

The world
stopped for an instant.  Vanna watched
horrified as the police raced to the stricken man. There was little they could
do as his life ebbed away.

The police
turned their attention to the security cop.
As they led him away he began crying, “It was an accident.  Something knocked the gun out of my
hand.  I didn’t mean to do it!”

Vanna knew
he was right.  The coin had killed Steve.
She shivered as other questions began popping up and nagging her.  “Was Steve the real target?  The bullet had barely missed her. Was the
coin working for her or against her? Was it a coincidence that Karl and the
coin picked this mall?  And finally, was
that Reggie she saw step back into the shadows?”  Vanna had much to think about and she had to
get answers quickly if she wanted to stop any more violence.  Or if she wanted to survive.

(To be
continued)

 

 

 

 

The Coin (Part 8)


Calderilla coin
Image via Wikipedia

Four huge impressive
pillars at the entrance of the Superior Court almost stopped Vanna from
entering the building.  She passed people
in suits, men and women in police uniforms, and a variety of others in more
casual attire.  She asked herself again, “What
am I doing here?”

She was not a risk
taker and had never wanted to be one.
She was just Vanna, daughter of a preacher, who made a habit of doing what
she was told.  She had stayed out of
trouble all her life, was called an “over achiever” by her teachers, and made
the Dean’s list in college before she was forced to drop out in the middle of
her third year . 

“Don’t get even.  No revenge.”  She could almost hear her father’s voice
admonishing her. “Your life should not be ruled by hatred or fear.”  These words had been taken to heart but they
were high ideals in an imperfect world. Two months later he had been shot in
front of his church trying to thwart an attempted robbery. What good were his
words then?  And where was God when that happened? 

Vanna had been
disillusioned and angry, but kept her feelings tightly contained. She decided
she would take charge of her own destiny but her life continued to unravel.  Two months later her mother died from a brain
tumor and Vanna dropped out of school, taking charge of her four younger
siblings.  Her almost perfect life had
taken a nosedive into an abyss.

Jobs were scarce, but
Vanna found a job working as a maid.  She
would rush to her job, rush home afterwards, and then help her sister and brothers
with their homework and listen to their personal problems.  Vanna was overwhelmed by it all but she was
determined to keep them all together.
She thought they were doing well until she learned Karl, her 14 year old
brother, was hanging around the wrong group. She worried constantly, “ What could
she do to keep him out of trouble?”

Now as she moved about
the court building she had the sinking feeling she would be back, perhaps to
keep Karl out of jail. She wanted to turn and run but the coin was vibrating
against her breast, overriding any thoughts of slipping away.  Her world had changed and now she had no
choice but complete her mission. 

Several policemen stood
in front of one set of doors.  They
admitted a few sharply tailored lawyers carrying briefcases and stacks of
papers.  “Miss,” one of the policemen
said, “you’ll have to wait down the hall until it’s time to come in.” 

Vanna didn’t need to
stop there because the coin was urging her on, up the stairs to the second
floor.  She walked past the room
designated for the jury pool and noticed it was filled with people.  Some were pleading with the clerk that they
had hardships and could not serve, others were sitting quietly, and there were a
few who seemed eager to be selected.

 As the coin vibrated, Vanna sat down in an
empty seat and waited.  A clerk held up a
paper and began reading a list of names.  As their names were called, people got up and
headed to their assigned courtrooms. Vanna rose with the second group and
followed them down the hall and into a room.

 When the group was seated the lawyers began
the selection process, which Vanna thought was ridiculous.  She stifled a giggle as she imagined what the
lawyers might be thinking as they began dividing the group. “You take one and I’ll
take one, and we’ll find all the jurors who have emotional links to the victim
or the defendant and toss them out.” She straightened up and listened intently
when the prosecutor asked a young man, “If you believe the evidence leaves
doubt as to whether someone is guilty, could you vote for conviction?” “I
could,” he replied.

 After the jurors and alternate jurors were
selected, the rest of the group was dismissed.
Since Vanna was only pretending to be a juror she went out into the
hallway. While she was at a vending machine she overheard the young man talking
in the hallway with another juror.  “I’ll
vote “not guilty” if the rest of the jury decides against him.  Women lie about being raped all the time.”
Outraged by his irresponsible statement,Vanna glared at him but still said
nothing.

This seemed to be a
waste of time.  The coin had not led her
to her attacker, nor given her any clear directions.  Just when she was ready to give up, the coin
started humming and Vanna returned to the courtroom.  The jury was seated, the lawyers were in
their respective places, and the bailiff was stationed.  The bailiff said formally, “All rise while the
Honorable Judge enters.”  A man in a
flowing black robe entered and sat behind the Bench.  The bailiff faced the audience and said, “Please
be seated.”

Vanna looked around the
room searching for someone she recognized.
When she looked at the judge her heart began to pound wildly. He was one
of her attackers! She knew it even though she had no evidence to prove it.  She stared again at the judge, expecting some
sign of recognition.  The judge did not
notice her behavior or anyone else except for one. His gaze swept the courtroom
and rested on the jury, then on the young man in particular.  A slight nod and then the judge declared the
court to be in session. 

Vanna was shocked.”What
had just happened? Was the defendant going to be declared innocent because of a
judge that couldn’t be trusted? Indignantly she willed the coin into action, expectantly
waiting for the judge to topple over with a heart attack.  Nothing happened.  The coin was allowing justice to be trampled
on. Her anger rose quickly, and she almost stood up. “Kill him,” she
thought.  “Kill him.”

 A lifetime of inner restraint caught her in
time. “What was she doing?”  The coin was
vibrating softly. Then she realized it was working against her!  She glanced quickly around the room.  A pair of black glittering eyes glared
menacingly at her.  A cold shiver went up
her spine! Reggie! What was he doing here?

Her hate. His hate. A
battle was going on inside the courtroom without anyone knowing.  They were mentally sparring, jab for jab,
blow for blow. No one was winning.
Reggie sat there grinning smugly knowing the coin still responded to
him. Vanna was furious yet contained. Suddenly she remembered one of her father’s
sermons. “The only thing that can conquer hate is love.  Love is more powerful than hate. Don’t let
hate win.  Love more and hate will flee.”

Love was not something
she wanted to think about.  She wanted
justice and revenge, not love.  But
slowly she focused her thoughts on her parents, her sister and brothers.  She let her compassion flow to the rape
victim and then to the young man in the jury.
Reggie appeared confused.  He rose
and hurried from the room.  The judge,
seeing Reggie leave, tapped his gavel on the bench.  “There will be a thirty minute recess,” he
announced. Then he disappeared into his chambers.

Vanna sat there with
her eyes closed, still thinking about people she cared about.  When she thought about people who had
mistreated her, and how she forgave them, she could feel the coin’s power
growing.  This time it was following her
lead. 

The Honorable Judge Hudson
never returned to the bench.  An
announcement was made after an hour that the judge was sick and a new judge
would be seated to take his place.  The
jury was dismissed for the day but they were told they would reconvene the
following day.

Vanna waited outside
the court, wanting to get more information.
She thought she saw Judge Hudson rush away, almost as if he were
escaping inner demons.  The coin hummed and
then fell silent for a moment.  Vanna
hurried outside, trying to get one more glimpse of the judge.

Outside a crowd of
people were gathering by the street.  Someone
called out, “Call 9-1-1”.  Most of the
crowd appeared stunned and distraught.  “He
just stepped in front of a taxi,” a woman wailed.  “He didn’t even look at it.”  Vanna knew it was the judge but wondered why
he had done this.  She had already
forgiven him.

 (to be continued)

 

 

 

  

The Coin (Part 7)


Pain in acute myocardial infarction (front)
Image via Wikipedia

Derek stepped quickly
from the elevator in an attempt to elude Vanna but she took his elbow as if he
was a gentleman escorting a lady.  Vanna
smiled smugly at everyone as they passed. She knew all eyes were on them and
she wanted the whole office to know she was there.  Whispers and gossip filled the void as Derek
rushed onward.

He led her to his
office, closed the door behind her, and offered her a chair. “Do I know you
from somewhere?” he asked.  “You look
familiar.” 

“Don’t you think you
would remember if we had met?  We’ll have
time to discuss that later.  Right now
the clock is running and the thirty minutes I gave you is now down to twenty.”  Her gaze was unwavering and Derek felt chills
running up his spine.

He had to act
fast.  He didn’t even consider arguing
with her.  She sat there smugly as if she
held the perfect cards and deep inside he knew she wasn’t bluffing. But the terrifying
part was the understanding that she was backed by someone or something
powerful, someone who could crush him in an instant.  He needed more information.  He would ask about that later, if he dared.

 There weren’t many big offices that fit her
specifications.  The owner of the company
had the biggest office.  Derek, the CEO,
had the most impressive one.  Five large
offices belonged to other important executives, and one smaller office which
the owner’s son frequented.  Derek had
always considered the owner’s son to be an unnecessary appendage, someone who
got in the way and impeded progress.
Taking that office would mean war with the owner, but what else could
Derek do?

Derek led Vanna to that
small office, hoping to appease her.  “I’ll
have his things moved right away so you can move in.”

She took a quick glance
around the room.  “No, this room doesn’t
satisfy my needs.  I’ll tell you when I
see the one I want.”

Derek was
flustered.  Vanna was being uncooperative.  He would have liked to send her away. He didn’t
want to be forced to do things but he had no choice. Something was making him
do whatever she asked.

Derek and Vanna went from
office to office, interrupting private conversations and meetings.  He knew this was not how to run a business
but at this moment everything was out of his control.

 Beads of perspiration were on his forehead and
Derek dabbed at them with a monogrammed handkerchief.  All the rushing about and she had not claimed
an office. He seemed puzzled at her silence and her reluctance to choose.

 “Okay, now what?  You’ve seen them all.”

“There’s one more you
haven’t shown me.” Vanna had that intense look again.

“But that office is
mine,” Derek sputtered.  “You can’t have
that one.”

Vanna smiled sweetly
and said, “I only wanted to see it for comparison purposes.  Now that you told me I can’t have it, I’ve
changed my mind.  It’s a woman’s
prerogative.”

Reluctantly he led her
down the hall, past the receptionist’s desk and through the doors with the large
gold initials, D. G.  He walked around a
large desk and sat down ceremoniously.
Seeing him seated in a position of power might calm her down. He leaned
back in his chair and braced himself.  “Who
are you and what do you really want?” he snapped.

“Don’t you recognize me,
Derek? We spent hours together.  You
tortured me endlessly and gave me no mercy.  Didn’t you think I would find you?  Or did you even care? You thought I was
disposable.  Easy to get rid of.  I’m not going to be a victim any longer.  It’s your turn now.”

Derek had a wild look
in his eyes. The veins on his forehead bulged.  His hands were opening and closing as he
stared at her throat.  Perhaps he could
have made one quick move and his tormentor, Vanna, would be lying in a heap.
Instead, his face violently contorted and his hands clutched his chest.

Derek pitched face
forward and fell at Vanna’s feet. “Help me,” he pleaded. “I’m  having a heart attack.”

Vanna went around his
desk and sat in his chair.  She looked
out at the city below.  “I would have
enjoyed this view every day. It’s a pity it was wasted on you.”

She sat there a few
seconds before she got up. She hesitated next to Derek, just in time to hear
him gasp, “Please help me.”  Vanna
stooped down and whispered, “Revenge is sweet.
You were just the first.  There
are three of your friends I still have to see.”

As she entered the
elevator someone yelled, “Call 911!  Mr.
Goodman had a heart attack!”  By the time
she got to the ground floor the building was alive with people running in all
directions.  She tried to look concerned
as she waited for the next bus. 

At precisely at 12:05,
the next bus pulled in.  “I’m sorry,
folks,” the driver said slowly, “I had to wait for all the emergency vehicles
to clear the area.  I guess somebody
important died.” 

He seemed impatient to
make up lost time. Then he noticed Vanna, waiting on the steps, blocking the
line of people. “What do you want, Miss?”

“Does this bus go by
the Superior Court?” she asked sweetly.

(To be continued)

The Coin (Part 6)


Calderilla coin
Image via Wikipedia

Life
takes us in directions,

We
don’t wish to go,

Yet
that is how we gain experience,

That
is how we grow,

We
learn to survive hard times,

How
to accept a loss,

Then
we learn to face the wind,

Though
around us waves toss.

Vanna woke with a start.  What time was it?  What about her job?  Then all the memories rushed in.  There was no time for self pity.  She had to start looking for a job.  Where would she go? Jobs were scarce now that
the economy was floundering.  Did she
even have a chance to find one that she liked?
She lay back against the pillow and her confidence returned.  She would go out and see what she could find.

Vanna dressed quickly but primped to look
her best. For the first time in months she would wear earrings. She selected a
pair and put them on. She patted the coin and murmured “thank you”.  If she only had one chance she wanted it to
be a good one.

She turned from the vanity and remembered, “I
have to have the coin.” She needed the coin.
It made her feel good.  It also
seemed to affect those who were around her.  Where would she keep the coin all day?  She didn’t have pockets in this dress.  Her purse?
What if it got snatched or she left it unattended just for a few
minutes?  She didn’t dare lose it or let
it be taken from her.  She finally
decided to put it inside her bra where it would be close to her heart.  Vanna smiled.  She knew the coin’s vibrations would remind
her all day long that its power would be there if she needed it.

On her way downtown the bus ride was
uneventful.  When the bus stopped at one
of the tallest buildings the coin vibrated and Vanna stepped outside.  She looked up and stared in awe at the impressive
and intimidating building.  Already a steady
stream of suited men and neatly dressed women were entering through the
revolving doors.

Ready
to flee rather than enter, Vanna took several deep breaths.  The coin began pulsating and her courage
returned.  She pushed her way through the
doors and walked directly across the room to a directory on the wall.  She studied it carefully trying to decide
what to do next. “Full speed ahead.  Why
are you hesitating?”  She was shocked by
her own thoughts.  She had never been this
bold around those she called the big shots.

A voice startled her.  “Could I help you, young lady?”  A well dressed man in a pin striped suit
approached.  He had a kind face but there
was something vaguely familiar about his mannerisms.

The coin was vibrating and Vanna took that
as a signal that she must react. “Yes, Sir,” she answered.  “I’m on my way to the top.  I want a job where I can see the city.”

He smiled and offered his hand.  “I’m Derek.
I’m on my way to the top floor now.
I’ll be glad to escort you, Miss….?
His voice trailed off as if waiting for her to offer her name.  There was no action from the coin so Vanna
only said, “Thanks. That would be kind of you.”

She felt isolated in this world with only
the coin for protection, and yet, the coin was enough.  A sharp tingle jolted her breast as the coin
began to hum.  The elevator climbed
steadily up.  It did not stop even as
others waited and punched the button for the top floor.  Vanna felt a sudden chill and she could
picture Derek undressing in a dark room.
No, not a dark room.  A dungeon!  Her fury rose within while outside she
remained calm and cool.

Her self-esteem should have been low, but she
surprised herself when she turned and said, “Derek, just what kind of job are
you going to find for me?  I don’t want a
small office.  I want a large office next
to the windows.  I told you I wanted to
see the city and that’s what I expect.”

Derek’s jaw dropped.  This lady was not intimidated by him.  There was a glow in her eyes that scared
him.  He thought he could hear a slight
hum but then again he could have been mistaken.
His knees felt weak and his heart pounded.  “You’re kidding, right?”

Vanna stared at him without blinking.  “Derek, you’ve always stepped on those that
are vulnerable and innocent.  In your
path you’ve left a trail of victims.  You’re
heartless and don’t care about people.  I’ll
give you a chance.  In thirty minutes I
want my requests arranged.  Do you have
any questions?”

Right in front of him this beautiful young
woman had changed into someone he didn’t like. He had been a football star, an
Army Ranger, and a mercenary in several small wars. He could always be counted
on to confront and rout the enemy.  He
had faced fabled lawyers and won, bullied his way up as he raced to the top of
the financial world.  Now he found a
small woman making a bold demand and he could not speak.  For the first time in his life Derek felt
fear.

(To be continued)

 

The Coin (Part 5)


Calderilla coin
Image via Wikipedia

All
that had been inflicted would be repaid to each one of the men, including
Reggie. She had survived and now she must deal with her world.  She had no job, no money, and no future.  She was starting with nothing but she walked
with her head high. Having the coin filled her with confidence.

As Vanna rode the city bus home, she worried
all the way.  “What will George say?  Will he even listen to me?  Can we still be friends?  Can I tell him what happened? Will he snap
and go off the deep end?  Will he want to
kill me or Reggie?  Should I avoid George
and just run away?  Maybe I dreamed all
of this.  Maybe none of this happened at
all.”

While she worried and reasoned,
inadvertently she reached into her pocket and touched the coin for
reassurance.  It was still there but this
time it did not feel cold and metallic. The coin was warm and vibrating.
Passengers on the bus stirred from their normal isolated lethargy.  As if on command they turned in unison and
smiled at her.  Their smiles turned to
concern.  “You poor dear,” one woman
said, “Did someone hurt you?”  Others
joined in with their concerns.  Then one
of the men said quietly, “Tell us who hurt you and we will take care of them.”

Vanna squeezed the coin.  The passengers turned back around, the
incident forgotten for the moment.  Vanna
was shocked by their response. There was more to this coin than she had thought
possible. Her mind raced as she wrote down ways she could test the coin’s power
and capabilities.  She would have to be
very careful not to let others know the coin even existed.

Preoccupied with thoughts of the coin, Vanna
stepped from the bus and walked towards her apartment. Oblivious to the world
she crossed the intersection.  Drivers
from both directions stopped, waiting patiently as if she were royalty.  Then traffic resumed as if nothing had
happened.

George had slipped messages under her door,
taped messages to her door and left messages on her phone.  They were overwhelming. She didn’t want to
read them or respond. Vanna just needed rest and time to think.  The answering machine clicked on and George’s
voice said, “I miss you. I’m worried about you and you know I love you.  Where have you been?”

There was nothing she wanted to say to him
right now.  Any kind of conversation
could go on and on. She would have to face him sometime, but not now, not
today, and maybe not even tomorrow.  She
cared about George.  Anything she said
would hurt him deeply and that would break her heart.  How could he understand if she didn’t
understand everything either?

She locked her door, unplugged
her phone, swallowed several sleeping pills, took a long hot shower and scrubbed
until her skin was raw, then fell into bed.
She would ignore George and the world for awhile.  Tomorrow would be a new day.

Vanna’s dreams were not pleasant.  Shapes and voices were everywhere, telling
her what to do, making her apologize for not cooperating, for not being eager
to try new things.  She awoke, drenched
with perspiration.  She lay there wide
awake staring at the ceiling.  But even
there she saw shadows and thought they might be moving.

Afraid of her dreams she decided to look at
the coin again. When she touched it on the bus it had been so soothing. Perhaps
it would comfort her a little.

She had placed the coin on her dresser in a
small box with her earrings,  earrings without
matches she had found while working, on the street, and even at church.  Without a matching earring it would be
ridiculous to wear any of them.  Yet she
couldn’t throw them away. They were just to remind her that someday when she
had money she would find their mates.

The coin was difficult to find because the
box was crowded with earrings.  Confused
by this turn of events she flicked on the light switch.  There were more earrings than she remembered.
“Impossible,” she murmured. She stared blankly for a moment before the truth
hit her.  All the earrings were matched
and organized!

Another thought.  “Was the coin still there?” To her relief the
coin was there, almost covered by the extra earrings.  Vanna gingerly removed it from the box and
held it in the light. Vibrating gently the coin warmed her hand, her arm, and
slowly warmed her.  It was almost singing
to her.  “Strange,” she whispered.  Remembering she was tired, Vanna lay back on
the bed, calm and content for the moment.
She placed the coin under her pillow and fell into a deep, restful
sleep.

(To
be continued)

 

The
Coin  (Part 6)

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