Monday, 18 September 2017

Everything you were ever afraid of.

We went to see It yesterday afternoon (thank you rainy day empty theatre, so empty I didn't have to book it), and as the world's biggest Stephen King fan I have to say,

I didn't...hate it.

It was actually pretty good, although the horror parts were not that good. Too campy, too silly, not scary, very weirdly done.

The children, however and their relationship to one another was masterfully done.

I think that's what I love about King stories. Half the horror is some real-world psychological dread but it's softened by some campy bullshit easy-horror, almost diluted to make it something you can swallow. So the campy rotting skeletons will probably kill and you and what a relief, hey, because at least now your fear of the dark/being alone/death/whatever won't.

(Now I patiently wait for Joyland, Doctor Sleep and Revival to be made into movies because I think they'd be fantastic. Much as The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon will forever be my favorite of all time I daresay it wouldn't make a good movie because so much of it takes place inside her head.

(which is EXACTLY why the movie of my life is going to flop someday too.)

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Let me ramble, I'm actually typing in church so I can't edit.

This morning Sam stood up at the pulpit and told the congregation the parable of how he helped participate in the emancipation of an incarcerated soul. How he held that soul in his gaze, naked and unprotected, how he rushed to perform the rites of baptism the moment that beautiful soul was reunited with its rightful owner. How he vowed to protect that soul for the remainder of its time within one of the most precious living entities he has ever touched.

The tips of my ears were burning so so ferociously I had visions of Lochlan leaning over and lighting a cigarette off one of them, except that 1) we were in church and b) he doesn't smoke anymore.

I could see the expressions on people's faces as they wrestled with his words. Was it a metaphor, or perhaps a warning. Was it from the old testament, maybe, or maybe something from a book or from a dream and he was going to use to to talk about Jesus. Maybe he was going to use it to remind us to be virtuous in case our souls leave or get stolen. Maybe it's true and Sam's crazy. Maybe that girl he lives with gave her soul away.

(Hey, maybe it got taken by the Devil when she was a child as a warning. As a prize. As a punishment.)

Caleb sat up stick-straight during Sam's tale, expressionless, rigid. I wondered if he thought Sam would name names or call him out properly by his rightful name to fight the ultimate war but Sam went the other way, softening until he was mush, unable to continue, trailing off with a hand indicating the hymn number written on the chalkboard.

Sam does not have his shit together since this happened. Which is to be expected. When Jake found out Caleb actually had possession of my soul his reaction was much the same.

I imagine he'll be pleased now to know I'm one hundred percent physically intact.

I imagine he'll still be completely crushed to know that I'm still batting a good sixty, maybe only fifty percent tops emotionally.

Not like it matters. You can lead a girl to her soul but it won't fix much of anything.

Abruptly Caleb picks up my hand and kisses the back of it.

Okay maybe it fixes some things.

Saturday, 16 September 2017


I couldn't open the big double doors today, it was too cold. I did take my breakfast out front though, to eat in the morning sun while it hits the front porch. After that it's in shade for much of the day. Plus it was where my Lochlan was, replete with fresh coffee and an old guitar.

You eat? 

I nod in a lie and hold up my own cup. I can't manage walking, plates and cups. I'm not all that coordinated so I poured a coffee and came out. I'll leave the cup and go fetch a muffin later.

He approves of my lie and puts the guitar away. For the record, I didn't ask Ben how long he would need in order to ration his time, I asked because I was trying to give him time, but I also wanted time and didn't want to crash his reunion. He offered the two-hour mark. I didn't demand it. 

I nod. I don't think he needs the validation here in daylight but he seems to. Not like we could sort it out last night. The bed was kind of crowded, as Ben was already long asleep when we went up and Sam stuck around so late we didn't send him home at all and everyone (even the dog) slept in a little bit, just enough, on a cold sunny Saturday to take the edge off the week, to fade the bruises from some days with harder edges then necessary. Sam talked me back from the anger, Lochlan gave me a soft place to hide, and between the two of them I didn't end the day the way I spent it at least and I feel better.

Can I take my bride out for breakfast?

Yeah. That would be really nice. 

Get your bag, honey. I'll put the guitar away. 

How did you know I didn't eat? 

I know you. You can't walk five feet with a plate and a mug at the same time.

Friday, 15 September 2017

My uncle died this morning.

He was the only one I've ever had, to be technical, though my grandfathers' brothers were all uncles by default as per tradition until they all died but I was so young when that happened it didn't seem so final the way it does now and I've spent much of the day in a fog, vaguely teary but mostly angry as that's how grief is for me now. Why the fuck do we even bother with stupid shit like buying tires and weeding the garden when we're all just going to die. Why pay the power bill? Why take my vitamins?

It's all just going to end abruptly and without warning and then someone's going to have to make a round of phone calls and once everyone is duly notified you stop and take a breath.

Then your brain does that awful thing where it runs down everything you remember about that person, neatly packaging it up for you into a little compartment, labelling it with their name, and it puts it in a dark corner where you won't trip over it, and it says to you quietly,

There. We'll just leave this here for you. 

And you wonder how long it will be before you forget the sound of their voice, or what they look like. And your brain tries to interrupt all those destructive lines of thinking with comforts about heaven, that you'll see them again, that there's a reunion to look forward to, but you know better because first you get to spend another fifty or sixty years on earth (if you're lucky ooooh boy next person who says that to me better be getting a head start.) buying tires, taking vitamins, and coping with death.

Like a good girl.

I hate today. I hate the fact that I didn't see him over the past many years. I hate the fact that I can't be peaceful and comfortable with death instead of seething with quiet rage over it, as if I could conjure up enough anger and make it go away somehow, as if I could scare it off.

As if I could just make it wait, because I'm not ready for any more of it.

Not yet.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Boy logic.

What if we're all just sleeping satellites?
Why do we drift so far from home?
Why do we wake ourselves from paradise?
Where we will never be alone
The drugs are a volume knob and it'd be nice if someone turned it down a little, just so I could hear myself, just so the noise could die down just a little, just so my heart would stop crawling out of my chest (we need to watch that NO YOU NEED TO FIX IT HELP ME IT FEELS WEIRD), just so I could make it past morning hellos and actually make plans or do something other than sit and look out the window, forgetting to blink until my eyes fuse into shards of stingy glass.

I'm sitting in Ben's lap, as he holds his hands up against my own. He's a mirror, a mime. Every time I move mine, he moves his. His eyes smile at me along with the rest of his face. It's a group effort and I can't get enough. His eyebrows are half-circles, his eyes bright stars, his nose spreads out just enough to lead to the wide spread of his perfect mouth. He's been shaving every day and he always looks a little strange without a beard but it makes his eyes all the more intense. That's not a bad thing.

Lochlan tried to ration my time, Bee. 

Did you throw down to sort it out?

No, I let him give me a time and I agreed to it. 

I slide off his lap and fall on my face. Ben's logic sometimes leaves me speechless.

Come back, he pulls me upright.

I thought you weren't going to let him pull alpha. 

He is the alpha. And frankly he needs this. Needs to feel like he's in charge or what does he have?

I look around. Everything. 

Tell a man he can have his wife back when you feel like it and see if they feel that way. 

I'm not into girls.


I don't want him pulling that on you when you've been away forever. 

It's fine. 

Then why did you tattle on him?

So you would be aware, in case you weren't, of  just how much he loves you. I think as open as he tries to be deep down Lochlan is a little boy who doesn't want to share his ice cream. 

Don't say that. He loves you. 

Not the way he loves you. 


No. It's okay, Bridge. 

I know. I much time do we have? 

A couple hours and then I asked him to come hang out with us.

Then why in the hell are we still talking? Take off your clothes.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017


I still have hope
Though it failed me so
And now I’m weak where I once was strong
Time’s moved on
All that was is gone
My stronghold is
I live to long
I would have woken up in a panic but in my dream I smelled airplane fuel and I knew before he lifted me up that he was really home.


Tightly I went into Ben's arms with a kiss so that he would know that I was fine, that we were fine. I didn't see at the time and wouldn't until he let go that his other hand was cradled around Lochlan's head. Lochlan slept deeply and didn't wake up at first, didn't smell fuel, didn't notice a six-foot-four dark-haired man come in a week early off his trip because he didn't like what he read and didn't want to be away any more. Two weeks was enough. It was suppose to be three and a bit. I couldn't even talk about it.

My arms flew around his neck. I might not let go until Christmas.

So much has happened. 

I see that. 

I can't see anything. It's too dark. 

Leave it dark. I can see. 

You're a vampire. 

And you've got to let Loch sleep sometime, Bee. He needs it. 

How was your flight?

Too long. 

Did you come back alone? 

No. Everyone's back. Full complement army now, Bridge. Something you probably should have waited for. His eyes flash in the night as mine adjust. I hate to get right into it but I don't trust Caleb's motives for doing this now. It was one of the only cards he still held. 

He's getting old. That's all. He's trying to fix things because we want to do right by each other. Lochlan mutters it from his pillow. He puts a hand up and Ben grasps it tightly in his.

You trust him? 

I don't know. But I wasn't going to refuse the offer. 

Ben looks at me and I shrug.

No, I don't imagine you were. He stares into my face for so long I start wondering if it would be rude to break my return gaze and go back to sleep. I'm not good at being awake. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm just going to involuntarily close my eyes any second now if he doesn't offer a little more sleep-

Let's sleep for a bit. I'm wiped. I just wanted to get back. I wanted to be here with both of you. He throws his arms around both of us and crashes down hard onto the bed and we laugh and leave him in the middle without another word, crowding into close together. I'm pretty sure they were both asleep in seconds and I wasn't far behind. Best two hours of sleep I've had in a while.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Part II: Somewhere along the way it all got mixed up together.

I woke up free. I woke up with salt crusted on my hair, my eyelashes, and on Lochlan's beard. Our clothes were stiff and we smelled like the ocean. We had slept for ten or thirty hours. We slept until we no longer felt so tired. His hands are rough around my head and he wakes up when I try to move.


I sit up and realize Caleb is here too. He's dry and clean. But he's here.


When we burst back into daylight we went running across the yard. I did a cartwheel and then a backflip right off the cliff, starting off so gracefully in the night, so acrobatic before reverting to Bridget-rusted-chicken just as I caught sight of the edge. Doubt poked me, wondering out loud if maybe I wasn't fast enough, if maybe I hadn't kicked out far enough to clear the cliff successfully.

But I had, and I hit the cold water and I woke up alive. Complete. Lochlan surfaced, clutching me, Sam a second later, almost beside me, pushing me back under before I could catch my breath, drowning me in a quick baptism for my own good, shouting about the father, son and the holy whatever just as I started fighting him to breathe again.

Spirit. That's what I surfaced with.

And he laughed as he asked the boys if they would lift me up in prayer, supporting me as one of God's own.

They answered, shouting back in shivering unison and we were already swimming around to the beach.

(Sillies. I'm not God's. I'm theirs.)

When we touched solid ground Sam put his arms around me and said a prayer into my hair so fast I couldn't hear any of it. He put his thumb on my forehead and drew the shape of a cross and he smiled as if I had been saved.

Well, you have, he nodded and handed me over to Lochlan who honestly gets credit for all of this and may or may not have been twisting Caleb's arm so hard he's been squealing for months and Lochlan finally went past humane this week. Enough.


No, this isn't going to be the status quo, yes, you're going to put it all back the way you found it. Jesus, this has gone on long enough. Let go already. Make her whole again. Leave her be. Let her come back. Undo all of the horrible things you did to her and help her already.

And we didn't think Caleb would agree to it. I didn't think he was afraid of Cole too. It makes me sad. I reach down and touch his face from where I sit. His eyes open.

Sorry. I didn't mean to wake you. 

I haven't been sleeping, just waiting. But he looks drained.

I'm sorry. But it wasn't his to keep. 

They're going to seal the door this afternoon, Neamhchiontach.

Who is?

Your army. 

Let them. 

If they do this Cole is gone forever. 

He's been gone since I left him, Diabhal. 

Caleb turns away from me, and then nods to the opposite wall. I give him his dignity. He doesn't deserve it but I'm gracious when I don't have to be and cruel when I feel like it, just like everybody else. He turns back, slams a gentle kiss against my salty forehead and tells me he'll see us in a bit.

And then he's gone, which is good because I need to think. I need to feel what it feels like to not have him fragmenting pieces of me, fracturing off my soul to keep like a prize after destroying my childhood in a way I never expected, taking my plans and my hopes and twisting them into something dark and strange and making everything different. I need time with Lochlan, apart from the endless attempts at sabotage, from within, from without.

Is this why everyone always says 'this is the first day of the rest of your life' after something very important happens? 

Yes. This is why, Peanut. Probably never truer than today for you. 

Do you think? 

I do. 

I would have thought that was the day after Jacob died (THWACK painfully still as my heart refuses to acknowledge that word and his name in the same sentence even after all these years).

That was heartbreak. This is healing. 

Is there a diff-

You tell me, Peanut. Tell me if you feel different and you'll see that you already have the answer.

Monday, 11 September 2017


He gave her enough Ambien that she should sleep until Thanksgiving.

She's not asleep though.

How can you tell?

She's tense. 

But I am asleep. I'm drifting in and out. I'm reacquainting myself with my life, filling her in on everything she's missed. And then I fall asleep and lose my place and have to start all over again anyway but that's okay, it's not like she's paying attention anyway. She was always so easily distracted. By lights and colors. By stars. By the smiles of the boys. I don't know if I'm in any less trouble than I ever was but at least things will be easier to manage. 

Or so I was thinking but then another wave of sleep hit me and knocked me off my feet like high tide. I didn't get up until dinner tide and then I couldn't string two sentences together anyway so they topped me up and sent me back.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Part I: Purpose-built.

(They say I have the best imagination in the world.)

Enough liquid courage to not even feel that anymore, to feel nothing at all and he took the crowbar out from between his teeth and jammed it in between the door and the frame. It's a door that's been locked up tight for over thirty years and I don't know why we listened but we suddenly realized we don't have to listen, we never really did and so we don't even have to ask for a key.

Hold him back, I hiss over my shoulder. 

We've got him, they tell me. I hear struggling and then a thump and then silence. 

I look back into the dark. I can't see my hand in front of my face back there. 

It's fine, Bridge. They whisper. Let's get this done. 

He pushes forward on the bar and braces himself but then pauses and looks at me. You ready, Peanut? 

Am I ever. I nod. Or maybe I'm just shaking. Hell if I know. I motion with my hands. Do it. Yes. Come on. 

He pulls back with all of his weight. The door splits somewhere in the middle. The lock holds but the wood doesn't and the door comes apart at the joints. Inside it's blacker than the hallway behind me. A cold rush of air hits me full on. It weighs a ton. 

He holds out his hand. Let's go. 

I take his hand and follow him in. 

His left hand is lit up in flames. He holds it out in front of us but we walk so quickly we overtake the edge too many times to count, tripping over the light, finding a hard darkness. It's slowing us down. He stops for a moment and takes my right hand, kissing the tips of my fingers. 

Trust me? We need more light, Peanut. 

I nod and he ignites the tips of my fingers too. I hold up my right hand and now we're a two-headed flaming monster coming to eat the dark. We're invincible. 

The air gets colder and heavier still. Dead leaves begin to crunch beneath our feet and suddenly everything looks familiar. 

The hallway. 

It's just a different hallway leading down to the concrete room where it's always fall. It's always cold. The leaves are always dried and brown and the stones are always wet and slippery, treacherous and dark. 

And everything always ends at the same door. Everything always seems to begin here too.

Only Jake doesn't live here anymore. I didn't have the heart to leave him down here when they stopped letting me come down here. It isn't a real place but it's dangerous all the same. 

Oh my God. 

He's left it with Cole-


I turn the wheel but it's rusted shut from being closed so long. Lochlan throws his weight against it and finally it turns and the door swings open slowly, just enough for us to slip inside the room, one at a time. Lochlan starts to light up again and Cole lets out an unholy scream and then I do too. 

Put them out! He doesn't like the light!

Lochlan won't look at me though, he's only looking at Cole. Cole's wings are out. Defensive positioning. Full black wings now grown to a full fifteen or seventeen-foot span. A little daunting. He's always been a little daunting. A lot intense. Frightening in a way I don't even recall being to this degree.

But he's not looking at us. He's looking behind us.

I turn and there's Jake.

White wings out to counter. Good versus bad. Light versus dark. Heaven versus Hell. I look into Jacob's blue eyes and he smiles so wearily at me.

Get what you came here for, Princess, but hurry. 

I panic, because I don't even know what to look for.

But Lochlan's already halfway there, circling around Cole.

Bridget, come and look at this.

Cole is still raging at Jacob and isn't paying attention to us. Which is good. I can't stop shaking. I feel like Caleb sent us on some kind of wild goose chase for kicks. Go rile up the angels, he probably thought. Go let them tear you to pieces, he probably hoped.

Lochlan points to the wall. High up in a nook, carved into the jagged concrete surface sits a small wrought iron cage. It's only about a foot tall, maybe less, round with a tiny door on one side and a hook on the top.

There, he says.

There's nothing in there, I tell him, disappointed.

Watch it, he says, holding my shoulders, keeping me trained on it.

I watch.

Lochlan, I don't- And then I see it. The smallest displacement of air. Almost like there's an invisible bird in the cage and it just fluttered its wings.

He turns his face to stare at me. I've never seen a look like that.

I'll be back. 

He'll kill you! 

We have to get it. 

I have to get it. 

No way. 

It's the only way. Just stay here. 

He turns but there's Jake.

Jake smiles at me again and wraps me in his wings, walking directly behind me. Bulletproof. Cole-proof. At one point I felt like I was and now I am again. It makes me sad but I have a job to do. I reach the cage but I can't lift it. Jake can't touch it either and so I open the door of the cage, reaching both hands in. Instinctively I close them around the roiling fluttering bit of air I feel and a tiny soft feeling pushes against my hands as they close, like a bird. I press my hands against my chest and then the feeling goes right inside me and I feel warm. I feel like I'm going to cry. I feel like me again. I feel like I no longer have to make that odd distinction between twelve-year-old me and now-me ever since. I have her back. My soul. The one part of me Caleb has kept from me ever since that night up until now.

This is the reason I have this army. This is why I needed all this. Everything has been building up until this moment and now it is here.

I turn and look at them.

Did it work? PJ looks so tense he's a human land mine.

Of course it did, says Andrew. Look at her!

Duncan smiles.

Lochlan bursts into tears and Jake puts a hand on his shoulder. You all have to go now. He'll find out soon that his treasure his missing. He points at Cole, who has retreated to a high corner.

We hurry to get through the door again. Once in the hallway, we're met by Caleb, who is sombre and pale.

How is he? 


I just took the very last think he loved in this world. 

He's not a part of this world, I tell Caleb, and you shouldn't be either for this. 

That's why I returned your soul to you. It belongs to you so you should have it back.

You should have come to get it yourself. 

He won't let me near it, Bridget, I've tried. 

I just stare at it. He's probably right. And Jacob would never have helped anyone but me.

I hate to interrupt this, Sam says, but I need to get her baptized. The sooner, the better. 

Friday, 8 September 2017

On the piper paying me.

It's a gift. Don't open it now. Do it later, when you have a little quiet. 

The envelope is white, a simple laser-cut lace pattern gracing the flap on the back. The front is completely plain, save for my name, written in Caleb's loopy penmanship.


This is new.

I nod and he gives me a hurried kiss on the forehead and a shove inside the opened back door, home. I tuck the envelope into the pocket of my skirt and forget all about it, sending it through the washing machine this morning. And then the dryer too.

I bring it to him just after lunch today as it is a hard little paper egg and I can't get it apart so I guess we have to start over. I doubt it was cash, he usually just scribbles a line or so to check my account or not even, sometimes he just lists a reason, and I have to embark on a financial scavenger hunt to find the actual 'gift'.

This is my fault, I shouldn't have asked you to wait. Just a moment. I'll make up another. 

He disappears down the hall to his office. I follow.

Can't you just tell me what it says? 

Honestly, Neamhchiontach, this gift is one that involves a rather large amount of humility on my part and I would rather not be present for any of it. I'm trying to do things I should have done a long time ago.

I frown. What are you talking about? 

He takes a deep breath and lets it out. You'll understand shortly. Have Lochlan there when you open it, maybe. Yes. Make sure he's there and make sure he's with you when you go to collect. That part is very important. If he can't then you'll have to come back for me to go with you. Promise me. 

I promise-

Now go. Another envelope, another shove and I'm left in yesterday again.