The Artist – August 2009 Part IV

I really hadn’t meant for it to happen, but I couldn’t help myself.

I’d seen Nathan many times since the day he rescued me and Brian, but it always took all of my self control not to shrink away from him. I knew Brian looked up to him as a hero, so I’d always tried to hide it. To be honest, part of me thought of him as a hero too, but… the memory of his feeding off the guy was carved just too deep into my memory. And this time, all three of them had seen my reaction.

Brian and Jack looked puzzled, but Nathan clearly knew. But the expression on his face wasn’t one of anger or annoyance, it was one of pity. Without a word, he pulled the curtains shut around us and looked down at me with sad eyes.

“You saw,” he said in a quiet voice, “I’m so sorry.”

Brian stared from him to me with a look of confusion on his face. “Saw what?” he asked finally.

Naturally I couldn’t answer, but Nathan could. Although his voice was heavy with regret as he did so.

“The same thing you did,” he told Brian. “The time the two of you were abducted by that sex trafficking bunch, and…”

“You came for us,” my childhood friend finished nodding his head. I could see the memory was still fresh in his memory. A faraway haunted look crept into his eyes. Then he turned to me and said, “But, I thought I kept you from seeing anything. I was holding you to my chest.”

He had, but even with his arms covering my head I’d been able to see through the crack between them, and wished I hadn’t ever since.

“I wasn’t exactly quiet,” Nathan said, breaking the moment, “And of course you saw what happened, Brian. I suspect your guard might have dropped enough for her to get an eyeful. Am I right?”

That question was directed at me and I nodded.

At that point, Jack came forward and pulled out his stethoscope. “I’d like you to listen to something,” he told me and held out the ear pieces at me.

I wasn’t sure what he had in mind, but I nodded and allowed him to gently place them in my ears. Then he turned to Nathan who he instructed to open his shirt.

“Hey… when did this place become Chippendale’s?” Nathan protested, but opened his shirt anyway. Then he leaned forward asJack placed the other end of the stethoscope on his chest. “Woo… that is cold. Do you keep that thing in a freezer or something?”

“Shhh… let her listen,” Jack replied while I did as he instructed.

The sound of a healthy beating heart came loud and clear through the instrument.

“An undead creature, wouldn’t have a heartbeat like that would it?” Jack asked me.

I wasn’t really sure. After all, a stake through the heart killed vampires didn’t it? So I merely shrugged.

Undaunted, Jack moved the diaphragm of the stethoscope to the other side of Nathan’s chest. “Hear anything?”

I listened, but I just heard breathing this time.

“Nathan, would you move your heart to where I’m positioned?”

I don’t know who looked more puzzled, me or the man I was still trying to figure out. But after a moment, he nodded.

After a few seconds later, I heard the pulsing heart just as loud as before. But even more importantly, I actually heard its approach just before it… got into position. Torn between horror and amazement I just stared at the two men.

Still I was afraid and Jack knew it. He asked Nathan to leave and wait in the hallway, which he did.

After he left Jack turned back to me and smiled. “I know you think he’s a vampire. That’s why I asked him to leave. That way you can be sure that he hasn’t hypnotized you into believing what Brian and i are about to tell you. In a way, your suspicion is partly correct. But I want to ask you, could such an undead creature physically move the location of its heart?”

I thought about all the movies and stories I’d read. If vampires could do such a thing, killing them would be much harder, nearly impossible. Finally, I shook my head.

Jack smiled reassuringly. “But what about a man who never died, but wound up sharing his body with a life-form which requires him to take in blood as part of his nutritional requirements?”

That made me raise my eyebrows as I found my thinking in terms of science fiction instead of horror stories.

As I did so, Brian chimed in saying, “The life-form also allows him to alter his shape and even move and change his organs around.”

What followed was the most amazing story I’d ever heard in my life. I won’t go into details here, because I know others in Nathan’s ‘Extended Family’ have already shared it more than once. And they, and their descendants will be the only ones to read this, so I don’t need to go into things further. Besides, I’m here to share my experience.

After Brian and Jack finished telling me all about Nathan and some of the things he could do, I simply lay there for a few moments taking it all in. If just half of what they had told me was true, then he might be able to help me once more.

“Should I ask Nathan to come back in?” asked Jack after a few moment.

I nodded ever so carefully. My heart beating with anticipation.

TO BE CONTINUED…

The Artist – August 2009 Part III

Of course the accident happened shortly after that and I wound up in the hospital. And as you know I received dozens of visitors who constantly reassured me that everything would be all right. Such words and sentiments were always welcome and helped make the day pass more easily.

But night-time was another matter. Everything would be quiet, aside from the staff making their rounds. Occasionally one would wake me up to draw blood or give me my medications, but for the most part I was on my own with only my thoughts for company. That’s when dealing with my situation became much harder.

That’s when all those little fears we keep hidden away come out to plague us. And believe me I had a lot of them which kept me company for hour after hour. Most of them involved not being able to use my hands to sculpt. I won’t tell you how many times I wound up crying myself to sleep, but it happened a lot. I tried to keep quiet about it (which should have been easy with my mouth wired shut), but one person found out.

I woke one morning to someone gently dabbing the sides of my eyes with handkerchief. It was Brian. Dr. Jack Tyler, my physician and our mutual friend, had allowed him in before visiting hours had officially begun. Jack had noticed the tear soaked tissues before and had tried to draw me. I would’ve have loved to have told him what was wrong, but first and foremost he was my doctor. A doctor in frequent demand so we kept getting interrupted. After a while I just stopped trying.

Luckily, Jack is someone who doesn’t give up easily, especially when you’re his patient as well as his friend. So he’d gone out of his way to get Brian here to make sure they found out what was troubling me. By this time I was able to make some sounds, but understanding me was not easy. Yet somehow we managed.

 As it turned out, both of them suspected I was worried about my works in progress back at the studio. With this in mind, Brian had gone to check on things for me. He even took photos on his phone and shared them with me.

While I was relieved to see everything was still untouched, a part of me felt guilty at the same time. Seeing my kiln just sitting there waiting to be filled, or my tools just hanging on their hooks, they it all looked so lonely. Then I saw the piece of my grandfather, still wrapped in the plastic just as I’d left it. That’s when the tears began to flow.

It took Jack and Brian some time, but they managed to understand to get the full story out of me.

The date of the exhibition, which was still going to happen, was also my mother’s birthday that she shared with her father. It would have been his 108th. I had secretly been planning to have his sculpture to be the centerpiece of the show, as well as a gift to both my mom and his memory.

Once they understood, Brian exchanged a look with Jack who nodded. Then he turned back to me and said, “Don’t worry, it’s going to be all right. Just trust me.”

In spite of the fact that I had absolutely no idea what they had planned, something about Brian’s tone was extremely reassuring.  After that, they talked about their families and kept me amused for another half an hour. By then I was feeling tired again and managed to drift off without the help of medication for a change.

The rest of the day passed as all the others had, medications, smoothie meals, and television. There were a couple of more visitors, but it’s what the night brought that I really want to talk about. Or rather, who it brought.

I’d been listening to an audiobook with my eyes closed, so I never heard my visitors arrive. It wasn’t until Brian gently tapped my shoulder that I realized anyone had come. Looking up I saw him and Jack smiling down at me. Then from behind them Nathan popped his head out and waved at me.

Unable to help myself, I shuddered.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Marisa’s Musings “Lost and Alone”… June 23rd, 2011

****NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I want to warn you all in advance that this particular entry is a bit heavier than some of the ones you’ve seen before.  It deals with someone fighting cancer.  So if you wish to take a pass on this entry I’ll understand.  I suffered a loss of someone very dear to me a few months back and it hurt to write this passage, since I drew upon a lot of the emotions and thoughts that I went through.  However, this sub-story plays an important role in the main novel.  So I leave it to your own discretion.  I don’t wish to hit anyone’s ‘triggers’ and set you off. SPOILER: And if it’s any comfort, the person fighting cancer is still around in the novel.****

 

Sorry I haven’t been posting for a while, my life has turned upside down in the worst way possible and I don’t know what to do.

About two months ago Dad went to see our family doctor, Jack Tyler.  He’s been our physician for as long as I can remember.  Which only makes sense since he and my dad grew up together.  Anyway, Dad went to see him for his annual physical.  Aside from feeling a little tired for the last month or two, he didn’t have any complaints.  But some of his blood tests came back and something wasn’t right.  So there were more tests, followed by X-rays and a Cat-Scan.  Long story short, he’s got cancer.

Uncle Jack assured us that it was detected early and there was a good chance they could treat it with surgery.  Well, the surgery seemed to go okay, but then they found it had spread to one or two lymph nodes.  So they removed those as well and now he’s getting chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

He’s been holding up for the most part, but those therapies take so much out of him.  He’s lost weight and looks a bit grey some days.  Plus they leave him pretty weak. Some days he mostly sleeps or just sits and reads or watches a movie or two.  Uncle Jack has told us things are looking good, but he said that about the surgery so I’m not as confident in his predictions.

At this point I’m trying to spend more time with Dad.  I keep feeling like I may lose him and I don’t want to.  I’ve stopped hanging out as much with my friends, except for Lisa.  She’s my best friend and has been trying to be there for me every step of the way.  Unfortunately, she’s heading to England for the summer with her family.  Apparently, her godfather is over there and made arrangements to have her entire family come and stay with him for a while.  I’ve never met the guy, but I’ve a lot about him.   Uncle Nate is in like his twenties and is working with a professor over in London, which is someplace Lisa’s always wanted to visit.  She offered to ask her parents to let her stay with my family, but I told her no.  If this turns out to be the last summer I have with my father I want to be with him as much as possible.

 

 

I even cut back on my school activities as soon as I knew he’d been diagnosed with cancer.  The first thing I did was give up my place as head cheerleader.  Both my parents told me I didn’t have to do it, but I knew they’d need me, and they have  It’s been a rough couple of months.

Watching my dad have to sit around be tired out so easily freaks me out sometimes.  I mean, he’s a mail carrier.  He walks miles and miles every week doing his route.  Now he gets winded just moving from room to room sometimes.  Which is why I need to be around for him.  Mom can’t always be here, so I make sure I am.  He and I sit together and talk or read.  Sometimes we’ll watch movies, but even that’s been kind of hard lately.  Not for him, but for me.

 

 

I know I mentioned a while back that he loves vampire movies.  They’re like his all time favorite thing to watch.  And until he got sick I loved them too.  But now when I watch the heroes trying to save someone who’s being fed on night after night by Christopher Lee or whoever’s playing Dracula, I keep noticing how pale and even grey the victim looks sometimes.  They’re so weak and tired, after having started out so lively and vibrant earlier in the film.  So instead of helping take my mind off what Dad’s fighting, I get a huge reminder that I may lose him.

When I look at the television screen instead of seeing a vampire, I see some form of cancer that’s taken on a human shape.  And it’s everywhere.  Even at school I used to hang with a couple of the Goth kids, but then I stopped.  All that pale make-up and dark clothing… it was too much.

 

 

God I wish Lisa were here right now.  I feel so lost and alone sometimes.  But I’ve still got my dad and I’m going to hold onto him as much as possible.  I pray Uncle Jack is right and Dad is going to be okay.  I just wish there was more I could do for him.  I feel so helpless sometimes..

Oh, he’s just woken up from a nap and is calling for me.  Sounds like he wants to watch another movie with me.  Talk to you all again soon.  If you don’t hear from me again for a while, I know you’ll understand.

Ciao for now…