“FREE FROM JENNA”

Dr. Chiang leaned back on his chair and studied one of the subjects intently. “Tell me, Jackie,” he asked her in particular, “why do you hate her so much?”

Jackie was startled. She had expected this question, expected it for quite a long time now, in fact. But to actually hear it asked still startled her and made her feel a little uncomfortable. Excited, but uncomfortable. She felt that the doctor wanted her to answer this in particular.

“Well?” the doctor repeated the question. “Jackie, why do you hate Jenna so much?”

“It’s not…it’s just…” she started with a stutter, both excited and curious about where all this was going to lead.

Yes? Go on…”

carol-radway-russian-dolls

From CarolRadway.com. Copyright © 2009 Carol Radway

“It’s not that I hate her. It’s just…I don’t like her that much…She doesn’t let me do my own things. I just hate it when I can’t express myself.” There, she had said it. It might as well be all out of the bag. It was no secret anyway.

“Do your own things. Like what?”

“Well, for instance, she doesn’t ever want me to make friends with boys, much less, flirt with them. Like it embarrasses her.” He asked her if it did embarrass Jenna. Jackie wanted to give him a kick. “Yes! That prude!”

Mother gasped. Jackie had forgotten that she was there. “Jackie! Watch your language! And don’t talk about her like that!” Mother scolded.

Ugh! Here she was again, protecting her precious Jenna. “But she deserves it. And I’m only telling the truth. That wimp. Whenever I want to do something, she doesn’t want to let me. Whenever I do get to do something and she finds out, she ruins it for me.”

“That is not true.”

“It is true! I kissed Allan this one time and the next day, she found out when he tried to kiss me again, and she slapped him! Now he doesn’t even want to talk to me.” Jackie’s lips quivered a bit. Her anger returned whenever she remembered the incident. She was too angry to be uncomfortable anymore. “She’s destroying us, Mother. It’s true. You can ask David. He doesn’t like her, either.”

“No, I don’t!” David snapped, his usual silence broken. “I mean, I don’t not like her…” He so wanted to give Jackie a hit on the head. That girl had such a big mouth. Now the doctor would ask more questions and want more answers as he scribbled on his pad. Maybe he diagnosed them all as crazy, who knew? He also seemed to be very interested in Jackie…Damn him. Damn Jackie. Damn them all! Couldn’t they just leave him alone?

The doctor cleared his throat. David cringed. He hated it whenever the doctor cleared his throat. “So, David, do you really or do you not dislike Jenna?” Dr. Chiang regarded him now.

“I told you, I don’t hate her.”

Jackie suddenly laughed, shifting the doctor’s eyes back on her again. “Really? So you didn’t take it against her when she forbid you to ride the roller-coaster, just because she was afraid and didn’t want to go? When she stopped you from whacking that mean bully at school who kept calling us names? When you couldn’t go play basketball with Allan anymore because of her?”

“If you didn’t kiss him, then it would not have happened. Stupid.”

Mother interrupted. “Now, David, we all know anyway that you can’t anymore play basketball with– ”

“Oh, yes, I can!” David snapped again. These people were trying his patience! Mother and her morals. All those years of friendship, gone, just because of Jackie and Jenna. And now, Mother was telling him it was necessary…Oh, why was he stuck with all these women!

Dr. Chiang cleared his throat again, annoying David further. “Doesn’t that bother you, David, that you have somehow lost a friend because of Jenna?”

Extremely annoyed, David stifled a smart retort and tried to sound as civil as he could. “I can’t play basketball anymore. I can’t stay out much longer either even if I should be able to now that I’m older. I can’t even stop her from making me read all those tacky romance novels…If you were me, wouldn’t you be bothered?”

Jackie felt herself turn crimson. “They’re not tacky…”

Dr. Chiang watched this development very well. Why was Jackie suddenly embarrassed? Could it mean she shared the same interests with Jenna sometimes, somehow? What about David? What about Mother? Curious.

David first seemed at a loss, then he burst out laughing. “Oh, yes, I forgot. You’re the tacky reader. Jenna’s the one who reads the kind of stuff I like–Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King…”

“Hey, I like those, too, if you haven’t noticed!” Jackie said indignantly.

“Yes, except that you read tacky romances as well.”

As usual, Mother thought it best to stop any bickering. “Now, now, kids, let us all be nice,” she said, flashing the doctor a forced smile.

Jackie rolled her eyes. Mother was always self-righteous, always tried to tell everybody what or what not to do, according to her values, her standards. She even tried to control Jenna at times. But Jenna seemed to always have the upper-hand when it came to Mother, who was always ready to forgive and comfort her. That wench.

“Be nice like Jenna, huh?…Come on, why do you always baby her?” Jackie answered back with a pout.

Mother sighed. Why did things always have to come to this? To her protecting Jenna from them? “I don’t…‘baby’ her. She just needs to feel loved. We, of all people, should know that.”

“And so she takes it all out on us, by repressing us. And you love her for that? You must be mad! Don’t you just hate it when she goes against your will? She’s not all-angel, you know that.”

I don’t need to be reminded. Mother did not answer, though. Whatever Jenna’s shortcomings, she would accept. If she wouldn’t, and these two obviously wouldn’t, then who would? Poor Jenna.

The doctor took this opportunity to ask another of his many questions. “I am really rather curious about that, too. Hasn’t anyone ever really tried to go against her wishes at all? Surely– ”

“Oh, Doc, weren’t you listening at all? I thought you were interested in what I had to say ’cause you sure look like it whenever I talk,” Jackie complained. It was Dr. Chiang’s turn to be embarrassed. This girl was really smart, although rather outspoken. She could go far if she so willed it. But it could be rather detrimental to Jenna’s health. “Didn’t I tell you I sometimes do get to do something?”

“Ah, forgive my memory. Alright. So you did. So, care to tell?”

“That’s more like it. Focus!…Anyway, there was this one time that I got a major part in a school play, you know, Romeo and Juliet. You see, I saw the announcement for auditions scheduled on a Saturday. Jenna ignored it, but I certainly didn’t. So when she had her afternoon nap on that Saturday, I snuck out, went to the auditions, and got Juliet’s part!” For a moment, Jackie was excited. Her smile soon faded, her expression turning to gloom. “She found out Monday and pulled me out of the play. So they got someone much less talented than I am.”

“But, from what I’ve gathered, Jenna seems to be quite the artistic person herself. One thing you have in common, now that I think of it. I should think she would be happy. Didn’t she even think of joining?”

“That selfish girl? She was too caught up in her low self-esteem, she couldn’t have cared less.”

David snorted. “That’s not entirely true,” he said and provided more information. “To make up for the bother she caused the production, Jenna volunteered to help in the stage production instead. Not to say that she understood everything that happened, though. Anyway, Jenna actually did quite well. Painting is her forte, you know, not acting. That’s Jackie’s line. But whenever someone took notice and praised her work, she shrank back into her shell, like she couldn’t handle being the center of attention. So unlike Juliet here.”

“Interesting,” the doctor said out loud. Each of Jenna and Jackie actually has her own talent! Very interesting! And what was more interesting, he got David to talk. Among the three visitors, David had always been the most reserved or secretive. His inputs were always far and in-between that Dr. Chiang cherished them every time. It was easier to extract information from the women, particularly Jackie who, like David said, liked to be the center of attention.

Dr. Chiang glanced at the video camera between them. It was still on and running smoothly.

He was surprised, though, to find Jackie looking at him again when he looked back. David, unfortunately, shut his mouth, deciding to clam up again. “Ah, but here’s the more interesting part, Doc…One time, after rehearsals, every one had gone home. As the last one to leave–and they trusted her enough–the keys were left to Jenna. So that evening, as she slept, I went back to the auditorium and…Guess what happened?” Jackie asked, her eyes twinkling.

David provided the answer. “You destroyed the set…She destroyed the set, Doc, the whole set! The night before the play!”

“She did what?” Mother exclaimed. She obviously never heard of it.

“You heard me. Miss Evil was quite the vengeful witch. The next day, everyone was outraged and hated Jenna. She was after all the last one there. And after what she did, pulling Jackie out of the production, of course, they thought it was one of her machinations, too, so as to ruin the whole play.”

Jackie had an arrogant smirk on her face. “It served her right! Why? Did she really think she could simply get away with humiliating me? And besides, I don’t see what you’re so mad about. You’re one to talk.”

“What are you talking about? Don’t you go making up stories.”

“Oh, don’t you remember? Don’t play innocent, David. She didn’t want you to compete last year, remember? In the inter-school swimming competition? She found out that you got in the swimming team and tried to dissuade you. She was afraid to compete herself and forbid you to. She– ”

“She couldn’t swim, no, not her,” Mother said, perplexed. “Not after her father almost drowned her when she was little…No, don’t tell me…”

“Well, you’re right on that part. She couldn’t. But David here made her go anyway and half-way through the relay, Jenna drowned!”

David protested. He was not the one in the wrong. He did make her go, but… “I didn’t mean it! Why are you making me look like the bad guy all of a sudden? Besides, Jenna let her trauma get to her after all. She was doing so well until she suddenly panicked. I couldn’t make her stop. How was I supposed to know? I wouldn’t do anything to hurt her intentionally. And I am not cold-hearted like you.”

WAIT A MINUTE! Can somebody PLEASE tell me why I didn’t know about that?” Mother demanded with anger in her voice. She had to know. Maybe this would explain the dreams Jenna had been having for almost a year now, of her drowning again. “I’m always the last one to know, aren’t I?”

Jackie laughed. “You didn’t know because you weren’t there. It was in school, after all. And you weren’t needed anyway. We knew you’d just make such a fuss if you found out. Simple as that.”

Dr. Chiang watched these exchanges still with great interest. So, the plot thickens, he supposed. Jackie and David often, if not always, knew what was going on. Perhaps, they kept many things from Mother. She was, after all, quite sympathetic to Jenna.

The doctor leaned closer to Jackie. “I’ll bet you don’t tell Mother that much. How is that possible that she wouldn’t know and both you and David would?”

“Seriously, Doc. You’re the expert here. You should know. It’s possible not to let her know the way it’s possible not to let Jenna know. Mother can’t be with us all the time. Even David can’t be with me all the time. Do you think he would have let me kiss Allan if he was?” Jackie gave him a contemptuous look.

“And you didn’t tell Mother about the set you destroyed, either.” Dr. Chiang braced himself for another of Jackie’s outburst.

“Honestly! Do you think I would actually let Mother know that? Would you let your own mother know if you did something like that? Not that she’s my mother, but hey, would you?”

“I guess not.”

“See?”

“Are you afraid of her?”

Jackie could feel Mother anticipating an answer. But she wasn’t afraid. Jenna did not frighten her, why would Mother? “Of course, not. But she’s just very annoying and quite a nagger. Nag-nag-nag-nag-nag!” She sensed Mother about to protest and beat her to it. “Well, you are. Nothing you say will tell me otherwise.”

“Why do you talk to her that way?”

“And why not? Are you going to nag me about it, too?”

“Just a question, Jackie, just a question.” Dr. Chiang decided to let the matter rest for a while. If there was anything sure about this girl, it was fiery temper. “Going back to Jenna, what happened to the play must have depressed her.”  

Mother sighed. “Devastated her was more like it, for sure,” she revealed. “Now everyone hates her. She’s been ostracized for far too long already and now, this. I can guess how hard she’s coping in school.”

David stood up and paced around the room, bothered by his guilt. Yes, he hated Jenna, but not that much. He hated it more when any of the girls got hurt. They were, after all, his only family. But this thing about the play did get too far for Jenna to handle. Sometimes, Jackie could go overboard and this was certainly overboard. How could they all let her walk all over them? How could he? 

“Stop walking around! You’re giving me a headache!” Jackie complained.

“David? David, anything wrong?” Dr. Chiang inquired once again. David wished he’d quit asking already.

Mother asked him what the matter was as well. Surprisingly, her voice somehow soothed him a bit. David finally replied. “I just feel guilty…about the play, you know.”

“Why? It wasn’t your own doing.”

“Yes, but it might as well be. I let Jackie. I was there, I knew, but I still let Jackie!”

Jackie retorted, “Let me? Let me? I don’t know how you could have helped it, stupid. You couldn’t have stopped me even if you tried. I have much more control over all of you.”

“Oh, really? So how come Jenna still has the last say on a lot of things? Can you prove otherwise?”

Jackie felt anger building up in her. Who did David think he was, daring her like that? She had power, she had control, and yes, she was going to prove it! “Jenna’s days are numbered. Mark my word. And if you start defying me, so shall your days be!” Jackie smiled. It was a smile too disconcerting and eerie that everyone in the room, even the doctor, felt a chill run down his or her spine.

Still, Mother was quite scandalized. “Jackie, stop talking nonsense. No one’s going to control anyone.”

“Who are you kidding? She’s been controlling us ever since I can remember and I have never, will never, bow to her. And may I remind both of you, I was the first one here, long before you two came along. If anyone’s going to take over the control, it might as well be me. The two of you are just as weak as her. Don’t think you can order me around just because you think you’re her mother. You’re not, you know that. Stop being everyone’s mother. It’s sickening. Jenna’s never had a mother. Her mother walked out on her family long ago, remember? And her father has always blamed Jenna for it and hated her…REMEMBER?

Mother kept silent. She didn’t need this. She didn’t need to be reminded of Jenna’s past, and she sure didn’t need to listen to talks such as taking control over anybody. This interview had gone far enough. Why she even agreed to it was beyond her. She must walk away, away from here.

“This session’s over. I’m leaving,” Mother announced, and before anyone could make her stay, she had already gone.

“Mother?” Dr. Chiang tried to call her back. No, she couldn’t leave. So much had yet to be answered!

David answered for her. “She’s left, Doc.”

“Left? Just for now? I hope not for good…”

David shrugged, looking defeated as he slumped back on the office sofa, trying to be comfortable, trying to be comforted. But Mother had left. She was such a nagger, but still, she always gave him comfort when he badly needed it…Some guy he was! No help to anyone at all! Not even to Jenna. He was, he realized, also in need of help.

“David, what’s the matter? You’re all pale.”

“I don’t know…I…I think I better go as well…” I’m done here.

“What?…Well, alright, but you will be back?”

David nodded. But even if he did, somehow, the doctor felt that it could probably be the last time he would be there, maybe like Mother. Still, he had to be optimistic. Maybe David would come back, maybe he could convince Mother to come back one of these days. All Dr. Chiang held on to was hope. He let David go.

“Jackie?” he asked, just to see if she was still interested. After all, she was the most enthusiastic about this in the first place.

“Yes, Doc?” Jackie beamed again. It seemed David and Mother had gone. She hoped, forever. Of course, she would miss them but the rewards would be higher this way. This might be easier than I thought! Jackie felt so excited that she could hardly keep from smiling.

“Do you want to leave, too?”

“Awww…And miss these interesting conversations? No, Sir!” The doctor heaved a soft sigh of relief. She knew she had given him the answer he wanted. She let him have it. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of the others. They’ll come back.” Not if I can help it.

“Well…,” Dr. Chiang glanced at his watch, smiling. She could be right. “It’s almost the end of our session, anyway. Think we should stop for now and continue next time. Still have to talk to Jenna before the session’s over…What do you say?”

“Okay. I’ll be here, next time. Promise. Even if Jenna won’t want to.”

“Alright…Bye, Jackie.”

“Bye, Doc.”

To the doctor’s surprise, Jackie leaned closer to the table. “See you later, Jenna,” she said to the camera, smiled sweetly and waved. Satisfied, Jackie stood up.

 

“See you later, Jenna.”

Dr. Chiang turned off the camera. He had just played the whole session for Jenna to see. The appointment then took much longer, but he didn’t mind. Jenna was an interesting study, after all. The first and probably only one of such cases he might come across in his lifetime.

Somehow, he felt his feelings melting, too. He did expect the tears running down Jenna’s face, but he did not expect to feel this. How did others like him handle such situations?

“T-that’s them? All of–all of me…?” Jenna asked, trembling.

Dr. Chiang nodded. Here was the proof Jenna demanded from him. It was necessary. It was her body. She needed to know the truth. Knowing was the first step to healing.

“Yes, Jenna, all of them.”

“But…They let you record them?”

“They thought things just might be better if you knew.” Jackie was mighty interested about it, Dr. Chiang silently said in afterthought. Why it made him a bit queasy, he didn’t know.

Dr. Chiang decided he was just a bit excited, too, about this case. And it helped that Jackie was cooperating rather well. Since he had met Jenna’s other personalities, he had sensed Jackie as the strong-willed one, though rather harsh and unreasonable at times. She was right, in a sense. She did have more control than the other two. Probably because she hated Jenna the most.

“J-Jackie…She seemed…mean…” Jenna said. It was more of a question.

“Well, yes, in a sort of way,” he said. How could you explain these things? “I guess if you got cooped up, trapped, the way that she is, maybe you’ll be a bit mean, too, at times. Jackie is actually smart, and quite brave, and strong and…Jenna, you do realize that these traits aren’t hers alone, don’t you? All you have to do is work on those traits. Lose the insecurities, be smart, be brave! Jackie and David came out because you were afraid of showing who you truly were. Or are. And Mother came out because you felt you needed protection, love, a mother…They are all you, Jenna, YOU.”

Jenna looked at him, tears still streaming down her face. “Then, how do I banish them?”

“You don’t ‘banish’ them. You cannot banish what is you. What we have to do is to slowly ‘converge’ them and you so that all of you will become one. Only then will you be healed…I’m sorry, but do you get my point?” She did not answer but the look in her eyes said she did. She was staring directly into his eyes now. “You have to help me help you, Jenna. You cannot go on being Jenna and then Jackie or David or Mother the next. There is only one you, and that is Jenna. I will need your cooperation. Will you give it to me?”

All he heard was a faint, “Yes.” Faint, but it was a start.

 

multiple-identities

From http://www.webpresence.tv . Copyright belongs to WebPresence.TV

She left Dr. Chiang’s office with tears in her eyes, but now, Jackie was smiling broadly. This just might be it. This really could be easier than she thought. She didn’t care if David or Mother left forever. That would be much better. Not to forget Jenna. Let them think she’s Jenna. Jackie was the better actress, anyway, as she had proved today. Even the doctor got fooled. Maybe Jackie could stay a little longer. Better yet,…maybe she could stay forever…

Hmnn. That sounded like a good idea.

 

Story Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

 

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“OBSESSION”

Photo Copyright ©  J.Gi Federizo

HE watches her from afar, feeding his hunger for her with his eyes. Ah, but the night is long. Hallow’s Eve has always been long for Daniel Marco.

Tonight at the Ball, he sits at a lonely table, unmindful of all the meaningful glances thrown his way by coquettish vixens. He drinks all the merriment in as he sips a glass of blood-red wine, which is all but fitting. He has come here as Count Dracula, that vile man condemned and accused centuries ago. Some say Vlad Tepes never really drank anyone’s blood, that the manner in which he killed was by impaling his innocent victims. Yet, history has not completely proven it true or otherwise. Always, there are only speculations, speculations and nothing else.

However, it is the least in Daniel’s thoughts. Tonight, his thoughts and his eyes are on her, and her alone. She has, once again, come as a dark angel. Indeed, the mere sight of her intoxicates him. A fiery angel in red, casting her spell on almost all the men in the room. Always, they swarm at her like bees hungry for a taste of her precious nectar, the way they swarm around her this evening. He has watched her for several years now. Though he has not had the chance to see her every time, he has seen her often enough to learn her name, recognize her laughing yet innocent voice, memorize her movements. At times, even as he holds gracious ladies in his arms, his eyes wander across the room and find her.

He has never seen her leave with other men. He makes sure he does not, afraid of such notion. Daniel leaves early, pulling his women away from the crowd, into the streets, and in his waiting bed. But always, it is her face he sees. It is her scent he imagines, for he has also memorized it on the few occasions he is able to be near her enough. If he has satisfied his women, it is because of her.

From the moment Daniel set eyes on Helena, she took his breath away. She had worn the same costume that she wears tonight. She, in fact, has worn it on every Hallow’s Eve that he has had the chance to be acquainted with her mere presence. Adorned by a pair of feathered wings, the red leather costume never fails to wreak havoc on men’s senses, not excluding Daniel’s. The smoldering look on her eyes, her full lips, the sweet contours hidden under leather make Daniel ache with a primal need that no woman has ever summoned. Perhaps, it is the feelings she invokes in him that has kept him away from her all these years.

But Daniel has now made up his mind. No more waiting. He will not wait any longer, not when she returns his gaze with a seemingly equal longing. Tonight, he will finally speak to her, hold her, feel her and, yes, have all of her. Helena will come with him. Daniel always gets his women. This one, though, is going to be special.

“Hey, handsome,” a woman in a revealing gothic attire sits beside him, linking an arm with his as her hand dangerously travels on his thighs. “Care to give a lift?”

Daniel knows she expects much more than a lift. Any other day, he surely would accept such a wanton invitation. His attractive countenance always makes it easy for him. He can simply sit alone like this and still, they come. But not tonight. He hardly pays the woman attention. “Forgive me, m’lady, but the night is still young and I am not yet prepared to leave.”

The woman laughs. “Ooh. In character, eh? You talk funny. I like that…Hmn…Are you sure you don’t want to accompany li’l ol’ lady me? You know, they say that every year, the Hallow’s Eve Mangler claims a life. Perhaps,…I need a gorgeous man like you to keep me safe?”

Again, Helena glances his way and returns his gaze. “And what makes you think you will be safe with me?” he replies meaningfully as he takes a last sip of wine and stands up, leaving the woman alone, confused, rejected, but safe.

SHE watches him walk towards her, holding her gaze. Could it be?

For years, he has fascinated her. She has watched him watch her, anticipating the moment that he will finally come to her. Yet he never does. Always, he leaves cradling other women in his arms, and disappearing into the night, only to return the next year. Though she has not had the chance to see him every time, she has seen him often enough to learn his name, recognize his worldly and sophisticated voice, memorize his movements. At times, even as she is surrounded by other worldly and sophisticated men, her eyes wander across the room and find him.

Very often, she finds him looking at her. The mutual attraction is there. Yet somehow, the invisible line has never been broken by any of them. How she wishes it is her he takes into his strong arms! Daniel, with his inexplicable confidence, exuding appeal, and lingering eyes makes Helena ache with a primal need that no man has ever summoned. Perhaps, it is the feelings he invokes in her that has kept her away from him all these years.

She needs to find what it is about the man that seems to be such a mystery. Perhaps it is true when people advise you to be careful what to wish for. But it is also true that if she does not find the answer to this puzzle, she might never ever find it. Oh, but the night is long. Hallow’s Eve has always been long for Helena. And tonight, it seems that her wish is about to come true.

She watches him walk slowly but with purpose. From the first time she laid eyes on him seven years ago, he has always walked like this, confident and with silent fire in his eyes. Still, something in his eyes tells of sadness and longing. At times, she has also seen lust in them. Helena is not naive of such things and does not pretend to be so.

“Excuse me, gentlemen,” she says, leaving her admirers disappointed, their stories of wealth, power, and adventures cut short by her.

“Uh, I’ll give you a call, okay?” one of the men calls out but already, her mind is too far away from them to care. Her thoughts and her eyes are on him, and him alone.

Helena meets Daniel half-way, trying not to show too much eagerness in her steps. They stop and silently regard each other as dancers move gracefully around them. Daniel then bows and offers his hand. “May I have the pleasure of having this dance with you, m’lady?” he asks. Helena secretly smiles at the way he has addressed her.

“Certainly, m’lord,” she answers as she takes his hand, earning an amused smile from him. The mere touch of his hand sends a current through her. Her body trembles as he pulls her close against him. Perhaps, he has not noticed.

“Are you feeling cold?” he asks, holding her closer still that Helena only wants to be crushed against him. His scent intoxicates her senses as she struggles to keep sane. She does not know how much longer she can take it. “If I may ask, what is the story behind this wonderful attire?”

Helena looks down nervously and does not answer. True, she has worn the same outfit but only because of him. Seven years ago, it was this thing he saw her wear. The next years, she made sure he’d recognize her every time.

Helena looks up at Daniel and meets his eyes. “Daniel, take me with you…”

Daniel studies her face and smiles a little. “It may not be safe, m’lady.”

She smiles back. “For whom?”

HE watches her lying naked in his bed, sleeping like an angel.

It is past midnight and he has been sitting from a distance for an hour, admiring the beauty that has made him gloriously alive tonight. And he has not been alive as far as he can remember, never felt so, until seven years ago, from the night he first saw her. Since then, once in every year, he feels his heart beat, for her. He is quick to rule out lust. What he feels for her is more than lust. Perhaps, it is what they call love. Or perhaps, he is simply…obsessed.

Obsessed? At the thought of it, Daniel feels a sudden jolt. Obsession? Wasn’t that exactly what he had been called years ago? By that woman in the dark house several blocks from home? She had liked his Dracula costume and gave him many treats. The lone woman had called him in for more. She was sad, she said. She was alone, she said, and would he stay for a little while? But when she closed the door shut, it would be weeks before he ever saw it open again as the sound of sirens, banging, and gunshots filled the air together with the stench of blood, his and hers…

Helena stirs and opens her eyes, smiling. “Hey…What are you doing?” she asks half-asleep. He smiles back until she dozes off to sleep again. Daniel’s smile turns into a small frown. What has this girl done?

Before she invaded his world, he had been brutal, a savage, taking his women almost blindly and violently with no remorse. And when they were most vulnerable, at the precise moment their obsessions were already beyond control, it was then that he would strike, a stake right through their hearts! Before they knew it, he would have already smothered them until they breathed no more.

Daniel sneers. Oh, they were so blind with so much lust to ever care. They could not see the danger, never thought of looking under the pillows. All they saw was him, Daniel. Yes, those wenches deserved it. Lonely wenches that they were, no one ever really looked for them for long. And why should anyone? They were all like her, that cruel, cruel woman! They all had to die!

But…not her…Certainly not his Helena?

Daniel thinks in agony. For six years, he had been gentle and satisfied the women because of her. But always, no one ever lived to tell the tale. Tonight, this girl made him far more gentle and passionate than he ever thought he could be, far more caring, far more…alive.

No! She must die! Helena must die! It is too late to feel. He does not want to feel! He does not want to be obsessed with her. No, he will not allow it. He will not be like that horrible woman!

Daniel stands up and gets a pair of handcuffs from the drawer. This is what he should have done all along. He will kill her, drain her blood, and drink it! And then, he will slice her into pieces, bits by bits by bits, burn her, and scatter her ashes everywhere to be one with the air. The way the Hallow’s Eve Mangler does it. As always.

Helena stirs a little as Daniel handcuffs her hand to the bed. This is it. He must do it, he must! Daniel feels the chills all over his naked body. It is not the cold seeping through him, but the sadness, the pain, and the guilt brought on by all the years. He goes to the bed and gently pins the girl down, grasping her free arm in place as he aims the stake at her heart. Daniel takes a deep breath only to lose it in a sudden surge of emotions. He must say goodbye. He must. And he kisses her.

Either the kiss or his weight on her awakens Helena. She smiles until she sees the unexpected tears welling down Daniel’s face. “Daniel, what is it? What is the matter?”

“I-I have to…” he says, his hands shaking.

“You have to what?” Helena asks, confused. It is then that she notices the stake aimed at her. She turns pale and nervous. “D-Daniel?”

“I’m sorry, Helena…Goodbye…” Still, he hesitates. This is Helena, she is his. Should he destroy the only person he has somehow felt a connection to? And what if it is love?

But it is Helena’s response that surprises him. “H-how did you know?” she asks, her voice trembling. “Who told you?”

“What do you mean how did I…” Daniel freezes and looks at her. Something is happening. What is happening to Helena? She is changing right before his eyes…! “Helena, w-what…Your teeth…You’re a — !”

Then suddenly, everything dawns on him. Why had he not known? Had he known, perhaps, he would not have brought her here. Or would he?…Helena, his Helena, is a vampire!

He does not know when it is exactly that Helena breaks lose from the handcuffs. He only knows the feel of the mattress on his back as she pushes and overpowers him easily, the sharp pain of her fangs and the warm blood as it trickles down his neck. Of course, it is true! It is now that the legend of Vlad Tepes will be proven true and it is he, Daniel Marco, who will finally welcome it…Daniel does not scream and Helena stops to look at him. He looks back straight at her red and crying angel eyes, the last things he will ever see as Helena takes away his final, last breath.

SHE watches him lying naked and lifeless on his bed.

She has been sitting there and crying from a distance for an hour, staring at the mystery she has never really uncovered. In death, he is smiling, still with that inexplicable confidence, smiling even as she drove the stake into his own heart. Perhaps, she had given him one thing he had wanted all along — death. Ironic for no one has ever made her gloriously alive, and she has not been alive as far as she can still remember, never felt so, until seven years ago, from the night she first saw him. Since then, once in every year, she had felt her heart beat, for him. Who would have known that she still would have a heart?red-angel-marisol

What was it about him that attracted her so? Perhaps it was because he was an enigma, a mystery that waited to be solved. But now, she will not be able to know the story behind the mystery. How he even found out about her is also a mystery that will never be answered.

Right now, she feels something that she had not expected. Pain. How could she make herself believe she could finally love and be loved?…But no, it was not love. Daniel was an obsession that simply had to end. “Be careful what you wish for,” they said. But she never did get it.

Wiping the tears away, Helena stands up to put her clothes on. She has to leave before sunrise and go back to her own sanctuary. She is tired and terribly sleepy now. She is also hungry but no, she does not need his blood. She did not drink it at all. Somehow, she feels she wants to leave Daniel with a little more dignity. Oh, Daniel, now I will never really know you…

If only Helena knows that the mystery, indeed, has been solved. No more Hallow’s Eve Mangler…Goodbye, Daniel Marco.

Story Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

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Feedback from Deborah Owens of Creative Writing Institute, Inc.:

Feedback from Deborah Owen

Feedback from Deborah Owen of Creative Writing Institute Inc., shared through her Facebook account. She posted a comment here before but is not sure where it went