While I rewrite the stories that appeared in my 2014 book, The Green Crystal Stories, I’m offering the original stories here in chapter-by-chapter installments. In this chapter of “Trespassing” (the second short story in the book), the green crystal uses its mysterious magical powers to aid teenager Vree Erickson to save her mother from a kidnapper rapist and strengthen its control of her.
This is a possession story, though the reader doesn’t know that … not yet. The crystal does a good thing by giving Vree the magic power to travel through time and space to save her mom. It also does bad by (spoiler alert!) using its power to kill the rapist. This puts Vree on the spot and sets up the ancient (and probably overused) dilemma theme of good/right versus bad/wrong. It also poses to Vree the question: “How do I get rid of it?” It’s magic, after all, so it isn’t going to be easy.
But I’m getting too far ahead. Right now, Vree is an innocent—a babe in the wilds of a strange, magic world. This won’t be the case, however, when I publish the revised version of The Green Crystal Stories. After all, she has battled and defeated a witch’s ghost in the novel Night of the Hellhounds. And she has a book of magic spells from that story. But again, I’m getting too far ahead. To see how she has changed, you’ll have to wait for me to publish the book. For now, find a comfortable place to sit and … you know the routine.
Would it be that a destination could be otherworldly?
November 4, 2012
At a near-empty Walmart parking lot in Ridgewood, a heavy man leered across the passenger seat of a white Impala and out a partially open window. A middle-aged woman bundled in black imitation fur slid from a van’s driver’s seat and dropped onto the black pavement. She wore her blonde hair shoulder length and was dressed in blue jeans and black pumps. She opened a yellow umbrella, looked up at the dark, galling sky, and held up a hand as though trying to catch raindrops. Then she reached far inside the van for a black purse before she hurried across the sparsely lighted lot and entered the store.
The man heard no blip from the automatic door lock on her keychain. He waited a moment, then wiped away fingerprints with a rag from under the seat before he squeezed his large body from behind the steering wheel and wiped away prints from the door. Then he looked at the van in contempt as he crossed behind it.
“Honor this,” he said as he raised a middle finger at the MY CHILD IS AN HONOR STUDENT bumper sticker.
He opened the van’s hydraulic sliding door, which pulled from his grasp and opened itself, and climbed inside on all fours.
The roomy rear interior contained two rows of bench seats. A magazine titled Elle Decor, some paperback books, and a box of glitter crayons littered the first seat. A day planner had fallen behind the passenger seat. He opened the notebook.
“Karrie Erickson,” he said; “I can’t wait to see you naked.”
He flipped away the planner, closed the door (which actually closed itself when he pulled at the handle), and hunkered on the floor of the back row seat. He snatched a crumpled bag from McDonalds beneath the seat in front of him and ate some old fries.
Drippings of sweat pooled across his forehead and mixed with the rain there. He undid the top three buttons of his flannel jacket before he wiped his fat face with his sleeves. He was a short, floppy man with graying hair that seemed to explode from his head. He had a mocking thick-lipped face that appeared angry from behind pudgy grease-stained fingers always lurking there. And his bulbous brown eyes — not so much looking as unable to relax — were forever in motion.
After many minutes, Karrie Erickson returned to her van, got in, tossed two plastic bags on the passenger seat and started the ignition. A pleasant tone from the dashboard reminded her to buckle up. She jabbed at the radio and a lamenting song about lost love encircled her and the mostly concealed intruder behind her.