Tuesday, January 12, 2010

INEVITABLE ENCOUNTERS ~ By Erin Cole of Harbinger*33

Inevitable Encounters

~By Erin Cole

She smelled it first, the faint crisp scent of lavender—a scent she hadn’t worn in years.  In the back seat, she spots black fabric and picks it up.  A jacket.  Women’s.  Small.  Lavender.

Betrayal came at her, like an omen with brown diaphanous wings and a sharp cry that bled the silence of innocence.  Her mind knew—was prepared.  Still, her chest wallowed as trust faded from her heart.

“That’s not yours?  Are you sure?”  He asks.
“Don’t look at me like that—you’re changing your wardrobe all the time.  I honestly don’t ever remember seeing that jacket.”
Her hand props against her hip.  “Never?”
His smile fattens.  “I’m serious.  I don’t know how that got into my car.”
“I have a few ideas.”
Nervous chuckle.  “Dear, where would I find the time to cheat on you?”
“We did it on our lunch break.”
Nervous chuckle again.

Truth was, she actually believed him.  Infidelity wasn’t his style.  He’d be more inclined to ask her if he could take a second wife and she’d probably consent, as long as the other woman helped with the laundry. 

No one claimed the jacket and he never presented a concrete explanation.  It just lay lifeless across the edge of her desk, muted with secrets.

So whose was it?  How did it get into her husband’s car?  Did someone share the same car key by extreme coincidence or did Occam’s Razor corroborate this occurrence?  Her mind screamed the obvious.  Her heart whispered promises.


“Do you have a personal item?”
“Yes.”  She presents the jacket.
Pudgy, ringed-hands take the jacket.  The witch smells it, binds it with red cord, and drops it into a giant cauldron of steeping herbs and roots.  “When I cut your hand, state your goal and don’t lie.”  She grabs her hand, gashing ivory skin with an athame, and then wrings her warm blood into the cauldron.  She nods for her to speak.

“I want to know the owner of this jacket.”  The witch raises a questioning brow at her, which the girl shrugs at.  “And…the owner’s relationship to my husband.”

After throwing a dusty substance into the cauldron, producing a big flash, the witch says, “Within a month, you will know.”  She lifts the jacket from the cauldron and seals it in a black plastic bag.  “Hang this outside to dry and whatever you do, don’t bury it, or ever put it on…as a part of you might die.”


A few days later, the jacket is dry and she brings it into the house.  Someone is sitting at her desk…wearing the same jacket.  A duplicate?  The woman spins around.  It is—herself.  The double stands.  She is the same height.  Same hair, face, nose, lips.

“Our encounter was inevitable,” she says.
“…am I?”
She felt the cut on her hand from the witch—if the double were her, she’d have the same cut.  The double saw her rubbing at her palm and held up her own.  No cut.  She wasn’t her.
“You’re not me.”
“Of course not,” she scoffs.  “That’s why our parents kept you.  Because…you…were…better.”

Like the whip of a wet towel, she realized her husband had already met her unbeknownst twin sister—it explained the jacket.  “You like the way my husband kisses?”  She challenges her twin.
She smirks.  “He’s noted the difference.” 
“Came here to finish me off, haven't you?”
“I guess we do share the same mind.”  The double pulls out a needle—she’s a nurse just like her.
“Wait,” she says.  “Just think how successful we could be together, as one.  Like it always should have been.”
“Don’t you know?  It already has been that way.”  Fluid squirts from the needle.  “But I’m growing old of the stands.  I want the spotlight.  I want to play.”
She puts on the jacket, now a mirror image of her twin sister.  “So do I.”
© 2010, Author Erin Cole

The lingering (lavender?) sensations of reading this phenomenal writer out of the NW Pacific mists, really do exist ~ Erin Cole resides in Portland with her husband, son, and twin daughters.  When they aren’t haunting her, her own mind is.  Alertable choices ~ You know you NEED more Erin! She blogs with indomitable je ne sais quoi at Listen to the Voices.  

Take notice! It was discovered that Erin taped this note in the Ladies Lounge, off the balcony, AT THE BIJOU:

  "The jacket still awaits its owner —
our meeting is inevitable."

Likewise inevitable, is that Erin (not her rumoured nefarious twin), graces the starboard side of the good Harbinger*33, sailing writers forth to more of reader'ship's destiny. Enigmatic, eerie (but in such an endearing way), eloquent Erin is a trip to a faraway land in the turn of mere phrases to where spirit then moves you. 

We're so glad Erin, that your spirit moved you to debut this Twilight Zone of a tone's tale, here, AT THE BIJOU . . . where somehow we can't get the house lights to stop their flicker ... and ... what's that scent in the air . . . could it be?

~ Absolutely*Kate and the fine staff of renown, 
(no longer sporting their little black jackets), AT THE BIJOU


Laurita said...

Awesome, dark, and creepy. I love how all your pieces seem to have this quiet hush of darkness.

Personally, I think all twins are evil.

Harry said...

Not exactly the Doublemint Twins were they? Excellent tale Erin, great boil & bubble all the way and I like how the witches warning comes into play in the end.

Anonymous said...

I almost landed on the floor when I came to
close to the edge of my chair. Good intrique.

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...


Jeanette Cheezum's comment has won a year's supply of peanut M&M's from our handy-dandy candy-counter ... and a velvet seat in the front'row for every show ... so we can see when she slips out of it, to forward action.

~ This has been a staff recording,
AT THE BIJOU ~ writer's raves to reader's fave

Michael Solender said...

Total FABULOSO! I went crazy for this so many great lines and the story itself is superb. Huzzah to you EC - A classic!

Linda said...

Darksome stuff here... love it. Twins freak me out. You twist the everyday realities into something horrific - the best kind of creepy. Love double-featuring with you! Peace, Linda

Unknown said...

I agree with Laurita... twins=creepy. And you put your always-impeccable spin on them

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

Oh Erin, from wry-smiling at the conventional muse of the other woman helping with laundry giving infidelity its own spin cycle, to the intricate phrases woven in ~ "like an omen with brown diaphanous wings and a sharp cry that bled the silence of innocence", this tale took this reader where "inevitably" I never expected such a twin'spin encounter.

Which way of final play got yet more intrigue when the witch way slipped into the plot. 33 points for the word 'athame' used in cutting context and of course, this wouldn't be a comment without a nod to my favourite lilting line. (I almost want to challenge you to work it into every warm and quirky tale you conjure.):

"Her mind screamed the obvious. Her heart whispered promises." < That's a beaut!

Now ~ what do you know about this scent of lavender all around the 3rd row AT THE BIJOU? Thanks again for your inevitable grace around this place. ~ Absolutely*Kate

EC said...

Thank You Kate~ don't quite understand my fascination with witchcraft yet, but it always want to slip into my work...now about that jacket. So tempted to put it on...tick, tock, tick, tock - what will I encounter when I do? ;)
Loved being at the BIJOU, Madame of Moxie~

Paul D Brazill said...

Mines a double! doh!

EC used to mean creepy comics. Now it means Erin Cole's creepy tales. Very well done. Again.

Jelena said...

Bravo! This was excellent, I enjoyed the story so much! :)

Thank you Erin, and thank you, Kate, for bringing this story to us.

Angel Zapata said...

Your writing is slipping deeper into the world of horror...and I like it so much!

You brilliantly link back to "don’t bury it, or ever put it on…as a part of you might die" in your one-two punch of an ending. Love that you used "athame." It brought such a spellbinding authenticity to your work. A pleasure to read, Erin.