Cage of Souls Revisited

Well, I’ve apparently run out of steam, after only a few days, mind you, on telling you my story. It’s not that I couldn’t face the facts of my reality, it’s just that amidst the rape and intrigue, I’ve realized that my life is just not that interesting to me. It’s just “life.” So, the writer’s block continued. But if I am to polish these writing skills, I knew I had to just sit down and write. Although I wasn’t sure what there was to say, until last night.

Last night, around 11pm, in the twilight of my sleep, a bit of a poetic thought occurred to me and I realized that there was a spark, an ember of thought.


In that moment, I decided to rework, with the goal of mastery, the novel I wrote many years ago called, “Cage of Souls.” To further my inspiration, I woke this morning not only to the sound of my roommate (who is also my soon to be ex-husband) showering and banging around on the floor above, the owl announced his seasonal arrival to my rooftop with her distinctive “who who,” which trickled down the chimney and whispered its echo into my room. I had given the owl meaning long ago, and I knew it was time, I had to write. So, I’m going to tear this book to pieces starting now. Here we go…

Cage of Souls

Preface

The fabric of time is as thin as an aged parchment, as fragile and delicate as the wings of a butterfly in its final hours. It melts away in the rushing waters, smolders with the rise and fall of the sun and turns to ash as the seasons stake their claim to each generation. But somewhere in the fibers of the fabric of time are the imprints of significance, no matter how big or small, that people, places and things leave behind. Stamped, embroidered and branded into history, each moment doomed to be repeated. The place where these moments repeat is sacred, it is the place where time remembers and the ghosts linger.

Sacred ground blankets this earth. It is hallowed ground, consecrated in the blood of thousands of souls. Among those are the souls left to wander, tortured by lives that were stolen too soon, or perhaps there are dues their soul has yet to pay. Unknowingly, they are now doomed to repeat their steps until the end of time, or until someone comes along to save them. The tragic truth is that no one is coming to save them; their souls are woven into time’s delicate, yet unravelable, fabric. Each step they repeat tangles them tighter and they become locked away for eternity. I suppose it is fortunate for them that they are none-the-wiser. But sometimes, for reasons I have yet to truly understand, a modern time will cross paths with these trapped souls and a unique individual will catch a glimpse of a world that no longer exists. When that happens, modern people wrack their brains for an explanation. They eventually try to dismiss their encounters as an overactive imagination or perhaps a random event that happens in the brain. As time marches on, only a handful of ghost stories are fortunate enough to be lumped in with stories told around a campfire.

I can understand the need to make sense of these events that lack any logical explanation or scientific validation, but sometimes there truly are no logical answers. Science has yet to explain everything, which is why science, like medicine, is a “practice.”

***

Among the places lost to time is a small desert town, its archaeology preserved by the arid climate and its sinful greed, lust, wrath, and pride preserved by the timeless pain of sudden, and swift, defeat. The tales of Wild West stories known the world over, and among the entertaining tales of ghostly happenings that occur on a regular basis in Tombstone, Arizona, there is a lesser known story that is worth telling. It is a ghost story that only the most avid ghost adventurers know, but truth be told, they only know a small fraction of it.

Throughout the years, it has been said that there is a woman in white who has been seen descending the basement staircase of the notorious Bird Cage Theater. Initially, I suspected that this lady fell victim to those Deadly Sins which had claimed so many. Whatever the reason, though, all we truly knew was that she has been repeating her steps, getting more tangled in the fabric of time, as she descended the backstage staircase of The Birdcage Theater every moment, day and night, presumably, since the doors closed in 1892.

The fragments of her story vanish along with her spirit, right before your very eyes. But her end is where my story begins. You see I know why she wanders and I know who she needed to set her free. It is her curse which runs in my veins. She has been waiting for me…and I, unknowingly, had been waiting for her.

Part 2 – The Government Agent’s Wife

As I think back on my life, I often wonder if things were different when I was a child, perhaps I would’ve turned out different – less hard, more gentle. I can say that I was a relatively happy child and my childhood was pretty normal. Although I knew my family loved me, it wasn’t an easy household. Honestly, I still laugh at just how stereotypical it was.

Myself and my family hail from Brooklyn, New York, but I was raised in the small, Southern Arizona town of Tucson. Both of my parents are Italian, my mother is also half Irish. My father was first generation American, a World War II veteran, and 17 years older than my mom, but they were each other’s first marriage. He was 51 when I was born, and although he was loyal and protective, I still attest that, by the time I reached my teens, he was just too old to raise a teenage girl. 

As far back as I can remember, there was the constant looming threat of his death. He was a severe asthmatic, and had a slew of life-threatening health issues from which he always recovered. Some of my earliest memories are of the fear I had of losing the man I adored. Thoughts of losing him were with me constantly. Fortunately, he had a strong constitution in all aspects of his life, coming from the Depression Era, I suppose that’s only natural, and he lived to be 91 years old. 

As I mentioned, my parents were strong people…and my mother certainly knew how to yell. Actually, she still does, but I don’t want to go any further without saying, I love my parents more than anything. They loved us and showed my brother, sister, and me their love through their actions. We had our issues, and perhaps our household lacked affection, but we always knew that they loved us. 

In my pre-teen years, I began to fall victim to anxiety. I don’t know why I started having panic attacks around 12 years old, but they never ceased. I missed school and am pretty sure I was suffering from depression due to my lack of understanding. My parents were older and in their time, people didn’t goto psychologists or seek mental help, which is why I suffered for so long. By the time I reached 8th grade, I had a handle on my anxiety and I began to flourish. 

I was becoming a young woman in the early 1990’s, a very different age from when my father grew up in the 1940’s, and I began to rebel. Although I never drank or did drugs, my sister, who was 7 years older than me and married to a dip-shit, know-it-all, told my mother I did. She suffered from “middle child syndrome,” and it was fierce. Anyway, like most people, I would later discover that my parents were right, about everything…but kids will be kids, and girls will be girls. At the age of 15, I found myself a boyfriend, and kept it a secret, for fear of being forbidden to see him…since I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16. During the year we spent together, I lost my virginity and had a pregnancy scare. My cousin, whom is more dear to me than my own sister, offered her help. She knew my parents, and she knew that something like this could drive a rift between them and their youngest. So, I was going to spend the summer with her and have an abortion. Fortunately, it never came to that. It was a false positive and I promptly got on the pill. Life was back on track. My boyfriend and I broke up, and like many “first-loves,” I look back and wonder what I ever saw in him. 

I graduated high school early, when I was only 16, and after only a 2 week break, went to college. In theory, I should’ve graduated by the time I was 20, but I had found a sense of freedom I so desperately needed. Just two short years after graduation is when it all went awry. 

In many ways, I was still a child, and my parents did the right thing by keeping me grounded, but it hindered me because I felt trapped. I felt as though I wasn’t allowed to spread my wings…which led me straight into the arms of a monster. 

Fortunately, I escaped with my life and although my dignity was in shreds, I had enough of it left to pull myself back together. Only a couple of months later, I met a man. I was still only 19, newly divorced, and only beginning to figure out who I truly was. He was 31 or so when we met and the physical attraction between us was palpable. 

He was the man at work that every woman admired, and many desired. He was olive skinned, quiet, handsome, and quick to laugh. He was olive skinned, quiet, handsome, and quick to laugh. The scar just beside his right eye, remanants of a bar fight from his younger years, only added to the character of the crushing gaze he would give me through the giant school bus driver’s mirror. Everything about him was exactly what I needed. And I can’t deny that holding the attention of the most eligible bachelor did wonders for my nearly non-existent self-esteem. 

He had a silent strength about him, he was safe. It was only weeks before we launched into a full love affair. We came together on Fridays, sometimes sneaking an interlude on the school bus he drove to the high school football game. It was risky, but the desert seemed to always border the school parking lot. He would park the bus near the dank green shrubby and cactus, and I would park my camaro in its shadow. It was sexy, he would unbotton my stylish flannel shirt and it would drape around my waist, which made us feel as though I was hidden, in case we got caught. Silly, I know, but he was considerate of me in every way. 

Most of the time it was someplace neutral and inconspicuous, since I lived with my parents, and he took care of his mother. Over the next two years we both dated other people, but when those brief moments ended, we always seemed to find our way back to one another. To this day, he still holds a very special place in my heart. In many ways, he brought me back to life – body and soul – and for that I am eternally grateful. 

I met the man I call “husband” shortly after I turned 21, and our love affair came to an abrupt end, although, I can’t deny, I thought of him often over the years. I set back off to college and amidst major anxiety, panic, and a terrible case of Post Traumatic Stress, I completed my Bachelor’s in Psychology when I was 23.

The horrors were a few short years behind me and soon to be a thousand miles, as well. Now, after two years of a long-distance relationship, my fiancée and I were finally going to be able to be together and start our lives in a new place – Colorado. His career was developing, he was a police officer turned Federal police officer and I was accepting an entry level administrative position. We were off and running. I thought it would be onward and upward forever. I was wrong. 

The Adulteress


Continuing to write fiction…one day at a time. 

If I were a different type of person, I could likely find a reason for such treason. I could blame my parents for being too strict, perhaps, in some cosmic sense, I’m to pay for the sins of my father…and maybe even the sins of my mother. But really, the decision to become an adulteress is not a conscious one. It is a vulnerable one. Men and women alike, there are few, if any, who move through affairs with malicious intent. Unlike those devilish “one-night stands,” affairs are a balm to soothe an aching heart, they fill those tiny voids in your heart that you never realized existed. They are an awakening, a realization, in a way. They force you to see your reflection with foreign eyes, the face is familiar, but the thoughts are entirely new. Nothing is sacred anymore, your beliefs, your morals, not gone, only changed. You find yourself asking, “What do you truly hold dear?” Then, you struggle even more, trying to reconcile the person you’ve become…or perhaps always were. 

Then, of course, you get found out. Perhaps through admission, or, more often, you get caught. Either way, the villagers will happily light the pyre beneath your feet, burning you for not adhering to their moral code. Yet as your soul drifts to some new dimension, you discover that the morality preached is seldom righteous. The villagers have their own dirty little secrets, their lives are a lie, and you have become their sacrifice to absolve their own sins. 

It was never a life goal to view relationships as disposable. I soon found myself asking, “When did loyalty become possession?” I was not in love anymore, my marriage had become a contract, my life one of obligation and possession. My shoulders had become weak from carrying so many burdens, sustaining verbal abuse, and floundering through countless failures. It is probably a bit easier to understand that my dalliance was inevitable. A hand was extended, offering to lift my burdens, a heart was offered to fill those spaces that had been recklessly abandoned. I’m sure, as human as you are, you might possibly offer some understanding. 

New Fiction

I’ve decided to start writing again…I don’t really understand why I ever stop. I suppose it’s because it drains me to think about topics and, then weave words that desire to be read. But here I go…again. 

“I am an adulteress.” I repeated this to myself, as I searched the reflection in the mirror for any sign that the woman I once was still existed. In just two short years, the youfulness had dwindled from my eyes, and began to show as a new dullness in both my skin and eyes reflected back to me. Apparently, all of the trials and tribulations I had endured in my first forty years didn’t take nearly the toll that just two years spent in the beautiful turmoil of passion provided. 

I suppose there is still a level of naïveté that demonstrates itself, even at the age of thirty-eight. Looking back, I could equate myself to a child, desperately seeking the comfort, the safe  embrace, only a parent could provide. At the time, I was as lost as a piece of driftwood, carried across the miles of open ocean, with no particular destination. All I wanted was a safe place to rest my weary heart. It was quite pathetic, in retrospect. But somehow, I convinced myself that nothing mattered, no sin too great, for the warm sanctuary of an equally aching heart would heal all indiscretions.