Candace was tired of her humdrum life nothing ever happened in Morganville, small town farming community in Ohio. She knew all the kids at her school, none of whom warranted wasting her time on them. Of course she and Bobby Mills were a couple a year ago, but like all good things it ended. Candy, as her friends knew her, lived alone with her mom, her father, a victim in the Gulf War, she missed terribly. Candy had been daddy’s little girl, and his death broke her very existence.
She visited his grave daily, to talk, just like they talked when he was there. The thing Candy missed most was his hugs, daddy always gave the most wonderful warm hugs. Nothing could ever harm her when she was safely tucked into daddy’s arms. Candy followed the well worn path to the gleaming white granite maker, American flags on either side. Plopping down in front of the exquisite carved stone, Candy’s slender fingers traced her father’s name, and the words beloved father and protector of freedom.
“Daddy, I’m here….are you there I never really know. I only know when I’m here my heart doesn’t hurt.” Candy said out loud, as there was no one there but her. The conversations were always one sided, but today as she neared the end of her visit, something strange happened.
“Well, daddy I love you, I hope you don’t hurt wherever you are, and I pray you hear me when I talk to you. Bye I’ll come by tomorrow.” Candy dragged her hand slowly over the top of the cold stone, turning her back on the only love she truly knew in her 17 year life.
Looking up finally her heart froze, and fright invaded her being, standing before her on the path she needed to walk, a tall lanky stranger. Candy had never seen this person before, and she came everyday. He didn’t appear threatening, still she was guarded, as she was alone. Daddy always said, “beware of strangers, Baby Girl.” Should I speak or try to walk past? Daddy help me please.
The figure suddenly moved aside on the path, and actually spoke first, easing her turmoil. “Hi, sorry if I startled you. Your dad?” he asked softly, he had a gentle trusting voice. Stepping closer out of the sunlight, Candy was able to see the features of his handsome tanned face. He had blue gray eyes, dirty blonde hair, he appeared older his voice deeper than the boys at school. He was wearing faded blue jeans, complete with a couple random holes fraying, a tee shirt advertising a band she actually enjoyed as well. “Hi, yes….um I’ve never seen you here before.” Candy stepped a bit closer, still guarded her arms stiff by her sides. His smile put her fear to rest, it was a hauntingly wonderful smile, not unlike her father’s had been.
“No, it’s hard for me to come here….hurts too much ya know?” the stranger replied, Candy felt she should introduce herself. “I’m Candace Shaffer, Candy, to my friends.” She stretched out her hand to shake his, although he didn’t take it oddly, and she let it fall back to her side.
“Hi, Candy, I’m Graham….and um sorry I don’t like shaking hands,” Graham explained shrugging, his eyes intense as if they were peering deep into her soul, Candy shivered feeling shockingly exposed, almost if she were standing there naked. She could not explain the feeling, a sense of urgency, of curious excitement, she should be wary, yet she wasn’t.
“You cold, you shivered…um are you walking? I’ve got a car, I could drop you home if you’re cold.” His invitation seemed so innocent, and sincere Candy decided to accept.
Graham’s hand extended taking hers in his, his hand was warm, his eyes trusting. Candy allowed him to put her into his car, it was sporty, a Camero, she thought, painted black with blood red pinstripes running along the body. Graham put in a CD letting it play while he drove, funny he never asked where she lived.
They made a quick stop at a convenience store, Candy could have gotten out and walked home, it wasn’t far, but she trusted Graham, and felt no fear with him. He handed her an opened soda, Pepsi Cherry, How does he know I like Cherry? “You opened it?” Candy asked puzzled. That smile, what was it about that hypnotic smile of his?
“The cashier dropped it, I opened it so it wouldn’t spray you, drink up.” Graham took a large swig of his soda, so Candy took a drink, it was refreshingly cold, and seemed sweeter than she recalled, she took another drink, and another.
As they drove, Candy felt suddenly strange, her vision seemed to blur, the tree tops seemed to blend, shades of green, and shadows flickering. She felt as if she were floating, drifting with the wind, like her soul and body had somehow separated. Looking at Graham, his smile deepened, “Comfy Candy?” he chuckled. Candy realized something was wrong, as movement required an effort, she had no control of her limbs, she tried to scream but nothing emerged from her lips but a pathetic murmur, “Help me….”
Candy woke laying on top of a made bed, the bedspread, an old fashioned quilt, was soft and warm; she stretched and looked around, she was not familiar with her surroundings. Moving to get up, Candy realized her right hand was secured with a leather strap; the other end fastened around the bed frame. The strap around her wrist was attached so she could not undo it, or slip free. Panic rose as her raging heart pounded in her ears, Where am I, why am I here, who is this guy? Candy wanted answers yet didn’t know if she truly wanted to hear what he intended for her. Candy continued to struggle with the strap, hoping to find a flaw allowing her escape.
Moments later Candy heard the door to the bedroom squeak and open, the man from the cemetery eased quietly into the room. His footsteps were light on the hard wood floor, he was not wearing shoes. “Good you’re awake, is the strap okay, not too tight is it?” Graham spoke as if it were perfectly normal, her being held as his prisoner. Had he done this before? God was he a serial killer? Candy’s mind whirled with awful thoughts, knowing she was a victim to his whim, and defenseless. “Why are you doing this? People will look for me….you need to let me go.”
“No….not yet, Candy….I won’t hurt you, I promise. I didn’t do this to hurt you,” Graham assured sitting on the bed beside her, touching her arm gently running his hand along her skin. Candy pulled her arm away tucking it under her back, and Graham sighed nodding. The look in his eyes, a sorrow haunting his demeanor, What was with this guy? If he didn’t want to hurt her, why did he do this?
“Why did you take me? Why can’t I go free? I don’t want to be here,” Candy wasn’t sure how to proceed, she didn’t want to piss him off, not knowing what he was capable of.
“ God you look so much like her….same hair, same eyes, you’re beautiful Candy, simply beautiful.” Graham brushed his hand through Candy’s long dark hair, touching her shoulder his touch sent shivers chasing. “Why are you doing this? Who is she?” Candy felt uncomfortable, yet compelled to know more.
“You are an inquisitive one,” Graham chuckled smiling warmly, “I’m not sure you’re ready for an explanation, you need to trust me first I think.” With that Graham got up and left the room, closing the door behind him. Candy pulled on the strap once more, it was holding fast. This didn’t make any sense, what was his angle, why did he want her to trust him, and why did he feel she ever would? Thoughts plagued her mind for the next couple hours, until once again Graham paid Candy a visit.
This time he brought food, and soda. Candy was hesitant at first, remembering the soda earlier.
“Oh, yeah there isn’t anything in the food I promise, see,” Graham took a sip of the soda, and broke off a section of her sandwich eating it himself. Candy was hungry, so she ate what he offered, still sipping the drink sparingly. “Graham….why am I here? Why did you take me? If you aren’t gonna hurt me, why keep me?” Candy wanted answers.
“I’m sorry, if there was another way…..I didn’t think you’d just go with a stranger. Knowing your dad, and his protectiveness of you, I knew this was the only way to get to know you better.” Graham didn’t make sense, and his explanation only confused Candy more.
“My father is dead, you know that, you seen me at the cemetery. I don’t understand Graham,” Candy shook her head, why don’t I feel frightened of him? Those eyes of his, so sad, what is happening here?
“Yes he is…but everyday you come an talk to him. You tell him of your day, you love him still. Your heart is so sad, I feel it’s broken, as is mine. Ya see, her name was Elisabeth, we were so in love, Candy….I asked her to marry me and she said yes,” Graham paused looking away as if a lost memory called his attention. Candy witnessed Graham brush a tear that had fallen from his haunted eyes. “Go on….I’m listening, what happened to Elisabeth?” Candy felt if she tried to understand, maybe she could get Graham to let her go.
“ I worked in a mill, cutting timber there were warnings not to smoke everywhere, but some of the men I worked with chose to ignore the warnings. The fire started shortly after a lunch break, it swept through the mill in minutes, engulfing everything. I had a way out….but Sam was trapped, I felt I could reach him, so I tried.” Graham shook his head wiping more tears, his memories obviously painful. Candy’s heart went out to him, what a horrible tragedy, did Sam die? Did he blame himself? What happened to Elisabeth? Candy waited anxiously for Graham to continue.
“Just as I reached him,” Graham paused again sighing deeply, “the beams in the roof fell in, trapping us both. The fire burned him first, I had to listen to his screams, before adding my own to his. We didn’t escape that fire, Candy.” Graham finished wiping the remaining tears from his eyes, sitting somberly reflecting on haunting memories.
“What do you mean? You are here now…I don’t see any signs of scars, you must have escaped,” Candy was totally puzzled, was Graham crazy?
“Elisabeth came everyday like you did, she’d talk to me, tell me she loved me, that she’d never forsake me,” Graham continued with his story, and Candy listened trying to make sense of it all. “Then she came less and less, until she didn’t come at all. I haven’t been able to keep track through the years, I was just lost floating with eternity, until you….like a summer breeze, you captured my heart….I think I’m in love with you.” Graham finished looking directly into Candy’s eyes watching her reaction.
“In love with me, you don’t know me, we just met,” Candy shook her head, thinking perhaps maybe she had guessed right, Graham was crazy.
“You like Cherry Pepsi, you often go barefoot, you listen to strange music and dance like ants are biting you. You love your father so dearly, I often cry hearing you speak to him. Yeah I know you, I’ve seen you often Candy, and yes I’ve been following you. Your dad told me to stay clear, I shouldn’t take you…but don’t you see, I had to. I love you, I had to try Candy, eternity is a long time without love.” Graham’s words invaded her heart, filling her with remorse, and something else, a feeling she hadn’t known before. It wasn’t threatening, perhaps compassion and maybe understanding.
“My father is dead….how could you talk to him?” Candy was still confused.
Graham stood then, taking her hand in his, he smiled and in a moment vanished before her eyes. Although she did not see him, Candy could still feel the warmth of his hand wrapped around hers. Oh my God, how could this be? What was happening? Where did he go? Candy’s heart raged, her breaths quickened, for the first time she was scared. Sensing her fright, Graham reappeared, exactly where he was before he vanished. Was this a trick? Was he trying to scare her?
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you, but you had to know….I’m dead Candy….I died in the fire.” Graham’s words echoed softly, as Candy felt herself getting strangely dizzy, sinking into the soft down pillow, Candy’s mind was overwhelmed as she fainted.
Upon waking Candy looked around the room, it was dark a fire glowed warmly in the fireplace, flickering long shadows upon the log walls of the cabin. She was warm, covered with the velvet bedspread, her hand released from bondage, Candy examined it carefully, there wasn’t a trace of chaffing from the leather strap that tied her. There was a perfumed scent, evergreen pine, it was refreshingly soothing, like Christmas. Candy searched the room for Graham he appeared to have vanished again. Candy sat up climbing off the bed she moved to the fire, stretching before it, the crackle of the burning wood, and glow of the orange flame calmed her.
A moment later Candy felt Graham’s hand on her shoulder, she jumped slightly, then realizing it was Graham, relaxed sighing slightly. “Didn’t mean to scare you, sorry. Are you warm enough it’s chilly outside tonight. I don’t feel the cold anymore.”
“I’m fine, Graham, how is this possible? What did you mean by you took me?” Candy had questions, and she hoped Graham had satisfying answers.
“Okay… it’s complicated, but since I never ascended, you know went beyond….well I was allowed to inhabit my natural body, but I can only use it a short period of time. There are strict limitations, and once the time’s up I have no choice but to ascend.” Graham tried to simplify the situation so Candy could understand.
“Okay by ascend you mean enter Heaven? And since you haven’t, are you like a ghost, haunting me?” Candy thought she understood. Graham smiled, she was partly right, “Well yes and no Candy. Yes ascend takes you beyond the eternal gates, but haunting you no. I’m not really a ghost, a ghost is an entity trapped between the gates of eternal happiness, and death. I have chosen to remain, I couldn’t bare leaving Elisabeth. When she quit coming, I began drifting, not really belonging anywhere, until one day I saw you.” Candy blushed and looked away, this is so unbelievable, yet I do believe him.
“Graham….what do you expect, since making yourself visible to me?” Candy wasn’t sure what Graham’s intentions toward her actually were.
“I don’t know….I was so in love with Elisabeth, and you are so similar to her. I guess I just wanted….to touch you, to hold you like I used to hold her. We were never married, I had proposed, but….” Graham’s voice trailed off, and he shook his head dejected.
“You love Elisabeth so much, why didn’t you seek her out Graham?” Candy didn’t understand why Graham did not find Elisabeth. Graham’s eyes glassed, sorrow blazed burning deep into her heart. “She found another, and married, she’s happy, she’s forgotten me Candy.” Candy witnessed a tear slowly trickle down Graham’s cheek.
There was an uncomfortable silence, as Candy considered what Graham had said. She suddenly had a puzzling thought, and needed to ask, “How old are you Graham?”
“I don’t know….the year I died I was 20 years old, and the date was October 9th 1939,” Graham replied softly, watching Candy’s reaction carefully. Candy shook her head, rubbing her hand over her forehead thoughtfully, nearly seventy years had passed. Logically this could not be happening, but nothing pertaining to this was logical. “What?” Graham asked, as Candy seemed to be silent for a long while. “Graham, it’s the year 2008, are you able to see and understand the changes in our lives?” Graham nodded smiling, “Yes, well some of them….what you call computer machines, and the tiny ear pieces you speak into, I don’t understand at all. I like the cars though, they go quite fast now.” Graham flashed an electric smile, and his deep brown eyes blazed, disarming Candy as he moved closer. Hypnotized by his presence, Graham edged still closer, until his moist lips pressed against hers, initiating their first kiss.
One kiss turned into another and another, raw emotion took over and Candy could not explain the feelings that were raging through her. Graham was intoxicating, and she could not resist his seduction. Laying back their hands sliding over each other hampered only by their clothing…..he sure didn’t feel dead. Graham eased his heated body on top of Candy, gently squeezing her firm breasts, over her shirt, his lust in overdrive. Graham had forgotten the sensual feeling of arousal, radiating from lustful passion, ignited by the erotic pleasure of a woman’s body beneath him.
Bathing her long sleek neck with his tongue, Graham’s fingers fumbled with Candy’s buttons opening her shirt, caressing her warm flesh with his open hand teasing deliberately over her tight sexy tummy.
The two seemed to hunger for the other, as kisses and caresses quickly turned urgent with hot passion. Graham removed his shirt, and slid the straps of Candy’s bra over her bare shoulders reaching around her back to unclasp it. Graham’s other hand began massaging inside, cupping Candy’s soft supple breast, his desire soaring. Candy couldn‘t think, wild sensations were screaming, overpowering her senses, she only wanted Graham’s hands touching her. Her nipples peaked as Graham’s hands squeezed her breasts, the torrid lust making her panties wet with desire.
Closing her eyes, Candy seen her father’s displeased face shaking his head, then heard his words as if he were standing right before her. “Baby Girl… what are you doing, this is wrong,” Candy heard him speak, only his lips did not move. Reacting immediately, Candy bolted up nearly knocking Graham backward on to the cold wood floor. Graham did topple sideways laying over her hips. “What’s wrong?” Graham managed, while pushing himself upright, breathing a bit labored, admiring her breasts spilling from her unfastened bra. Candy noticed where Graham’s eyes were staring, and quickly covered her exposed flesh, suddenly embarrassed her face flushed scarlet. “I can’t do this….this is
wrong…God what was I thinking?” Candy pulled her shirt back on quickly securing it, her eyes met Graham’s whom was clearly disappointed.
“Fine….I won’t touch you,” Graham stated a bit coldly, as he rose to his feet finding his shirt putting it on as well. Graham presented himself as a wounded, pouting child, not getting his way. What did he expect, she’d just let him have sex with her? Candy knew she’d done the right thing, yet her heart went out to Graham. Why do I feel guilt, I did nothing wrong.
“Graham….what do you expect of me? I don’t know you. You have been spying on me a long while, I’m not Elisabeth, Graham.” Candy tried to reason with him, being sensitive to his feelings. Graham turned and met her stare, his eyes filled with pain, and sorrow, it was as if Candy could feel his heart breaking. “I know…but, you are so like her, it’s hard for me not to see her in you. Maybe this was a mistake, perhaps I’m being selfish, I only wanted to know love, and feel it returned before….” without finishing his sentence Graham bolted from the room.
Candy heard him open and shut the exterior door, meaning she was left alone. She wasn’t tied, she could escape, but something inside her made her stay. Candy’s thoughts were confused, none of this made sense. If it hadn’t been for the thought of her father, she would have given herself to Graham. What is this power he holds over me? Why am I not running from him?
Candy walked to a window looking out, it was dark, silver stars twinkling, dancing against their velvet canvas, the moon shining brightly illuminating the night beautiful. Candy rubbed her arms, not cold, rather feeling insecure, and confused, What should I do, What does Graham want from me? Turning back toward the fireplace, Candy jumped startled, Graham was standing directly behind her. God he has to quit doing this. “Graham, you came back,” Candy gasped shuttering a bit, this entire adventure was quite unnerving. “I frighten you don’t I?” Graham asked his blazing eyes searching hers.
“No…not frighten, confuse….intrigue, Graham I can only imagine your pain, but how can me being here help? You said I remind you of Elisabeth…I think that would make this unbearable for you.” Candy spoke honestly moving past Graham, putting distance between them, as his presence drew her in, he was overwhelming, quite hard to resist.
“Candy….I don’t have much time…it’s not enough I feel to allow you to fall in love with me. I’m sorry….I guess I was grasping at straws, a last chance. I do love you…God knows I’ve spent hours watching you, and yes it’s not fair I know. I just felt, that once we met that you’d feel the same, somehow we’d connect and….somehow this would be the right thing for both of us.” Graham was talking in circles again….what would be the right thing? He was not among the living…..how could they be together? It wasn’t possible.
“Graham none of this makes sense, just tell me what’s gonna happen to me?” Candy needed straight answers. She felt he owed her that much, since she chose not to run away.
Graham closed his eyes, sighing deeply, as if drawing upon an untapped strength somewhere.
“Okay…I guess it’s the only thing left. Candy in two days…this body will revert back to my grave, an I have to say goodbye to this world. I will not be able to be with you like this, or anyone else ever again. I’m not sure what’s beyond for me, but the thought of enduring it alone, never knowing the love a beautiful woman has kept me from ascending. Well that and….trying to forget Elisabeth, which I couldn’t do until….you,” Graham’s sincerity nearly broke Candy’s heart. “Graham, what can I possibly do?”
“Come with me…” once he spoke the words Candy’s heart began to pound, her hands turned to ice, Come with him? He is dead, if I came with him…. Candy shuttered at the thought. “You mean…..I mean, you want me to….” Candy could not say it.
“I promise you’d never feel unloved, I’d cherish you forever Candy.” Graham’s words did not console, and for the first time Candy was afraid.
Candy sat alone curled up in a large Victorian style high back chair, the worn blue velvet cushions were a bit lumpy, however still quite comfortable. Candy sat with her legs dawn up feet on the seat, her arms hugging her legs, chin resting on her knees, watching the crackling fireplace dancing amongst the quiet night. Candy couldn’t sleep, too many things raged in her mind. Graham had pulled another disappearing act, and Candy contemplated freedom, maybe it was time to leave. This entire abduction was like a dream, somehow not real, yet it was indeed Candy’s reality. It was still dark, but dawn was eminent shortly, Candy would have to be stealthy.
Moving quietly from the chair, Candy eased out of the cabin into the darkened veil of night. It was chilly, and she wore no coat the wind was blowing steady tangling her hair, stinging her cheeks. Candy had no idea which way to go, as she stumbled forward moving from tree to tree keeping to the shadows, hoping not to be detected. The night sky was invisible cloud cover hid the stars and moon like a dark shade pulled tight. There was an eerie silence, nothing seemed alive around her as Candy walked a worn path, to where, she had no clue. The night was unforgiving, and she tripped on unseen logs and rocks, each fall adding another bruise or scrape, still Candy ventured onward, feeling an urgency now. A clearing ahead seemed it would give her a choice of direction, Candy prayed she’d make the right choice. It was evident this cabin was rather secluded, and escape harder than she anticipated.
The clearing turned out to be an old corn field, the stocks neatly cut, but abandoned, not tended recently. Candy sighed and followed the tractor path around the lengthy field, there has to be a road here somewhere, Candy’s logic told her, yet what was logical in the past couple days? The corn field ended, and the tractor path spilled onto a dirt road, it looked dark and foreboding; without aid of moonlight, Candy could not see any distance up or down the road. Before Candy could choose, a dark shadow appeared before her; just a few feet away, it moved toward her, and although she should be frightened Candy felt no fear. The fluid movement, and long gate seemed oddly familiar somehow… “Daddy? How? You are dead.” Candy stammered, as she viewed the square powerful jaw, and kind deep set eyes of her father standing before her. “Oh Baby Girl, what has happened to you? You are too young to be here, what has brought you to me so prematurely?” His words echoed, Candy heard him plain, yet his lips did not move. Candy took a step backward, her father was not alive, he was a ghost.
“Daddy….I’m scared….How is this possible?” Candy’s heart raged pounding in her chest, confusion cluttering her mind. The shadowy figure reached for her, pulling her to his chest, it was not warm as Candy always remembered daddy’s hugs. The figure stroked her hair, and shook his head sadly. “You are dead Candy….no other explanation is possible. God Baby Girl what brought you to me hummmm?”
Candy pulled away shaking her head in disbelief, No this is a dream, a distorted reality, not possible. “I’m not dead daddy, I’m just trying to escape…I’m lost, help me please, help me daddy.” Candy pleaded, falling to her knees, crumpling to the moist earth her desperation and fear returning.
From behind her, another voice boomed out of the silence and darkness, it was Graham. “ Where are you going Candy? Running, silly girl it’s too late for that,” he chuckled slightly, and it sent shivers down Candy’s spine. There was an evil in his words, a coldness she had not heard until that moment. “Graham,” Candy spoke his name and wheeled around to face him, standing between her father, and her would be lover.
“Candy….you were with him? Oh my sweet child, no….no, no….NO!” Daddy was obviously upset shaking his head violently. Candy glanced back at her father, “ No daddy, No I wasn’t….I told him no….I’m so confused what’s happening…I’m not dead Daddy, see feel my hand, I’m warm.” However as Candy stretched her hand to her father she noticed it appeared stiff, her fingernails tinged blue, the peachy flesh colored tone, was gray almost ashy in color. This frightened Candy even more, panic gripped her heart, odd shouldn’t it be beating rapidly right now? What the Hell was happening to her? Her father stepped toward Candy, gently pushing her aside to stand between her and Graham, as if he were protecting her. Candy shrank behind him, feeling as though she needed to cry, only tears would not come.
“You…have no claim on her, and you are out of time, be gone from her. I’ll see that you do not ascend because of this. You were not honest with her…you didn’t tell her, and you tried to take her unwillingly, it doesn’t work that way.” Her father’s words made no sense to her, still Candy did not question only listened intently.
“I asked her, she would have come to me…if you hadn’t interfered. I own her soul…I’ve taken her life, it’s mine now, you can’t change that. Step aside and let me finish with her.” Graham tried to push her father out of the way, but he was betrayed by his strength: stepping back slightly puzzled, his strength had never failed him.
“You are weak….You haven’t taken her, and your time grows short. That body will die, as the dawn rises, you will lose all…return her soul to her…she isn’t yours to take.” Return my soul? What, are they talking about? Am I really dead? Candy began feeling of her body, it was indeed cold, not warm as it would be if….Oh my God, how can this be? I don’t remember dying. Her hand went to her neck, finding two evenly spaced puncture wounds on the side of her neck, taking away her hand her fingers dripped with blood. Candy trembled at the sight, as her thoughts swirled, Oh my God….what has Graham done to me?
“She is mine, I need her, don’t you see, it’s the only chance we both have. I must take her, and finish what I started. We will both perish if I don’t.” Graham argued desperate to finish feeding, and take Candy for his eternally.
“You never showed her who you really are. She didn’t consent, you took her against her will….I will not allow you to have her.” Candy’s father stood strong, a mighty wall of justice shielding his child.
“She is not your child….she’s my Elizabeth look at her, I’ve searched for her…you must let me take her….I’ll die without her…Elizabeth….It’s Graham…come to me my love, give yourself to me….join me forever.” Candy felt a sudden urgency, as if a controlling force commanded her. Candy moved involuntarily toward Graham…What power was this, it wasn’t mortal, that much she was certain. Her father reached for her, but Candy shook his hands free, as she continued toward Graham her eyes woven mysteriously by his…it was a need, a hunger, he beckoned and she must answer.
“Candy…Baby Girl…you are not Elizabeth…he is mistaken…the Elizabeth, Graham is searching for still lives. He is not Graham, he is a dark an evil being, a creature of the night, feeding on innocent souls….yours, Baby Girl. He took Grahams body that it true, but he has no choice but relinquish it now…and the only thing that will allow him to live is taking you, turning you into what his is. Show her the real you….you must do this, she has to agree of her own free will, you know that. SHOW HER WHAT YOU ARE!”
Candy heard her father and stopped in her tracks, the hypnotic gaze of Graham’s was temporarily broken, as the moon suddenly appeared from the blanket of clouds covering it. The light reflected upon Graham’s body before her, and in an instant his face distorted. The light reflected off a ridged pronounced forehead, and evil golden eyes glared back at her. His skin was ash, as her hands…lips black as coal, fangs replaced his even teeth, and his body was no longer human, his hands became vicious claws, able to rip a body apart. This was not Graham…this was something undead, something wicked, and evil, something she wanted no part of. Candy gasped and screamed jumping back, her father’s arms grabbed her holding her tight. “Daddy….help me, what is he?”
“He can’t hurt you if you do not let him….say no to him, Baby Girl say no.” Her father instructed, as the evil creature lunged at them. Reaching for Candy, it’s monster claws feeling over her body….her breasts, her neck, the compulsion of it’s eyes nearly made her falter, as the lust for him nearly consumed her being.
“I want you….Elizabeth lay with me now…let me make you my queen,” it’s voice was Graham’s again, and for a moment the distorted face became the one Candy knew in Graham. She reached out gently stroking Graham’s handsome face, his heartbroken eyes nearly breaking her own. At that moment, Candy didn’t feel like herself, instead she was Graham’s Elizabeth. As Candy reached her lips to touch Graham‘s, the creature returned allowing Candy to regain control, shrinking into her father’s arms.
“No…I will not go with you…you are a deceitful evil being, you took Graham against his will as well didn’t you. That’s why you can no longer keep his body, and you can’t have mine….I do not want to be your queen, I reject all that you are….and I’ll die before I go with you.” Candy spoke boldly, finding an inner courage she didn’t know she had.
The creature cursed in forked tongue, frightening Candy, her father pushed her aside just as the evil demon dove at them. Candy watched her father do battle with the evil one, she witnessed the sharp claws raking her father’s flesh, though dead he still bled. The evil one pierced her father’s throat drinking his oozing blood….Candy jumped up and pushed it away…allowing her father’s escape. “No…you will not have any of us…BE GONE now…” Candy shouted, and at that moment, dawn’s rays cracked through the dark of night. The rays glowing brighter every moment, while the creature covered his face and shrank back into the shadows from where he came, shrieking a death cuddling wail as he died.
Graham’s body lay naked on the ground, near dead, his eyes, his own finally free of evil. Candy went to him, holding him in her lap, caressing his face kissing his forehead, she knew he was dying as well. “Elizabeth….I love you….I love….” his last breath breathed into Candy’s mouth, as she kissed him goodbye. As Graham died, the vivid scars from the fire that claimed him etched across his face. However the beauty Candy knew inside of Graham could never be scared. He must have made a deal before he died, hoping to win Elizabeth’s love, giving up his soul. Candy lay Graham down, hugging him one last time. Raising to her feet, she noticed her father walking away, “Daddy, wait for me…please wait,” Candy ran to him trying to take his hand, only it was not there. He’d vanished in the light, and all she could hear was his voice echoing in her mind. “I love you Baby Girl…it’s not your time….wake up Baby Girl, wake up.”
Candy woke in a hospital bed, she was weak, she didn’t know where or why she was there, but this was reality, it hurt too much to be anything else. Her mom was there, along with her mom’s boy friend, smiles chasing away their worried frowns. “Hey…you’re awake…thank goodness, you had us scared honey.” Candy’s mom brushed her hair from Candy’s face lovingly. Candy noticed a tear streaming from her mother’s eye trickling her cheek.
“Mom….what happened?” Candy wasn’t sure what was true, or perhaps only a dream.
“You were hit by a car, walking back from the Cemetery, a dark sports car, it was a hit and run. You hit your head, and was out for awhile, and you will be sore, lots of bruises…but you’re okay honey,” Mom explained to a disbelieving Candy, No, that’s not what happened.
A week later, Candy was back at her father’s grave, she traced the letters of his name an the engraving in the granite stone. “Daddy….I know it really happened…and I know you saved me. I can’t tell anyone but you, no one would believe me. I love you Daddy, and I know you will always be here for me, no matter what. Daddy….about Graham…did he get to be with Elizabeth, it wasn’t his fault Daddy, he loved her so much that he was willing to give up his soul for her.” A week of careful consideration, brought a few conclusions that Candy felt were true.
“I’ll be back tomorrow Daddy…I love you.” Candy got up to leave, and her father’s form appeared before her smiling…Candy was not frightened. “I Love you too, Baby Girl,” He reached his hand to take hers, it was warm surprisingly. They walked a short distance, to another grave, as Candy checked out the marker, her father disappeared. Damn, I hate when they do that. Candy shook her head smiling, then bent to read the name inscribed in the stone. Candy’s eyes shed a tear as she read, Graham Winters…Born June, 18 1919.…Died September 12, 1939. Beloved by his family, and Elizabeth….
“Graham….I’m so sorry, I’m not your Elizabeth….I pray you finally found peace. I’ll visit if you like, I promise you will never have to be alone.” Candy smiled as she stood, turning to make her way back to the car, she didn’t walk anymore, since her accident.
Walking down the path leading to her car, Candy met a seemingly frail elderly lady, being steadied on either side by her granddaughters it appeared. Candy smiled at the older woman, who’s eyes seemed familiar somehow. “Beautiful day,” Candy remarked softly, being polite.
“Yes it is…Do I know you honey?” the old woman asked, a look of recognition showed in her face. “No…I don’t think so…bye now,” Candy moved on, but stopped to watch as she neared her mom’s car. Surprisingly they made their way to Graham’s grave, and Candy’s heart leaped with joy….Elizabeth, Oh my God, Graham, she’s here for you.
At that moment Graham appeared briefly looking past Elizabeth, his eyes connecting with Candy’s. Candy smiled warmly and nodded, Graham nodded back. Candy witnessed Graham hugging Elizabeth, welcoming her back to his heart, before he vanished. They gotta quit doing that. Candy got into the car driving away, happily realizing love does win, if you are patient enough.