Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Stairway to Heaven
By Linda M. Crate

The wind howled with a ferocity that shook the last of autumn's leaves from the safety of their tree mothers' arms. Yellow, orange, and vibrant furious scarlet leaves the exact hue of his wife's hair flew to the ground in a slow, suspended motion as if time had froze them in a delicate ocean of air.

Sighing softly he paused from his swift walk to observe his mother's grave. Today marked the one year anniversary of her death. His father had secluded himself from everyone since then and it seemed that his father had let the monstrous side of his vampire self take the stead of where his humanity once laid. His father had really loved his mother. She had been his one, and though many people disapproved of their antics (even he) he was sad that she was gone. His father seemed so broken.

"You know you promised him you'd never leave," Morgan whispered. "I don't think he's ever going to forgive you for breaking that oath, mother." He frowned slightly. "I made Syn promise me, too, and if she goes before I do then I'm probably going to wind up the same way father did."

"No," came a voice. "You better not."

Morgan turned to see his father there, watching him with pained eyes.

"You have her beautiful eyes," Florian whispered. He cleared his throat. "And you better not turn out that way. I think Syn would give you hell to pay in the after life should you be like...I am," he said brokenly. "And one day I will tell Lucy off for leaving me. She promised she never would. It's not like her to break a promise." He looked as if he wanted to cry, but he refused to.


Florian shook his head and merely bent down to the tombstone. "I need some time alone with your mother."

Morgan understood and walked away, watching his father with worried eyes. He could see his father talking to the tombstone rather enthusiastically as if his mother were still alive and standing before him. His heart stammered a bit when out of the thick haze of dark clouds there stood an image of his mother. He could see every part of his father go stiff when the spirit of his mother took form before her tombstone.

She waved at Morgan a moment with a faint smile before turning her full attention to Florian.

"It's time to come home," she whispered. "I've been waiting for you."

"Lucy, you promised you wouldn't leave."

"I never meant to," she whispered. "But my poor little heart just couldn't beat any longer, my love," she insisted. She played with his hair gently, something that had always calmed his father down in the past when she had been living.

"Come back to me."

"I can't," she said sadly. "But you can come with me," she remarked.

Florian looked at her with uncertainty for a few moments before he allowed her to take his hand. "This time, Lucy, you better not break your promise."

"I would never," she said gently.

Morgan blinked as both his mother's spirit and his father simply disappeared without a trace. He pinched himself to make sure he wasn't dreaming, but it was true. He could sense that his father was happier now, wherever he happened to disappear, and he also noticed that where there was one tombstone there were now two and between the two Celtic crosses there grew a rose with petals of both blue and green.

"Well, fine then, leave without a goodbye, you jerk," Morgan muttered. Yet he couldn't cry despite the appropriateness of it given the situation. He glanced at the rose of blue and green and couldn't help but snort. Blue had always been his mother's favorite color and green had been his father's. "You always accused her of being a hopeless romantic, I think you were, too."

Then without warning a black leaf fell on his head with a rather sharp harshness Morgan hadn't come to expect from leaves. "Ow! Fine, fine, I'll give you two some privacy." Rolling his eyes, Morgan wandered home.

He wondered how Syn would take his news.

"Morgan?" Syn remarked as he entered into their castle. "What's wrong? You look paler than death," she frowned. It was unusual for he was usually as dark as his father. She put a hand to his forehead to make sure he wasn't warmer than usual.

"My father just walked into heaven."


"My mother just grabbed his hand and he disappeared with her."

Syn blinked. "Morgan, are you sure you're not ill? That seems rather impossible."

"I know that," he answered. "But I assure you, my dear dragon, he did just that."

The faerie frowned over at her husband, her wings whirring rather dubiously until one of the wildflowers she had been keeping in a vase went completely black before her.

"Okay, Florian, I believe him," she remarked, putting a hand over her heart. "Did you really have to kill my flower?" she insisted. As if to answer her one of the pans hanging in the kitchen fell on her head. "Ow, would you tell your father to be nice?"

Morgan snorted. "Clearly your disbelief annoyed him, and you know what he's like when you tell him to be nice."

Syn rolled her eyes. "One would think he'd be spending more time with your mother and less time harassing me." Almost as if the spirit had just considered this, she felt the presence of Florian leave as quickly as he had come. "Oi vey."

Morgan grinned. "So you believe me now?"

"Yes, clearly the extraordinary happened today. I have never heard of a spirit taking a living person into heaven with them."



"My mother promised my father not to leave him just as you promised me not to leave. You better not leave," he insisted.

Syn gave him a small kiss on the forehead. "I wouldn't dream of it."

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Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. She currently resides in Meadville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. Recently her two chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014) were published. Her fantasy novel Amethyst Epiphany is forthcoming from Assent Publishing.


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