Meeting her vampire husband: Excerpt from my book The Lighthouse

An excerpt from my book “The Lighthouse”:

Randall met me at the door that evening with a smile, a vigorous (though chilly) handshake and a boisterous,

“Hello, hello, friend Josh! Welcome to our mini-mansion. Do you want a drink?”

“Do you have Mountain Dew?” I asked.

“Yes, we do. Candida says she can’t survive without it or chocolate. I understand her addiction, since I have my own.” He grinned with his eyebrows drawn together.

An image flashed through my mind of Randall pouring blood from a vial–or maybe from his own veins–into a can of pop. “Could I–have that in a glass–a clear glass, please?”

Randall frowned for a moment in confusion, but then he said, “All right, whatever you wish.”

“I’ll get it for you,” Candida said. She bounded off down the hallway to the kitchen. At least she was still bouncy and vibrant, which I had always loved about her.

Randall offered me the loveseat. He sat in a wicker chair adjacent to it. I hoped he didn’t notice as I swept my gaze over the seat before sitting down. Nope, no blood or–um–emissions from him and Candida–um–christening the house’s furniture. Another image flashed through my mind: Candida naked in his arms. I got a wincing headache.

“So–um–who are you?” I asked.

“Mr. Candida, Randall Ankh.”

My eyebrows shot up. “Ankh? The Egyptian symbol for life?”

“Yes. Unusual name, isn’t it? My parents changed their last name to it. They held great stock in symbolism and loved to study ancient Egypt. This idol of Set came from them.”

He put his hand on a small stone statue of a two-legged, muscular being with a dog-like face, long ears and a loincloth. Candida allowing an idol in her house was odd enough, but wasn’t Set supposed to be evil, killing his own brother Osiris?

Candida bounced back into the room with a tall glass of Mountain Dew, nearly splashing it on me as she handed it to me.

“And what is your last name?” Randall asked.

I flinched. I meant my question to be more probing, a way to get him to confess, “Yes, I am a vampire, and my last name is ironic considering the death and destruction I bring.” But he turned it right around on me before it had a chance to work. Not that I knew how it could work, anyway.

“Hilfe. It’s German for ‘help.’ You know, in case you hear anybody say, ‘Hilf mich,’ that’s what they mean: ‘Help me.’”

He did not seem to notice my subtle barb. “Any friend of Candida’s is a friend of mine, and she tells me you’re one of her best. I had to let you into our house because she would not stop talking about you. Perhaps I should be jealous.” His eye flashed red, then went back to steel gray. “When you get a treasure like Candida, you don’t want to let her go.”

Didn’t I know it.

I scratched my eyebrow, probably a nervous tic. I found Randall more disconcerting the more amiable he seemed.

“Oh, you haven’t even touched your drink,” Candida chirped from beside the wicker chair.

The doorbell rang. I jumped. Some of my drink splashed. Candida called out “hello” when Randall trotted to the door and opened it. A few “heys” showed it was an old friend of Randall’s. This friend walked in, another pale-faced young man, though black. His clothes were dark blue, well-cut and expensive. I’m not much of a judge of male looks, but he seemed to be in the same category as Denzel Washington or Billy Dee Williams. That meant he caused lust in any woman of any race. That meant I was the ugly one in this house.

“Josh, Candida, this is Vincent,” Randall said. “Shall I get you a drink?” he asked Vincent.

“Oh, yes, the usual,” Vincent said. “I’ve had nothing to drink all evening.”

Randall trotted off.

“Are you a friend of Randall’s?” Vincent asked.

“No, Candida’s,” I said.

“How long have you known her?”

“Since spring.”

“I’ve only just met her, myself. So this is she, the beautiful Candida.” He nodded at her in a way so smooth and chivalric it made me jealous.

Candida flushed and grinned back at him boldly. My likelihood of catching her eye was getting worse all the time.

Randall returned with a wineglass full of a sanguine liquid. Wine, yes, it must be red wine. Yet when Vincent drank it, it made bloody stains on the side of the glass. No, no, it’s wine, it’s got to be wine. My head felt light. I turned my gaze to the Mountain Dew, hoping to get the image out of my head. I had to get the phantom, iron taste of blood out of my mouth. I took a sip. I couldn’t stop myself; I imagined the liquid going down my throat was not Dew, but blood. I gagged. My head spun. Candida leaped to my side.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

I gazed at her without speaking. Through fuzzy vision I turned to Vincent and then Randall, who sat there with his eyebrows drawn together in what looked like concern. He was so pale, so–

I had to get out of there. “I’m sorry, Candida; I’m not feeling well. I have to go home.”

“Don’t be silly. We can take care of you here.” She stroked my hair. All my nerve endings begged me to stay and let her keep doing that, but I could not do it.

“No, really, I’d much rather be in my own room.”

I jumped up, grabbed my coat and ran out of the house, never minding how dizzy I was. Candida soon ran after me, throwing on her coat and carrying my glass of pop.

“You forgot this,” she said. “I’ll walk you back to campus and make sure you get to your room all right.”

I hugged her. How I wanted to stay nestled in her softness. “It’s sweet of you, but I can’t let you walk back by yourself in the dark. This is the city, after all.”

She smiled, kissed my cheek, handed me the glass and turned back.

As I walked, I drew in deep breaths of the chill air, blowing them out and watching the vapor. Back in my room, the glass sat untouched on top of the little box of a refrigerator in my room. My roommate was all too happy to take it off my hands, and I was all too happy to let him. I cleaned and returned the glass in the morning.

Though I loved Dew, it was many months before I could drink it again, especially from a glass.

–From “Candida” in my book The Lighthouse, e-book available for $3 at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/nerissa

(This was originally posted on my author page, here.)

 

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“The Rapture”: Left Behind Review, Part 1 (also goes into smacking kids upside the head)

by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale House Publishers, ISBN 1414305818, available practically anywhere Christian books are sold:

A plot summary is here.

FINALLY, the last prequel.  So only one more book is left!  (I’ve been reading these books for more than five years now.  😛  Though that’s nothing compared to how long the Slacktivist has been doing this.  😛  )

It’s comforting, on pages 13 to 14, to see Irene’s new Christian friends and pastor counsel her to stop nagging Rayford into getting “saved.”

Another pleasant surprise comes on page 16, when their son Raymie asks, “Mom, is Dad going to hell?” and Irene answers, “Frankly, I can’t tell where your dad is on all this.  He claims to believe in God, and it’s not for us to say.”

Pages 17 and 18 inspired me to write this post on my blog, which I will copy for you here:

I’m currently reading the Left Behind book “The Rapture” for my series of Left Behind reviews.  My reviews and the Slacktivist describe the bad, ungodly behavior of the Christians in the books.  But what I read last night, really burns me up:

A good Christian woman, Lucinda Washington, middle-aged, who is not afraid to show her faith and is respected by all, is also Buck’s favorite colleague, a mentor of sorts.

After witnessing the dramatic, supernatural defeat of the air forces sent to decimate Israel, he comes to her office looking for answers.  He plops down in a chair with his feet on the desk and she says,

“If you were my son I’d whup you upside the head, sitting like that, tearing up your spine.”

“You don’t still smack Lionel, do you?” Buck said, peeking at the photo of the smooth-faced youngster [he’s 12].

“Can’t catch him anymore, but he knows I can still take him.”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Excuse me, this isn’t set in 1950, but in 21st-century America, some indeterminate time after the present, right before the Rapture–and the book was written in 2006.

This barbaric practice should be universally condemned as child abuse by the time this book takes place.  It’s already illegal in some places.  And even 100 years ago, people knew that smacking kids anywhere on the head is dangerous.  I go into this in great detail in these posts:

Child Abuse, Examples of Child Abuse, Hitting Kids Upside the Head is ABUSE, Slapping Kids Upside the Head Causes Traumatic Brain Injury, and  …Because slapping kids on the head is ABUSE!  STOP THE VIOLENCE!

And this is the woman we are supposed to admire as a great woman of God?  A FRICKIN’ CHILD ABUSER????!!!!!

Here, I describe how two narcissistic “friends” turned out to be child abusers, whom I eventually reported to CPS because I could not get through to them, and who then threatened and began stalking me for calling them child abusers.  One of the things they did which most enraged me, was smacking their little kids in the head.

I also unfriended some old high school classmate a while back for advocating beating children on her Facebook status.  Then, a few months ago, unfriended (and eventually blocked) a girl in my social circles who said parents should beat their children.

Now, after all that, and enduring the stress and emotional anguish of being threatened and stalked for calling this child abuse, I’m supposed to read this “Christian” book and accept that a godly woman would abuse her child by smacking him upside the head?  I’m supposed to like this character after knowing this?  She’s just another hypocrite like the rest of the series’ Christians!

On page 26, Irene has turned into a Stepford Wife, even setting out Rayford’s clothes as if he were a child.  Since badgering him into converting doesn’t work, she’s taking the opposite tactic–still manipulative, but I guess she doesn’t see that.

But it drives him crazy, because he knows her various problems with him (church, his use of time, not spending enough time with their son) are still on her mind.  He’d rather argue than pretend they don’t exist.

On pages 63 to 66, Rayford explains to Raymie what many of us have realized over the years: that just because you don’t belong to a particular religion or sect, does not necessarily mean you’re going to Hell.  Raymie replies,

Wow.  You sound just like the people Pastor Billings talks about.  People who think they have it all figured out, but they don’t really believe in Jesus.

Say what?  Just because you have a different idea of who goes to Hell, you don’t really believe in Jesus?  Also, Raymie’s words have a distinct vibe of “Oh, you’re one of those people,” said with a curling lip.  ARGH!

And double-ARGH to the last few paragraphs on page 66:

Rayford…overheard the boy talking with Irene, who had asked how things went.

“Dad’s going to hell,” Raymie said.  “He doesn’t think he is.  He thinks he isn’t.  But he doesn’t believe in Jesus.  Not really.”

Meanwhile, back in Antichrist land, pages 71 to 74 depict a Mafia-style punishment of the family of a guy marked by Fortunato, Nicolae Carpathia’s right-hand man.  It’s full of evil and angst.

Where the heck was this kind of writing in the rest of the series?  If we see this along with Carpathia’s public image as a nice guy, we’ll know he’s evil.  No, all we get in the first books is that Carpathia wants world peace, which doesn’t sound so bad.

But if we got more of this behind-the-scenes evil instead of endless pages of traveling itineraries and phone conversations, the first books could have been awesome, instead of dull trudging wondering when this book will end.

To be continued.

Find all my Left Behind book reviews here.

 

 

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