So you can read my books

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


{A Spectral Victor Standish
Christmas tale encore}

So many different kinds of death hunted us this Christmas Eve all through the French Quarter,

I would’ve gotten a headache trying to count them all –

If I already hadn’t had one – to go along with the broken ribs, fingers, and nose.

I looked over at Alice, my ghoul friend,

whose ability to turn to mist had been ripped from her by DayStar.

She sobbed softly, “Victor, our first Christmas together is our last.”

I had taken as many blows for her as I could.

Wasn’t that what Love did? Sacrifice themselves for the one they loved?

Alice had buried the statue of the Madonna and taken its shawl. As I had done with the statue of Joseph, taking its robe and hood.

We knealt beside the wooden manger in the St. Louis Cathedral’s courtyard Nativity Scene.

Right in plain sight of the slowly sniffing and scouting horrors prowling for us.

I didn’t even know some of the monsters hunting us. I knew enough to know Alice and I were goners.

Winged Gahe. Starved Amal. Scaled Soyoko.

And the ghosts, given flesh, fangs, and claws by DayStar, of all the people Alice had eaten over the decades.

Who would have guessed a wisp of a girl like Alice had such an appetite?

I stiffened at the tolling in the distance. I heard the bells, ringing their familiar, mocking refrain:


Peace. Good Will.

In despair, I bowed my head.

‘There is no peace on earth!,' I thought bitterly.

'God seems as real as a ghost tonight. Hate is god now and the strong worship at its feet. The innocent die. The helpless cry out. Does anybody hear them?’

The night winds became soft words: ‘You kneel on holy ground and dare to ask that? And you, of all living, should know the reality of ghosts.’

I felt my hair ruffled by chill fingers.  'Besides, you heard the cries.  You helped.  Have you ever considered what Power brought you where Need existed?'

I looked up. I recognized the stern ghost of a priest, a book of prayers or some such in his hands. Alice went as pale as I had ever seen her.

“Pere Antoine!” She mouthed.

He spoke in razored whispers. “For my sins in the Inquisition I am bound to this plane. So Friar Antonio de Sedella is now who I am.”

I saw the self-hate in his eyes. I saw the same look in Alice's.

I looked to the drooling horrors so near. To speak would be to bring them to us.

But I was going to die anyway. Why not die, letting Pere Antoine hear that I believed in him even when he no longer could?

I shook my head and whispered back. “No, before Katrina, you helped me. You’ve helped others before and since.”

The winged Gahe spun at my words, and I blurted out, “With my last words, I say you don’t deserve to be bound here. You are Pere Antoine! You are a ghost of God!”

So many horrors rushed us that I got sick to my stomach. This was going to hurt so bad. Pere Antoine’s head cocked as if he were hearing words spoken into his very mind, and his ghost eyes grew wet.

He gestured, speaking in words of thunder:

“Dark Spawns, this is Holy Ground!”

The Shadowlanders must’ve forgotten that in their lust for our deaths. It bought them their own.

Pere Antoine, the prayer book tumbling to the grass, slapped both hands on the shoulders of Alice and me.

A warm tingle cascaded through me. Reality smeared in spirals of fiery, golden stardust as if God were wiping clean a chalkboard.

Sand, not grass, was suddenly beneath our knees. Cutting through me was a cold wind that can only be birthed in the desert.

My mouth got drier than the winds. The manger scene was now real. 

A young man and a younger woman were looking sheer love at the cooing baby. Outside the stable, high in the night sky, rippled haunting sounds that only angels could sing.

Pere Antoine knealt beside me.

“God is not dead, nor does He sleep. No matter how dark, He always sees you. You are a special part of His heart, thus you are never alone. Due to their very natures, the wrong shall fail. And those who trust prevail.”

The baby locked eyes with mine, His eyes clear and echoing strange wisdom and delight, murmuring that while most of my life I had felt loved by no one, there had been One who always had.

Pere Antoine whispered,

“He wanted you and Alice to have a 'down home' Christmas.”

The baby bubbled in laughter, a hazy glow surrounding Him.

Alice reached over and squeezed my hand. “I was wrong, Victor. Our first Christmas together is THE first Christmas.”

And impossible though it was, the French Quarter bells rang all around us:


 May the Miracle of Christmas touch each of you with magic where and when you need it most.


This is a version I think of as Victor Standish's version:
not the tempo, tune, or words you expect.
Give it a listen for Victor.

My current project occurs in 1895 Egypt
Here is a look at Cairo in that year:


  1. It's Christmas day here Down Under, so I just thought I'd swing by and wish you a very Merry Christmas, Roland!

    Thanks for all your great posts and all the very best for today and always :)

  2. Merry Christmas to you, too, Wendy!

    I feel a bit down today. It seems since I cannot afford $400 to pay in full, my newest cat, Snowball, will die. The vet helpfully told me that putting him to sleep will only cost $51. I am praying for a Christmas miracle.

    May the New Year treat us all better! :-)

  3. A beautiful post. Poor kitty, and poor you! If I had the $ right now, I would send it over. I know you will get your Christmas miracle. Somehow. Some way.

  4. Oh, Roland. I'm so very sorry to hear. If I had the money I would help you. Truly I would.

    Perhaps you could pay the bill off? Most vets are very compassionate. And let's face it, it's Christmas after all.

  5. Thank you, Shell Flower:
    I know you would, and I am humbled by your good heart.

    One by one over the Christmas seasons, I have lost those I love so it is an effort for me to conjure the Christmas Spirit these days.

    My times (and Snowball's) are in The Father's Hand -- couldn't be anyplace better, right?

    May your Christmas be lovely in a thousand ways -- and your New Year a wondrous thing. :-)

  6. Wendy:
    Sadly, the biggest sign on the vet's treatment room wall was BILL TO BE PAID IN FULL UPON TREATMENT.

    I can afford the price of putting Snowball to sleep. I will pray it will not come to that.

    Your friendship has been a Christmas gift all year for me. Thanks. :-)

  7. Don't give up. Thinking of you and Snowball xoxox

  8. Wendy:
    As Snoopy once asked: where do you go to give up? :-)

    Anyone can give up, but as Victor says: Fighting on takes courage or denseness ... or both!

    Snowball waves his paw at you. He waves it at me, but the middle pad is up when he does it to me!

  9. A Christmas horror of hope, lol.

    Love the new cover.


  10. Donna:
    Only Victor and Alice could pull it off! Merry Christmas!