Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Twisted New Years


 

It was the ending of another year with the New Year about to start. Only a few more hours and the party would start. Kallista Pendragon examined her handwork as she gazed around the room. Everything looked wonderful. From floor to ceiling decorations hung everywhere.

“It’s perfect!” She clasped her hands together happily and rested her chin on them.

Venice rushed in with her beautiful lilac hair dressed in an updo. In her hands she held last minuet items that were needed for the party.  Following behind her was Noam and Lizzy helping her to bring in the silverware and crystal cups for the dinner that night.

“Everything looks all….glittery, Kallie!” Venice encouraged her wayward friend. “You should go and put on your dress.”

Kallie looked down at her jeans and the trusty rainbow suspenders. “I can’t wear these?”

“No sweetie, we talked about it, remember?” Lizzy said patiently.

It was not unusual for Kallista to be forgetful, especially since she came home from the hospital a week ago. For this reason Kallista was not left alone for too long.  This time it was Raven who stayed by her side.

“Of course she remembers, right Kallie?” Raven popped her head out from around the doorway to the kitchen. “We just talked about it.”
“Right, I remember!” Kallista smiled as she lied.

Hurriedly she left the room and made her way upstairs. Pausing, she admired the beautiful intricate Italian stair rail that led up to five stories in the old newly remodeled brownstone townhouse. Even though it was sturdy it was not good for sliding down on. She had found out that the hard way. Gingerly she rubbed the back of her head where it still hurt and glanced down at the wall were she had crashed the other day. The flower stand she had used to cover up the damage was still there. Breathing a sigh of relief she turned back to go up the stairs and almost bumped into Niall.

“Easy there, Kal.” He said as he steadied her. “Are you feeling guilty about something?”

“No,” she squeaked out, lying again and smiled.

“So are you going to tell me how the wall down there has a Kallista sized dent in it?”

“It was an accident! I swear!”

“You were sliding down the railing again, weren’t you!”

“Yes.” She looked down, guilty.

Niall sighed as he walked down the stairs past her. “You are lucky you didn’t get hurt.”

“Yeah,” She covered up another lie with a laugh. “I’ve got to go up and get changed now.”

Turning she fled back up the stairs into her room.

“I’ll be watching you, Kallista Pendragon.” He responded lowly with narrow eyes.

                A while later Kallista stood in front of her full length mirror, wearing a dress. It was not her best one, but was pretty all the same. It was the first time in a long while she had even worn a dress. A year’s worth of rest had cleaned up most of the evidence of her former persona. Where once she had a wild and funky Mohawk, she now had curly black hair styled in a bob cut short, chin length. Blue eyes looked back at her but had lost their sparkle long time ago.  Sighing, she turned to leave her comfortable room. There waiting for her was Sarthacus leaning on the wall, with his hands in his pocket.

“Brother!” She hugged him, and then whispered for the thousand time, “I’m sorry.”

“I know,” He replied and followed her down the hall.

When she came to the stairs she paused and was considering sliding down the stairs.

“Don’t even think about it, Kallista!” Sarthacus warned as if reading her thoughts.

“I wasn’t going too!” She lied yet again.

He went ahead of her and walked down the stairs. Meekly she followed him, playing with the folds in her dress. Thor met her at the bottom and held out his hand to her.  As elegantly as she could she held onto his hand and entered the party. Everyone was dressed in their finest the guys looking dashing and the girls all looking stunning. There was soft music in the background and the sound of glass clinking on glass could be heard.  Breathing deeply, she paused.  There was a lot she had to repent for, so much so that she was not sure she belonged to this group of people anymore.

As it was, she was no longer welcomed home for the disgrace she had brought upon herself. If it wasn’t for the generosity of her friends, she would have no place to go to.

“Relax, you look beautiful.” Thor whispered in her ears.

But she knew he was just being kind. Then Noam and Daniel waved to her from the corner where they were standing and she felt welcomed. Smiling she headed their way without giving anyone noogies. It was time to grow up.

Changing course slightly she went over to the huge bay window and opened the shade to peek out. It was already dark out and the street lights were on, shining brightly next to the Christmas lights that twinkled on the trees.  A blanket of snow covered the ground looking more like diamonds in the frosty weather.  On the windows there was the splendid natural display of icy artwork, carved in swirling patterns.  People walked by, dressed in their heavy winter gear. Kallista hoped they all had a place to go, for last year, she did not. Turning away from the window she saw that everyone was having a good time. It was pleasant to see.  Slowly she drifted around the room as if in a private dance, making her way past all those who she dearly loved but had treated shabbily. Most had forgiven her while some had not. But all treated her kindly and gave her a chance to heal in peace. For that she was thankful.  When the chance came, she slipped out the door leaving a note behind.

She knew what she had to do. Slowly she walked down the street to retrace her steps that fateful night, unaware that she was being followed. Drifting snow began to fall down around her, landing gently on her eyelashes and cheeks.

There on the corner was the store she had bought the eggnog. It was closed and dark inside. Thinking of the old woman and of the Santa Clause men she whispered, I’m sorry. It was too late to make amends to them now, but somehow she would find a way.

Her path lead past the Victorian house she had broken into. There were lights on in the house. Scared, she forced her way to the front door and knocked. Slowly the door opened and an elderly man appeared.

From their hidden spot, the trio watched but could not hear anything said.  They witnessed the girl talking animated, her hands gesturing wildly, heard the elderly man speak curtly and saw the front door close with a bang. Kallista’s shoulders sag.

Wearily she turned and trudged down the steps and headed towards the school she had once attended. The distance was greater than she had imagined. Shivering, she pulled her hood up over her head and walked on. Then she saw it, the school she had once gone too.  Suddenly she was afraid, for the monster she had been was there again, ready to come out. Defiantly, she placed one step into the school yard followed by another step. She came to the place where she had scaled the wall and broke in the school. Tracing her hand along the wall she quelled her desire to climb.

“Not today, not ever again.” She whispered.

Whirling around she skipped to the old playground meant for younger kids and she jumped on a swing. Pumping her legs, she ignored the cold and swung as high as she could feeling the icy kiss of winter on her face. For a moment she felt free, the weight that had been crushing her lifted. How easy it would be to fly away and never return to earth. She leaned forward with her arms out wide and leapt while the swing was in motion. Then she felt herself falling and forced her eyes open. She would face the consequence head on. The mounted snow cushioned her fall but she still felt the pain. It was nothing to the pain she felt on the inside, to the pain that she had caused others.  For a moment she lay there face down in the snow, spread eagle. Then she made a snow angel and giggled. Jumping up she ignored the bloody nose she had and walked to the front of the school. It was there she had been chased away and told never to come back.

“I CAME BACK!” She bellowed in challenge. But there was no one to meet her head on.

Frowning, she turned away and walked towards a house she knew very well. A swirling pile of emotions swept over her from longing, to pain, anger, and the simple emotion of missing someone. Finally she arrived at the neatly trimmed ranch house that belonged to Kelly Adams.  She knocked on the door. It looked as if there was a party going on. It was Kelly, herself who opened the door.

“Oh my gosh, Kallista!” She covered her face with her hands. “I thought you were dead! I’m so sorry!”

“Uh, I think I was supposed to be saying that.” Kallista spoke softly.

A movement beside Kelly caught her attention. It was Brian, her boyfriend. Brian saw her and cursed. Kallista was getting used to it by now.

“What are you doing here, Kal?” He said as he stepped outside. “Are you making Kelly cry?”

He grabbed the front of her coat and lifted her up. Slamming her into the side of the house he yelled at her.

“Just because you are a girl doesn’t mean I won’t hit you!” He snarled.

“Brian, Stop!” Kelly cried out.

From behind Kallista, unseen by her, three figures emerged from the shadows and quietly challenged Brian. Upon seeing them, Brian’s eyes widened and he let Kallista go. She hit the ground hard and fell to her knees.  From her crouched position she turned to look behind her but saw no one.

“You’ve got some friends, Kallista!” Brian spoke grudgingly.
“I know,” She smiled as she thought of Lizzy, Sarthacus, Raven, Skyril, of Mar, and Mir, Lydia, Venice, Niall, Octaboona, Thor, Daniel, and Noam, and of Hellboy, and Silente, Emerald and so many others.

Surprisingly, Brian held out his hand to her. Looking up at him she doubted for a moment then reached up and took his hand. He helped her up.

“I’m sorry,” He said.
“I’m sorry,” Kallista started then paused. “What did you say?”

“I said I am sorry. I am sorry for the way I….the way we treated you at school that day.”

“You are?”

“We all were.” He admitted. “Though it took some of us longer than others to realize it.”

“I’m sorry too,” Kelly added with tears in her eyes and hugged Kallista. “I’m glad you are not dead.”

For the first time Kallista wondered if it would be alright after all. Maybe living was not so hard but worth it.

The two went back inside to join the party and Kallista left to go join the party she was meant to be at.

A sound reached her ears, a thin wailing cry of a baby. The sound, like always, immediately undid her. She had to see if the baby was ok.  Following the sound she was horrified to see a bassinet lying by itself in the park.  The baby’s high pitch wail of helplessness reached out and pulled at a long hidden memory. Swiftly she pulled the baby out and cradled the crying child to her.  Looking around she saw no one else. A strange sense of elation coursed over her.

“No one wanted you either.” She spoke to the baby softly, “But I want you.”

She would take the baby home and raise the child herself. Surely this child was a gift from God to replace the other one lost to her. Rosy plans filled her mind as she held the baby.  Visions of how life would be danced merrily before her.  She would name the child Michaela, and make sure she would have everything she ever wanted. Ballet, horseback riding lessons, and violins were in her future.

Turning, she made her way across the quiet park all the while crooning to the tiny infant.
“WAIT!” A desperate voice pleased.

Startled, Kallista turned to see a young woman standing there.  Dread filled her and she knew who she was looking at. Shaking her head she clutched the baby tighter to her chest.

“No, you chose to abandon this child. She’s mine now.” Kallista cried out.

“I changed my mind, I want her!” The mother pleaded.

“You have no right for a second chance when I got none!” Kallista raised her voice in despair. “How come you should be able to keep your baby when I was not!”

“Please, she’s all I have…”

“Why did you set her down and try to leave her?”

“I saw you coming and thought she would have a better chance with you.” The mother admitted.

“You judged me on how I looked but know nothing about me.” Kallista hardened her heart. “I lost my child. I became an object of scorn and hate. I am a monster who even threatened harm to one of my dearest friends!”

The young woman looked startled. “There was a look in your eye that told me something else. I saw it and believed in that moment that Sarah was better off with you then with me.”

“Her name is Michaela.” Kallista said but already in her heart she knew it was a losing battle.

The child began to cry again.

“She needs me and I need her,” The woman wept. “How can you feed her?”

“With a bottle,” Kallista coldly replied, tears streaming down her face.

“Please don’t take my baby, I will do anything to have her back.”

“Anything?”

“Yes!”

“You will give her the love and care she needs and let her take ballet if she want too?”

“Yes,”

“You will never forsake her and let her be who she is meant to be?”

“Of course!” The woman said brokenly.

“I have no right to this child.” Kallista proclaimed. “Sarah will be better off with you. I am but a monster in disgrace.”

“No, you have done a great thing tonight.” The mother said with joy as she came to claim her baby.

Kallista didn’t make it easy. Weeping she held Sarah for the last time and then gave her to her mother.

“What is your name?”

“I’m Camilla.” She smiled through the tears.

“Do you have a place to go too?”

“I do.” Camilla answered.

“I wish you peace and happiness Camilla and Sarah.” Kallista turned to leave.

“One day you will have another child and this one won’t be taken from you. You will raise her and she will be yours and you will find great joy in one another.”

Kallista didn’t turn around but wept brokenly. “I will hold on to that as a sign from God.”

Without another word she turned and headed for home, except she didn’t know how to get back.  Confusion filled her mind as she looked around and could not remember anything.

Three figures stepped out of the shadows and surrounded her.

It was Sarthacus, Hellboy, and Niall.

“You did a good thing, Kallista.” Sarth said quietly.

“Octa came with us and is making sure the woman and her child will arrive safely at home.” Niall told her.

“It’s time to get you back home, Kallie.” Hellboy said as he hugged her.

“I don’t know the way.” She sobbed.

“We will show you the way.” He laughed gently.

“Plus, Thor has got the vehicle.” Niall said as Thor pulled up with Hellboy’s silver van.

Thor jumped out of the van with a blanket.

“How come every time I see you, you are bruised and bloodied?” He sighed as he wrapped the blanket around her.

“How did you find me?” She laughed through her tears.

“We never lost you.” Sarth said simply. "We had you followed the moment you left the party."

“”But we knew you had to find yourself.” Niall added calmly. “Now let’s all get in the van and go celebrate the New Year with everyone else.”

Octaboona joined them then and they all climbed back into the van and drove home.  Once they go there, they helped a cold Kallista back into the house where she was received by many hugs and noogies.

“You’re never too old to get a noogie,” Raven grinned at her. “Welcome back, Kallista.”

“Welcome back, Kallie,” Sky joined in and handed her hot cider.

“Welcome home, Kallista.” Thor said as he hugged her.

As she looked around at all her friends, she realized they were truly her family. She was at home and she had a long life ahead of her filled with second chances.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Twisted Christmas 6




“If I cannot bring you comfort that at least I bring you hope

For nothing is more precious than the time we have and so,

We all must learn from small misfortunes

Count the blessings that are real,

Let the bells ring out for Christmas and the closing of the year. “

Words and music by Wendy and Lisa.

Start 2 A Broken Hallelujah

It was twelve days to Christmas and still there was no snow on the ground. It looked like it would not be a white Christmas. Thor walked the path from the bookstore to the ruins of the fireworks stand. It still stood there, the remains of the fire that happened almost a year ago. For a moment he remembered everything that had happed that night. First he had seen Kallista at the window then when he rushed to help her in, she had run away. No, she had been chased away by some bored cops looking for some excitement.  Angrily he clenched his fists as the memories flowed. How frightened and lost she must have been.  He had followed the chaos all the way to the end of the street where the bay was.  Who would have thought that anyone would put up a fireworks stand there?  The scared girl had run in there and had been surrounded by the police. They had accused her of something absurd, of being part of a robbery.  Then the unthinkable had happened. Shots had been fired and a blaze was ignited in the highly combustible stand.  Bystanders had whipped out their phones to record the scene that had bizarrely turned into a full scale production. No one had heard her screams that night but Thor did. It was a sound that ripped away at his heart. 
A voice on the wind whispered past Thor’s ear sounded both near and distant at the same time.

Help me!

“Kallista!”

He whirled around to find Hellboy, Skyril, and Raven standing there. A series of expressions filtered across their faces before they settled on understanding.

“We saw you leave the bookstore…” Skyril began uncertainly.

“We thought maybe you wanted some company.” Raven added

“I’m sorry, I thought I heard something…” Thor stuffed his hands into his pockets trying to cover the oddness of the situation.

“Do you want to talk about it, Thor?” Hellboy asked him, quietly.

No one has really talked about what happened that night or the days prior to Kallista’s death. Her funeral had been a solemn affair that everyone had attended.  It had been a closed casket, signifying the depth of destruction done to Kallista’s body.

“I don’t think I can…” Thor managed to say as he gazed around, looking for something to hold his attention and keep it from the scene of Kallista’s death.

Festive wreaths and other Christmas decorations on the store fronts met his eyes everywhere he looked. Shoppers came and went in steady streams, arms filled with gifts for family members.

“Well, I think maybe I could say something.” Skyril burst out. “She was like a sister to me and I lost that the day she died!”

Raven turned away and bit her lip.

“I also lost a sister.” She added quietly.

“We lost Kallista long before she died.” Hellboy spoke up gravely.

“It’s almost been a year and no one wants to admit anything.” Thor said angrily. “I could have saved her!”

“We all could have done something, but who could save Kallista from herself?” Hellboy returned evenly.

“I could have tried.” Thor grieved.

“No one knew it was going to end up like this.” Raven cried out.

Thor shook his head and started walking away.

“Where are you going?” Skyril called after him in dismay.

“I’m going to buy flowers for her grave.” Thor replied without looking at them. “No one else has been doing that.”

Hellboy, Skyril, and Raven looked at each other then followed him.

A half an hour later the four of them approached the gravesite. It came as a shock when they saw someone else there.

“Chan?”

The young man looked up at his friends. “Hi, guys,”

At Chan’s feet lay a dozen pink roses.

“She always did love pink flowers,” Thor smiled after getting over his surprise. In ironic humor he held up the pink roses he had bought.

“She loved flowers of every kind.” Skyril said as she put down the flowers she got. “Pink roses in winter.”

“It’s about time someone else thought about Kallie.” Chan lost his smile.

“I think that everyone has been thinking about Kallie. It’s just too hard to talk about it.” Raven protested.

“So, let’s change all that.” Thor spoke up. “No one knows what it was like to see and hear her die!”

“We all saw the Youtube videos that people posted of that night, Thor!” Hellboy shot back. “We all have to live with that fact that Kal died while we were all partying.”

“I know, I didn’t mean to…” Thor tried to speak but stopped.

“Enough, you two.” Raven stepped in between them. “Let’s not argue by Kallista’s grave.”

Without another word they put down the flowers and paid their respects to the broken girl no one could save.

That night everyone gathered in the bookshop for their annual Christmas party. Niall and Venice came in together; Ven looking beautiful as usual, this time with lilac colored hair. Lizzy had already arrived with Pyro, Noam, Octa, and Sarth. Chan walked in a few minutes later with Hellboy, Sam, Leo, Flame, Darkane, Nicolette, Skulgirl,  Skylara, Mary, and Thor.  Raven and Sky came in with Mar, Mir, Thalia, Lydia, and Aria following. Dan came in last with Legolas, Emerald, NJ, Quinn, and Bryony. 

Inside the bookstore it was all cozy and warm. As the friends all passed around the eggnog, woebegone Kallista bent with chains that were wrapped around her body stood outside in the cold.  No one had heard her for a year. In all that time she had been crying out from beyond never ending tears streaming down her face.

Wanting to be by himself Thor set out on the cold porch reflecting on the past year as he drank some eggnog. The more he drank the more he seemed to hear Kallista’s voice.  It was as if she was right next to him.

“Why couldn’t you have remembered who you were, Kallista?” He shouted suddenly out into the night, grieved.

“Don’t yell at me. It hurts my ears.” Kallista replied sorrowfully,

In shock, Thor whirled around and looked at the wretched figure of Kallista.

“Kallista!” He swore in horror at the sight of the chains and tried to pry them off her but his hands passed right through. “No, it can’t be!”

“I’m dead, Thor.” She acknowledged for him. “Only you seemed to hear me now. For that I am deeply happy.”

But she stilled looked miserable. It didn’t matter to Thor that she was bound up in chains and wearing tattered clothing. To him Kallista had always been beautiful and even in death he loved her.

“I’m glad to see you again, Kallista. But this is not how I wanted it to be…I tried so hard to save you….but I couldn’t.”  He spoke sadly.

“Um, this is awkward,” Another voice interrupted. Thor turned to see Sarth there looking sad but confused too. “Who are you talking too?”

“Kallista,” Thor replied in wonder as he gestured towards her.

“He can’t see me.” Kallista said sadly as Sarthacus spoke at the same time.

“Kallie’s dead.”

“It’s the eggnog.” Kallista nodded towards the empty cup in Thor’s hands.

“What?” Thor asked her, confused.

“I said Kallie’s dead!” Sarthacus spoke louder.

“The more you drink of it the more I can be seen and heard.” She moaned. “Oh my gosh I’m just like Moaning Myrtle!”

“Never!” Thor was quick to reassure his deceased friend.

“I think you really lost it, Thor.” Sarthacus backed up.

“Wait, drink your eggnog!”

“What?”

“Just do it.”

With confused eyes watching Thor, Sarthacus took a deep drink.

“Drink all of it.”

Sarthacus did as he was told.

“OK, now just wait a minute.”

Kallista waited for his reaction when Sarthacus first saw her.

“Surprise!”

Sarthacus backed up against the door.

“Kallista…”

“Hello Sarthacus.” Once again Kallista was gloomy and in pain.

“How could this be?” Sarthacus tried to touch her face but his hand went right through her.

“It’s the eggnog!” Thor said as he looked at Kallista. “The more you drink the more you can see and hear her.”

“This isn’t right,” Sarthacus seconded Thor’s thoughts. “I don’t like to see her this way.”

At that moment, Lizzy stumbled out of the door, holding  drink, ”Hey what are you guys-….KALLISTA?”

“It’s the Nog,” Thor and Sarth said together.

Thor helped steady Lizzy as she fell back in shock.

After explaining to Lizzy, Thor turned back to Kallista. “It isn’t right to see you like this. We were hoping you would at last be at peace.”

“Can you come inside?” Sarthacus asked softly. “I think the others should see you too.”

“I can’t go in there,” Kallista moaned sadly.

“Then we will bring everyone out.” Thor said gently.

A few minutes later everyone was ushered outside. Some could already see Kallista and fell back in shock, others looked confused as to why they were there.

“What is the meaning of this, Thor?” Niall asked as he took off his coat and drape it around Ven’s shoulders.

“Drink your eggnog and you will see why we have brought you out here.” Thor answered Niall, mysteriously.

Shrugging, Naill and the others did so while those who were already intoxicated by the nog exclaimed among themselves.

“I do believe I’m seeing things. “ Ven spoke up as she backed away from the horrible vision in front of her.

“You are seeing Kallista Pendragon.” Thor answered her, softly. “I don’t know how or why but I thought maybe you would all like to say something to her.”

“Kallista…” Chan spoke in wonder and sadness.

“Maybe we can help her be at peace,” Sarthacus added.

“There will be no peace for me,” Kallista sobbed. “I am here, bound to this place for my sins.”

Weakly, she rattled her chains. “This is the penalty I must pay.”

“Who told you this!” Pyro exclaimed, distressed.

“I don’t know how, I just KNOW!”  An unearthly wind not felt by the others picked up and blew Kallista’s long hair wildly around as she became more agitated.

Lizzy, Skyril, and Raven reached out to comfort their fallen friend but there was nothing they could do.

“Are you going to haunt us for the rest of our lives?” Noam asked quietly.

“I have to roam the earth till I repent for my sins.” Kallista moaned. “I am wrapped in chains by the very crimes I did while alive.”

“There is nothing that can be done?” Mar asked in despair.

“There is no more hope for me,” Kallista wept.

A muffled knocking sound was heard in the background.

“Someone is at the door,” Niall said as he gazed at his deceased friend. “The bookstore is closed and I am talking to my dead blog sister.”

“Someone should really go and see who that is.” Ven twirled a long strand of lilac hair around her finger while looking at Kallista.

“Oh, I’ll go!” Sam spoke exasperated then muttered under his breath. “This is too creepy for me.”

He left the scene of the ghost girl behind as he overhead the others mourning over her.

“You will never know marriage or have children!” Someone was saying.

Quickly Sam crossed the bookstore to the front of the building where he recognized Silente Tempest standing by the door. As he reached for the handle he noticed that her face seemed almost as white as Kallista’s.

“Hello Silente! I didn’t-“ He began but was interrupted by Silente.

“Wait Sam, you won’t believe this!” She interrupted him and rushed past him into the store. “Where is everyone? I know you were having a party tonight. Everyone needs to hear this!”

“Well, um. They are out backside talking to…..someone.” Sam said awkwardly, then poured a drink. “Here, have a drink of eggnog. It will calm your nerves.”

Silente took the glass without thinking and gulped it down.

“I would keep your coat on, it’s cold outside.” Sam warned her then lead her to the back porch.

At first all Silente saw was all the older Bloglanders gathered around. Then she noticed the pale ghostly image of her old friend, Kallista.

Swearing, Silente fainted.

When she woke up again, she was inside the comfortable bookstore and lying on a sofa.

“It can’t be.” Were the first words out of her mouth. “I just saw her at the hospital where I intern at. I must be seeing things.”

At her words everyone went still.

“You, what?”  Octa said, shocked.

“I just saw Kallista at the hospital! She is very much alive!” Silente told them all.

“How can this be?” Hellboy spoke in disbelief.

They all looked at Silente expectantly.

“I just saw her in the East Wing of St. Joseph’s Hospital, where the patients are kept who are in a coma. She has a room all of her own!”

“That’s impossible!” Hellboy exclaimed, distressed. “How can she be here and there at the same time?”

They all looked outside where they could still see a Ghostly Kallista bound with chains.

“I don’t know how this is possible,” Silente said as she gulped more Eggnog that was given to her.  “Come to the hospital and I will show you. “

“Visiting time ends in an hour.” Octaboona said as he looked at his watch.
“Then let’s hurry!” Silente urged them all.

A short while later the Blogland gang arrived at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

“Follow me,” Silente instructed them. “Because you are with me, you won’t be stopped.”

The clever girl lead her friends through the entryway and down several hallways before coming to an elevator.

“She is on the third floor.” Silente told them all as they split up.

With a ding the elevator doors closed and rose several floors to the third story while playing Christmas carols. There was another ding and the elevator doors opened. There the group met up again and followed Silente down the hall to the right. Just outside the door Silente turned and make a quiet motion with her finger against her lip.

Once inside the gang stood breathless gazing at the still form of their friend, Kallista Pendragon.  Time and care had healed most of Kallista’s injuries but there was a big machine that was assisting Kallista in breathing. Without it she would be gone.

“She is kept alive by the order of the police in case she wakes up and can identify those men who a year ago robbed some banks.” Silente told them all. “I found this out when reading her chart.”

“If she is a potential witness, should she not have police protection?” Octaboona wondered out loud.

“What I am wondering is how Kallista can be both here and a ghost at the same time.” Chan said. “Who did we bury at her grave?”

“That’s the other thing I need to tell you.” Silente told them all. “You buried an empty coffin!”

Thor had picked up Kallista’s hand and held it as he spoke. “This must be why Kallista is still bound to the earth. There may be a chance she can be revived!”

“The police have left her for bait. They are watching and most likely know we are here,” Silente continued.

“That’s so cruel!” Lizzy spoke forcefully, “The police can’t do this! She is helpless to protect herself and after what they did to her….”

Sarthacus hugged Lizzy. “We can protect her.”

“I was just thinking that,” Thor said grimly.

“We are going to need more seats in here,” Raven commented as she looked around the sparse room.

Soon there were chairs all around the room with two or more occupants sharing.

“How do we get Kallista’s spirit back in her body?” Skyril asked as she smoothed away some of Kallista’s hair from her forehead.

“That, I do not know.” Silente paled again.

“What’s the matter, Silente?” Hellboy asked, concerned.

“If in the next week, the police do not catch the real criminals, they are going to pull the plug on Kallista.” Silente spoke plain English for them.  “Just so you all know, I’ve lost my job for telling you all this.”

“I’m sorry for your loss of job,” Niall said, “We will take care of you, Silente.”

Silente nodded her thanks.  And the friends all sat quietly into the night waiting for something to happen. A song came on the radio about Christmas time and hope. It started to snow outside.

They must have been dreaming because they saw Kallista again, looking down at her body. “They are coming.”

Niall woke up with a jerk and noticed it was dark in the room, then he noticed a figure over Kallista.

“Pyro, is that you?” He called out. Several others woke up then and the lights were turned on.

It was one of the robbers, he was holding a pillow down over Kallista’s face.

With a roar several people tackled the man and drew him away from Kallista’s form.  The noise brought another man into the room holding a gun. It was the other robber. Shots were fired all around the room. But something strange happened. Each bullet was stopped and fell useless to the floor. Stunned, the gunman just stood there when Hellboy punched him and knocked him out.

“Now, if someone could take out the trash, please.” Hellboy said, grinning and dusting his hands off.

To their surprise, another man entered the room wearing a trench coat and holding a sawed off shotgun.

“How do these people keep getting in with guns?” Silente wondered out loud as the man was tackled and wrestled to the ground.

The man grunted under the weight of Kallista’s Blogland friends.

“Get off me, you fool kids.” He growled. “I’m on your side!”

“Who are you?” Thor demanded.

“I was brought here by a friend of yours,” The man responded and nodded towards the still form of Kallista. “That’s the one!”

“You are telling us Kallista appeared to you?” Raven asked, incredulous.

“My name is Israel Elysium! Your friend appeared to me while I was trying to relax.” Israel grunted as his gun was taken from him. “You realize of course I am letting you take the gun.”

“Yeah, whatever buddy.” Thor said as he pointed the gun at Israel. “I want to know how you came to be here if you are not one of those creeps over there.”

Israel sighed, “Fine. I was sitting by myself enjoying a drink or two when I noticed this scrawny kid wrapped up in chains standing next to me. It was weird, but I figured it was my drink making things that way. Usually the more a person drinks, the more attractive woman can seem.  But not with this chick.”

“Enough of that and tell us how you got to be here!” Pyro demanded as he stepped in front of Thor.

“Kids these days.” Israel mumbled to himself, and then shuddered. “This Kallista chick told me to come here or else she would haunt me for the rest of my life.”

“Sounds like something Kallista would do.” Octaboona smiled a little.

They let Israel up but watched him closely as he took out several handcuffs.  Going to each robber, Israel handcuffed the men.

Breathing a sigh of relief the gang turned back to Kallista and it was then that they noticed her breathing tool had been knocked out of her.

“We are too late!” Noam cried out.

“Wait, she is breathing on her own!” Skyril pointed, excitedly.

“But she is not waking up!” Raven cried out.

“Maybe if we talk to her.” Lizzy suggested and went to be by Kallista’s side.

“Or maybe a kiss is what is needed.” Israel joked then looked surprised when he received dirty looks.. “What?”

Thor walked over to Kallista and gently took her hand. Raising her hand to his lips he kissed her.

“No one ever said it had to be on the lips.” He winked.

Slowly Kallista’s eyes fluttered open and she took a deep breath of air into her lungs. Everyone cheered.

It was two days till Christmas and Kallista was home from the hospital. Weak from her long stay at the hospital Kallista was placed in a soft chair at the bookstore. She looked outside and saw it was snowing again.  Last year had been nightmare. While she didn't remember most of her time as a ghost, she remembered everything else.

“No more eggnog for you, kiddo!” Lizzy said with a smile.

Everyone laughed and passed her some hot cider instead.
"I'm sorry for how I behaved last year," Kallista spoke earnestly. "I am truly sorry for all my actions against you. Yet I'm glad for this second chance at life. I hope to make it a better one from now on."
Everyone raised their glasses at that and toasted one another.
No one knew who started it but soon everyone was singing Auld Lang Syne. When the fireworks started, everyone made sure that Kallista was there and she was.