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 Taylor Family Heir

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PostSubject: Taylor Family Heir   September 1st 2008, 11:40 pm

The alarm clock read, 6:44 a.m.. In less then a minute it would jump to life with the sounds and howls of The Tom and Adam Morning Wakeup and Drive Radio Madhouse. There was nothing special about either Tom or Adam or their morning radio show. They were just another pair of rejects from the standup comedy circuit who’d somehow found their way onto the local airways and who jointly possessed opinions and voices which were only slightly less abrasive then the clock’s buzzer setting. Barry flipped the off switch seconds before their screeches and cackles had opportunity to assault his ears.

It was Tuesday morning. The daily classes at Queens Collage would be starting soon. Professor Hamilton, a man who’s slow tone and melancholy demeanor lent all the excitement of a Saturday night spent at the laundry mat to each and every speech, would be taking attendance in a mere hour and a half. Oh, how Barry had once hated the study of Greek Philosophy, but if only he were attending this mornings scheduled lecture on Plato’s impact on modern American society he would have been happy, well almost happy, to pull himself out of his warm bed.

It was the dead of winter in Charlotte, North Carolina and the city had had the feel and appearance of a large gray slug for weeks. The weather forecasters had been promising snow flurries since late Sunday evening and the past two nights had seen the ground frozen, but always the sun came out the next morning and thawed it. But one glance out the narrow bathroom window told Barry there would be no sun and thaw this morning.

It took the shower several minutes to heat to a tolerable level and for a moment Barry stood naked under its icy flow, cupping his manhood in his right hand, and struggled to remember if he’d mailed in the gas payment. He couldn’t recall the bill’s status with any clarity and was about to give up and get out when the hot water finally kicked in. He shrugged the whole thing off and took up the business of shampooing his hair.

The voices of Tom and Adam’s, emitting from the manufacturer’s standard car radio, finally caught up to Barry. They were just finishing up the latest installment in the news saga concerning the young woman in Florida that had shocked her family and the nation when she’d declined the substantial inheritance her dying grandmother meant to leave her. Between attempts at wit from Adam and Tom a caller was commenting that he’d gladly take over the inheritance and family estate if the ungrateful girl didn’t want it. Barry chuckled coldly to himself as for the second time that morning he threw the kill switch on the show off.

The hospital’s lobby was as it always was. It’s lack of windows, double heavy glass automatic doors with three feet of unused space between them, and the abundance of overhead florescent lights gave to it a timeless state. Only the large clock set into the wall above the front desk ticked away at the illusion. As Barry approached, the woman behind the desk glanced up at this clock and rose from her chair to bid him good morning, “you’re here awfully early this morning, Mr. Taylor.”

“I wanted to beat in the rain,” the drops of water collected in the ends of his hair displayed his failure. Carefully avoiding eye contact with her, he signed the large visitors ledger that was her charge and departed from her company as quickly as he could manage, “if I don’t see you on my way out, have a good day.”

“You too Mr. Taylor,” she called after him, smiling a little to widely for one manning the gates to the house of the sick and dying.

The long faces of Jonathan and Jennifer Taylor, Barry’s two older cousins, were the sight that met him as the elevator opened onto the third floor’s waiting room. The pair of them had been acting as the family’s attorneys every since Uncle Burt, their father, had been killed three years before in an auto accident. Neither of them it seemed trusted the other well enough to turn their back for even a moment on one another. What other reason could there be for the both of them to be setting watch for his arrival? Was he’s arrival and the new day he brought with him of such grand importance that neither of them could stand the thought of not witnessing it? Barry somehow doubted it.

Under happier circumstance the only subjects Jon or Jen ever spoke about were politics and finances. Two subjects they held extremely conservative opinions on; at least publicly anyway. Everyone in the family knew Jen had become pregnant and undergone an abortion while still in law school and Jon had both a wife and a girlfriend; only one of whom was in the country legally. Of late the three of them had been forced to hold conversations regarding other matters; family tragedies and debts for example.

With a sigh Barry stepped out of the comfortable low light of the elevator. Jon meet him halfway across the floor, “Dr. Libby needs you to sign some things before we can proceed.” Barry glanced down at the tan folder and black pen being shoved at him, “but the family priest is standing by to give the last rights.”

“Is my mother here?”

“Yes… she’s at Aunt Betty’s bedside.” The distain in Jon’s voice said added, as you should have been.

“And Tina? Is Tina here?”

His cousin’s square jaw tightened, “her shift ended an hour ago. She stopped by to say that she was going to go grab some coffee and return shortly to wait on you.”

Tina had worked as a nurse in the hospital’s maternity ward for as long as Barry had known her; right at two years. The two of them had met, in fact, when Jennifer had given birth to her and Larry’s second child; right down stairs in a happy and more cheer filled family waiting room. Jennifer had not been amused by her cousin’s interest in her nurse. Something about a woman who had changed her bloody bed sheets suddenly being part of the family hadn’t sat well with Barry’s cousin, but her fuss had been minimal when a few months later he moved her into his apartment and they started making the rounds of family functions together. But that had been back when Jennifer had thought Barry a relation she could easily ignore, before Aunt Betty had made her announcement or taken ill.

“Good,” Barry took the folder. He knew what the papers it contained said. He didn’t have to read them and made no show of it, “I’m going to go back and see Aunt Betty.”

Elizabeth Anna Taylor was no doubt the richest woman interned at the hospital that day; possibly that whole year. With this status came all the comforts such an establishment as this could provide and the suites in the private sector of the hospital’s third floor were so plush and like small apartment it would have been possible for a visitor to forget that they were even in a hospital room, were it not for the beeping and humming coming off of the equipment surrounding the bed. Even closer inspection of the room revealed containers for medical waste, dispensers for medical supplies, and the family priest, Father Davis, sitting in the far corner of the room; rocking every so slightly and praying beneath his breath. These unnerving mutterings and the sense of lose which had been building in Barry’s chest every since he’d flipped off the switch to his alarm clock destroyed any peace the room’s décor was suppose to bring him.

Barry wondered to himself, as he quietly entered into the sick room, what the good father was praying for; a peaceful death for dear Aunt Betty, that his, Barry’s, shoulders would be fortified enough to bare the load he must now carry, for the Charlotte Panthers to get another shot at the super bowl? Barry didn’t himself pray, but he hoped the priest’s prayers were something worthwhile and that there was divinity still left in the universe whom still listened to such devout utterances. He’d lost a hundred bucks to Tina on the outcome of last years bowl.

Dr. Libby, who in the past two days given up all attempts at a cheerful bedside manner, was taking Aunt Betty’s vitals as Barry entered and turned an exhausted eye towards him. Unlike the family he’d not used his influence to rush Barry towards a decision, but his grim expression spoke volumes; the end of the road was near, it was time to pick a path; that’s what his face said.

Judy Taylor, Barry’s mother, sat to Aunt Betty’s left; away from the beeping machines. Aunt Betty, who was nearly eighty-five and looked tens years more then that beneath the harsh light of bedside lamps, was her aunt by marriage and besides Barry her only living link to her late husband. A fact that illustrated that this was far from the first time death had come calling unexpectedly at the Taylor family door. Barry’s father had passed from prostate cancer while Barry was still in high school, his grandparents had died in the same car crash that had claimed Uncle Burt, and before he was even born his older sister and only sibling had been lost to sudden infant crib death. He was use to seeing his mother in a state of grief.

“May I have a few moments alone?” Barry was determined not to make a show of emotion; not in front of Aunt Betty; not in front of his mother; not in front of anyone. The last time he’d let anyone outside of Tina see him cry had been at his father’s funeral. It had been Aunt Betty’s hand that had pulled him aside at the funeral home and told him that men who headed families did their grieving in private, “I won’t be long.”

Barry was forced into a maternal hug by a wet faced Judith, but it was Dr. Libby alone who didn’t go in silence, “I gave your cousins the release forms. It’s all standard, but they wanted to look them over.”

“Here,” Barry departed the folder of paperwork back to the doctor in a manner similar to the way they had been departed to him, “I’ve signed them, but I’d like to wait until my girlfriend is here before you start unplugging anything.”

“Yes of course,” Libby gave him the first genuine smile Barry had seen in days and patted him on the shoulder. “Take as long as you need.”

The seat of Judith’s chair was still warm and from the hallway Barry could hear the muffled sounds of her sobbing. He wished he’d not been so quick to dismiss her and let her stay with him, but he hadn’t the energy to rise up from the chair and go after her. It was best to block all thoughts of her, and the rest of them, out of his head. He sat for a time and stared with his eyes unfocused at nothing. He’s thought drifted from his mother to the dinner he’d shared with Tina the night before.

It had been a last supper of sorts, but at the same time had been nothing special. She’d been wearing her green nurse’s smock. Her hair wet from the shower and her without makeup. Even so she was the most beautiful women in the world in his eyes. He would have forgone the dinner all together and made a second round of love to her had she not commented after the first round that she was starving and would have to eat fast so as not to be late. The meal itself had been room temperature delivery pizza and ice cold milk. When the pizza was finished she’d left for her nightshift. He’d ran out to the apartments’ parking lot for a second goodbye kiss and had whispered to her through the damp night air that he’d love her forever and wanted more then anything to spend every day of the rest of his life with her; alone with her. These had been foolish words. They had cut a troubling wound into an otherwise prefect memory.

“You’re here,” Barry startled and nearly overturned the bedside table’s water pitcher. Aunt Betty’s body was as still as before; only her eyes and mouth were opened, but the wrinkle lined lips didn’t move with the raspy unnatural and inhuman voice which came from somewhere beyond them, “I didn’t hear you come in… I must have drifted off for a moment… I was beginning to worry that you were not coming for me.”

“Your grace,” Barry shifted in his body around to face the demon, but lowered his eyes, “it’s an honor to be called upon to serve you. I don’t intend to be the first in my family to break with this tradition.”

“Well, it’s nice to see not everyone has lost respect for tradition… but there’s no need for such formalities. You may call me, Aktar. Leave all that ‘your grace’ business to those pair of fools in the waiting room.”

“Yes, your… Aktar.”

“You know they forbid the nurses to talk to me; arrogant lawyers!”

“Why?” Shock at his cousin’s brazenness making him brave, Barry raised his head. What could Jennifer and Jon possibly have been thinking or fearing; that Aktar would fall in love with a nurse?

“Because of that nasty business with that brat in Florida; the one that’s refusing to allow her family’s demon to possess her. They don’t want the nurses talking about it to me and getting me all agitated.”

“Yes, that,” his eyes fell with his mood; not that it could get much lower, “I don’t see why any of the nurses would be talking about that.”

“Because it’s scandalous my dear boy! Because it’s scandalous. A hostless demon of wealth,” the demon coughed, “what a pitiful state this world is coming to.” Aunt Betty’s vocal box, like the rest of her body, was failing it. Soon it’d not be able to speak at all and the next time Barry would hear it’s voice would be in his own head. A small shiver went down his spine. The demon was too incensed by the subject in the forefront of their conversation to notice Barry’s discomfort and took his new host’s frown as mutually held distain, “I remember a time when a man would give up everything he owned and loved to play host to even the weakest of demons, much less one that held in it’s power a fortune.”

“When was that?”

Aktar laughed and Aunt Betty’s head rolled lazily to one side, “way back in the old days… Ancient Greece; where all of this started… You do know about that don’t you?… how this arrangement began?”

“I’ve read the history books.”

“History books lie. Don’t trust your history books. I’ll tell you the whole story,” there was silence for a moment and Barry was afraid that his aunt’s body had finally given up. He was about to rise up from his chair and pull Dr. Libby back into the room, but then Aktar sighed, “Someday I’ll tell you… I’m too tired just now… This body is dying fast. It’s taking all my energy just to remain conscious… We’ll have years to discuss family history.” There followed another long pause and another sigh; this one more labored then the first, “Perhaps, you should go find Davis and make sure he’s ready to perform the exorcism… He didn’t look exactly up to the task earlier… but made he’s found some courage in his prayer.”

“Yes, of course,” Barry’s legs felt weak beneath him, but he was glad to be out of the chair and the room.

The air in the hallway was cooler and Tina was there; two cups of cafeteria coffee in hand, talking with his mother. Judy had stopped crying. Barry went to them and hugged and kissed them both; one on the cheek and the other on the corner of the mouth.
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PostSubject: Re: Taylor Family Heir   September 2nd 2008, 12:55 am

“Here,” Tina said as she slipped one of the warm paper cups into Barry’s hand, “I thought you might need it.”

“Thanks,” he pretended to sip a bit of the coffee. “Aktar’s ready to begin,” this was all the encouragement it took from Barry to send everyone shuffling back to the bedside. He wondered how he would adjust to everyone jumping when he spoke. It would be strange; that was for sure.

Tina lingered behind with him while Davis and Libby set up for the ritual; her hair now a mess, her smock rumpled and worn, and her eyes baggy with exhaustion. She was still the most beautiful woman in the world. “You don’t have to do this you know. The Supreme Court’s overturned the laws that would have compel you to against you’re will.”

“I know that,” Barry nodded and took another sip of his coffee, “I want to do this… It’s the right thing. Aktar’s been good to us Taylors.”

She thought he was lying. He could see it in her eyes, but she didn’t speak to the lie nor did she understand; neither did Barry’s mother or the hospital staff or the priests or the listeners of morning radio. Jennifer and Jon, for all their snobbery, came the closest to understanding. Sometimes in life you have to do things, you have to live a life, you don’t like in order to make things right, to make things okay, for those you love.

Tina would understand when their unborn child in a few months spent his first night in the world warm in the nursery of the family mansion, instead of a second hand crib pushed into the corner of their tiny apartment’s single bedroom. She’d know then that the lose of his privacy, freewill, and identity was worth the gains. She’d, like him, come to understand and respect the ancient Greeks.
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PostSubject: Re: Taylor Family Heir   September 2nd 2008, 12:55 am

Thanks, Snacker, for letting me know where I needed to put the break.

I hope you guys enjoy it.
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PostSubject: Re: Taylor Family Heir   September 2nd 2008, 12:57 am

Anytime Hydra. I thought it might be easier to read it that way. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Taylor Family Heir   September 2nd 2008, 8:09 am

Hello there Hydra,

I had to copy it and paste it into word to make the font larger hahahah and I’ve had to read it twice. Word showed the spelling mistakes, so here’s a list:




Paragraph 2
daily classes at Queens COLLEGE would be starting soon. Professor Hamilton, a man who’s slow tone and melancholy DEMEANOUR lent all the excitement of a


Paragraph 3
It was the dead of winter in Charlotte, North Carolina and the city had had the feel and appearance of a large GREY slug

Paragraph 5
They were just finishing up the latest INSTALMENT

Paragraph 9
Was HIS arrival and the new day he brought with him…

Paragraph 11
. Jon MET him halfway across the floor

“but the family priest is standing by to give the last RITES.”

Paragraph 16
… destroyed any peace the room’s décor was SUPPOSED to bring him



Paragraph 19
He was USED to seeing his mother in a state of grief


Paragraph 25
Even so she was the most beautiful WOMAN in the world in his eyes.


Paragraph 38
this one more LABOURED then the first,





As for the story itself, it took me a while to get into it. Aunty Bettie is dying and she’s possessed by a demon of some sorts called Aktar, what I don’t understand is why? Is Barry going to inherit because she’s a demon? Or has Barry done things so that his aunt betty dies so that he can inherit and make his and Tina’s life better as she’s going to have his baby? Is she pregnant with his child now?
Shouldn’t Barry’s mother inherit? Or is it that the demon within aunty Bettie is going to be transferred into Barry?

Sorry, I’m all confused there and intrigued too.

Forgive me if the answers are obvious and I’ve missed them…
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PostSubject: Reply   September 2nd 2008, 2:52 pm

The scene is handled well, but feels like an installment of a greater story. The main problem is that Barry has very little emotion. I thus did not know how to place my own feelings in reading the piece.

In a normal fantasy story, the personality of Barry would be that of hero. Yes, he is going to do something a normal person would fear, but has a plan to make things better. The ending of this piece hints at such, although it also hints that Aktar abides by the agreement when it usually accepted that demons twist contracts to their benefit. Thus, I left the piece feeling that Barry is about to get a lesson in reality.

Let me say that I appreciated the supporting cast. The people were not oppressing, although hinted that there was more to their presence and personality should a larger tale have been planned. There however was a wonder why Barry had been chosen for the 'honor' of gaining Aktar when most present knew of the demon and certainly would desire his benefits.

Anyway, thank you for the submission.

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PostSubject: Re: Taylor Family Heir   September 2nd 2008, 6:01 pm

This was originally going to be the start of a longer piece; a novella or even novel perhaps. It might still one day morph into something longer, but most likely not. So, I'm not shocked that you guys have a sense of it being part of something bigger, but then I seem to always get that response to my short fiction.

Anyway, thanks for reading and for your honest opinions. Even if nothing else comes of this particular story, they were helpful.
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PostSubject: Re: Taylor Family Heir   September 3rd 2008, 1:15 pm

I enjoyed reading this, I like Alexandra had to read close to half way through before I could actually get into it. The demon possession really doesn't need to be explained in my opinion, these things are unexplainable. The story is sad, exciting, depressive and straightforward.

I agree that maybe you should give this a re-look and re-write. Finish the story, its a great start and deserves some credit.
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PostSubject: Re: Taylor Family Heir   September 3rd 2008, 4:34 pm

it is good, I just realised I didn't say that in my post. I like it and I would defenitely buy this kind of book.
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PostSubject: Re: Taylor Family Heir   September 6th 2008, 2:43 am

It took me a while to get into the story, but I have to say that I really liked the beginning. The way you described it and the words you chose were very nice.

I'd like to read more of it.

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PostSubject: Re: Taylor Family Heir   September 6th 2008, 9:04 pm

Thank you all for your kind words or encouragement. I might just have to write a second part to this after all... but I warn you all my ideas from here take a turn downwards into depravity.
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