For the second spooky story for Halloween Month, I thought I’d change pace just a bit. “Obsession” is a story out of a collection of the adventures of Malachi McKellan and his companion, Simon Tull. In Travels into the Breach: Accounts of a Reclusive Mystic, Malachi is a 65 five year old widower, author of esoteric books, as well as a bit of a psychic detective and Simon is his spirit guide, a nineteenth century, twenty something English fellow. The two join forces in “Obsession” against a curious and somewhat determined foe.
“If I were man, this wouldn’t be such an issue.”
Adele Blanchard struggled to hold onto her pleasant demeanor in the presence of the young woman in front of her. She was reading her tarot cards. She didn’t do palms. That was Annette’s job, but occasionally Adele did still read Tarot cards in addition to attending to the day-to-day operations of her esoteric bookstore, The Blue Pelican. It was as much for herself as anything. She enjoyed reading the Tarot for customers, playing off the vibes she received from them, digging deep into her intuitive gifts while using the symbolism of the cards as a bouncing off point. Usually, she gained as much from the endeavor as those she read for, usually. But this one, Suzanne Evans, she couldn’t seem to get her to focus on what Adele was saying. Rather, she was purely focused on the one that got away.
“Oh, I don’t know about that Suzanne,” she murmured as jovially as she could manage. “Unrequited love unfortunately, when taken to extremes can turn into harassment — male or female in question.”
She bristled noticeably. In fact, she found that young Suzanne Evans tended to bristle whenever she didn’t readily agree with her. “Are you implying that I’m harassing Joe?” She delivered in a stringent tone bordering on indignant.
Adele steeled herself inwardly, continuing to shuffle the oversized deck of Rider Waite cards. It was difficult keeping calm. Something about this woman had raised her hackles from the very moment they’d met. This would be the second elaborating spread she was doing for Suzanne as the original and the one following didn’t seem to penetrate her rather tunnel vision perception.
“No, I didn’t say that. Joe, of course, would have to be the one to determine if he was feeling harassed or not.” And then she smiled to temper the sharp edges of her observation.
Suzanne’s face seemed to only harden at Adele’s remark. Her sharp cheekbones seemed to set as though carved in stone, and her well sculpted eyebrows froze over her long almond-shaped eyes in an expression of determination. She was an attractive young woman, an ER nurse, no doubt a catch. So why was she so resolutely focused on a man who clearly wasn’t interested anymore?
“I’m sure you’re wrong Ms. Blanchard. Once Joe remembers how good we were together, he’ll wake up. I’m sure he’ll value and appreciate the fact that I didn’t give up on us,” she stated rather flatly.
And invoking what Adele considered her minuscule repertoire of psychic gifts, she definitely sensed a wall here. There was a block in Suzanne’s thinking where reason, reality, and good common sense just did not seem to penetrate.
I honestly can’t account for it Malachi. Love, lust, obsession — whatever you might want to label it, that sort of nonsensical determination is going to lead to trouble, maybe even of the criminal sort.
She was sitting out on Malachi McKellan’s screen porch with his lovely view of the Bayou St. John and sipping tea — something fruity, blueberry or raspberry, or something of the sort. He had said distinctly that she needed calming before they sat down to talk. He was very sensitive to those sorts of things. And it was true. She was extremely agitated. The problem was that this whole matter incensed her to no end. The why exactly she couldn’t say, except that she felt an instinctive dislike of Suzanne Evans.
“And how did the appointment end?”
“Well, I spread the cards again, which advised for the third time the same thing. Move on, let the fellow do the same. But to no avail. It was absolutely as if I was talking to a brick wall, then she left.”
He shrugged, “Young love.”
“More like obsession.” He leaned back on the rattan sofa, smiling a bit, she thought. She amused him, though exactly why her frustration amused him was a bit beyond her. “Are you taking this seriously Malachi?”
“I always take you seriously Adele. You have a powerful, though admittedly raw, psychic radar. I find you quite infallible.”
“So, what do we do?”
“Do? Well, nothing at the moment I’m afraid. Ms. Evans’ obsession I’m afraid is just that, her obsession.”
“But she could very well ruin her life over it.”
“Yes, she might. But it is her life to ruin.”
“Yes, no question, a young one, unconscious of it, but undeniably caught up in the thrall.”
Nuance sat perched on one end of the tan suede sofa in Malachi’s mountainside cabin. It was where he and Simon Tull, his spirit guide, met to hash things out, so to speak.”
“You don’t seem inclined to do much here Malachi.”
He scratched Nuance’s head. She was nuzzled up against his leg. “Do you know how high a percentage of the population are energy vampires Simon?”
“Of course, it’s a significant rung in the ladder of spiritual evolution.”
“Yes, something no doubt both you and I experienced in some former life,” he said a bit distastefully.
“No doubt more than once my friend, it’s a hard lesson to fully absorb. That you have power and yet you must learn not to use it.”
“That’s one way to look at it,” Malachi scoffed.
With a big smile Simon tapped him on the shoulder. “And what’s another way my old friend?”
“Learning not to be a parasite, sucking the energy out of your fellow human beings, and in effect compromising them and yourself.”
“Not everyone is vulnerable.”
“Yes, I know. Just the ones a little lost, searching for their next path.” Softly, he commented, “Yes, those in between, but they manage to sniff them out readily enough, exploit them, steal their energy.”
Simon frowned, “They’re not evil you know. Mostly it’s unconscious.”
Malachi shrugged, “One can feel what’s positive or negative even if they choose to ignore it.”
“It’s all learning my friend, no judgment, just learning.”
“Yes, as you say,” Malachi said a bit dubiously.
“So, are you going to help?”
“Help who, poor hapless Joe?”
“No, help Suzanne Evans.”
“Suzanne — the vampire?” Malachi said with a bit of surprise.
“Yes, before she destroys herself.”
In the evening, Malachi took a long walk down to the metal footbridge that connected Moss Street to its other half, crossing the placid waters of Bayou St. John. It bothered him, the feeling that whatever he did, however he chose to help, was seemingly inconsequential in the vast scheme of things.
His hands rested on the metal railing of the footbridge as he stared out onto the darkening waters before him.
“It sounds like a dark night of the soul Malachi.”
He didn’t look up. He knew the voice. He would have known her voice anywhere. She didn’t come around often, not often in his dreams, or even in his imagination. He believed that if she did that he might just cease living altogether and drown himself in those few precious moments when he was in her presence again.
“It must be pretty bad, if you’re making an appearance.”
“Maybe you just need a jolt or a kick.” Her graceful hand softly took hold of the metal rail just next to his.
“I’ve missed you, Josie.”
She laughed softly, “You keep busy enough trying to save the world, except when you won’t.”
He glanced up. She looked young, maybe into her thirties, not as she looked when he’d lost her nearly fifteen years before. Then she’d been ill, it had been a long-protracted illness, before she finally let go, leaving him to find his way alone in the world.
He breathed in her presence. It was intoxicating. Yes, he remembered love, and he remembered loss as well. “Whatever I do doesn’t seem to make a difference.”
She smiled. “It makes a difference to those you help, even if you can’t help them all. It makes a difference to them.”
“I’m tired Josie.”
Again, that incandescent smile, “I know my love. But there are still miles to go, so many miles.”
He decided to focus on Adele. He sat in his den; candles lit and put himself into a meditative state. He could see Adele clearly in his mind’s eye. Using her as a starting point, he allowed himself to be drawn with her into her meeting Wednesday at The Blue Pelican with Suzanne Evans. It took place in a room at the back of the store, a small room that Adele had furnished almost as an old-fashioned Victorian sitting room with a splash of New Age. Intricate esoteric tapestries hung on the wall, and several vintage looking lamps that reminded him a bit of steam punk with ornate shades sat on small antique-looking tables. There was a short pink velvet, serpentine loveseat, and two rosewood parlor chairs covered in a deep burgundy striped satin facing the intricately carved, mahogany card table. Adele had undeniably spent some time thoughtfully decorating the room, reaching for just the right atmosphere to conjure up the image of a Victorian séance.
But as he looked closely at Adele’s companion, he could see that all the ambience seemed lost on her. She was, and he was trying to summon the proper word —
“Pragmatic,” Simon completed for him.
His spirit-guide companion was now standing just to the side of Adele’s chair. The women were silent, motionless, almost as though frozen in a tableau as he analyzed the situation. “I was wondering if you would make an appearance.”
“As did I, I thought to leave you to your own devices, but my curiosity won out.”
“She seems a bit cold.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” he said eyeing the tall brunette with expertly styled bangs fluttering across her forehead. “Certainly not terribly romantic, but undeniably a girl who knows what she wants.”
“And that’s Joe.”
He shrugged, “She thinks so in any case.”
“But not romantic?”
“I believe the word of the day is pragmatic. She feels she needs Joe for her life to progress on as she envisions.”
“And that’s not cold.”
“Perhaps, but I don’t know. Some of us like our romance wrapped up in flowers, music, and pretty poems. And others in necessity, as things you must have like food, medicine, a car.”
Malachi sighed, “And that’s love?”
“Oh, I didn’t say anything about love.”
“You lost me.”
“All right, think about your wife Josie.”
He frowned, “I’m not interested in discussing my wife, Simon.”
He held up his hands as if felling off an attack. “Yes, yes, old boy, nothing personal, but if you knew you were causing her upset, distress, would you continue?”
“Of course not, if she wanted me to or had wanted me to, I would have left her alone instead of trying to force what I wanted on her.”
“Yes, exactly, the difference, but Lady Suzanne here feels justified in pressing her expectations, her needs, her desires with no contemplation on how it might cause distress to poor Joe. In a nutshell, she wants what she wants and everyone else be damned.”
“No, not love, need perhaps, inexplicable determined need.”
Malachi murmured in fatigue. “Of course, but she calls it love.”
“Indeed, justification is a handy tool.”
“So how to reach her?”
“Yes, that is the question. Perhaps make the cost too high.”
“Yes, let’s start with Joe.”
Joseph Orusco worked for an insurance company — car insurance, health insurance, life insurance, whatever your pleasure might be. He was a young businessman just into his thirties who liked to spend his weekends playing tennis or racquetball.
“Doesn’t seem like a complicated fellow,” Simon commented dryly.
Malachi and Simon had traveled deep into the next evening and now stood in Joe Orusco’s bedroom, quietly pondering their next move.
“I see your thread. Why such a commotion from Suzanne? Yes, okay of course the draining. Addiction to the energy she’s gaining from him.” Malachi glanced across the bedroom to the set of sliding glass doors leading out onto the patio. Quite clearly through the open blinds, they could see a familiar figure in a long black nightgown pacing the pavement. She just kept walking back and forth in front of the window, not looking up at them once.
“Relentless might be the word,” Simon muttered.
“I imagine if we weren’t here, her astral self would be inside draining Joe relentlessly as you say.”
“Yes,” Simon murmured. “She is still draining through their bonds, but not as much as if she were closer and not nearly as much as if they were in actual contact.”
“Even more, of course, if it were intimate contact.”
Malachi stared at the sleeping figure of Joe Orusco tossing around fitfully in the bed. With a bit more concentration, Malachi could actually see a faint flow of energy, looking a bit like a translucent beam of light colored blue green, moving from Joe’s heart area toward the outside wall where Suzanne’s astral self was holding its vigil. “The addiction goes both ways,” Simon murmured.
“Yes, I suppose he has a taste for it, addiction to the draining, even if he is trying to break away.”
“I wonder just how hard he is trying.”
Malachi stepped back from the king-sized bed. “Let’s find out, shall we.”
He put his hands together and sank himself into a focused concentration reaching out to the deeper, spiritual self of the man in the bed. Within moments, the astral self of Joe, still wearing the same sweat-soaked New Orleans Saints t-shirt, sat up in the bed, and stood, entirely separating from his physical self that remained in the bed.
His short cropped, brown hair seemed damp and his eyes somewhat unfocused when he finally acknowledged Malachi. “What are you doing here?”
Malachi tried to appear pleasing. “Mr. Orusco, my colleague and I have come to talk to you and hopefully be of aid.”
He looked around with confusion, then to Simon, who he eyed up and down a little warily in his vintage tweed suit. “Am I dreaming?”
Malachi responded a bit energetically as he suddenly felt anxious to be done with this business. “In a manner of speaking Mr. Orusco, this conversation you will remember as a dream, but that does not make it in the least bit not real. In fact, perhaps very essential to your well-being, do you see right now who is pacing across your patio Mr. Orusco?”
In the instant of a thought, the three of them were back in his den, standing in front of the sliding glass doors. Joe frowned looking over Malachi’s shoulder at the woman now staring longingly through the glass. “Son of a bitch, that’s Suzy out there. I told her this was over.”
“Apparently, she didn’t get the memo,” Simon muttered under his breath.
“Why don’t we sit down Mr. Orusco and have a chat.”
“Yeah, well okay, is she just going to stay out there all night?”
“Hard to say,” Malachi responded.
Joe Orusco had a small kitchen table in his condo, espresso colored, lighted by a low hanging brass chandelier situated over the table. The three of them settled in for a discussion as Malachi debated the correct approach to the problem at hand.
“Mr. Orusco,” he began.
“Everyone calls me Joe,” he commented a bit obtusely, still appearing more than a bit disoriented.
“Joseph,” he began again. The old adage that everyone understands from their own level of perception kept ringing in Malachi’s ears. Joe even for a white-collar working fellow, he could feel, was rough around the edges. He operated from a place of pragmatism, possibly more concerned with the comforts of the material world. This, more than anything, could have been his initial attraction to Suzanne Evans. “Tell me, are you in love with Suzanne?”
The tall well-muscled fellow focused on him a little blankly. Perhaps it was the effects of being in an astral state or perhaps it was his fallback demeanor, at the moment, hard to say. He shrugged. “Honestly, Suzanne is a great girl. We had a great run, but I’m looking to see what else is out there.”
He heard Simon beside him sigh deeply. And he wondered for not the first time this evening, why he was even trying. “So, I take it you have fully severed the relationship.”
Joe leaned back in the chair, absently strumming his fingers on the espresso-colored tabletop. “For the most part.”
Malachi caught the explicit frown that placed itself on Simon’s face. “What the devil does that mean for the most part?” His speech had slurred a bit back into his cockney English accent, which tended to happen when Simon got irate.
“I mean, well, we’ve been together a few times since we broke up.”
Malachi pressed for clarification. “By together, you mean intimate?”
“Well, you know, yeah, sure I guess so.”
Simon shook his said saying nothing. So, it was clear Joe’s firm feet were undeniably feet of clay, which would mean mixed messages.
“Yes, well Joseph, I’m going to tell you some things that you may or may not remember tomorrow morning. But you should remember your emotional reaction if nothing else. Suzanne is what we call an energy vampire. She has been draining your spiritual energy. That is why you have been feeling tired, unfocused, excessively emotional, having problems concentrating, problems with sleep, perhaps inexplicable pains in your body, in your chest, and in generally poor health.”
Joe was looking a bit befuddled, but again perhaps a fallback expression. “I thought I’d just been pushing too hard at work.”
“The low energy is going to make it difficult to function in all areas of your life.”
“Why would she do that to me?”
“It’s not conscious on her part, just something that she does. But it’s up to you to cut her off.”
Joe seemed confused again, but Malachi could understand that this was a lot to take in. “Suzy, well, is persistent. She was very unhappy when I asked her to move out, angry and really upset. And I didn’t want to seem like a total jerk.”
“You were living together? That makes the draining much worse, much more chronic.” Then Simon directly lit into Joe with evident distaste. “You’ll have to be a jerk. It’s best for you and actually a kindness to her. So, she’ll hopefully fill her life with other pursuits.”
“Yes, in a nutshell Joseph, no contact, particularly intimate contact,” Malachi continued to pound the point. “The closer you are to her, the stronger the energy bonds she has with you. It is best to sever all contact, even if that means a restraining order.”
“How could I do that?”
“You must. You must not equivocate. You must make it clear she is out of your life for good. No backtracking Joseph, no communication, no phone calls, no emails, no texts, no contact at all. Do you understand?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
“Joseph, look at me,” Malachi said strongly.
It startled him. That was good. He wanted to scare him, so the impression was deeply embedded. “This is a dangerous matter. It will end badly if you do not heed me. Follow my instructions to the letter. No contact Joseph, even if you have to move, even if you change your phone number. No contact Joseph.”
Joe Orusco nodded slowly, but Malachi wasn’t satisfied. He needed to drill it in so that the impression wasn’t pushed aside in the morning light. “Repeat what I said.”
“No contact with Suzanne.”
“No contact with Suzanne.” That night Joseph Orusco repeated the mantra one hundred times. Malachi suspected that Simon thought he was being excessive, but he said nothing.
As far as Malachi was concerned, Suzanne wouldn’t see reason, so Joe was the only hope. When Malachi finally returned to his body, he felt as though he’d expended all of his energy trying to leave Joe with enough concern in his heart that he might actually stay away from Suzanne. There was no guarantee, but he’d tried and tried his best. So, he slept, a heavy sleep, devoid of any travels.
“I haven’t seen Suzanne Evans again. I thought about calling her to see how she is.”
“Best to let it go Adele.” They were taking a late afternoon walk along the perimeter of Bayou St. John. She’d shown up at the house earlier, and he’d felt a remarkable draw to be outside, no doubt in need of the healing energy that nature could afford him.
“Do you think it will work out for her Malachi?”
“Hard to say my friend, we all have free will and ultimately are responsible for our own destiny.”
“Yes, but we can’t anticipate everything that happens to us.”
“No of course not, but how we navigate the waves that crash on our shore. Well, that is always our choice.”
Copyright © 2018 by Evelyn Klebert
At first glance, his life seems quiet, serene, and even uneventful. Malachi McKellan, a 65 five year old widower and author of esoteric books, lives largely as a recluse in a house situated just off the banks of Bayou St. John in New Orleans. But unbeknownst to most, he is also a bit of a detective, a specific kind of detective whose specialty is psychic attacks. Alongside his lifelong companion and spirit guide Simon Tull, a nineteenth century, twenty something English gent, Malachi battles the unseen, and is an unacknowledged hero to the most vulnerable – most of the population who have no idea what is really happening beneath the surface of the world in which they live.
In this collection of adventures, Malachi McKellan and Simon Tull wage war against the most insidious elements of the paranormal. In “The Three,” Malachi and Simon come to the aid of a young woman being victimized by a group of dark witches. An old apartment building is the scene of an unimaginable battle against monstrous forces in “The Lost Soul.” Malachi and Simon find themselves strategizing against a psychic vampire in “Obsession,” and “The Hotel” turns back time to the 1980’s where Malachi confronts a demonic spirit. In “Between,” a past life is revisited as Malachi attempts to rescue a beloved sister from committing her existence to vengeance, and “The Wedding” takes a personal turn when Malachi must confront painful truths while endeavoring to protect his niece from a potentially devastating union.
Travel into the Breach with a pair of paranormal warriors who choose to confront overwhelming forces on a battlefield unsuspected by most.