Heart, Felt – Part Five

Last Entry: Heart, Felt – Part Four

I wondered a long time ago, about writing a story centered around a hurricane. Back in the day, a friend of mine was trapped in their house during a tornado and couldn’t escape. The tornado passed right next to them, and thankfully they made it out (relatively) unscathed. I had the idea for this story back then and have been sitting on it ever since.

In the years after the initial idea for the story, my world has grown to be something much, much larger than I first expected. What was once a story about a family trapped in a hurricane became something more, and I hope you enjoy.

“Dale we’re up here!”

Jinny’s call pierced the winds, an arrow to the ears of her partner who turned to find her, crouching beneath the limp cover of the ailing neighbor’s home.

Dale, though likely woozy from loss of blood, found them and made his way to us.

It was a cheerful, if not abrupt reunion. The eye of the storm by then had nearly passed us over. If it had paused to allow us a brief moment of peace together, it was not intent on remaining as such. The winds picked up once more to vicious speed and after Mr. McDermott managed to climb to our hiding place, our way out was all but impossible to use against the sudden torrent and violent winds whipping the human’s skin to pink and red splotchy hues.

Marcos and Lillia had taken me to the corner of the room near a closet and sat, the infrequent sound of their tears I could hear above me, between roars of gusting wind and the ever present chorus of rain.

Jinny and her husband took to a place a few feet from us, huddled together. She tried to bandage his wound with a pair of nylons she fished from the prior owner’s dresser. 

In the same manner we remained, waiting for the storm to pass.

There was little else we could do then, returning to the street to make our way to safety was objectively suicide and no matter how badly any of the McDermotts or Marcos wanted to leave, their minds were enraptured with their own survival.

I’ve long admired the tenacity of humanity. Their insatiable appetite for progress only being beaten out by their desire to continue living. I suspect it was something the creator willed into being, his first creations the centurions of order and obedience spurned him with their infrequent acts of betrayal. So, he elected to create something which couldn’t betray because it wasn’t build to adore him.

It has provided us with endless decades of exceptional entertainment, and if I were any other of my kind, I would be alight I our tower watching the devastation to see just how Lillia and her family escaped, but I was not in our towers. I was there in the thick of it.

With orders.

It was an awful cruelty to assign me a duty and then remove me from a form in which I could have aided the family. But, each of our assignments are not without purpose. If I was meant to save them, I would have been given the tools to do so.

Within the bedroom of the strangers house, we waited. Our hours passed uncertainly. Dale, curled into the arms of his wife, fell into an uncertain sleep. Previously complaining about head pain, Jinny tried to prevent him, but it was ultimately a lost cause. Dale would be sleeping one way, or another. With us in the corner, Marcos laid back, his neck resting against a box of old toys which stopped seeing use years before the hurricane. Lillia held me, more gently as the minutes crept past us, and she fell to her own exhaustion. Slumped upon an overturned bookshelf, she quieted, trying to relax she fell asleep.

Jinny and myself were the only ones who remained awake, and wordlessly for a while, we watched the storm.

The rains began to grow weaker after some time. Not in any meaningful way, but the torrent of bullets tearing down from on high slowed marginally enough that they wouldn’t sting upon contact. Which, was evidently enough to provoke Jinny to get up and walk around.

Nervously pacing the bedroom, she infrequently made eye contact with me while trying to observe her daughter. After the fourth time she glanced down at me.

“Oh Beau, I wish you ere real.” She said, kneeling beside us.

I am real, I told her.

“I wish you did all the things Lillia says you can do, that you could whisk us away to safety. That you could have told us how bad this would be.” Jinny put a hand gently upon my matted, musty fur.

I did not need to warn her, the public services tried. She obeyed Dale, knowing it was the wrong decision and he was paying for his choice. On the bed, his body was growing cold, and weak. Jinny knew it just as I did.

“I wish you could pick Lillia and Marcos up and run them out of here without worries.” She choked on tears. “You know, she says you’re an angel.”

I am not angel, Jinny.

“She says you came to keep us safe, and I wish I could believe that.”

Her tears grew more threatening with each word.

“Dale isn’t going to make it to tomorrow.” She broke.

A flood of tears unlike those which came before burst from behind her eyes. These dragged themselves across her cheeks with despair, fear and anguish behind each one. She was right. I could feel Dale growing weaker by the moment. What life was left in him was dissolving into the storm, feeding Luck’s fury while she moved to the north, destroying the rest of the city.

“I should have listened.” She whispered.

Marcos stirred beside us, rubbing his eyes with muddy hands he sat up. “Mrs. McDermott?” He fumbled through the words, still heavy laden with exhaustion.

“How are you feeling, Marcos?”

He forced a smile. “I’m okay.”

Okay was as optimistic as any of us could have been at the time. More than “Okay” would have been a pipe dream.

“It will be over soon,” she faked a smile, lying. “Okay.” He replied, rolling back to his other side and falling asleep once more.

The storm came so early in the morning it was a wonder any of them remained awake as long as they had. Being up all evening in preparation was a toll enough, but then going through what they had to go through?

It was unfair.

No one deserved this and you know that.

You do. You choose to ignore it, like you’ve ignored everything else for millennia. You have no right to claim ownership or “fatherhood” to any of these, not Jinny or Lillia, and especially not Marcos.

But you are proud of your “life-weaving” and your sacred ideas about agency. The disasters of the world are “requirements” to you, and you don’t do anything to change them. You know there is nothing they can do to prevent it. One day, we will all be consumed by something you made and you won’t tell anyone the truth.

You would rather hide, stretched too thin in your Ivory tower and pretend you don’t see them here, suffering.

So I wanted to tell you, in detail, what came next, father.

So you can know what happens when you take your hand off of the wheel.

Jinny McDermott stood, and moved away from the children to tend to her husband, lying, already dead on the floor across the room. When she disturbed him to wake and he didn’t respond, her face said more than necessary. She knew immediately what had happened. She reached to his throat to check his pulse and her face fell. In a moment that transcended the fall of the first and the trajectory we were sent on immediately after, Jinny’s eyes fell, dark, upon her husband.

With time she did not previously have to grieve I listened to her wail, collapsed upon Dale’s body and screaming out to god in rage that he might betray her so.

Do you understand now, father? What has become of us all?

The storm relented long enough for Jinny to stand and approach the edge of the building, bracing the fractured wall she looked out to see the place she’d built her life. Established through years of hard work, turmoil and turbulence and in one evening all of it was destroyed.

She swallowed hard, and turned to face her daughter, asleep still, struggling to find herself comfortable. It was a moment I will not soon forget, as Jinny Mcdermott stared at her beloved daughter and the wind whipped behind her. A moment which passed so quickly I couldn’t react as the biting gale of the hurricane pushed against the neighbor’s rickety wall. A push strong enough to knock at the weakness of the beams, just enough to splinter them a bit.

The new cracks proved too much for the beam to hold the wall up, and it fell down in a crash of dust and plaster, crashing against the side of our temporary shelter, and in the process it slammed against Jinny’s body, her frail hands couldn’t hold the lip to which she’d clung, and she fell down. Her scream before the crunch of landing on the flooded ground was to you, for help. Help which you did not provide, and help which you’d forbidden me from offering in the form with which I took.

But the matriarch of the McDermott household did not die because of the fall. No, father. She suffered. There on the flooded earth, she landed on her heels. The crunch of her joints against the pavement was not softened by the rushing water. The snap of her bones echoed against the roaring wind, and her call for you became a cry of pain.

A cry which did not stop before her only daughter woke and stood, searching for her guardians.

Lillia stood and made her way to Dale, whose body had begun to grow cold in the twilight morning. Beneath her, the sound of Jinny’s anguish grew weak, but it did not cease. Clutching me to her chest, Lillia peered over the edge of the broken floor to see her mother, lying on the pavement below. The surging water swallowing all but her throat and face as she wept. Blood trailed from he splintered flesh beneath the surface and painted the floodwater a pale red.

Lillia was, as I think you would understand, beside herself. Her father unresponsive and her mother below her, dragging herself out of the flood, Lillia collapsed to the floor, screaming.

Thankfully Marcos woke to the sound and came to her aid, dragging her back to the center of the room. Another gust of wind would have done the same to her.

The two children remained in that room for some time, with nowhere to go they could only sit, listening to the sound of Jinny screaming until what energy she had left began to fade.

Lillia tried to climb down, to help somehow, but Marcos prevented her from doing so. I believed for a moment, the boy could hear my thoughts.

He embraced young Lillia, who screamed for help as loud as she could, until the sound of her cries eclipsed that of her mothers, and the floodwaters buried Mrs. Jinny McDermott for eternity.

I was there with the children when the despair came, and I was there when death arrived. The Fang, wrinkled and worn from age, pregnant with her own child. Another of your plans waylaid by your obsession to create something meaningful.

Our Eldest Sister’s abandonment hurt us all, father, but what you made to pick up the pieces was an embarrassment at best and an abuse at worst.

While Lillia and Marcos wept on the floor, I rested near the foot of the bed as she approached, The Fang of Death.

“I don’t think it suits you.” The woman muttered to me, between the veil she could see me for what I was within the stuffed toy. She knew from where I came. But it was not her who spoke. It was him. The first.

“You and your siblings aren’t made to be inside of toys.” They said in unison.

A glance to Lillia and the woman’s face sank.

“I will never be used to this. I’d rather the children die than to be abandoned like this.”

My restraints within the toy did not permit me to reply, and they knew that. We were familiar, myself and The Fang of Death. All of us knew her. 

She then reached out as she’d done countless times before, and touched the body of Dale McDermott with her blood soaked right hand. From within, a part of him stood which was not him entirely.

“Where am I?” He asked.

“You are gone, Dale. It is time.” She didn’t bother with meager comforts. Like myself, she had a job to do.

“What about my wife? My kids?”

“If we wait, we will get to take your wife with us when we go.”

Dale looked between her and his daughter, wrapped with confusion.

“What happened to my wife?”

The woman pointed over the edge of the building and Dale stepped to the edge, the ethereal nature of himself without a solid form, pulled by the raging wind. Below, he saw the outline of his darling wife beneath the flood.

“How could this happen?”

The woman shook her head. “You don’t want the details, Dale. No one does.” She extended her left hand, which remained free of blood. The black bandage covering her body flickered as if it were tugged by a gentle wind.

“I am Savannah, and I am sorry to say you will not be waking back up.”

He turned to Lillia, who still wept beneath Marcos’ protective grasp.

“My baby…”

He thought he would cry, like the dead often do. But nothing emerged from where he thought his eyes might be.

“What is going to happen to my baby?” He asked.

Savannah, the Fang, spoke in flat lines. Her own voice as dead as he was.

“She does not die today. I do not know when she will. But she will live.”

“And, Marcos?” He turned to face her, his gaseous body warping against the atmosphere, swelling and slimming against the air between the veil.

“Marcos has a grand destiny.” She glanced at me, hiding within the bear.

Dale’s eyes followed while she turned, stepping through the floor as if it were a hallucination. Beneath us she went to fetch Jinny from her flesh.

Dale locked eyes with me, able to perceive all kinds of things which he could not before. My body trapped within the doll, he stared.

“What are you?” He asked.

I could not answer.

Savannah returned with Jinny in tow, who quickly realized she too, couldn’t weep.

“He is a guardian. He will keep your daughter safe, I suspect.” Savannah bowed slightly to the pair.

“Shall we go?”

The blood dripping from her right hand fell, but did not stain the carpet. Instead it vanished into the air.

“Go where?” Jinny asked through mimicked sobs.

“Where all of the dead go.” Savannah replied, her eyes trained on the children.

“What about them?” Jinny repeated Dale’s question. “I can’t leave them.”

“You must.” The First replied with Sevannah’s voice, but she did not comply.

“I know.” Her response came later, softer. The Fang of death was not known for her gentle demeanor, but she would have a child soon. Terribly soon, by the look of it, and perhaps she had grown some kind of sympathy.

“But there is nothing for you here.” She finished.

Jinny howled in anguish. Despite her lack of tears, she still felt everything she would have while she was alive. In her eyes it could be seen as clear as day. Rage and fear embodied in her pupils, looking upon the children.

“They will not perish today. I don’t know when they will, but it will not be here. They will continue on in your stead.” Savannah replied. The First speaking in tandem with her.

Dale shook his head.

“I won’t go. I can’t abandon them.”

I wanted to help her, I wanted to explain what might become of him when he remained, but I couldn’t speak. My mouth was tied. I knew he could see me. I knew he could feel my presence when he lived. Jinny could, too. She spoke to me just before and I knew she could feel me but I couldn’t answer.

I could have prevented this.

But I was not allowed.

Because of you.

“We will be going. Else you will remain here, driven mad by your inability to find peace.”

Lillia whimpered, the exhaustion catching up to her again. In the distance, a siren blared.

“The storm is easing. Help will find them sooner or later. We can’t stay.” The First assured them, however poorly.

Then, as if a part of them forgot who they once were, Jinny and Dale McDermott nodded.

“Take us, then. If our children will be safe.”

Savannah nodded to them, and then met her gaze with mine.

“See to it the children are freed.”

A nodded, the only gesture I could offer, and in a fizzle of pale blue light they were gone.

In moments I was alone with the children, who were too alone, perhaps more so than I was.

“What are we going to do?” Lillia cried, fighting the urge to sleep.

The faint siren drew nearer as the winds died down. Somewhere up the road, help was coming.

Marcos perked up and ran to the edge of the house, searching the street for any sign of movement. I remained where I was placed, beside Lillia as she curled herself into a small ball and pretended the world hadn’t collapsed around her.

A moment later, and Marcos began shouting.

“Help us! We’re up here!”

Below them, a coast guard skiff pulled up. The winds still battered the houses, but it was certain then that the worst of it had passed.

A group of guardsmen made their way to the house and secured the children. I, unfortunately, was left abandoned on the rooftop. I wasn’t freed for quite some time.They carried Lillia down to safety and despite her previous need to have me by her side, she’d fallen asleep before she or Marcos could tell them to pluck me from the ground and take me with them. Instead, one of the adults took another toy from the bin. A drier, fluffier teddy bear.

Hours and days passed me by as the waters dried away and in that time I was left with nothing but my thoughts, and I arrived at the retelling you are now receiving. Through the hands of the Ivory Scribe, I am recording this for your understanding when you have chosen to come down from the stars and see your children face to face again, if you ever choose to do such.

You sent me there, locked away in the doll. With orders to observe rather than to aid. When I was finally freed from the doll it was because I was scooped up into a pile of garbage and burned, unsealing my spirit from the doll. Allowing me to return to my body.

I was trapped and helpless to aid the McDermott family and for what? So you could find the boy who you had no intention of helping?

It took me a long time to track them down after that day. Years later I found them both. Marcos, his mother killed, trying to escape, and sent to an adoption agency. Lillia sent from foster home to foster home until the weight of her life shattered her. To this day, I don’t know what has become of her, but when I find the child, broken by life, I want you to know that whatever has become of them is on your hands, Syzal.

You and no one else could have prevented this.

And now, I am writing to you to tell you of your mistakes, because there is something more coming. One day, down the road, you will not expect it but it will find you. All the places you can’t keep your eyes on are writing with the desire to see you fall.

I wish it could be different, but you killed the McDermotts.

You abandoned Marcos & Lilia.

You betrayed me.

I won’t be there to save you when your world comes crumbling down. I promise that.

Signed, yours indefinitely,


Thank you so much for reading Part Four!

The Full Story will go live on Vocal Media Tomorrow!

I’ve wanted to write this series for a long time but haven’t ever gotten around to it. When I first came up with the idea, it was somewhere around 2011, 2012 or so. A lot of what you’ll see this month was spawned from back in the day. A decade ago my plans for my writing were far different than what they are now, and I’m so grateful to get to share them with you now.

Thank you for participating once more in the Lifeis+ celebration. I’ve got a lot to celebrate this time around so you’ll be hearing from me often. If you’d like to read more, you can check out me current fiction project Sisters of Westwinter & The Portmanteaux Series below!

If you’d like to support what I’m doing here, you can click either of the links below to be taken to ways you can help you (if you feel so inclined!)


I’ve recently started a Ko-fi Shop online where, if you would like to help support me as I continue to work on my various writing projects here and over on Vocal, I would be so, so appreciative.

As of the publication of this post, it’s a little barebones but I’m working on getting it spruced up! I’ll be linking it at the end of each of my posts going forward if you are interested in helping me keep my eyes open at all. Anything offered through Ko-fi will go directly back into the blog, or toward other projects I can’t afford at the time.

Regardless of your decision, thank you for being here. 🔺

A.T. Baines Ko-Fi

Mental Health Support

Consider donating to a charity with the intention of aiding those struggling with thoughts of Suicide, Self Harm or Depression.

Below I’ve listed a few charities and non-profit organizations you can donate to. if you’d like to support groups trying to make the world a little bit less sad.

If you don’t see your preferred charity here, pick one! Or go give someone’s dog a treat. Anything kind will work. ❤️




More From Me:

SOW: Chapter Five, Part Five: A Single Spark

The Nail Ward, as they called it, was as miserable as it looked from the outside. The thousands of needles covering the floor and walls made it impossible to relax, and sleep was terribly out of the question. So Kerrick stood in the corner waiting, patiently, for the sunrise.

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