Cake By The Ocean,

Book 2 Bonus Chapter
Spoiler Alert! Read after part 2

candle-1750640_640   It was dark and the wind had kicked up, as it is prone to do in Santa Fe during the fall. Iza had told everyone that Halloween was her favorite; everyone was expected in a costume and at her house by seven— with a bottle of alcohol in hand. She threatened that “fashionably late” would guarantee a real curse and that costumes were mandatory. She had triple threatened Sebastian, telling him that being in bed with Sam was no excuse. Anything they needed to do, should be done early enough to make it to the party, “By seven, at the latest!”

Sebastian and Sam did as they were told. They’d gone into town to get costumes earlier in the day. Figuring that her life had been filled with long falls down the rabbit hole and crazy experiences that felt like talking rabbits, mad hatters and her size shrinking and then getting big, without her having consumed items labeled “eat me,” she was Alice.
After Iza had had Sebastian and Sam kiss, turning him on to Sam, he’d been feeling as though the laws of physics, were being broken— at least as they pertained to his world– so he dressed up as Captain America.

Sam was still dressing uncharacteristically and wearing heavy makeup, which she’d decided to do when she’d decided to have an affair. She looked away from her lover’s mirror as she got ready for the party. He’d just finished putting his costume on. It was flattering, his softening middle aside.

“Well, if my dream isn’t coming true!” Sam said, a seductive finger in her mouth. “Do you remember when we were in St. Martin and we’d seen the Captain America movie?”

He walked up to her, embracing her, “I do.”

“I’d said that Captain America could save me and then take me home and have his way with me.”

“That’s the plan, Alice. We’re going to wonderland.”

— XXX —

   Iza and Katriana had created a fantasy set out of the house for the night. Furniture was moved around so that the chairs formed as wide of a circle as possible. An array of candles were the only lighting: tall candles, wide ones, tea candles. There must have been fifty white candles lighting up her living room. The bar was usually on her tall, glass coffee table, which had been moved out of the room, so “the bar’s”bottles and glasses were on the fireplace mantle.
The ladies were finishing lighting the candles.

“Espera.” Katriana cautioned as she placed her hand before Iza. She wore a gypsy costume with one large, gold hoop earrings, a bandanna around her head and a large skirt. “Kia is barking outside. Something is happen.”

“I told you, I’ve been seeing the shadows.” Iza’s voice was irritated in fear.

“Where Peppermint?”

“No se.” Iza only spoke to Katriana in her limited Spanish when she was annoyed or diverting attention.

The room’s decor was austere. Where one might expect pumpkins and broomstick decorations this time of the year, there were none. Only candle light.

“They coming,” Katriana pointed outside where she saw guests arriving.

Iza walked over to greet people at the door in her witch costume: a typical black dress, wicked boots and a witch hat with a spider hanging from it.

“Hello my pretties!” she greeted, beaming.

Sebastian did a double-take, “I didn’t recognize you! You look so excited!”

Outside behind her guests, a shadow ran by, drawing Iza’s eye up. Distracted, she forgot to come up with a retort to Sebastian’s insult. She re-focused on her guests.

“Alice, how sweet. I don’t recall you wearing such red lipstick. Welcome!”

“Thanks Iza. I thought it was appropriate given all the crazy things that have been going on in my life this last year.”
Iza now saw William approaching. “William, it’s good to see you, but I’m going to send you back for a costume!” She held the door open for him to come in, despite her words.

“I’m Archadigo, from my movie,” he looked surprised that Iza wouldn’t recognize him.

“Of course, angel.”

Seeing that she wasn’t convinced, he added, “Archadigo wears suits. I don’t.”

“And you expect this witch to transform your button-up and slacks?” she asked, taking out her wand.

“Well, this is as close to a suit as I have.” Tired of getting in trouble for not having a real costume, he turned to Katriana. “Look at my gypsy! You came as yourself! You can tell that I’m Archadigo, can’t you Katriana?”

Katriana’s face turned pink, not getting too red because she could control her feelings. She smiled cordially and turned to the bottle of wine at the fireplace.

“Angel,” Iza called to her, “you’ll be needing something stronger tonight. It’s Halloween, the ghosts, ghouls and shadows are coming to life.”

Gypsy? Katriana had been ignoring Iza and fantasizing about kicking William out for saying she’d come as herself, as if she were a gipsy. But when Iza said “shadows,” Katriana understood the message. The dark spirits that they sometimes had difficulty keeping off the land, were back. She put down the wine bottle. Figuring that she’d make use of William,

“Amor, why you no bartender?” she said in her broken English. “Pour me a tequila,” was commanded in perfect English.

Iza squinted her eyes, looking up at Katriana. She always suspected that Katriana’s broken English was for show, she just couldn’t figure out who the show was for or why.

“Archadigo! I’m Archadigo!”

Thump!

William’s words were interrupted by the sound of something on the roof. Everyone looked up, except Katriana.

“Pour.”

Looking around, William stepped over to the bar to get Katriana her tequila. “What was that?”

Everyone looked surprised and a bit spooked.

“No, pour in glass. Three shots.” Katriana corrected, as he reached for a shot glass.

“Oh, Ok.” William did so and handed Katriana a glass. “Iza?”

“I don’t know, angel.” Iza looked to Katriana. They both suspected the shadows outside, which had never been so forward before. They’d creeped around the porch at dusk and lurked behind trees plenty, but they’d never accosted the house.

“Bass, maybe you should go and look outside. With William.” Sam turned to Iza, “Is Eric coming? Is Jonathan?”

“Yes, they should be here any time. Lucy, in my meditation class, she’s coming too.” She looked at Sebastian, her eyes nagging him: “you should come to class!” He heard her eyes and smiled, responding, “I know, I know! I will!”
Knock, knock!

The door caused everyone to jump, save Katriana.

“Oye, Arkie! More tequila.”
William turned in surprise. His heart had skipped a beat with the door’s knock, his eyes were doing a double-take of Katriana’s glass. Where did her drink go? Everyone was jumping, was she drinking? Did anything phase her?

“Archadigo!” he automatically said when he heard her words. He grabbed a taller glass and almost filled it, saving himself a trip. He poured tequila into a shot glass, downed it and re-filled his glass.

“Ahem!” Iza motioned to her empty hand.

William turned and poured a few more shot glasses and then handed them out.

“What’s happened to us? We used to drink wine,” he commented.

“Blame Sebastian,” Sam offered, downing her shot. “Barkeep?” She motioned for another.

“Iza,” Sebastian said, downing his shot and holding it out for William to fill.

Annoyed and unwilling to pour tequila all night, William took another shot, his third and then huffed himself into the dark kitchen to get everyone glasses to pour the tequila into.

That was when he squealed like a little girl, “Ahh!”

Outside Kia started barking. Alarmed, Iza and Sebastian ran to the kitchen. Sam watched Katriana, who was completely unphased. She walked to over to Iza’s desk, picked something up and then calmly walked to the front door to greet Lucy and Jonathan before they knocked.

Sam stared. How did she know?

“Hola Lucy and Jonathan, come in.”

Jonathan was a surfer. He wore fitted, skin-colored liners for warmth under his Hawaiian, palm-tree button-up and surfer shorts. He also carried a cardboard surf board. Lucy was a sweet, quiet ballerina in pink with a tutu.

“It’s good to see you,” Lucy said, glad to know some people at the party.

“Hang ten!” Jonathan greeted.

“William be back and offer you drink in minute. Come, sit,” Katriana invited.

— XXX —

   “What’s going on?” William asked. The kitchen lights had shorted out.

Iza and Sebastian had just walked in. William stood next to the refrigerator which was by the cabinet with glasses. Behind him was a doorway which led to the bathroom and bedrooms. Past him Iza saw a shadow walk across the doorway. She froze, only getting getting “Pff-” out with a raised finger, pointing.

Sebastian looked in the direction she pointed and walked right past William. He caught sight of some movement as he saw around the corner past the door. He followed the motion which went to the right, toward Iza’s bedroom.

Iza, still frozen, watched as William followed. Next she heard a loud sound.

“Ahhhhh!”

There was great force in the roaring. It shook the house.

Iza blinked rapidly and reminded herself to breath. The kitchen lights popped back on.

“Iza?” She heard Katriana call from the living room. “What was that?”

Sam waked into the kitchen and saw that Iza was having a minor panic attack. She walked right up to her and placed her hand on Iza’s shoulder.

“Hi Iza, I’m here,” she soothed. She stepped right in front of Iza, meeting her at her eyes. Sam put her fears aside and smiled calmly. She had both hands on Iza’s arms. Iza raised her hands to touch Sam’s arms.

“Thanks angel.”

“What’s happening, Iza?” Sam thought it safe to ask now.

Iza shook her head, “I’m not sure. I saw something, I think Sebastian saw it too. He chased it and William followed him,” she pointed. Just then Sebastian and William came through the door she’d pointed at.

“Be sure to bring those glasses for the tequila,” Sebastian told William. He grabbed a few, helping to carry them.       They all walked back to the living room.

“Lucy, Jonathan, so glad you came.” Iza greeted.

Katriana could see that Iza was still beside herself, so she took over introductions. “Sebastian, Sam, William, have you met Lucy? You met Jonathan.” Katriana’s English was that of a native again. “William, pour everyone a drink, no?”

“Archadigo!” he corrected. How did I get stuck as bartender?

Hellos were exchanged by all as Iza calmed down. Just as people were about to ask what had made the loud noises, Katriana changed the focus.

“William wrote a screen play, the movie is being worked on now.” She knew that would be enough to divert attention. In the meantime, she walked over by Iza.

“Where’s Eric,” Katriana asked. She like him and new that he’d be a special member of their group.

“I don’t know.” She pulled her phone out of her pocket to see if he’d texted. “Oh, says something came up.”

Katriana watched to see if Iza was disappointed, but Iza revealed nothing. She wanted to ask Iza about the loud roar, but knew she’d have to wait until everyone was gone. Iza gave her a knowing look, subtly shrugged her shoulders and then looked to Sebastian. Katriana understood.

For a while everyone talked about William’s movie, about everyone’s costume and about the upcoming retreat to Bali. Then when Iza thought it was the right time, she stood to get a wooden dinner tray-table. She placed it before her.

“Alright angels, time for fortunes!”

Everyone watched. Katriana handed Iza something small wrapped in fabric. Iza unfolded the fabric, laying a velvet aqua-colored cloth on the tray before her, revealing her tarot cards.

“This is a Halloween tradition,” she gently shuffled the cards. She raised her eyes to look around the room, “I do a couple of spreads to read the energy of someone.”

Just then there was another knock at the door. Katriana jumped up, “Refill my glass, William. I get the door.” Well into drinking, Katriana was feeling far more forgiving with William and squeezed his front as she passed him.
“Archadigo!” he corrected, then smiled at the squeeze.

“Hello, welcome!” she greeted. Tall, dark and handsome walked in. “Patric, come in!” Katriana hadn’t seen him in some time, but she recognized one of her old lovers.

Patric was dressed as superman. “Appropriate costume,” Katriana whispered, “perhaps you can fly me home later.”
He smiled, “Hello everyone! Iza, thanks for inviting me,” he called out as he stepped in. “I would, Kat,” he was the only one to ever get away with calling her ‘Kat,’ “but I’m only seeing men now.”

“I’ll bring my boyfriend,” she promised. She closed the door, “William, I want you to meet Patric.” They joined the circle and sat. “Patric, William is a movie writer. He has a movie being filmed now,” she said, using her opportunity to show off. Patric smiled at Katriana.

“William,” he said, “Katriana has invited me over to hear about your movie, after the party. If you don’t mind.”
William understood, Oh, I’ve never been with a black man! he thought.

“I can’t wait to tell you all about it.”

“Alright,” Iza said. “Pour Patric a drink and let’s do our reading.”

“Iza, who is the reading for?” Sam asked. This could be fun, she figured since she’d never had her cards read or seen this done before.

“I will know when I start with the cards. Katriana usually helps.” She gently shuffled again, “Welcome Patric. I’m glad you came.” She began to lay the cards out on the fabric and the she ran her hands over the cards.

“Ah.”

Everyone watched in silence in candle light.

“I see a union here,” she began.

“Oh, new lovers,” Katriana said, receiving a fresh glass of tequila from William.

“Yes,” she looked up, “’New,’ my angels, can be newly formed relationships or soon to be formed.”

“Could be Sebastian and Sam,” Katriana said. She looked at Patric and William knowing that she could have to lovers herself.

“Lucy, Jonathan, any new love in your lives?” Embarrassed, Lucy blushed. Jonathan shook his head no.

“Let’s look on,” Iza continued, “as there are several possible partners.” She looked around at the cards, “Uh-huh… mmm…” she hummed. “Oh, no! There’s trouble for this partnership. A huge heartache.”

“You no right,” Katriana said, back to her broken English.

“No, I don’t think so. Folks, I think that’s it for tonight’s reading. I’m not quite tapped in. There was a funny sound and it spooked me. Perfect for Halloween,” she laughed.

The evening went on for several hours. No one commented on the card reading, not wanting to be in a new relationship headed for trouble. Instead, William got drunk, Katriana, who drank four times as much as him, didn’t get drunk and everyone had a memorable night.

At the end of the night, Lucy and Jonathan went home. Katriana asked Patric to give her and William a private moment with Iza, so he went to wait for his trist at her casita.

Sebastian, Sam, Iza, William and Katriana sat again in the living room, lights on, candles out.

“What happened tonight?” William asked, a hint of fear in his voice.

“Sebastian, what did you see? What made that loud sound?” Iza’s voice rushed. “Do I dare go in my room tonight?”

er voice took on a high pitch.

“I couldn’t tell you what I saw,” he began. He put his arm around Sam, protecting her. “It was dark in the room. I saw something go in your room. It had a shape, like a big man, but I could feel that it wasn’t a person. We followed it into your room and it turned around. I want to tell you that it had glowing eyes,”

“Yes! Glowing eyes!” William blurted. He looked to Katriana. She looked annoyed, so he sat up straight. He had a chance to be a hero tonight, so he was going to impress his love. “It was tall and wide. It felt like it had a mission, but Sebastian is right,” he said in a serious tone, “it wasn’t human.” Katriana looked more impressed.

“I had a sense that it didn’t belong, and I knew you weren’t happy to see it,” Sebastia spoke to Iza, “so I gathered my intent, the way Eric had told me to. And I told him to be gone, that he wasn’t invited.”

“Did you hear it respond?” William asked Sebastian. “It didn’t speak, but I heard it say ‘I want my treasure!’”

Sebastian turned to look at William, surprise in his face. “Yes! I thought I’d imagined it.” He looked at Iza, who looked scared. He looked at Katriana, who was drinking her tequila. “I yelled from my balls, like Eric had told me to,” Sebastian continued, “intending for him to get out and stay out.” He realized that Iza was genuinely disturbed, which he’d never seen before. Katriana looked like she’d been made to handle all of this. “Iza, care to fill me in?”

“She doesn’t know,” Katriana stepped in. “I do.”

Everyone was surprised and looked to Katriana, hungry to know what she’d say next.

“Iza is afraid because there is a spirit, a dark spirit, attached to this land. Now you have seen it. Peppermint and Kia guard us from the spirit, they guard you too,” she said to Sebastian. “Sometimes this spirit brings other too. We have used sage, copal and rituals to keep them away, but they’ve been coming back strong. The entity lived once, many centuries ago. He was imprisoned here and things that were precious to him were taken. I haven’t connected to find out more than than. I don’t like the energy, so I dare not go deeper. I only went this far to try to find what the spirit was doing here and why it seemed so dark. Anyone can fall far from the light, and he has.” Katriana’s English continued to be perfect.

She looked to Sebastian. “Come, let’s go in the bedroom to see what I sense now. William, you too.”

They lead the way, Sam and Iza behind. In Iza’s room, they turned on the lights. There was nothing here. Katriana and Iza scanned the room, looking around at nothing. Focused on nothing.

“Look,” William pointed, “on the ground. That’s where he’d been.” In the space there was a little dirt.

“I sense nothing. You both did this, but Sebastían,” she said his name in Spanish, “you did good. You cleared the space.”

“I’m not sleeping here tonight.”

“Call Eric, hon. He’ll keep you company and protect you.” Sebastian was making fun, but Iza lit up. She reached for her cell phone.

“Yes, I will.”

“Oh, you are scared,” Sebastian responded.

“You don’t have to be,” Katriana told Iza. “Call Eric, because you two will be lovers— Oh, did I give something away?” Katriana relished spoiling Iza’s fun to come by telling her what would happen. “But Sebastían cleared the space. Now you know why Spirit brought him to you. He is a man you can trust and who will protect you. He has completely gotten rid of the spirit. I do not think you’ll see shadows again, not while Sebastían is on the land.”

Iza looked to Sebastian. She looked to Sam, “No wonder you love him. I don’t envy you, the choice you have to make between two men you love, but no matter who you choose, now I know that Sebastian has blessed your life, like he has mine. He’s changed some of my relationship to men. They’ve always hurt me in the past; he has never taken from me, but now has given me a great gift.” She looked to Sebastian again. “Thank you for ridding the man-ghosts of my past, and the ghoul who was here earlier, Sebastian.”


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