Are You Willing?

Kauai, moonlit night, magical realismWhen Nora was young she allowed others to know of her difference. But many years ago she learned to keep her night-time charms to herself. Now, at 36 years, no doctors or therapists, no detectives or boyfriends could tell her what was “wrong” with her.

Absolutely nothing was wrong with her, and she kept it that way by keeping her secret to herself. Yes, she needed to be a solitary woman, but as a college professor, an opera lover, a hiker and a traveler, she could get out and about without colleagues figuring out what she was up to after midnight.

Nora needed no sleep. None. She was born with an ability to regenerate her body and her mind during active hours, a feat that no other animal, human or otherwise, had devised. As a child, she was termed ‘the vampire kid’ by cruel professionals. Her parents worried about her ceaselessly as they tried to tie her down to a bed (which was the idea of the mean, wicked Dr. Spalding, who mysteriously died in his sleep when Nora was 10).

The ropes disappeared then. As did her parents. moon, Thanksgiving moon, magical realism

Once she was placed in foster homes, no one cared about her or about who she was, so she pretended to go to bed every night, listened to her pretend parents, and achieved good grades while exploring moonlit nights.

History called to her. Somewhere, some time, an individual must have had her ability. But through two Ph.Ds (history and psychiatry) and countless visits to hypnotists, occultists, and past-life regression therapists, Norah found no one else.

ancestors, American ancestorsUntil tonight. Three in the morning. Nora wandered the Historical Records Room of a New England village known for burning witches centuries ago, searching for an ancestor who perhaps had a secret such as hers.

Suddenly, Nora’s hackles rose (yes, Nora discovered, hackles can rise).

A black-caped man approached her, hands held in a defensive manner in front of him as if she would punch him or smote him with a wink of her eye.

“I’m harmless,” Nora said, assuming he was an apparition that escaped out of the dusty volumes behind her.

His eyes of black diamond sparkled with amusement. “Ah, so you are.” He pulled off the hood of his cloak to reveal curly dark hair, a cleft on his chin, and a quizzical expression on his handsome face. “I think we have a lot to discuss, my friend. Are you willing?”

He held out his hand. Nora clasped it like a woman drowning, even though she hadn’t known she’d been sinking.

“Yes,” she replied.         

And that’s when their story began.

108 thoughts on “Are You Willing?

  1. A real wow to this story, Pam. I am glad it is a summer morning when
    I read it. A good handicap to have in some ways, but lonely. Glad she found this other lost person .
    Awaiting with eagerness next instalment

    Miriam

    Liked by 2 people

    • The concept of daytime regeneration is certainly tempting, isn’t it Norah? And yes, I thought of you when I found out my character’s name is NORA. I just took the “h” off so you didn’t think that I think you roam around at nighttime. 🙂

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  2. Great story, Pam. Such an interesting “difference” she has. She must get a lot done without needing to sleep.
    I suppose if you want to think metaphorically, her story could be one that many have experienced–being different and looking for someone who is also different.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the way you find meaning in my stories, Merril. I totally agree, but I’ll admit, I didn’t know I was doing that when I first wrote their story. But it’s a universal theme – those who feel ‘different’ and ostracized in some way, finding others/another who experience the same.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve always told myself that I will NEVER write a story with a vampire in it. 🙂 Well, never say never, although I’m not too sure that Nora is a vampire. Maybe just a ‘special’ human with ‘special’ talents. ;-0

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  3. I know this story will have a happy ending – unless you are a meanie (NOT!) and take pleasure in jerking your reader around. 🙂 I’m guessing Nora, tired of being bewildered, is ready to be bewitched.

    How convenient to live in a land of not needing sleep, but then I’d miss the pleasure to waking up to coffee and strawberries. You are a born story-teller, Pam. Write on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you, Marian. I’d like to have those extra hours when everyone else sleeps to read books, write more stories, maybe dance to the midnight moon. BUT, I’d miss my dreams, feeling my body sink into a place we don’t really understand, and then waking up knowing that a good pot of tea awaits. 🙂

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  4. So fun, so well done! I’ve written a short story some time back about a boy who needed no sleep – very different of course, but still the foundation was the lack for need of sleep. How interesting that this is a recurrent theme! And perhaps, for those of us who do not know boredom but are well versed in not-enough-time-to-do-all-I-want-to-do, a fantasy worth exploring!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Pam, Ooooh, lots of thoughts on this one. First, your heading photo with the amazIng colour of blue is stunning!

    A very imaginative story. I sometimes think (fear) I see a small part of me in your stories. Possibly why your stories are very compelling.

    This story could be part of a script for “Stranger Things” or “OA” or “Discovery of Witches” or a unique series built with your imagination and story telling skills:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks for noticing/commenting on my blue flowers. I like to change the photo up there every week, and I like to take the photos myself of flowers from my walks. These were particularly enticing.
      I love that you see a small part of yourself in my stories. I see some of myself also – the self I usually hide. Perhaps we should come out from hiding!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oooooh, more please! I’m intrigued, and at once jealous and sorry for Nora. On the one hand, what I could do with all that peaceful extra time. On the other, I love sleep and the dreams, and the magic of being on that threshold – just before falling sleep, or just after waking. In fact, you made me google! Apparently there was a man called Al Herpin, lived in Paris, who claimed never to have slept! Lived till 94! What was your inspiration for this story? H xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fascinating. I never really know what ‘inspires’ me when I write these stories, Harula. I had no intention of writing about a person who didn’t need sleep (didn’t think that was possible) but Nora whispered in my ear that she had a ‘secret condition’ and that was that. I followed through on your Google search (so cool that you did that). Since Al was a recluse and doctors couldn’t validate his claim on only ‘resting,’ not sleeping, he was not really believed. But a Vietnamese man, Thái Ngọc, claimed he didn’t sleep for 46 years. I love his expression about it, though, saying he felt “like a plant without water.” He was noted to be an insomniac. The medical opinion is that human beings MUST sleep.
      So the question is…. what is Nora?!

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    • I’m enticed into writing this into a book, Jina. But it will have to wait in line (three others in my files). ;-0 For now, I’ll just write one little sequel for Friday’s post. I’m with you, though. I can see Nora and the black-caped stranger having many romantic adventures. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hummmm…. Now that story I would love to continue reading.. A fan of Nora Roberts series reads, I love a little magic and imagination, and i think your Nora has many nightly adventures to share 😉 ❤
    A Great Story Pam.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a blessing and a curse, Roy. I’m good with writing the first 500 words of a story. Hook ’em in, reel them up, then leave them dangling. Okay by me, but not by the readers, it seems. They want the fish in the boat! Now I’m just praying that my muse helps me with the next 500 words! ;-0

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  8. Pingback: Willing with the Wind | roughwighting

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