From the journal of John Reed. August 2010

I hated the woman. Hated her from the moment I first laid eyes on her. I can't really explain why. Some people say that hate stems from love. You hate the person who hurts the ones you love. You hate a person for loving someone who isn't you. You hate yourself for loving that person. Or maybe you just hate the person because YOU love them.

I wasn't quite sure where the hate came from. It could have come from love. I'd like to say it was because the woman was evil. But I didn't know that at first. She was though. Evil from the marrow of her bones to the follicles of her hair.

Just like hate, evil is a strong word. It's one of those you have to be careful with. You can say a lot of things are evil without really meaning it. But I meant it. She was evil in every meaning of the word. She was a killer. Cold blooded. She smiled when she killed. Laughed too. She liked it. That's what made her evil.

What made me hate her is that she liked to play with me. I met her for the first time when I was thirteen years old. Right when I was on the cusp of adulthood. I wasn't sure where I fit in. I wanted to be a kid and play with my friends after school. I wanted to grow up and get a girlfriend. What I got was Lenore.

I hated the way she talked. I hated the way she walked and smiled. I hated her dark wavy hair and her cold eyes. I hated her red lipstick and her long legs. I hated the way she walked like a man, smoked like a man, slept like a man. She smiled like a lady. Curved red lips and narrowed eyes. She talked like a hick. Thick accent. Said things like "Donit" and "ain't." My mother never let me use the word "ain't." She said it wasn't a real word. Lenore didn't care. She could make up her own and you better damn believe it was a real word.

I asked her why she chose me. Why she showed up at my house in the middle of the night. Why I woke up from sleep to find her sitting comfortably in my bedroom in the chair my mother had rocked me to sleep in before she died. There sat Lenore, clove cigarette between her lips and a shotgun across her lap.

I should have been scared, you know? But I wasn't. This girl didn't scare me as badly as the others. Not at first. She wasn't quite as fierce and animalistic. She smiled when she killed, almost as if the kill was geared by something other than pure hunger. As if she had control and did it merely for fun.

"What are you doing here?" I'd asked her. She had a hat on. A thick black hat made of velvet with a silver buckle. She took a puff of her cigarette, filling my room with the scent of cloves. She let it go. The smoke glimmered white off of her lips. In all my life I'd never seen one of them smoke. I didn't even think they could. Of course I didn't know much about them then. But over the years I would learn that it was odd.

"Aren't you gonna say hello? No way to treat a lady," she replied. Her voice was smooth and husky. Not a smoker's voice. A voice that brought up memories of saucy saloon girls from my favorite movies as a kid. She lifted her head and looked at me from under the shade of her hat. Her eyes were piercing, pale grey. Evil eyes, looking into me and chilling to the core.

"I don't even know who you are," I argued.

"Name's Lenore. I been following you."

"I know. I've seen you once or twice. Why are you here?" She smiled again and took another hit of the thin brown stick. Then she stood up and walked over to me. She was quiet and slow. But I could hear the clinking of metal on her clothes, the soft thump of her boots on my floor. She leaned over me and ran her lace gloved fingers over my cheek.

"You're gonna kill me, Johnny boy," she'd said. "Put a gun right between my eyes. And you're gonna pull the trigger." I didn't understand. I shook my head gently.

"I wouldn't hurt a woman." She laughed. A deep but airy chuckle. It made my spine tingle and my hair stand on end.

"You say that now. I reckon you're gonna hurt a lot of women. Course you won't see it that way. Ain't women to you. But you're gonna hurt 'em good."

"Are you here to hurt me first?" She stood up straight and ashed her cigarette on my alarm clock.

"Nope," she said. "Ain't gonna stop you. You'll do it when it's time. But it ain't time yet. Suppose I just wanted to see your face. Wondering if I should be worried." She looked around the room as if she didn't find me the least bit intimidating.

"How do you know what I'm going to do?"

"Someone told me. Someone I know. Knows things. Sees how people die. Saw you do it. You'll be older then. Handsome, she said. Said I was lucky. Seen some pretty terrible ways to die. I'm one of the lucky ones. It'll be quick. Painless. And I'll have something nice to look at when I go."

"I don't understand."

"Probably best that way, sweetie pie. I gotta head out. But I'll be checking on ya. Be good for your mama's sake."

Then she headed toward the chair and lifted her shotgun. She stepped toward my open bedroom window, stuck one leg out, then the other, then she hopped down and out of sight. I climbed out of my bed and went to the window. I looked down at the yard but she was gone. Vanished into shadow.

That's how Lenore came into my life. Stepped into my bedroom one night while I was asleep. She watched me. And now that I'm older that thought never leaves me. It's a fear I have. One night I'll wake up and she'll be there. Standing at my bedside watching me sleep. She could have killed me a million times. Hell, sometimes she got close.

But she never did it. For whatever reason Lenore believed I was going to bring her end. And that it had to happen. She wanted it to happen.

...

I really like this story and where it's going. But it isn't finished yet so I'm not sure how often it will be updated. But there are a lot of Poe references obviously from the title and the name of the female lead character. I'm thinking there will be more in the story. But they haven't been written yet. Aside from one. But this is the result of me wanting to write a western that involved paranormal shit. It goes back and forth between present day and 1901 to explain these two different stories that eventually intermingle. So I hope you like it as much as I enjoy writing it.