The song this month is Call Me Crazy by Travis Collins. As it is a country song I have no clue who this guy is, but I did come up with a story to go with it. Go me. If you’re curious here’s the song:
And here’s the lyrics
When I first heard it, my first thought was, “Damn, what a downer.” Then this idea began to form and I saw a video on YouTube about Ghost Brides and BAM there was the story. Hope you like it:
The Ghost’s Bride
Emma stared at herself in the warped mirror and still couldn’t believe her situation. All she’d wanted was a vacation. Okay, not just a vacation, but an experience. Something she’d remember for the rest of her life. Because of this wish, she’d chosen Asia for her destination since she’d always been drawn to the different Asian traditions. Now she stood, swathed in a long red dress, ready to take part in a sacred tradition. Or, at least, that’s what her captors had claimed.
What had started out as a beautiful day exploring the country side had turned, literally, into a nightmare. One moment she’d stopped to speak to an elderly woman at an outdoor market and the next . . . well hell she wasn’t sure. The woman had given her a sample of tea to drink and then, after that, nothing. Not until she’d woken up in an unfamiliar room. An unfamiliar locked room.
Panic overwhelmed her at finding the door and windows locked. Gasping for breath, she’d sat and put her head between her legs. Sweat oozed down her face and back as she shook. Ah, panic attack, my old friend, she’d thought. I really hadn’t missed you. She’d finally gotten herself calmed when the door opened and a large group of men and women entered.
“What’s going on? Why am I here?”
An elderly woman had stepped forward and bowed. “You have been chosen for a great honor. You are to be the bride of our Tono.”
“Bride? What the hell? I refuse.”
As if that had meant anything to anyone. In no time, Emma had found herself dressed in a long red gown and locked back in the room she’d started in. She didn’t know who the tono or whatever was, but as soon as he arrived she was going to attempt to talk to him. Who, in their right minds, kidnapped someone so they could be forced into marriage? Wasn’t going to happen.
A different elderly woman entered the room and smiled at her. “It is time.”
“Look, I understand that you think this is an honor, but I don’t. I can’t marry someone because you want me to. I’m just a visitor here. I need to go home.”
“Our village owes a debt to our Tono. He has protected us for centuries and to allow him to go long without a bride is an insult. He will lose face if he is not wed.”
She stared at Emma with night black eyes, in a small wrinkled face. Her gray hair was pulled back from her face in an elaborate bun, dotted with pearls, and her dress looked to be a soft, pink silk. The woman was certainly dressed for a party.
“Centuries? I don’t understand. How can he have protected anything for centuries?”
“All will become clear. Come. Come now.”
Grabbing Emma by the arm, she guided her out of her prison and across a small entry hall. The door stood open showing it was night. How long had she been held? Was it the same day? A day later? If she didn’t make her flight home, someone would come looking for her. Of course, that didn’t do her any good now.
She tried to yank her arm away, but the woman held on with an iron grip. The long trailing hem of the gown tangled around Emma’s legs and she stumbled. The woman huffed out a breath and waited. Emma righted the dress and used her free hand to hold the hem up. She would not be escaping wearing what she had on.
A large group waited for her and they too were all dressed, in what she assumed, was their best. They surrounded her and ushered her through a large intricately carved gate into a garden. They moved down a well-tended path, lit with small torches. Thank goodness for small miracles, Emma thought, since tripping and falling would not improve her day.
Water whispered over rocks as night birds called in the trees. Around a bend, a small bridge came into view and they crossed over, to where the path was wilder. Bushes and flowers crowded on either side and the group was forced to walk single file with Emma still being towed along by the old woman.
They broke into a clearing and before them was a large stone house. Emma couldn’t see much by the light of the moon, but it was bigger and grander than the brief view she had of the homes in the village. The group stopped and everyone bowed low. The woman gave a hard tug and Emma too bowed. She wasn’t sure why, but figured it was easier to go along. Maybe if she acted amenable they would leave her alone.
Together they entered the front door. A huge hearth across the room held a roaring fire, chasing away the chill in the air. A table near the fire was set with food, but it only had two chairs. A large bed, swathed in a red and gold spread, sat on the other side of the fireplace.
Someone shut the door and the room fell into silence. Heart pounding in her ears, Emma searched the dark. Where was the groom? She saw no one new, just the people who must be the elders of the village.
One of the men stepped forward and again bowed low, placing a wreath of lilies and chrysanthemum on a slightly raised rectangular stone embedded in the floor. The old woman, once again, dragged Emma next to the stone.
“Kneel, child,” she directed.
Emma folded the skirt of the dress under her and knelt on the cold stone floor. She placed a hand on the stone to steady herself and found it oddly warm. As a man began to speak in the local dialect, she studied the carved piece. It depicted the image of a man, clutching a sword, eyes closed in rest. No, not rest, death. The stone was some kind of flat headstone.
Looking up, the old woman nodded at her and smiled. Ghost Bride. She was a ghost bride. Emma almost laughed. She’d seen a video on YouTube about the custom, but thought it was outlawed. What would happen to her? Would they try and kill her once it was over? She didn’t think so, since the video hadn’t mentioned it, but hell who knew?
The man stopped speaking and the group bowed to her and the stone on the floor. Before she could stand, they exited through the door and slammed it shut behind them. She pulled the dress until she could get her feet under her and went to the door. Locked. Of course, it was.
Her stomach grumbled and she looked longingly at the food on the table. She so wanted to eat, but what if it was poisoned? Better not take a chance. Instead, she went over and sat on the bed. The bedding was soft and smelled of spices, she wasn’t sure what, but it was actually pleasant. Wearily, she began to pull the pins from her hair until it tumbled around her shoulders. Rubbing her face, she tried to figure out what to do. The outside of the house looked large so there had to be a way out of the room she was currently in. Maybe if she could, then there’d be a way out and to freedom.
A noise brought her head up. A man stood in front of the fire place watching her. Emma stifled a scream. He narrowed his eyes and stepped toward her. She pulled herself onto the bed and scrambled to the far side.
“What do you want? Who are you?”
“You can see me?”
His voice was low, and stupidly, made her think of a purr. His ink black hair was pulled away from his face and fell down his back in a waterfall. High cheekbones, full lips, straight nose, and almond eyes completed the package. The man was handsome.
“You can see me,” he said again.
“Yeah, of course I can. You’re standing right there.”
Slowly, he smiled and Emma’s heart skipped a beat. Handsome became devastating. Didn’t matter if he looked like Jason Mamoa, he was part of the group holding her captive.
“I am Ryu,” he said, bowing low.
“I’m Emma. How did you get in here?”
“This is my home. I dwell here.”
“I don’t understand. Any of this. Nothing.”
“How did you come here?”
“I was drugged and kidnapped.”
At his hiss of breath, she felt a bit better. Perhaps he would help her escape.
“When I woke up I was in the village. A group of women cleaned me up, fixed me up, and put me in this dress. Then they dragged me here, said stuff I didn’t understand, and locked me in. Oh wait, one woman did say I was here to be a bride for some guy named Tono, or something.”
“Tono, is not a name,” he said. “It is a title of respect due to royalty.”
He leaned back against the headboard and Emma jerked. How the hell did he get on the bed? How did she not noticed him move? Were the drugs still in her system so that she was having blackouts or something?
“I think I figured out I’m supposed to be a ghost bride.” She motioned to the stone in the floor. “Right? I’m his bride.”
He smiled. “Yes, you are.”
“Okay, so what? Are they going to kill me?”
His black brows lowered. “No, they will not hurt you. I won’t allow it.”
“Okay, so who are you?”
“I told you. I am Ryu, or as the villagers call me, Tono.”
Emma ran her fingers through her hair. “So, you’re the Tono now? None of this makes any sense.”
He ran his fingers down her arm and she jerked back. What the hell?
“How did you . . .”
“I am Tono. I have been Tono to this region for centuries. You are the first woman in two hundred years that can actually see me. Touch me.”
He pressed his mouth to hers and Emma shivered. It wasn’t possible. There was no way. He was real. He was a man.
She opened her eyes to find the dress gone. Just gone. She was naked. Eye wide, she stared at the man who watched her. He too was no longer wearing clothes. This wasn’t real. It couldn’t be. Ghosts didn’t exist. Okay, maybe they did, but they didn’t make clothes disappear.
“You are my bride,” he spoke against her lips. “I am a very lucky man.”
“No, you don’t understand. I can’t. I have to leave.”
“One night. Give me one night and I will let you go in the morning. It has been so long, so long.”
Emma thought herself insane when she considered it. What choice did she have? No one was going to open the door. She was here, stuck in this room and he was so beautiful. No one would ever have to know. Their secret.
“Yes. One night, but you have to promise to let me go.”
“Promise,” he said, then took her mouth.
Now pop on over to check out what Bronwyn, Jessica, Kris, Siobhan, and Deelylah did with it.