We all run into people each day. Their faces remain with us sometimes for a few seconds, and sometimes longer. Yet, sometimes these run ins with strangers mean something more.
By: Deborah Reed
To date, Deborah Reed has had over thirty short stories, magazine articles or essays published, two of which are Pushcart Prize nominees. She currently resides in a small bedroom community in Central Texas with her daughter, grandson, two dogs and two cats.
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I was outside today and a ladybug fell on my shoulder. I was pleased by this seeing as how I have been quite ill lately and I hoped that the appearance of this creature would serve as a good omen. I was afraid to brush the ladybug away and so I just left her there as I dug up some weeds that had stubbornly appeared on an old grave site.
After I had completed this task I took a seat outside the shed for a rest. I looked down at my shoulder to find my ladybug companion had departed. The ladybug, or ladybird, or ladybeetle, has always been a favorite of mine around the cemetery. Oddly, there are one or two memorials that attract dozens and dozens of these bright red insects, and that too I would like to think is some sort of positive sign.
These creatures are considered by many cultures to be lucky. Even the direct translation of the local name to English in many countries speaks to that country’s association with this bug being a symbol of something positive. For example, in Turkish the direct translation means “luck bug.”
I am clearly superstitious thinking of things such as luck and signs and so then what about omens? People tend to think that the word omen is negative. However, an omen can indicate either something good or bad.
Throughout history people have always looked to signs and symbols as indicators to predict future outcomes. The ancient Roman’s had people who served specifically to read flights of birds or processes during animal sacrifices to determine events to come. Even astrological events such as the full moon or eclipses are looked at by some, even to this day, as omens.
Many of us find comfort in signs and symbols throughout our day, hoping for luck and overall good things to come.
The Horror Writer’s Association this weekend hosts the Bram Stoker Awards. Who will win?
It is hot outside, but I’m sure you all know that. Besides the intense heat there have also been quite a substantial number of storms around these parts. While I am fond of lightning and thunderstorms the Undertaker gets a bit annoyed when it rains because it delays some aspects of our business.
Regardless of the weather there is always work to be done, except for yesterday morning.
The previous night was hot and humid and I was looking forward to an early morning rain to cool down the air. No funerals were to take place that day, but I had my typical gardening chores scheduled, such as tending the lawns.
When I woke I looked out the window to find the sky aglow with an eerie green. The sky then began to grumble and I was not sure whether to stay indoors staring at the sky or to prepare myself for the day’s work. The sky grumbled again, this time more violently. I was about to wake the Undertaker only because I had never heard such an angry thundering before, but then I stopped myself when I remembered a saying I had heard many years before: There are some kinds of thunder which is not right to speak of, or even listen to.
I have heard many other superstitions about lightning; one that it is considered wicked to point towards the part of the heavens from which lighting erupts. Some people also say that lightning can predict what is supposed to happen on a particular day. Then of course there are more superstitions surrounding storms, and even tornados. Tornados are destructive and dangerous and have recently devastated many parts of the United States. These rotating columns of air can reach speeds of over 300 miles per hour, and they are ruthless, destroying everything in their path. Many myths surround tornados, some claiming that particular areas or locations are supernaturally protected from their wrath. Folklore even says that a green sky precedes a tornado.
As I stood in wonder looking out of the window droplets of water began to fall and lightning flashed. There was then a knock on my door, the Undertaker was calling to see if I was awake to get to work. I asked him to open the door so that I could show him something and as he stood behind me I pointed to the place in the heavens where the next lightning flash sparked.