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Five Sentences, 1.3

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for the next five sentences. Enjoy!

“It was an unspoken rule that if the O’Phelon kids could stay out of trouble, and make sure that monthly check got delivered, Tiffany would make sure they had a place to sleep at night and food for their stomachs.

They’d managed to keep up their end of the deal for going on 2 years, their longest at any home so far. Daithe was entering senior at Evenridge High. Eimear was getting ready to celebrate her second birthday in the trailer, the big one-six, over a store bought cupcake on a rust stained laminate countertop. 

That’s what she was doing at this bonfire, actually. Daithe had managed to convince every teenager in the area to meet deep in the woods for a “pre-birthday” celebration. It wasn’t hard for him to plan a party at the last second.”

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Share and Win!

Character inspiration wanted.

-image credit pixabay.com

Contest time! Share the blog and win!

I’m working on multiple submissions for Horror Story anthologies (so many deadlines!) as well as the Charlie Can R-E-A-D! series.

How does that equate to a prize, you ask?

I need character inspiration! From your name to your city, I want to include you in my work!

I will randomly draw a name from the followers who share my blog and include a ficticious representation of you in one of my upcoming projects!

I’ll discuss the plot with the winner, ensuring you’re comfortable with the representation before submitting.

Maybe you’ll be the victim, maybe you’ll be a dominatrix serial Slayer. Who knows with all the kooky, spooky submissions requirements I’m facing.

You could choose to be a figure in my next Charlie book, in S-P-A-C-E!

Any “shares” from now until 8pm Thursday will include you in the drawing!
Drawing will be held Thursday at 9pm via a random generator draw.

Thanks for all your support! 💟

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Fucking Tourists

As promised, the next installment of my horror inspired short stories.

I have a new contest challenge starting tonight at midnight, and it just so happens this story was inspired by a short I read on the forums there.

I hope you enjoy my telling of what might happen when you go wandering in places you shouldn’t.

Lightning flashes and I jump. Lights flicker casting warped shadows from my overcrowded desk onto the wall. The sudden hum of buzzing electricity foreshadows an inevitable power outage.

My partner has gone home and I’m alone in the rickety building that serves as the county law enforcement office. Volunteering to help organize their outdated paper filing system during my overnight shift has lead to frustration. I’ve been two months on the job, and they haven’t heard of computers here yet. It shows.

Tap-tap-tap.

For a population of just over 100 backwater, reptile loving hillbillies, I have noted an abnormally high rate of missing persons cases in Graham Township, FL. Never the locals. Natives to the area seem to know when it’s appropriate to explore the gator-infested swamps that surround us. Tourists, on the other hand, do not.

The old rotary phone rings, shrill and deafening, lead melody to another roll of thunder. Loss of electricity. I stumble my way through the dark. My heart is racing. I answer.

A panicked male voice proclaims a group of spring breakers have managed to lose sight of their “closest bud” after the current deluge of stormy weather cancelled their bonfire.

Tap-tap-tap.

I jot down last known location and appearance on an official inquiry form as best I can in the dark while ignoring what must be a drip from the shoddy roof. I issue the scripted response that the team will be notified. Coordinated search to begin at first light. Stay safe.

It’s too dark and dangerous to search now. We’re prone to flooding and lightning strikes here.

Tap-tap-tap.

I slam the phone down in frustration. That noise is antagonizing!

I feel my way to the closet, swearing when opening it causes an overfilled mop bucket to topple over at my feet. The dank, musty water spills across my sneakers. Every day is casual day in rural America.

I find a Maglite on the storage shelf. Click it on as unexpected pressure slides down my calf.

Clutches my ankle.

I kick violently, shouting in terror and connecting with solid matter as I whip the flashlight down and to the right. Torn, bloody fingernails are illuminated, extended in a twitching plea for help. I swing the beam of light higher. Cold sweat beads on my neck.

I shudder.

Matted blond ringlets crusted with dried blood and dirt haphazardly shield a pair of wide, terrified blue eyes.

He weakly reaches for the wall. Attempts to move away from me as he-

Tap-tap-tap.

His feeble retreat smears half congealed blood across the floor as he drums his S.O.S. onto the wall.

Fucking tourists. Always making a mess.

Muffled screams from his gagged mouth as I raise the maglite high. A soft crack as I bring it down into bone.

His body twitches. Once. Twice. Stills.

The lights flicker back on.

I walk to my desk.

Open the side drawer.

Pull out a manilla folder. Add the partially completed form.

T Helmsen. 22. Blonde. Blue eyes. Graham Swamp.

I flip the file closed. Shove it behind five others under the “Missing Persons” tab.

At least the tapping has stopped.

Adverse Reaction

We can officially share our entries from the Microfiction Challenge.

I was assigned horror, the action of swallowing a pill, and the word prestigious. 250 words was a short leash, but I’m super pleased with this little gem!

Adverse Reaction:

The Side Effects Can Kill You.

I swallow the oblong pill with CHX-10 imprinted on one side. Drain my water glass. Turn out my lamp. Burrow into my quilt.

Mother and I didn’t lead similar lives. We remained bonded by clouds of blue smoke. Breath mints. Lighter collections. Loyalty reward coupons.

The Big C took her from me at 57.

I miss her.

I saw my doctor immediately following her funeral. Prescription written by a prestigious provider, accentuated by running mascara and mourning clothes. I won’t share her fate. 

The pill leaves a bitter residue on my tongue. I’ve been falling asleep with big pharma in my mouth for months.

Increasingly vivid dreams follow. Mother singing from her trach stoma. Haunting. Beautiful. 

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

I miss her.

Raspy coughing rips me from my rest.

I recognize that moist, crackling gasp in the hallway.

“Mom?”

I turn on the lamp. The croupy inhalation relocates.

Bare feet. Wooden floor.

I follow the sound into the kitchen.

Mother stands center linoleum. I smell ashtrays and chemo.

She coughs. Mucous explodes from her throat. Sprays the floor. Squirms into a writhing moat around her. She offers me a carton of smokes. Rotting lips split as they smile. One gelatinous eye oozes from its socket.

Maggots crush underfoot as I move forward.

I miss her.

They’ll find my bloated corpse slumped over my dining room table eventually, particles from the cigarettes I’ve eaten dried to my teeth. 

At least it wasn’t cancer.

Five Sentences, 1.2

Exciting news via email this week, but it was an offer I decided to turn down. The search for an agent continues…

Meanwhile, I continue on multiple contest entries, query letters, and this weeks installment from my larger project.

Enjoy!

– Image credit shutterstock.com

Someone tossed an empty, crumpled beer can into the flames and Eimear watched with clear green eyes as the aluminum turned first red then molten green before finally settling on a blazing blue-hot in the fire. Aluminum cans reminded her of dinner, and siding; aluminum siding reminded her of home.

Home was a single wide trailer she shared with her older brother, Daithe, and some scrawny blonde woman named Tiffany. “Tiff” made sure they were both present at the same time once a month to clean the place up and present themselves as looked after whenever the CPS officer in the blue sedan drove into their driveway past the battered, hand painted “private drive” sign.

Tiffany wasn’t a bad woman- Eimear and Daithe had seen their fair share of those. But she damned sure wasn’t loving or affectionate.’

Teddy

Fall is here, bringing along with it spooky story ideas.

I’m working on getting them out of my head where they’ve been clamoring for attention, Teddy being the first.

He wants to tell you monsters don’t always hide in the closet.

-Image credit shutterstock.com

Sammy cringed as thunder roared outside. He pulled Teddy to his chin, inhaling the scent of stale saliva and old fabric softener. The stuffed brown bear had been his closest friend since age two, Sammy’s adoration founded on conversations and Teddy’s fearless bravery. Countless adventures had led to the inevitable loss of one glossy, hazel eye and a couple of stitches at his neck seam where white fluff peeked out on occasion. Teddy was well loved.

The walls shuddered, Sammy with them. Lightning threw crazy shadows on faded jungle wallpaper, crashing so loud he could swear it was reeking havoc down the hall.

The wind screamed an agonied response. His ears rang.

It was too much.

Sammy scrambled under his wooden bed frame, pulling his dinosaur blanket down behind him as a haphazard curtain. He covered his ears as Teddy reassured him the slow creak of his bedroom door was just his imagination fueled up by sugar and too many pre-bedtime cartoons.

A low moan. Sammy scooted against the wall under his bed and covered Teddy’s lone eye so he wouldn’t be afraid.

Houses moan sometimes, Sammy. ‘Specially old ones like this, Teddy whispered. Don’t be scared. I’m not.

Sammy removed his clammy hand from Teddy’s face.

A moist squelch, another moan. Something wet was dragging itself along the floor.
Sammy held his breath.

The moaning sounded too close to be the house.

His bedroom light suddenly flipped on, illuminating the room. Sammy could smell pennies. He gagged.

A hand clutched the blanket, staining T-rex and Brontosaurus crimson as a voice gurgled.

“S-sam-” His name was cut short by a sickening thwack. The moist twisting that followed reminded Sammy of his mother cleaning chicken wings for Superbowl Sunday.

He’d never eat chicken wings again. Teddy agreed.

The hand convulsed then fell limp, managing to partially dislodge the comforter as it twitched. Sammy clutched Teddy to him as he took in the scene of his bedroom floor with horror stricken eyes.

Black boots he’d never seen before, covered in fresh mud and leaves, were standing beside the blood soaked body of his mother. He recognized the axe hanging beside the boots as the one from the wood shed outside. It dripped blood into the growing puddle that was pooling its way toward him.

Sammy smelled urine, warm dampness spreading across his pajama bottoms as he stared at what was left of his mother’s face. She reminded him of Teddy now, one eye gone and fluff peeking out of her neck.

Mommy’s fluff is red, Sammy thought. So red.

Monsters don’t always hide in closets, Sammy, Teddy’s voice whispered. Sometimes they come right through the front door.

For the first time in Sammy’s life, Teddy sounded scared.

The blanket lifted.

Sammy covered Teddy’s eye.

Screamed.

It sounded like shrill wind through the trees.

All That and a Can of Soup

Daisy and Arthur were an idea I had a for a flash fiction competition. They didn’t make the cut to submission (I went a different route, entirely) but I still kind of like them, and their story. Enjoy!

-Image credit shutterstock.com

Daisy felt like she was literally dying in the hot August sun.

Fucking. Melting.

Plus her ass hurt from bouncing on the slatted seat of the rickety carriage currently jaunting along Millhouse Road and transporting a shipment of Canned Clam Chowder to Dame Matilda in East River.

Daisy hiked her skirts up, creamy legs now exposed to the beaming sun but allowing air to at least cool her nether regions. The pistol strapped to her thigh glinted brightly in the midday light.

“This shite is fer the birds, Arthur! Th’ trip AND the soup! I wouldn’t even feed it t’ me dog! And he licks his own arse!” she called to the stallion, laughing as she rolled her head to relieve some of the tension there. Her neck ached something fierce from hauling the wooden crates into the belly of the rig this morning but it was a better ache then the one her last “patron” had left in her battered body on her most recent, and final, night as a “Lady” of Darcy’s Saloon.

She’d begged, borrowed, and maybe even stolen (from the sheriff, no less, but he was snoring in his knickers on her stained mattress, wasting time, and time costs money, thank you very much) to get up enough cash to finally convince Darcy to take her off the front lines and get into management side of things. She was good with figures and less experienced girls looked up to her. Daisy knew it was just a payoff, but anyone with a cunt could lay on their back at night and she wanted to be done with that if she could.

Daisy was meant for bigger things.

Darcy had laughed when Daisy told her so.

She’d remembered that laugh as she slammed the last crate into place. There was a strangeness to it, and Daisy didn’t figure it was the pun…

Something metallic had jingled inside the cans.

Her brains told her this wasn’t just rations she was hauling. Matilda sent Darcy new girls, Darcy was sending Matilda….soup?

“There’s more than beans and rice in them thar cans, yer hear me Arthur?!” She bit into the skin of an apple she’d brought along for the ride, staring off into the horizon. The horse flicked his tail in response, dropping his own apples as he plodded along.

Gunfire pulled her out of her heat induced daydream of making off with whatever the cans contained. Gold, perhaps. Jewels? Daisy wasn’t sure of anything other than it was hidden, and hidden meant valuable in a world where entire bodies were laid bare for consumption. She’d never do it, she wasn’t a swindler like her daddy. Prostitution might be dirty work, but it was honest. Goods and services for payment rendered.

Arthur perked his ears, whinnied, and Daisy flicked the reins. He responded accordingly (just like she had to do with the chaps in her bed), and the jaunt turned into a slow gallop.

Daisy pulled her red curls aside, glancing over her shoulder. Sure enough, three bandits on horseback were racing toward her, guns drawn. She could see the colors of their kerchiefs from here. Dusty red, blue, and green covered their faces, hats low over their foreheads.

They meant trouble, and Daisy meant to give it to them.

She pulled her pistol and ducked low, nickering at Arthur between her teeth. A snap of the reins and he began to fly, his tail a flag in the wind.

Daisy aimed over her cargo, trusting her horse to do his job while she did hers. Her daddy had been good for something, afterall; He’d taught her to shoot before losing their home and his life in a poker game when she was ten.

She waited, knowing she’d need to see the whites of their eyes to be certain she could hit her mark.

NOW!

She fired. Her shot was true and red bandana flew off their mount like they’d been clotheslined by a tree branch.

A hot whistle of air buzzed by her ear and she smelled burnt hair and gunpowder before she registered the thunder of the gun that had sent it for her.

Daisy looked at the cans and back up at the remaining riders. Whatever was in those cans, it was getting to Dame Matilda, come hell or high water. She hadn’t bent over, knelt, and laid on her back for all those nights to die out here in the roasting sun.

She aimed again, finger caressing the trigger like the love of a man she’d never feel. Her body was used to hard, fast, angry. Guns required a gentle touch. Her daddy had taught her that, too.

Aim. Breath. Squeeze.

Blue bandana’s face contorted in pain before dropping their rifle , following it like an anchor into the ocean of dust clouds left behind by the ongoing chase.

Green bandana slowed, confused by fallen comrades at the hand of a two dollar whore.

Daisy smiled, happy with the opportunity to finish her defense without any oncoming fire. She noted something familiar about those eyes as she’d graced the trigger with her touch one more time.

Then all three bandits lay still in the road and Daisy was dismounting, reloading her six shooter just to be sure the job was done.

Towering over the closest body, Daisy recognized the hair and a beauty mark by the left eye.

“Everyone knows you paint that on, y’ bitch.” she growled. Daisy bent down, grunting as she pulled the bandana from Darcy’s face.

Darcy couldn’t answer. An august fly had already landed on her unblinking eye, and Daisy knew there would be more to come.

“Come on Arthur, get up now. Git!” she called after hauling herself back into the seat. “Looks like I have somethin’ more important than this here soup to talk to Matilda ‘bout now, don’t I?”

Arthur whickered and began moving the wagon forward again.

Soup cans rattled and jingled as Daisy mouthed the word “Dame”.


Five Sentences, 1.1

I’m submitting to magazines, blogs, competitions.

I’m also attempting something larger.

I’m not sure if it will ever come to fruition. Like most everything I write, I find it started out one way in my head and has organically begun transforming into something else.

I thought maybe I’d share it with you as it progresses. once a week, in a post tagged “five sentences”.

Feedback always appreciated.

-Image credit wordpress.com

The waning moon was a half grin in the summer sky, stars scattered around it like a thousand diamond accessories.

Not that Eimear O’Phelon knew anything about diamonds.

None of the kids at this bonfire did. There were fifteen or so in all, each in varying degrees of hand-me down, used-clothing chic. Flames flickering in the dark was the closest thing to an iPhone filter any of them were ever going to see.”

Reflections

-Image credit shutterstock.com

In my youth my hair was sleek and naturally colored.

From crown to tip, a silken display of naive exuberance. A cascade of immortality that could be cut, died, permed, sprayed and still put up it’s middle finger to the world.

Now it lays limply along my face, broken and framing wrinkles, laugh lines, crossroads of years of worry and decision making. It’s luster has been replaced with silver and grey, all of it’s rainbow energy spent on consequences and rewards, minute after minute and day after day until I opened my eyes to the rising sun and recognized I’m on the other side of my life expectancy. The top of the hill is drawing nigh.

My reflection stares back at me and where I used to see my future, now I see my past. Aren’t those my grandmother’s eyes peering back at me across the unkempt years, tugging my shirt from my pants as she did when I was once sixteen gazing upon all the majesty the world had to offer me, a young girl dew faced and pink with excitement?

There is my mother, her smile hiding pain I always judged from behind her waist as she made choices she thought best, sacrificed gifts of herself to me.  I silently said this will never be me while at the same time I snuggle myself into her loving arms.

When I called her a bitch… when she still kept my secrets for me, knowing that I’d thought her so as all daughters do at one time or another?

Then it happens. For just a brief moment, my daughters, women grown and seeking some deeper meaning in the reflection of their compacts, their car mirrors, their fogged over bathroom reflections after gym class, are ablaze in light.

And, My God, they are beautiful. Defiant, resilient, full of life in all the ways I showed them they must be to survive the world we were sending them into.

They have my smile.

My mother’s smile.

They have my eyes.

My grandmother’s eyes.

And one day, soon, but not too soon….

My granddaughters will have their mother’s hair.

My hair.

And a reflection in the mirror that is their own…

And not.

Curing Writers Block

Welcome

-Image credit wordpress.com

Get busy living or get busy dying.

— Stephen King

This is the first post on my new (first? only?) blog. I’m sure you’re wondering what you should expect here. You. Yes, you, Mom (because mamas are always your number one fan). The answer is…I’m not sure.

I haven’t written anything with any serious intent since high school.

I went to nursing school (because any good mama will tell you that you need to have a solid income even if you have a writers soul, and any good daughter will listen at least part of the time), graduated, got married, had three amazing kids, met the love of my life, divorced, then remarried (yes in that order), all before I ever revisited my love of written word.

There’s only so much feasible scrolling of Facebook and Twitter you can do after you raise your tiny humans to be mostly self sufficient before your brain literally begins to melt…

So I entered a writing competition. Because who doesn’t love the challenge of being told what to write about, and how many words you have to do so? You feel me?

And I realized something.

I’ve missed this. Throwing ideas at the wall to see if they stick like cooked-through spaghetti noodles. The criticism. The bravo. The seeing how far I can stretch a rule before it breaks.

So much better being the movement of words instead of just consuming them in gluttony.

So there it is. 16.5 years later. I’m back at it. Researching. Plotting.

Writing.

And it feels so damned good.