Category Archives: Bad dates

In the night

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spilled red

IN THE NIGHT

Mark convulsed in the mudded pit and dissolved. Spasms had wracked his form as he wormed his way along the rain-drenched ground. He did not sense the sharp drop that brought him to his end. Yes, I watched his final journey. I stood at the lip of the pit, watched his death, and walked home.
 
Why did I watch? Why didn’t I do anything? I had done something. His ending began with me.
 
You look startled. Why? You know Mark and I were never friendly towards the other. He stabbed me in the back as many times I stabbed him. Staying away from each other was the prudent thing to do, we both knew that. We even laughed together one evening over that thought, sipping our glasses of red. The bar was thriving that night.
 
Some weren’t after we finished with them. Yes, I know, Mark and I, rivals, blah blah blah. The hunt drew us together now and then, generally by sheer coincidence. At least, that is what I had always thought.
 
It turned out that Mark had planned every encounter. I have to give him his due: his skill in lying far surpassed mine. When I found the truth, I was a tad humbled. Mark’s lying was at mastery level. I worked hard to take mine to his level.
 
Why did he do it? Why did he hate me that severely? Old story. It was always a game of one-upmanship between us. Always. Mark would not accept that I could exceed him in any way. It was no more than a game of egos, until, it wasn’t.
 
It all started with Claire. He wanted her. She chose me. Once her bloodied body was discovered, nothing between us would ever be the same game again. I’d take from him. He’d indulge in returning the favor. We were living in a harsh cycle. The drawn blood between us had been notorious.
 
Yes, yes. That was centuries ago. So?
 
Why now, you ask? What brought our mutual loathing to an end now?
 
Mark and I have always been scrutinizing each other. Weaknesses praised and used to our advantage. This became our goal: seeking knowledge to use to the other’s detriment. Who won or lost these challenges was of no concern, then.
 
It came to my attention that Mark had studied me far deeper all along. It came to me in whispers along the way. Sycophants whose loyalties drifted between Mark and me. I ignored most of them as pure gossip. I knew I spun my tales to unsettle Mark.
 
Until most recently, I believed we were on even ground.
 
What? Of course, I was wrong! Yes, yes, always headstrong, blah blah.
 
Mark’s planning had reached a summit. It was due to begin this very evening. Ha! He had rallied many to his side. I thought we were equally loathed. Again, I was wrong, but…there will be a reckoning.
 
His plan: attack and obliterate everything, and everyone, that I possess. Every single element that is mine. I may not have a heart, but Marks’s scheme was that threat one step too far. I confronted him on this.
 
Of course, he denied it all. What else would one expect?
 
No matter: he would never take what was mine again. 
 
That night’s storm was tearing up the sky. That was pure coincidence, convenient on my part.
 
I had reached out to him. He responded, and met me that night outside of a long-standing bar we both favored. Accusations and denials tore into the night sky. Sharp words turned to sharper claws.
We did grave damage to each other, of course.
 
On a muddied slope, Mark lost his balance. Miniscule, but I took my advantage. I was getting the best of Mark. Deep in the forest at this point, Mark went down to the earth, glaring my way. I imagine that he felt this was our usual. Spar, hurt the other to that point, He hadn’t prepared for me to take this to a true Endinig.
 
I did. I fought dirtier than usual, slashing his in violence I had not known I was capable of. Panting, Mark began to sidle away. I pulled out a weapon we had both sworn would never enter our conflicts. Embedded with Elder rune, I weighed the silver blessed dagger in my left hand. Mark screamed as the dagger plunged through his hide with ease. 
 
Yes, more than once. Many more times.
 
You would have laughed at the look on Mark’s face as he passed on.
 
I did. It was exquisite.
 
No? You’d instead it was my face, my death?
 
Ah, friend, I’m not sure I believe your poo-pooing. That will be another discussion between us. Yes?
 
On your central question of “Why?” Really? After all these years we have left behind us, you feel the need to ask, “Why?”
 
Claire. It was still about Claire. For me, always, it has always been about Claire.
 
Drink up. Your glass of red is cooling off.
 
Good. Good. Now, let us discuss one last thing.
 
Why did you join Mark’s plot against me?
 
Hmmm?

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Looking for a new online writer’s group to satisfy your passion?

I am the organizer and host of two separate groups:

  1. RevitalWriters: Critique. Done. Write.
    1. For the more serious writers needs support on their WIP and honing their craft.
    2. RevitalWriters will be a weekly cohort.
    3. Visit MeetUp to RSVP RevitalWriters. (click the link)
    4. Fridays at 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. EST
  2. Daydreamers Writing Club
      1. Your weekend retreat for writing and join others like you: a passion to write.
      2. Sessions run Saturday mornings, 10:00 am to Noon, EST
      3. Visit our MeetUp page to join this community: Daydreamers Writing Club

     

Both groups welcome writers of any genre or style.

We hope to see you.

The Essence Of

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Texting Block

Prompt: Write an Essential Character Trait: Put your thoughts in the comments: what are their essential character traits?

The Essence Of

 

Steve wanted to text Beth immediately after their first date. He sat in his car, going over every detail. Her long red hair. Beth’s yellow summer dress. The way her green eyes drew him in, peeking just above the mandatory face mask. Beth’s figure under that dress. The almost kiss. Sue’s coyness in blocking that.

“The virus,” she mentioned. Beth had gently pushed his hands down after he “accidentally” brushed her breasts. God, those breasts were on repeat in his mind at this point. He had been idling for a long time.

At full pitch arousal, Steve started his Volvo to head home. He had hummed for the entire seventy-two minutes on his drive home. Steve caught a glimpse of his face in the rearview mirror: the gleam from his pre-date dental routine made him grin that much more extensively. Killer smile he thought to his reflection.

Arriving home, Steve glided over the street to his front door. He slid the house key into the lock cylinder in a slow-motion movie style. Engaged, the turn of the key felt good. Very good.

Closing the door, Steve kicked off his Clark’s Oxfords. Unwinding the Paul Smith tie from his neck, Steve felt released. Off came the North & Mark Union blazer. He tossed both on the seat of the hallway chair. His delighted smile followed him as he slid Tom Cruise like across the polished floor.

Plopping on the couch, Steve pulled out his cell, checking the time. His mind was somersaulting. No text or voice mail from Beth. He waffled between texting now or later. Taking a deep breath in, Steve released the air as he thought: Just under two hours. Now’s good.  Yeah, that’s enough space.

Steve texted Beth. What a great time he had. How wonderful she is. Praised her eyes, hair, style. How much he couldn’t wait for their second date. Steve made sure they had concrete plans for a second date before Beth left. Date, time, and place: all secured. He finished the text with a repeat:

“I had a great time with you today. Getting to know you, to see you. I can’t wait for our first kiss.”

That got sent. Immediately followed by:

“See you next Sunday. 4:00 pm. I’m glad you liked the restaurant I chose. Food is great.”

Sent.

Followed by:

“You’re great. Wonderfully great. I’m over the moon that we hooked up.”

Steve sat on the couch, staring at his phone. His breathing went shallow while his left hand quivered. The day moved on; Steve did not. He had no idea why she hadn’t texted back. Beth always texted back within fifteen minutes or less as they did the dating dance. Tinder, of all places. Steve shook his head, the first external movement he controlled in the four hours, thirty-two minutes, and 29 seconds since he sent the last text.

A ding from the phone awakened his body. Beth texted! Steve began davening on the couch. His prayers; heard and answered. He opened the text.

“Hi, Steve. Yes, it was nice meeting you. Have a good night.”

Steve levitated off the couch and into the kitchen. He filled a glass of orange juice, topping it off with Vodka. Then another. He was giddy. Beth said that it was nice to meet him. She wished him a good night. Two more vodkas and OJ turned giddy into sloppy.

In the morning, Steve found himself on the kitchen floor. The cell phone still in his hand.

Before he got up from the floor, he texted Beth.

Nightmare Reflection: 2020 AtoZ Blog Challenge

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Reflection #atozchallenge 2020

 

NIGHTMARE REFLECTIONS

NIGHTMARES FROM AN UNBLEACHED SOUL

The AtoZ Blog Challenge 2020

Writing In Captivity

The AtoZ is a challenge. I take that seriously. Since 2011, my first foray into this, I have changed gears from year to year. I like stretching beyond my comfort zones. Some of it has been well taken in both Stats and comments. Others, like this year, not so much.

I am pleased with what I chose to do:  write 26 Lyrical Poems under the theme title. Write every day in April, except Sundays. I have written poetry before, many well received by the readers. But, I write in that style intermittently.

This was truly a challenging April.

If you’ve followed from April 1st  with Awakenings to Zealous O’er the Seas, you’ve experienced my venting, wistfulness, wishing, observations, and anger through my words. Some I rhymed on purpose, some I just let the words loose.

Every single poem was written with a genre of music or musician’s styling playing in my head. I did not intend to appropriate any specific song; it’s the overall mood they convey and are masters of. I’ve written songs before, but I have no knowledge of musical notation and I don’t play a musical instrument. I hear it inside and then turn to someone to collaborate with. From humming it out, setting the beats (as I see them), hearing it played,  gets me going. Seeing how the meter is off from one (or many) line(s) starts my rewrite of the lyrics if needed. Tweaking the piece, scrapping whole verses, you know: first to finished draft.

The music that drifted around me as I wrote the poem daily (I don’t pre-write) is varied:

  1. Big Band/Crooners; Folk music; Rap (as I understand it); Sea Shanties; Rock; Heavy/Thrash Metal; Alt Rock & Alt-Country; Punk; Romantic-ish; Blues; Singer/Songwriter.
  2. Artists:  Tom Waits; Leonard Cohen; The Kinks; Joni Mitchel; Peter Gabriel; Kate Bush; Sousie and the Banshees; Alestorm; Dean Martin; St. Vincent; later Beatles; Beck; The Clash; The Cure; and others that my mind can’t latch onto right now.

Nightmares from an Unbleached Soul

Why Nightmares from an Unbleached Soul? What does that mean, to you? What do you think it means to me? I asked that question near the end of the month and got one response.

Noor Anand Chawla wrote:

I think your title alludes to the fact that you lay yourself and perhaps your worst fears, bare to your audience, through these 26 pieces. “Nightmares” refer to your worst fears, and “unbleached soul” refers to the absence of restraint and being absolutely honest about your feelings.
Perhaps my explanation is too simplistic? What do you think?

Noor pretty much nailed it. I feel that nightmares go beyond our sleep. They are all around us. It could be people, situations, personal fears, perceived fears, and hurt that you feel has been done to you, or that you have done to yourself.

Noor also got the “Unbleached Soul” part. I would add to that when we follow the crowd, stop thinking on our own (or made to stop), refuse to look at things from another angle = Bleached. Soul or Mind: interchangeable.

Overall, I am a non-conformist. I despise the statement “We’ve always done it this way!” For me, there is no box for me to think out of. It’s been imposed on me time and again. Not my thing. I’m creative. I don’t always follow mindless rules, inflexible, with no desire to even listen to a different POV. Sometimes I’ve done that: those are the times I get headaches constantly and down more aspirin than I should.

Try Noor’s blog (link above). I think you’ll enjoy her writing.

Overall 

I love the AtoZ Blog Challenge. I’ve come across some amazing writers, and many have become online friends. Their pieces are varied from all types of fiction to creative non-fiction to reviews and more. That’s a big part of why I come back.

As I mentioned above, I like a challenge when writing. This gives me that opportunity with the potential to reach well beyond the people who follow me. I’m not hawking for new followers. The performer side of me wants people to want more, for the readers to take what they will from the piece that can touch them &/or make them think.

I am disappointed, again already mentioned, with my stats and comments this year. This was the smallest audience of all my years participating. I went out on a limb, poured a lot of what’s inside of me (as Noor mentioned), and while getting some amazing feedback I wonder what didn’t connect with others. Normally, I’ve had serialized stories that are long in length. I get that. Long posts are sometimes passed over, especially when you are blog hopping.

If I join in again next year, I have a lot of contemplation ahead of me.

Big thanks to Arlee Bird and all the other hosts who worked on this year’s Atoz Blog Challenge. It is obvious how much work they have put in. It shows in many ways.

Big thanks 2, to all of my readers, commenters, and supporters. Too many to name, but know your interaction is priceless.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

missionaccomplished

Zealous O’er the Seas: Nightmares from an Unbleached Mind, AtoZ Blog Challenge

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Z2020

NIGHTMARES FROM AN UNBLEACHED MIND

ZEALOUS O’ER THE SEAS

There was a ship tore o'er the sea
Zealous she was in name and in deed
We caught with ease all of our prey, 
Nary a one gave us a slip
The bounty was always plenty
Filling out hold to the deck.

Fill up our ale mugs and raise them high 
Give our Captain Bones a cheer
Hey!
Stalwart and brave, a rogue to his core
Captain Billy Jack Bones
HEY!

Billy Jack led the Zealous on many a wild chase
She was a fearsome sight to behold
With raised colors most tried to flee
As we came upon them
All the crews fought valiantly
But for them it came to naught

Fill up our ale mugs and raise them high
Give our Captain a cheer
Hey!
Stalwart and brave, a rogue to his core
Captain Billy Jack Bones
HEY!

Billy Jack entranced the women on each pirate isle
From St. Mary's Island came Jaquotte; Clew Bay gave up Sadie
Tortuga brought his Bonny; Ching Shih was from Port royal
At Barataria Bay he fell for Mary Read
His met his fate on New Providence, Anne Bonny

Fill up our ale mugs and raise them high
Give our Captain a cheer
Hey!
Stalwart and brave, a rogue to his core
Captain Billy Jack Bones
HEY!

The six hellions thought they his only bride
Given the news from the massive Black Ghost Ship 
Sailing out aboard the ship, the six brides did plan
To give Billy his comeuppance for once and evermore

Fill up our ale mugs and raise them high
Give our Captain a cheer
Hey!
Stalwart and brave, a rogue to his core
Captain Billy Jack Bones
HEY!

Captain Bones was surrounded, ale wenches four
All headed to his den, for pleasure and more
A blow to his noggin ended that display
Tethered to a mast he awoke to six deadly glares

Each bride flogged our Billy in turn, unmercifully
Anne Bonny approached him at the last, no whip in sight
Proud was our Captain, he stared into her eyes
Anne Bonny aimed her pistol; Billy Jack Bones was gone

So heed this tale when considering to wed
Be extra cautious with who you take to bed
Marriage vows are sacred; Offer no contempt
Or you'll live in agony beyond what was ever dreamt
Fill up our ale mugs and raise them high
Give our Captain some cheers
Hey! Hey!
Stalwart and brave, a rogue to his core
Was Captain Billy Jack Bones
HEY! HEY!

Captain Billy Jack Bones
HEY!

**************************************************************

**The female pirates, the pirate safe havens, the Zealous, are all part of Pirate history.  The HMS Zealous lived on in three different vessels. I moved the female pirates around for this story-song. The pirate havens were real. Plundering was real. 

Everything else was my creation.  Hey Hey!
1badge

Nightmares from an Unbleached Soul theme is at its end. 26 lyrical poems written daily during the month of April (no Sundays). It began on April 1st and ended Thursday, April 30th. There is still one more piece to this year’s AtoZ Blog Challenge: we are asked to write our Reflections on the process, successes, thoughts, and any changes you might like to make. All the blogs that survived this Apri’s challenge will post their Reflections between May 4th to May 16th.

I will post my Reflections on either May 4th or 5th. I’ll let you know.

I hope you find new blogs that draw you in. If you wish to, go to The Master List.

I’ve asked a few questions along the way: what genre of music you think suits the lyrics best? Who or what style of music was in my head when I wrote these? My last one for the end:

  1. Why Nightmares From An Unbleached Soul?  
  2. I’m curious.: How do you interpret it
    1. for yourself?
    2. why do you think I chose that as my theme title?

     

Comments are always welcome.

HEY! HEY!

GROPING: (Trigger Warning) Nightmares From An Unbleached Soul, AtoZ Blog Challenge

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Edited:

WARNING

This Post MAY trigger something in you, personal or not. The title should alert the readers, but it’s my fault for not even contemplating this message. 

I apologize to any reader who got hit in the gut. That was not my attention. More men should wake up and not think of only their “needs” and urges.  Their pain should be your shame. 

 

G2020

NIGHTMARES FROM AN UNBLEACHED SOUL

GROPING

 

It's assault! It's abuse!
You molest by your touch
You fondle my privates
It enhances your lust
Keep on going, you pig,
It's against my will.
Shit for brains,
I said NO!

Summoned to the office
Pushed against a bar
A car ride home
Some places you  control
In your sick little mind
To feel me up
It's your "due!" Hey!
But I said NO!

Gropefest commences
Why don't you hear the NO?
Hand over mouth
No one hears screams deep within my soul.
You think I want this?
Ha! Only in your dreams
Hey Shit for brains,
I said NO!

No one believes me
Most don't want to hear
A groper now but
Rape is in the air
Justice gets served, on the TV
Real life? Why won't they listen to me?
I said STOP!
I said NO!

It's sexual abuse, sexual assault
Get off on what you thrust up
It's the power that
You think you have over me
Molestation was when you pawed up and down
Keep your hands to yourself
Keep you dick in your pants
I said NO; I said STOP

No 
No
No
NO
NO
NO
NO

STOP!



 

O, Woeful Lament: #AtoZ Blog Challenge

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A Car In The Woods: Chapter Twelve

2019 AtoZ Blog Challenge

New? This is a serialized work. Please start on A: A Car In The Woods

AtoZ2019O O, WOEFUL LAMENT

1962

 

“Weeks. Just three weeks,” murmured Sheriff John Miner into his lunch, a greasy Bacon Cheeseburger with mustard, mayo, and ketchup. Just what he wanted. Just what the doctor told him, repeatedly, to stay away from. He lied to himself that not ordering fries evened things out.

“What’s that, John?” Patricia was behind the counter, back turned to him, preparing to make a fresh pot of coffee.

“Nothing, Pat. Nothing at all.” He bit into the burger, the juice dribbling across the long hairs of his mustache and into his need-to-be trimmed beard. He chewed twice and swallowed, watching Pat bending over to get a clean pot from underneath. “I might be old, but I have eyes,” he’d say every time one of his deputies, or his drinking cronies, caught him eyeing someone other than Mrs. John Miner.

When Eddie disappeared, he made an effort not to leer. It was only respectful, seeing how he did like Eddie, for the most part. He gave himself permission to enjoy himself again after about four months. Just happened that was about the same time that Pat came back to the luncheonette, picking up her shifts again.

Munching away, in between slurps of his cup of Joe, which Pat filled every time the cup was at the halfway point, he thought about his retirement. As far as he was concerned, it couldn’t come soon enough. Full pension, money saved up; he was leaving this godforsaken place and heading south to warmer climates. He was counting the days.

He grunted, the coffee burning his tongue on contact. “Yeah, outta here. Snow, ice, and all these damn eerie disappearances.” Sheriff John never really sussed out if he was more bothered by the missing or the fact it was putting a dent on his record. Not being very self-aware kept things, like a clean conscious, at bay.

Finished, he tried to pay, but Sam, the cook/owner, waved him away. As usual. They went through this every day. Patricia wanted to refuse the tip, but she needed the money. Sheriff John knew it and always left her a dollar anyways. Putting on his hat as he got outside, he huffed as he saw his deputy, Will Kane, outside waiting for him.

“Sheriff,” Will touching the brim of his hat.

“Will, what now?”

He knew what it was. The Sheriff was trying to push it away, but it kept coming up. He was afraid this would bite him in the ass at least one more time before he was done. He looked Will in the eye, once again assessing the deputy. Did he make the right choice in grooming the kid to take over? It wasn’t the first time he thought that. Each time he did, the Sheriff calculated how much longer he had, and each time he had the same answer: it wouldn’t be his problem once he was gone.

“Complaints about the sounds from the woods, same as the last two weeks. We had to split up today because of the different areas reporting in.”

“Same sound?”

Will nodded. He didn’t want to add that he thought he had heard that disturbing clicking sound as well, just the other day. He drew his gun from his nightstand, threw on a coat, and checked the area. Nothing. Will didn’t know what to think anymore. The reports coming in were getting under his skin.

Plus, the fact, that over the last year there were five more “incidents.” It unnerved the whole area. Already some families had left. More might follow.

“OK, Will. You know the drill. Lord knows at this point how many times we’ve done this search-and-discover Jack, but we have to. Since last night was that bad, I’ll pull in some favors with the State boys. If I can.”

“Seven,” Will thought, slightly gritting his teeth. Seven half-assed attempts. He knew the Sheriff was both biding his time and putting on a show to appease. Less than a month, and he was already planning to run things differently.

Will had no way of knowing that Sheriff John had the exact same thoughts about his predecessor just before the old man retired.

Both men got into their respective Ford Fairlane cruisers and headed back to the Sheriff’s office to plan the night’s forays.

~~~~~    ~~~~~    ~~~~~

Three nights later, and they had nothing. The State Troopers gave up on the second night, returning to their speed traps and truck stops. The Sheriff had bolstered his staff with deputized volunteers who he insisted must travel with one of the normal deputies only as a backup. They petered out until the only two volunteers left were the idiots who discovered the Thunderbird in the first place: Todd and Barry.

Todd rode with the Sheriff on the first night out; Barry on the second. The third night, he rode alone. The two talked, and talked, and talked throughout their rides. It was all one piece of BS after another, the stories no longer even coming close to their statements from ’59. He wound up dropping them both off on their respective ride-along at any tavern on their route. The buzzing in his head stayed with him well after he returned home and opened up his Scotch.

The Sheriff and Will went out separately on the fourth night. The calls had died down to next to nothing by then. Will thought one more night might catch the noisemakers or shake them enough to move on out of the area. Sheriff John didn’t care anymore. The days were counting down, and cruising in his car at night, alone, sounded just fine with him.

By 2:30 a.m., Will was calling it a night. The Sheriff agreed. His body sagged into the seat. Tilting his head back onto the headrest, he rolled down the window a touch, the cold air hitting his face. He began humming to himself, which morphed easily into singing “Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit” and then laughing. He loved that cartoon.

He was about to go into another piece he heard through Loony Tunes. Headlights approaching, coming up fast. He moved his cruiser to the right, skirting the ridge of the side rut. The car blew past him, honking once when they were level.

Swearing, Sheriff John hit the Cherries and Berries, U Turned, and sped after the car, sirens blaring. “Damit,” he yelled. “That damned Thunderbird. I’ve had enough,” reverberated through the cabin. The T Bird increased speed. The Fairlane did as well. The turns were sharp, the road dark, but Sheriff John white-knuckled it and floored the gas pedal. It wasn’t until the T Bird’s brake lights lit before it went off-road that the Sheriff took his right hand off the wheel, picked up the two-way and called in for backup.

He knew exactly where he was being led. He cursed at the car and whoever was inside it non-stop. Until the Fairlane stopped, right passenger tire going flat after hitting something sticking out of the dirt road.

Sheriff John left the headlights on, put the car in park, and got out. His right hand went to his sidearm, drawing it out slowly, clicking off the safety. Staying behind the open door, his gaze traveled along the empty grassy field in front of him. It took a second for that eyeballed information to reach his thinking process.

Empty. Tallgrass, dark outlines of trees off in the near distance, but nothing else. He started to call out but didn’t; movie logic never made much sense to him. If the headlights were throwing their vision off, why give them a voice to focus on? He waited. The lack of bird or animal noise caused his forehead to perspire. It wasn’t natural.

The Sheriff made his decision: he needed to find that damned car and whoever drove it. He reached in and turned off the engine, leaving the headlights on Brights. Forgetting his hat on the passenger side was unlike him, but he had closed his door already and didn’t want any more large movements that might take him down.

Three steps away from his Ford and the clicking sound started. This one loud and deep, not at all like the majority of the callers described it. This was thunderous. Four more steps away and the ground buckled under him sending him sprawling. His gun spiraled out of his control. Rolling over, he looked back at his Fairlane. Something huge was on top of the car, its right arm smashing through the front window while the left was digging deeply into the driver’s door.

The thing jumped up, landing on top and crushed the roof. The rest of the window glass shattered. The other tires burst as the car was jumped on again and again. The Sheriff began to inch away, a reverse crawling motion that was jerky at best.

His escape was inconvenienced by two factors: while he was looking at the shape destroy his car, a less volatile clicking nose what now behind him; and his head was stopped by a foot being placed on his head, pushing it into the cold soil.

Sheriff John peed himself while his arms and legs were similarly restrained. He started to address them, question them, abase himself, but the backhanded slap cracked his head around so he was eating grass. The foot holding his head down had been removed before the slap. It found its way back.

A figure crouched down, facing him. The Sheriff could taste the blood running out of his face; he tried to spit it in the other’s face, but it barely cleared his lips. A hand came around his cheeks and squeezed, the pressure strong. The two made eye contact, and the Sheriff could only let out a gasp.

“Hey, Sheriff John. Long time, eh?” The voice was grave. It had a vibration to it, changing the pitch and tone as he spoke. He, because the Sheriff knew who this was. Quick glances around and he caught some familiar faces. It wasn’t much of a leap of intelligence, even for the Sheriff, to realize he was being held down by some of the missing.

“Hey, hey. Look at me. Yeah, it’s me. Gary. Remember me? Remember all the hassles we received from you? HEY!” He slapped the Sheriff again; the clicking sounds made its rounds, only stopping when he focused on the young man.

He started choking on the blood that was pooling and spit that onto the ground. It hurt to talk, but he had to make sense of what was happening.

“Maynard?”

Gary growled. “Man, you too. Any idea how much I hated being called that? This much,” as a hard object hit the Sheriff between the eyes. When he was finally able to open his eyes, he saw that the little bastard was brandishing a pretty large knife in his hands, flipping it back and forth.

Gary stood as the others picked the Sheriff up and held him, their claws digging into his extremities.

“There are other things I hate, Sheriff. A lot of that hate is directed your way. Yeah, yeah, you were doing your job, we were delinquents and all of that. But, it all added up. It was other things. We thought we knew you, knew to stay out of your way. But, I got to watch you on some of your night excursions. Things. You know? Things.” He swept his arms around. “Not to all of us.”

One of the others hauled back and punched the Sheriff in the stomach. He noticed it was a woman once he could straighten up. A damn strong woman.

“One of your unasked questions I’ll give you a freebie to: me and the others were taken, but it was as recruits. Recruits. Tested. Poked. Punctured. Changed.

But not you. We were. Not you. Definitely not you.”

Gary gestured, and they all manhandled the Sheriff back towards his car. Well, what was left of it. The hulking mass was on top of the pile of pieces. Its head picked up, and the huge clicking noise it made was followed by the stench of its breath.

Before the Sheriff could say anything, beg, curse, or even draw in another breath, Gary thrust the heavy duty combat knife into the Sheriff’s back. He gave it a twist as he pulled it out. The woman who punched the Sheriff in the gut kicked and sent Sheriff John flying towards the car.

There were no screams as they faded back into the woods. Clicking sounds filled up the void.

 

Present Day

Some had slight regrets for that evening’s outcome.

Mainly that Sheriff John Miner was already dead by the time Zeno got its meal.

The thrashing seemed to mellow Zeno’s clicking.

Not that night.

There was a car in the woods.   

 

 

 

Cravings: #AtoZ Blog Challenge

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A Car In The Woods; Chapter Two

2019 AtoZ Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019C         CRAVINGS

 

1960

It was a nice day for a drive.

Doris was still giddy, breaking in her new Ford Falcon. It was a far cry from the family sedan that her father, grudgingly, had allowed her to occasionally drive while she was living at home. He always acquiesced.   She went away for college, their ties fraying further. After graduating Doris dove into working with a local theater company. It didn’t pay much, but that really wasn’t an issue for her.

Her grandmother, Beverly, left her a nice trust fund that partially kicked in at 21, fully at 25. Her father ruthlessly oversaw the trust.  The allotted monthly allowance allowed Doris her own small apartment, with enough left for food and other incidentals. But not for what she desired. She wanted her own car. To move around freely, not needing a favor from anyone. He initially refused. Doris was fed up; it took some brutal persuasion with her father to change that. A ruthless haggling session soon followed. Her father swore he was done with her.

Doris didn’t care. She owned a car!

The day she set out was cloud free, the sun’s rays beaming brightly along the countryside she was passing through. Her scarf kept her long brunette hair in place, letting the wind whip through open windows. Doris had no firm destination in mind beyond “go north.” The new interstate road was an easy choice; it wandered up and around, passing through towns both large and small. Close to three hours into her expedition, Doris saw a sign for a town she had never heard of. The road to it veered off to the left from the interstate.

Doris pulled over to the side of the road, the Falcon purring as it idled. “Go adventuring, or stay on the interstate” she murmured to herself. Looking at the car’s dashboard, Doris noticed that she’d need gas sooner than she had thought. Her stomach’s grumbling sealed the deal. Checking for traffic, Doris put her left arm out to signal she’d be making a left back onto the road. The arm stayed that way as Doris made a left onto Outlook Road.

Twenty-odd minutes later, Doris nosed the Falcon into a spot in front of the Outlook Diner. She had already filled the Falcon’s tank at the station on the edge of the town. Putting the car into Park, Doris pulled up the emergency brake and turned off the engine. The pings of the engine cooling down sounded at her back as she entered the diner.

The waitress behind the counter pointed to the overhead letter board menu and told her to sit anywhere she’d like; she’d be over to take her order in a jiffy. A couple of booths were available, as well as some of the counter seats. Doris walked to the back corner booth, sitting, so she had a view of the entire Diner. The waitress soon glided over with a steaming pot of coffee, reciting the day’s soup and special.

It wasn’t a hard choice for Doris. First, she declined the coffee. Then she ordered her usual.

“I’ll have a grilled cheese with tomato, please. Oh, and a Chocolate Malted.”

The waitress wrote it down, nodded, and melted away behind the counter.

Doris arranged, then rearranged, the silverware that had already been set. She was reading the placemat, every now and then glancing around, taking notice of the various people, their clothing, and catching bits of conversations around her. The food and drink shortly arrived. Doris took a long sip of her malted, closed her eyes slightly as the taste hit her tongue, and she let out a very satisfied “Ah!”

A laugh came from the counter area near her. Doris looked over, and her cheeks went pink. She had noticed him on one of her glances: young, around her age, she guessed; cute, by what she saw of his profile; clean white shirt and JEANS; but it was his hair that held her at first. She didn’t know anyone who still wore a Ducktail unless it was in the movies or on TV.

It didn’t matter. She felt it looked good on him.

Doris started to turn away, cheeks blooming red at that point when he walked over.

“Hey, sorry, wasn’t tryin’ to embarrass you. Just thought your ‘Ah’ and the look on your face was really cute.” Once he realized Doris wasn’t going to speak, he added: “Mind if I join you? I’m Al, by the way.”

Al stuck out his hand. Doris lightly returned his strong grasp and nodded for him to sit. Doris fidgeted a little, finally telling him her name. Questions followed, back and forth, the where and whys, a conversation blooming about all the sorts of things that revolved around two young people attracted to the other.

Doris never touched her grilled cheese with tomato. The malted was drained dry. Al had dared her to steal something from the table; they had progressed that far. She complied.

Offering to play tour guide, Al showed her all of the two places that were of any interest in Outlook. “But,” he said with a wink, “there’s this area…”

Nestled in a grove of trees way off the road, the car engine was cold, but the interior of the Falcon was anything but as the sun started to let the evening sky approach. The talking and laughing slowly turned to light kisses, gentle hugs, the stroking of hair. Al didn’t want his DT messed with, which only made Doris go in for the attack.

Which led to deeper kissing, some fondling on her part, then his. Doris’s heart was pumping fast. It matched the level she felt during her last altercation with her father. Her hands were moving along his arms, behind his neck, traveling down his back. She bit his lip. Tongues met.

Then Al, whose right hand had been on her breast, moved down to her leg and slowly caressed her skin, from knee to thigh, to…

Doris pushed Al away, hard enough that the window handle and armrest were crushing his side and ribs.  She yelled “DADDY NO!” while he yelped in pain as he was being pushed into the side of the door. Panting, the two of them eyed each other. Al tried to slide closer to her, only to receive the same treatment. A string of uncomplimentary words left his mouth.

Doris hauled back and broke his nose.

He was on her in a flash, slapping her hands away, slapping her face. Doris’s dress tore as she tried to again push him away, exposing just a glimpse of the swell of her left breast. Her head thumped against the car door, leaving her prone on the bench seat. Al tugged her down further. Doris’s skirt rode up her thighs. They struggled against the other.

Al knocked her left hand away. Doris had been trying to scratch him, again. Her hand landed on her pocketbook. She reached in, fumbled around, not knowing what…then, she remembered.

He dared her.

Doris grabbed the diner’s knife and fork, moving them so that the pointy ends were turned towards Al, and as her panties were pulled off, she struck.

Again. And again.

And again.

The seats were slippery enough, making it easy for Doris to pull Al out of the car. She left him on the ground, backed up the Falcon, and wobbly drove the car forward.

Except, it was full dark, and she didn’t have the presence of mind to turn on the headlights.  Cutting through the trees at 45 mph, the Falcon met a large Basswood head on.

The car was dead when she came to. Grabbing her bag, she staggered out of the Falcon, blood from a head cut running down to meet Al’s blood on her dress. She was just moving, moving, moving…

Until the silence of the woods gave way to a bone-numbing clicking sound.

 

Present Day

The next night, two teenagers were heading to Make Out Point.  They did what they went to do, started to drive off when the headlights caught the wreck of the Falcon. They both looked: no one was there, but there was blood inside. A lot of it.

The Sheriff and his deputies found nothing, again. Asking around, the waitress told them about the pretty girl and Al. She never mentioned that the silverware was missing from the table.

Sheriff John had had it. Nine people missing, presumed dead, in the last year and a half.

He was going to take early retirement after the weekend.

He never made it.

There was a car in the woods.

 

 

An Ear For It

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An Ear For It7198618-abstract-illustration-of-a-grunge-g-clef

“Ladies, gentlemen, Willkommen! And Bienvenue! Welcome! I am your hostess, Ginny Sinclair.” She paused for applause, or some recognition. “Thank you. Well, you are all in for a treat tonight, and I am glad you have taken that step, that chance, to fill your hearts with the music of love among those who love music. Welcome, to our twelfth “Speed Dating for Songbirds!” If I may paraphrase Pablo Picasso: “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

“Our previous get-togethers have helped many of the participants find their perfect duet partner; Contraltos find their Altos, Bassos harmonious with the Sopranos of their dreams. Tonight, I’m sure many of you will get to star in your own Musical of Love.”

Ginny looked out at her crowd. Many were obviously nervous, with a few more put-upon faces dotting around. The smiles of anticipation filled her enough. She hoped. Each gathering drew smaller crowds. Ginny smiled with outer confidence as she walked in the light of the room, her red dress’s sequins casting out tiny bursts, her idea of enchanting them all. Herself as well, as her insides were wavering and withering, counting how many First Seating envelopes she was passing out to the men and women.

Brave face on, she continued her spiel. “I’m glad, so many of you partook of the lovely Italian buffet that Mrs. Chang laid out for us tonight.” A smattering of applause went round, as Mrs. Chang went into the kitchen to take a nap. “Just a reminder, the food is included in your admission price, sadly the wine is not, but…” She looked around, making sure to make eye contact with all, “…but, your hearts, ears, and voices, they are the main course.

Please open your envelopes. They have your Opening Numbers seating. The first of your heartstrings to be plucked. Let the beautiful music of this night begin.” As the assemblage started to make their ways, she added: “Break a leg, but not a heart.”

Charles still had his small plate of linguini with, he thought, clam sauce, in his right hand. The left held a glass of red wine and the envelope. He fumbled a bit, trying to spill or drop anything, finally managing to open the envelope. Pulling out and unfolding it, he looked at a musical notation sheet. Charles saw that he had to find the Middle C/Treble Clef table. It was clever, he thought, and frustrating at the same time. The lighting had lowered when the hostess finished her into.

He was hoping to find the compliment to his clean Tenor. Looking around, he didn’t notice that he was walking right towards Ginny until he bumped into her, spilling some of his wine, dropping the sheet of paper, and almost dumping his plate of linguini. Her red sequins glittered across his face, hiding his blush, as they both knelt, gingerly, to retrieve the seating invitation.

Their heads bumped into each other.

His “ouch” came at the same time as hers, causing them to hold. There was a melding, a perfect counterpoint to the other, rich and, he felt, melodious. They grinned, stood, and Ginny pointed Charles in the correct direction. He nodded his thanks and set off to the table that had been right behind him.

Charle’s first partner was already waiting at the table. Leaning away from the table, he noticed the amount of black she sported, from hair to makeup to dress to fingernail polish. It was those nails that took in his attention as he sat and introduced himself. Silence, except for the drumming of her right hand’s nails on the tabletop, a staccato version of Mahler’s “Ich bin der Welt Abhanden Gekommen.”

“Yeah, I’m lost to the world, too,” he thought. He introduced himself again. A long rest took place as she stopped tapping, placing her hand flat down. He waited for the return name. Instead, she took a deep breath, held it, and then purred belted out part of a musical number from “Damn Yankees.”

“Hi, Lola,” Charles answered, glad she forewent the Kinks song. So, he wanted to keep this going, took his deep breath, and sang out “I am the very model of a modern Major-General, I’ve information vegetable, animal and min…”

“DING! DING”

Ginny had rung the bell by her side. “Gentlemen, please move to the table to your right.”

As he got up to move, Charles saw Lola look over to her next. He didn’t say anything as he moved along.

The rest of the evening proceeded to fumble along. Every opening number was met with an interlude, some dialogue, a parting, and the next act would be dinged to change scenes. Some of the women there was really nice harmony going on, meshing but falling flat by the ring of the bell. Others were audition nightmares. Off tempo, musicals versus opera, pop versus blues, folk versus death metal; world apart styles.

In the end, he was a solo act again.

Charles realized he still had his plate of linguini, ice cold now and congealed. He had brought it table to table, losing the wine glass somewhere along the way.

A shrill “You leave. Now!” brought his attention to Mrs. Chang by the kitchen, bus bin on a table to her right where she was flicking ashes from her cigarette as she pointed to it.

Charles quickly moved to deposit the plate and food. At the same time, Ginny, who had been busing the tables at the end, came quasi-running with a single glass that held no wine, not even a drop.

They bumped into each other again. Again, their “Ouch!” rang out true, blending and moving into laughter. Apologizing to each other they continued to laugh.

Mrs. Chang harrumphed and moved them along, locking the door to her restaurant behind them. If they had looked, they would have seen her mouthing something that could have been a song, but in reality, was a string of very inventive curse words.

Ginny and Charles stood there on the sidewalk, smiles plastered on their faces that were slowly starting to fade. It was late, very little foot or car traffic around them. The awkward silence that dropped around them was broken by squealing brakes caused by the traffic light turning red. The glow from the headlights surrounded them.

Charles mouth quirked shyly upwards. Looking at Ginny, he thought of a song by Chicago that had held him ever since he first heard it. “Nothing to lose,” he thought, and began to sing:

After all that we’ve been through
I will make it up to you, I promise to…”

Ginny’s smile resurfaced as he sang. She picked up the next two lines:

And after all that’s been said and done
You’re just the part of me I can’t let go.”

They finished the song together in perfect mellifluousness.

Car In The Woods: #FridayFictioneers

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PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

CAR IN THE WOODS

There was a car in the woods.

Charred. Rusted. Busted.

Picked clean. Shell just a reminder.

No road. No reason. Just there.

No one knew anything, the how or the why.

Tales grew around it.

Some said haunted, hearing revving sounds, seeing blazing headlights. Sounds of a crash.

Some, young lovers discovered, then dispatched.

Others, drug deal, bullet ridden bodies strewn over dead grass.

Demons, suicides, maniacs, spectral beings, even UFO’s dropping the car into this nowhere space after the abduction was done.

No one knew. Not a one of them.

I knew.

There was a car in the woods.

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Author’s Note:

It’s #Friday Fictioneers prompt time, as always created and hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields on her blog, Addicted To Purple.

The rules are simple if you’d like to do this:

    1. Use the photo on Addicted to Purple as your prompt (goes up on Wednesday).
    2. Write a 100 word story, complete with beginning, middle, and end.
    3. Make every word count.
    4. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor of the photo credit.
  1. Add the InLinkz button (below) so your readers can find the dozens of other bloggers who have taken up this challenge.

Chess Eyes; A Story in Tanka: #FridayFictioneers

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PHOTO PROMPT © Jeff Arnold

CHESS EYES

Her eyes glisten, flames
A power move adjusts up
Ready. No surprise.
First obstacle falls; pawn dusted.
Satisfaction is attained.

Wily in her style
Overlooked in many ways.
Strength, a stoic mien,
A hidden intelligence,
Engaged on her battlefield.

A once trusted love
Deviates from his opening move
Boundaries broken,
Binds and checks, to no avail
An adjournment; none favored.

Sacrifices made
Counter-attacks defended
She has advantage
Moving freely, tactics sound,
Nothing halts her; open ground.

Move! Senses challenged. Move!
Blitzes. Binds. Checks. Felled opponents sway.
At last: objective.
“J’adoube,” says she, smile placed,
Reine takes Roi. Sweep the board.

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The Tanka poem is very similar to haiku but Tanka poems have more syllables and it uses simile, metaphor and personification. There are five lines in a Tanka poem. Tanka poems are written about nature, seasons, love, sadness and other strong emotions.

The sylabble scheme is:   5-7-5-7-7

Author’s Note:

It’s #Friday Fictioneers prompt time, as always created and hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields on her blog, Addicted To Purple.

The rules are simple if you’d like to do this:

    1. Use the photo on Addicted to Purple as your prompt (goes up on Wednesday).
    2. Write a 100 word story, complete with beginning, middle, and end.
    3. Make every word count.
    4. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor of the photo credit.
  1. Add the InLinkz button (below) so your readers can find the dozens of other bloggers who have taken up this challenge.