Category Archives: Cheaters

Promises of People

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Darksit

Do I think living is a waste of time?

Depending on the day, I usually do

What stays with me in a world of No’s

Doesn’t make the future really glow. 

 

There’s sadness on a constant basis

There is no day that I don’t hurt

Even isolated from the isolated

The noises outside breaks into the room

 

Look at all you’ve got to live for

Imagine all the people who’d hurt

It is easy to get so distracted

By promises of people who say

 

Each day there’s awakening

Going through routines

Then you fall into that circle

Of repeating the same old things

 

What makes joy bleed away?

Why does nothing stick

Push away the best you can

But the pain is always there

The pain is always here

 

Look at all you’ve got to live for

Imagine all the people who’d hurt

It is easy to get so distracted

By promises of people who say

 

By the emotions they express

Or hide away in their own ways

When reaching out is near impossible

When no one wants to cope with you

 

So, scream your essence to pieces

Locked in your muddy head

Stop playing that you want to go on

I’m fine, I’m fine, fine.

 

Look at all you’ve got to live for

Imagine all the people who’d hurt

It is easy to get so distracted

By promises of people who say

 

I’m tired

I’m so tired

I wish I wasn’t here

Why am I wasting time?

 

What It Is

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Crumbled mass of memories

Beating to remain

Drift away in pieces

Day by week

Week by month

Our chorus has refrained.

 

Let the days go by

Time is translucent

Affixed by artificial means

Seconds are meaningless

Hours, years, what do they share?

Try to keep track of this dark despair.

 

Say: “It’ll be over soon. We’ll return to normal.”

Hope that’s true, but, it’s written in the wind

Carved deep by our wants

Fashioned by others invested greed

It’ll all be over soon.

Hah! Don’t hold your breath.

 

Don’t cross my boundaries

While I obliterate yours

My space is limitless

Go back to other shores

I am eternally right

You know you’re always wrong.

 

Don’t come closer

Don’t you fucking dare.

Hide behind a wall of hate

Imagine I don’t give a shit

This world is for the taking

One breath will never come.

 

History becomes what we think

Nothing learned; ours to repeat

Our earth creeks and shakes

As it senses and retaliates

In the beginning, one

So at the end. None.

 

Crumbled mass of what we were

Bleeding to remain

Feeling wasted, dried to dust

Yet we wait behind closed doors

Time isn’t after us

Nothing is holding us.

 

**Apologies and credit to The Talking Heads.

 

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!

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**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!
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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!

CRY

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rain

Don’t CRY

 

Silent, vocal, whimper, roar

Grief, joy, empathy, share

Hushed, “Don’t”, ignore, keep in

When you cry

When you cry

 

Catharsis, release, relieve

Shush, hush, ‘there there”

Attempts to just

                        SHUT

                                 YOU

                                      UP

When you cry

When you cry

 

Feelings, numb

Expressing, bursting

Discomfort, ignoring, nonunderstanding

When you cry

When you

 

CRY

CRY!

LET IT FLOW

FUCK THEM

CRY!!!

They Ran

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Photograph by Shari Marshall ©

THEY RAN

Propped up by the blasted wall, seven faced their executioners.

Each of the seven different from the other, facing seven of one kind, their weapons raised.

“This is war,” echoed in seven languages, “and you ran. No excuses. No pleas. No last words, signs, or prayers. Nothing. You ran. Others of your kind died. It would have been the same if you aimed at them yourselves and fired.”

A nod. Of the runners: three fell; one cut in half; one shattered; another fused into the wall; one vaporized.

Seven colored fluids pooled; the only mix allowed beyond the Rim worlds.

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Author’s Note: The picture above, by Shari Marshall, was a prompt posted on her page, Writing is Communication. The prompt was to use her photo, created your tale on your own blog, then post a link to your story in her comments section.  We each see what we see in the photo. This was my take.

I also did this as a Drabble (100 words exact). Beyond posting a link, and using the photo prompt, you can go anywhere with the photo.

Give it a shot.

Pun intended.

I’ll Hold You In My Heart

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fire

I’ll hold you in my heart

Pump you from chamber to chamber

Pour breath through valves

Squeeze and contract you

Keep you deep inside.

I’ll hold you in my heart

And send you plummeting through clogged passages

You’ll be sent careening along the way

Until

When you’re wrong for my heart and form a clot;

Ooze instead of flow, constrict and damage,

And if I’m lucky

If I’m lucky

I’ll push you from my heart

Allow the arteries to work again

Jettison you from my chambers

Where I will tear the vein out of my wrist

And let you drip out on the floor

 

She Saw Angel Wings

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She Saw Angel Wings

Rebecca asked for realism, but got magic instead.

The sharp, stinging burn faded with the constant vibrations. Her eyes closed as the artist’s tool slid the needle in and out at a rapid-fire pace. She wanted to count in the beginning as a means of focus, but that Rebecca got to two and no further. It was her first tattoo; she had put it off long enough, way after everyone she knew were walking canvases. Nothing spoke to Rebecca, nothing said “Yes, this!”, until her soul touched her arm.

Rebecca came across the hibernating Polygona while exploring the abandoned Willes house that previous winter. She and Dale had been traveling, searching through dilapidated, seemingly forgotten structures that were left standing, or, in the case of the Willes’ house, partially leaning. They were trespassing and had enough run-ins with various law agencies to know it, but the thrill of their journey blew those concerns away. They were accruing dying testimonies of what was before the rate of erosion took it all away.

That, or the many developers who only saw money in the land.

Dale had remained below on the first floor, busy taking photos with her new Nikon Z6. Rebecca was glad she had splurged on this for Dale’s 25th. The light inside that she had fallen in love with had begun to dim over the last year, that one infidelity one too many; but this object, this thing, seemed to bring it back, sharper, keener, and much more focused.

“Becki, be careful,” lay behind her as she stalked up the slanted stairway to the second floor. Rebecca clutched her sketch pad in her left hand as she white-knuckled the stair railing with her right. Safe on the landing, she released a “yeah, yeah,” white puffs in the chill air as she walked down the hallway, three doors partly ajar, beckoning.

The ceiling molding in the second bedroom was intricate. Rebecca sat in front of the smeared window, having rubbed away enough grime to allow more sunlight into the room. She got lost duplicating the patterns, time passing as the sun moved along its path, erasing when the moving shadows changed her perspective.

Part of the ceiling had caved in, revealing part of the structure between this room and the attic. Something was there that was not wood, wallpaper, or flaking glue. Rebecca pushed her glasses up her nose with her forefinger, a smile etched on her face from Dale’s teasing of the same constant gesture. She stood and reached out with her Palomino Blackwing, reversed so the point would not break. The light wasn’t really with her.

Rebecca took out her cell and activated the flashlight. She hadn’t realized that she had made a noise until Dale came rushing into the room asking what the matter was, she had heard her gasp from below.

“Look, Dale. Angelwings!”

“What? Oh, yeah, your dad.”

“He loved butterflies.”

“Is it dead?,” she asked.

“Hibernating. They hibernate, rare in a house, but… well, there! Hold this, please.”

Rebecca gave her cell, flashlight still lit, to Dale, repositioning her arm every time she put her pencil to paper, seeing the butterfly in a new angle. A few sighs and disgruntled “Becki, C’mon” comments didn’t halt the five pages of full and partial sketches that followed.

The last exasperated puff of air over her shoulder brought Rebecca back. The pencils went back into their case and into her backpack, the sketchbook following. She took the phone from Dale, leaving the flashlight on as she realized they were now in a very dark room. Dale leaned in for a kiss and got a perfunctory one in return: movement from slightly above had recaptured Rebecca’s attention.

Wings fluttered, a slow heartbeat of one, then another. She was transfixed, staring, knowing she did not touch it, knowing it shouldn’t be awake, but Rebecca held her breath as the Angelwing took wobblily flight. It was coming towards the light in her hand, attracted like a moth, but gliding through the dust mote air.

The butterfly landed on her left arm. Rebecca couldn’t move; the butterfly didn’t. The wings were translucent, and even though she knew the coloring was wrong, this one was summer greens on her arm. Dale took a few steps back and snapped a series of shots from any angle possible as Rebecca, and her Anglewing tagged each other into statues.

A beep from the cell, battery dying, and the mood broke. Rebecca’s startled movement sent the Angelwing flying. She watched as it flew up to the crevice between the floors and disappeared. They left the house soon after: there was no safe way to get to the attic. Dale had to take Rebecca’s hand and lead her out.

They drifted apart as well, months later, spring just knocking away the frigid weather that followed. Rebecca looked for butterflies everywhere, in reality, and through her imagination. Sheer fabric became wings; cotton balls became cocoons. Clouds, mist, steam out of the kettle. All this took Dale away and into the arms of another; Rebecca saw it happen and did nothing to prevent it.

Rebecca’s obsession with butterflies overtook her. She researched mythologies, folktales, symbolism. She drew and painted and sculpted butterflies. It wasn’t enough. She reconnected with her father. He went with her on her search the following winter for the Willes house, but it had fallen sometime during that year, a mass of timber and broken glass left behind, a sign in front that stated the property was sold for development. No butterfly. No Angelwings. Not in that spot. Not in that new winter.

The following summer found Rebecca hosting a booth of her art at the state Renaissance Faire. Business was good, and she had many offers of commissions, for her art as well as her time. She was gracious with both, but her eyes searched along the fields that weren’t trampled upon for something else. They were there, flying around, hiding, resting, being chased by children, barked at by dogs, hunted by the birds.

Two booths away were the beginning of Tattoo Alley. Rebecca had been admiring the art that went on there in most of the tents, not all. One, in particular, caught her eye every time she would take her break and walk the grounds. This artist specialized in things in flight, realistic depictions as well as abstract. The presentation of a summer-long project on one of the Faire’s workers back-an angel in flight-drew massive applause from all and the full attention of Rebecca.

Bringing her sketchbooks over while there was that end of the summer lull, Rebecca and Cynthia poured over the images and discussed what could, and should (in Cynthia’s critical eye) be done: a full sleeve, left arm, from wrist to shoulder. A weaving of butterflies in flight and at rest, with the centerpiece being the Polygona, in shades of green.

It took the next month of scheduling, sketches, arguing, fussing, and agreements before Rebecca took the chair and Cynthia began her art. The sleeve was complete by the first frosts of Autumn; Rebecca made sleeveless tops her main go to, only covering up her arms when frostbite threatened (or so related Cynthia to their friends).

“They are hibernating,” she would tell others when she was covered up, keeping her arm as still as can be.  As soon as the temperature inside, or the weather outdoors, allowed, they were set free. Rebecca felt free, even when Cynthia held her.

She had asked for realism, but found magic instead.

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Author’s Note:

This was inspired by the photo at the head of this piece. I met this young woman at a dance performance and was taken by the artistry of the tattoo. The photo does not do it justice.

Before anyone gets on my case: I politely asked if I may take a photo of her arm, told her why I was doing so, and what I intended to do with it. She gave me her permission. I also showed her the photo so she could be assured that it centered on the art and nothing salicious. While we exchanged names, the names in this story are not hers, nor anything else beyond the tat.

The germ of a very different idea hit me when I viewed it. Where the story went, well, this is where it took me.

I’m glad I went this way. I hope, if she views this (gave her my card), she’s happy with it as well.

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.   

 

 

 

A CAR IN THE WOODS: #AtoZchallenge

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Prologue

AtoZ2019A A CAR IN THE WOODS

1959

An abandoned car is found in the woods. No road leading in, the dense gathering of trees surrounding it close together. Sunlight barely broke through the thick cover of leaves. The grass was stunted, starving for the light. Prickly brambles grew everywhere.

Nothing the size of that car should have been in there.

Discovered by hunters, Todd Wilson and Barry Carter, who were where they should not have been. Following an 8 point Buck led them on a long, winding chase. The Buck kept his life that day, racing off onto Government land. Todd and Barry knew enough to let it go.

Needing to catch their breaths, both pissed their quarry bounded off, beer was a given answer.  Neither spoke as they chugged; they stared off in the direction of their lost prize.  Todd was on his second beer while Barry was hitting his third. They nodded to each other, tossed the drained cans over their shoulders, and started their way back.

But something shiny caught them both in the eyes. The daylight had moved along just enough. Nothing should have reflected with the intensity that hit them square on. But, something did. Barry nodded and took off in the direction of the glare. Todd followed.

Following the intense gleam, they passed, and ignored, a rusted “Keep Out/ Government Property” sign that hung crookedly on one of the trees. Moving through was becoming tougher, the trees squeezing together. Todd murmured that is like a tree fort. Barry told him to shut it.

The prickly brambles in between the trunks caught at their clothing, drawing enough droplets of blood and curses from the hunters.  They reached the clearing in the middle of all the towering wood. Both stopped, stared, and while Barry’s jaw dropped, Todd whistled. They both loved cars.

They loved this car especially. It came up in every conversation they had about cars. Their visits to the dealer wore out their welcome. Eleven times, with no hint of purchasing any car.

But, here. Their dream car was right before them. Not a soul around; not one they could see, anyway.

A Cherry Red Thunderbird two-door convertible! It was the model they drooled over: it had a 430ci Lincoln Interceptor J-code engine, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seat and a new power top. It had Kelsey Hayes wire rims, front to back chrome accents, and it was smear and dirt free. What made it a little off was the convertible top: stuck, half up, half down. Barry began a low round of giggles. Todd gave him the look, but laughed himself when Barry told him that it looked like it didn’t know if it was coming or going.

Nothing was found to identify the owner.  No VIN numbers, license plate, papers in the car. No stickers on the inside of the car doors, and nothing under the hood. Todd knew that the last of these beauties were produced in August of that year. It was too pristine to be any older. He thought it be something if this was the very last one made.

The inside was spotless, until Todd and Barry ran their dusty, greasy hands all over while they searched. They marred the doors, dashboard, red vinyl seats with white inserts, and even the shiny body. No matter what, the trunk wouldn’t open. Another thing that spoiled the perfection of this vehicle. .

The realization that the forest had been dead quiet didn’t hit them until a series of clicking sounds came from behind them. First one side, then another. The clicking grew in volume and then stopped. They saw nothing. No movement of any kind. There was hardly any wind to blow the leaves high above, no animals loping through, and no bugs buzzing. Quiet surrounded the duo as their nerves started to wither. The sun started its descent. That was enough. Barry and Todd made a hasty retreat.

They made it back to their truck, and sped home. Todd’s wife, Daphne, listened as they went into the whole story, the Buck a ten pointer, the extra miles they chased it, and the Ford, the Thunderbird that had assaulted Daphne’s ears way too many times. Her arms were crossed and her right foot was tapping away. She thought they just drank the day away. The boys insisted. Insisted very loudly and with enough conviction that Daphne had enough. Best way to get some peace and quiet would be to put this in the hands of the Sheriff.

She settled back with a cold one in her hand. She closed her eyes as she heard the Sheriff’s Fairlane start and drive off.

Sheriff John Miner was close to retirement. Close enough that he really didn’t care if there was a car or not.  If he hadn’t gone against his instincts he might have lived long enough to hand in his badge and retire someplace warm. In the long run, he didn’t make it.

The search for the car was a bust. The Sheriff fumed as he dropped the two dopes outside the local bar.

Todd and Barry, meanwhile, made their story profitable, earning free drinks at the Barn House Bar from folks who wanted to know all the details.  As the telling went on, the story…grew. It wormed its way to nearby towns by weeks end, speculations growing along the way. Wherever Todd and Barry went drinking, they set more wheels spinning.

The searching was intense. Many said they found the trees and the clearing, but no TBird. Reports were passed around: the car was glimpsed in Jeffery Hallow. No; it shone brightly at the opening of the large bear cave on Decry Hill. One group said it was by a stream, others in different parts of the forest. Never any proof; it started to slide out of their minds with each disappointment. People stopped looking for the car.

Until a group of four High School students went looking, and they did not come home.

Present Day

There was a car in the woods.

Charred. Rusted. Busted.

Picked clean. Shell just a remainder.

No road. No reason. Just there.

Not always in the same place, but there.

No one knew anything, the how or the why.

Tales grew around it.

Some said haunted. Some said the Devil parked it there. Maybe a UFO, with all the disappearances. Or not. No one was really sure. Most didn’t want to know.

I knew.

There was a car in the woods.

 

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Author’s Note:

Welcome to the 2019 AtoZ Blog Challenge. This is my sixth year participating, going back to 2011, the year I started Tale Spinning.

My theme this year is A Car In The Woods. First installment is above. Not every post will be this long. Length will vary. I just needed the “prologue” to set the tone.

Each time I’ve participated has been very different, from Mystery to Horror, from an Apartment Building’s residents to Road Sign drabbles. I just let the creative juices flow.

A Car In The Woods, as stands right now, will be a serialized tale with some interludes. Kind of like last year’s The Abysmal Dollhouse, but, hopefully, a bit tighter. That’s my goal. We’ll see where it goes.

Comments/Feedback is always appreciated. Check out other blogs who are taking this April’s challenge by clicking on The Master List. You’ll find a variety of blogs that you might enjoy.