Category Archives: Fable

From the case files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

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walkinginthedark

Darkness suited ex-Inspector Khazarian Rovas. He liked the quiet it normally brought, a certain breeze that drifted through most nights except for the height of the summer months. Then he was usually drenched, having trouble breathing during the ofttimes stiffing still air. Early spring, now, and the insufferable weather was still to come. Tonight, he could enjoy sitting by his open window, lights off, breathing the coolness in, and allowing his out breath fog up the lowest corner of the window pane. Waiting.

But for the wishes of his wife, Berrak, Rovas would still be on the job. He never thought he would retire, that one way or the other the job would be where he would part this life. Berrak thought differently, and although she never demanded, he saw the clarity of her spoken thoughts. He loved her, she him, and it was that love that carried him to hand in his resignation. Forty-four years, the ups and downs of any job, acknowledgments and failures, all reduced to farewell handshakes, some drinks, rehashing of spectacular cases-solved or unsolved-and the drive home, with the few personal items from his desk in the boot.

It was the rehashing of cases that brought Rovas to his study, to his window, at 4:10 in the morning. Eight days had passed, but those memories of cases that were not, to him, satisfactorily closed, haunted his waking hours. He thought of the cases, twenty six in all, that still niggled at the back of his mind. He owed Berrak time that she was excluded from during his career, and he vowed to himself he would do his best to give her what she needed from him.

But those cases…those cases…

Outside his window Khazarian Rovas noticed a silhouette of a man briskly walking, back to Rovas, down the street, hands in his pockets, head cast down, fading down the street horizon. Ruminating, Rovas had not noticed the man until now. He had no idea where he came from, just observing this figure in darkness fading smaller and further away, until only a haze of an outline was visible. In a blink, the walking man was gone.

Rovas got up from his chair, turning it around to face his desk. Turning on the table lamb, he stared down at the pile of folders on the right side of his desk. Twenty six folders.

Sitting, he took the top file, placed it in front of him, opened it, and began to review this troublesome case file.

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Hi everyone. I’m sure you’ve noticed I have been away for quite awhile on any regular basis. Things happened in my life that took me out of the mood. I’m trying to see what I can do to mend that break within me.

I just rejoined the Blogging from A to Z challenge. Lots of positive things changed for me with the first one I was part of in 2011. Sadly, that did not last the lifetime I had hoped it would be. In either case, I am back.

“The case files of Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Twenty six case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve from this list of cold cases. My plan is to use a variety of genres within this overarching theme to allow me to play and, of course, challenge myself. Some cases might bleed into another case. Most will be stand alone. We’ll see, won’t we?

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

 So, join me (and the over 1600 other blogs involved) starting on April 1, 2016. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy what I’ve got planned.

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Crafting His Heart (100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups)

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With what was at hand, Shay pieced together his heart.

“I brought her into this world.  I helped her depart. She’s a part of me…can’t just write her off, a few words said. Let me be,” he’d say to all who worried about him.

Shay foraged all day, into woods and surrounding fields. He’d be back late and stay up until dawn, working and crafting his need. He discarded more things then he used.

A week: his hollow eyes and shaky hands focused on this one thing. The monument and he were done. Shay laid down at her feet, weeping.

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Author’s Notes:

(1) As before, I find some of my inspiration from prompt challenges.

This is my second time doing the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups (Week #33) over at Julia’s Place. There is a Linky List on her page, to check out all the other writer who’ve taken this challenge. So, yes, 100 words on the nose.

As to the photo prompt that was used for the above story

(2)  Guest Blog Post

I wrote a short piece for Lisa Vooght of Flash Fiction. She was under the weather and I was more than happy to help her out. Click here for my story A Superior Being.

I strongly suggest that you also should be following Lisa’s writing. She is one of the people I came to admire during the AtoZ Blogfest last April. I know she has already signed up for this year’s A to Z, as have I. Hope you enjoy the stories, here and on her site.

Tails of the Fox: Nine Haiku’s

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This was submitted for the Third Sunday Blog Carnival: 60 contributors of poetry, fiction and writer blog posts. Please visit them to expand your literary horizons.

Tails of the Fox: Nine Haiku’s

Our Story Thus Far…

It ancient Japan, Chiyoko had bribed Kitsune, the trickster Fox, with his favorite food, a freshly caught kunimasu salmon that was ready to spawn. From that day forward, Chiyoko would be known, and feared by many, as The Kitsune-Mochi, the Fox Witch. On a path of vengeance against the wicked, The Kitsune-Mochi used the powers of Fox to call on lesser demons (oni) to right wrongs. That is, until she crossed paths with Red Helen, a beautiful oni made up of a hundred-hundred deadly butterflies. Their parting was not amicable.

Fox, while liking being fed, does not like being held under anyone’s sway for too long. He plots to change this…

(1)
Dreams of giving chase
Nestled in Fox den; at dark
Fortunes change in light

(2)
Embrangled tightly
Fox waits for chance to break free;
Desire, Bidding time

(3)
Kitsune-Mochi sits
Trickster Fox food devours
Her will, for now, done

(4)
Vengeance Spirits come
Engulf the wicked, ensnare
Fox yawns; time is near

(5)
The Fox Witch grows tired
Her grief so long to abate
Lamentable, she

(6)
Red Helen, intrigued
Plotting with traitorous Fox
Smiles deadly poison

(7)
Asleep, alone; NOW
Driven winds of hundred wings
Deadly red blanket

(8)
Curse uttered slowly
Kitsune-Mochi spins away
Defeats betrayal

(9)
Fox Witch hunts the Fox
He slinks in shadows and dusk
Wrath is on his tail

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To learn more about The Nine-Tailed Fox in mythology

I have collected all of my stories & narrative poems on The Fox Witch in one spot:

If you’d like to read the series (as is, to this point), please go to The Prologue: The Kitsune-Mochi Saga

Author’s Note on This Posting:

I was asked to submit a Haiku for a competition by someone who has read my work (mentioning Coconut Music specifically). I haven’t written one in about five years, even though I do it with students. The compliment got me thinking, and drove me to try a new tactic for this series, which I do love. I hope it works on some narrative level, even if you’re not familiar with the myth or the previous work I’ve written on this. I’d appreciate any comments you might have. Thanks.

The Dragon’s Flame

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“…aw, please… One more story?”

Sigh. ” It’s late, Adam.”

” Please please please!”

Dad sits adjusting the blankets around his son.” Okay one more… What do you…”

” PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON!”

” We’ve done that to death. I have an idea. How about one of Puff’s Dragon ancestors? You do know that they are all named Puff, don’t you?”

” Well… I think so. Okay. A story about Puff … The ancestor! Dad?”

” Yeah?”

” What’s an ancestor?”

Sigh.” This Puff was his great – great – great great great great – Grandfather. Do you understand?”

Adam nodded yes, pulling the covers closer to his chin and snuggling down. “Now, I have a question for you: something happened to this Puff… What do you think could have happened to him?”

” I know I know… Couldn’t breathe fire!”

“Aah… That is right I forgot. So… At this time, all dragons were fierce and they flew. Their bellies were full of fire, and this  is what helped them fly. But, sadly, this Puff lost the fire in his belly. Gee, you know… I seem to have forgotten how that happened?”

” Maybe it’s cause, um… Somebody yelled at him?”

” You are right. Somebody yelled at him, and he lost the fire inside of him. Puff had been one of the bravest, most handsome, most wonderful of all dragons. Every body looked up to him, except one horrible mean disgusting nasty icky Dragon: the grandmother!”

” DAD! Leave grandma alone.”

They both smiled.” Okay, okay. It was the Queen of the Dragons… Dragonbubby! She was the most feared Dragon of them all. One day Puff got in her way while he was trying to clean a section of the Royal Cave. He missed a major area that the Queen wanted to shine. It was an honest mistake, but sadly… The Queen took it the wrong way. She screamed and  ranted close to an hour… And then some.”

” That is a lot of screaming.”

” Yes it is. At the end, Puff was worn out. His tail drooped, his years flopped, and his wings were bent really weird angles. He left the cave to go fly off but when he tried… He found he could not fly. All the fire and him had gone out. I hate to tell you this but he felt like crying. Walking around the cave area all the other dragons felt bad for him. Well, most of them did. Not all. Those dragons make fun of him.

A week passed, and he still did not have the fire in his belly so that he could fly. He went to five different Dragon doctors, and they all stroked their white beards (which, you do know, that all wise Dragon doctors have long white beards)…”

” Even Lady Dragon doctors?”

” uh huh. Well, all of these doctors had different things to tell him, but again, sadly, none of them knew how to fix this problem. Puff was down by the lake of the Crater of the Moon, just staring at himself in his reflection in the water. Suddenly, overhead, he noticed a Golden blonde Dragon flying overhead, circling.

It was an old friend his and he had not seen for quite a while. Her name was Sally…”

” Hey… That’s mom’s name!”

” Funny thing… You are right. Well, Sally landed right next to Puff and asked him him what was the matter.

Up unto this moment, Puff had not really been paying attention to her. When he turned to her to answer her, he just stopped. She was smiling, happy to see him after so long…

She glowed. Her smile was a golden transformation of utter brilliance. It was her  that shone like the sun; a smile that gleamed like 1000 sparklers. Sally was so gloriously beautiful it took Puff’s remaining breath away. He was speechless.”

“… Yeah? And then?”

“um… They talked and they talked and then they talked some more. She made him laugh. He made her laugh. He told her what was wrong and she listened. The smile on her face grew and became her face. The smile became her. She said: ‘look, Puff, you… You are glowing.’

He was. There was a heat in his belly that was far greater than any fire he had ever experienced in his entire life. His tail undrooped, and his ears unflopped, and his wings unbent into their normal shape. Puff had never felt like this before. Neither had Sally.

At the same time, they jumped in the air and flew. Puff was always a great flyer, but he was able to soar higher then ever. So did Sally. It is still said today, in Dragon tales, how they flew. Together they were golden sunshine, and together they remained for a very, very long time.

Okay. That’s it. Time for you to go to sleep. Love you!”

” Love you too, dad. ‘Night”

He got up, went to the door, turned off the lights, and stepped outside into the hall way.

” Hi.” It was a smile on her face.

” You there the whole time?”

” Yeah. I was.” The smile grew brighter.

He smiled back, equal.

“C’mere “Puff”… I think some golden sunshine is coming your way!”

They kissed.

” I love you.”

” I love you!”

The hallway lit up like 1000 thousand suns.

The Abysmal Dollhouse (collected)

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The UnFolding Doll

Nina Leigh spoke in soliloquies, monologues, rants and raves; her life was a One Woman Play. It opened and closed daily, and normally unfolded before an audience of one, one who paid such close attention that she mesmerized herself. Nina lived her life as a Tour de Force, but she never got the applause she sought for. Not until the Dollhouse called out for her.

There was an unquiet in her life that led her down the darkened avenue, past her own apartment building. She thought Miles was THE one, but…he was the one who got inside her panties, and left just as quickly. “It’s all his fault,” she thought, tearing at her clothes and hair as she stumbled down the road.

Out loud, Nina said: “It’s always their fault. Damn them for not understanding me!” Rip.

“I hate what they do to me!” Rend.

“I hate THEM ALL!”, and blood seeped down from the self inflicted wound she lanced across her brow. The blood tangled in her eyelashes, and caused her to see red. Stumbling, she righted herself while wiping away the caul of blood from her eyes. Squinting, she saw a flash of light come from inside the darkened store in front of her.

“The Abysmal Dollhouse? What a fucking name for a store!” She leaned against the glass, nose pressed to the side, as she peered inside, looking for the source of the quick burst that illuminated the inside for that brief second. Standing there only a moment, the light flicked on again, then off. Nina noticed it came from a dollhouse, set far back in the store.

It was in shadows, but the light flicked on and off again, and each time it did, Nina noticed more and more how…dark the dollhouse was. There was liquid on her lip, and she wiped it away, realizing as she did that it was drool, not blood. This alone shook her out of the daze she was in, and she was just about to turn away and go home.

The door to the shop unlocked and opened up.

Nina was frozen where she stood. The light from the dollhouse flashed in her eyes. On. Off. On. Off. On. On. On.

The light in the dollhouse lit up, and stayed lit. Nina walked into the shop, moving towards the dollhouse. She did not notice the door to the emporium close and lock behind her. She did not notice all the other dollhouses in the store vying for her attention as she was drawn to the one in the back.

As she passed by, sighs would have been heard, if she was listening. “Next One“, too, was ignored, as Nina walked by the large Tudor Dollhouse to her left.

No, Mine!” whispered the Victorian.

Mine!” echoed the hundred others on their perches.

Reaching the back dollhouse, Nina finally noticed the display sign: “Hall Manor, 1929. Three Murders, One Unsolved. Twenty Rooms, and a Theater in the Grand Ballroom.” The light from the dollhouse came from the bottom floor, and Nina had to bend down only slightly to peer inside, looking into the Grand Ballroom itself.

The walls of the dollhouse opened. The theater was lit, the curtains drawn, and a performer doll was center stage. Dressed in a long white dress of eyelets and lace, the face was harsh in it’s makeup. Severe black lines accented its jawlines, it’s cheeks, the eyes and mouth. The long black hair framed this all in darkness. Black laced gloved hand dripped red liquid.

Nina started to scream as the doll looked up at her. She tried to turn and run, but instead found herself on the stage itself, being held by the doll whose story was to unfold at this very moment.

The doll said: “It’s all his fault! as it tore at Nina’s clothes and hair.

“It’s always their fault. Damn them for not understanding me!” It screamed as it ripped into Nina.

I hate what they do to me!” As blood ruptured from Nina’s mouth as the doll choked her with those red dripping hands.

“I hate THEM all!”, and the doll took an axe and chopped into Nina’s brow, and through, and down down down down…

…applause drifted through The Abysmal Dollhouse. The unfolding doll dropped the axe and took a bow. She then pointed to what was Nina Leigh, whose death was a true Tour de Force.

“Bravo, Nina Leigh. Bravo!”

Light’s down. Curtain closed.

The walls of Hall Manor slowly shut tight. The sign now read: “Hall Manor, 1929. Four Murders, Two Unsolved. Twenty Rooms, and a Theater in the Grand Ballroom.”

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The Shopkeeper : l’histoire duex

Time was immutable in her hands. The Shopkeeper had always been there, or so it seemed. Just off the threshold of The Abysmal Dollhouse, to the left. See? There! More often out of the corner of your eye, yet when you did see her straight on…you wish you had not.

The Shopkeeper tended to the many, many dollhouses that were carefully strewn around the store. On counters, behind glass, on pedestals, on the floor, way up high, hidden, seen…she kept track of them all, even when they had other ideas.

Dollhouse Borley Rectory was one of those, not wishing to remain where it had been placed. For a long time it lay desolate, behind a curtain of dust and ashes.The screams of the murdered monk and his would be bride were heard again when it appeared one dreary morning in the display window.

The Abysmal Dollhouse’s displays were often changing at their own whim. One night there was the bhoot bungalow, House No W-3, in its ancient squalor. The Shopkeeper had paid it mind, for the Grandparents always had the best tea. In the morning, the Rectory resided, and this did not please The Shopkeeper.

“You brought this upon yourself,” she said to the house, picking it up from its less than welcome spot. The Dollhouse reacted as best it could, its side opening up, trying to draw her in. The Shopkeeper would have none of it. The seconds halted mid tick, and she phased the replica into the air, the screaming pair howling mad now. She had fallen, once, to the absolute terror in the house when she was new. Long ago. She was not new now, and there would be no unfolding for her. That doll had its own place in the shop, and it was not for her…ever.

Quieted, the Borley Rectory found itself again in dust and ashes. In the rear of the shoppe, towards the far wall, it lay among the bramble of the other unruly ones. It spoke to the others, and planned, and plotted, and hated The Shopkeeper to death.

Sipping tea with the Grandparents of House No W-3, The Shopkeeper glanced in all directions. She kept an eye on her wards, her function to keep them. Safe, or not, was not for her to say. She held the Dollhouses in check, when she could, and fed them when it was a necessity.

“This is good tea, Grandparents,” she said, lifting her cup to them in appreciation.

Dollhouse walls slid open and closed around her. The shopkeeper drank her tea.
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The Movie House (the third reel)

The marquee of The Movie House changed often, rarely repeating. The Abysmal Dollhouse shopkeeper glanced often, amused at some of the titles that flashed, dreading days when double features were shows. She kept a stone in front of the theater to prevent it from opening when she was near. The movies played endlessly, and she only had so much patience with bad, horrible movies.

The teenage girl entered, the bell on the door announcing her arrival. This was her fourth time in The Abysmal Dollhouse in as many days. Wandering around the dollhouses, none called to her, so the shopkeeper left her alone. Today, the youth made it past The Halloween House, The Bottom House, The Borley Rectory, and the many others. She stopped at The Wall of Heads House, but moved on. The shopkeeper was glad. That was not for one like the teen.

Bending over in front of The Movie House, the girl pushed back her long brunette hair and pushed her glasses up her nose. She read out loud “The Unbearable Lightness of Being? I hated that one.” The wall of the theater tried to open, but it was blocked. The girl noticed the movement and started to reach for the rock.

“Wait,” the shopkeeper moved over to her side, moving the girl’s hand away. “I wouldn’t, Beth.”

Looking at the shopkeeper, really noticing her for the first time, the teenager, all awkward angles and full of growth spurts, went from curious to attitude. “How did you know my name? Why shouldn’t I? It’s just a stupid dollhouse.”

The clamor from the other dollhouses took even the shopkeeper by surprise. “MINE!” rang out around the store.

Distracted, she did not notice Beth grab the colored stone and pick it up. It was Beth’s gasp that captured her attention. The front of the house opened up, showing first an ornate lobby of gilded gold furnishings and red velvet draperies. This was swept away to show the inside of the theater. It was too late for Beth, and the shopkeeper sidled over, returning to her place behind the counter. She placed her hand on her hourglass and stared out the front window.

Beth was unaware that the marquee had changed before the wall opened. The Haunting (1999) shared top billing with Spice World (1997). Her eyes were drawn to the screen as image after image played. The tiny figures in the seats were writhing, mouths open, but any sound they made was obscured by the sound from the screen. Beth found herself in one of the chairs, unable to move, unable to do anything but watch the very bad movie. The Unfolding Doll, dressed as an usher, moved spasmodically up the aisle with a bag of burnt popcorn in its hand. Beth tried to scream.

The Movie House wall slid shut. The shopkeeper walked over and replaced the stone, noticing three new titles on the Marquee: Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, Spiderman 3 and Batman and Robin.

She shuddered.

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The Wall of Death

There are many ways to die. The Wall of Death, a wall of skulls, in the Conservatoire d’épouvante Maison De Poupée glorified in naming them. Death by suicide. Death by bullets. Death by strangulation. Death by drowning. Hanging. Electrocution. Diseases. Decapitation (or, as one caption read, De-heading). Stupidity.

Every skull has a death story to tell.

The Conservatoire was only one of the many dollhouses that peppered the inside of The Abysmal Dollhouse emporium.The Shopkeeper was puttering around dusting, making contact with the houses, comforting them, controlling them. She was aware that The Unfolding Doll was working itself up to a state, moving from house to house. The last time that happened, there was hell to pay. She would be very careful and extra cautious during this cycle.

As The Shopkeeper cleaned, the wall of the Conservatoire d’épouvante Maison De Poupée opened. Putting down her duster, she bent over, noting that there was a new prize on The Wall: Death by Large Umbrella. The note under the skull-definitely a woman-was hand written, as were the others. As she concentrated, the skull spoke:

An art installation! An art installation! Of giant umbrellas. in yellow and blue, my lover and I went to see something new. So many lined the mountain side, it was for this we went on our ride. But, no where did it say, or did it portend, that an errant umbrella would soon be my end. A gust of wind took me by surprise, which led to my demise. So fierce was this wind that it snapped the pole in two, and sent the umbrella flying, not yellow but blue. It whistled and twirled like a ballerina in flight, and to be honest it truly was quite an interesting sight. Then it hurtled to me like lost love found, and drove into me completely, impaling me on the ground. I didn’t die fast, oh no, not at all; the sculpture cradled around me like a caul. My lover, he held my hand, yelling and weeping, as my blood pooled out, around me seeping. With a final blast a new wind arose, and sent the umbrella quivering in, which I felt in my toes. The I died, I know I did, feeling my self go away, I slid; up into the air way above the installation site, seeing that it was only that one thing that had taken flight. Now you know my story, of how an installation of art, was so moving…it tore me apart.

“Thank you,” The Shopkeeper said, once the skull related it’s poetic tale.

As she stood up straight, she turned around and reached for the duster. This action saved her. The Unfolding Doll was behind her, knife poised to bring it down onto The Shopkeeper’s back. The Shopkeeper locked her eyes with The Unfolding Doll’s beady plastic orbs. It stood stock still, discovered.

“No, you horrible thing. My head will not grace the wall. I will not have a hand written note that says ‘Death By Doll.’ GO!”

The Unfolding Doll stared at The Shopkeeper, then took two jerky steps back. Its face was unchanging, being of paint and threads, but there was enough menace radiating off of the unemotional display. Dropping the arm holding the knife, The Unfolding Doll folded away. The Shopkeeper was alone in The Abysmal Dollhouse again, alone with her charges.

Many of the houses gave the sense of exhaling, as if holding their breaths, if they had any. The store was quiet, as it should be. The Shopkeeper closed the wall of the Conservatoire d’épouvante Maison De Poupée, and went about the rest of her cleaning duty.

“The confrontation with The Unfolding Doll will have to come sooner, rather than later,” she thought as she sighed out loud. This wouldn’t be the last time. Hell knows, it wasn’t the first.
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The Candy Stripe Ward

The Shopkeeper could smell the customer’s cancer as he walked into the store. He had entered The Abysmal Dollhouse with a face that held no emotions, but they were laying deep underneath, and she could feel them. Putting on a smile, The Shopkeeper glided over to the man. She asked if he needed any assistance.

“If it’s OK with you, I’ll just look around. Yes?” he asked. She nodded. “Good. Thank you. This is a very…interesting shop you have.”

“Thank you. Our dollhouses are all unique. Interesting, in many ways. Let me know if you need any information or help,” she offered one more time, and one more time he refused.

The Shopkeeper went to stand behind the main glass encased counter. She had to shush a few of the Dollhouse’s pleas of “Mine!,” excusing their desperate cries as just noise from outside when she noticed her customer looking around for what made that noise. He looked out the window and saw that the street had been like it was when he approached the store: it was empty. He smiled, shrugged, and continued to look around.

The Shopkeeper studied him. Short for a man, standing a few inches under her own five foot six, he was gaunt, with sunken eyes and cheeks. Salt and pepper stubble covered his face and neck, and he was mostly bald. The smile he had was gone now, replaced with that dead look he had when he first entered.

He examined many of the Dollhouses, reading the legends neatly hand written on their display placards. He made a few small grunts if he bent over too far on some, wheezing a few other times. The Shopkeeper noticed when he closed his eyes and then his face screwed up, wincing, as he stood in front of the Conservatoire d’épouvante Maison De Poupée. She hurried over to his side.

Just in time, as the Unfolding Doll was approaching him from behind, out of the shadows of some of the deadliest Dollhouses. Exerting her will, unflinching in her stare and challenge, The Shopkeeper spoke a few warding words under her breath, forcing The Unfolding Doll to retreat. There was a hiss of a threat thrown back at her, but The Shopkeeper won this slight skirmish. The Unfolding Doll oragamied itself away. All this happened in the few seconds it took for the man to get his composure back.

“I would like to show you a special Dollhouse. I think this is one that would be of interest to you,” she offered to the man. This time, he allowed her help and followed her to the opposite wall, nearer to the front windows. It was a replica of the Orange County Hospice, a double floored straight line design. The man choked and took a step back, but The Shopkeeper went to the Dollhouse and opened the side wall.

He stared; just…stood there and stared. The beds held little figures of cancer: he could just tell. The wards sectioned off with other terminal cases. It was all apparent, to him. It was like the one he had just visited, before he walked aimlessly around, winding up here. It was sterile clean, bright and open. He hadn’t been ready-not yet-to surrender when he had left the hospice with such heaviness. This…this was different.

He, Charles, noticed a doll standing off to the side of one bed, holding a closed book in her hands: a candy striper. It was odd to see one in this setting, the candy cane look of the red and white-striped pinafore just so not right. Yet, Charles was comforted by seeing a volunteer there, someone to help, to assist, to care. The candy striper moved. He passed one hand over his eyes, rubbing them, but when he opened them again the doll had the book open. It was sitting down, and he was looking up at it, as he was laying down in a bed.

The candy striper was reading to him. “Peter Pan,” his favorite book since he was a child, so long ago. Charles got lost in the telling of the tale, of Peter and Wendy Lady, of Michael and John, of Nana and Tinkerbell. He relished the reading, the escape into a world he loved, and in this… he forgot how much pain he had been in before.

The candy striper stopped at the end of the chapter, closed the book and rose. In her hands she now held a tray of baked goods, and all of them were ones Charles loved: Chocolate Eclairs, Napoleons, Black & White Cookies, Charlotte Russe, and those trio-colored cookie/cakes that he and his father had loved. “Take as much as you’d like, Charles,” the doll said. There was no mistaking the candy striper for a real woman, but he just didn’t care. He sampled and ate, and was more than sated. It had been a long time.

“Mr. Roman in the next bed says he could beat you in a wheel chair race. Are you up for the challenge?” she asked, her doll face not moving, but the excitement in her voice was evident, as it was also so nurturing and caring sounding.

Charles smiled the first real smile he’s felt in a very long time. He nodded, got into the wheelchair at the foot of his bed (it hadn’t been there before this, but Charles just didn’t care), and said “Ready!”

As the candy stripper helped get a beaming Charles into position, The Shopkeeper smiled as well. She got up from the kneeling position she had been in for so long, enjoying the feelings. Closing the wall of the ward, she heard laughter and friendly shouting noises. “Good,” she said out loud, looking for The Unfolding Doll. “Good. This one will never be yours.”

The Unfolding Doll was folded into the far shadows of the shop. The knife in its hand glinted of it’s own accord. It could wait, as its wielder could wait as well. Both thirsted for The Shopkeeper, but knew this was not the day. The Unfolding Doll crept from the far shadow into The Serpent House, to play.

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At this moment, I have about six other ideas for stories set in this series (it is endless) as well as the confrontation between The Shopkeeper and The Unfolding Doll AND their quasi-origns, and why they are where they are. If you read the Kitsune-Mochi collection of a few days ago you will find something there that ties into this. I’m not telling,but I did it on purpose way back when.

I do think I need to work on these stories for an eBook collection, and/or “real book” submission. What do you think? Do you want an eBook of this? I most likely will move onto other things here.

Please don’t forget I do have some books available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Kindle Nook versions that  you can read on a PC, MAC or other portable device.  Click here for my Amazon Author’s Page, or click on the book cover for Flash Over.

The Prologue: The Kitsune-Mochi Saga

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Part One: The Kitsune-Mochi and Tora Baku

Chiyoko had bribed Kitsune, the trickster fox, with his favorite food, a freshly caught kunimasu salmon that was ready to spawn. A rice ball, expertly made, sealed the pact. Chiyoko gained her familiar: Kitsune’s magical prowess was hers, as she had wished for. Spirit Fox hissed his displeasure, but still licked his whiskers clean.

“What do you wish of me, Kitsune-mochi? You have fed me well, and must now continue to do so, if you want my services. Tell me your story, and we shall dream together such cruel delights.”

Chiyoko told him, as she prepared another fish…

Nobou had not lived up to his name. He took what woman or girl he wanted, all the time professing his deepest love for me. I accepted, at first, the shame he brought upon me, for I truly believed in the love he professed. I did believe his lies, until he ruined Fumiko, my younger sister. Nobou crushed her delicate beauty in an afternoon by the still waters of Saiko lake, near Mount Fuji.

Fumiko tried to fight his advances off, to the regret of all. She was found unconscious, bloodied from head to delicate toe, naked and feverish from infected wounds. Fumiko drifted in and out of delirium for close to a week, uttering only “iie Nobu…iie!” once, before she drifted away into the shadow lands of Yomi.

What little law was practiced was of no use to my family. Nobou had been seen leaving the village the morning after Fumiko was found, in “quite a haste”, or so it appeared to the farmer who passed him by just as the sun was rising for the day.

“Masanori-san,” I said, gaze averted and bowing to the farmer. “Did you talk to Nabou? Please, did he say where he was off to?” Masanori the farmer only shook his head and continued working in his field. Four days later Fumiko was dead, and I approached the farmer again, with the same result.

Two weeks after the funeral ceremony, my mother passed away into Yomi as well. Father took off after Nabou a day later, in a rage like I had never seen before in so gentle a man. Weeks passed, then a month, then two…and my father has never returned. I decided that to have the justice that was deserving it must be mine to deal out. I returned to this spot off of Saiko Lake, where we found Fumiko. It is March, when the kunimasu salmon would spawn, and I set this plan in motion. Great Fox, you are that plan.

As a child I had sat at the feet of my grandmother and aunts, listening to the tales of the Kitsune-Mochi, the solitary witch who plied the trickster fox with food. Thus, fox became their thrall, and the evil and vengeance that would ensue from such a pairing. Instead of frightening me, as it did Fumiko, I had dreamt of having that power myself, and woe to any who would hurt me or those I loved.

Chiyoko’s tears of the telling mixed into the preparation of the second salmon, and this doubly satisfied Kitsune as he gobbled up this treat. “Chiyoko, your wish is mine now. Come, let us find this Nobou.”

For two years, two months, two weeks and three days, Nobou escaped Chiyoko’s wrath. The story of the fox witch reached him no matter where he went, his name attached in waves of threats and horrors to be visited upon “The Man Who So Deserved His Fate!” Changing names did not deter their coming, nor clothing nor disguise nor distance. Always coming closer, always leaving others whose evils were as great crushed beneath the power of the Kitsune-mochi! Those stories grew in those two years plus, each one driving more fear into Nabou’s dwindling soul.

It was on that third night that Chiyoko and Fox caught up to Nobou. Fox, as directed, disguised himself as a woman of such exquisite beauty that none were immune to her lure. Nobou was easily entrapped, and set to have this delicacy as his own. But, Fox played his part well. Fox pushed and pulled, flirted and flared, delicately balanced demure and distance with demand and desire. Enjoying the dance, Fox led Nobou through the illusions of love like one never experienced before.

As Nobou slept, Chiyoko, with Fox’s powers at her command, drew to her Tora Baku, the dream-devouring Tiger spirit. “What is your wish, Kitsune-mochi? What pleasures can I assist you with?”

Smiling, Chiyoko brought Tora Baku to the sleeping world that Nobou floated through. “Take his dreams of wanton pleasures, O great Tora, O great one, and eat to your own pleasure. Leave him the horror of his deeds, leave him the blood and fear and shattered lives, leave him the gaping raw edges of despair and pain and suffering. It is his want, his needs, his blessings upon himself.”

So Tora Baku ate the dream life of Nobou, and was more than pleasantly sated. Nightmare upon nightmare visited Nobou in his sleep, and even upon waking the nightmares did not cease. No matter where he turned, no matter where he ran, no matter where he sought help, the nightmare of his life descended upon him.

Nobou took his life, what living shell that was left, and was mourned by none. His broken body, upon the rocks at the bottom of the cliff, fed the animals and birds, and it was just. No one found his bones for many, many years, and then only a few, for the rest were scattered by those who had fed well. Nobou’s slim spirit remained beside that cliff, and every now and then Fox would return to laugh at him and urinate on the spot where Nobou’s body had first landed.

Chiyoko, Kitsune-mochi, and Fox traveled together for a long, long time. They created their own legends as they lived them.

Those stories are for another time.

Watch your sleep, for Tora Baku still prowls, and is hungry.

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Part Two: He Does Not Dream

Tora Baku does not dream
So he eats the dreams of others
He sups on ones hidden hopes
Prowls around forbidden needs
Luxuriates among the flowers
Of unspoken desires.
 
Tora Baku does not dream
Snarling as he enters ethereally
Into the lands of in between.
Ah…but when he dines
The things that sate him, now divine
Bring forth a further hunger
Creating an ever growing spiral
Of emptiness and fear
That he leaves behind to fill.
 
Tora Baku does not dream
He lives inside what others do
And romps among the lovers
And romps among the dancers
And romps around the floaters
The philosophers and tramps.
He eats the dreams that matter
The small and of the large
He nestles in the wondrous
As he soars within the stars.
 
Tora Baku does not dream
But stands proudly as he devours
The Damask Rose
A green sphere
An embrace, a hug,
A skip, a jump,
An orgasm of sound,
A silence of relief,
A house in the trees,
A life running wild,
And more
And more
AND MORE…
 
Tora Baku does not dream
And in eating the inside fancies
What’s left is not a gift;
The darkness that festers in the mind
The horror of untouched hearts
The fear of devastation running wild
The gnawing of emptiness
The rendering of the soul
The peeling of the flesh
The pain of the unveiled
The pounding of the impure
The shriving, the burning,
The tearing, the wails…
He takes what gives him sustenance
Leaves behind what is unclean.
 
Tora Baku does not dream
So he eats the dreams of others.
 

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Part Three: Kitsune-Mochi and The Bara Oni

The bramble hugged Hisoka the tailor’s body, his blood pooling on the ground as the prickly shrub tightened around him. He had screamed when it first began, then plead for help, then looked into the eyes of the beautiful rose woman before him, gasped three times, and died. Keikyoku, the Bara Oni, smiled, dipping her toes into the red liquid. She closed her eyes, head back, threw her arms open, and sang as she drank in his essence.

Chiyoko, the Kitsune-Mochi, and Fox had watched all of this occur in silence, sitting on a rock out of the way. Fox looked around him, licking his lips, hoping Bara Oni would leave some fluid for him to lap up, but he knew that wasn’t going to happen.

The Bara Oni stopped singing once all the blood had been absorbed. The roses that ran across her body grew deeper in color, standing out against her milk white skin like a beacon of life. The rose petals were moving of their own accord as she lowered her arms and turned around to face Chiyoko and Fox. Her smile did not waver.

“Did this please you, Kisune-Mochi? Was this all that you wished?” sang out the Oni.

Chiyoko nodded. “Hai. It was well done.” Fox ignored them, cleaning himself as they ignored him. “He knew, at the end, did he not?”

Taking root where she was, the Bara Oni nodded. “He knew, when he looked into my eyes, all that brought him to this. He was not a good man at all.”

“No, he wasn’t,” Fox chimed in. “Chiyoko, I could have done for him. Why did we need…her?”

“Hush, Fox. She is our guest, and has done a great service. Honor her, or no salmon tonight.”

“Hmmpphh,” Fox swished his tail, licking his lips as well at the thought of Chiyoko’s preparation of salmon and wild onions. “I am sorry if I did offer you any offense, Bara Oni.”

The demon stared at him with wide red rimmed eyes. “The tailor will make a fine addition for Maoh Mikoto in his Oni realm. Do you wish to join him, Fox?”

A slight shudder passed through Fox, but he would not let it show. “Try what you will, Keikyoku. You are no match for me.”

“Enough of this pissing contest! The two of you!” Chiyoko demanded. Both Bara Oni and Fox turned to the Kitsune-Mochi and bowed acquiescence. “Good. There is no need for this. Fox, we have many, many more vile ones to take vengeance on. Your nature will remain sated. In this case, it was good to enlist the help of our honored guest.”

“I saw what he did, as he died. It was good of you to call me for this. I am in your favor, and will come again when you call. Farewell, Chiyoko.” The Bara Oni faded away, leaving behind an exquisite Blood Rose bush with hungry thorns in her place.

“What about ‘Farewell, Fox’?” he humphed.

“HUSH! You are too full of yourself today. This was just, and you know it. Hisoka killed many, many women. He lured them to his home, raped them, then slit their throats in his back garden, feeding their blood into the soil and burying their bodies in patches, where he later planted rose bushes. This one belonged to Keikyoku. Now Keikyoku owes us a favor as well, and our allies grow. This was handled in the way I deemed it proper. Do you not agree?”

Fox sat silently, staring at the glistening bramble where the body of the tailor was encased. “Salmon?” he asked, finally.

Chiyoko sighed. To keep her familiar happy, he must be fed. To keep her powers ready for what lay ahead, he must dine well. “Yes, Fox, yes. Let us go catch and prepare our dinner. Come.”

The Kitsune-Mochi rose and walked east towards the river. Fox stared after the witch, then, when she was out of sight, padded over to the rose bush and tore out one of the largest roses, chewing it up and spitting it out. A thorn pierced his nose, he yelped, and a drop of his blood fed the bush.

“Hmmpphh,” Fox said, as he sauntered off towards his soon to be prepared meal. The Bara Oni savored her meal of Fox blood.

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Part Four:  She Unfolds

Keikyoku unfolds, her petals dread,
And the red, red rose upon her breast
And upon her lips, and upon her, adorn;
And she seizes the wicked and leaves the rest.
She kisses the thorns, the bramble and the brier,
Leaving ruby read lips
Leaving red rimmed eyes
Leaving blood red nails traveling through the mire.
 
Keikyoku unfolds, her petals dread,
And the miscreant merchants tremble in bed
The liars, the thieves, the breakers of dreams
She brings her prickly sensations with screams.
Both soft and harsh,
Hard and pliant,
The Bara Oni comes all defiant
In the wake of the wailing,
The flesh asundered,
The demon of thorns comes not failing.
 
Keikyoku unfolds, her petals dread,
Often she’ll creep silently into your bed
But not stealing dreams, no-
That’s for Tora Baku!
But…to create new nightmares
Where others have been.
Bara Oni is harsh
Bara Oni is soft
Bara Oni is patient
Bara Oni will bray.
 
Keikyoku unfolds, her petals dread,
She’s growing a path leading to you
She’s taking root, in the darkest of places
Trailing bloody rivulets along the way.
Her needs are simple
Her ways are severe
Keikyoku unfolds,
and her petals are dread.
 

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Part Five: The Kitsune-Mochi and Red Helen

Drinking in the nectar of the kabosu, Red Helen sat and savored the sour orange taste. Chiyoko had chosen the best fruits of the flowering plant, intending to add their citrus flavor to the sashimi once the raw fish had been sliced. She had pricked her finger on one of the sharp thorns, giving tribute to Keikyoku, the Bara Oni. This assured her that the kabosu she picked were the ripest.

Fox was eager to feast on the masu, the Kingfish, that his Kitsune-Mochi had bartered for. Fox smiled at the memory of that very morning.

Hungry, as always, Fox had persuaded Chiyoko for something other than salmon. Coming to the small fishing village, his Kitsune-Mochi found a fisherman unloading a catch of fresh Sea Trout. Having no money to purchase it, she did as Kamehameha the fisherman had begged, divining that his first two sons were not really his. Fox had laughed and laughed at this, reveling in the sharpness of the fisherman’s intake of breath, and the tears that formed in his eyes. Chiyoko chided him for this behavior as they left the beach.

“He was sad. He loved his wife and children so much, Fox. To find out he was betrayed..aie.”

“Obviously,” Fox said, swishing his tail,”he could not have been so surprised, otherwise why ask at all? Those boys looked nothing like him. His tears were untrue and smelled of self deceit.”

“It is easy to deny what your heart does not want to believe.” Chiyoko stopped walking. “Did you summon Red Helen as I asked?”

Fox smiled and started to groom himself. “Red Helen will meet us at the kabosu plant we passed on the way into the village.”

Red Helen had been true. The Kitsune-Mochi noticed Red Helen forming from the hundred-hundreds of Oni butterflies that surrounded the plant as they approached. Becoming the nude beauty of the Chou Chou Oni. Chiyoko bowed deeply, the flapping of all those wings creating a current of wind and soft sound. The wind was refreshing. The sound…not so much. It tore into Chiyoko’s mind, sending slivers of thought drifting away faster than she could recapture their moments. Calling on the powers imbued through Fox, Chiyoko righted herself.

“Stop that now!” she commanded of Red Helen. “I am in no mood for your testing me. We have played this out before. Enough.” The sound abated to silence, with only one last cacophonous bleat as the Oni stood fully formed. Fox inwardly was pleased for that last show of defiance. His Kistune-Mochi needed some humbling.

Chide me, will you?” he thought, and planned.

“Tell me what you want, O powerful Kitsune-Mochi,” the words from Red Helen flew about. “I have other places to be.”

Chiyoko sighed but continued the meal preparation. “There is a woman in that village-there,” she pointed, “who has been unfaithful, a deceiver and hurtful to the man who loved her. I have seen into his heart, and besides being a simple soul, there is no reason to have been so betrayed. I did not tell him that although she bore two to other men, her legs have parted for many, many more. I answered only of what he asked.”

“This woman’s name?” asked Red Helen.

“Rin, wife of Kamehameha the fisherman.”

The Chou Chou Oni broke apart into a hundred-hundred Swallowtails, it’s white patched wings tinged in red. The sound of flapping died down quickly, leaving Chiyoko to finish the sashimi and serve Fox and herself. They ate in silence, until the many voiced screams came to their ears.

Chiyoko dropped her meal and ran towards the village. Fox did not follow until he finished eating (and devouring his Witch’s portion as well, feeling a truly great meal of Masu should not go to waste). He crested the ridge that slightly hid the village as it wandered down to the sea and sat back on his haunch, taking in the sights before him.

The ground of the small fishing community was littered with the shredded bodies of men and women. 128 in all lay dead, or dying, as Red Helen, en masse, sliced through them, taking in their souls as they died. The red tinged wings became a deeper red.

“No! NO! NONONO!” screamed Chiyoko. The Red Helen laughed a hundred-hundred laughs in response.

The backdrop of crying and anguish surrounded the Kitsune-Mochi as Red Helen formed again, taking a stance too close for Chiyoko’s comfort. Glaring into the witch’s eyes, Red Helen smiled a blood smile.

“Rin was not the only who deceived and hurt in their lust, known or unknown, in this ‘lovely’ little squat. I just saved YOU the trouble of calling upon me again. Thank you for all the delicious souls,” Red Helen bowed her head.

Floating over to stand even closer to Chiyoko, the Chou Chou Oni lowered her voice. “We are done, you and I. Call upon me again, and there will be one soul I will be more than happy to feast on.” With that, an explosion of wings passed around, and Red Helen was gone.

Fox sauntered up to find Chiyoko sitting on the ground. He had passed the fisherman standing amidst what was left of his unfaithful wife and unfaithful friends. Kamehameha was there in body only, hands outstretched in pleading form. Fox chuckled as he saw the empty minded husk. For once, he kept information like this to himself. His Kitsune-Mochi did serve up a truly fine meal, and he was pleased in many ways.

Head bowed, Chiyoko knew Fox approached. “She went too far. She went…too far. Fox,” she said, glaring at him, “we must take action.”

“Against Red Helen? You are madder than normal, witch. I am just one to her hundreds. Forget it. Done is done, and, in truth, you got what you asked for. It just was a larger wish of retribution then you envisioned.”

Chiyoko stood and let the sand on her clothing stay. She stared down at Fox.

“I will not forget this. Done is not done. You say you are one, she is hundreds. You, Fox, are wrong. WE are two, and we are only beginning our journey. Allies await us. Red Helen will regret what she did in my name.” Chiyoko turned away from Fox and went to find the fisherman. She took him by his hand and guided him to his home, where his children, and the ones he brought up as his, waited.

Fox stayed where he was. “You truck with Oni, you get what you deserve, witch!” he thought. He stayed where he was until night fell, and then went off to find his Kitsune-Mochi. After all, it was dinner time.


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Part Six: A Hundred-Hundreds of Wings

Red Helen dines on souls
Fine filigrees of nothings that make her whole
She sups not on dreams as Tora Baku does
Nor is she a Bara Oni, prickle twiner she,
Nor scheming Fox,
Nor hated Kitsune-Mochi…
Red Helen delves deep
and takes, making others her own.
 
Red Helen dines on souls
And turns the bodies raw
Her wings rip and shred
The earth covered in gore.
Her Hundred-Hundred wings
That she does breathe out
As she savors in the delicacies
Of the hateful and un-devout.
 
Red Helen dines on souls
The feast of it is without compare
The reaving is delicious
The terror is without compare
The shucking of the life forces
The smiles it leaves with her
The unyielding open wounds
Left in her wake
Yet for butterflies, in beauty,
No horror is more great.
 
Red Helen dines on souls
But some she waits for in glee
Wanting to exact revenges,
To bring them to their knees.
The thought of what’s to come
As things proceed upon their path
Will bring the soul she wishes to devour
To her soon, facing her exquisite wrath.
 
Red Helen dines on souls,
Chiyoko…wait and see.
Fox will do what Fox will do
And Red Helen will delve deep.

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This will be the last section of the Kitsune-Mochi and Fox storyline I will post on Tale Spinning…or, at least, for quite a while.  I plan to make this, the beginning, into a novel. This is already 3,500+ words, and I have so much more I want to do with this. My main antagonist (NOT the only one) is now set up; I have my plans where I’d like to take this, and yes, I have my ending. I just need to get there.

As commercial as Redhead Riding? No; I know that, but I also feel I kinda have said all I wanted to say with Katie and David, at this point. I also want to tackle Birdsongs: The Virtuous War, as well as my The Abysmal Dollhouse series.  I am battling with myself on which way I will go.  I also have plans for the brutal That…Boy stories, as I’ve seen it flows into another novel idea Ive had for years. So…we’ll see where I go.

I hope you enjoyed this in one piece. I haven not written anything more on this since August, and I think I should, What do you think? Would you like me to finish this, although it’d be in an eBook?

Comments are always appreciated!!


Video Trailer 2: The Rule of Three Blogfest

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Join Us In The Rule of Three Writers Challenge BlogFest!

Final Day to Sign Up: Monday October 3, 2011

I am co-hosting an exciting creative writing blog challenge, and I hope you will join the over 40 writers participating!

During October 2011, venture into the shared world of Renaissance (information below). You will create three characters set in that world: any genre, any time period. During the course of four weekly postings you will craft your tale where your three characters interact, or not, winding up in one great cumulative story. Each Friday, you will be given a set of prompts to move you along until you reach your climax. There is the chance to discover new writers, see a different side of ones you already admire, and hopefully have tons of fun doing this: you might also win some prizes (listed below as well). Read on!!
REN3<a href=”http://wp.me/P1mecg-bV”><img src=”http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z451/Jc_Martin/RuleofThreeshield.jpg&#8221; alt=”REN3″ width=”242″ height=”242″ /></a>

Grab this code for the badge created by the wonderful Portia Burton, Concept by the equally wonderful Lisa Vooght

The Shared World: Renaissance

An outpost town in the middle of nowhere, but many routes (the TARGE, KRIS, and VILLEIN are the largest of routes, but not the only ones) pass through or by the town. The SCHIAVONA  Desert is encroaching on one side (to the West), a once lush forest (the CULDEES) lies to the East and South. A large river, the ESPADON,  runs through the forest of ASSART (to the north) but it is not close by. The ROUNDELI Mountains are also to the North, far, far away, and when you look towards them you don’t know if they are an illusion or not. Closer by are the smaller hill chain, the MAIN GAUCHE and the MINOR GAUCHE, that fed the mining, creating caverns (the KASTANES)  and passages (one particular passage is known as  HERIOT’S PASS) lie underground.

The town has had a number of identities throughout it’s history: A trading post; a mining town; a ghost town until it was rediscovered; a thriving community; the scene of a number of great battles; the scene of one great tragedy (that led to it’s Ghost Town standing); a  town of great joys and celebrations, and so much more.

At this point in time, there is a general population of 333. A mixture of a community. It boasts families that have lived there for generations upon generations, but they are in the minority, and are not in positions of power. There are traders who have come back here, at the end of their many travails, to settle in. The new families and power players have taken this as a last refuge for themselves, hoping to rebuild lives torn apart on the way here.

EVERYONE has a secret!

Welcome to Renaissance.

Enjoy your stay.

For Full Guidelines & List of Prizes: Click Here

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…and:

Announcement: The Doll is a horror novelette by J.C. Martin that has only been read by a limited audience so far. It will be FREE for anyone who signs up on the Rule of Three linky list. We will email participants on the linky list with the direct link.

My Teaser Stories Set in Renaissance:

Renaissance: Prissy’s Story

Renaissance: Jewel’s Story


Rule of Three Writing Blog Challenge: First Prompts & Amendment

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REN3<a href=”http://wp.me/P1mecg-bV”><img src=”http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z451/Jc_Martin/RuleofThreeshield.jpg&#8221; alt=”REN3″ width=”200″ height=”200″ /></a>

Grab this code for the badge created by the wonderful Portia Burton, Concept by the equally wonderful Lisa Vooght

Amendment to the Posting Guidelines

Due to popular demand, we have opened the posting window to a 48 hour slot:

Wednesday to Thursday. Please  post on those days only. Thank you.

The Prompts:

You have 34 days from now (9/1/2011)  to dream up the first part of the story which should be based on one or more of the following prompts:

  • There is an argument
  • There is fear of an impending misfortune
  • There is a humorous circumstance
  • Someone might fall in love

The Challenge

Each week’s installment would be based on a prompt we give the week before.

Each week you will post a story focusing on one of your three main characters through: their Point of View; their story as seen by another or told by another;  however you see fit. How they interact is up to you, the writer.

The fourth week will be the culminating story.  What will be the outcome of their actions…or inaction?

Word count 500600. Please do not exceed the limit.

The Storyline: The Town of Renaissance

Renaissance is an outpost town in the middle of nowhere, but many routes pass through or beside it. The desert is encroaching on one side (to the West), a once-lush forest lies to the East and South. A large river runs through the forest, but it is not close to the town. Mountains are to the North, far, far away, and when you look towards them you don’t know if they are an illusion or real. Closer by are the smaller hill chains that fed the mining, creating caverns and passages underground.
The town has had a number of identities throughout its history: A trading post; a mining town; a ghost town until it was rediscovered; a thriving community; the scene of a number of great battles; the scene of one great tragedy (that led to its Ghost Town standing); a town of great joys and celebrations, and so much more.
At this point in time, there is a general population of 333. A mixture of a community. It boasts families that have lived there for generations upon generations, but they are in the minority, and are not in positions of power. There are traders who have come back here, at the end of their many travails, to settle in. The new families and power-players have taken this as a last refuge for themselves, hoping to rebuild lives torn apart on the way here.
Everyone has a secret.
Welcome to Renaissance. Enjoy your stay.

For the full rules, click here

Help spread the word by tweeting this blogfest at #REN3 on twitter, or share on Facebook or Google + with your writer friends.

Your Co-Hosts for the Rule of Three Writing Challenge:

Three absolutely wonderful writers. Please check out their blogs by clicking on their names:

Damyanti Biswas

Lisa Vooght

JC Martin

The Interview Series

JC Martin,      Lisa Vooght,      Damyanti Biswas
Interview with our illustrator, Portia Burton

In Case You Missed It-Our Teaser Trailer:

Announcing: The Rule of Three Blog Challenge!!! (*Amended Posting Days)

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Grab this code for the badge created by the wonderful Portia Burton, Concept by the equally wonderful Lisa Vooght

The Rule of Three Fiction Writing Blog Challenge

Once upon a time, four  Writers Who Blog (WWB) got together to create a shared world, the Town of Renaissance, where they invite writers to come and take up residence and explore it’s environ and citizens. During the month of October 2011, one a week, a story will emerge, linking three characters into one final cumulative story.  It’s up to you, the writer, to choose the way they interact, or not, and how the final story in the fourth week ends is the journey’s end.  Damyanti Biswas, Lisa Vooght, and JC Martin and I are the WWB, and we welcome you to Renaissance. Enjoy your stay. Oh…one last thing…

Everyone Has A Secret!!

All The Guidelines You Could Want, Prizes (yes, PRIZES) and Linky List Below

(There is a lot to take in but, trust me, it will be worth it)


A. What is the Rule of Three?

The “rule of three” is a principle in writing that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The reader/audience of this form of text is also more likely to consume information if it is written in groups of threes. A series of three is often used to create a progression in which the tension is created, then built up, built up even more, and finally released. –Wikipedia

B. How does the Rule of Three work in this blogfest?

The Rule of Three is a month-long fiction blogfest, where we’ve created a ‘world’, the town of Renaissance, and challenged you to create a story within it. The story will feature 3 characters of your creation, who will be showcased on your blog on 3 different Wednesdays, following the Rule of Three. The 4th Wednesday, we’ll have the culminating scene.

C. What is the Shared World of Rule of Three? Welcome to Renaissance

Renaissance is an outpost town in the middle of nowhere, but many routes pass through or beside it. The desert is encroaching on one side (to the West), a once-lush forest lies to the East and South. A large river runs through the forest, but it is not close to the town. Mountains are to the North, far, far away, and when you look towards them you don’t know if they are an illusion or real. Closer by are the smaller hill chains that fed the mining, creating caverns and passages underground.
The town has had a number of identities throughout its history: A trading post; a mining town; a ghost town until it was rediscovered; a thriving community; the scene of a number of great battles; the scene of one great tragedy (that led to its Ghost Town standing); a town of great joys and celebrations, and so much more.
At this point in time, there is a general population of 333. A mixture of a community. It boasts families that have lived there for generations upon generations, but they are in the minority, and are not in positions of power. There are traders who have come back here, at the end of their many travails, to settle in. The new families and power-players have taken this as a last refuge for themselves, hoping to rebuild lives torn apart on the way here.
Everyone has a secret. Welcome to Renaissance. Enjoy your stay.

D. Writing Guidelines for the Rule of Three Blogfest:

  1. Your overall story can be in any genre, time period, or style you choose.
  1. You must have three characters (Rule of Three), but the relation between them is up to you.
  1. Every Wednesday or Thursday (48 Hour Window), post a narrative fiction: story, poem, song lyric, play, monologue, soliloquy– any style you choose to work in.
  1. Each Friday you will be given a broad writing prompt that will escalate the inner happenings of your story.
  1. Choose one of your characters to showcase that given week as the main protagonist for that posting. Of course, you can weave in your other characters as you see fit, but the main action/conflict or point of view should be the showcased character of the week.
  1. In the fourth week, give us your tour de force, a culmination of the story that will make us weep, weak at the knees, jump for joy, whatever…and know a writer’s job was done well.
  1. Each post should be between 500-600 words. Please try to keep to the limit. Thank you.
    1. Narrative Poetry should be at least 20 lines.

E. We have Prizes!!!!!!

We as hosts would read all the posts and put up a shortlist of possible winners, and then hold a poll for votes on the shortlist to decide the winners and honorable mentions.

The prizes are:

1st prize: $ 50USD Amazon voucher

2nd prize: $ 10 USD and Guest posts or Interviews on the host blogs:
3rd prize: A bundle of the following e-books:
1.Michael Hicks,     “In Her Name: Empire”    http://tinyurl.com/3kqocew
2. Marcus Clearspring, “Walkabout Gnomes”  http://tinyurl.com/3wkgxry
3. Alex J Cavanaugh, “Cassa Star”   http://tinyurl.com/3t358vk
4. S.L. Pierce, “The Hate”, “The Devil’s Game”, “Secrets”  http://tinyurl.com/42ef9l2
5. Faith Mortimer, “Echoes Of Life and Love”     http://tinyurl.com/3aptnva
6. Talli Roland, “Watching Willow Watts”   http://tinyurl.com/3ru9bb8
Honorable mentions will receive 1 e-book from among these 3
1. Damyanti Biswas, “A To Z Stories Of Life and Death”  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/81146
2. J.C. Martin and Michelle Davidson Argyle, “Stories For Sendai”,       http://tinyurl.com/3asdnrr
3. Stuart Nager, “Dawn Of Indie Romance”,      http://tinyurl.com/3pkeexn

(For full information on all authors and books, click on the Featured Authors tab at top of blog.)

F. How to Sign up:
  1. Sign up at the Linky list below by the 3rd of October. Please do so only if you intend to write a story, and participate in the writers’ community, not because you want to promote a soap, a website, or a random electronic gadget. We promise to remove all spam and advertisements.
  1. Leave us a comment after you sign in. For instance, talk about which genre you want to write in, whether your Rule of Three story would feature characters from your current WIP or you would introduce us to new ones…anything at all about your plans for the blogfest
  1. Visit this blog or those of the other hosts tomorrow, or any time during the next week to find the first Rule of Three prompt.
  1. Please let us know if you’ve signed up but find yourself unable to write for the blogfest for some reason, so we can remove your link as a courtesy to everyone using the Linky list to visit the participants. Most visitors find it annoying to reach an irrelevant post by clicking a name on the Linky list.
  1. Schedule for prompts and posting: save these dates on your calendar!
  • Rule of Three 1st prompt 1st September
  • Rule of Three Part 1 (post) 5th/6th October
  • Rule of Three 2nd prompt 7th October
  • Rule of Three Part 2 (post) 12th/13th October
  • Rule of Three 3rd prompt 14th October
  • Rule of Three Part 3 (post) 19th.  /20th October
  • Rule of Three 4th prompt 21st October
  • Rule of Three Part 4 (final post) 26th/27th October
  1. Poll for shortlists will be up on 2nd November, and winners will be declared on the 11th of November.
  2. All the hosts would take part, but they will not win any prizes.
F. How to become part of The Rule of Three Blogfest Success:
    1. Place the Rule of Three badge on your sidebar.
  1. Post and/or tweet about the challenge in the weeks leading up to the Rule of Three. Spread the word on twitter with the Hashtag #REN3 .
  2. Throughout the blogfest, visit as many other entries as you can and give the entrants some comment love and suggestions.
We now declare the Rule of Three Blogfest open! Please visit us tomorrow for the first prompt, so you can plot the beginning of your Renaissance story following the Rule of Three!

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Interview With The Writer: Lisa Vooght of Flash Fiction

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The Rule of 3 Interviews: Part Two

Lisa Vooght

Lisa Vooght is the woman behind Flash Fiction, a blog and writer I love to visit daily (well, as daily as Li will write!). As she mentions below, we first “met” each other in April 2011 during the A to Z Blog Challenge. Since then I have really gotten to know Li the person, and I really am glad to call her a friend.

We converse in a variety of mediums, scoff and joke with each other, and support each other in a number of ways. Li and I, along with Damyanti Biswas and JC Martin, are co-hosting The Rule of Three Fiction Writers Blog Fest, a shared universe writing challenge what will occur in October 2011. We’re excited like little kids with new toys, and we do hope you’ll enjoy playing with our toy as well. Check out the teaser video at the end of the interview.

Here is what Li has to say for herself:

Lisa Vooght was born and raised in South-central Pennsylvania, USA.  She currently works in the field of special education and writes flash fiction and short stories in her spare time.

Thank you, Stu, for extending me an invitation to be interviewed.  It’s an honour and a pleasure to be a part of your blog, as well as the upcoming “Renaissance:  Rule Of Three” writing project.  Most importantly, I’m delighted to be able to count you as a trusted and respected friend.

Now, to respond to your questions.

Can you tell the readers about Lisa Vooght, the writer?

 I started writing when I was kid. As a matter of fact, much of it would be referred to as fan fiction, a term I didn’t even know existed until a few years ago. My best friend and I would write stories based on TV shows (M*A*S*H*, How the West Was Won) or favorite songs (Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, Kansas’ Dust In the Wind).  One event that stands out in my memory: in the 5th grade, we were each asked to write a short story for English class. The day after I turned mine in, the teacher called me up and gave me a note to take home to my mother. When I got home, I discovered that the teacher had written her that my story was “far too advanced” for my age, and suggested that it was plagiarized.  I was horrified, and my mom was set to storm up to the school and confront the teacher. I begged her not to.

Instead, Mom came up with a better idea.

“Sit down at the table. Write me another story; I’ll enclose a note to your teacher telling her that you wrote it while sitting here at the kitchen table right under my eyes. Then she can judge how well you do. That’s fair.”

I thought she was brilliant. (I still do.)

“But what’ll I write about?” I asked. The other story had been produced after a few days of thought. How on earth would I think up something in just a few hours?

Mom glanced over at our German shepherd, peacefully snoring in front of the fireplace.

“Write about the dog,” she said, turning back to dinner preparations.

My first writing prompt produced “On Thin Ice”, about a girl who is unjustly accused of a crime, runs away in the middle of an ice storm, and is found and saved by her heroic dog. The story won me a prize, but even better was an apology from the teacher and a glowing recommendation for inclusion in a class for “gifted” students (which I unfortunately later came to loathe).

How would you describe your writing style?

 I started out writing (or trying to write) a novel which was extremely verbose, with dense descriptions, detailed characters, and an unnecessarily complicated plot. I soon got on my own nerves. That’s when I decided to try my hand at flash fiction; it seemed like a great exercise in writing clean, uncluttered, straight-to-the-heart stories. It forced me to cut right to the heart of an idea and question every single word I used.

I suppose, at least for now, I’d have to describe my style as spare and, hopefully, hard-hitting.

Are you a writer who blogs, or a blogger who writes?  Is there a difference?

I suppose one could argue it either way. I do both. Each provides me with different benefits, some of which overlap.

What writers have inspired you, and why?

I’m not sure I could pinpoint many specific writers, simply because I’ve been a prolific reader since childhood and I believe I take something away from almost every book.  I suppose some of my favorites include F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Orwell, several Russian writers (Turgenev, Nabokov, and Tolstoy to name a few) and Jack London.

What are your thoughts about self publishing?  Have you already or do you plan to?

If I self published, it would probably be a collection of flash fiction, since it’s fairly difficult to find an agent/publisher willing to handle short stories.  And I’ll be honest; I haven’t the skill or knowledge to handle self publishing at this point. My computer skills are dismal at best. I also tend to shy away from self promotion and social media (I tend toward the “recluse” end of the social scale). So I don’t see self publishing in my future.

I know you like blogfests.  Can you tell us what draws you to them?  What was your favorite one?

 My first blogfest was the A to Z challenge.  I signed up for two reasons. First of all, several of the hosts and participants were among my first followers, and they were incredibly supportive and helpful. I wanted to give something back.  Second, I was in a terrible slump. My ideas had dried up and I was suffering from depression due to a rocky patch in my personal life.  The blogfest was a way to force myself to write – I was making a public commitment to others, and I will always do my utmost to follow through on those. To up the ante, I also made it a personal challenge. I didn’t allow myself to write anything ahead of time or schedule pre-written posts.  I did complete the challenge, although I failed on a personal note – 2 or 3 posts did end up being written ahead of time due to time constraints.

You are one of the co-runners of the Rule Of Three Fiction Writers’ Blogfest. What excites you about this, to take this on?

 On a personal note, I’m excited to be teaming with you, Damyanti Biswas  and  J.C. Martin, all writers and bloggers whom I both like and respect.  I think the “shared world” concept is a brilliant way to showcase individual fiction writers, as well as providing a platform for us to meet and get to know each other.  Since entries must be in narrative form, I believe that it will turn out to be a great collection    which will appeal to “pure” readers as well as fellow writers.  And, of course, I always find it fascinating to see how individuals in a group take a shared prompt, setting, or photo and create such incredibly unique stories and visions.

 Anything else you’d like the reader to know?

 Sure. I don’t like vegetables or puppets. (Sorry, Stu.) I’m afraid of bugs and garbage disposals.  The one genre I have so far avoided reading/writing is horror. (Cue the sound of the garbage disposal.)

I write because I like to, not because I have to, and so if it ever becomes a chore, I will quit without a backward glance. Actually, in a way, I’ve already done some of what I set out to do. I’ve had a few articles published in newspapers, online journals, etc. Won a contest. That felt good.

But more importantly, I’ve met some truly talented, warm, generous people. And I’ve had readers tell me that they were genuinely touched by a story, or it made them teary-eyed, or laugh out loud. In the end, those are the things which matter most.

Stories, poems, and other odds and ends can be found on my blog Flash Fiction.

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Thank you Lisa. Please check out her blog, subscribe, twit, stumble, etc. You’ll be glad you did.