Category Archives: movies

You’re Not Around…

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cemetery silhouette | Lisa Stahl

You’re Not Around…

(A companion piece to Somewhere That’s Green)

At the gravesite: Audrey, the Pastor, and the cemetery gravediggers.

Pastor:     …The links of life are broken,
but the links of love and longing cannot break.
Their souls are bound up with ours forever…

(The Pastor continues his cemetery prayer in the background. Audrey stands apart. The gravediggers behind them; one is smoking).

Audrey: (Dressed in black; stares first at the grave, and then lets the song move her):

I don’t believe you’re gone.
We shared much more than a moment, a lifetime, cut short.
This wasn’t what we planned to do,
So much of my hopes, they fell on you.
But you supported me, not told,
How to be myself, be bold.
But I stand here alone, in despair, Because suddenly, Seymour, you’re not there.

From city slums to open skies, our white picket fence…(sobs)…and then you died.
I begged you to leave the plants alone
But my words fell on ears of stone.
Did I support you? Yes, in every way.
Did I love you? To my dying day.
But now, with my love in the ground
Suddenly, Seymour, you’re not around.

I found my strength and self-respect
But right now I feel only wrecked.
When you held me in your arms…and said I love you,
I felt it deep inside; I loved you too.

And now, you are not here.
At least you no longer have to fear
Being eaten by that horrible thing
Feel it biting, teeth chomp down, the sting.

You’re safe, my love, under this earthly mound
But, suddenly, Seymour…

You’re not around.

(Bring up the Pastor’s volume as the last chords fade away)

Pastor:      Help Audrey
to realize that the distance between them, now,
is not so great and that one day,
she will be reunited with Seymour, in paradise.

(Fade out to Audrey and Seymour’s kitchen)

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I’ve loved Little Shop of Horrors ever since I saw the movie, and then the musical on stage. Different vibes, especially the original ending of the movie. Look it up. Not the most postive of finale’s,and the test audiences told them so.

At the time, the title was worming its way around my head, until I realized why: it was originally a SciFi movie made by Roger Corman in 1960. It was one of those movies I watched as a kid, most likely on Chiller Theater, or maybe by way of Zacherly. Either way, I’ve enjoyed the versions, one and all.

The above: I was playing around with readers from the previous post that I’d love a sequal to the movie. What started out as a 100 word prompt piece led me here, the idea fermenting on my way home from a coffee shop (where you can now use their bathrooms. Hey, no free publicity: If I name the place, I want to get product placement $$$$$).

I had a tune in my head while I was writing this out. I’m not a musician, but creating song melodies is something I’m used to doing. Just need a musician to transcribe what is inside of me. Also: I was NOT using the music of “Suddenly, Seymour” from the movie. I just wanted the words to connect to the film. Honor, tribute, as you wish.

Hope you liked this.

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Somewhere That’s Green: #FridayFictioneers

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PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Somewhere That’s Green

…when suddenly and without warning, there was this……total eclipse of the sun.

Audrey’s life had been reborn: Seymour was suddenly everything to her. They married, left the city, and never looked back.

Until Seymour died in a horrible event.

Opening the Mushnik Garden Center, Seymour sold exotics only, cultivating them with love. Until the sinkhole swallowed everything, including him. They found him in a crush of exotic plants.

She took a clipping, set it in a cut glass bowl, and buried Seymour.

Returning from the funeral, sitting at the table, starting to doze, something startled her.

“Feed Me,” it said.

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The opening line, and title of this piece, is credited to composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman. 

The above is a prompt challange from Addicted to Purple by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields that she calls Friday Fictioneers . The rules for this prompt are simple:

    1. Use the photo on Addicted to Purple as your prompt.
    2. Write a 100 word story, complete with beginning, middle, and end.
    3. Make every word count.
    4. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor of the photo credit.

Overture! Curtain! Lights!: The Abysmal Dollhouse (AtoZ Blog Challenge)

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** New Readers to this challenge: This is a serialized, continuous work. Please start with the first piece, Abysmally Yours. The AtoZ Blog Challenge began April 1st; ends April 30th. Thank you.

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Overture! Curtain! Lights!

The Abysmal Dollhouse

“You killed tonight! You killed!”

The stage manager had swept her into a hug. The last curtain call was now a memory. Everyone had congratulated her as she made her way to her dressing room. The applause was still reverberating through her body, flushed, exhausted, elated.  The stage manager had notes, as she always did, but they were already handed off to the director.  Right now, the notes were not important. Right now, they were alone in the dressing room.

“You killed,” she repeated, sotto voce. “I killed,” the actress agreed, as the hugging turned to more. The greasepaint was removed, the costume stripped off. The sound of kliegs and stage lights being shut off came to them, the closing of doors, the stamping down stairways, the stage door opening and closing. The house shut down, bit by bit.

Opening night and its memory were now three months in the past.  One scathing review, virulent in its attack, quickly trickled down to the box office. The critic’s disdain for the show, for its star, poisoned the good reviews, seeping into future audiences perceptions. The internet picked up on the critic’s vileness and hammered death nails into the production. There was glee from the bloggers whose words were taken up as gospel as their sites hits grew. The vloggers’ views gained followers. It was a numbers game for them.

The show did not go on.

The stage manager eventually booked a gig, a national tour, and was gone. Regional auditions came and went, restaurant service turned over, catering jobs few and far between. The star struggled to keep a smile on, but it faded day by day, replaced by an inner numbness. What was supposed to be her IT, her night of nights, was finis. The emptiness inside of her led to her wandering, from point to point. One night, finding herself walking along the east river, she was tempted to take on Ophelia’s end unto herself. The foot traffic around her was constant and stirred her away from this path.

She was on the way to an audition, having left another, earlier, where things were just “not the right fit.” The sunlight was in full force, no cloud in the sky, and it hit the store window, reflecting off of it, and enveloped her, and only her. A quirk of a smile matched a glint in her eye. She made a quick bow to the window, followed by a light made laugh.

A sigh escaped her as she stood. Tilting her head, she took in the store and moved closer to the window. She laughed again as she was able to make out what was in the window.

“A doll’s house. Perfect.”  She checked her watch and saw she did have time to kill. She made her way inside.

The Shopkeeper greeted her, polite and all smiles, only faltering a moment with a look to the corner. The actress missed this as she marveled at the array surrounding her. She was entranced by the variety of dollhouses, their displays, the colors, the sizes, the architectural styles. To her, they all were mini playhouses. She imagined the roles that could be enacted with each one. The Shopkeeper spoke to her only when a question was asked. She had an odd way about her, with murmurings of the occasional “shhh” or what sounded like “hush,” but since none of it seemed to be directed towards the actress she gave it no weight.

“Look!” the actress squeed. In a flash, she was standing in front of a scaled down version of The Provincetown Theater. “I performed here when I went to NYU.” Her cheeks turned rosy, eyes glistening, as she took in the details.

The structure was narrow and only two stories high. The Shopkeeper released the front and it swung open. The actress squeed again, taking in the sparse seating, the small stage, almost black box in its function. She knew the stairway in the back would take her to the green room, such as it was. It brought back memories that made all the recent unpleasantness disappear from her conscious mind.

A poster announced a production of  The Emperor Jones. She loved O’Neill. She turned to ask the Shopkeeper a question, but when she turned around she was in the lobby, program and ticket in hand.

The inner doors to the theater opened and she walked down the aisle steps to take her seat. Sitting through the performance, applauding wildly at the curtain, she found herself closer to the stage, a new play just ready to begin. The program in her hand showed a different play. This was a treat, a release, and she simply accepted it all without question.

From viewing a series of plays, she found herself working backstage, then eventually performing on stage. First as an understudy, followed by the chorus, supporting actress, and what seemed like forever, leading lady. The lights would dim, no more rehearsing: she knew every part by heart. The applause fed her soul.

The sodden mess that was her heart when not on stage slowly healed. Eventually, it made room to accept the attention of this stage manager, who had been working every show. They fell into each other after one production that took a lot out of everyone working it. They were never without a show to put on, busy on and off stage.

The actress felt like her old self again. It was opening night of a brand new play, and as had become the norm she was the lead once again. The audience was thunderous in its approval, standing ovations and five curtain calls.

The actress flew into the stage managers waiting arms backstage.

“You killed tonight. You killed.”

The actress kissed her long and hard. Take a breath, she looked at her lover and said: “Yes, I did kill!”

Off in the last row, in the darkened corner, the Unfolding Doll sat, knife in hand.

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The AtoZ Blog Challenge

During the month of April, 2018, the challenge requires that we write 26 posts, starting with the letter A on April 1st (yes, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke) and ending with Z on Monday, April 30th. A week or so later, there will be a reflection post that will wrap up this experience, for me as well as my readers.

*I’ve decided to reblog past Abysmal Dollhouse stories on Sundays since we’re not required to write those days. The reblog will not correspond to any specific letter. Just thought you might enjoy some of the previous entries that I’m fond of.

 

** Apologies to one and all. This was a very stressful day. Normally I am much earlier with my posting, but at least I made it before it became the 18th and P. Phew.

Liebster Award Sunday: not lobster; Abysmal Dollhouse/AtoZ Blog Challenge

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** New Readers to this challenge: This is a serialized, continuous work. Please start with the first piece, Abysmally Yours. The AtoZ Blog Challenge began April 1st; ends April 30th. Thank you.
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“Share, Discover, and Enjoy!” That is the underlying mission of Shari Marshall’s blog, Writing is Communication. We discovered our mutual blogs through the 2018 AtoZ Blog Challenge. It has been a pleasure discovering her work: focusing on a fantasy world continuing story through a drabble (100-word complete flash fiction). It’s not easy to par down all you want to say in just 100 words, make the post complete, AND have it tell an engaging ongoing narrative…well, Shari accomplishes it, and does so very, very well. I’ve linked the title to her blog: go check it out. Now. Shoo. Do it. I’ll stick around for the nonce.

As to the Leibster Award: AtoZ and other blog challenges are two-fold. (1) The most obvious is that they are challenges for the blogger to meet the requirements in whatever they are tasked to do; not always the easiest thing to accomplish, but the reward is in making a go of it and hoping you can see it through to the end. (2) The most important element (to me, anyways) is to discover new blogs and their creators. I’ve come across some amazing sites, followed & continue to follow most, became online friends with a lot of them, and one more intense crossing of paths.

Nominating blogs you admire is tied into the blogging community. It shows appreciation for what you’ve produced beyond hitting a like button, or stars ratings; even beyond leaving a gushing comment or three. While there are many “rules” for the Leibster Award, here are the

RULES OF THE LIEBSTER AWARD 2018
The rules are:

1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and display the award logo.
2. Answer 11 questions that the blogger sets for you.
3. Nominate blogs that you think are deserving of the award.
4. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Let your nominees know about their nomination!

Hey Shari: I acknowledge you. Phew. That one was easy peasy.

I shall now endeavor to answer her eleven questions, sorta like a magical quest:

  1. Do you think that a writer has to be defined by one genre?

Absolutely not. I do my darndest not to. I believe a writer should move beyond what becomes their comfort zone.  Write what moves you that day. I’ve attempted a lot of genres and styles. Some more successful than others. My blog is an open…blog. The list of the last 50 or so is to the right. Scroll down. Discover. I have favorites that went nowhere.

2. What is your favourite writing topic?

Paranormal stuff. Horror, lately, it seems.

3. Do you have a book that you recommend to other readers on a regular occasion? What and why?

Knots, by RD Laing. It blew my mind wide open at 17. I suggest that if you tackle it, you must read it in one sitting, late at night. If you do, I think you’ll also get a good insight of the mess that is my thinking process.

4. Book version or movie version?

Depends on the book and the movie. Each is its own animal. Caveat: If the movie is trying to be a “faithful adaptation” of the book, then you better damn well be faithful. Loose adaptations, where the director is adding her/his voice (which is the majority) I’ll try and take it as a separate entity. Please note: I wrote “try.” Just be good. Don’t suck.

5. If I gave you the word “vellichor” as a writing jump off point where might you jump?

The Last Used Bookstore In The Known Worlds

6. What would be your dream setting to write in?

THE comfy chair, headrest perfectly aligned (with massage system embedded and  attuned to every ache). THE perfectly brewed Black Cherry Iced Tea. THE best snack at hand: sweet or savory, as needed. THE well-trained puppy and kitten, needing attention; being perfect momentary distractions. Last, but definitely not least, THE love of my life, for fuller distraction and attention, cuddles, kisses, massages (who need the comfy chair, then?), and other things only she can provide.

7. What is your favourite season?

Fall. Cool, breezy weather. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh

8. Who is your favourite villain? Why?

Catwoman. Meow. Does one really need to ask?

9. Who is your favourite hero? Why?

I’m Batman, Damnit.

10. What does writing mean to you?

Release. Distraction. Creativity. Justification. Acknowledgement. Appreciation. Love.

11. How would you respond to either of these quotes from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there” or “No wise fish would go anywhere without a porpoise.”

I’ll take “The Road Less Traveled” for $2000, Alex.

Phew. All done. Wait? That was only #2 on the Liebster rules????? OY…I’m dying!!! Ok, here are my TOP OF THE POPS:

Fiction Can Be Fun   Yes, both of you!!!

A Creatvie PTSD Gal

A Bit To Read

Iain Kelly

Swerve Strikes Again

WordDreams

I’m exhausted. But wait…there’s more.

OK. Here are MY elven…um…I mean eleven questions that the six nominees (well, 7) NEED to answer. There will be a quiz. BONUS POINTS: answer any of the questions with WHY you answered that way. Up to you. No pressure. ::::Unfolding Doll sharpening its knife::::

  1. If you could write in any writers voice besides your own, whose would it be?
  2. What literary genre holds NO interest for you?
  3. What song with a strong narrative still touches you?
  4. What fictional character do you wish you were?
  5. Savory or Sweet?
  6. What are “The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of?”
  7. You stumble upon a magic rock. Picking it up, you discover something underneath. What is it?
  8. Have you had an inexplicable experience? What was it?
  9. What fiction book would you recommend to me?
  10. What movie or TV show do you love but hate to admit it?
  11. What does writing mean to you? (yes, I’m stealing it from Shari. Deal).

Have fun kiddos.

I’m done. Lunch and nap.

Tomorrow: N is for…

Jabber Wonky: The Abysmal Dollhouse (AtoZ Blog Challenge)

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** New Readers to this challenge: This is a serialized, continuous work. Please start with the first piece, Abysmally Yours. The AtoZ Blog Challenge began April 1st; ends April 30th. Thank you.
Knife

Jabber Wonky

The Abysmal Dollhouse

No Bernard Hermann orchestrated violin screeches. No frame to frame jumps. No bewildered surprises. After his first time, no sneaking behind, no hiding behind the curtains. He didn’t get the same satisfaction. He did not want anything obscuring the process: the vorpal knife in hand, the vorbal knife raised up, the vorpal knife descending, the vorpal blade sliding and  plunging in. Repeat; no rinse. Repeat.

There was symmetry in threes. One definitely wasn’t enough. Two didn’t achieve fruition. Three. Three was complete. Three was Divine. A trinity of deep stabs, releasing the crimson in light, black in the night. Shadows, John Prine sang: shadows formed by the tree that shared the killing space.

It was 4:00 p.m. when the deed was done, the third on the third day. A live mop of a blackbird cried out before it took off, wending round and round the man and his kill. The vorpal knife was shaken towards the daft thing, and it took further flight as droplets, lithe and slimy, flecked its unruly feathers.

Kneeling, the killer jabbed his vorpal knife into the grass-plot at the base of the tree. Three times again; the vorpal blade was cleansed. Only then did he stand and place the weapon back inside the sheath that was the inside pocket of his dark oily duster. His prey lay beside this purifying space, face up, color and warmth drained away.

Backing out of the brush that hid the tree that hid the grass that hid the body, the jabber of the vorpal blade strode along the path that led to the main street thoroughfare. He was whistling Greig’s “In the Halls of the Mountain King”, badly, as he walked away. His need was sated; good for another month. As he passed a roach coach food truck, a line extending from the curb long enough that he had to walk around the queue. this bothered him greatly, but, again, his need was sated. He walked on. Whistling.

The shadows, formed by the tree as it blocked the fading sunlight, grew darker. Out of this stepped the Unfolding Doll, piece by piece, until it stood, whole, flush against the tree trunk. Late. It was late, again. The once alive was sprawled by the doll’s linen shoes; it was careful not to step into the slowly seeping into the ground ichor.

The black button eyes, fixed in place with black thread-like stitching, moved with the turning of its head. There was no more presence, nothing to draw it on further. Nothing in this spot, not anymore. The Shopkeeper felt the need to set it free, even for this little bit, but her hesitation was its undoing. Its knife appeared in its hand, the blade scraping against the trunk of the tree, and then receded and drawn in.

The knife folded into shadow; the Unfolding Doll followed. The hold of the shoppe, and of the Shopkeeper, was too strong. The doll could not fight its return, yet fight it tried. As the shadow crept over and through, the Unfolding Doll struggled to remain where it was, its need to track and destroy the jabber strong, but not strong enough. With a pull from the Shopkeeper, the doll was yanked into the shadow of the tree…

And out of the shadow in the far corner of the shoppe. The doll stood, just on the edge, facing the Shopkeeper, whose broom was in hand.

“Late. I know. I know. I acted too late, giving my consent to hunt. To take him down.” The Shopkeeper slumped, allowing the broom in her hands to help support her. Her head drooped, slightly, and with averted eyes said “Another time. Next time. I won’t hesitate.”

She looked up at the doll.

“I won’t hesitate!” She returned to her counter, busying herself with odds and ends that did not need busying about.

The knife appeared in the Unfolding Dolls’ hand. It turned it left to right, back again, left to right. The rigidness of the doll faded and it moved among the dollhouses. As it came near, there were squeaks and gasps and shutters slamming shut, tiny sounds made tinier by the menace prowling around them.

It stopped its meandering. Standing in front of the Lawang Sewu, then standing inside, the Unfolding Doll began to travel the thousand doors, in search of a prey of its own.

To be continued…along the way

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The AtoZ Blog Challenge

During the month of April, 2018, the challenge requires that we write 26 posts, starting with the letter A on April 1st (yes, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke) and ending with Z on Monday, April 30th. A week or so later, there will be a reflection post that will wrap up this experience, for me as well as my readers.

*I’ve decided to reblog past Abysmal Dollhouse stories on Sundays since we’re not required to write those days. The reblog will not correspond to any specific letter. Just thought you might enjoy some of the previous entries that I’m fond of.

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.

Attack of the Killer Poombies!!!

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The night left with a strangled howl. Everyone had gone to sleep safe and sound that dark October eve. They awoke to the rendering of gnashing and the sounds of yipping. Yipping that ripped into the marrow of one’s bones. The world’s poodles had turned Zombie: Toy, Miniature and Standard alike. The day of the Poombies was upon us, and heaven help us all.

The first we knew about it was when Old Lady Schmidt came screaming down Elm Street, her Daisy ripping at her heels. It’s eyes were a blazing red, and it launched itself at Old Lady Schmidt right in front of our house. Mom had called us out to the porch, scared and trembling, yelling at my dad to do something. By the time he had gotten the rake from the front yard, it was already too late.

Daisy was gnawing away at her once beloved mistress. Blood was all over the place and mangled in her hair; Daisy was attacking Old Lady Schmidt’s head. I assumed it wanted her brains. Aren’t zombies, even poodle zombies, after brains?

Dad whacked Daisy around a few times, but that did nothing but turn the Poombie’s (that’s what the newscasters started calling them, before the airwaves went dead) attention to him. Mom yelled bloody murder for Dad to get back to the house.  “Idiot” and “Moron” were a few of her choice words, seeing how a rake just wasn’t all that good a weapon in the first place. She had run back inside, upstairs, to where they kept the “in case of burglar/rapist” registered revolver, and was aiming it at Daisy’s head as it shambled-ran towards Dad’s retreating back.

The blast staggered Daisy, but she kept on coming. Mom let off another couple of rounds, taking the top of the Poombie head with three well placed shots. Daisy fell over, twitched, and then was still. I started to approach it, to just take a look, but both Mom and Dad pulled me back (Dad physically; Mom with a yell). Good thing too. Daisy’s jaws snapped, and her…its…little Toy legs began to move. We all got back inside very fast and locked the front door. Then the back door, and then the windows.

Molly, my older pain in the wazoo sister, had stayed inside through all of this. She was glued, as usual, to the TV. This time, I couldn’t blame her. Every station, and I mean EVERY station, had news reports on the Poombie attacks. Animal Planet got its best ratings ever (which were reported that night, before all the screens went dead). The four of us sat on the couch, huddled together,  and watched the world go to the dogs.

Well, Poombies. No other dog seemed to be affected. If anything, next to cats, other dogs were prime fodder for Poombie attacks. Once they were all gone, squirrels, rats, and other assorted rodents were decimated. Who knew Poomibes could climb trees and burrow into holes in the ground? The battles in the sewers were reported all over. Forget the septic tanks…it was the first time I was glad we had one, backing up at times or not.

Once the TV stations died out, and then the radio stations, we knew we had to leave. We waited the night out, all of us sort of sleeping in the living room. Daisy was scratching at our front door and would have head butted it, if she still had a head. Howls and yips were sounding all over the neighborhood, and not a few “blood curdling screams.” Dad said they were blood curdling, and since I had no idea how blood could curdle, or what curdling was, I just went “uh huh!”

“Seth, pack up as much clothing and batteries as you can in your backpack. We’re not staying here!” my Mom ordered. I packed as best I could.  Molly did it in Molly fashion-fast-and Mom had all of our canned or packaged food in the car. Which, thankfully, was in our closed garage. Dad helped with what he could, packing up some of his tools that he thought would come in handy as weapons. An Awl is a good thing in a pinch.

We all piled into the car, Dad behind the wheel. Mom had the gun ready (and more ammo then I would have thought one would have for a house gun) and Molly and I got in the back seat. Doors locked and seat belts on (it was the law), Dad opened up the garage door.

OK..if you’ve ever been scared of the ending of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” then you know what we experienced. Row upon row of Toy Poombies, Miniature Poombies, and big old hairy Standard Poombies sat, red eyes glazed over and tongue lolling. They were quiet, but each one of their blood splattered heads followed us as we backed out of the garage. Dad gulped loud enough for us to hear in the back, and I’m pretty sure Molly peed herself (I could smell it, and I knew it wasn’t me, then). Mom cocked the gun and just stared around her. She was shaking a bit: I noticed it when I wasn’t staring back at the staring red eyes.

Dad got to the street, and just put the car in drive. Daisy-Poombie leapt onto the hood of our car and tried to butt the windshield. All the Poombies let out an awful yip howl.

“FLOOR IT!” Mom screamed. Dad did.

The Poombie that was Daisy went flying over the car from the force of the acceleration. Molly and I laughed at the idea of the flying dead dog. We laughed until tears came streaming out.I had turned around to look; so did she.

All the Poombies were chasing us.

Attack of the Killer Poombies Read.wma

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The Walking Dead” season two starts tomorrow night, Sunday, October 16th on AMC (check your local listings for time). This is my “I have been waiting a long time for this season to start” TV show. It comes at a good time, now that Dr. Who is off until the Christmas Special (and then for way too long a break). The only shame is that it is on at the same time that Dexter is on, but…no contest.

Why Zombie Poodles (aka Poombies)? Let’s just say my son and I had an experience one night with a Poombie driving a car next to us, and let’s leave it at that. Trust me, you’ll sleep better at night. 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this.

The Movie House: A Tale of the Abysmal Dollhouse

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Tales from The Abysmal Dollhouse:

The Unfolding Doll

The Shopkeeper

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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Alex J. Cavanaugh runs a blog that just hit over 900 followers, so he must be doing something right, or write. Well beloved, Alex ran this one day blogfest, and it’s been fun looking at some of the lists of movies people rate as their worst.

For me, I just included movies I’ve really disliked, that stand out as movies I wish I had walked out on, but didn’t or couldn’t. Spice World: well, how could I walk out on my pre-teen daughter? Posh was good looking, so that was a plus. Lena Olin was the only thing that saved Unbearable Lightness…my date thought I liked the movie. I thought she did. We had a good laugh when we shared how much we hated that movie.

I am a movie fan, and there are many more on my list of “ugh” movies. My using my The Abysmal Dollhouse series as a way of putting them out there really just felt right for me. I could go on about movies I’ve thought were horrible. Take a look at the blogs joining in on Alex’s blogfest. You’ll find plenty.