Category Archives: Navajo

Juno Plummeting: #AtoZ Blog Challenge

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A Car In The Woods: Chapter Eight

2019 AtoZ Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019J Juno Plummeting

1967

Samantha woke with a coughing fit. Slow and sluggish, she was having trouble focusing. She was in pain. The pain grew as her attentiveness sharpened. There was a horrible taste in her mouth. Working her jaw amplified an abrasive texture against her face; something hard and gritty pressing into it. She coughed again, hawking out something moist. The pain in her nose hit her, hard. She was having problems trying to breathe. Samantha opened her eyes slowly, shutting them instantly. A blurry, swirling mass of color hurt her head. The pain was intense.

Samantha attempted to get up. An inner scream cut through her held back by firmly clenched teeth. Her hands were pressed against each other, pulled tightly behind her back. They wouldn’t budge. Her legs were in the same condition. Samantha forced herself to keep trying. Her body arched up, the struggle of forcing her extremities at the same time seized her. “Tied up. I’m tied up,” she finally realized. Slowly, so slowly, Samantha eased off the tension and further pain she was causing. The realization momentarily broke her.

Panic was starting to circulate.

A feeling of hopelessness began to slink through her. It wormed its way through, nibbling at Samantha’s essence. Life’s myriad of moments cascaded, flipping scenes too fast to catch and hold them. Birthday parties, heartaches, driving, being driven, dancing, vacations, school, more school, even more school.  Her first kiss. Mom and Dad. Grandma. Vanessa. Mom and Dad. MOM AND DAD!

She remembered. The car. Her parents were in the car. The crash. It all happened so fast. Someone is running towards her. The pain. Someone…Lisa. Lisa, running towards her. Her arm raised, fist hurtling forward. Awakening.

Thinking of Lisa brought her to her sessions, then her studies. Years of studying, training. What she needed to do flowed through her now. Distress tolerance skills. She grabbed onto the one that always helped her. Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out. Counting breaths in, then out. Repeat. The repetition focused her. The focus calmed her.

Fear started working away at it.

A hard bump sent her up and down, the quickness too sudden. Her face hit the flooring, pain shooting through her nose all the way up through her skull. The groan she let out was met with a nasty little giggle.

“About time, Dr. Sam. Thought you’d never wake up. Hoped so, too. Really hoped.”

“Lisa?” The name was croaked out; followed by a series of coughs, each one an escalation of pain.

Silence. A Lisa silence; drawn out, taking her time in answering, or not, in all of their sessions.

“Yeah. Me.” In case you was wondering, we’re driving. Not sorry about that bump in the road. Anyways, we’re almost there.”

It took a moment to process. “Where is ‘There,’ Lisa?”

Silence, again.

“Lisa, please, talk to me. We’ve always found a way to talk things through.”

A barked laugh. Samantha hoped it would be followed by something more.

Silence.

A different tactic. “Lisa. Can you help me understand something?” She waited for a moment. “I have been going over our last enc…session. Can you tell me why my leaving affected you so?”

The horn on the car took a staccato beating. When it stopped, Lisa still said nothing.

“Lisa. My decision to move was nothing against you at all. Not one bit. You said I was trying to throw you away as others have. I wasn’t. I’m not. I wouldn’t leave until I had the right person to take over for me.” Nothing. “Lisa…”

“Stop saying my name,” Lisa growled. “Shut up already. Just shut up.”

The vehicle they were in drove on. Uncomfortable on so many levels, Samantha wanted to get up off the car floor. Asking for help did not seem like an option that would get her anywhere. She began rocking from side to side, finally forcing enough to roll her onto her side. Her back met a hard surface. It wasn’t comfortable, but at the moment the pain that lanced through kept her there.

Looking around, she saw why she had the space to move. She wasn’t in the back of a car. They were in the cabin of a VW Microbus. She knew what it was. Vanessa bought a used one in San Francisco, sending her over a dozen Polaroids, inside and out, with circles and arrows punctuated with exclamation points. Lisa didn’t own a VW. She drove a beat-up Dodge Dart; a hand me down of a hand me down.

“Soon. Soon,” Lisa quietly said.

Samantha was pretty sure Lisa wasn’t talking to her.

~~~

A quick right turn onto an even bumpier path. Lisa was doing a lot of weaving now; the jerky movements were sending small waves of pain through Samantha.  With some straining, Samantha could see a bit out of the windows at the top of the van. Trees. Lots and lots of trees.

The VW stopped, idling in place, then moved on at a crawling pace. The weaving continued, but not as ferociously. A “Yes!” was followed by the Microbus being turned off, brake set, and the opening and closing of the driver’s door. Samantha could barely see the top of Lisa’s head through the windshield. She was standing still, both hands behind her head, fingers knotted together. Samantha imagined that Lisa had her eyes closed, muttering a prayer, or a condemnation, to whatever brought them to these woods.

Looking around the cabin, hoping to find something that could help her, she wasn’t prepared for the wall she was leaning on to slide open. Samantha tumbled out onto the ground. She missed hitting her head on a pointy rock by inches. Her breath was knocked out of her for a moment. She looked around once she settled, and then up.

Lisa was standing over her, staring down. The meeting of their eyes was not a pleasant experience for Samantha. All of Lisa’s anger tells were on full show: the flexing in and out of her fingers; the clicking noise she made with her teeth; the angle she held her head, just off to the left; and her eyes, bulging more than she had ever seen before. Danger dangled off of Lisa. Danger and hatred.

Lisa bent over and lifted Samantha, grabbing her upper arms and pushing her backward, leaving her upright leaning against the VW. Taking two steps back, Lisa squatted down, facing Samantha. But, her eyes were moving all around, resting on one location, then another. Lisa was looking for something, and Samantha had no idea what it was. Fear shot up when Lisa locked eyes on her.

“Y’know, you haven’t asked once about your mom and dad. What does that say about you, Dr. Sam?” Lisa sat. “Mind elsewhere? Anyways, as I was putting you in the VW, I saw them both moving in their car, trying to get out, to get to you. I could tell by the blood on their faces they were hurting. Yet, they still tried to reach their darling.” She leaned in close. “And you can’t even ask about them.”

Sitting back up, Lisa continued: “Dr. Sam, you think you know everything. You’re a bit distant, did ya know that? A bit?” She snarled out another laugh. “You’re with me in the room when we meet, but not all the way. Something was occupying you. I felt you pulling away, and as it took you further and further, it made me angrier and angrier. Until you went the whole distance. You’re leaving. I don’t care about any other kooks you ‘take session’ with. You were leaving ME! People leave me all the time. Use me. Toss me aside. Drink makes some of it fuzz away; fucking and fighting take the rest. And then, you.”

Samantha was reeling. Lisa of the three-word sentences, the constant silences: this wasn’t what she expected. Not one bit. She was this wrong?

“Still got nothing? Let me fill you in on a couple of things. The gossip chain went around about how strong I was, getting the upper hand on the Sheriff and his men. Then slipping so fast out of their reach, and staying that way. I heard; practically no one knew me too well. Shades, a hat covering my hair, different clothing; they paid no attention to someone nursing a coffee or a beer.

Have you wondered, Dr. Sam? Miss Ph.D.? How could I do those things? Well, time I filled you in on some truths.”

Samantha stayed silent, listening.

“Not everything you ‘know’ about me is completely true. Yeah, I had one shitty young life. Won’t even call it a childhood. Nothing childlike about it. All that family stuff? True. But my juvie records? Even unsealed they weren’t telling the whole story.

See, my doings pissed off the wrong people. I screwed, then knocked some teeth out, of the wrong guy. I’m in a jail cell, fall asleep, and the next thing I know, I’m waking in a different cell. All glass walls and empty of anything ‘cept me. Empty of my clothes, too. Everything is dark outside of this cage. I screamed, pounded on the glass. Nothing. Not for a long while.

Then the testing began.”

~~~~~

Present Day

It wasn’t pretty, the testing.

It went on too long and way too far.

Lisa wasn’t the only test subject.

Lab 4 was brutal.

There was a car in the woods.

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Author’s Note:

Hey.

I wasn’t planning to extend this one more day, but…taa daa…this story goes one more day. A story amidst the larger story theme.  Some, and only some, threads start getting pulled together. Some. Not all. Ramifications still need to ensue. Things still need to be discovered. Others may have to kick the bucket. We still have two weeks to go before all is laid out before you.

Shhh. It’s ok. Here’s a nice cup of tea and a plate of cookies.

Tomorrow is another day.

 

 

 

 

 

Deviate: #AtoZ Blog Challenge

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A Car In The Woods: Chapter Three

2019 AtoZ Blog Challenge

 

AtoZ2019D       DEVIATE

1963

“I’m sorry, Mom. Deb’s coat and stuff were all over my things,” Timmy whined in the back of the station wagon, twelve years old but sounding like he did when he was seven. Schatzi sprawled over Timmy’s legs, panting while her head was scratched. The family’s German Shepherd was watching out the window, her head resting on Timmy’s shoulder.

Up front, fourteen-year-old Deb yelled back: “Shut up, Dweeb. It’s your fault we missed the bus and Mom has to drive us to school.”

“Debra! Enough. The two of you. The roads are treacherous enough without you two bickering.”

Deb crossed her arms and threw herself back against the seat. She hated her full name, ever since her Bobbsey Twins started stretching her sweaters. “Hey, Bra,” the boys called outgoing from class to class. Since the name game, it lessened a bit, until one teacher or the other called out her full name.

Shaking her head, Patricia kept her eyes on the road. The snow from late yesterday hadn’t been too bad, but it was wet snow and turned to ice by the time morning came. Timmy couldn’t find his boots, then his gloves, while Debra. Deb. She had to remember so there wouldn’t be any more hysterics.

Deb had been taking her time coming downstairs. After the third call, Patricia went upstairs, knocked and opened the door, and froze in the doorway as Deb was finishing putting makeup on. A bit of yelling, tears, enough “but everyone is doing it” claims, confiscation of said makeup, the siege of the makeup removal, the door slam as Patricia went back downstairs, with the worst to come: the first “I HATE YOU!”

The bus had come and gone way before either of them were ready to leave the house.

Patricia had let the Impala warm up before she started to honk the horn. Timmy came out first, Schatzi following, and the two of them jumped into the back of the wagon and settled down. Deb followed, head down, taking her time. Patricia honked the horn one more time, to little effect.

The roads were slow going as it was; Patricia eased the Impala along, making time add up as she slowed around the bend. She heard a bark from the back, then another, with Timmy trying to shush her. Deb just let out a drawn-out sigh.

Schatzi’s barking increased, ricocheting through the wagon’s cabin. Patricia eyed the rear view mirror. Schatzi was standing, muzzle pressed against the rear window. Timmy had scooted over, the attempt to calm her a losing battle.

“Shut that dog up,” yelled Deb, turning around to glare at her brother.

Just before she had a chance to say anything, a large Poplar tree came crashing down on the road, its heavy top hitting the end of the station wagon. The impact sent the Impala spinning, three full revolutions across the iced road surface. It spiraled off the road a distance away from the tree, and then slid down into a shallow ravine. With a hefty “THUNK” the front end became embedded in a huge slushy drift of snow.

The snow saved their lives.

She and Deb had hit their heads, thrown forward when the wagon met snow. Timmy yelled that he was OK. Schatzi whimpered a bit before she started barking again.

Patricia tried to start the car, but nothing happened. Inside, she was cursing, words she had heard from her father and Eddie, her late husband. She’d never said them out loud before until an explosive “Shit!” escaped from her lips. Deb smiled. Timmy’s mouth dropped open just enough. Schatzi tilted her head one way, then the other.

“You got her to stop barking, Mom,” Deb piped up.

Getting out of the vehicle and slamming the door was the only retort she felt safe in giving. Walking to the front, Patricia tried moving some of the snow out of the way with her hands. She barely made a dent. Continuing, Patricia heard two doors open and closed behind her. Deb and Timmy joined in, both on the other side. Looking back, Schatzi was still inside, barking her head off.

They were able to clear away enough snow so the hood could be opened. The front was pushed inwards, bending the radiator. Timmy had been looking under the chassis and found a growing pool of oil.

As he stood, he noticed the hands on the hips posture his mom took when she was very angry. He kept quiet but realized there was something else going on. Deb was just being Deb, so he ignored her. But mom was shaking just a teeny-tiny bit, biting her lips that were pulled inwards. This frightened him just as much as the crash did.

Looking beyond the wreck, Patricia came to a decision.

“We are not going anywhere with the Impala. The sun is warming things up enough so we won’t freeze to death. Yet.” Deb rolled her eyes to the sky. Patricia noticed.

“Deb, you and Timmy stay inside the wagon. It’ll warm up under the sun enough.” She looked at her son who was just on the point of opening his mouth. “Yes, Schatzi stays with you.” Mouth closed again. “You both have your lunches. Please share some with her, but not enough so you don’t get enough. Am I clear?”

They both nodded.

“I’m going to go back to the main road and flag anyone who is out driving. If we are lucky, Dave and his plow truck will come by, looking for  snow removal work. Timmy,” she said, “Schatzi will need to be walked. Do NOT go far from Deb and the Impala. Understood?”

He nodded, looking a tad guilty. Of course, he wanted to go exploring with his dog. She hoped he’d listen this time.

“I’ll come back in an hour if no one is on the road. If we have to, we’ll hike it into town.” With that, she zipped up to her neck, wove a woolen scarf that had been left in the car around her face, and pulled the hood of her parka over her head. A quick goodbye and a “listen to your sister” saw her climbing up the ravine, her feet and hands using exposed tree roots for a ladder.

Then it was quiet.

Schatzi had lain down in the back and Timmy joined her. She wasn’t asleep. He noticed she was very alert. Waiting. Some sub-vocal growls wafted out here and there. Timmy joined her, dog cuddling, and closed his eyes.

Deb had come back inside. It was too cold still, sun or no sun. Like her mother, she zipped, tugged, and folded herself into her winter wear. Every five minutes she’d glance at her Timex. Fifteen minutes had passed. She felt like she wanted to scream. Or cry. Or both. Timmy started to snore; Schatzi joined in. Deb smiled and closed her eyes.

The closing of the back door woke her up. Turning around, she could see Timmy through the window. Holding something high, he was laughing as Schatzi jumped up and took something from his hand. “Goofball is feeding him. Good,” she said to herself, yawning. Looking at her Timex, she jumped out of the seat and out of the wagon.

Coming around the back, Timmy lost his laugh when he saw her face. Schatzi went stiff, her tail drooping between her hind legs.

“What’s up, doc?”

“You idiot. We’ve been asleep for almost two hours. Have you seen Mom?”

He shook his head, looking around.

“Take your lunch. I’ll get mine. She should have been back already.”

For once, Timmy didn’t argue with her. He grabbed his lunch box, giving some more food to Schatzi. He’d lost his appetite.

“Come on. Let’s go find her.”

“But,” was all he got out before she started to climb out of the ravine. He followed, taking one last look at the wrecked Impala.

Present Day

Schatzi found something.

There’s more to this story.

There was a car in the woods.

A CAR IN THE WOODS: #AtoZchallenge

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Prologue

AtoZ2019A A CAR IN THE WOODS

1959

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Present Day

There was a car in the woods.

Charred. Rusted. Busted.

Picked clean. Shell just a remainder.

No road. No reason. Just there.

Not always in the same place, but there.

No one knew anything, the how or the why.

Tales grew around it.

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

I knew.

There was a car in the woods.

 

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Author’s Note:

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

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

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

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

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

TOMORROW, #AtoZ…A Car In The Woods

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A CAR IN THE WOODS

Imagine this…

A writer of blogs, caught in the web of his own making. Unaware of the passing of time.

April 1st didn’t loom.

It pounced, claws sharpened and out, eviscerating the calm he thought he had.

This was a writer with ideas, semi-plans, an insidious inner laugh that sometimes made its way to the surface.

What happens when said writer, so caught up in the travails of his daily life, his existence teetering on the edge of the basest of sanity and the fathomless abyss of madness and despair, is faced with producing 26 tales designed to strike deep in the souls of his readers?

Tune in April 1st, for he is about to enter…

63334-atoz2019tenthann

do do do do, do do do

 

Promises: #FridayFictioneers

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thoreau-nm

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

Promises

A gang of tumbleweed moseyed down Rt. 66, passing through. Some didn’t make it. Juniper needles snagged them, not letting go. The rest blew upon the abandoned Market & Deli and stayed until the snows came.

Ajei, native Diné, returned from Taos, stronger in spirit and in craft. She purchased the old mart and, with the help of her brothers, transformed it. Where bellies were once filled now was a house of Art and Native crafts.

It was a promise made; a promise kept. Shimá Sání would be proud.

She did art under New Mexico skies. Ajei was, happily, home.

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Author’s Note:

Taos is home to a large Artist Colony. Shimá Sání is the Navajo words for Maternal Grandmother. Ajei is a Navajo name meaning “my heart.” Why Navajo? The majority of the demographics in and around Thoreau are Navajo.

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

The rules are simple if you’d like to join in:

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

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter