Category Archives: Science Fiction

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.

Reflections of the 2018 #AtoZ Blog Challenge: The Abysmal Dollhouse

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A-to-Z Reflection [2018]

For all the information you could ever want about the AtoZ Blog Challenge, Click:  Blogging From A to Z Challenge.

This was my fifth AtoZ Blog Challenge:

The rules are simple: During the month of April, you commit to writing 26 blogs, each day based off the run ot the alphabet. Up to you how you do that. Blog hop around, read and comment on other blogs, build a community. Don’t sleep. You had to sign up through the AtoZ main page. From that, most people chose and announced their Theme (more below): I signed on late, missed that, and, well…I had no idea what I was going to do up to two days before it started.

Yes, I am that unorganized.

I actually had another idea that I thought would be funny, but when I realized the main character I wanted to use was verbotten, the idea lost all its allure. Quelle dommage. That had me in a bit of a spin; I asked on Tale Spinning if anyone wanted to see me continue some previous storylines that I liked, or should I try something new. I got two: TWO, and only two, requests. Hence, The Abysmal Dollhouse.

I have written TAD stories since 2012. Almost always positive comments. A few followers suggested I should add more to the oeuvre and publish it. Hemming and hawing, procrastinating, all my usual excuses for not committing fully added up to one fact: I didn’t.

Scared? Insecure? A rough number of years on so many levels? No motivation? Creativity and passion just drained away?  Lump them all together and I just never carried it through, letting the ideas pretty much just lay there, occasionally bursting forth. Definitely not often enough. Tale Spinning was pretty much an empty space for the last couple of years.

In actuality, boredom with my life, and myself, kicked me in the arse.

I’m what is known as a Pantser: I don’t prewrite, rarely have an outline, especially for continuing series that I like, and only have a basic idea that I use as a jumping off point. When I started off this round of TAD, I just thought I’d continue on my “Monster of the Week” stories, letting the letter of the day create my title, which then started my writing for the day.

One thing I do do (hee hee. Oh, sue me) is take a little bit of time for research. In this case, I just went online and found a whole bunch of Weird, Murder, or Haunted Houses around the world. I chose a number of places that I thought would be great prompts for every day of the challenge. Didn’t use even half of what I found, this go around.

Something happened that changed in me really early on in the process: I started creating a backstory/mythology for the series and began to drop hints and clues about the backgrounds of The Unfolding Doll and the Shopkeeper. Yes: I started to shed my pantsing and began-gasp!-planning. Not 100%, still no outline, but things were starting to gel and I got much more invested in what I was writing.

I look at it this way: X-Files had many episodes of Monster of the Week, with episodes of their mythology scattered here and there. A MOTW episode could still give us more background info on Scully & Mulder while kinda sorta avoiding the BIG story. Character development and whatnot. That’s how I was viewing all this.

Then the next change happened: I got some new readers, who commented, questioned, told me what they liked, and I felt they were really invested in what was going to happen next. I had that in 2016 with that year’s storyline (link at top of the page), but not to this extent. It kind of added to the challenge for me; it definitely altered my thinking on the storyline.

The ending may seem rushed (it was) but I had dropped hints and clues in many of the stories. It’s hard to fill in all the details when I was trying to limit the daily posts to around 1,000 words. Many people will skip a long posting, and I know I lost potential readers for that reason. Nothing I can do about that. I’m sure many will pass up this reflection for the very same reason. Quelle dommage, part two.

For those who might have missed the main posting where I dropped a lot of clues, go to the “I” posting: In The Absence Of…

A couple of more things: please bear with me.

One thing I’m “frustrated” with are the posts that I thought I was being witty with. Alas, alas, alas.  Too gimmicky? Too obtuse? Spot on? No idea: no feedback. Jabber Wonky was my attempt to play on the Jabberwocky poem in Alice in Wonderland (which gave me the reason to rhyme what goes on in The Child’s mind). I used some of the verbal tomfooleries in the piece, more as an homage; In Quoth the Riven, I think it was pretty obvious. I actually wrote following the path Poe’s poem took. One of my favorite pieces by him.; Orchestra! Curtain! Lights! was my wink to one of my favorite things-animation. It’s the opening lyrics from “The Bugs Bunny Show” theme song. My story has nothing to do with Bugs & Daffy, but Orchestra! was my jumping off point for the tale.

I did not blog hop as much as I was hopping to. I always say I’ll do more, and I did, this year, but I fall far short of others. My apologies. I did happen to come across some wonderfully written blogs along the way and picked up some new blogging friends. I’d like to thank (in no particular order): David, Debs, Sharri, Ms. Wolf, Iain, Jo, Jacqui, Varard, and Melanie. If I’ve forgotten anyone, please forgive me. As to previous readers/bloggers: thanks for sticking with me. Roy: didn’t make that many mistakes this time around, eh?

Special thanks go to Arlee Bird for starting this whole thing, and to the hosts who share the duties. It’s been a blast of a month. Next year? When the time comes, we’ll find out.

Thank you, everyone.

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…

From the case files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

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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.

Electric Vehicle Charging (SIGNS; A to Z Challenge)

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Electric Vehicle ChargingDoori stood impatiently  in line waiting to recharge. She was going to be late for school again, but she had used up most of the juice last night at Perfect’s party, and it was either be late or fizzle out during Futures. Again.

Finally;  the charging pads. Quicknip, she plugged her feet and hands into the appropriate slots after zipping in the lead to her left temple. Doori closed her eyes as recharge went into overdrive. Tunes played, game control returned, her body whirred.

Creds will be through the roof, and she knew she’d hear about it.

She didn’t care.

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For the April 2014 A to Z Blog Challenge, you will find a story a day (except Sundays) from me. A to Z: Staring with A on Tuesday, April 1st and ending with Z on Wednesday, April 30th.

Signs is my theme for this year’s outing. Road signs, building signs, warning signs…Signs alert us to a multitude of messages. My plan is to use the alphabet through Signage, but not to stick to what the sign was originally intended to convey. So, the genre of story writing, and styles, of the posts will vary as my mood and interpretation sees fit. Possibly a poem or two. We’ll see.

I’m also trying something more of a challenge: each post will be a Drabble. A Drabble is  100 Words Exactly.

Hope you enjoy the stories.

Ashes

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Even after reading about all the possible side effects, Jean wore her mother around her neck daily. Others complimented her on her memorial diamond pendant, with many commenting about it afterwards, not all in a favorable light. Compressed into a stunning jewel, strung and embraced in an array of silver filigree,  the late Mrs. Deidre Ann Cabochon glared from her daughter’s chest.

Cremated only a month previously, the ashes were mixed with snippets of her hair, and all was distilled to the carbon left behind. These were sent into a press, to duplicate the forces of nature. Extreme heat, 1,000,000 p.s.i., and time…and from the passing of the deceased came a new jeweled existence.

Or so Jean thought, even though the price was high on many levels.

Her husband, Paul, disagreed to the cost, both financially and emotionally. He was never fond of Deidre, a woman he found narcissistic and shrewish, and if he had been honest with anyone he would have loudly pronounced how glad he was that his mother-in-law was dead. Paul saw how Jean suffered during her mother’s long lingering illness, how she put “that woman!” on a pedestal, even while being ordered about and verbally demeaned at every turn. Jean just turned the other cheek, said it was the woman who gave her birth and raised her, and that was that.

Paul moved out the day after the jewel was delivered.

When she got the package, Jean cried as she opened it, and cried as she held it out to examine it. Jean asked Paul to attach the clasp for her. He went behind her as she moved her hair aside and did as she asked. There was a soft “snkt” sound; Jean let her hair down and turned around to give Paul a hug. She held him, lowering her head onto his right shoulder, pressing her body against his, tears leaking down, which he felt through his shirt.

Paul also felt the diamond pendant digging into his chest. Uncomfortable as that was, he felt…more. There was something emanating, a negative grasping, and it hurt on a much deeper level then the prick of the necklace pressed against him. Pushing away was hard but Paul moved a few feet backwards, seeing the pain in Jean’s face but he found himself unable to answer her question of what was wrong.

She needed comforting the rest of the day, and each time Paul’s horrible feeling deepened. He felt lethargic, and depressive thoughts flayed him, making deeper cuts as the day progressed. By the time they went to bed-Jean still wearing “her mother”-Paul was ready to slash his wrists. In her sleep Jean rolled over to the edge of the bed, as Paul, awake, did rolled to the opposite side. There was a lessening in his chest, and things felt calmer as he went to the bathroom (down the hallway), and still when he went downstairs to the kitchen for a cold drink.

Sitting at the kitchen table until dawn, Paul went back upstairs. Each step was agony, and when he got to their bedroom door, he knew. Grabbing his clothes, he woke Jean up.

“Get rid of that necklace, Jean. Let her go, or I will…”

“You’ll what?” she said, belligerently, rubbing her eyes, up on one elbow.

“I’ll leave. That thing…something is wrong with it.”

An argument ensued, words were said, many that could not be taken back or apologized for, many that Paul had heard from Deidre’s mouth only months before. Jean came towards him in fury and tears; Paul bolted with his clothes, changing in the car before running away.

Jean grieved doubly now. She started to lose interest in eating, slept poorly, wandered aimlessly, and while all around her said she was in the grips of depression, none would say so to her face. She would talk about her mother in one breath and be scathing in ridicule in the next, tearing apart friends, family, and co-workers alike with a viciousness that was “not like her” (or so they said).

Hollow eyed, sallow skinned, Jean played with the jewel almost constantly. She shortened the chain the one time she removed it, making it a choker, in so many ways. Her belligerence became so brutal that she was told to leave her job, that she was creating an unhealthy work environment. She spat in her bosses coffee when she got up to leave, gave her the finger, and slammed the door on her way out.

Jean sat in the dark, in her living room, gripping the arm rests of the chair she had inherited from her mother. She contemplated many things, but they were about the others, what they had done to her, nothing was her fault, and why were they all crazy? She had bought a 1.4 litre of Irish Creme, Deidre’s favorite, and killed it in one sitting. Feeling queasy, Jean left the house to get some fresh air.

She thought getting in the car for a drive upstate was a good idea, at the time.

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Author’s Note:
There is more to write about Jean. 845 words is not enough, but it’s enough for me, today.
There actually is a business of putting the ashes of the deceased into jewelry. Some of it is done as described in the above story; the rest are hollow receptacles for the cremated ash. I was told about this by my SO, who loves medical and scientific things, and it has been filtering around my noggin…
until a short Associated Press piece caught my attention: “South Korea has seized thousands of smuggled drug capsules filled with powdered flesh from…”
….well, the rest would be telling where I want to take this whole thing. Suffice to say, reality is just as bad as fiction, n’est pas?

Click here to read The Complete AtoZ: Swan Rise Apartment Series

Only available for free until May 31st, 2012

The Annoyance of Time

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Tom was an impatient man, and he had had a time wasting morning. He was fuming inside, letting the seconds and minutes and half hours and hours burn his mind. His fingers tapped, his feet twitched, his eyes searched for an out, but, for Tom, time was not on his side.

It took forever, in Tom’s estimation, to leave the floor of his building. The sole elevator creaked by, stopping at every other floor. He watched the display with every new light passing by, and sighed deeply every time the floor display stopped. Then the elevator passed him by, a head appearing in the small round window of his floors’ door, and Tom cursed the person and the elevator as they went past,  continuing up, stopping two flights away. Time passed as he heard metallic workings of the door sliding open, the heavy “click click click” of heels walking out, and then the “ping ping” of the door getting ready to close again.  Tom heard it engage and the metal box slid down the coils, colliding in a brief bump that added that much more time in friction.

Entering, he immediately pressed the “door close” button, which did anything but. The Otis conveyance stopped two flights down, and two more flights down after that, and neither time no one was there. “Kids!” he muttered, jamming the “door close” button each time, getting the same no result as he had when he first entered.

Leaving the building, he encountered three people in the lobby who nodded to him as he walked by, two who did say “Hello” and one who tried to stop him for a conversation, but was blown off with a quick “Sorry…doctor’s appointment.”  He hit the cold air at a walk-trot, not feeling the cold as much as the wasted time. He got to and in his car, zipped the seat belt, started it up, and out of his spot he went…

…almost hitting Vinnie and his ancient blue Oldsmobile, who, in Tom’s opinion, should have stopped driving years ago. Tom jammed on his brakes, just missing ramming into the two old time wasters. Vinnie didn’t seem to notice as he tooled into the parking lot at-what seemed like to Tom-negative twenty miles an hour.

The rest of Tom’s day was no better. His 9:15 a.m. Doctor appointment turned into being seen at 11:49, with the consultation winding up to be eight minutes to tell him nothing could be done unless the pain in his knee got more serious (which he paid $20.00 in copay and over $4.00 in parking fees). Every driver in front of him drove at 20 mph, except for the one person who kept edging out to the red traffic light and took off just before the light actually changed, and Tom secretly envied for that verve.

Getting on line for lunch was an ordeal, as the two people ahead of him ordered food for their entire office…and then cut in line for things they “forgot.”

On and on, Tom’s day was a manifesto of wasted time, and each second added to the bile roiling inside of him. By the time he went to bed he had consumed enough stomach churning aids for four people. Tossing and turning, his mind racing along, he put his top pillow over his head and screamed into it.

“Are you done?” Muffled by the pillow, Tom thought it was the neighbor’s TV on high again.

“I said, TOM…are you done?”

Picking up the pillow, Tom saw a woman. In his bedroom, sitting in his computer desk chair, legs crossed and leaning back.  She was…white. Hair, face, dress, boots, nails…eyes. White eyes, and she stared at him, with her white lips in a large smile, and her white teeth gleamed. She held a large watch on a chain, which was also all white, and it led from a pocket fold by her hip. Tom noticed there were clocks of various shapes and sizes around her on his computer desk (not registering, at first, that there was no computer there at the moment).

Tom sat up, and was about to ask the obvious questions, but she continued.

“I’m an aspect of Time, Tom, something you hold near and dear to your little heart. You’ve been calling out to us…me…all of this day. Well, for more than this, but…here I am. Your suffering was more than we could take for ourselves…really, it’s been giving a few of us a big headache, and time release pills can only work so well when you can’t release them properly. Quite the conundrum! So…here we are.”

She leaned over and closed Tom’s hanging open mouth. “Really…not very attractive, Tom. I’m here to give you what you want: you do want Time to move faster for things, no waiting, chop chop, rush rush, get to it. No more waiting lines, long traffic lights, interminable “please holds”, blah blah blah…you want things to go quick in Tom land, isn’t that right?”

He nodded his head, liking the sound of a life like that, nothing to be annoyed about, moving things along at the proper speed.

“Are you sure? I’m this aspect of time. You could have things move slower, or go in reverse, or meet Father Time, but, really, he’s no fun at all.” She looked at him, her white eyes staring into his.

Tom said: “If you’re not just a very pleasant dream, then yes…yes, I want Time to speed up as it can, get rid of the waiting, get rid of the dead time I have on my hands…make each moment I live count. Yes. I want this.”

The aspect of Time leaned back, looked at the time piece in her hand and turned the stem, causing the gears to move which caused the watch face hands to rotate, which caused a soft chiming from around her from all the clocks.

“Done.” With that, she was gone, Tom’s computer was back where it had been, and Tom was again sitting open mouthed.

Shaking his head, he got up to get a drink of water. The next thing he knew, he was in the kitchen, finishing off a glass. He no sooner put it down and he found himself in bed, smiling. “Well, I’m going to…” and he was asleep, only to be waking up with the buzzer of his alarm. His entire morning was like this. He didn’t have to wait for the hot water: it was hot when he needed it. No waiting for his breakfast and coffee. That waiting time was gone too. Tom was impressed.

Every annoyance of waiting for Tom was gone. Elevator, drive, drivel talk, getting to and from meetings, waiting for meals. Gone. Instant bliss. His twenty-four hour day was shortened incredibly, and when he finally found himself in bed that night, he thought “This is bliss.”

Then he was up and things moved faster for him. No obstructions. None. Everything moved. Everything was time efficient. Every single day, and he began to realize he had no down time, no time to relax for anything. Everything was to the point, no transitional time, and he went from one meeting to the next with no time to think, no time to process, and all the midpoints and long views were cut out of his life. The days ran into weeks, and weeks-months-years pulled into pockets of rushed up space and he wasn’t annoyed with time being wasted but he was beginning to realize he was being devastated and wasted by time.

Tom aged, pretty fast to him, but it was only the passing of time.  Life’s moments passed him by. A massive heart attack took him, and it happened many years later in real time but in Tom’s world it was only months since the aspect of Time sprang upon him.

Death was one last thing he did not have to wait in line for.

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.

Second Set of Prompts: (#REN3)…and a Renaissance story too.

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So, the first line in the sands of the shared world of Renaissance have been drawn. Characters have been dropped in place, maybe one or two still need to be discovered, secrets are still just that, waiting to be revealed…and we have 65 amazing writers partaking in world building (well, 69 when you count The Rule of Three hosts Damyanti, Lisa, JC and myself into the mix).

I love shared worlds!!

THE NEXT PROMPTS:

Choose ONE OR MORE from the following:
  1. Someone is killed or almost killed. 
  2. One of the characters is revealed to be not who he or she is. 
  3. A relationship becomes complicated. 
  4. A character lies to another on an important matter.

Some Housekeeping Thingys:

  • The second episode of your #REN3 is to be scheduled ANY TIME between (12.01 am) 12 October and 13 October, (11.59pm)-GMT.
  • There is a 600 Word Limit. No exceptions (yes, I edited down my own story to fit).
  • Please include, at the bottom of your post, which prompt(s) you used and the word count. Top is fine; bottom is better.
  • Don’t forget to include #REN3 when you post to Twitter. If you are not on twitter, that has no meaning to you.
  • You can contact/follow us on Twitter: @damyantig @ficflash @JCMartin_author @stustoryteller. Any REN3 writer gets an automatic follow back. See? Perk!!
  • Questions about the Rule of Three & Renaissance can be addressed to us on our emails. Blogger, WordPress, Live Journal & Twitter questions should go to those respective sites. Thanks.

…and now, a very special episode of Blossom…um, I mean, Renaissance:

**AUTHORS NOTE: This is a side story to Renaissance, NOT my second week posting.

REPEAT: this is NOT the second week posting.

I am not posting out of order, just adding a little “taste” for the audience. My  second post will happen when it’s supposed to: on Wednesday October 12th. Just enjoy this extra:

Cough. “Daddy, I’m not tired. I want a story. PLeeeeeaaazzzeeeee,” George wheezed, looking up at his father.

“Shhh little one. You know they are lowering the air volume for the night. It’s late, Georgie, it’s late. Can I tell you one tomorrow?”

Looking as miserable as he felt, George signed “No.”

Pauldyne shook his head and sighed at the insistence of his only son. He looked over at the sleeping/living area where Bethel was already asleep, cradling Sara. Why did we have another child in this horrible world, he thought. Because we love her, as we love George, he answered his own question. As hard as it was to live in Renaissance Dome 7, it was made better by his family. Tolerable.

I’m tired. We’re all so tired, he wanted to say out loud, but, Georgie wouldn’t understand it, and Bethel understood it all too well.

He nodded OK to his son, and using DSL  he signed a tale of the past…

Before the domes, before The Great Devastation, there was the town of Renaissance, and it lived in the open air. Yes,little one, open, clean fresh and, most importantly, free air. There were real trees, grass, fresh flowing water, things that FLEW in the skies…yes, no domes! Sky. My great great grandfather told me about this just before he passed on. He told me he had had a great adventure-well, one among many-shhh..I’m getting to it. Shtill, remain shtill.

There used to be three main roads leading into Renaissance; now we only have the balloon drops from dome to dome. Gid…his name was Gid.  One day, along the Kris trade route, came an entertainment drawn by an engine of steam. It was led by a Doctor and, from what Gid said, the most beautiful, but wicked, woman in the whole world.

Soon after meeting her, this woman (no, I don’t know her name; he would not tell me her name. He said it was like a curse, now) brought Gid to the top of Minor Gauche, which is Dome 3 area now. She taught him some little magics there, and through that night and a day Gid learned, and learned well. Then, she told him why she taught him this. Gid said he was angry, to be used in such a way, but this woman, this beautiful horrible woman…he loved her.

Gid said there was a great fight soon after, with magic sparking off this way and that, causing not a small amount of damage…

“Georgie?” he said, even though he knew his son was  asleep. He had been drifting to begin with, and with the air pressure lowered, it had only been a matter of time.

Pauldyne lay down, between his son, wife and daughter, and closed his eyes. The evening dome lights flickered over his skin like a caressing dance of light. The warmth they gave off felt good, and he slowed his breathing rate for maximum rest, as he had practiced for too long a time.

He sighed, coughed twice, and knew Georgie would want the whole story when he woke in the morning. In the morning, he thought, as he shut down for sleep.