Tag Archives: Death

Retraction of Gravity (#AtoZChallenge)

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Welcome to the A to Z Challenge : 26 Stories during the month of April

Welcome to… The Apartment Building: Swan Rise

(For Links to the previous stories, CLICK HERE)

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The inhabitants of Swan Rise Apartments carried the weight of their lives with them. Some  soared in moments of true elation, ecstasy, flights of fancy, but otherwise they were grounded through the daily realities. Others rarely ever rose above a situation. They’d trod through the days, milling around and about and passing by all the other tenants. The building was a center of gravity, keeping them in place from 1960 to 2005.

No…not all of them.

As the children grew, their universe expanded. As it expanded, they moved faster and faster away, seeking to fly off on their own and leave the parental orbit they’ve circled around. Eventually they acquired their own gravity force and rarely returned; too many seemed to have anti-gravity packs on them, with a time limit attached that says “Stay and hold back on  your life,  or move on.”

Then there are the divorces, those that stay after the dissolution of vows, those that leave. How many hearts can be broken in forty-five years? Until an explosion sent all the residents adrift in space, many homes lost their centers, the things that brought them together, holding them in place. Their collective dissolved, and the energy used to keep them in place was exhausted.

A growing number seemed to just be passing by. They settled for a short stay and left little to no trace of their moving on. This happened more and more as the years passed; the attraction and hold of the building fading, flinging out the new, holding onto the old.

Many did grow old in Swan Rise. Many left in the way most don’t like to talk about.

The dead…

So many, as the years passed by; tiny notices by the mail boxes, relating in only a few words the release of another from the grounds. With the eventual removal of that paper on the wall, the last tie was severed for many. When the Whistler died, and then soon after his wife, there was a hollow wind passing through the ground floor that many felt. Others were more fleeting. The one murder in the building held for a long time through the whispers, fears, and for one, relief.

Gone, the husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, grandparent, a number who lived a life alone, pets…so many pets. All those no longer earth bound.

Miraculously, no child died in the living history of Swan Rise. That grief was spared, until the explosion.

The foundation kept the building secure in place; the bricks, wood, plaster, glass, metals, ceramics gave it heft to hug the world it became for the many. Carpets and flooring were laid, furnishings and decor placed, and residents made their apartment a home. It had a mass that attracted them, mutually intense.

The building kept its own gravity, until parts of it were hurled away in a horrible blast and brought down to Earth by a greater force.

Mrs. Beatty (The #AtoZChallenge)

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Welcome to the A to Z Challenge : 26 Stories during the month of April

Welcome to… The Apartment Building

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The blast sent bricks, metal, furniture, and Mrs. Beatty, raining down on the parked cars and beyond.

It took hours to clear all the debris. Photos were taken for insurance purposes, information was taken, and the injured were carted to hospitals and the dead…the dead were taken away, for a second and final time. Mrs. Beatty was the last to be removed  from the scene.

Her daughter, Cynthia, with tear streaked cheeks and neck, viewed the left side of her mother’s face. It had relatively remained unscathed, which the forensics team had noted in detail in their reports. The medical examiner stated, when asked, that she had most likely died instantaneously and felt nothing past the initial burst.

This was no solace to Cynthia and was a complete lie for Mrs. Beatty.

A modicum of awareness remained while she flew through the air. It was only instants, moments, a trickling of time, but she had enough presence for things to flit through. “David” was the last mental picture she had before she, indeed, “died instantly” before hitting the SUV.

Veronica James and David Beatty married in the late fall of 1959; she felt that the changing of the season, with the colorful array of leaves, was a splendid backdrop for the life she intended to live with the man she loved. David thought of fall as a season of dying and endings, and to him it was slightly depressing, but he did not tell her he felt that way, ever. They lived with her parents in their basement until the summer of 1960, when they moved into Swan Rise Apartments.

Cynthia was born in 1963, and the Beatty’s moved into the first two bedroom apartment that became available. They hadn’t thought of moving away. In the three years since they took up residence the couple had grown into the vertical community of the building. It was close to shopping, the bus stopped right in front, and David found that while their might be more exciting places to live, this suited him fine. Veronica was happy here, so he was happy here.

As the years passed, he noticed changes in her. Never totally an outgoing woman, Veronica (never Ronnie) slowly withdrew from places with large crowds. They gave her headaches, she said, and that “itchy” feeling. Shopping was done very early in the morning, or very late in the evening. Eventually David took over most of the shopping duties. They would socialize with family, but their friend base dwindled with each gently rejected invitation.

“Nothing is wrong” she’d say when he asked. He let things sit. Cynthia pushed her as she was assailed by her teen years. Veronica just smiled, or stared off, letting it roll off her back. David had suggested she see someone; Veronica tried, going one time, and never talked about why she did not go back.

She remained pleasant, growing quieter, smiling when he came home, holding his hand when they went to bed. They watched TV and read, played a couple of card games, went to very few movies.

It was Cynthia who got her mother to join the tenants committee. There was a big stink over changes in the building, loss of the playground in the back, elevator repair issues, leaks, the water heater and more. She dragged her mother down with her and finally offered her services to take the minutes (Veronica had been in a secretarial steno pool when she met David, and would help him at home; she taught Cynthia how to type). Veronica could bury herself in the writing, being part of the proceedings while still distant. It suited her, and she kept it up, long after Cynthia moved away.

David passed away years later. All the old timers in the building came to pay their respects, leaving platitudes and condolences and food. Cynthia stayed with her mother for a couple of weeks, both of them needing to make that contact. She asked her mother to move in with her when she was feeling that Veronica was not strong enough to live alone, but the decline was a foregone conclusion.

Over thirty years living in one place…it was hard, very hard to let it go.

Veronica continued to take minutes at meetings. Her interactions with others in the building were light, but all knew her. She became friendly with “the boys” (Marc and Sean) when Marc found her struggling with dropped groceries early one Sunday morning. He helped her upstairs (she had a bruised knee from tripping, which resulted in the fallen food, but she wouldn’t say so), she made them both cups of tea, and formed a nice bond. Sean was included in later; they spent some holiday meals with her when Cynthia was “busy” and visited with her every Christmas after they left the building.

Patty was happy to have her as a sounding board as she railed at the stupidity of the other building residents. The Laundry Room Mafia found her easy to deal with to get their ways, even though they joined in on her sorrow over their own deceased spouses. New tenants and old would open doors for her and they’d get a polite “thank you”. The children would careen past her slow gait down the hallways, and they would make her smile. They always got good treats at Halloween from her.

She was loathe to complain about things, and would only report stoppages and leaks to Andres the super when these things had to be fixed. At first, the smell of gas was not strong in the kitchen. She pooh-poohed it away, thinking that it was just the old stove being an old stove. It was during one of Cynthia’s rare visits that brought the stove problem to Andres attention.

Chastising her mother, Cynthia had her mother call Andres immediately. He didn’t answer the phone (it was a Saturday, and he was watching a game and couldn’t be bothered) but Veronica did leave a message that “there is a gas smell in the kitchen.” Cynthia tried to get her to leave with her until it was fixed, but all she got was a promise not to use the stove until the super did something about it, and to leave the windows open. She could live on microwave and toaster oven cooked food until then.

Veronica did just that, but the temperature dropped two nights later and a passing thunderstorm was sending water into the apartment window. Veronica, woken out of her sleep, closed the windows and went back to bed.

They remained closed for two more days. Veronica wanted a cup of tea.

The Whistler Is Dead

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The notice by the mailbox  strolled through my head and my heart as I took the elevator back to my floor. There had been an absence that I could not put a finger on, until I read:

“The Whistler Is Dead!”

Cruel, in the way the note was written, but to the point. There was no way else to put it but firmly, as Richie, The Whistler, had been such a fixture for so long, caressing the ground floor with his presence.

The lobby area of the building would carry the off key, tuneless whistles, as the old man sat for hours blowing out his stagnant air. Sometimes the tap, tap, tap of his cane would accompany the discordance,  in its own incongruous way, measuring out beats that just did not add up. He’d watch all the comings and goings of the main entrance and the elevators, creating a sound track that underscored the movements of the tenants, their visitors and their deliveries. The Whistler was either greeted or ignored, but his sound was an accompaniment to the days goings on.

When the mail man arrived, The Whistler moved his performance spot. He rambled a daily conversation between not carrying a tune, setting up shop outside of the laundry room, right by the mail boxes. Here, all those entering from the parking lot were woven into his world. The children said hello as they came in from school, or played around as their parents washed the clothes. When not near him, Richie would serenade anyone in hearing distance.

It was known to not let The Whistler be aware that you did not enjoy his musical styling. He would grab onto that fact and create louder trills and blats, tapping his cane in a frenzy of off meter whacks. A secretive smile would cross his face, if you checked as you rushed into the elevator that always took too long to arrive.

The Whistler was privy to details into the lives of the apartment dwellers. It was said he knew secrets which many dared not speak, but that was from the old timers who affixed to him more power than they should. He smirked at tales of others stupidity, and voiced his outrage when he had little of his own.

During a holiday rush, when all were fixated on their own inner familial workings, The Whistler passed away. I was caught up in my own three ring circus of drama, not noticing what was missing. The notice by the mailboxes brought it to my attention, and I glanced around as it dawned on me: there was a gaping hole in this scene.

There was silence. Not quite silent, as the building hummed electronically, and the lobby door lock sounded as it was unlatached, and footsteps walking in mingled with the shouting of some of the kids home from school. But, no cacophony of noise that emanated from a lonely old man who found his place in a hard plastic chair by the laundry room.

I put the key in the lock and opened the door to my apartment. Walking in, I stood for a little bit, looking down the empty hallway that led this way from the elevator. Empty space, every life locked behind a multitude of doors. My wife called out to me, wondering what I was doing. I closed the door, locked it, and walked over to her.

“The Whistler is dead,” I told her.

She blew out an exclamation of grief upon hearing the news.

Author’s Note:

As I’ve had to post a number of times before, sometimes I write FICTION in the FIRST PERSON.

Such is the case with this piece. I am not a murderer, woman, drug addict, superhero, thief, suicide patient, or any number of things I’ve written in the first person.

What you’ve just read is fiction, plain and simple.

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The Whistler was an old time Radio Drama that was later made into several film noir movies by Columbia. The programs (what exist) can be found on CDs.

If you’re wondering what the poster above reads,  it is the intro to the radio program, The Whistler:

I am the Whistler, and I know many things, for I walk by night. I know many strange tales, hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into the shadows. Yes… I know the nameless terrors of which they dare not speak.

What the Mourning Brings (Variations, in the key of Numb)

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First things first:

I have a guest blog up at Polka Dot Banner: Driving Traffic to your Blog via a Fiction Series

It’s a bit(more) about how I write, and why I’ve been so sporadic lately. Hope you enjoy it.

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Second things second:


Thanks to Lisa at Woman Wielding Words, I found another prompt challenge. This time, it’s the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups.

Pretty straight forward: you get a prompt (this week the prompt is the word Wednesday); you get to write a piece that must include that word in the 100 word allotment; you have until Monday, February 6th to post; add a link back, check the other participants out, and voila. 100 words.

What the Mourning Brings (100 Words)

A cold, wind driven rain confronted Cassie early Wednesday morning. Leaving the hospice, she craved for any feeling other than numb. Cassie had held her father’s hand all night, praying for a chance, a difference. It happened; a little after five. The machines screamed flat line.

Cassie clung to the cold hand, bowing her head as tears streamed down her face, dampening the bed sheet. She was aware of the others only when they pried her hand from his. Cassie left the words of condolence, shucking them off, as she slipped out of the building.

She saw the truck coming.

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Third Things Third:

Bluebell Books Short Story Slam Week #20, is hosting a challenge to write a story in 55 words.  I’ve used their prompts before, and JUST got this in my email:

we challenge you to write a short story or a poem in exactly 55 words, you have about 4 weeks to work out your entry, the submission is from today to February 31, 2012, which means you have enough time to make your effort, this helps you improve your creative writing skills by restricting your word counts in 55 words.

I’m taking this one step further for myself: to trim the same story I wrote above by 45 words.

What the Mourning Brings (55 Words)

A cold, wind driven rain confronted Cassie; craving any feeling, numb. Cassie held her father’s hand all night, praying…the machines screamed flat line.

Cassie clung on as tears streamed down her face. They pried her hand from his. Cassie left words of condolence as she slipped out the hospice.

She saw the truck coming.

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No challenge, except to myself…

What the Mourning Brings (a Haiku)

Numb is how I feel
Withered prayers; Condolences…
The truck comes to me
 
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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.

The Abysmal Dollhouse: The Shopkeeper

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The Unfolding Doll: A Tale from The Abysmal Dollhouse The first tale

The Abysmal Dollhouse: 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.

That…Boy

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The boy was lost in boy things while his mother talked with her friend. On the way to the park, he was already upset about stopping. The boy walked away from his mother. “Stay where you are!” she called out, and he did.  A man with a nice smile was coming down the street, but he stumbled a little, and the facade the man was wearing dropped away for an instant. The boy noticed it though, and he saw the man as he truly was in that brief  flash.  he ran screaming for his mother, unable to tell her what got to him so. Among the pulsing sobs and wracked breaths, the “there there”s and pats on the back, the boys’ mind went to a very dark place, for just a little bit too long. No one noticed the man, facade back in place, walk away.

Aliah Mode went silent for two years. His mother, Babs, had taken him to doctors and shrinks, play therapy, music therapy, grandparent therapy and everything she could think of for him. Nothing worked. Her therapy, for she took blame upon herself for whatever happened to Aliah that day, in the form of very expensive high alcoholic content.

Elliot Mode, loving then ex-husband, helped drive that blame onto her and won custody of Aliah over her drinking. Aliah was six years and three months old when he and his father left New York and went to live on the West Coast. New job, new house, new life, ex-wife, and Eliot thought this was solve all of his son’s problems.

He was partially right, but very, very wrong in the end. Living in the midst of Manhattan, there was so much negative kinetic energy floating around that it kept Aliah in check. Quiet, but in check. Out in a private house, separated and less dense in population, a back yard to be alone in, trees fencing them in, Aliah began to come into his own.

Aliah still did not speak for another year, not even when he was told that his mother had died.  He knew she had killed herself, he heard his father on the phone, but the news was so removed. He was almost seven at this point, and he understood what taking too many pills and too much vodka meant. TV was a  source of information, and since it was his main babysitter and teacher, he learned a lot.

He did not start out killing small animals, as the experts would later profile. Ali (which is what he preferred, at nine) went a different way. Brake hoses were disconnected. Electrical house systems were rewired to overload with one turning on the bathroom light. Holes were dug in the park on jogger paths,  broken glass was laid out on the bottom, and the camouflage concealed it perfectly.  For four years, people were hurt, maimed, and eventually tortured and killed, and the police could not find a clue. Ali learned to keep his facade on. His silence served him well.

At thirteen, puberty hit Ali hard. He discovered girls.

(to be continued)

(not so much) Fun with Dick and Jane

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Bright as it was from the acorn streetlight, Dick still fumbled with his keys. “Fucking Daylight Savings Time!” he cursed under his breath. It was still early, time wise, but the sun and the “damn Earth rotation” didn’t seem to notice. On the third try, he got the key into the  lock and opened up the front door to his parent’s house. His and Jane’s house. His house, now.

Dick stepped inside and immediately felt something was…off. Flicking on the front hall light, he looked around. He stood still and listened. Nothing. He was about to close the door when he thought he heard something. Nothing again, but then there was a car cruising by. The radio from the car was booming “She don’t even love me like she did when I was younger, Suckin’ on her chest just to stop my fuckin’ hunger I wonder if I died, would tears come to her eyes?….” trailed off as the car trolled down the street.

Dick cursed the driver and slammed the door.  Dropping his jacket on the floor and kicking  off his shoes, Dick went into the living. He found the remote and turned on the TV, going into the kitchen to get a beer. Dick hit every light switch on his way: living room dining room, kitchen hall (with built in pantry), and kitchen. Opening up the fridge, he grabbed his Lite. Twisting off the top and tossing it in sink, Dick took a big gulp of the frothy beer and trudged back to watch Oprah. He plopped himself onto the padded recliner and reclined. Feet up, Dick settled in.

He raised his bottle to Oprah as she greeted her guests. “Thank you, Nell, for having a half day at school and thank YOU, Debbie’s mom, for inviting her over for a play date! Thank your nice rack too, while you’re at it!”

The show was going along, all the applause and laughter just barely sinking in as Dick killed the bottle and got another. He had just gotten comfy again when a news flash broke into Oprah’s greeting her first guest.

“Hours ago, a daring daylight escape and murder occurred at the Eloise Memorial Asylum in southeastern Michigan. The body of a nude female nurse was found by a door that led to the outside, her keys missing. Her name is withheld until her family can be notified.  Two of the escapees were caught within a half hour of their bid for freedom: a Ms. Bridget “Biddy” Hughes and Mrs. Felicia  Ibbotson. The third, unnamed at this time, is still at large and is considered dangerous. As soon as we get a photo and a name, we will announce it. Be on the lookout for a Caucasian woman, chalk white skin, red shoulder length hair, last seen wearing green hospital scrubs. Do not approach her and please use extreme caution. This woman allegedly is the one who killed the guard. More information will be coming as it breaks. We now return you to your..” Click.

Dick sweated. Dick gulped. Dick had not turned off the TV. The click came from the back hall, where the breaker box was.

He got up. Click. The light in the hallway went off.

Dick started to walk to the kitchen. Click. Off went the dining room lights.

He started to run. Click. The kitchen hallway went.

Click went the kitchen light. He stumbled around the small breakfast table that he hated so much. A little streetlight peeked in by the sink window, enough for Dick to make it to the counter. He stared at an empty Ex-Unique Knifeblock, the one he ordered from ThinkGeek. The red plastic body was stab free, leaning back and looking right at him.

Dick scrambled for the silverware drawer. Empty. Under the sink for his tools. Gone.

He tried to make it to the back door, but he slipped and fell hard. He landed on tacks and nails and he screamed “MOTHERFUCKER!” as he was punctured in a variety of unpleasant places. There was a smell here, as he tried to get up,  that he finally took note of.

“Vitalis hair-tonic, DICK,” she said from the darkness. “I bought it just for you. Remember?” Jane advanced from the pantry door, slightly ajar now. “Remember how much you loved it, when you had hair. I liked your hair, I really did. Now it’s gone, gone, gone. Ha. Poof.” She threw a paring knife at him, the wood end hitting him in the head.

“Damn. I better practice. Will you be my practice..dummy!” and she laughed at her own joke, while Dick finally got to his feet. “Nuh uh… back off buckaroo. This is not June Cleaver I have in my hand. She slices” Swing. “And dices.” Swing. “…and blows your house down, DICK!”

“Haven’t you done enough you crazy bitch. I had five years of your toxic fumes. You put me in the hospital. You killed the dog. You almost killed Nell.” Dick was backing up, as far away from her as he could. His back ached and he felt warm liquid drip down his his hind quarters and legs. Some of the Vitalis soaked into his clothes, and when it touched an open wound…

Wincing, Dick looked for a way out. Jane was blocking the doorway to the rest of the house. The back door was his only choice.

“Nuh uh, DICK. DICK! Watch, DICK!” She tossed a carving knife at him. This time the throw was good, sinking into his right calf. Dick went down on one knee, yowling to the heavens. While he was panting and screaming and crying, trying to pull the knife out, Jane picked up a can she had left on the far counter, behind the effigy of her. “See, DICK. You love barbeques. I HATED barbeques. You knew it,’ squirt,” yet you kept on” squirt, “fucking barbequing.” She drizzled the charcoal lighter fluid, which had been in the pantry, all over back door and surrounding area.

“Whoosh!” she said, as she flipped a match she just lit onto the flammable. It echoed “WHOOSH!” back to her.

Knife out, blood seeping, Dick held the knife that had recently impaled him in an unsteady hand. “You crazy bitch. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS!!??? Didn’t you hurt me enough, all those years? Wasn’t I enough of your punching bag?”

Jane dropped the other knives, but held onto the cleaver. She smiled. “Nuh uh, DICK! Can never hurt you enough. Never, never, never ENOUGH!” She waited for a moment. Dick’s nerves were shot. He heard something in the distance. “Not that fucking rap again,” he thought.

His distraction was her toss of the cleaver. It went sailing at his head, perfectly aimed for right between his eyes. THUNK!

Except the pain in his leg twisted him down, and the cleaver took off part of his ear instead of giving him a splitting headache.  Screaming, he rushed her. The heat from the flames as his back was beating into him, propelling him forward. Jane ran laughing, past the pantry hallway. Dick followed, knife in hand.

Jane slid over the dining room table, knocking over two chairs, one which went into the breakfront. “DICK..I just smashed precious mommy’s fine chinnnnnnaaaaaa!” and out she went, into the living room

Dick threw a vase at the shadow that was her head and connected. It smashed into tiny bits as it sent her ass over the comfy chair. Before he could jump on her, Jane kicked out and caught him in the gut. She turned to run for the front door.

Reaching out, Dick grabbed her red locks and yanked, sending her screeching to a halt. He threw her against the wall and held the knife towards her, keeping a few feet in between them.

The sound from outside got louder. Sirens. Dick smiled. “The fire. You did this yourself, setting the fire. They’ll take you back and you’ll NEVER get out. You’ll NEVER see Nell. NEVER FUCKING EVER!”

Jane ran into the knife..backed up slightly, and then again. She held his hand, which was on the hilt, and pushed it in one more time.

“Wha..whu..what the fuck? WHAT THE FUCK! JANE…” he looked into her fading eyes.

Gasping, she said “See, Dick? You’re a.. dick. See? Mine to play with. Always min..mine to play with….DICK DICk dick dickdickdick….”

The firemen burst through the front and back doors at the same time. See Dick, not run.

***************************************************

So you know where this came from. I have been wrestling with the “What quality of writer am I?” question. This blog is big fun, but I have to wonder do I start taking it more seriously (the mechanics, not the mechanicals  from Midsummer) or do I just plod along, pleasing myself and the few who stumble over my work.

I’ve been getting some great critique from a number of people. Damyanti of Daily (w)rite was the one who took some of my work apart, pointed out the weak links, and then suggested things I should look at/read. One of the books is “On Writing” by Stephen King. Some of you may have heard of him. I got the book, was reading it (almost finished, actually), when I came across a challenge BY Mr. King: starting on pg.  170 to pg. 173, a very large interesting writing prompt was laid out. Check it out for yourself.

The result is the above story. Just about 1,500 words. I’m going to see if he is still accepting this writing exercise, which he so graciously offered eleven years ago. Can’t believe I never read the book before this. Either way, Thank You Mr. King, and Damyanti, and all my critiquers, for giving me the nudges I need at times.

So..what do you think of this?