Tag Archives: Horror

Melt Down (Flash Fiction)

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Have you ever had a melt down?

I mean a 100% complete loss of yourself, driving pain through your body; your chest so numb you can’t feel a damn thing, and your hands and legs shaking to such a magnitude that holding anything and standing unaided is next to impossible? I’m talking core wipe-out mentally, emotionally. You disappear from yourself and the outside, and just sink down, down, down until you are nothing but a molten mass of pure nothing.

It’s an interior nuclear melt down. No way to stop it: it’s a complete collapse of self, the inability to cope with anything more. You can’t escape from it as it mushroom clouds’ inside of you, unsettling your senses and blowing horror winds of despair through your system. The mind blanks, or fixates on one thing, illogical scatterings that bewail the loss of what kept you together.

You are gone now. You’ve melted away. What’s left depends on the severity of the melt down. There is no “half life” at this point. There is “no life”, no caring, no understanding of how to get out of the crater that surrounds the husk.

Words are meaningless, and all the good intentions of friends and family and professionals are jammed into a single space that is defeated by the inner “I can’t handle this anymore.” They watch and talk, they might hover and howl their own frustrations, or speak slowly and softly and tenderly, and it’s all the same. Noise. Noise that really needs to just be silenced.

You pull the covers over you, hiding in a self wrapped cocoon. Day and night have little to no meaning; you prowl the darkness while other sleep, turning on C-Span to bore you to sleep. You open a book or magazine, hoping the drivel on the pages tires your eyes enough to close.

Then come the drugs to “even you out,” and you find oblivion in sleep at times you know you should be awake. Everything passes you by: the job goes, the friends are  back to their lives, the daily calls are now weekly (if), and the family is besides themselves. They check out, one by one, unintentionally, but your melt down has radiated them, and their internal melt down happens.

You try to check out in the bath tub, hearing it doesn’t hurt. It does, for a bit, but the warm water is soothing, and the anti-anxiety meds and the anti-depressants take you to another place. The water is red kool-aid and you haven’t cared about anything, or anyone, or any bit about yourself. There was no self to care about.

Melt down.

Waking up in the hospital, there are stares and tears and questions. You don’t answer. You look away. They’ve swaddled your wrists and tied you down, strapped and IV’d. “It’s for your own good,” comes over the walking loud speakers that surround you, but one by one they all go away, taking their bull horns of sympathy miasma with them. It’s all noise, and the click-clicking of the machines blend into the night nurses morally bankrupt laughing, and the codes and charting checks and the waking up to see if you’ve slept…

The special ward is next.

Have you ever melted down? Have you seen your core at it’s basest level?

I have. It’s not pretty. It’s not nice. It isn’t wholesome or fun or loving or anything you’d want.

That’s why I’m here, locked up. For now.

Wait. Wait for it.

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AUTHOR’S NOTE

Please understand that what appears here on Tale Spinning is always a work of FICTION.

I will sometimes write in First Person (as above).

It does not mean I have done anything suicidal, I have never been locked up, I’ve never killed anyone, never been a woman, etc.

I May write about those things (and have), but…that is the end of it.

How do I know/write things that make people believe I’m just writing a journal?:

First: I’d have to say “good realistic writing” (I’ve heard that enough from others, so..)

Second: I have a LARGE referencing pool,  being a pop culture junkie all my life (TV, Movies, Books, etc)

Third: I do research more times than not.

So…I’ll post this again and again (a few more times) when I write in First Person.

Thanks for reading.

2011 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Abysmal Dollhouse (collected)

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The UnFolding Doll

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

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

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

“I hate what they do to me!” Rend.

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

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

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

The door to the shop unlocked and opened up.

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

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

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

No, Mine!” whispered the Victorian.

Mine!” echoed the hundred others on their perches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Bravo, Nina Leigh. Bravo!”

Light’s down. Curtain closed.

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

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The Shopkeeper : l’histoire duex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She shuddered.

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The Wall of Death

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

Every skull has a death story to tell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Misfortune of Sea Monsters (part one)

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A watercolor of a narwhal from a series of whales painted by Scottish naturalist Sir William Jardine and published in his 4-volume The Naturalist's Library, 2nd Ed. (1845-1864).

Young Ned stood over the dead narwhal’s body, harpoon in hand, searching the foaming swells for his foe. He wiped the salt rime off his face with the long flowing sleeves of his once white shirt. His sister, Ruth, had sewn it for him before this adventure  began, and he missed her dearly.

But, more than homesickness straddled his reserves. He had a monster to vanquish, a fiend from the depths, one that he knew only he could slay. He was quite shirty about it all; the narwhal, an innocent victim of the cruel vagaries of the deep blue. It had swam besides the ship for two and a half days, and he and his shipmates had quickly grew fond of their wayside companion.

A grasping set of tentacles had broken the surface of the roiling sea waters. The narwhal struggled amidst the crushing coils, as a sharp maw out of hell ripped open the amiable creatures’ side. Young Ned was pleased that his harpoon was the one that sent the fiend of the deep back down under. Lowering the rowboat, The Return’s captain, a man of ruddy face no matter the weather, called over the side of his beloved vessel.

“There is nothing ye can do for the poor thing, Ned me lad. Let it be. Don’t want to be stirring up the beast that did this.”

But Young Ned, with the help of Second Mate Meigs, lowered the craft until it gently floated alongside The Return‘s companion. The narwhal floated on the top of the sea, but was lilting towards Davey Jones, fading fast. Meigs steadied the small craft as best he could while Young Ned  reached over and placed a hand on the one-tooth unicorn of the sea. The Arctic water was cold as it splashed on his skin, but Young Ned felt this connection was worth it.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in these waters, Ned. It was huge, like a Kraken coming alive out of legend,” SM Meigs said, a tinge of fear lacing his voice as he espied the waters surrounding them.

“Hafgufa,” Young Ned said quietly, as the narwhal slowly slipped under, it’s ivory horn reaching for the sky.

“What was that?”

“Hafgufa, along the same line of a Kraken, but…I’ve seen these monsters before, in other seas, and heard the tales of many others. This one this particular one…I have seen before. Did you notice the long scar near its razor sharp maw?”

“Aye,” said SM Meigs.

Young Ned stood, holding onto the harpoon he took before boarding the short boat. The brisk wind whipped his tawny hair around him as he stared into the waters. He spoke quietly, but Meigs heard every word:

“My father, Old Ned, put that scar there. It was over ten years ago, but the story is still alive today as if it just happened. My father and his men manned The Örvar-Oddr, a mighty fishing vessel, proud in always bringing in hearty catches. Until one period where fishing was like a drought of the fields. There were sightings of land rising out of the sea, then floating down and away. It was the Hafgufa, its nose sticking out of the water, which was mistaken for two massive rocks rising from the sea.

The disappearance of another fine ship, The Blackwood, with all hands aboard, sent rippling waves among the fishing ships.  Old Ned moved his crew into action when all other captains stayed ashore, fear replacing the blood in their veins. Fear or alcohol, all one and the same.”

“Ned, you’re my best mate, but…I am not wanting to stay out here like this. Finish the tale, but aboard The Return. Please.”

Young Ned nodded  after a moment, and the two made their way to starboard side in silence.

They were attaching the ropes that had waited for them when the water broke around them. A long sucker placed tentacle wrapped itself around SM Meigs chest, lifting him into the air and plunging down into the waters. Young Ned did not hesitate:

He dove into the briny foam of Meigs passing, harpoon in hand.

to be continued…

****************************NEWS AND INFO*********************************

~Damyanti Biswas, on Amlokiblogs, is hosting an article I wrote: Writing In A Shared World. I owe a lot to Damyanti, and I hope you not only read, and comment on, my article, but become a fan of her writing. I know I am.

~The Rule of Three Blogfest-2011 Edition is now closed. We have launched its own webpage: Welcome to Renaissance.  We hosts have a lot of fun things going on, the most important one: May 2012 will see the next REN3 Blogfest!!!! Details to be rolled out in the months to come.

~My eStory, Flash Over, is now available on Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble. Only $ .99! If you like my writing, you’ll enjoy this story. You’ll also help me out: I get 70% of all sales!!!

My first reviewer on Amazon had this to say:

A startling dark story that propels the reader along in a journey through the psyche of a burn victim. Exceptionally well-drawn characters, vivid description, and seamless writing make this story a pleasure to read. However, it was the Poe-like plot twist that made it great. If you appreciate a dark tale that leaves your jaw hanging open, then this well-crafted short read is for you.

I just can’t stop thinking about that ending! A Highly Recommended 5 Star Story.

My Life On The Amazon!

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“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook

ANNOUNCING…

My very first solo eStory on Amazon

My first solo eStory!!

Flash Over is only the first (hopefully) of my ePublications. I hinted at this before, and now it’s the start of the reality.

Thanks to the fine people at Trestle Press I now have an eStory published that is not part of an anthology. It’s 4,000 words long, and it costs just $ .99. I get 70% of that, so…yeah, the more the merrier. Won’t you make me merry? 😉

Product Description: Seth had been devoured by fire. What does a man do when the life of flame becomes as real as his waking life? When the sound of fire is the beat of his blood through his body? When what he sees he lives?

You can find it at Amazon: Flash Over

I have two more stories published, both in charity anthologies, supporting Doctors Without Borders through Ethics Trading (two great ladies: Thank You Sarah & Catrina). You can find them on my brand new Amazon Authors Page. Two volumes, both $3.99, and both support a worthy cause. Please give them a try.

After Dark has my paranormal luv tale of two Trolls and the Ferryperson who tries to come between them. Tongue in cheek fun, with some punnery from me.

Seven other authors make out this wonderful volume of paranormal fun.

Only $3.99; proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders!!!

Dawn of Indie Romance was the first anthology I have a story in. Redhead Riding is, yes, a romance, from ME. That might surprise those who enjoy my creepy stuff.

Again, seven other writers lead to a great book.

As above, Only $3.99; proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders!!!

More to come as I journey down the Amazon.

Candy Stripe Ward: A Tale of The Abysmal Dollhouse

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Other Tales of the Abysmal Dollhouse (in order):

The Unfolding Doll

The Shopkeeper

The Movie House

The Wall Of Death

Candy Stripe Ward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Attack of the Killer Poombies!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“FLOOR IT!” Mom screamed. Dad did.

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

All the Poombies were chasing us.

Attack of the Killer Poombies Read.wma

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

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

Hope you enjoyed this.

The Wall of Death: A Tale of The Abysmal Dollhouse

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

Every skull has a death story to tell. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Other Tales of the Abysmal Dollhouse (in order):

The Unfolding Doll

The Shopkeeper

The Movie House

The Rule of Three Writers Blogfest (click here)

You only have until October 3rd to sign up!

An exciting creative writing challenge:

A shared world concept with over 40 writers joining in!

Be one of them!

Video Trailer 2: The Rule of Three Blogfest

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Join Us In The Rule of Three Writers Challenge BlogFest!

Final Day to Sign Up: Monday October 3, 2011

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

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

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

The Shared World: Renaissance

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

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

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

EVERYONE has a secret!

Welcome to Renaissance.

Enjoy your stay.

For Full Guidelines & List of Prizes: Click Here

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

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

My Teaser Stories Set in Renaissance:

Renaissance: Prissy’s Story

Renaissance: Jewel’s Story


The UnFolding Doll: A Tale fromThe Abysmal Dollhouse

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

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

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

“I hate what they do to me!” Rend.

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

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

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

The door to the shop unlocked and opened up.

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

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

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

No, Mine!” whispered the Victorian.

Mine!” echoed the hundred others on their perches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Bravo, Nina Leigh. Bravo!”

Light’s down. Curtain closed.

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