Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bring in the NEW YEAR

With all the changes this year, I have to admit, I’m really looking forward to bringing in the New Year. I think that this has been my most challenging year so far (that’s not saying much since I’m only 25, but hey). With such crazy developments and changes over the past 12 months, who could blame me?

A rocky front at work has left me missing old co-workers and trying to welcome in the new while trying to stay on top of all the changes. The mindset of “no more euthanasia” for me at the animal shelter has really helped with my sleeping habits, and I can now say I remember what a real night’s sleep is - and I must say, I enjoy it immensely!

Hardships at home were no better. My marriage fell apart and progressed to the point of saying NO to my husband of almost 6 years. Packing his things and moving him out of our house was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. Followed by a messy divorce (that still isn’t anywhere near finished), moving into a new home with my children, and trying to make a Christmas out of nothing (which I did thanks to the help of many great friends), its been a tough year.

Number 1 thing I learned this year through all of the hardships, my children are first and foremost the most important thing in my life, and Number 2, I can do anything I put my mind to, for example, the biggest thing for me, survive, second, be published in a book (I was published in 9!!!), and third, be the best person you can be no matter the situation.

Big things are coming next year, and no I’m not talking about the apocalypse, although it may be coming… I’m talking about progression and moving forward, and a positive outlook for my girls and I.

All the best to us all in 2011!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lost Spirits

His howl echoed through the night like a police siren. I felt a shiver crawl up my back giving me a chill. My eyes struggled against the oncoming darkness and I knew that this little trip up the mountain was a mistake.

Of all nights that I had to trespass into the world of darkness it was this night. I moved my pumpkins closer and watched as the candles sputtered then caught again. In town it was the night of lost spirits set loose to torment and to torture, while on the mountain among the trees and under the new moon it was the night of the wolf.

If the wolf is truly your totem, then on All Hallows Eve you must commit. Candles—the only light to keep you company and if it be willed by the beast of night, then a meeting with he, you shall get.”

“This is stupid.” I whispered out loud to no one but myself. The candles flickered again, their wicks running low. The carved faces of the wolf grinned at me making me wish that I had not brought the pumpkins after all.

I jumped at the sound of an animal sniffing nearby to my left. I pulled my legs up to my chest and rested my chin on my knees. Rocking back and forth to keep from shivering, I told myself that there was nothing I should be afraid of.

A chorus of high pitched wails sang behind me. Instinctively my hands reached for my ears and I felt my eyes growing large as I stared into the night.

I’d spent my whole childhood and the majority of my adult life exploring the mountains but even I knew there were limitations and expectations that grew from the darkness of night. Unprotected and unarmed I felt desperate, exposed, and alone.

I searched the night sky for the moon, and not even an outline was visible against the dark. The full knowledge of it sank into me. I’ve always been aware of the moon cycles, and usually know when it’s going to be full and when it’s not.

Stars twinkled and I began to pick out constellations. I could hear the sounds of small creatures scampering around me, and then something brushed by putting out candles in two of the pumpkins behind me. My hair stood on end and I wondered if I was about to meet with a wolf, my guessed totem, or if I was just scaring myself further into the masochistic state I was in.

Rubbing the cold out of my arms I felt my hair stand on end and I quickly looked straight ahead. Two bright gold eyes were reflected at me just beyond the light of my pumpkins. They sat level with my own and although nature dictated that I should have looked down, I stared straight at them, my eyes daring his to come closer, to overpower me, or to just leave me be. It was a struggle to look at those eyes, for I knew that tonight, the night of the wolf, unarmed and alone I was inferior.

I could feel the weight of the pack as it circled me, moving closer, but still I did not move my eyes. One of us would have to break contact and I was going to do my best to make sure that it wasn’t me. In my peripheral vision I could see other sets of eyes appearing near their alpha.

I stood, not taking my eyes away from his in my small circle of wolf carved pumpkins. Without skipping a beat I saw the wolf raise his eyes and his head to the sky and release his call. The other wolves surrounding me echoed his chorus and suddenly my ears were telling me that with my head towards the blackest black I was echoing that call as well. My heart pounded loud in my ears when I realized that I was the last one howling and that their voices had grown silent.

The candles now having burned through the majority of the night, started to flicker their final goodbyes, and as each glutted to darkness, the wind seemed to whisper that my time had come. I slowly gathered myself, stretching the muscles that had grown tired of sitting. The alpha whose eyes I’d been staring into slipped into darkness as did the others with it. I stumbled out of my circle, toppling pumpkins as I went.

As if being pulled, I followed in hot pursuit. Running after them until my lungs burned, my heart pulsing so fast my chest hurt, and the cold numbing my limbs from exhaustion, and even still, I continued.

I found I could no longer feel myself as one, but saw myself floating over watching as my body ran, falling further and further behind the pack I meant to follow. I watched as my body stumbled, fell, and struggled to get back up. Watching from above and seeing my body giving in to it‘s exhaustion, I left it, left me, and followed the wolves as if in a dream.

I caught up much faster than I would have thought. The pack had surrounded a doe and was circling, preparing to take her down for the kill. Caught up in the excitement of things, I almost begged the nearest wolf to share his body with me. I wanted to feel what it was like to be part of the pack…

***

The chill of the breeze tickling my face along with the feel of ice cold clothing touching my body rose me from my sleep. The sun was already bright overhead. I rolled to my side to find myself amongst scattered pumpkins. Was it all just a dream?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Something to Tide You Over

So I hate but also love how some of my friends are so much more ambitious than I am, right? Well, one of those great friends of mine has been what I call more than ambitious, but for a very great reason.

Richard Godwin has a new book called Apostle Rising that will be available soon for purchase, in the meantime, I want you to gear up for this fabulous read by watching the teaser on his site. Enjoy and anticipate as I am!!!

Apostle Rising by Richard Godwin

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Legend Comes to Life

My eyes strained to see as I groped my way through the heavy mist that had settled.  My foot caught on the edge of one of many headstones that littered the dark floor. Reaching out I barely caught myself before tumbling headfirst into another headstone. Carefully I stood, catching my breath and realized that I had made it. The headstone that had stopped my fall was graced with an ornate angel atop and said to be haunted – for the angel represented the angel of death. What’s the big deal—it’s just as statue, I wondered, until I felt the bite of a sharp blade sliding across the front of my neck.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A New Writing Site / Community

I'm so excited to announce that I have joined forces with Cormac Brown in the creation of a new writing site.

Icarus' Flight To Perfection

This is a once monthly site where you are given a handful of either starter sentences or words to choose from and a few weeks to write and perfect your piece. I highly suggest you check it out!

-Nic

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My Tribute

“Tonight’s the night. The plan goes forward.” Extremists in the Middle East whisper amongst themselves this day. As the specific hour draws near they go to their prayer rugs and kneel down to pray.

Today was the day that a man, bent forward from time boarded an airplane holding his wooden cane. Not knowing that his life was but a thread from death.

Time froze today when men came forward, sharp blades in hand, taking control of the aircraft and everyone aboard.

One flight full of people, whose thoughts were torn, fought back in order to save more. In the end, their heroic act ended with their plane crashing into the mud of a Pennsylvanian field.

This morning nine years ago I walked into school unknowing. As I walked around the corner into my first class, the time around 7:40 am MST, the Television blared bright and loud. CBS was broadcasting a tragedy in the making.

My teacher, a man named “Huck” Shirley came out of his office, tears in his eyes, and looked at the few of us sitting there, on the floor, on desks, standing, wherever we could possibly get the best view of the television from.

“Write.”

I turned to look at him.

“Write, everything, take out a notebook and write. Don’t stop, write about what you are seeing, what you are feeling, thinking, events as they unfold, write. If you are smart you will write all day. There will come a day when your grandchildren will want to know what happened today, and you will not want to forget it, not one single piece of it.”

I was one of the few who did what he said.

I was glued to the Television in my Humanities class the moment the second plane flew into the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center. I watched as people jumped from windows stories high, the clouds of smoke billowing into the sky. I watched as the buildings crumbled, turning into a mess of ash, steel, rubble and stone. I cried. I cried for the loss of so many, I cried for the anger that filled my soul. I cried for Revenge.

Every year on this day, I take out my nine pages of notes hidden away in an old journal, written my Junior year of High School. Every year I reflect on my thoughts at that time, my feelings then, and what I know now.

With two children of my own, the words Mr. Shirley said that morning mean more to me than any I have garnered from any teacher. “Write… When your grandchildren are conducting interviews for school, what will you remember? If you were given the opportunity to interview grandparents who survived WWII and interviewed them, it will be much of the same, how much will you be able to tell them, and what will you tell them of the world before and the world after.”

So take a moment of silence today, to remember the day that united our nation, the day that we all grieved for the loss of people we didn’t even know. Remember 9/11.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Key to the Future (an I Dare You Challenge)

JM Prescott hosts a blog that offers weekly I Dare You challenges. This week, something a little different occured. Paul Phillips has been asked to do a Guest Challenge. His challenge this week for us was this:

All of us humanoids (and semi-humanoids like myself) have been through passages: a passage of time, a passage in our lives that were good or bad, an underground passage and so on. Write something about one of these - or an option of your own - and get it on in. You know you want to! - Paul Phillips

I was stoked to find out that Paul De Denus took home the trophy this week, but I did make Honorable Mention! So, here it is!

HONORABLE MENTION
The Key to the Future

It’s the passage of time that I’ve been expecting. The time I knew was coming since my birth on this desperate planet. It’s what I live for, and what I’ve lived for this entire time.

I wasn’t sure if it was going to look like this, or be like this, I just knew that I would need to be.

They used to call me a guardian, but now they call me THE guardian. I am the sole protector of our future—the future of mankind as we know it. 2012 came and went, and what no one realized was that Armageddon wasn’t meant for 2012. It was meant for 2013. 2012 was the last year that man was supposed to live before God or The Gods destroyed him most utterly.

I now keep a group of fifty, moving them from safety to safety.

There are three other adults, all teachers, or all teachers now; I can’t recall what their previous professions were. The rest are children, ages six and up. The youngest being my own. They are our future, the key to life as we once knew it. My mission was to keep my own two children alive, they had to survive what was coming, and now more so than ever.

The plagues sent upon us have each taught a valuable lesson, of which survival is key. Survival is what I teach, living off the land, treating personal illnesses, and most importantly, how to kill the creatures that haunt Earth’s remains.

The people should have seen it coming, should have known. Earthquakes were the start then storms of tremendous size, volcanic eruptions followed, and lastly a starless and moonless night that covered the sun. A darkness so black that you couldn’t see the hand in front of your very nose. It was during the black out that people disappeared, snatched by something or many somethings that came in the night. Luckily my children were home with me when it hit. This is what I’ve lived for, to be their deliverer.

My best friend knew, just knew as I did that this was what she was meant for. She told me one time that she didn’t see herself progressing on into the future past the point of deliverance. She knew that it was her calling in life to fight to the death for someone she loved desperately. Her daughter is one of the others in my group of occupants. She was safely delivered to me by her mother who then died alongside me fighting the demon souls sent to reign.

The sunlight shrouded in darkness lasted five days. It was after the sun’s face shone that we saw our final plague. Scripture told of Heaven on earth, but didn’t tell us that Angels would be the only ones to glorify it, that they would take their enjoyment from wiping out man as their sacrifice to an unknown deity we call God.

We’ve taught the children to pray, to give thanks daily for our food, our shelters, our safety, for the very breath that we still have. I will not allow the future to be accursed for not giving thanks to a deity if it is what will save them.

As an Aries I’m prone to be fierce, a fighter, a survivor, but I cannot be sure if that alone is why I have been left here. My battles are not against one or many Gods, it’s against time and the creatures who claim themselves king.

Note that this is my testament. I will survive long enough to ensure the safety of my group, and to see that man will once again be favored of God.

I am The Guardian.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

FFF #38 A Simple Request

I know I'm a little late on this one, but the words hit me today, and they had to be written, so forgive me this.
FFF #38 A Simple Request

Like a snake
You coil
Your foul body around...
Careful or
I might
Walk into trouble.

You toil with tools
Not fully understood
While I sit
Watching
Tracking Your
Hidden motives.

Keep sifting
Through the rubble
And maybe-
Just maybe
You’ll find
Something of value.

You’ve hurt me
It’s true
Your
“behind the scene”
Attacks
were brutal.

Moving forward
I’m now doing.
If you’re not careful
You’ll find
The trouble
You’re brewing
Will backfire
And bubble.

So for my sake
And yours
I’m asking you
Woman to woman,
Woman to man-

Please,
STOP
Stewing and brewing
Your hatred
And just leave me
And my writing be.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Do You Know What a Blog Stalker is?

Blog Stalkers or Cyber Stalkers are becoming quite the rage, and no I'm not talking about following your friend's blogs, I'm talking about malicious behavior to try to hurt someone, physically, or mentally or both. I came across an article that I thought interesting... So if you don't know what a blog stalker is, take a look and ask yourself...

Are you a BLOG STALKER?

Cyberstalking aka Blogstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization. It may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex, or gathering information in order to harass. The definition of "harassment" must meet the criterion that a reasonable person, in possession of the same information, would regard it as sufficient to cause another reasonable person distress.
Stalking is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom he has no relationship (or no longer has), with motives that are directly or indirectly traceable to the affective sphere. Moreover, the separated acts that make up the intrusion cannot by themselves cause the mental abuse, but do taken together (cumulative effect).
When identifying cyberstalking "in the field," and particularly when considering whether to report it to any kind of legal authority, the following features or combination of features can be considered to characterize a true stalking situation: malice, premeditation, repetition, distress, obsession, vendetta, no legitimate purpose, personally directed, disregarded warnings to stop, harassment, and threats.
Many cyberstalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them. They post false information about them on websites. They may set up their own websites, blogs or user pages for this purpose. They post allegations about the victim to newsgroups, chat rooms or other sites that allow public contributions, such as Wikipedia or Amazon.com.
When prosecuted, many stalkers have unsuccessfully attempted to justify their behavior based on their use of public forums, as opposed to direct contact. Once they get a reaction from the victim, they will typically attempt to track or follow the victim's internet activity. Classic cyberstalking behavior includes the tracing of the victim's IP address in an attempt to verify their home or place of employment.
Some cyberstalking situations do evolve into physical stalking, and a victim may experience abusive and excessive phone calls, vandalism, threatening or obscene mail, trespassing, and physical assault. Moreover, many physical stalkers will use cyberstalking as another method of harassing their victims.
The current US Federal Anti-Cyber-Stalking law is found at 47 USC sec. 223.
The first U.S. cyberstalking law went into effect in 1999 in California. Other states include prohibition against cyberstalking in their harassment or stalking legislation. In Florida, HB 479 was introduced in 2003 to ban cyberstalking. This was signed into law on October 2003.
I found it interesting all the ways to be able to track and identify them. The Author of one article I found even went so far as to say that most victims are targeted by a mentally unhealthy person who has developed an obsession.

So again, ask yourself:

Are you a BLOG STALKER?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

FFF #37 Impressing the Chicks

As with juggling, the key to life is to keep the procession moving steady and don’t look down. That’s how Evil Kenevil did it.”

“Really?”

“Most likely; dude, how else do you think he survived all of those jumps? He had to of had some type of motto.”

“Guess you’re right, but, I don’t know…”

“Don’t know what? Spit it out Bro.”

“I mean, are you sure I’m all cut out for this? You seem so sure about yourself when you’re riding and all, but this kind of stuff… just scares me.” Brad looked at his older brother questioningly. He was the play baseball, run track type of kid, not the ride dirt bikes and do tricks kind of kid.

“Dude, look the chicks are gonna dig you, that’s what you want, isn’t it?” Eric revved his bike for emphasis. “Now watch what I do, and remember, don’t look down!”

Brad watched as Eric hit the jump at full throttle and landed it perfectly. He revved his bike getting a feel for the clutch, and then thought to himself, Well Evil Kenevil, here goes!

His heart raced, lungs caught in his chest and head screaming, What the hell are you thinking! Brad took to the air. It was the moment that he ignored Eric’s advice and looked down that he realized he was never going to make it to the other side of the jump.

His body reacted of its own accord and he baled from the bike. Brad heard it hit with a loud thud at the top of the return hill while he fell watching the ground race towards him.

Brad made contact with the ground accompanied by a sickening crunch. He passed out before the pain reached him.

Brad woke in the ICU at the hospital and found first that he was connected in every possible way to something and then felt himself alive with all the pain coursing through him.

He could hear Eric talking, “I swear Mom, I knew he could make it, and I told him the same thing Uncle Rob told me, you know, about life and not looking down!”

“It’s a miracle he’s still alive Eric- I swear to God. You’re Uncle’s going to get the reaming of his life.”

Brad heard the door open then shut and saw his mom sit down in the chair next to the bed.

“How bad is it ma?”

“Two broken legs, four broken ribs, two cracked ones, a dislocated shoulder and a broken hand. Brad, you’re lucky you didn’t die! What were you thinking?”

“Guess God didn’t mean for me to be like Evil Kenevil, did he?” Brad tried to laugh, but winced in pain. “Tell ya what Ma, that’s the last time I get on a dirt bike. Screw impressing the chicks.”

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Then said Jesus, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do..."

St. Luke 23:34

Saturday, July 17, 2010

An Ode to Winter: It's Not the Only Chill

A Siren went off in the distance. We were all nervous, even the horse whose ears perked at the sound. Easy boy, we all whispered to him, trying to get the shakes out of our voices. The wind was starting to pick up and it was deathly cold. Even the gulls, it seemed, new better than to be out on a day like that. We waited, stamping our feet, for the man rowing the boat to get to shore where we could take his load. He was alone and we hastened to drop the gate on our wagon. As the last box of cartridges was loaded, we turned back to thank the man, only to find that he was already rowing back to his ship and crew. The salt burned our noses as we waved, although I doubt that he could see us in the fading light. Bone cold, tired, and hungry we decided now was our chance to get back.


My grandfather’s voice faded as I stared at the old photograph wondering what it would have been like to have been watched, photographed, and then fired upon. The heat wave of the bombs dropped the next morning was said to have burned shadows onto buildings. What would it have been like? My mind tried to come to terms with that of a WWI survivor and fell short. Removing my eyes from the picture, I looked at the dusty old film reel at the bottom of the box.

“Daddy, can we go home yet?” My daughter’s voice echoed to where I was at downstairs. Would she remember him?

“No, baby, Daddy has lots to do to help clean out Grandpa’s house. Do you want to come and see some pictures?” Her light footsteps treaded on the old wooden stairs.

“Are they pictures of Grandpa?” Her four year old voice told me that these pictures would hold more memories than his brief presence in her small life and I was struck with another wave of grief.

God be with you till we meet again.

FFF# 36 Shopping with Women

In the distance I saw all kinds of birds circling over something, but I couldn’t tell what from where I was. I was getting pissed off! The closer I tried to get the further it seemed to be.”

Looking at it from your point of view, then yeah, I would be pissed also.”

You know that feeling when you wake up sweating and think ‘thank goodness it was only a dream’?

“Yeah, who doesn’t?”

“Well, finally I managed to make it over to what the birds were circling, and it scared me so bad that it woke me up.”

“So what the hell was it?”

“It was my mother-in-law.”

“Did you tell your wife?”

“Hell no, she already knows I can’t stand the woman, and if this comes out, then there’ll be no more sex for a month.”

“Damn, she’s got you whipped!”

“Shut up you fucker. And what about you, Mr. Purse holder?”

“Hey, at least she buys purses that aren’t way girlie like your wife, I could at least get off saying that this one’s a murse.”

“A what?”

“A murse.”

“And what the hell is a murse Larry?”

“You know, a man purse.”

“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard all day.”

“Shhh, here they come.”

***

“Oh hey honey, did you and Shelly find what you were looking for?”

“Yeah, take look at the new purse I helped Shelly pick out!”

“That’s a cute one for sure, isn’t Larry?”

“Sure is.”

“Let’s go look at shoes Maggie.”

“I saw some great ones a few shops back, here you boys can hold these bags for us."

“Okay hun.”

***

“Looks like no more Murses for you, purse boy.”

“Fuck you.”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

WOOHOO!

How EXCITING!!!
I've now been published in my
6th book this year!

Interested in Purchasing?

Monday, July 12, 2010

FFF #35 Disillusions of a Chemical Compound

“I don’t disagree with you, but you have to admit, this puts me in a delicate position.” In truth, Sean thought she was more than half mad.

“Will you help me?” Bridgett knew that she was asking a lot of her friend.

Sean shook his head, her plead was innocent, but the fear in her eyes had shaken him. “Yeah, I guess so, but I don’t know how much help I can really be.”

Bridgett pushed her glasses back up her nose, nodded her head, and turned back towards the door, “I’ll call you once I know how to proceed.” She hesitated at the door, hand on the knob. She turned and stole a short glance back, “And Sean, thank you.” It was barely a whisper but just enough that he heard it.

He watched her walk out of his office then sank into his overstuffed chair behind his desk. Never had he heard such an outlandish story, and never in a million years did he expect that he would promise to help his best friend spy on his boss.

He opened the daily paper for the first time today and his interest peaked when he read the headline taking his mind momentarily off of Bridgett’s request.

***

Bridgett half expected to run into Dr. O’Conner on her way out of the building and prayed that she wouldn’t say or do anything that would lead him to suspect she knew something about his wild rampages.

She knew what she had seen, and even the look on Sean’s face told her that her story was bordering on insanity. A man turning into a monster, climbing rooftops, chasing unsuspecting women, it was absurd, yet she knew what she had seen with her own two eyes, and they had never before led her astray. She didn’t allow herself to think of the other horrific events she had witnessed the previous night.

She made it out of the building and onto the street without mishap and as she walked around the corner to her car she worked on steadying her racing heart.

***

Dr. David O’Conner looked around him in surprise when he woke with a start. He was lying huddled behind a large dumpster in an alleyway and had no recollection how he had gotten there. His clothes hung in tatters, dirty and covered in a crusty layer of something dark in the early morning light. Even with the confusion as to where he was and the amnesia he seemed to be suffering from, he felt euphoric.

It was the best walk home he could ever remember having.

“July 12, 2010. The mixture that I found in the old case did not prove fatal, but did however cause a form of amnesia along with a nice high when I awoke. This may be the tonic that I’ve been searching for, but will not know until I can find further proof of my outings after drinking the potion. I will try again tonight.” Dr. O’Conner pushed stop on his tape recorder and looked at his ruined clothes lying on the floor in the corner of his bedroom. He couldn’t possibly imagine what kind of trouble he had gotten into last night to rip his clothing to shreds nor could he figure out where the dried blood came from. He had searched his body over this morning and found no signs of cuts or bruising.

***

Sean waited for his boss to come in, they were very late for an important meeting with the university and he knew Dr. O’Conner to be a very strict man when it came to time. He had tried his house and his cell numerous times only to get the answering machine or voicemail.

“Damn it, David! Where the hell are you?” He questioned to only himself. Finally seeing no way around it, he called out to Madeline, his secretary, and demanded she call the University and tell them that he was on his way.

His last call to Dr. O’Conner ended with a rather gruff voicemail, “David, I don’t know where the hell you are, but you better not leave me hanging in front of the Dean at the University or I swear to God…” Sean knew he better just hang up and not finish that sentence. He hastily paid the cabbie and headed in to his meeting.

***

Bridgett dressed in her darkest clothes, hard to find considering she was a light person, and her wardrobe was packed with bright colors. It was almost dark and she had a long walk ahead of her if she was going to find her way back to the place to spy on Dr. O’Conner.

She threw on the midnight black cloak she had purchased from an antique peddler on her way home from her meeting with Sean. It smelled of mothballs and of being shut up for far too long.

Bridgett opened the long locked away chest in her bedroom that held things she had inherited from her father when he had died and took out an ancient military short sword lashed it to her belt and her father’s .45 Colt. She loaded it with shaking fingers and stuffed it into the back of her pants.

Bridgett stepped in front of her full length mirror and pulling the hood up over her head she thought she looked like something from Van Helsing. The handle of her sword glinted from just behind the edge of the cloak and her deep green pant leg ended when it met a black military style boot.

Thank God her father was a small man otherwise some of his old things would never have fit.

***

Dr. O’Conner placed the video recorder on the bookshelf in his office at home and turned it to record. Stepping back and near his desk, he looked directly at the camera.

“July 12, 2010, my name is Dr. David O’Conner and I am testing a tonic that I have acquired to see if it has the desire effects it claims to have.”

He took the small vial out of the weathered brief case and held it up to the camera. With a dramatic flick of his hand he drank the vial down and waited.

Dr. O’Conner thank you for giving me free reign once more.

Dr. O’Conner looked around the room, his eyes wide. “Who’s there?”

He turned in a full circle and seeing no one thought he must have been hearing things. He shrugged his shoulders and settled down into his favorite reading chair and pulled out his latest historical crime novel.

***

“Sean! Sean! Oh God Sean!”

“Calm down Bridgett! Take a deep breath and tell me what the hell is going on!”

Between Sobs, Bridgett tried to spit out her story of seeing Dr. O’Conner leave his home and in the field behind his house change to a horrible beast that resembled something like a giant.

“Bridgett! Have you been drinking? Where are you, I’ll come pick you up.” That seemed to catch her off guard, and he could hear her take a deep breath.

“I have to go Sean - he’s on the loose again. I have to follow him!”

With that the phone clicked off and Sean sat stunned looking at the wall across from him.

***

Bridgett had been following the beast most of the night. She thought beast but wasn’t sure what else to call it other than a giant, but that wouldn’t be right either. He still looked like a man, just a huge one.

Her hurried conversation with Sean she knew would leave him with questions, and with any luck maybe he would find it in himself to go to Dr. O’Conner’s home and have a look around.

She didn’t stay long to look at the girl that the beast had killed, raped, and then fed from. He was so fast that she didn’t have much of a choice but to keep running after him.

He had climbed onto a roof top again and was racing farther away from her. She rounded a corner and looking up saw that she had lost sight of him. A feeling of disappointment and dread filled her and she wondered who the next unlucky woman would be who would befall the creature.

***

The creature who had taken over Dr. O’Conner’s body knew he was being followed. He could smell her dying perfume on the breeze and see her shadow as she raced after him. Her smell was intoxicating. She wanted him, he knew it, and his instinctual side told him that he could not stalk what was stalking him. Finally seeing his opportunity he turned and followed his new prey.

***

Sean sat in his chair upset over Bridgett’s phone call, but even more upset that Dr. O’Conner had stood him up in front of the Dean. He was not impressed. The presentation had not gone well at all, and part of that he blamed on stress of worrying about his no-show boss.

He poured himself a glass of scotch and after slugging it down, poured another. With a new resolve he grabbed his coat off the coat tree and went to get into his car. He had some questions that needed answers.

***

Bridgett walked slowly back to where she had parked her car a little ways away from Dr. O’Conner’s home. All that running had taken a lot out of her and she was also trying to sift through many thoughts of confusion, fear, and the unknown.

Her body registered fear before her mind. Something behind her shuffled and stifling a cry she turned to see what was behind her in the dimly lit street.

She saw nothing and drew closer to the buildings lining the side she was closest to. Putting her hand on the sword hilt and another on the gun she waited trying to make her body stop shaking and willing courage to help her in whatever might occur.

She felt something sticky drip onto her shoulder then smelled a foul odor on the air above her. Without thinking she quickly ripped the sword out and straight up into the air above her. She heard a grunt as it sank into something solid then her world went black.

***

Sean pounded on Dr. O’Conner’s door and after about ten minutes of no answer he finally tried the door. It wasn’t locked and stood partially ajar. He let himself in and called out as he went, “David, David are you here?”

He finally made his way to the home office and noticed an open briefcase containing a few vials full of liquid and across the room a camcorder the red light still showing that it was recording.

He pushed stop and rewound the tape. More questions filled his mind as he listened to and watched the short documentary prepared by Dr. O’Conner. He also watched as a change seemed to take over the man in the chair reading before he stood and left the room with a wicked smile on his face.

Sean gathered up the vials and the briefcase then took them back to his apartment where he figured he would do some testing to see what the vials contained.

***

The beast held Bridgett tightly under his arm as he ran the rooftops towards the edge of town. An old church stood as the last remaining marker of the city limits. His laugh broke through the fog in Bridgett’s mind. Opening her eyes she saw the beast that held her and a scream ripped through the night sky.

An evil smile looked down at her as he stopped on top of the old church and set her down on the rooftop. His laughter made her cringe and the drool sliding down the left side of his chin made her nauseous.

“What do you want with me?” Bridgett managed to squeak.

“The same thing you want with me honey.” His gruff voice seemed to coo as he held her up and buried his face in her hair.

She tried with all her strength to push him away from her but to no avail. “Dr. O’Conner? Dr. O’Conner I know you’re in there.” She cried, “Please Doctor let me go.”

More laughter broke her pleading. She became submissive knowing it would do no good to fight as he started ripping her clothes away from her body. “Dr. O’Conner is out, and I’m afraid he’s no longer accepting appointments.” A Sob welled in Bridgett’s chest threatening to come out. “You’re in the company of one Mr. Hyde.” Another throaty laugh echoed around her.

***

Such an odd combination of compounds, Sean thought to himself as he dissected the potion in the vial. He knew his chemistry skills would come in handy one day. I’m surprised that drinking this didn’t kill the man!

***

Dr. O’Conner awoke closer to home this time but in a grove of trees. His clothes shredded again hung around his body. He had the faint suspicion that he might have ran into someone he knew the night before, but couldn’t be certain. The amnesia it seemed won out again.

As he made his way through the back door to his house and into the office, he noticed that the briefcase with the vials was missing. In its place the camcorder that had been on the shelf was lying open the tape missing.

***

Somewhere in the darkness of the outer world, Mr. Hyde waited in anticipation of the next doctor who would pick up the vials and set him free once again. He licked his lips in anticipation knowing that the world of Dr. O’Conner was much more fascinating than the world of Dr. Jekyll.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Please Tell Me I'll Wake Up Now

It had been more than a rough patch—this was what she called life dishing out its worst right when she needed it the least. She had called her brother and told him she was coming home to visit, that she just needed to feel normal again, if only for a day or two.

Haunted by fleeing remnants of his dream he awoke nauseous and knew he needed to call his sister. His unanswered calls left a sinking feeling in his stomach, and he knew she was in trouble.

The obituary was a wakeup call to many and the funeral even more so: a sleepy semi driver had stolen their whole world in less than a few minutes and kept driving not realizing that it was a car he hit – not a deer. “I’m sorry for your loss” didn’t cover the brother's grief knowing that he was the last person his sister had confided in.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sacrifice (This includes all 3 Parts)

The children had quit crying and now sat clinging, terrified, to their mother. Her pleas were silenced by his chanting. The words of the ritual echoed deep within her and her body began to dance to the flickering candles against her will. She was a lamb being sent to the slaughter house. With fear in her eyes she watched as her hand picked up the blade before her. She screamed silently when her hand plunged it into her heart.


***

The boy sat quietly next to the man who had taken care of him for the last six months now. He called him papa, but knew that he wasn’t. Occasionally, a lingering memory of his mother would sneak into his dreams and he would wake. The truck rattled across the icy road. A heavy wind gust picked up and the boy snuggled even closer to his papa. Papa had told him that today was Sunday and that they were headed to a church service.

***

He felt the boy move in closer and put his arm around him. The boy, a miscalculation from the last ritual, was someone he felt himself becoming attached to. He felt the heavy candles in his pockets and the cold steel of the blade in his boot; it had to end tonight. He had been searching months for the perfect sacrifice to put an end to the heavy Russian winter. He felt the truck slowing and knew this was their stop. He helped the boy out and they headed on their way to meet an unsuspecting woman and celebrate the end of winter with a sacrifice of two.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Choices

“There must be some mistake!” I cried as I turned to look at him from the rain filled basin. “This can’t be my life!” God just smiled and put his arm around me.

“Well, I guess you better choose the other side of the coin then if you expect to live it another way.”

Monday, June 28, 2010

Great News Today!!!


I found out this morning that the piece I wrote for The Mysterious Dr. Ramsey contest was accepted into the latest 6 Sentence Anthology Book.


Interested in purchasing this fun book of Flash?
Click HERE

Inside the Curious Mind of ME

All I’ve been able to do since watching The Silence of the Lambs today while my kids were napping and Red Dragon last weekend when they were away, is think about the mysterious mind of Dr. Hannibal Lector. He’s always on my mind, sometimes in the front like tonight, and at other times slinking around in the dark shadows and crevices. If ever there was a person that I would want to meet it would be him, don’t ask me why, it’s just an infatuation, or so I keep telling myself. I want to know how his mind works; after all I love his infectious mind games that he plays with the FBI agents and his psychiatrist, it keeps me wanting to know more and why they never really ask is beyond me. I’ve always had a thing for cannibals, and I guess that’s why I love vampires so much… they are so similar yet not so. I wish he had a journal to his mind, something tangible that I could read through, because then maybe I could find the answer to the one question I constantly ask my sick and twisted self: how was it that he became what he was?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Born to Kill

His smell permeated my senses causing me to change targets. A much more primal instinct overtook me and suddenly I could see him standing amidst the large group fighting for the government handouts. Starve the people until the threats could be removed, had been their orders for the last year. The government had seen a drop in morale in the troops, especially those employed that weren’t natural born killers, like me. I was disgusted for having to beg, but still I followed suit until I was standing just behind him; I leaned in close and whispered “gotcha”. His surprised expression never registered to those around him. My kiss on his neck had turned him to stone that simply disintegrated, dust was all that was carried away on the light breeze.

A Lucky Find

I couldn’t get the image out of my mind. It was difficult trying to picture the young boy finding the treasured painting that was hiding up in the attic.


It was a masterpiece, no, not like the masterpieces that we normally think of, but this was the beginning of the mastermind of one of the greatest artists who lived. Antonio Bertatoli, whose grandparents had migrated to the states from Italy shortly after World War II to the ghetto streets of New York, was a legend that would take the world by storm. His paintings amazed even the most reknowned at an early age and it was easy to see why.

A chest found in the attic by this little boy contained the beauty of the young Antonio and all I could do was sit next to the bid chart and draw spirals wondering what the boy thought he was uncovering.

A pair of yellow gloves hung out of my back pocket waiting for me to take them out again in order to place the prized watercolor / charcoal mix into its protective frame.

A nasty thought came to my mind, could I? Was there any way whatsoever that I might possibly? No, this is 2030 after all, there would be no possible way for me to steal the painting and get away with it.

I placed the prized possession in its frame and sealed the vault. Taking my notebook and bid sheet with me, I knew what questions would await from the museum, silently preparing myself with the answers.

While closing and locking the door, I decided to tell them that I needed a raise, and yet, I know that I will be no closer to getting it than the janitor or security guard.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Losing Battle

“Mom, I think you should let me drive today.” She looked at me with those gorgeous blue eyes that were always hard to turn down.

“No way! Why would I ever pass up the option to drive, especially now?” I stubbornly questioned her.

“Just because the cars hover now doesn’t mean you can drive all wreckless.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, you drive like a bat out of hell Mom, and add that to road rage, you can be downright scary to ride with!”

“Well Hun, all I really want to do is see how these hover cars work, and if they are any more fun to drive than the regular old cars.” I whined. I knew I was losing.

“Mom, these aren’t the things of the past that you are used to driving in po dunk USA. I think you should probably take a driving course.”

“Driving Course!” I was appalled, I passed Driver’s Ed with flying colors, granted it was back in 2002.

She sighed, “Well Mom, it is 2030 after all.”

This was inspired by today's Thinking Ten prompt of 2030. Thought I would try something a little different!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A MUST READ!!!

One of my good friends, Richard Godwin, has a piece up @ The NOT right now, called the ICONOCLAST.

This is one of the best pieces of writing that I have ever read and I highly recommend it for EVERYONE to read!

Historical Fiction, Art, Noir, Crime, its all packed in there perfectly.

So what are you waiting for??? Go READ IT NOW!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Personal Business

“Velcome Monsier!”

“Merci, Madam Cochette!”

“Zee, I tol’ jou dat jou ‘ould catch on.”

“Yes, yes, even if it’s only a little.” David didn’t dare admit, but when Mrs. Madelyn Cochette flashed a smile at him, something made him feel slightly uncomfortable. He wasn’t sure if it had something or everything to do with her youthful face, or something else. “You have a beautiful home here Madam.”

“Oh, please, call me Madelyn, et dis is my ‘ome, Le Chateau Cheval Blanc.” She turned on her heel and led him from the parlor to her study. “I ‘ope my doorman greeted jou properly.”

“Yes, yes indeed.” David was hoping to get past all the small talk and to his insurance update for the young Madelyn Cochette quickly in order to get back home to his wife. He had to be frank with himself; he didn’t trust himself around her.

“Can I get jou zomeding to drink David?” Her emerald green eyes seemed to be drawing him in.

David tried to speak, but it came out in a squeak. Clearing his throat, he tried again, “No, I’m quite alright, thank you.”

“Ef jou insist. Now, David, tell me about ze accountz.” The small talk was over it seemed.

David rushed to get through his prepared speech. Madelyn was a good listener and always remembered what he told her. As she questioned him about each detail, he darted glances all over the room, and wondered if he was being recorded.

“David, did jou ‘ere me?”

He snapped out of his thinking trance. “Er, no, I’m sorry.”

“Do jou ‘ave oder dingz on jour mind? We can discuzz dis at anoder time, perhaps?” Her response startled him.

“No, Mrs. Cochette—Madelyn, I mean. This is fine.”

“Are jou zure? I don vant to ve keeping jou vrom someding.”

“No, no, I’m sure I will be fine.” David desperately lied. He had to get out of her house. She was oh so enticing and he didn’t want to cross the client / personal boundary line with such a woman as Madelyn. She was smart, witty, but also destructive – and David didn’t feel like being on her wrong side today.

“Shall ve talk about zomeding else, David? Vat jear vere jou born?” Caught off guard, David stammered for an answer. “Vat jear David?” She commanded.

“Uh…er… 1947.” He finally managed to spit out. What was it about her that made him squirm so?

“Very good David, zuch a great jear 1947 vas.” She smiled to herself and he wondered what she was talking about.

“I guess so, I mean, I wouldn’t really know, you know?”

“Oh David! Ef only jou could ‘ave been dere. Such vundervul musique et danzing. Et vas tres magnifique!”

David wondered what she was talking about. The young Madelyn couldn’t be any older than twenty five and it was 2010 for Christ’s sake.

“Well, I had best be going.” David tried to make a move towards the door, his attempt to hide his discomfort failed.

“No, no, no, David, jou must ztay, I enzist! Ve ztill ‘ave much to talk about.” Her smile had a mischievous tint to it.

“But I think-”

“No, David, do not dink about anyding.” He stood stiffly as she approached and put her hands around his neck. A shiver ran down his spine as she leaned in close and lightly planted two kisses, one on each cheek. Her lips lingered near his ear after the second kiss, “Jour blood David, it zmellz like an old bottle ov vine.”

Before David could think to push her away and make for the door, Madelyn’s deadly fangs sank into his jugular.

David’s last thought as his blood ran dry was: Is this dream a fantasy or a nightmare?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

FFF #33 - The Secret Passage

It was a shortcut that I would regret for the rest of my life, and one that I certainly have done.

No one knew what we were up to or where we went. We always spent our time exploring, and finding new places to check out to make use of our creative minds.

I don’t really remember now how we even stumbled up on the place, just that we did. It had been in the spring / start of summer; we were spending a lot of time outdoors again.

Between my house and hers there was a lot of undeveloped property. Granted we only lived, you know, maybe a little over half a mile from each other if you were lucky, but this made things a lot more interesting and we figured it shortened the distance, even if it was only by just a little.

Behind Charlotte’s house there was a ditch, a large irrigation ditch and just on the other side of that was a large man hole with pipe that ran diagonally from her house to the field about a half a block from mine. What made it really exciting was that it went underground!!! When we had found the pipe to begin with it was an instant hit and we gathered flashlights and headed down below to find out where it went.

The pipe was large at first, large enough for two almost teenage girls to fit through and crawl in. It wasn’t until about oh say a little over half a block before the pipe began to get smaller. There was one spot where it even got so small that we could barely wiggle our way through on our bellies using our elbows as leverage to pull us forward.

Our ‘secret passage’ as we called it was also our hideout. It was pretty cool once you could get past the creepy spider webs and the waves of claustrophobia that hit. We would make sandwiches and hideout from our parents there, from friends we didn’t want to spend time with, or just if we were having a bad day.

Eventually the summer ended and Charlotte and I were expected to head back to school. Throughout the fall we used our shortcut and hideout to travel from each other’s houses, home and back. The following spring there were suddenly big plans to develop part of the field behind Charlotte’s house.

We ignored the large equipment and kept at our usual quests to discover. Never once did we give a second thought about the danger or risks involved in using the “shortcut”.

We both had grown a little and it was even tighter to get through the small pipe opening in the middle where things shrunk considerably, but still we managed.

It was about a week before school was about to start when it happened. We had been talking about the new houses that were being built just behind Charlotte’s house. They were huge and expensive. Worried about school work and home we needed a break; we headed for our secret passage and climbed in. We had sat inside and talked for a little while before deciding to head towards my house.

We had just managed to get to the halfway point where the pipe and us were a tight fit. I yelled back and told Charlotte, “Man, we’re gonna have to stop coming this way, I can barely fit!”

“I think you’re right.” Came the muffled reply.

I was almost through, wiggling as quickly as I could when I heard the roar. We still had a good half a block to go before we reached the next man hole to get out. The noise pounded my ears like thunder striking right outside your window. I heard an “OH GOD” before the rush of cold water hit me from behind. Small spaces scare me a little, but water scares me a lot, combine the two and you have one terrified person. I scrambled, holding my breath to make it through the tight tunnel until I could get out. I had made it to the end and scrambled up the ladder. I clambered over and sat trying to catch my long lost breath on the cement encasement. The minutes seem to drag on waiting for Charlotte to emerge from the tunnel. After waiting what I thought had to be close to ten minutes and not seeing her come out I ran as fast as my thirteen year old legs could carry me to home.

Two hours later with a back hoe, a crew of EMS rescue, firefighters, a water master, and a whole bunch of sheriffs, the skinny part of the pipe was exposed and being cut open with ‘jaws of life’.

I was questioned thoroughly before, during, and after my best friend’s funeral about our adventures in the pipe and suddenly I found myself ever regretting that we had found it.

I mean really, as far as shortcuts go, it actually took us more time in the long run because of all the crawling and wiggling we had to do than to just walk the normal distance on city provided sidewalks.

Each fall I leave a note of I’m sorry with a small piece of pipe that I buy from the hardware store. It serves as memory that I somehow survived when she didn’t and when I shouldn’t have, but other than that I can’t tell you why. Just that it’s a prompting that I have.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Every Breath You Take

The ‘No Trespassing’ sign was dangling from the fence like a bloodied tooth before the final pull. I pushed the gate open to expose the long deserted property that lay behind it. No one knew about this place, and if they did, it was just a memory that had long been forgotten.

I pulled her limp body out of the trunk of my car and walked past the open gate following the well beaten path that wound down into the trees.

***

“Hey Trent, what’s your part in this whole talent show / skit thing?” Ronnie asked. It was hard to hear him above the auditorium full of students on the other side of the curtain.

“I told you Ronnie, the band and I are gonna rock the place!” My enthusiasm was apparent. The band had been over at my house the entire week practicing for this. I was planning on singing to her then giving her a promise ring, I knew she was the girl I wanted to marry. She was perfect.

“STONEHAM HIGH, ARE YOU READY FOR SOME ROCK-N-ROLL?” The announcer shouted.

The whistles and screams were our ‘Q’ and we headed out on stage, Max and Derek with their guitars and Dusty with his drum sticks. I had the mic.

“I’d like to dedicate this song to my girl, Bree!”

The band started up the music and I started in with the lyrics, “Every breath you take, and every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you…”

I could see her face flush when I sang out, “Oh, can’t you see, you belong to me, how my pour heart aches, with every step you take…”

The school was wild when we finished the song and I couldn’t see Bree any longer.

After taking hundreds of bows, the group and I finally made it back stage. On top of all the cases for our equipment I found a stuffed animal along with a hastily handwritten note:

Trent,

I’m sorry, but I can’t be your girlfriend anymore. I’m in love with someone else and I haven’t been able to find a way to tell you. I’m so sorry.

Bree

***

I laid the body down on the cold dirt floor in the cellar underneath the dingy cabin. Her eyes began to flutter and I waited patiently for her to come to.

I smiled down at her. I could hardly hear her whisper, but knew exactly what was said, “Trent.”

“Bree. I’ve waited a long time for this.”

Tears seeped from the corners of her terrified eyes.

“Don’t be scared Bree. You knew something like this would happen, or you should have. How could you have forgotten the song that I sang?” I asked her as I gently stroked her face with the back of my hand. “We were high school sweethearts, and meant to be together forever.”

She struggled to sit up.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” I said as I pushed her back down and stuck her with a needle. Her body went limp again. I continued to explain to her, “You see, I’ve been watching you…”

I reached over her to turn on an old tape player then began to pour colored sand from a bottle into her mouth and down her throat.

As I watched Bree’s life fade, I sang along with the tape, “Since you’ve gone I’ve been lost without a trace, I dream every night where I can only see your face, I look around and it’s only you I can’t replace…”

When the song was finished, along with her life, I packed her sand filled body outside to the old well. I held a moment of silence, then dropped her body into the darkened hole. With new hopes of being able to move past her again, I walked back up the beaten path to the open gate.
----------------------------

Song:
The Police, Every Breath you take

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

FFF #32 Betrayal & Revenge...

So much for plan B, Marci thought to herself as she hit the ground running. Tonight I’m going to kill the bastard!


The apartment she had just left was her best friends, and when she didn’t receive any answer after ringing her intercom, she booked it over to the emergency chute stairs and raced up them. They had been left down for times when Tiff wouldn’t answer the intercom because she had her ear buds in playing too loud.

Marci had climbed the four flights of stairs to Tiff’s window and peered inside. She could hear music coming from the spare bedroom. She slid the window up and climbed through.

***

As Marci rounded the corner near Stoneham High School she tripped on the curb. She had been too busy trying to get the image out of her head that she wasn’t paying attention to her footing.

When Marci had searched the apartment except for the spare bedroom, not sure if someone was staying there or not, and found the place vacant of Tiff, she had no choice left. She hesitated with her hand on the door knob and willing herself forward, Marci pushed open the door. What awaited her was something she never expected. Tiff and Marci’s fiancĂ©, Brad, were going to town. Marci quickly shut the door and without thought raced back to the window and down the chute stairs.

How Marci had made it down the stairs without killing herself was a miracle, but now, sitting on the curb, tears welling in her eyes, Marci tried not to scream with rage as she looked at her ripped pants and skinned knee.

A thought hit her sitting on the curb. There was only one thing in this world that mattered more than any woman, it was that damn pickup. He had taken it to his Gran’s and hid it there so it wouldn’t be hit at the wedding party next week. The damn wedding! Well so much for that too!

Marci picked herself up and took off running again, but this time with purpose in mind.

***

The ‘No Trespassing sign’ was dangling from the fence like a bloodied tooth before the final pull.

Brad had brought Marci to the property many times. He was insistent that she know where all of his family lived and or where they all hung out.

The thick trees gave an eerie feeling, but Marci knew it was just because of what she had in mind.

There were only two large sheds on the property. Coming up on the first, she took a deep breath. Gripping the doors with both hands she heaved backward forcing the doors to open. There is sat, his beauty. The only thing that truly mattered to him, the unfaithful bastard! The shed was full of useful items for what she had in mind to do.

Reaching first for the crowbar that leaned against the wall, Marci took it in hand. Seeing before her eyes the image of two bodies moving together, she took her first swing. The rage within forced her to continue and before long all the windows were smashed and she had left dents all across the body. Flakes of cobalt blue littered the ground and stuck to the crowbar.

A large pair of scissors from the work bench was used to take the leather off the seats. Marci poured paint thinner across the carpet and dumped what was remaining over the engine. A full gas can was placed in the back of the bed and with matches from the corner near the old woodstove; Marci lit the match and threw it into cab of the truck.

Flames roared behind her as she hurried back to the gate.

Climbing over the fence, Marci wondered what Tiff’s excuse for betrayal would be.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Guest Write - Teresa Cortez

Greenpark Glow

Greenpark Radiology was my first full-time job after x-ray school. St. Elmo’s Fire was on VHS video by then, 1986, the theme song often playing on the radio as I drove to Houston’s Medical Center in the mornings, I can see a new horizon/Underneath the blazin’ sky / I’ll be where the eagles / Flyin’ higher and higher...

The movie and song underscored the selfish passions and short-sightedness of most 22 year-olds. The film characters were my age, their whole lives ahead of them, luminous particles, blue flames. I never thought beyond their invincibility.

I learned I was pregnant with my first child during the first week on the job. My manager, Randy, wasn’t thrilled. I assured him I was just as surprised as he was and that the pregnancy wouldn’t affect my job performance. He gave me a "we’ll see" look as we discussed the details of radiation exposure during pregnancy and how much maternity leave I could take.

I kept my promise and worked just as hard as anyone else. I wore heavy lead aprons and lifted 14x17 cassettes which weighed at least a pound each; there were six to ten of these necessary for every barium enema we performed, plus a few 10x12's and 11x14's, all juggled in a rush before the patient lost barium all over the room. It wasn’t easy work.

When not in fluoroscopy I worked in mammography. The job wasn’t physically taxing but required more sensitivity; patients often came in scared, either of the procedure itself or the possibility of cancer. When I was eight weeks pregnant a patient came in with a lump in her breast. Her situation was complicated by the fact that she was also eight weeks pregnant. We worked carefully around her pregnancy, the delicate first trimester, a critical stage of development and sensitivity to radiation.

The patient’s name was Pam. She was 29 years old, tall with thick dark hair past her shoulders. As I wrapped the lead apron around her pelvis we talked about our pregnancies. She’d struggled for ten years to conceive. Her baby was a miracle.

Both of Pam’s breasts felt abnormally firm but I figured this was due to pregnancy changes. Then her films emerged from the processor showing tiny flecks, like sand, scattered throughout both breasts.

I took the images to the radiologist, Dr. Gregg, "Is this what I think it is?"

"Inflammatory breast cancer? Yes, I’m sorry to say," then he called Pam’s obstetrician to discuss the terrible diagnosis.

There are many types of breast cancer and Pam had the most aggressive type. She was young and full of pregnancy hormones which would ignite the cancer as a lit match to straw. Her prognosis was grim.

Pam’s doctors recommended she have both breast removed and undergo chemotherapy. They would have to take the baby. I was devastated for her. She didn’t deserve this. No one did.

Randy was missing a lot of work around this time. He was openly homosexual and cases of AIDS were increasing. We feared the worst but were prepared when he returned to work and announced that he was indeed infected with the disease but taking AZT. It was supposed to be the new miracle drug.

Randy had hidden his sexual orientation at his previous job, even going so far as to have a picture of a dead woman on his desk claiming it was his fiancée. He "came out" just before taking the management job at Greenpark . But he never came clean with the lies he told about his childhood, claiming to have grown up with a nanny in a mansion and to have attended prestigious boarding schools, etc. He told us his well-to-do parents were dead.

The AZT took its toll. It made Randy too sick to work, leaving him wilted in the file room on a fold-up chair. "I can’t do this," he’d say.

During his last day before taking a leave of absence he said while slumped against a countertop in the employee lounge, "When you wake up every morning, you better live for yourself . Put yourself first ."

His words made me uncomfortable but I agreed to follow his advice. He later removed a few personal items from his desk, photos of exotic vacations, happier times, and placed them carefully in a cardboard box. Dr. Gregg and another technologist helped him carry his things to the elevator. Randy and I waved to one another as the doors were closing. I never saw him again.

***

A decorator was hired to redo a small room we weren’t using at Greenpark. She hung stunning wallpaper, replaced the carpet with a warmer, softer plush. She put two wingback chairs in far corners of the room, a round table and small lamp between them. It was now the nicest room in the suite and labeled "the news room", the place where patients received their mammogram results.

I watched as the final finishing touch was added, a small dried flower arrangement placed on the small table. I was mentally preparing myself to make the call for my own HIV results; I’d asked to be tested due to the pregnancy and paranoia of the times. I made the call from a payphone outside our office, terrified after watching Randy’s nightmare. I thought of him, now living at home in Dallas with parents who weren’t dead after all. They weren’t well-to-do. They’d never lived in a mansion, hired nannies or placed their son in any sort of boarding school. Randy’s whole life had been a lie.

"Hello ma’am?" the voice on the phone asked.

"Yes?" I swallowed hard and watched people enter and exit the elevator nearby.

"Your results were negative."

***

Life remained busy at Greenpark and my pregnancy was coming to an end. I continued to work hard, thankful to be busy which took my mind off the challenging last weeks with ankles that looked like tree trunks wearing shoes. When it was possible I sat in the lounge and put my feet up. It was during one of these breaks that the front desk called to say I had a visitor waiting in the front lobby.

I waddled up front and opened the lobby door. I recognized only my visitor’s face. I asked her to come with me to the news room where Pam and I sat together in the soft lamplight. She was as pregnant as I was.

"I decided to have the bilateral mastectomy but no chemotherapy. I’m due in two weeks," she said, smiling and rubbing her large round belly.

I had no words at first, then smiled and congratulated her, struggled to hide what we both knew, that her decision was bittersweet.

***

Pam no doubt lost her battle with cancer. Her daughter would be the same age as my own. I’d love to tell her how honorable her mother’s courage was, her example in the face of a terrifying and unfair illness. She could have focused on the storm in her life but instead kept her eyes on the faint glow most visible in low-light, the luminous blue-violet flames.

Teresa Cortez is a freelance writer who lives in Sugar Land, Texas. She writes nonfiction because real life is strange enough. You can view more of her work HERE.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Hiding in Plain Sight (Canvas Challenge)

All of his adult life he has spent his time hiding in plain sight. No matter the job, no matter the crime, no matter, no matter, no matter.

Daily he is seen, the same corner, the same position, the same shopping cart full of the same things, such useless things to most of us, but to him… these things are his life.

Hidden in plain sight, he watches, listens, memorizes and mentally files away his findings.

Looking at him you’d never guess. You’d never guess that he is one of the wealthiest men alive. You see, he’s paid to watch a building; paid to note the comings and goings of said officials, American or otherwise.

You will never see the reflection from the lens that feeds to the camera hidden deep within his cart, nor the tape recorders or notebooks held within his carpet bags. He’s unleashed hideous rumors about affairs, given tips about terrorists, provided proof of secret meetings, and all while posing as a homeless street bum.

Question is: who is hiding in your plain site – I think I know who is in mine…

Saturday, May 29, 2010

It Runs In The Family

Today would be different, I told myself. I knew that if I could do it – quit that is – I would be free.

I walked towards the bus stop on 5th and Broadway. I had to get a job, making myself busy would surely do the trick. It would take my mind off of what I couldn’t seem to do by myself.

I didn’t notice him at first; I was too busy counting the steps from the corner of 4th and Broadway to 5th and Broadway. It’s a little obsessive – compulsive I know, but I have to know if it’s the same amount of steps every day.

He stood making animals from balloons, telling jokes, and even sprayed someone with a fake flower attached to his shirt. Clowns have always scared me. I tried to look away from him while I waited for the bus to arrive. He just didn’t get the picture. After trying everything to get my attention, I looked him in the eyes. He must have seen how empty I was within because he finally turned and walked away.

You can’t quit, a voice commanded in my mind. You know you can’t quit. You’ve been looking for this one for a while – and he’s been waiting for you too, you saw it didn’t you, when he looked you in the eyes! He knows!

I slipped away from the crowd and began to trail the clown I had tried so hard to avoid. He led me to a large circus tent. I didn’t even know the circus was in town. Was I starting to miss things – hiding out in my house?

I waited until it was dark, hiding in the shadows of the tent.

“I’m going to the loo, Frank, I’ll be back in a few.”

“You better hurry, we’ll be up soon.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” I could hear him say to Frank.

He walked past me without batting an eye and I grabbed him from behind. Stifling his shocked cry with my hand and breaking his neck with the other. He slumped to the ground. I drug him to an empty barrel just outside the holding tent for the elephants and using all my strength heaved him inside of it.

I found my way home to my apartment and standing in front of my door I fumbled for my key. I drove back to collect my trophy and tried not to bruise him as I moved him into my car, then into my apartment onto a rolling gurney. It was a good thing he wasn’t a fat man, sure made things a lot easier.

I pulled the ancient metal first aid box out from under the spare bed and blew of the dust that had covered it since its last use.

I smiled as I read to myself the name of my father and MEDIC engraved into the lid of the box, and then opened it to reveal the contents kept within.

Pulling out the scalpel I began to cut through the clown’s skin where I knew the seams would be unnoticeable. That’s the key you know, making the seams unrecognizable.

Pulling and cutting his skin away from the muscles made me excited. This was going to be perfect, something that, had he still been alive to see, would make my father very proud.

I finished the taxidermy job of the clown by pushing in the glass eyes. I stood back to admire my handiwork and suddenly I was no longer the doctor, but the kid with the red cap learning what my father was doing to some of his patients, trying to perfect the craft. He died before he ever had the chance, and now, as his daughter, I finally had the chance to do so.

I looked around the room to see where I would put my latest creation when I noticed one of my father’s awards from the war. It’s the perfect place, I thought, he couldn’t be more proud!

This award is presented to Hannibal Lecter for superior medical skills while traveling abroad and in the field…

Friday, May 28, 2010

Guest Write - Julia Davies

Discovery

It was like waking up after you'd been ill for a long time, she thought. She didn't really have a clear sense of where she was, she vaguely remembered being... well being somewhere else in a house, a familiar place, her house? She thought that must be right but it felt like trying to remember through thick curtains. Trying to think but she just got a blurred shape, and the feeling that she did recognise the memory.

Now, she was belted into the passenger seat of a car, parked by the roadside in a forest. It was quiet and dark outside, and as she looked to check on her surroundings her vision wobbled, slid. Shaking her head she blinked quickly, but the view stayed indistinct, and as her eyes refocused she realised it was rain sliding greasily down the windshield. But something was strange... when she tried to recall it she couldn't pin the thought down...

"So, I'm in a car," she reasoned, talking out loud to be reassured that she could reason and function. "I guess I didn't drive here or I wouldn't be belted into this seat?" She felt oddly divided, like her attention was not where she was now, but being pulled elsewhere, a kind of searching, seeking for something that was not entirely pleasant, but she yearned, hungered.

"So I'm in a car," she tried again. "I'm alone, but maybe there is someone who drove me here? It was almost impossible to see outside of the car, for the rain blurred the outside world. There were no lights that she could see, looking directly ahead there was only the glimmer of the hood reflecting what slivers of light fell through the trees. The gloom was not frightening or threatening though, and she knew that this wasn't how she normally felt about being somewhere dark and wet and alone. She wasn't scared. Was that a good thing?

"What can I remember? There must be something that will remind me where I am and why," she thought. Under her rib cage she felt something contract, or clench. And again the feeling that she was focussed somewhere else, somewhere outside her body. She let her mind drift off to follow that sensation. There was something at the edge of her perception, but she wasn't sure what. It was intense, a concentration of something, a burning core and she wanted to reach out to it, wanted to reach out and pull it towards herself. Wanted, yearned, and as she wanted inside her something stirred, something pale and torpid uncoiled within her.

"Oh for f*cks sake," she chided herself. "Can I not just keep my mind on my problem? I don't know where I am or what I'm doing here? I can't remember how I got here. I can't remember who drove me here and..." She didn't want to finish the thought. She didn't want to acknowledge the slowly dawning truth. She gazed at the rain on the windscreen again, sharp splashes pulsing against the glass. The distinct drops burst and spattered and disappeared into the watery film covering the windshield, fading into the foreground.

"I can't remember how I got here, and I can't remember my name!" Panic rose, she twisted in the seat, struggling to get out, feeling held down, constrained. Oh, God, I can't get out, I can't move, I can't, I can't...

When she came to herself, she remembered the familiar convalescent feeling she'd woken up with last time. Looking down, the seatbelt was still tight around her, pressing her down into the seat. Her mouth twisted as she tried a wry smile. How stupid to have panicked over being belted in! She reached down and pressed the seatbelt release, catching her long fingernails as she did so. The belt snickered back across her body as she thought "Long fingernails? I bite my fingernails, don't I?" But when she brought her hand up to her face the nails were perfect and long, and maybe even painted as they were a much darker colour than her skin, which did seem pale in this light. Disquiet rushed through her, but how absurd to look at yourself and think "These aren't my hands."

"I have to get out of the car!" she thought. And no sooner had she completed the thought than the door was open and she was standing outside of the car, twirling back to it to shut the door. Twirling, she saw movement, she saw a blur of motion reflected in the glass of the window. A fleering white oval. Pause. Stop to think. Stop to process the visual information and assimilate it, place it into context.

"My face!" she realised. "That was my face reflected in the window," and she drew closer to the car door to see herself more clearly. As she bent down to the window a curtain of white blonde hair fell across the pale reflection and made her draw back in shock. "I am not blonde!" but even as she thought it she was looking at the image in the window and losing the indistinct memories of herself as a different person, feeling them dropping away from her.

She gazed at the window, she couldn't say for how long, transfixed at the face that was hers but somehow new to her too, a glamorously pale version of what she remembered. She gazed, and barely noticed anything else. It wasn't until a she heard a faint rushing sound that she glanced at the tall trees around her.

The two Elders in the forest who had called her here watched, waiting for the moment she would recognise herself for what she had now become. The shorter of the two suggested sending a small mammal to her to see if the time of knowledge was yet upon her, and the taller concurred.

She had that feeling again, burning, empty hunger, and scented warm wet life through the dripping off the branches. Her lips drew back.

Julia Davies is a practised reader and practising writer; living in Siegburg, Germany. Her blog can be found HERE

Friday, May 21, 2010

Guest Write – Walter Shumate


Redneck Voodoo

"I don't care if you're the Wicked Witch of The West, I done paid you, you're gonna let me talk to Dewey," said a lanky, sandy-blonde woman as she paced through the living room of her friend's double-wide trailer. She put her hands on what could generously be called hips, and what would be better referred to as vertical lines. She ran her feet on the carpet, getting it to pull from the floor in places. She walked in a crooked path as she paced the floor, avoiding the dog-urine stains. "I swear, Sue Yeary, if you're tryin' to trick me..."

"It ain't that easy, Carla Beth, I told you that!" Carla Beth's friend was round everywhere. Her hips peeked between her grey jogging pants and University of Kentucky t-shirt. She brushed raven-dyed bangs out of her face. She was sitting on a ratty brown couch, behind a glass-topped coffee table. There were various small animal bones, a lock of sandy-blonde hair and a lone candle on the table.

"Well, why not?"

"You're ignorant. It ain't like Dewey's got a cell phone over on the other side! We gotta reach out to him!"

"I'm gonna reach out to you, if you don't..."

"Shut your mouth, Carla Beth! Sit your tail down and let me get to work."

Carla Beth pulled up a plastic deck chair, the only furniture in the living room other than the couch, coffee table and broken-down TV stand, and sat opposite Sue. She put her elbows on her knees and leaned in. "Whatever, this better work. What do you do now?"

Sue put a sausage-like finger up to her mouth. "I done told you to hush. I'll let you know when you can talk again."

"This is ignorant." Sue glared ad Carla Beth from across the table, and she bit her lip.

Sue took the lock of hair and smelled it. "You sure this is yours?"

"Wal-Mart don't sell hair, Sue."

Sue didn't respond to Carla Beth's attitude. She held the hair over the candle. She spit on the lock, twisted it around her left index finger and let it fall into the candle. The flame popped and hissed as hairspray ignited and hair burned. Carla Beth wanted so badly to tell Sue that it smelled plain nasty, but she held her tongue.

Sue whispered something that wasn't quite English, and wasn't quite like anything Carla Beth had ever heard. She lifted the hair from the flame and started to undo the ribbon around the lock. She took one of the bones and tied a few strands around it. She picked up another bone, and continued until all the bones where wrapped in a few hairs each. Sue took the remaining hair and held it back over the flame. She let it burn until the flames almost licked her fingers. She dropped the remaining stubs of hair into the candle wax.

"Give me your right arm, Carla Beth."

"I will not!"

"Carla Beth, you're gonna give me that right arm of yours, and you're gonna do it now."

Carla Beth rolled her eyes, but she did extend her arm. She held it, limp-wristed, over the coffee table. "This better not hurt."

Sue turned Carla Beth's hand so that her wrist was facing up. She then took the candle and turned it upside-down over the wrist. Wax dribbled onto the skin and immediately started to cool. Carla Beth sucked wind through clenched teeth as the wax ran halfway down Carla Beth's wrist and started to solidify.

"I'm gonna beat the hell out of you if this don't work, Sue."

"Hush, it's almost over." Sue closed her eyes and raised her head as if praying. A low, soft mumble built in her throat, working its way past her teeth and out into the room as a simple, powerful command.

"Dewey Raney, your wife wants to talk to you."

There was a painful silence. "Dewey, you be a good boy and come on out."

Still, nothing. "Dammit, Dewey, get your ass out here now!"

Carla Beth had started to stand up, but what she heard next made her fall back to the floor. Sue's voice had changed. It was deeper, like she was pretending to be a man. It wasn't what she said, so much as how she said it, that let her know Dewey was really here.

"Dammit, Carla Beth! I told your momma you wouldn't let me get any rest, no matter where I was at!"

"Oh, shut your mouth, Dewey! My momma wouldn't speak to you that long, and you know it."

"What do you want?"

"Where'd you hide the money?"

"What money?"

"Don't lie to me, Dewey! I know you was makin' meth in the trailer out back of our land!"

"It ain't like I tried to hide it."

"Well? Where's the money you made from sellin' it?"

"What makes you think I made that much money off it?"

"Because we got a new big screen TV and Ford pickup, and I know you wouldn't have spent that if you didn't have more squirreled away!"

"Fine, it ain't like I can use it anymore. I'll tell you, but you gotta promise to buy momma a nice car."

"Jesus, Dewey, there's that much?"

"There's enough to buy all y'all nice new cars. Now promise."

"Fine, your momma's gonna get a nice new car."

"Good. There's a UK poster up in that trailer. It's one of those schedule posters I got from the store. I put the money in the wall behind that poster."

"Good Lord, Dewey. I'm gonna be rich."

"You're just gonna spend it on liquor and cigarettes, Carla Beth. Look, there's one more thing I want you to do. You have to do this, you hear?"

"What? Who else I gotta buy a car for?"

"No, this is important. I had a partner, and he's gonna come looking for that money. I want you to take it to the bank and deposit it. Don't use our account, either. Get a new one."

"You think he'd steal that money?"

"Carla Beth, he's a drug dealer, not a preacher!"

"Okay, you don't have to keep yellin' at me. Who was your partner, anyway? I bet it was that ignorant old Tommy Siler. He always was meaner'n a striped snake."

 "No, it wasn't Tommy Siler. He's dumber'n a bag of hammers. It was Scott Yeary."

 "You mean Sue's…"
The next thing Carla Beth heard was the deafening roar of a close-range gunshot. She put her hands to her belly and felt something hot and wet. She pulled them away and saw dark blood. Her legs buckled and she fell to the floor. She smelled stale dog urine. She faded out of consciousness as she saw Sue Yeary setting a pistol on the coffee table. She pulled a cell phone out of her pocket and dialed a number. The last thing Carla Beth Raney heard was Sue saying, "Scott, your little sis done made us both rich."

Walter Shumate is an amateur author editing his first novel. You can read his creative writings Here, or head Here to see his take on being a father. You can also follow him on Twitter, @pshumate.