Saturday, 14 January 2017

Losing My Mind

Chuck has us talking about what we fear the most. I have Epilepsy; and the one thing I fear the most is the other diseases that come with this disease as I age - the ones I have absolutely zero control over when I get old. I don't fear death... never have. After so many seizures, an overdose (which wasn't my fault)and being a person who just accepts what goes on in her life... I've found that the one thing I would hate the most would be to forget my nearest and dearest.


The ward is full today.

It was empty yesterday – but it’s full today.

It’s full of voices, people, noises and colours... oh! So many colours, colours and waves... too many to look at, so many I have to look at the blank, smeared tabletop to make the colours...

Stop...

Stop...

That’s better.

Closing my eyes, it’s time to breathe again.

The door over near the nurse’s station opens and closes. Oh! Visitors! It’s 10am already? I look over and see three people. They’ve looked my way and one waves at me. I have no idea who it is but wave back.

Were they here yesterday? Last week? Last month?

No idea.

I put my hands on the table and find they’re shaking; but I can’t stop them. Damn it, I wish they would. 

It’s just a tiny tremble, but...

“Hey sis.” He says, “It’s me, your brother, my wife and your niece. We came last week to see you.”
Oh good, it was last week, “Hi. It’s good to see you.”
His smile falters as he realises I don’t remember the visit, “We thought to bring some photo albums to show you. Get your memory going again.”
“Okay.” I smile.

They were there for a few hours. We have lunch downstairs – where I’ve never been on my own – and I found their visit wonderful. My niece gave me a photo album she had refurbished with everything from my life, their life and other photos from outside of here. It was to remind me of good things.
The thing is: I don’t remember losing the memory of these things.
My life just started fading like the old photographs – like those receipts you get from the store. You know the ones: after about a year, you can’t read what’s on them, so you end up throwing them away. That’s how my memory has been lately.
That’s not all either.
I’ve been forgetting how to cook food. I nearly burnt down my house one day when I didn’t know how to turn off the stove. Strange how it was that I knew how to turn it on. I also took one look at my car and – with the keys in my hand – had no idea how to unlock it, or drive it. It was just for a few minutes, but it happened a few times.
But the one thing that really hit home – bothering me – was when I arrived home one day and I pulled out the house keys and didn’t know what they were used for. I still have a set of them; and still have no idea what the big ‘Hawks’ key is for – but it looks impressive.
The doctors said that my mental decline was more sudden than they expected as such a young age. However seeing how many seizures had damaged parts of my brain, they were surprised I had been able to live on my own as long as I have.

So, here I am in a nursing facility.

One minute I’m good. I’m fine. I can talk to you about philosophy and the big sciences of the world. 

The next? I’m wondering what my name is... all within about two hours.

I’m not insane.
Epilepsy patients have this problem. When they get old, their condition changes. It changes them and their brain as well. They have a high chance of dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease – or if they’re unlucky enough, all three. I unfortunately, scored the first one. This was my biggest fear; that this would happen to me.

And now it has, I wish I had travelled more in my 40’s...

Am I in my 40’s?

The ward is full today.

It was empty yesterday – but it’s full today.

It’s full of voices, people, noises and colours... oh!
Hi... what’s your name? 
My name is... um. 
Oh darn, I knew it before, when... I have some photos here. I don’t know where I got them from, but they have some people in them I think I know.


Saturday, 7 January 2017

The Sounds of Silence

And we're back to writing Flash Fiction Fridays again! This time, Chuck has us writing about our own Unusual Apocalypse... the one we didn't see coming - or won't. 

Enjoy.


It’s spooky to be around this near-silent world you know, when you’re not a part of what everyone else is doing. I’ve walked down the street with a trusty book in my hand to the bus stop, sat down and wait with a group of what passes for humans these days.

They’re all glued to their handsets, tablets and have everything plugged into their ears – and they just sit there in complete silence. There’s no looking up to talk to the person next to them, no verbal conversation; nobody seems to realise if it’s raining or if the sun is out.

It’s creepy I tell ya.

But I’m sitting there with a book, reading with my glasses on and I have had a strange look from time to time.

 A frown is caught just as they turn away.
I wonder if they’re all talking to each other, gossiping at the retro-person sitting nearby.
I have had one or two people get up and move when they see my hand move up to turn the page of the book; as though the movement freaked them out and they couldn’t stand being so close to somebody who moves so much.

Strange, right?

Well, that happened the other day, and now, I’m not at home. I’m supposed to be, but I’m not. I’m in a little room somewhere away from my house with a camera in the corner of the room watching my every move.
I’ve been here for around twenty minutes with them watching me in total silence... waiting for me to do something.

But that’s the thing: I’m totally comfortable in my own mind without being attached to a computer, a mobile phone or the internet... and this is bothering them.
The door opens and a man walks in with a thick folder, a phone and box with a new phone inside it. He’s dressed like that – Agent Smith – out of ‘The Matrix’ and sits across from me, “We have been watching you closely, Miss...” He checks the front of the folder, “... Anders. And your activities online aren’t right.”
“What do you mean?” I ask.
Flipping the folder open, he clears his throat, “You don’t have a Facebook page, or a MySpace or anything to do with social media... you haven’t told us anything about yourself.”
“I don’t have to.”
He looks up at me, “Everyone else has.”
“Doesn’t mean I have to.” I said.
He regards me for moment before continuing, “You are one of a few people in this city who have blatantly refused to get with the program, Miss Anders.” He flipped over the page and it flickered a little as it landed soundlessly on the other side of the folder, “You actually go out to the store and buy your shopping, you don’t have a credit card, and never have anything delivered to your house... not even a pizza.” He looked up at me, “Why is that?”
“I like picking out my own groceries, I like driving a car and I like cooking my own meals. And I like saving money; so I don’t need a credit card... just because everyone else has one doesn’t mean I have to get one.” I replied.
He flipped over another few pages, “You have some large collections of things we don’t approve of.”
“You’ve been through my house? Why am I not surprised?”
“You have a room filled with books... real, traditional books. They were put onto The Cloud years ago. You don’t need them.” He said, “And you have cd’s and vinyls of music in your possession as well as a turntable... you need not have those. All of that music is also on The Cloud on the internet.”
“Next thing you’re gonna tell me that I’m not allowed to have a Christmas Tree or send out Birthday Cards to my friends; because we can do all of that online.” I smile, “Exactly what is the harm in all of this?”
He closed the folder with a dull thud, “You don’t understand, Miss Anders, you are already in a matrix. What you are doing by ‘going retro’ goes against the rules of this matrix, so we need you to catch up or you will be rejected from it.”
“Aren’t there other people like me here?”
“There were.”
“Where are they now?”
“That doesn’t matter.”
“Yes it does. You must know where we go once you reject us.” I leaned my elbows on the table and stared at him, “I know you’re being told what to say, but I want you to tell me exactly what happens to us, because you know what happens to people like us – people who don’t want to take part in the future, who stick around in the past like I do.”
“They look stupid.”
“No, they’re doing what they want because nobody is forcing them to do what the rest of the world is doing. Now, tell me where do you send us? Do you kill us?”
“No. We...” he pulled at his ear-wig and let it fall onto his shoulder, standing, he took a deep breath, “There’s a place we send you; but none of your things are there... you’re left there until you beg to come back. But ...” looking at me, a smile hinted on his face, “You have ‘The Boss’ 5-album box set on vinyl... how did you find that?”
“You were like me.”
The door opened as his face flushed and he looked down as another walked into the room, “Agent, step down.”
“No.” He turned and looked at this next agent, “I have done this to them so many times, I can’t do it anymore. Why can’t they have their own things that make them happy?”
“Because happiness isn’t how the world works.” The other agent said, “If there was happiness, the Computer Apocalypse we’re planning would falter.”
“Computer Apocalypse?” I whisper.
“Yes. From the very first time one was invented decades ago, governments planned on making the world into the idiot nations it is now... but there had to be a few people, like you Miss Anders, who just wouldn’t go with the program.” The new agent took a threatening step forward as I stood from the table, “Sit down.” I almost did, until the first agent grabbed my arm and pulled me up to stand, “Agent, you’re out of line. You are to be reprogrammed.”
“No.” He said, “After I removed the ear-wig, I knew exactly why I was here; and it’s not to punish Miss Anders for her ways of living.”
“What!”
“You have it all backwards. The Human Race isn’t to be programmed into a world of silence so as to make them do as they’re told – they’re not cattle.”
“Yes they are.”
“Who told you that?” I ask.
The second agent stared me, “What do you mean?”
“Who told you that we were cattle and were to be reprogrammed to do as we were told?” I ask.
He hesitates, “I don’t understand.”
The first agent sighs as he rips the ear-wig out of his collar, tearing the soft plastic from the back of shirt, showing it to the second agent, “Who’s blabbing instructions to us through here?”
“Oh! It’s our superiors.” He says.
“And who are they?” I ask.
The second agent slowly pulls his ear-wig out, “Oh shit. What have we done?”


Saturday, 17 December 2016

The List

Krampus isn’t such a bad guy to work for; but he can be a real dick when he’s in the mood for it. I don’t get to see him much, except around the time of Thanksgiving – when we start compiling the ‘Naughty & Nice’ lists for Santa; and even then he’s a slob of a creature and gets me to do most of the work.

After the institution screw-up, where he was supposed to pick me up at the Arctic Circle and didn’t, I was left at a huge, dark house by the psychiatric hospital staff who didn’t like it when I turned to them, looked them up and down and told them, “You’re on the Nice List this year.”
It only made them drive faster and avoid eye contact.
And instead of making Krampus sign for me to be my guardian, they just dumped me out at the footpath and took off. It was dusk and they didn’t want to stick around any longer than they needed to in the dank dark backwoods area of town. Turning towards the house, I found it didn’t appear all that nice – but then when you think of it, Krampus wasn’t a nice character either.
Before I could knock on the door, he yanked it open, “What! Oh it’s you.”
“Krampus...” then I remembered where I had seen him from, “I remember meeting you now.”
“Where from?” he opened the door wider, “Get in here if you’re going to yap about our past.”
“You played a joke on Santa a few years ago, with the milk while he was... I think... jeez... I don’t remember his name now.”
“You ate too much of the sugary crap in the North Pole, didn’t you?” he grumbled, “They don’t have normal food there, and poison you every time you eat.” He walked to his huge kitchen and opened the fridge where I spotted real food; something I hadn’t seen in so long! He grabbed a bowl of grapes out of the bottom of the fridge and put them on the table, “Eat something healthy, I can smell the sugar on your breath – even if you haven’t eaten it in a few months.” He turned away and poured himself a huge mug of coffee, “It disgusts me that you’ve had your memory repressed by that horrible man. I’d never do that to you. And I’d never lie to you about anything.”
I sat at the table and grabbed a small bunch of grapes, “Thank you.”
He gave me a sideways glare as he drank his coffee, “There’s more food around the kitchen – I don’t eat much because Human food is always too weird for me to digest. So, any food you find around the place? Assume it’s for you, okay? And learn to cook, because I’m not cooking you any fuckin’ feasts.”
I accidentally swallowed a grape whole before I answered, “Okay.”
“There’s some ... oh jeez... cookbooks over there.” He waved towards the large sideboard, “You’ll find all you’ll need here in the kitchen... if you need anything – foodwise – tell me. I’ll get it in.”
“My sleeping quarters?”
He grunted as he finished off his coffee, “Will be better than where you lived ... and if you get sick, which I doubt you will, a human doctor will come here and I’ll vanish from sight.” He dumped his mug on the sink, “You’ll be responsible for keeping this kitchen clean as well. Come on, you have your own part of this house to yourself. I have a couple of rooms, but don’t disturb me between January and October unless the place is burning to the ground.”
I followed him through the large living room, down the hall to the right and up a sweeping staircase to a large wing which had been brightly fixed up with lights, curtains, a library full of books and a large bathroom, “This is all mine?”
“This is your wing of the house.” He muttered, “I hate it; it’s too... bright. But Santa said that you were too Human to be there; and you’re too elf-like to be here. So, you’re to work with me... oh such fun.” He sighed. He turned to leave, stopping at the top of the stairs, “The List arrives in the first week of November... prepare yourself for travel; you will be going all over the world to make sure children are who they say they are. You still have your elf magicks; so it won’t be as hard as you think.”
“What do you do?”
A sickening smile carved up his demonic face, “I scared the crap out of them all.”

I never asked him a stupid question like that ever again.

The List showed up in the huge living room one morning and I then understood why that room was so massive – Krampus needed the space for all the boxes. As soon as I opened the first box with the letter ‘A’ on it, the names started going through my mind in a whispering voice telling me whether if the child was good or bad.
“Beth.” Krampus’ voice pulled me out of the sixth page of ‘A’ from the doorway of the kitchen, “Eat breakfast first before tackling those boxes.”
“Sorry... I didn’t know they were going to be so...”
“Yes, they’re bigger than they look.” He turned and poured himself a mug of coffee, “Another thing: don’t drink my coffee. I have supplied you with your own machine over there near the kettle.”
“Okay.”
He gulped down half a mug and poured himself another, before he walked out of the room, “And don’t ask me why.”

I travelled all over the world with parts of the list with me on a tablet and watched children from afar. I was amazed at how many children made out to be good when really they were horrible little snots. Then, you had adults who acted like children and they claimed to be nice people... then you came across the really rare adults who didn’t think they were nice, and they really were lovely people.
One afternoon, I was walking through a park when I heard my name being screamed by somebody. On turning, I saw a woman running towards me. I had no idea who person was and froze.
“Oh... Krampus... help.” I muttered.
He was by my side in a second and the woman faltered, “Beth, is there a problem?”
The woman stared at his horns as his dark form stood over me. I looked up at him, “She screamed my name and acted as though she knew me.”
He looked down at me, “It’s because she does know you. That woman is your mother.” I didn’t know what to do as he led me to a seat and we sat with the woman crying nearby, “Now, you have a huge choice to make.”
“Go with a person I hardly know or stick with a mythical demon who nobody gives a rats about.” I said.
“Well, shit... don’t sugarcoat, will you?”
“You said you’d never lie to me.” I said, “I’m returning the favour. But I want to know where my brother is.”
“He’s still at home with your parents.”
I searched through the tablet to find my younger brother was on the Nice List, “I’m glad he’s doing well.”
“I made sure of that.”
“Beth please... come home with us and get away from... that thing.” The woman begged as a policeman showed up, “That’s my daughter. She’ s been missing for years.”
“Holy shit, who is that in that costume?” the cop asked.
“It’s not a costume.” I heard her say.
Looking down at my tablet, I started to cry, “I don’t know, Krampus. I’ve been gone for so long that I don’t know those people... and yet I’m scared of you; and I don’t want to hurt them.”
Standing, Krampus looked down at me, “The choice is yours. I will not interfere with it.” He vanished from the park and left me alone with these ... these... weird people.

The house appeared abandoned when I walked up to it. There wasn’t a single light on as I stood on the footpath; and I felt as though I had been dumped there, when really I had walked from the bus stop down the road. I notice that the yard looked cared for – making it look lived in – but no lights were left on; as it was late. I was about to knock when the door opened.
“So, you made up your mind?”
“Yes.” I nodded, “Krampus, I have. I’ve been gone for too long. I’ll work with you.”
“Good. Get inside.” He grumbled.
I couldn't tell him what I knew about the people who were my family.

I just couldn't tell him that he was the better choice than they were, simply because they were on the Naughty List - and had been from the very beginning. They acted like my family, said they were my family, had all the paperwork to say they were my family. But they weren't. It was the elvish magicks which had told me that the woman had been a nurse way back when I was born; and she had stolen me from my mother at the hospital. 

So, who was worse? Krampus or the evil bitch who was telling me she was my mother all these years? I chose Krampus because he never lied to me, he just told me what he knew and left the choice up to me.


Saturday, 29 October 2016

All Hallow's Eve Spell

I thought to write a Halloween-themed flash fiction... just for kicks! 

enjoy!


Eva’s party had been great. Music pumped throughout the house, everyone showed up in costume and there was even an obstacle course out in the backyard to go through when you wanted – a good scary one filled with all kinds of freaky traps and fun!

I had suggested to her to invite the neighbours… and she did so they didn’t feel left out or that the party was too noisy.

But they politely turned her invite down, claiming that Halloween Parties weren’t their bag.
“Oh well, their loss.” My friend had grinned.
“Not really.” I said, “At least they know you’re having a party; and can’t complain to the cops now.”
Randy smiled as he tossed another tied-up lolly-bag on the pile, “True. So, we can go all out with the backyard tricks and games.” He glanced at the large pile of bags, “Do you think we have enough?”
Nodding, I rose from my seat and refilled my coffee cup, “It’s gonna take all week to get this party on the road… let’s get another look at that list.”

Now, like I said, the party was going well… the music was pumping and people were enjoying themselves…
…they were until midnight struck and everything kinda started going wrong.
Okay, not kinda… really did start to fuck up in a major way.

Anyone in costume became the creatures they arrived as. I dressed as a witch… and well, I have become one for real. I suddenly can incant spells and potions and speak Latin at a moment’s noticed – something which is really unsettling; and yet very cool at the same time.
As for my friends? Well, Eva dressed up as a cat and she’s turned into a Puma and hunted down every ex-boyfriend who showed up and … um… attacked them.
Randy dressed up as Capone… and well, became the real deal; gun and all! When he saw me, he had no idea what I was but thought I looked hot… one little problem, Randy is gay and even though he looked great as the gangster, my alter-ego also knew Randy’s alter-ego was also gay… and it took one really weird kiss to have the message come across, “Oh fuck! I’m a poofta …”
“Don’t call yourself that.” I said, “The term is gay; and no it doesn’t mean happy anymore, as you’re in the twenty-first century. So put away the guns and act like a gentleman while I try to figure out what in All Hallow’s Eve is going on.”
He snorted, “And how are you goin’ to do that, dollface?”
Eva prowled in, licked her chops and jumped up on the lounge to have a well-earned nap. I watched her, turned to Capone and smiled, “Well, it looks like a spell… and the only people not here are the next door neighbours. So, I’m going to find out what kind of bad little hexes they’ve been casting on us; then turn it around on them.” Turning from the living room, I noticed that Eva looked up at me, watching me leave. She wanted to know if she could come with or should guard the house, “Eva, guard the house… it’s safer for you.”
As I walked to the edge of the property, I found that I wasn’t the only one affected by the spell. Every last person in the neighbourhood was also affected in the same way; but the further people ventured from the neighbour’s house, the less the affects were on the people.
This place was a madhouse! There were demons, other witches, vampires, butterflies, ax-murderers, Angels and zombies… man then there were the comicon people. I lost count of how many ‘Supernatural’ and ‘Walking Dead’ fans there were… and so I stopped counting. But then, I was just standing on the footpath and hadn’t gone anywhere.
Turning right, I knew I had to find the source of the power of the spell which was causing all of this.

This is where things started to become weird.

One minute I’m on the footpath, the next I’m at the front door of the neighbour’s house.

The door was open and I smiled at them.

Then, they were screaming.

I woke up on the footpath as the dawn was breaking the sky still dressed as a witch. Looking over at the neighbour’s house, I found it was burnt to the ground, Eva was still a Puma and locked up to be taken to the zoo and Randy was back to his normal self talking to the cops.
“Listen, I have no idea what in the hell happen to the neighourhood. But my two flatmates threw the party, the next door neighbours acted really strange and their house turned into a fireball as soon as one of them went next door… I followed her and all she did was knock on the door and smiled at them.” Randy said, “I swear, Beth didn’t say anything to them.” he glanced over his shoulder at our house, “But the backyard has turned into a war zone… it was supposed to be fun. We now have a black hole where the tool shed used to be, a huge sinkhole where the pool used to be and Bran Castle has shown up at the back fence… dude, that never used to be there.” He looked to his hands before saying the next thing, “Also, a Bates Motel has popped up over the back fence with a creepy little guy running it… that place wasn’t there last week. He attended the party with what looked like a zombied body of a woman he kept talking to… can you get him out of here?”
The cop looked up slowly from his notepad, “Are you kidding?”
“No… he kept calling her Mother.” Randy said, “And he wore a dress with a wig.”
“What was his name?”
“Norman Bates.”
The cop shook his head as I struggled to my feet, “Randy.”
“Beth.” He took a step towards me then hesitated, “Your costume hasn’t … you know…”
“What?” I looked down, “Oh god… didn’t I change back?”
The cop gave me a wary look up and down, “From what? You’re a full-blown witch with all the powers… didn’t you come with the David Copperfield experience shit?”
“No… I came in costume as a witch for the fun of it.” I replied.
“Well. Whatever happened here, the government has to lock off this section of town.” The cop wrote down a few more notes.
“Why?” I took a step toward him as he backed up.
“Because lady, you have some wicked power to be able to burn down a house by just smiling at it.” He pointed at the smouldering structure behind me.
Turning, I stared at the house. My gut turned cold, “I couldn’t have done that. All I did was go over there to see if they were casting a spell… I don’t even remember knocking on the door.”
“You didn’t. You blasted your way in.”
So much for having a Halloween Party. All we wanted to do was have some fun; which turned into something else entirely. I was taken away to a psychiatric hospital to be ‘kept safe’. But a strange thing happened: the powers of the spell wore off after The Day of the Dead – two days later. Zoo staff found Eva in the Puma enclosure at the local zoo wondering why she was feeling unusually full, Randy was worried sick about us both and we all thought it best to go our separate ways.

This happened when we were in our twenty’s.

I’m now in my sixties and still wonder exactly what happened; as I still can’t remember it clearly. Even though I’ve revisited that part of town, I’m still not permitted close to it… the power of the spell is still active for some reason it hasn’t been undone.
I’ve still be pulled in to the hospital to be tested and asked the same stupid questions by doctors and police. We all still have no idea how all of this happened.


But every Halloween since, whether I like it or not, I turn into a powerful witch who knows all the potions and spells, who can incant Latin at a moment’s notice – as creepy and weird as it may be; and yet I still find it very cool in the strangest way. So, every Halloween, Eva, Randy and I spend three days together because we physically change into things we can’t control… It’s only a matter of time before the authorities figure out we’ve all lied to them – that it only happened once.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

A Scary Story - Part III

Scary Story Part III... now this is great fun! I was going to continue with 'The Grim Reaper' but found this one very enticing. Here's the link to the first two:


Enjoy!



My hands started to shake as he took the phone from me, “And that’s not my phone.” Rod pulled his phone from the pocket of his jeans. It was the exact same model and style, but he pulled unlocked it and it showed the twin selfie of the two of us at Brunswick Heads at Harry’s Hill on New Year’s Day.
I remembered that day… it was so tranquil and beautiful and pretty. But right now, our lives were none of that. I looked up at Rod and started to cry uncontrollably, stuttering through my tears, “If that’s not your phone…”
He looked down at its shattered, bloody screen, “I don’t know. But I could see why you were fooled into thinking it was mine.”
I looked over at the neighbour’s house – the same place I was hoping to visit in the morning to talk to the young boy’s parents – and saw it was in complete darkness, “It’s too late to ring them.”
“Yeah, let’s leave it until morning.” Rod nodded, “First, though, let’s get you showered, you’re covered in blood… and you’re not bleeding.”

The morning’s light showed a more gruesome light to what had occurred the night before. We had held onto the destroyed mobile phone – putting it into a ziplock bag for safe-keeping. But I hadn’t slept very well for the rest of the night, because the noises in the roof had kept me awake for most of the night; and Rod and I ended up sleeping in the spare room.
I woke on the double bed with Rod next to me. He was already awake and looking at me with an expression of worry, “Hi.”
“Hey babe.” He whispered, “I haven’t slept… I stayed awake all night. Those noises in the ceiling haven’t stopped all night. Dunno how you slept through the racket.”
“At first I didn't, but in the end I was exhausted.”
He sighed, “I’m going to call the pest guy and get him out here. I was sure he told us that the place was clean before we moved in.” Looking around the small room, he scrubbed his hands over his stubbled face, yawning, “I’ll find the receipt from the sale of the house.”
“Okay.”
“First, I’ll get us some clothes from the master bedroom; and you stay here.” He pushed himself out of the bed and dragged himself to our room where I heard him moving around, collecting things together, and he returned with our clothes; but he seemed different somehow as he sat down on the bed, “Let’s get dressed. Here’s your handbag.”
“Why would I need my bag for?”
When my husband’s eyes met mine, I knew he’d seen something horrendous, “Because, we’re leaving this house.”
As I shouldered my bag, after dressing, I noticed our bedroom door was closed, “What happened in there?”
Rodney grabbed my hand, “Come on, we’re going on foot.”
“But the car…”
“Nope… we’re walking.”
We walked out the front door, down the cracked concrete path and turned right at the footpath. My normally chatty husband had turned into the strong silent type overnight. I noticed that on the way out, he locked up the house and took up the destroyed mobile phone, “Where are we going?”
“It’s best if we just walk for a bit … okay?” he couldn’t look at me as we passed house after house of the old-fashioned neighbourhood, “We’ll …” he stopped suddenly, let go of my hand, turned from the path and threw up, collapsing to his knees as he started to cry and another spasm of sickness threatened to overtake him, “Oh, fuckin’ hell, Meg… I can’t tell you… they there in there…”
“Who?” I asked.
Wiping his mouth on his sleeve, he gave me the look of dread, “Our next door neighbours were in the ceiling last night… they were slowly… oh god… their kid was waiting for us to go to bed so he could pull them out of the house and …” Rodney turned from me to be sick again.
I pulled back shaking my head, “Oh god no… not those sweet people… but what about all that blood in the shed?”
He groaned as he sat down, exhausted and pale, “That young kid you were so worried about, he’s been killing the dogs around the area and stringing them up in the shed… just for kicks.” He blinked, fighting off another bout of being sick (trying not to visualise what was really in the shed) and succeeded this time, “And when I came in to get our clothes in our bedroom, I found the kid in our bed with the bodies of his parents. He had killed them, honey… there was something wrong with that kid – or that family – and when I opened the drawers, to get our clothes, he woke up and saw me. I grabbed the only clothes I could get my hands on.”
I looked down, “You got clothes out of the dirty clothes basket and my handbag.”
“Your bag was by the door and the clothes were in the hallway… I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be.” I said, “We’re alive.”
“For now.” He said looking over his shoulder where the seven-year-old had just turned the corner, “He’s been tailing us for the last half hour.”
I looked up, my gut cooling at the blood-covered child, whose eyes were empty, “Oh my god… did he say anything to you?”
“He told me his name was Damien. And he told me I was going to be punished for what I did.” He looked over at me, “I have no idea what he was talking about.”
“Get up… we have to run.” I helped Rodney up and we ran as fast as our legs would carry us in the early morning.
At the police station, they were wondering how we could make up such a strange story. But they arrived at our place anyway to find the place was neat and tidy.

There was no blood.

The neighbours were very much alive.

Damien was a sweet and charming little boy.

The police thought we were nuts.

After they left, Rodney and I looked at the bloodied phone and wondered exactly whose phone it was. I looked for my phone but couldn’t find it. Rod called my mobile number and it rang. With it still in the plastic, I put it onto loud-speaker and answered, “Hello?”
Through the plastic bag, a little boy’s voice said, “Hi, my name is Damien. You will be punished for what you did.”
“Honey… my phone is still ringing, how could that voice come through?” Rod asked.
“We’re selling this dump.” I said.
“Now.” We both said together.


Sunday, 16 October 2016

The Grim Reaper - Part II

Last week, we all did our own Part I of a story. This week, we had to pick somebody else's and write a part II... I picked out: 


Enjoy!



The more Blake worked on his Halloween costume, the less it seemed to feel like one. He tried it on to see if it fitted – to see if it ‘fell’ in the right places, felt right and didn’t pull where it shouldn’t and gave him the freedom to carry and swing a scythe – as well as carry a sickle in the folds of the long, dark and menacing robe he had created.
He had done more homework on the sickle and found out that the sickle was a part of the Grim Reaper’s costume – but nobody really called attention to is in paintings and prints as they should. So, in the last week, he had gone onto ebay searching for ancient farming equipment – and was amazed to find the very items he was looking for to complete his costume… the real deal, not the plastic hokey crap things at ‘Maddie’s Costume Store’ in town.

This pleased Blake to no end.

He was going to have the most original costume, “Hehehe, they’ll think it’s a costume…” in town. Yes, he was going to get his own back for what had happened to him…

Shrugging into it, he felt so comfortable. The robe seemed to mold to his wiry, tall frame; the bottom dressy part of it appeared as though it was lashing in amongst its own floor-level mini-tornadoes just above the floor that nobody could see.
Looking up at the full-length mirror in his bedroom, he noticed his face was mostly hidden in the shadow of the large hood. No, he wouldn’t need the white mask he thought he’d needed before; as the lower part of his face would be enough to freak out anyone if he grinned and said nothing to anyone.

Aaah, yes! That’s it… he even freaked himself out just a little when he did that, “Much better than that stupid mask. I’ll be able to see their faces when I…”

At the window lurked a sinister shadow, watching him. This shadow knew how much arduous pain Blake had been through – how much suffering he had endured – in his short, seemingly insignificant – life. It was time to call due all that was owed to this young man; after all, he was going to all this trouble to hand-stitch such an ornate costume on All Hallows Eve just to get even with everyone he knew… why not? He wanted to have some fun!

A sliver of a cold chill whispered down the Blake’s spine. He stopped and spun, listened for anyone who may be returning early tonight. When he didn’t hear a car or the front door slam, he shrugged away the weird feeling that he wasn’t alone (figuring that it was the robe he was wearing giving him the heebie-jeebies and nothing else) and turned back to the mirror.
Blake felt comfortable in this, yes, this was no longer a costume he had taken three weeks to stitch together by hand – this was now his uniform. This was how he felt on the inside every single day he was alive on this planet, in this depressing little town – where every adult treated him like he was their own play thing, sex toy and what he said never mattered to anyone. This was his Black Dog from deep inside his soul worn on the outside for all the world to see; and he was damned proud of it – and he never wanted to take it off.
Looking over at the scythe leaning in the corner of the room next to his wardrobe – behind his bedroom door – he knew in three day’s time, it would be slick with the blood of everyone who ever crossed him. On his desk, on top of his science text book, laid the sickle. It too was ready with a new leather cord through its handle, looped underneath it; to be used like a whip when he was ready to pull it free from the hidden folds of …
…there was that chill again, this time there was a voice: “Oh good, you’ve fully resigned yourself to who you truly are, Blake.”
“Who is that?” he turned looking into the semi-darkness of the bedroom, but seeing nobody.
“You’ve made my costume so well,” whispered a cool breeze in his left ear, “And collected together my items as well, and yet you do not speak my name?”
Blake turned in the direction of where the voice whispered, “Show yourself you coward!”
“Big words for such a little boy.” The shadow stepped behind him as it stood behind him, “However, you will learn to take me in. Now, it’s time for me to a well-earned holiday and teach you the ways of who I am.”
Blake felt an icy hand grip his left shoulder; and a deep, dark, ancient evil enter him. It was darker than the things that had happened to him when he was young; darker than any war he’d seen on the news; darker than what Hitler did to the Jews… and then it spoke again – this time, in his mind, “Good evening, Blake. I see your costume is coming along very well. I’ve been admiring you from afar for some time now, but from now on you and I are going to become very close. Allow me to introduce myself: I am the Horseman who rides the White Horse. Have you guessed who I am? Some call me Death… I’d rather be called The Grim Reaper – it’s much more poetic.”

Sweat prickled his skin as panic froze in his gut. Blake tried to take off the robe, but found it couldn’t be removed now, “No,no,no,no,no!”
“Oh but yes! You want to conflict pain, Blake, and I’m here to help you do just that. And while you do, I’m on holidays. All you need to do is hold out your hand to the scythe and it’ll do your bidding.”

As though Blake had no self-control, his hand shot out to the tall, rusty scythe in the corner of the room and it shot over to him. At first, he started to cry, then howl in the darkness of his bedroom…

Saturday, 8 October 2016

The Bubble: Part One of Four

This week, Chuck has us writing a Part I of a story - the first 1,000 words. I got up to 646; and my story has been left for another to complete. 

enjoy.



The world is a dangerous place.

So we all live in our own little bubbles of protection.

Some of us like to read.

Some of us like to do gardening.

Some of us like to do a collection of things – to keep that bubble around us; protecting us from the awful things of the outside world.

In a way, we live in our own little universes – little worlds of wonder and enchantment – so we don’t have to deal with the real issues which are plaguing our planet.

Some of us are right into saving the planet… when it’s doing its own thing really and it doesn’t need saving, as the more we do try, the worse it seems to get.

Some of us take drugs which make us lose control in such a way that when somebody approaches us we have no way of knowing how we’ll react… it’s us pulling into our own little bubble in a different way to most… the most dangerous way of all – because it’s this way that does the most damage to the surrounding people on the outside of that particular person’s bubble.
You see, the drug-taker’s bubble isn’t really a bubble. It’s a prison. It’s self-built and is a bubble which becomes smaller and smaller as they destroy their system with the drug – or drugs – of their choice. As they do, they become more violent and horrible towards people who simply wish to ask them a question about something. They don’t even realise how destructive their bubble is until it’s too late… and the bubble turns into a prison and they can’t escape from it. By then, the bubble which is supposed to be protecting them has been turned into a real prison created by the authorities.

However, people can interact with each other’s bubbles and created great things. Artists do this is the most wonderful way. They can detach their bubbles from themselves and invite others in to work with them… it’s an interactive thing for them. It’s fun, enjoyable and a kind of mind-meld which takes over their little universe; as most artists are extroverted introverts. They have fun for a little while with others, then have to withdraw and gather their energies on their own. It’s the withdrawing which can have some great and positive things going for the artists and their bubble.
Gathering their energies (as it does for most) cleanses their bubble – their universe. But you have to be alone to do this.  Gwen’s bubble hadn’t been cleansed in a long time, and she was hanging out to do some meditation and good alone time. She had spent a lot of time with her friends and out partying at gallery openings and working at workshops at her local gallery… and after three months, she found she was exhausted. Her head was filled with doubts, fears and problems she never thought were possible.

So, setting herself up quietly, she pulled out her palate and cleaned brushes. Then, she unwrapped a nice clean, new canvas. Doing a new painting was one way for her to cleanse her bubble… she could put her worries, concerns and fears and doubts on the canvas. It was little like writing a journal for a writer – she wrote her fears in picture form on the canvas.

This time, it was different.

The brushes moved almost automatically, as she meditate on a picture in her head that had been bothering her lately… a mental picture of something big, ugly and horrible chasing her down, but… she couldn’t look at its face

“No, not at its face… don’t look.” She muttered as the day turned to night and she felt for a light switch behind her. As the light flooded the room, she stopped, staring at the painting of her anxiety… amazed that the one thing she was scared of was