Saturday, October 23, 2010


The Cycle 4 prompt was:
Monsters – write a story featuring at least one classic monster.
Genre: Mash-up! Mix monsters with genre of your choice.

I guess you could call mine a kind of suspense tale, maybe, with a monster thrown in the mix. Enjoy.


It was yet another dark and starless night--cool, crisp and overpoweringly seductive. I was intoxicated with the lure of your love and it drove me on to heights never before reached or even contemplated. The strong wind carried me to your balcony doors, open and ever inviting. Once within, I became, again, The One. The One for whom this moment in time has long awaited. I gaze upon your beauty in awe, knowing it is for this moment in time I also was created. My hand brushes against your alabaster cheek and you stir slightly--knowing, wanting, hoping. You turn your head and your raven hair shifts and reveals the prize I seek. The veins in your graceful neck pulse, and summon me home. I will bite deep and drink until your soul and mine are…


Thump. Crash.

"Damn owl! See what you’ve done? Again? You woke me up from my favorite dream. Only this time, I’ve also knocked down one of the vases from the side table. You know, if you keep this up, one of these days real soon, you’re going to find yourself laid out on a serving platter with parsley stuffed up your butt, a nice salad on the side and a goblet of chilled Chardonnay."


"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, no point in straining your throat or anything. I’m up now. Time to find some supper. Must be some O pos. or AB neg. in the fridge. I’m usually not this hungry when I first get up. Oh, terrific. First, you wake me from the only great dream I've ever had, and now you barge into my home and start poking around. I suppose you expect me to be hospitable and offer you something to eat. Well, alright, guy, I'm sure I can find something for you. What's your name anyway? What would an owl's name be? How about Blackie? Will that work for you? When I was a kid, I used to have a dog named Blackie. Not exactly the same thing here, but I'll just call you that, okay?

Stu? You're beyond pathetic. You're a vampire living in a deserted dusty old shell of a house that backs up against a no name dried out forest, entertaining and having a conversation with a bird. A one sided conversation, I might add. Ah well. Nobody promised me a rose garden, did they?

My 'Dark Gift'. Right. What a load of crap. You know, Blackie, here's some water for you. Anyhow, I was on my way home one night and there was this guy who looked like he'd been mugged or something on the road. So, I pulled over to see if I could give him a hand, and what do I get for my trouble? A bite on the neck, that's what. Another car came by, and he couldn't finish me off, so he does me just enough to turn me into a vamp like him. Then, he leaves me laying on the side of the road and takes off in my car. In my car. What kind of a self respecting bloodsucker drives? I always thought they turned into bats and flew away. Boy, did I have a lot to learn.

But, Blackie, old friend, we're a good team, huh? Couple of misfits. We'll do alright though. If you'd just stop waking me up from... What the hell is that?"

Stu saw a brief flash of light from the forest side of the property. The moon was shining brightly enough to enable him to see two men pushing something in a wheelbarrow. He couldn't figure out how they got back there without his knowing. They would have had to come up the long driveway from the road, then go around the house, through all the overgrown bushes and that certainly would have been noisy enough to attract his attention. Unless they had made the trek back there while he was asleep. Blackie's ungodly screech always woke him up, but this was a bad omen. Obviously, a person or persons unknown could roam the property at will while he was resting. What if they had decided to come into the house? Maybe he should get a dog. He knew he'd have to go back there to see what they were doing, and what in the world was in that wheelbarrow? When Stu got closer, he could hear them, and he also got a clear view of their load.

"Richie," the shorter one whined loudly, "can't we dump him here? He's so heavy, dead. Lonny was a fat pig alive, but now? What difference does it make anyway? Nobody lives here anymore. Why do we have to bury him? No one would ever come this far back?"

"Saul, Mr. Costanza said to take Lonny where no one would find him and bury him, and that's exactly what we are going to do."

Richie often wondered why he worked with Saul, and tonight was no exception. He was never content to simply follow orders. No matter what the job was, he always found something to complain about. Even this latest one, which had been going very smoothly until Saul decided to open his mouth.

"We got him outside of town, put a bullet between his eyes, and made it all the way back behind this old dump without anybody being the wiser. All we have to do is dig a bit and drop him in and then we'll cover him up with a bunch of leaves or something. No one's going to find him here, so it's not like we've got to put him deep. This place has been deserted for years. Alright, we'll do it here, Saulie, get started over there. The ground looks soft. I'll go through his pockets and make sure he's got no papers on him. Then, we'll just push the wheelbarrow behind those trees."

Saul started digging a shallow grave while Richie went through the corpse's pockets. Nothing. Perfect. Stu had heard enough. These men--these outsiders--were going to bury their kill on his land behind his house. How did this Richie character even know the house was back here? Only locals knew what was at the end of the long driveway, and they knew better than to come calling. He decided he'd have to teach these intruders a lesson. He'd have to make it clear that they need to bury their dead in their own back yard. He couldn't have snoopers and reporters and coppers roaming all over. That's how it went down on the TV shows. Criminals think they haven't left any clues, but something gives them away, and then there's no stopping it. Searchlights and crime scene tape, the yard all dug up, and then, the house. Yes. They'd come in and tear it apart looking for anything and they would find Stu, resting.

That would be bad enough because he knew what people did when they found vamps. He'd seen enough documentaries. Worse yet, what if he was out and they came in and discovered his bed, surrounded by all those dark curtains. They'd know something was up and he could never go back there. Where would he spend his days then? He probably should have listened to the others and got himself a coffin and stashed it in the cellar. But, he couldn't stand the thought of laying down in one of those contraptions. Too creepy.

No. He wasn't going to just stand by and allow his home to be violated and taken away from him. He'd figure out something to keep them all away. Let's see now, he thought, what would Columbo do?

Early the next morning as Stu was preparing to hit the sack for the day, he heard the first of the sirens. He had to smile. He had time before sunrise, and decided to stroll down to the village and get as close as he could to see if his plan had worked. Seeing all the flashing red lights and policemen told him it had. So many people standing around, taking pictures, measuring just everything in sight, and sealing off the area. And right in the middle of it all, a body right in the center of Main Street. While Stu was proud of the location he chose for Lonnie's new resting place, he was most proud of the note he's pinned to the body's jacket. Stu had written 'My name is Lonnie. Richie and Saul murdered me on orders from Mr. Costanza.' He had no idea who any of those people actually were, but he was sure the police would. Now, the focus would be on the individuals involved and not on his back yard. He put the wheelbarrow left behind that he used to move Lonnie right in front of Mr. Johanson's lumber yard. He was sure they'd be able to make use of it.

He hurried home to find Blackie sitting on one of the living room window's sills.

"Hello, old boy. Well, that took care of the problem this time, but what about the next? You know as well as I do that sooner or later, somebody's going to find us back here and ruin everything. I was thinking maybe I'd take in a boarder. Someone who's up during the day. I know this werewolf one county over, sleeps in somebody's garage. I'll bet he'd be happy to have a roof over his head. But, that screech thing you do. You might want to watch that. He might not be quite as understanding as I am..."

Thursday, October 21, 2010


This week things were a bit different. The prompt was a themed word list. The words were omen, umbrella, shallow and death. Perfect for this scary time of year. Here's my tale--a bit of darkness for you. Enjoy!


“Well, good morning, dear. How are you on this bright and sunny morning? Fancy running into you on the Boulevard. I’ve never seen you strolling here before, or anywhere, for that matter. I’d heard you even order your groceries on your computer thingy and have Billy Turner deliver them to your doorstep. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, my dear, nothing wrong with it at all. I mean, Billy does have his mama to provide for…in that awful place. Of course, I’m not one to spread stories about folks, but before you moved here, his mama had been found doing just some terrible things to Billy’s sister, Cassie Jean, and then they found Cassie Jean dead, hanging from the barn rafters, and according to the paper, the manner of her death was said to be suicide. Billy was there when they came and took his mama away, but he’s such a good boy. He makes sure she has money in some account where she’s at so she can buy some candy. She did always love her candy. Did you see that new shop on the corner? I’ve just made a purchase there. I bought a brand new umbrella. I didn’t require a new one, mind you, but it was so precious looking and so functional and I just couldn’t pass it by. Do stop in there now, honey, they have some lovely handbags and such, and reasonably priced too. Well, I’ve got to run now. You take care, and don’t be such a stranger. I’ll have to add you to my list of notifications about card parties and charity luncheons and the like. You all alone in that big house on the hill--bring some life into it, host some events and…got to run. The light changed. See you, sweet pea!”

Oh. My. God. I need a nap. And a drink. Or a drink. Then a nap. Then another drink. And I neither drink or nap. Serena Mc-something-something-something--she’s got three or four last names from three or four husbands--is someone I try wholeheartedly to avoid at all costs, and I usually succeed. But, on occasion, even the best laid plans and all that. Sweet and caring person, she is, who has taken me on as her personal cause. Get me out of the house. Get me involved in the town’s activities. Fix me up with some eligible man. Hell. I like being in the house, I’m not a shallow or vindictive individual, I’m just pathologically anti-social, and the love of my life was taken from me at our front door just a few months ago in a mugging attempt. Attempt. Why do they call it an attempt? They mugged him after all. Witnesses said he gave them what they asked for without resisting, but they shot him in the face anyway. They were subsequently arrested and convicted, and so? No sense of closure there for me though. No such fucking thing.

Then, I get the news that my father, who left us when I was a kid, had died safe and warm in his bed--oh, I’ll sleep much better now--and left me a big house in some rinky-dink town a hundred miles from the ass end of nowhere. So, never being one to stop to weigh the consequences of anything, ever, I left my apartment in the city, with it’s dark and deadly doorway, and came here, basically, to regroup. I didn’t know where my father had been all these years and didn’t care much really, but he did leave his house to me, so there’s that, I guess. I’m trying to look at it like it’s some kind of omen of good things to come. Like, maybe the place he began again might be a chance for my new beginning. I know that’s all crap, but I have to have something to grab, you know? Stop the freefall.

I did make a friend here though, and that’s a big deal for me. Like I said, I’m generally so anti-people. My Davey was what’s called a people person. He got along with anybody and everybody and was a friend to all he met. He often told me that’s what made us the perfect couple--complete opposites who each compliment the other. But he’s dead, so I should move on, right? Live in the now, right? Yeah. Right.

My new friend’s name is Charmaine. Charmaine Bradley. She’s a few years older than I am, but that’s okay. She’s honest and straight-talking, and she’s a widow too. Hers died in some battle in one of the wars and she carries his dog-tags in her pocketbook to this day. She’s a feisty broad, and I love her. Well, I did. No. I do. Why is it just because somebody hasn’t been around for a few days, we start speaking of them in the past tense? Charmaine is. Not was. She probably decided to visit her grandkids for a few days. Her car’s still in her driveway, but nothing’s disturbed and her house is locked up tight. I checked. I’ll see her at the soda shop by week’s end. I’m certain of it. I will. Please.

A new shop did just open in town on the Boulevard, as Serena calls it. The Boulevard. Sure. One block of a few small Mom-and-Pop businesses. Well, work with what you have. Apparently, the location has been dormant for some time. Goes to show that not too many exciting things occur here because I think the entire town showed up for the opening. Not me. I wait until Day Two. You know. That being-around-people thing.

Looks good from the outside. Basil’s Basics. How quaint. Gag and a half. Oh well, I’m here, so I may as well look around. I see now. Basics. Handbags, umbrellas and wallets for men and women and that’s it. Interesting. The stuff does look like quality merchandise, and buying a new wallet or purse here wouldn’t exactly put me in the poor house. You have to wonder though, how long they’ll last. How many purses and such can one town buy? Ah well. Not my concern.

Now, this umbrella looks like something I could live with. Nice and sturdy looking. The tag says it won’t fold up in a strong wind and will never leak. Alright. I’ll take it. Then, I’ll return to my home, alone, and await an invitation to one of Serena’s social events. Or a call from Charmaine saying she’s back and let’s meet at the corner for a root beer float. I could sure go for a root beer float. With Charmaine.

It just occurred to me that maybe Serena and her friends are right. I have zero life. I’m in my house, alone, with all the drapes, blinds and windows closed, inspecting my new umbrella. It’s got such a great feel to it, I have to admit, like it’s been treated with something. That’s probably what stops it from folding up and leaking. Weird. Weird, yes, but soft and comforting somehow. I know it’s supposed to be bad luck, but you know I want to open it. Just to see. Okay. So the inside of an umbrella is nothing earth-shattering, but I’m opening it anyway. First, though, I think I’ll fix myself a drink.

Great. Opens really big. One finally that will actually prevent me from getting wet in the rain. But, what’s this? A mark? A stain next to one of the spokes? Crap. I didn’t pay a fortune, but I don’t pay for garbage. No. Wait. I’ll be damned. It’s like a picture of something. No. A word, maybe. Tor…? Ton…” Yes. Tomm. Tomm? No. Can’t be. What the fuck? Charmaine showed me a tattoo she got the night her husband got shipped overseas. The doer was a friend of a friend and drunk as a skunk and spelled his name wrong. They laughed about it and decided to leave it, thinking it would someday turn out to be one of those memories you treasure, and all that gunk. She never got it fixed. His name was Tom, but the moron tattooed it on as Tomm. Just like on the inside of my new umbrella. I say again. What the fuck? What’s their number? Where did I put that damn receipt?


“Pack up everything now, boys, we’re on the move again. Just got a call from the lady who bought that umbrella. You know, the one I didn’t want to put out in the showroom? Raymond, it was you who said no one will ever notice because who looks inside their umbrella. Well, this lady evidently did, and she said she saw something very disturbing and wants to bring it by in the morning to see if I can clear up her confusion about it.

I hate to relocate so soon; we’ve just opened up and have almost depleted our inventory from the last shop. We could have done a good business here, but no sense taking any chances. We’ll just go across the river and change our name again and start fresh. We’ll need to build up some stock though, so we’ll make a quick sweep of the homeless camps on our way. There are a number of them just outside the city limits. They’re always willing to go along with the promise of a few dollars and a home-cooked meal. No time at all and we’ll be open for business again.

And Raymond? Just a couple of reminders. First of all, let’s try to keep customers as customers and not use them as merchandize, okay? Not much profit in that, is there? Secondly, before you skin a person and prepare their hide for the chemical bath, check them thoroughly for any identifying marks and/or tattoos. Those really don’t come out during processing, and someone picking up a wallet or a handbag that reminds them, literally, of their Uncle Phil who’s been missing for a week or so, is not terribly good for business. Alright then? Super. Let’s load up the van. Sun’s almost up. We want to get to the camps before they’re all up getting their breakfast. Hard to cut a few from the herd by then, so to speak…”

Monday, October 4, 2010


Another tempting prompt this week for Flash Fiction Friday. This time, the first sentence was supposed to be "Mom said I was going to be something one day." How can you pass that one up! Here's my story. Hope you enjoy.


Mom said I was going to be something one day. She meant it too. She always knew I was destined for greatness.”

“Oh, right. You. And , I suppose I was destined to reside in a cardboard box at the ass end of an alley.”

“Now, Randall, you know I didn’t mean anything like that. You always were a bright fellow. It’s just that, well, I am able to function comfortably on an academic level, and you seem to be more at home…”

“Where, Richard, you fucking moron? Academic level? You’re such a waste of good space. You’re afraid to leave the damn house. You want the groceries delivered to your doorstep. You want your mail shot silently through a slot in your front door. You keep all the six-inch thick curtains drawn and all of your stainless steel blinds closed. So, because I choose to live in the real world and actually have physical contact with other people, I’m not as good as you? Is that what you’re saying?”

“Of course not, Rand, and let’s not exaggerate about my choices in window dressings. It is simply that the sort of other people you desire to have physical contact with is, at times, most distressing. I am, of course, referring to those, um, unsanitary women. I will just never understand how you could bring such shame into our household. You broke our mother’s heart, you know. And dad? He was positively livid when he caught you with that three-legged woman. A three-legged woman, Ran? I mean, how could you?”

“Richard, Richard, Richard, don’t make such a big fucking deal out of it. It was only the one time, and I was basically just experimenting. There was no reason for the old man to go ballistic and start hollering and making her feel so bad. You know I’m right, don’t you? It was his fault to begin with. In the first place, he should have knocked. After all, I was in my own room, wasn’t I? Okay. So he just barged in and saw what he saw. You have to admit, it was kind of funny. Well, maybe not exactly funny, but regardless. Once he was in and when he was finished gasping, he should have just gone back to his den or wherever and left us alone. It wouldn’t have taken long, and the whole incident would have been forgotten. But, no. He had to go and grab mom and pull her in there and point at us, and then they’re both gasping and hollering… I had to do something, didn’t I? I had to react, didn’t I? I couldn’t just sit back and let them both call her ugly names and hurt her feelings, now, could I?”

“Well, no, I suppose not. But, Randall, I do believe you crossed a line. I mean, did you have to go so far as to…”

* * * * * * * * * *

“Dr. Milner, sir, I have a question if I may. How long has the patient been exhibiting this type of behavior--alternating between his own personality and that of his deceased brother?”

“Jackson, is it? Yes. Mr. Jackson. As a medical student, and frankly, even without any clinical training, common sense tells us that separation of conjoined twins is, at the very least, a complex process, physically. But, from a psychological standpoint, one can only imagine the trauma each party is experiencing before, during, and after the surgery. Now, add to that having your expectations and anticipations dashed when the other part of you is not only removed, but does not survive the procedure. Once recovery was well underway following the operation, he began speaking to, and for, his lost sibling. That is also when he began his violent attacks on the staff, and it was then that the decision was made that he, as well as his caregivers, would be safer if he remained in the isolation unit. It became more and more difficult to discern which of ‘them’ was initiating the attacks as well. Their identities have literally become a blur over time. But, as you can all see, that hasn’t diminished the bond with his brother--in his mind, that is. Therefore, we must exercise great caution when interacting with this particular patient or any of the others, for that matter, since the reality in their minds is the only reality they know. To feel compassion for them is to let your guard down, and unwittingly buy into their distorted view of their existence.

Any further questions? Simms?”

“Well, sir, a few of us were wondering about something. Under the law, did they murder their parents, or would the courts just consider one of them guilty, and is it even correct to refer to them as a ‘them’?”

“Absolutely, Mr. Simms, was it? They were two separate and distinct human beings joined at the hip, to put it very simply. As to who actually committed the murder, well, that depends on which one of them you were speaking with at the time. They were both covered with blood and they called each other by both names at the time, and since no one was ever really close to the family, it was impossible to make that determination. The hope was that by separating them physically, the truth might come to light. Of course, at present, that’s not relevant. Both in one body and both extremely dangerous. But since he’s confined for life, I suppose it could be said that justice has been served, no?

Well, let’s leave them to their verbal volleys, and head on over to the hospital cafeteria for a bite of lunch. Oh, look. It’s Bar-B-Q on special today. Pick up the pace, people. The line’s already out into the hallway. Following our meal, I thought we’d swing by Unit 11 to observe some of our younger killers. Not one over the age of 12 in there. There’s one you just have to observe to believe. That ten year old took two of the family’s carving knives and…

Wait. Cherry pie with whipped cream for dessert. Mr. Rivers, grab one and then pass it down to me. They always run out by the time I get to the desserts. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. The killer children. On a warm and breezy summer day not long ago, the ten year old fruit loop in Room 1107 gets up before mommy, daddy, and sissy...”