Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This week, the prompt was a starter sentence, and the challenge dealt with time. My offering deals with what could happen if an individual found himself with just a little bit too much time on his hands. Too much time to think and wonder. Perhaps, on occasion, that might be a good thing. In this case however... Please enjoy.


The clock ticked off the seconds, each a piercing reminder that time moved forward. It wouldn’t be too long now before he stepped through the door. Edwin Hoopmeyer. My co-worker. My friend. My Judas. No. Not too long now before he steps through his front door and I put a bullet into his brain.

I’ve been sitting here in his living room, in the dark, for about an hour, waiting. I could have cut it a lot closer since you can set your watch by the skunk. I used to admire and appreciate that trait of his, but now, I choke on the air we share.

How could he do this to me? To me. His best friend, trusted confidante, and ardent supporter. I am the one who deserved that promotion to supervisor. Not him with his ‘content to be crew‘ claim. I am the one who has 15 years of faithful service. Not him with his measly four. I am the one who has been boffing the company President’s skank of a daughter. Then again, I recently discovered, so has he.

That‘s right. How could I not have seen it? She was doing the deed with Edwin as well, the hypocritical bitch. Oh, how entranced she was with me, and how she simply melted at my touch. That lying demon. I’m willing to bet a week’s salary that she told him exactly the same thing. Probably that and then some. She was just using us both to satisfy her own demented desires. I’ll bet she never intended to recommend either one of us for the job upgrade. All she was ever after was a man with a pulse. Didn’t much matter where he was at in life or where he ended up when she was through with him. I should have seen right through that lovey dovey act of hers. And always texting somebody right when I was at the peak of my game. Of course, at the time, that activity was preferable to me having to lock lips with the girl. Her mustache was so much fuller than mine. I did always mean to ask her how she…

I just figured out what all that chit chat on her cell was about. She was playing one against the other and probably telling that slug of a hairdresser of hers that both Edwin and I were going to be kicked to the curb in a hot minute and somebody off the line was going to get the corner office and the raise. Then they would both laugh about it when she went in for her manicure and electrolysis treatments.

Oh yeah. I see it all now. It was actually the one with the comb and the hairspray and the pasted on smile. When the Zone VP’s wife went in to his shop to have her wig glued on for the week, Zorro Fitzmeister himself of Zorro’s Treasure Chest Salon and Boutique, would whisper in her diamond-studded ear to cross Edwin and me off the list of potential promotees. Of all the underhanded, hateful, savage…

No. Damn. It was her. The whole time. The VP’s snake of a spouse. It was she who would deliver the lamb to the lions. She was the link in the chain that I had been missing. Once she completed her beauty ritual with Zorro and received the encoded instructions, she would return home and pass the word onto the eager ear of the next waiting car in their little underground railroad setup: Her gardener, Roland. Yes, yes, yes. Is it coincidence that her gardener is also the one who does the landscaping outside my office and around the company? Oh how obvious their evil little plan is to me now.

So, that’s what Roland was up to, was it? Every time he was landscaping the area outside my office, he made sure he timed it so he would run into me on my way out. That was so he could tell me how much I deserved that promotion, and tell me over and over how hard I was working, and I was so dedicated staying over all those nights to finish my paperwork. Standing outside by the parking lot where God and everybody could hear him. Hear him building me up and not mentioning my dear friend, Edwin at all. Throw everybody off the track, and create the supreme diversion. Totally leaving Edwin out of the picture where the supervisor’s job was concerned. Trying to undermine and completely derail his future--his destiny. And what would possess the ingrate to do such a thing? Everybody knows Edwin earned that promotion months ago. The man had already given the company four years worth of his blood, sweat and tears, and here’s this gardener, the guy who wields the rake and thinks he runs the operation, doing all he can to shaft my very best friend in this whole world out of the prestige and respect this new position would generate. But, it all backfired on you Roland, didn’t it? All your spying and all your lies were for naught, weren’t they? The message never got through in time and the promotion was given to Edwin after all. You see? Right is right. You can’t hold back the mighty sword if it is in the hand of Lady Justice. Fate will not be denied.

My God. It is all so clear now. Something has to be done to curtail all this backbiting and sabotage by this spawn of Satan. Something must be done before he can actually succeed in destroying another man’s dreams and divine right. He believes that no one knows what’s behind the mask he wears, but I have seen the serpent that lies beneath. Changing his schedule this week so he can be on the road tomorrow afternoon to spend a long weekend at his cabin on the lake, alone. Like his leaving so abruptly following the promotion announcement wouldn’t raise any suspicion…

Oh, there’s Edwin’s key in the lock. I can’t wait for him to come in so I can let him know I’ll always be there for him. He never has to ask for help or support, because I will make sure it’s there before he even knows he needs it. The man’s a saint.

“Didn’t mean to startle you, buddy boy. I bribed your Super to let me in so I could surprise you. Drinks and dinner on me, okay? We need to celebrate your well-deserved promotion to Supervisor. You name the place, and it’s all my treat. And we can take our time too, pal o’mine, since I don’t have other plans any time soon. At least, not until late tomorrow afternoon. Thought I’d take a nice long drive. You know, out by the lake. Somebody I know has a cabin there…”

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Richard Godwin's novel, Apostle Rising is coming soon. Here's a peek from his website:

"Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle never caught the Woodlands Killer and it almost destroyed him. Now many years later and still suffering from nightmares, he is faced with a copycat killer with detailed inside knowledge of the original case. Someone is crucifying politicians, and Castle and his partner DI Jacki Stone enter a labyrinth. At its centre is the man Castle believes was responsible for the first killings. He’s running a sinister cult and playing mind games with the police. And the ritualistic killer keeps raising the stakes and slipping through their hands. The body count is rising. Castle employs a brilliant psychologist to help him solve the case, and he begins to dig into the killer’s psyche. But some psychopaths are cleverer than others."

Make sure you check out Richard's website for updates on the release date of this novel, links to his stories, and his blog. You won't want to miss any of it!



Carole Gill's deliciously dark novel is coming soon from Vamplit Publishing. The themes are vampirism, devil worship, madness and obsession. The perfect read for that nice, quiet evening when you're all alone.

Carole has many other terrifying treats in store for you as well. She writes dark-themed horror and sci-fi. Mythica Publishing's Sci-Fi Anthology, Maybe Tomorrow, will include her story, Deathless. Sci-Fi Almanac 2009, Vol. I, No. 1 included her story, The Habinger, in its collection. Sci-Fi Talk's Anthology entitled Tales of Time and Space contains her story, Aftermath, in that collection, which is available from Amazon.

Triskaideka Books has included her horror story, Truth Hurts, in its Masters of Horror Anthology, which is available in paperback and ebook.

She is one of the writers Sonar 4 Publications has chosen to be in the Ladies of Horror 2010 collection. She is also working with the Timeship Universe Project on writing spin-offs for their Timeship Chronicles. Currently, the project is an alternate history of World War II.

You can find her free online vampire stories at Vamplit Publishing's Blood Read Magazine. Also, make sure you check out her blog for updates on all her projects.

Carole will take you on a journey filled with fallen angels, demons, vampires and insanity. It will be a ride you will never forget!



Tuesday, November 23, 2010


During this time of appreciation and gratitude for all the people and good times we have in our lives, this week's challenge was to compose some Thanksgiving Hell. No way could I pass this one up! This time, the prompt was words to incorporate into the story. They were slap, sleet, tureen, and felt. The genre was of our own choice and word count was 1,000 or less. I wish to all a very Happy Thanksgiving, and hopefully, your family get-togethers are much less stressful than my main character's. Please enjoy.


“I can’t believe this. What a surprise. Renting a hall at this nice cafĂ© just for me? I have to tell you, this is just what I needed after the day I’ve had today. Let me tell you…”

“Anna? How could you do this to me? You knew I was going to wear my favorite sweater and the skirt with the poodle design. But here you are, showing up in that hideous copycat outfit you made just to spite me. Your poodle doesn’t even look like a dog anyway. It looks like a beaver with sequins on it. Why don’t you just walk right up and slap me in the face? That would have hurt a whole lot less. How can I stay here now in the same restaurant with you? I’ll never be able to show my face in this town again.”

“Sara, it’s alright. No one is going to notice what the two of you are wearing. I mean, we’re all going to end up in the back room that you rented for my birthday party, aren’t we? It’s not really that important after all.”

“Not important? Not important? I don’t know what you consider important, but my reputation is critical to me. I have never felt so humiliated. And you, my own sister? How dare you talk to me like that? There’s just no accounting for taste sometimes. You know as well as I do that I told you first that I was going to wear this outfit tonight, and it is not a copycat outfit. Mother knows that I made this skirt and sweater long before you bought your dollar store version. Isn’t that right, Mother?”

“Aunt Estelle, please make your girls understand that it doesn’t make any difference to me or anyone else. I think they both look lovely and I’m just grateful that you all got together to throw me a surprise birthday party tonight. I love having my family with me on this special occasion, and I think we should just go on now to the back and have some cake and punch and just forget about all this nonsense. You see, I had a very rough day today. When I walked into work…”

“Nonsense? You think this is all nonsense? I never imagined you of all people to be so insensitive to your cousins’ feelings. How can you be so selfish? Sara, Anna, Uncle Bob and I are all the family you have left. Well, there’s your Uncle Dan, Aunt Flora, and their sons, William and Lester. Of course, they couldn’t make it tonight because they had other plans. Other plans. Right. They just think they’re better than the rest of us since Dan got that promotion. Let me tell you something. Being promoted to senior cook at the Burger Barn isn’t that big of a deal. All that means is that he’s the oldest windbag on that crew of thugs. I’ve had enough. I’m going home. You can go back there and have your cake and punch if that’s what you want so badly. Bob? Let’s get Anna and Sara home. They’re both upset and somebody here doesn’t have any regard for anyone’s feelings but his own. Come on girls, would you like to stop for some ice cream on the way home?”

Okay. Happy Birthday to me. You’re fucking right I’m going on back to eat that cake and drink that punch. Hope to God this joint’s got some 90 proof I can stir into it though. Yet another delightful evening with my family. Mom and Pop got lucky that night when they couldn’t see for all the sleet and Pop crossed the center line just in time to lock front ends with that semi. Their suffering was over. And mine? It had just begun. Yeah, the aunts and uncles and cousins took care of me those 8 years till I went out on my own, but now, on every occasion they deem special, like holidays, my birthday, their birthdays, Arbor Day, you know the drill, they make sure we all have to get together to have a party. I arrive, say 10 or so words, they start in on each other, they go home, and I’m left behind with plastic containers full of salads. Oh well. I’m not much of a cook and the stuff does feed me for a few days. Thanksgiving is coming up though and it’s my turn. They’ve all been invited to my house for dinner. The whole crowd. They’re all coming too. Dan and his gang don’t have other plans that day. I’m going to give them all different dinner times so they don’t all arrive together. This holiday is going to be the best ever.

* *

“A Very Happy Thanksgiving to us all! I’m so glad you could all make it today. I’m anxious for all of you to try out the meal I’ve prepared. As you know, I’m not much for cooking, but I wanted everything today to be extra special. Let me get you some homemade vegetable soup, Aunt Estelle. Recognize the tureen? It was Mom’s. Keeps everything nice and hot. Uncle Dan? You’ve got to try my dressing. I found some recipes in a magazine and tried them all. Cousin Anna and Cousin Sara? You both look so beautiful today in your striped sweaters and poodle skirts. William and Lester, get some ham and turkey. I know you are both still growing boys. Aunt Flora, why so quiet today? You usually have so many interesting tidbits of your life to share with the rest of us. Uncle Bob, more wine? I know how much you love the dark red kind.

Isn’t this the best time we’ve ever had together? None of you minded the double taps as you walked through the front door, did you? I didn’t think you would. Isn’t this cozy, all of us sitting here around the table. Now, about my day…”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This week's prompt was a starter sentence, and an enticing one it was. For your reading pleasure, I offer you, Attrition.


The train seemed unusually empty this morning. It was very odd to see so few of the regular riders in the middle of the workweek.

I, of course, was first on. I am always first on. Mrs. Johnston was there on the Winchester platform. She’s such a sweetheart, but she works way too hard for someone her age. I wish she didn’t have to get off at the second to last stop. That’s such an awful neighborhood. Why on earth would they even put a platform there when the only people around over there are gang members and drug dealers. I have to admit that I have never seen any one of them hop on the 7:04, that’s for sure. She doesn’t have to walk far to get to the houses she cleans, just a few blocks, and that area isn’t too bad. But getting to Grove Place from where she gets off this train has to be a frightening experience for her, what with all those low-lifes hanging around the platform and stairs, saying hateful things to her, grabbing at her handbag, when all she’s trying to do is get to her job. Well, this morning, she didn’t have to put up with that. I heard her telling Mr. Rivera that she was going all the way downtown right to the station this morning so that she could pop in and visit her husband in the hospital for a few minutes. Apparently, he had been cleaning their gutters and his foot slipped from the ladder and he fractured his hip. One of her employers told her they would pick her up by the First Street entrance and take her to her first house until he was discharged so she wouldn’t have to take the train twice. At least she will be safe for a few days anyway.

Mr. Rivera. That poor dear man. He got on right after Mrs. Johnston, which was strange since I hadn’t seen him for a couple of weeks. I heard him telling her that he hasn’t been riding since basically, he had nowhere to go. Evidently, his job at the plant had been eliminated when they lost three of their biggest customers. He hadn’t had much luck finding another position either, but this morning, he was on his way to a formal interview at one of the new factories by the docks. It would be a longer trip for him since he’d have to ride the train to the station and then take a couple of buses, but he had said the money would be well worth it. And, after all, any port in a storm. Right?

I really got worried when we just sailed right on through the stop at Clark because there was no one waiting there. I wondered what happened to Sara. She’s so young to be a mother, barely out of high school, but her baby boy is so adorable. She always rides on Wednesdays since she has a part-time job cleaning the offices down on Grove Avenue. She always gets off at Twelfth so she can drop the baby off at her mother’s, then catches the 8:50 to the station. I hope the baby’s not ill. She’s having such a hard time trying to make a living for her and her child. The baby’s father works three jobs at least and is trying to provide for them, but if the baby’s sick, that means doctors, and medicines and that kind of thing can end up being very expensive. I hope all is well with her.

I was so happy when we stopped at Palisades and Mr. O’Reilly got on. How I adore that fellow. He’s always smiling, and he always has a ’good morning’ for the conductor and everyone in the car. I always take a peek over his shoulder at the daily papers so I can keep up with current events. He always reads the comics too, and I love them so.

Usually, there are one or two new people every week, but perhaps they’re all getting on the other cars. That’s okay though, because this car’s riders are like family. We all know each other and each other’s lives and day-to-day issues, and it’s comforting somehow to just keep the car to ourselves. One new person did get on today however, but this person was not welcome today and would never be welcome again. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw her get on. With you.

You were both laughing at some private joke when you got on. That was bad enough. I can’t tell you how much more it hurt when you guided her right to our seat. Our seat. The one you and I sat on every Wednesday for all those months while you were going to school downtown. Always that car. Always that seat. Now, you sit there with her. I heard you tell her how excited you were about graduating and getting the new job and how happy you were that since she also worked downtown, you could both ride the 7:04 together every morning. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to take that, having your affair thrown in my face every day. I just don’t know how I’m going to handle that.

I always believed you and I would be together. We first met on this train and I fell in love with you at the very moment I looked into your eyes. We talked and smiled and shared our hopes and dreams. You brought me coffee and treats and even a rose on my last birthday. Everyone in the car knew we were a couple. Everyone. Except you.

That last morning we were together--it seems so long ago now. There was no coffee. There were no treats. And, there definitely was no rose. You had told me you wouldn’t be going in that morning, and asked if I’d get off at your stop so we could chat. You said to meet you at the diner on the corner and we could have coffee there. I knew then that you were going to declare your eternal love for me. It made me smile. All that passion and romance at a corner table over coffee and perhaps toast with marmalade. It would be a moment I would remember all my life.

All I recall running through my mind as you walked me back up to the platform was how could this be happening. How could you tell me at a corner table over coffee and toast with marmalade that you were certain that I had misinterpreted your intentions? When you asked me where I got the insane idea that there was anything between us beyond two people who happened to share a seat on a morning train, I couldn’t breathe. I felt myself feeling very disoriented and disconnected while we ascended the stairs to the benches. You sat, and motioned for me to join you while we awaited the next run. You’d see me on my way, you said, this last time. In the future, you’d be riding in one of the other cars, you said. Because that would be for the best, you said.

I heard the next train long before I saw it. I knew you didn’t. You were too busy trying to explain to me that we never were. Never. As the train neared the platform and I jumped down onto the tracks, the last thing I heard was you saying ‘no‘, and the last thing I saw was your hand reaching out for me. Right. Now, you reach out for me.

So, here I am tonight, alone in the car, our car, sitting in our seat, waiting for the first morning run to begin. I had always believed there would be a brightly lit garden with a fountain full of cool, sweet water, and wings. Everyone would have wings. I would have wings. And I would feel safe. But, there is no garden. There is no cool, sweet water. There are no wings There is only darkness and loneliness and regret. I didn’t know I would have to forever ride this train. I didn’t know I couldn’t ever touch or be touched again. I didn’t know I’d be frightened of the night. I wish now at that very last second I had taken your hand. Then we would have been together. Forever.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


The prompt this time was Teenage Summer, with the genre of your choice, and the word count under 1000. I should warn you--this is not exactly Frankie and Annette at Beach Blanket Bingo, but there are teenagers and then, there are teenagers. This is simply the recounting of how two of them spent one summer. After all, we all do march to a different drummer, don’t we… Please enjoy.


Mrs. Chamberlain and esteemed classmates, I am very pleased to be able to present to you the slides from my recent summer excursion. For our latest birthday, my twin brother, Zach, and I received new camera equipment and various types of mounts, which we happily took with us so that we would be able to share our experience with all of you. We were able to quickly make duplicates, so Zach is at Riverfront Boys Academy at this very moment sharing our memories with his professor and classmates. I cannot express strongly enough what this trip meant to both of us. Boarding here at our respective academic institutions since first grade has, of course, been an extremely rewarding experience. But at the time of holidays and other special occasions, our parents came to visit us, and we were not permitted to visit or view the outside world. However, since we now have both attained the age of 16, we can begin to utilize our training and go beyond the books. We can now truly experience life with all its perks and blessings.

Dale, would you please assist me and shut off the lights? I will now share with all of you my fondest memories.

This first one is a shot of our arrival at the airstrip. It’s a bit dark, since we were the only arrival that night, but that does really make things a whole lot easier. The crowds are so annoying, and all of you know how waiting irritates me. Our vehicles were readily available, and we were able to get quickly on our way to our cabin on the beach. We decided to go to Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Apparently, young people of all ages congregate there for their summer vacations. We had heard that they party all night long and would be willing to go anywhere to do absolutely anything. Zach and I quickly decided that would be the perfect locale.

This next one was taken at the beach about a half mile from our cabin at noon. Notice all the young people, and all their bright and eager faces. Such a friendly crowd to be sure; all ready and willing to lend a hand with planning yet another evening’s festivities.

Here we have one showing a group of teens staying at a hotel down the beach from where Zach and I stayed. There were seven of them altogether. They had come down from some high school up north to spend a couple of weeks on the sand. We invited them all over for a cookout the third evening we were there, and they all came. They were positively delightful. Every one.

Here are Zach and I sitting down to breakfast in our cottage. We had plenty of leftovers from the cookout the night before, and we thought it would be fun to have something different in the morning. Notice how much space we had in that cabin. All the rooms were huge, especially the kitchen. All the latest appliances and cooking utensils, which really came in handy when you consider how much Zach and I both love to cook.

Now, this next one has such an odd side. We met this boy and his sister, who were also there on summer vacation just like us. We had them over for a cookout the very same night, and it was too wonderful. Small world, huh?

Here’s one of Zach and I at one of their gatherings one afternoon. We didn’t attend too many of them, of course, as Zach and I have quite the aversion to the sun. But it was enjoyable in its own way, and it did allow us to make the acquaintance of quite a number of young people and allow us to learn where they were staying. This made it possible for us to approach them at a later time to invite them to our cabin for a meal. The whole process seemed to flow quite smoothly when we encountered them away from larger groups.

This last one is of Zach and I after we had finished packing for our return and we so desired a remembrance of that wonderful cabin and the yard behind it that bordered the shore. See in the corner there, the large built-in grill. We truly enjoyed so many tasty meals that were prepared there, and it was perfectly constructed to accommodate our particular tastes. Believe it or not, after removing the heads and limbs, one was able to broil two entire torsos at the same time, and all the flesh cooked quite evenly.

This Fort Lauderdale place is quite the perfect location and Zach and I intend to return next summer. It is quite well stocked with the young and the fit--not an ounce of fat on any of them to be sure. A bit of seasoning of course, but tenderizing was not necessary for any of them. Let me know if any of you would like some recipes. I don’t have any for pre-teens; there weren’t too many of them at that particular time. Now, the older ones, for instance, the ones between, say, 21 and 25, I believe a rotisserie setup would be more advisable. Being larger and having more meat on them would most likely require a longer cooking time and constant turning for even browning.

In case any one of you would like to join us next year, you are more than welcome. In the event you plan on going on your own, you will have a very easy time of it. It’s amazing how complacent and trusting these young people are. Make sure you offer them some free alcoholic beverages and food, and they will come quite willingly. A couple of tablets in their drinks renders them quite cooperative, and then it’s on the grill with them and you’re off to prepare a nice salad.

Any questions?