Wednesday, August 29, 2012


The prompt this week was to write a 1,000 word story about someone who has no self-awareness, or alternatively, someone who has far too much.  Include the following words:  curve, substitution, relief, sacrifice, and strikeout.  The genre was open.

My story is about a girl who has pretty much lived her life with a count of three and two.  I wonder what will happen when this latest pitch crosses the plate…


I have a date tonight.  Well, it’s not exactly a date as dates go.  It’s more of a meet-and-greet thing.  Oh, who am I kidding.  Sandy, he isn’t going to like you.  Chalk up another strikeout.  They take what they can get from you and move on.  It’s what you deserve anyway because you’re nothing.  Mom always told me that, so it must be true.  I so wanted to be just like the ladies I saw as we walked past the fancy shops, with their clean clothes and shiny hair.  If we stood too long in one place though, the shop owners would tell us to move along.  See, our clothes weren’t all that clean and my hair was never shiny.

Mom liked to smoke stuff that she said made her forget.  I used to ask her if it was me she was looking to forget, but at first, she said it was just things that happened before I was born.  When I got a little older, she told me that I was what she wanted to forget because if I had never been born, she wouldn’t have had to sacrifice…  She passed out before she finished that sentence, and I never asked again.

I learned all about men from Mom too.  She told me all about the married people stuff and it sure sounded icky at the time, but Mom seemed to like it.  At least twice a week, she would find some guy who’d take us to a motel and they would do the married people thing in one of the beds and I would get to sleep in the other.  When they were done, the man would give Mom money to buy the stuff she liked to smoke and toss me a little to get a burger with.  Most of them were pretty nice, but they always left after they gave us the money.  The good thing was that we could stay in the room for a few more hours until the Manager threw us out.

I asked Mom about my Daddy and she said he was nothing but a goody-two-shoes who thought he was better than us.  She told me to forget all about him because he was a bad person.  I’ve wondered about that ever since I found the letter, but since it upset her, I never spoke to her about him again.

We were in one of the motels off Highway 108 and it was crummy, but the good news is that we could stay in this one for the rest of the night.  Their married people thing went really quick this time and the man told us he paid for the whole night.  Mom didn’t like anyone going in her bag, but she was out cold, I was hungry, and I thought I saw a candy bar in there.  That’s when I found the letter.

It was from some man who said he cared about Mom and always would, but he couldn’t stay with her if she kept using the drugs.  He begged her to give him his baby after it was born so he could keep it safe.  If she wanted to get better, he put his number in there and told her to call any time.

Mom never did get better.  I woke up next to her one rainy morning in the doorway of a little market where we slept sometimes.  It was nice there because they had an awning, and it kept the rain off of us and the owner’s wife always brought us coffee and a doughnut when they opened the store.  Sometimes, life throws you a nasty curve though because that morning, I had the whole cup and all of the doughnut because I couldn’t wake Mom up.  She was all cold and stiff and I heard somebody say that she had just stopped breathing.  I guess relief can come in different ways.

The store owners took me to the police so I wouldn’t be alone and I ended up in the court.  The judge was nice and told me I deserved better than living on the street.  I knew he was wrong, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I kept quiet.  He said they found my Mom’s sister who wanted me to live with her and her family.  He said a substitution could be made by placing me with strangers, but he would let me decide.  Apparently, this new aunt of mine had been searching for us when she heard I was born, but with us living mostly on the streets, we were hard to find.  I chose to stay with family.  If she had been looking for me, maybe I was worth finding after all.

My new family tried hard to help me fit in.  They sent me to some group where people talk to each other about how they feel and what they want from life.  All I wanted was to understand why I was.  They told me to stop wasting their time, so I never went back.  All that mattered to me was that my clothes were now clean and my hair was shiny.

My aunt and uncle arranged for me to meet William tonight since they’ve known him for some time.  My aunt said when I came to live with them, she called him and said he was very anxious to meet me.  Hopefully, he won’t be disappointed.  

I’ve often wondered why I was permitted to survive since there never seemed to be any real purpose behind my existence.  But by tomorrow morning, I just might have my answer.

A knock on the door.  He’s here.  God, please let him like me.

“Hello, Sandy,” he said softly.  “I’ve been searching for you forever it seems.  Is it really you?”

I took a deep breath.

“Yes.  It is really me.  Daddy…”

Monday, August 27, 2012


Great news!  Apostle Rising, Richard Godwin's deliciously disturbing thriller about a killer who literally crucifies politicians, is now available as an ebook (Kindle edition).  But, there's more!  Also included are an excerpt from Mr. Glamour (see below) and a series of stories.  You can order it here:

You can also get a copy in paperback if you prefer.  Order your copy here:

And don't forget Richard's latest dark psychological thriller, Mr. Glamour.  Available here:

Make sure you check out Richard's website here for his Chin Wags at the Slaughterhouse and information about all his work.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


The prompt this time was to write a story that featured a full moon and its effects on characters in the story.  The word count was 1,300 words and the genre was open.  I wrote this in a real hurry, so please excuse any typos.  Please enjoy.


Gerald Mackleroy was born mean.  By the age of 7, he could send his schoolmates running from the playground in tears.  He never had to raise a hand; his words were enough to cause deep wounds.  He’d talk about their whore of a sister living on the streets in the city or point out that when their Daddy left, it wasn’t their Mama he was leaving--it was really them since they were such a disappointment.  When he was little, his Mama constantly tried to caution him on the consequences of what she referred to as ‘crossing that line’.  One day, she had often told him, you’re doing to make one last pass over that line and there will be no going back.  Then, you’re going to be sorry.  Really.  Sorry.  Last time she delivered her speech to Gerald was on a dark and rainy Monday morning.  By Friday morning, that same week, she was dead.  Gerald didn’t really care what killed her, or even that she was gone.  His father made no speeches and kept a respectable distance and Gerald liked that just fine.

Gerald’s father, Roger, no longer felt comfortable in the area since his wife’s death, so he decided to take a job working for the county two states away.  He hoped that beginning their lives in a new town with new people might help his son.  The boys his age had always avoided him and Anna Marie had said it was because Gerald taunted and emotionally tortured them.  Dear, sweet Anna Marie.  He never understood how a mother could believe that about her own child.  He’d never seen Gerald torture anyone, and maybe the boys in the area just weren’t at his son’s level intellectually.  Yes.  That’s it.  They were just jealous and spread stories.  Gerald would make lots of new friends after they moved.  Roger did have to admit though that there had never been much of a bond between father and son.  He’d tried since the boy was born, but he could never seem to warm to the boy or the boy to him.  Things will change after the move, he thought.  We’ll be like a real family.

This new town is even sorrier than the one I was born in, Gerald thought, and the kids are even dumber.  He’d make sure they got theirs though and he knew just how to accomplish that.  He’d accompany his father when he put in overtime at the Courthouse, and while Dad was hard at work behind a desk initialing piles of papers, Gerald would hit the records room and dig for dirt.  It always amazed him how small towns kept records of the personal failings of its residents.  He loved to rummage through old newspaper clippings and court documents.  There was always something sinister and painful he could throw in the face of those who he felt had crossed him.  A treasure trove of hurt waiting there for Gerald to find.  He already had been given a list of the names of the kids in his class.  All nice and alphabetical.  Just like the court’s file drawers.

The first day at his new school was boring and the teacher was ugly as spit.  Gerald had read an article about her husband of eleven years eating the barrel of a shotgun the previous spring.  One look at her and Gerald wondered why it had taken him so long.  He noticed a group of boys gathered at the side of the office building.  The one named Harley motioned for Gerald to join them.  Gerald already knew that boy’s father was in the penitentiary for assaulting a bartender.  He decided to find out what they were up to.  He always had the jail incident to use if need be.

“Hey, Ger.” Harley called out.  “Why don’t you come with us to Cemetery Hill.  Bobby’s going to do one of his rituals later.  There’s going to be full moon tonight, so who knows what will happen.  We can stop by my house on the way and you can call your Pops and tell him you‘re staying at my place tonight.  My Mom will fix us supper and then when she goes to her room to watch her shows, we‘re all going to head over there.  It‘s going to be really neat.”

‘Really neat’.  Gerald wondered if any of them realized just how low on the food chain they were.  If this was some kind of initiation  and they thought for one second about trying to embarrass him, they’d regret it in a heartbeat.  Gerald had enough on each one of them to bring them to their knees.

“Great,” he said in his usual biting tone.  “But, I prefer to be called Gerald.  Never ‘Ger’.”

“Whatever floats your boat,” Harley smiled, and started down the path behind the school.

Whatever sinks yours, Gerald thought.

Bobby, Gerald learned, was a high school senior, and was a devotee of anything dark and demonic.  Gerald didn’t believe in spells and all that crap and couldn’t wait to introduce some cold hard reality into the minds of these backwoods boys.  After a less than appealing meal at Harley’s house, the seven of them headed to the hill.  Bobby was already there, wearing a long black robe with an upside-down cross on a chain around his neck, sitting within a circle of lit black candles.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Gerald began.  “How scary.  What are you going to do?  Conjure something up?  I knew it would be a waste hanging with you losers.”

He decided it was time for their lesson, and as he pointed at each boy, he dredged up their families’ dirty linen.  A father’s incarceration for brutal behavior, a mother’s infidelity with a parish priest, a brother’s moment of indiscretion with a crossing guard…  This town was a soap opera of scandal and Gerald  relished each boy’s quivering lip and sniffles to stem the tears.

“You’d better take all that back, boy,” Bobby said quietly.  “Now.”

“I’m so scared of you, I’m shaking in my shoes.”  Gerald decided to go home.  No way was he going to spend another minute here.  His job was done.

Bobby told the others not to let the new kid rattle them.  He had them join hands outside the circle as the full moon came into view.  He began.

The following week went by quickly for Gerald.  None of the kids in his class would make eye contact, and he figured word had gotten around that he was not to be messed with.  Gerald was happy about that.  Now, the rest of the year would sail by.  Everyone in school was talking about that night when yet another full moon was supposed to appear.  Gerald wondered what had occurred during the last one, if anything.  Bobby, with all his Goth crap, was just another small town joke.  Full moons.  More crap.

Gerald fell asleep on the couch watching a rerun of some lame show from the 50’s.  He was pissed they didn’t have cable, but his father assured him they would be able to afford it within the next few months.  A loser.  Just like his mother.  He heard a noise coming from the kitchen.  He couldn’t remember if he had locked the back door, but what did it matter.  There was no crime in the sticks, and it was probably just their dump of a house settling.  After he closed his eyes, he noticed the sudden darkness.  There had been some light from the TV.  Had the power cut out?  He sat up, opened his eyes, and standing in front of him was a creature from Hell itself.  It was almost as tall as the ceiling, eyes as black as the night, fangs and sharp claws on both its hands.  It was clothed in a long, black robe and had an upside-down cross on a chain around its neck.

“Disbeliever,” it growled.  “Defiler.  Betrayer.”

As it leaned in and began to tear at Gerald’s throat with its claws, he remembered his mother’s warning about making that one last pass over the line.  She had been right.  This time he was sorry.  Really.  Sorry.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I hosted this week's F3 and my prompt concerned that person we have all run into at one time or another:  The nosy neighbor.  Our stories should tell the tale of one of the neighborhood's nosiest, along with the outcome of one of his/her spying sessions.  Also, the stories should include the following words:  Cellar, bottle, blinds, suitcase, and freezer.  The word count would be 1,500 and the genre could be whatever the prompt suggested to the writer.

So, let's have some fun with these camera-wielding, binocular wearing, peephole peekers.  Please enjoy my take on it.


Dearest Diary,

Today is Monday, September 1st, and an eventful week this is certainly going to be.  When I got up this morning, I did another check of the house directly across the street, and lo and behold, there was a moving van in the driveway.  Through the laundry room blinds, I was able to determine that the moving company was one of those outrageously expensive ones, so I was really anxious to see what kind of family had purchased the house.

As you know, dear keeper of all my secrets, that house used to belong to the Kensons.  They were terrible people who did terrible things, as I often have detailed here.  The mother, already full of bourbon by 8am, stumbling out to retrieve the morning paper.  The father, a salesman selling who knows what, spending hours and hours inside the homes of the younger women in the neighborhood while their husbands were at work.  The teenage boy, playing his guitar at full blast in the garage at all hours with his supposed band, who were nothing more than thugs in training.  And last, but not least, the little girl, rail thin, always in the yard, never dressed for the weather, and as overall filthy as the day is long.

These were horrid people, Diary, and I was so relieved when they left.  Apparently, they had been renting the place and the owner evicted them for nonpayment.  When he arrived to take a look at the place, the whole neighborhood could hear him hollering about all the damage they had done to the inside.  He had repairmen come and fix it all up, and he let us all know that he would never rent it out again.  It was sell it outright time since people just couldn’t be trusted.  I could have told him that.

All I’ve seen so far is the movers going back and forth, and one man who seems to be their supervisor.

I hope the owners arrive soon.  It’s almost time for my shows to come on and I can’t miss them.

*   *   *

Journal Date 09/01:

All went smoothly with the move.  The sale of the house in Freemont will be finalized tomorrow at noon.  The new owners were quite pleased with the way I put cement flooring in the basement and they were really delighted with the well in the back yard.  Nothing will ever surface--I made sure of that.  I was as careful there as I have been at all the other homes I’ve owned, and I will be just as careful here.  This home is quite spacious and will more than accommodate my needs.  The master bedroom for me, and two others that can be utilized as get-acquainted chambers, once the walls are sound-proofed, padlocks are installed on the doors and the windows are barred and sealed.  The wine cellar could be useful too since removal of some of the shelves would make room for two people, at a minimum.

The city is accessible, but there is still an adequate distance from my home.  Lots of transients, runaways, prostitutes--individuals that won’t be missed; individuals that I can spend as much time with as I choose.  I feel I shall be very happy here.

If there is one snag though, I believe it will be my across the street neighbor.  I have already done my research, and of all the residents in this subdivision, she will be the most difficult to contend with.  Her name is Mrs. Margaret Ann Hawley, and she has been a widow for the past eleven years.  Her husband’s life insurance paid off the house, so in all likelihood, she will remain there for the duration of her life.  She has no friends that can be found, no telephone service, and has her groceries delivered once per week.  She ventures out to retrieve her mail, and it is during that activity that she shows her true colors.

She wears binoculars around her neck as if they were a sacred religious symbol.  She makes no secret about standing at the end of her driveway, scanning everyone’s yards, zooming in whenever she discovers anyone coming or going, so as to be able to identify the vehicles’ occupants.  I was told that, at times, she takes a stroll through the neighborhood, stopping to chat with whoever happens to be unlucky enough to be outdoors, seeking information, inquiring as to their personal business, and family affairs.  She has no sense of tact or respect for the privacy of others, and this I cannot, and will not, tolerate.  I’ll just have to keep a close watch on that one.

*   *   *

Dearest Diary,

Today is Tuesday, September 2nd, and I have big news for you!  I thought I had missed the arrival of the owners yesterday, but it turns out that the man I thought was the supervisor of the moving men was actually the new owner.  The best news is that he has no family.  It is just him.  He’s maybe in his mid- to late 30’s, very handsome and single.  Don’t misunderstand, Dearest, I have no designs on this young man, and he certainly would have none on me either since I’m old enough to be his grandmother.  But, I spoke briefly with him this morning when I went out to get yesterday’s mail and he to get his morning paper.

He sold his house in Freemont to move here because he wanted to be farther away from the city.  He likes to live in an area that’s calm and quiet, where nobody bothers you.  I told him, then this will be the perfect spot for you.  It’s always quiet here--well, now that the Kensons have left anyway.  I told him I would be happy to care for his houseplants and pets, if he had any, if he ever had to go out of town.  He could feel safe leaving the key to his house with me because I was the most trustworthy person in the whole subdivision.  He said he didn’t travel much, but he would bear that in mind.  I had only offered because he had a suitcase in the backseat of his car that I noticed when I walked over there.  Maybe he was just planning to return it to a friend.

While we were out there chatting, the delivery truck came and brought his new freezer.  He said he plans to keep that in the garage.  I’d never seen a model that big, but he said he frequently stores large quantities of meat and needed the extra large capacity.  I’ll have to keep an eye out to see who delivers his meat.  I told him he should stay away from Simpson’s Market because their meat wasn’t always fresh.  He said he wouldn’t be dealing with any local firms.  He had his own source, and the meat was always fresh.

He went out briefly this afternoon and I went around back and took a peek into his kitchen window.  I saw a couple of microwaves, a double oven, and an elaborate cutlery set on the countertop.  He had a huge table in the middle of the kitchen, but only one chair.  Single men can be so odd with the way they furnish a home.  I need for him to invite me in so I can check everything out and help him decorate.  He’ll be so glad he did.

*   *   *

Journal Date 09/02:

I reviewed the cameras when I returned this afternoon, and that woman had been looking in my kitchen windows.  She came over a little while ago and offered to bring dinner over for the both of us.  I know she wants to come into the house so she can look in all the rooms, and I’m certain she’ll go through the medicine cabinets in both my bathrooms as well.  She’s that type.  She’s also the type no one will miss.  At least for awhile…

I’m going to pay her a visit and take her up on her offer of dinner.  I’ll provide a bottle of my special wine, and make sure she has an evening she will never forget…

*   *   *

Dearest Diary,

Same day, Dear.  That nice young man across the street just came by and said it would be wonderful if I joined him for dinner.  I’m going to make my meatloaf, and add a couple of Mr. Hawley’s sleeping tablets to it.  He’ll have a nice relaxing after-dinner nap and that will give me a chance to see how he’s doing with furnishing the rest of his house.  I’ll check out his medicine cabinets too, just in case he had some condition that would necessitate me checking up on him from time to time.  When he wakes up, I’ll have a list ready of the items he’ll need to buy to turn his house into a home.  I’ll make sure he has an evening he will never forget…