Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw provided us with the following inspiration this week:

This week’s prompt comes from one of my old (not in age) sociology professors, Sophie Aubert (yes, she made a cameo appearance in one of my stories earlier this year).  Professor Aubert was lecturing on degrees of truth and perceptions; how our ‘sphere’ influenced those perceptions.

You think that…the only truth that matters is that which can be measured.  That isn’t always the case…some truths can’t be quantified…they just are and we have to accept that.
I want to tell you a little story, something that happened to me a few years ago.
My partner and I were going to a Halloween party at a friend’s place outside of Paris; an old asylum that she had purchased for a song and spent the last several years renovating.
Dusk had fallen, casting long shadows across the narrow forest road, as we made our way to the villa.  Suddenly, a dark shape darted out from the dusk-drawn woods and into the middle of the road, where it stopped–frozen in the glare of the headlights.  Claudette jammed the brakes and the old Citroen slid to a stop only a few feet away from the…
Okay.  That’s enough, I think.  Now, you get to finish the story.
What did Sophie and Claudette see?  What was it that had stopped in the middle of the road?  Was it human or beast?  Was it real or only a ghostly apparition?
And, to make it interesting, let’s throw in a handful of words, shall we?
Prompt:  What ran out of the woods on that dark Halloween night?  What happened after the car stopped?  Did the ‘creature’ run off?  Did Sophie and Claudette get out of the car?  Go ahead and put yourself in the story if you want.  See if you can scare me!
Word List:  Murder, bedchamber, rack, clock, wine, time

I put in a couple of really off-the-wall characters in my story.  Please enjoy.


You know, I’ve stuck my nose where it didn‘t belong more than once in my life, but for the stunt I pulled tonight, I need to be crowned dumb-ass of the year.  There’s a problem however, since I’ll probably be dead long before my coronation.  Here’s the skinny…

My name is Ralph McCorey, and I’m Senior Technician in the Research Laboratory at the University.  What that means is I do all the dirty work and get none of the glory.  Those Professors are always involved in some project that’s supposed to be for educational purposes.  If all those behind-closed-doors experiments they’re doing are for the benefit of the students, why aren’t the students allowed in there?  Too, who are those fellows in black suits and sunglasses, and why do they come and go at all hours of the night?  I’ll tell you why.  It’s because they’re working on government stuff.  Creating bio-weapons or robots.  Or so I thought.

There’s one Professor who believes he’s God’s gift to the planet.  His name’s Maximilian Schleerner.  Are you ready for that?  Who names their kid ‘Maximilian’?  I guess it turned out okay since he grew up and became a college professor.  But, what if the kid had decided to be a circus clown or the manager of a fast food restaurant when he grew up?  How would that moniker wrap itself around him then?  Anyway, moving on…

I’m there in the lab every day cleaning up after those high-and-mighties and you would think I’d get a ‘thanks, Ralph’ now and again, but no.  All I ever get is ‘wipe that spill up, you, and don’t get it on your hands because we’re not sure how it interfaces with human skin’ or ‘hey, you, go get us 8 coffees, 5 black and 3 regular, but go off campus.  That stuff here is sludge.’  They’re nasty and treat me like I’m their personal errand boy, but Maximilian?  He’s the worst.  He looks at me like I belong to a species that hasn’t been identified yet, and never speaks to me.  He just snaps his fingers and points to what he wants and charades it out.  I decided I was going to fix him--and fix him good.

Tonight, I drove to the Laboratory, which is on the backside of the campus.  I took the old forest road no one uses anymore because it’s in terrible shape.  I’m almost to the back gate, and out from the right side of the woods, crossing the road to the left, came a thing.  I slammed on my brakes and put on my brights.  The ‘thing’ looked right at me and then continued to cross and went into the woods on the left side.  What was it?

Well, it was low to the ground and had a body about the size of a two-liter pop bottle.  Not creepy enough?  Did I mention the furry wings that were open to maybe a total span of about 8 feet?  It’s eyes glowed red--yes, I said glowed, and it had fangs like those actors in the vamp movies, only much longer.  It stood maybe a foot off the ground, and walked on two claws that clicked on the road as it walked.  I knew then I had to get to the Lab and snoop around.  A nightmare like that doesn’t just evolve one day from nothing.

I turned my lights off and made my way up the hill.  There were lights on in the office area, so I took a look through one of the windows.  There sat Professor Maximilian himself, writing in a big notebook and what do you think was in there with him?  Two of those whatevers that was on the road.  One was crawling around the room and the other was climbing up the desk.  Once it got up on it, the Prof shoved what looked like a big wad of raw hamburger in its mouth and it slurped the whole thing down.  I could feel the vomit rising in my throat, and figured I’d better pick up some Ripple for the wine rack the previous tenant left behind, and head on home and try to figure out what to do.  I could fix his ass good with this.

When I opened the door to my apartment, I smelled something really rancid, like something had died in there.  Before I could hit the light, the door slammed behind me and I was pushed to the ground.  The lights came on and there stood Professor Maximilian and one of his ‘things’.  How did they beat me here?  And more importantly, how many bites will the thing need to take to finish me off?

“You have foolishly trespassed and witnessed a vision mankind is not yet ready for.”  The Prof always talked all formal like that.

“I’m sorry, Professor.  I didn’t know.  I’m not going to tell anyone.  I mean, who would I tell?  Everybody in your Department probably already knows, right?  You don‘t have to kill me.”

He was thinking.  Maybe there was hope?

“If you will agree to keep this confidential and help me obtain fresh meat for my creations, perhaps we can come to an agreement.”

As long as I’m not the entrée , sure.

“Deal, Prof, and I’ll bring an appetizer to the Lab tonight.  Just give me 30 on the clock.”

“Acceptable, Ralph.  Every night by midnight, and be on time.  Always.  Oh, and they‘ve recently developed a taste for human flesh.”

He called me by my name.  So what now, Ralph, he’s your Valentine?  Come to ground, boy.  What the hell have you got yourself into?  Rinse out test tubes by day; murder by night?  Where are you going to get a body to feed them this evening?  Wait a minute.  That girl I took out for burgers last week.  Joey’s cousin.  Mildred Louise.  The fat one with the third eye who wanted me to share what she called her ‘bedchamber‘.  The first date from hell.  I wonder if she’s home tonight.  Of course she’s home tonight.  I’ll just give her a quick call.  Maybe I’ll be around to wear that crown after all…


  1. Sick, very sick. Neither Ralph nor Max are particularly nice characters and I can see them coming to a mutually sticky end at some point in the not too distant future. Perhaps the conclusion would borrow heavily on the horror movie staple of the towns people rising up against them when the penny drops after a lot of 'meat' has disappeared!

  2. Poor girl. I hope she's asleep. That would be a horrible second date.

  3. Now this one is going to have me sleeping with the night light on!

    Dark dripping horror, Joyce... I absolutely love what you've done with the prompt. Your writing never disappoints!

    Ralph 'sells' his soul rather quickly... sounds like he and the Professor are cut from the same cloth.

    This has 'longer story' written all over it, Joyce! :)