Not all silence is golden

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paul-helleu-sketching-his-wife-1889Her silence began to paw at him.   Like the constant yanking of coat-tails by an impatient child,  her wordlessness did more to annoy him than if she were nagging him, as she usually did on these trips.  But she was petulant in her nature this morning and it was agitating him to the point that he could not focus on his painting.

The day had lent everything he required for his creative process.  The sky was reflecting a profusion of purples and blues off the water and the grass was standing perfectly still, waiting for him to capture its very essence on his canvas.  She began to pick at the weeds in front of her and sighed heavily each time she threw a collection of dying blades into the windless day.

With each of her exhalations, his brush stroke became angrier and more forceful.  The once stunning colors on his palette were becoming a mottled collection of angry hues and the overwhelming emotion he felt rising in his cheeks began to match those shades of regret and dejection.  The beautiful day now felt sour and unfriendly.

He put his brush down and stood to stretch.  She turned her back to him and that simple gesture was the last act of child-like behavior he would tolerate.  In one fluid motion, he reached into the canoe and, without thinking twice, grabbed the paddle and struck the back of her head with all the force he could muster.  Her skull split like a ripe melon and an arc of blood spatter found the extra canvas hidden in the canoe.

After standing over her for several minutes, he delicately placed her hat back over the gash on her head.  He studied her for a moment.  There was such a serene quality to her silence now and he felt the inspiration to begin painting again.  He reached the for the canvas in the canoe.  There was something intriguing about the pattern of blood and his brush strokes on this new piece of art gingerly worked around those drops to maintain their artistic integrity.

He felt great satisfaction looking at his newest masterpiece.  He placed the canvas on the now spare seat in the canoe and began looking for some large rocks.  He would have to do his best to make sure she wasn’t found near the others.

~~

Written for the Grammar Ghoul challenge:  using the word “paw” as a verb and using this picture to write a story up to 750 words.  I’m not sure why my creative brain always goes in the direction of the macabre.

mutant750-wk

 

 

 

 

 

The “eyes” have it – fiction

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This short fiction was written last year for a small collection called F*cked Up Fairy Tales.  It was used to raise money for charity.  Since I had never posted my submission on my blog, I thought I would take this opportunity to put it on here and use this as incentive to delve back into the morbid portion of my brain.  (The book isn’t going to write itself!)  This is my macabre version of the Princess and the Pea.

*****

The sputtering neon sign cut through the malignant darkness, blinking as the electric current passed through the wires.  It simply read ‘vacancy’.  He knew wayward travellers would soon arrive at the only motel for miles and he had meticulously prepared for the new stragglers lost on the unforgiving stretch of highway.  Each room had been cleaned by him and the deodorizer had been applied liberally to extinguish any remaining scent of decomposition.  He surveyed each room, his eye focusing on anything that may have seemed out of place, and closed the door leaving the room ready for the next guest.  He sat in the tiny office waiting for the first sign of headlights he knew would be coming.  He sensed that she was near.

The storm winds had escalated and the rain began to pelt down on the tin roof of the motel.   The staccato beat of water on metal soothed him.  He closed his eyes and let the sound bathe him in its rhythm.  She was closer.  His eyelids fluttered opened to see the high beams of the oncoming car slash through the darkness and his pulse quickened.  He could almost hear her heartbeat racing as she maneuvered the car through the puddles.

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The flashing pink sign looked like a strobe light as the wipers furiously tried to keep up with the rain on her windshield.  Her grip was tight on the steering wheel and she could hear her mother’s voice in her head calling it a ‘white-knuckle’ drive.  The vacancy sign grew brighter as her car made the turn into the motel parking lot.  She was almost positive she hadn’t been followed but parked the car at the back of the motel just to be certain it wasn’t spotted during the night.

She collected the small travel bag from the passenger seat and reached into the glove compartment for the Glock, tucking it into the side of the bag and concealing it from plain sight.  Exhausted from the drive she headed to the motel office and hoped for a short reprieve from having to constantly look over her shoulder.  This motel, in the middle of nowhere, may be the one place she could silence the voices in her head and shut out her warped reality, if only for a few hours.

She pushed the door open and immediately noticed the odours.  The deodorizer hit her senses first, but her keen sense of smell detected the pungent scent of death lying in wait underneath the lilac spray.  This essence was no stranger to her and she continued forward to ring the bell on the unattended desk.  Her hand absently moved to the side of her travel bag and traced the outline of the pistol.

He came out of the back office and greeted her with a warm smile, welcoming her to the motel.  The menial task of signing her false name was done and he moved around the desk to show her to the room.  Her hand never left the side of her bag as she followed him along the concrete walkway.  His gait was confident and his silence was comforting.  They exchanged no words as he handed her the key to the room that was meant only for her.  She opened the door to the room and felt his stare burning into her back.  As she closed the door and turned the deadbolt, she knew he was still standing a foot from her door.  She could hear his breathing and rather than feeling unnerved, she felt connected.  Nothing about this quiet man-made her feel uneasy and that was the feeling that scared her the most.

She poured a Scotch and stripped out of her rain-soaked clothes.  The acrid stench of decomposition was evident in her room as well but the smell dissipated slightly with a few more sips of whiskey.  She cranked the water in the shower and listened as the pipes vehemently argued with the task.  The hot beads of water from the shower stung her skin but she welcomed the pain.

Skin flushed red from the hot water and cheeks blazing from a half bottle of whiskey, she teetered across the floor and poured herself into bed.  The duvet felt like silk against her bare skin and the pillow was perfectly plump but, as much as she tried to fall into a deep sleep, she could not find a comfortable position on the bed.  She tossed and turned and what she hoped would be a fitful rest was a combination of half hour naps.   She awoke in the morning, achy and wearied.

Determined to find the cause of her lack of sleep she tore the duvet from the bed, letting her hand roam the top of the mattress to detect any imperfections.  Nothing was out of the ordinary.  She grasped the handles on the side of the mattress and lifted it from the box spring.  The orb was not as round as it should have been, but that was from the pressure of the mattress.  The noticeably cloudy film and diluted pupil stared into nothingness as the human eyeball lay lifeless in front of her.

She moved across the room and took a long swill of Scotch from the bottle.  The murky eyeball seemed to follow her as she crossed the room again to get dressed.  Whiskey was not her first choice for breakfast but, given the circumstance, she didn’t care.  She packed her bag, tucked the Glock into the back of her jeans and collected the human remains that thwarted her slumber.

He was in the office when she arrived, coffee in hand and wearing the same warming smile he had worn the previous night.  She was not surprised that his first question was to inquire as to how she slept.  She gently placed the slightly misshapen ocular sphere on the desk and simply tilted her head, lifted her eyebrows and waited for his reaction.  His smile never wavered.

He spoke first, “It’s almost perfect, isn’t it?”

His words hung in the air as he eagerly anticipated her response.  The ticking of the incessant second-hand on the clock seemed to echo in the tiny room and his brain felt like it would explode.

Her response was succinct, “Show me more.”

He knew it would be her. From the moment the winds changed and the rain foreshadowed the previous night, he knew it would be her.  The Prince of Darkness had finally found his Princess.

Nobody thinks it will happen to them

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Winter is upon us and, as luck would have it, I was very ill-prepared for the sudden onset of about two feet of snow.  Our friends to the south of us in the Buffalo area got it much worse than we did and I hope everyone is safe and warm preparing for the clean up after that terrible lake-effect snow that was dumped on your world.

The flurry of flurries made me realize how far behind I am with following my prep list for the “festive” season.  My summer tires are currently doing a remarkable job getting me to and from work and my golf clubs are still using the valuable space in my trunk that should now be reserved for my winter safety kit.

Those kits are rarely seen in vehicles but, if you were one of the people trapped on the Interstate during the storm that pounded Buffalo, are a very welcome use of space when you are stranded in bad weather.

Having a safety kit in your car is such a simple way to help prevent what could be a terrifying experience.  It is so easy to collect the necessities and have it in your trunk, just in case.  Good things to keep on hand are:  candles and a metal container to hold them, matches or lighter, snack food like nuts, trail mix or energy bars, a blanket, a change of clothes and footwear, flares, a flashlight, a whistle, kitty litter or a bag of sand (I keep strips of carpet to put under my tires – they are awesome!) and bottled water (using plastic bottles that do not crack).

safety kit

These items should be there as well as your usual items like jumper cables, spare tire, windshield washer fluid and small shovel.

Please be safe this winter.  It only takes a trip to the Dollar Store and a few minutes of your time, but it could save a life, maybe even yours!

 

Under his spell

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lempicka-saint-moritz-1929

What wouldn’t she have done for his love,

for the forbidden taste of his lips,

for the soft caress of his fingers tracing lightly upon her skin.

She savored the memory of his smile,

she recalled his sweetness as he spoke his words of love,

words that were meant to only fall on her ears.

But his carefree words deafened the ears of the spoiled.

Those words were never meant for her.

His life had been promised to another.

And now her soul was trapped,

forced into everlasting damnation,

compelled to bear witness to his life with another.

Their black magic hardened on her skin like a crust,

holding her face in sadness for eternity.

Her body now a statue,

held fast in its place,

her eyes meant to watch him,

reminded every day of what she cannot have.

Her consciousness banished

to a lifetime of anguish and melancholy.

In the darkness he would sneak out to visit her,

his touch was just as warm and his words of love, just as sweet.

~~

Written for the Grammar Ghoul Challenge - combining the above painting, Saint Moritz, by Tamara de Lempicka with the word prompt:

Crust (noun):

A hardened layer, coating, or deposit on the surface of something soft

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Another gone too soon

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It is difficult to write an upbeat post when tragedy has pulled its dark blanket over our small town once again and taken another young life long before it was time for his soul to leave the Earth.

When you live in a small town, nobody is really a stranger.  Those familiar faces you see on the street every day become more than strangers.  They become extended members of our friendship circles and unwittingly become like a member of our family.

Those faces, those smiles that become etched in our memories leave a lingering impression.  If we are lucky enough to have created a relationship with those who were once strangers, the sound of their laughter will remain in our hearts.  This young man was one of those who created a lasting impression on his first encounter.  He had a gregarious spirit and made many people smile.  His bonds of friendship ran deep and his absence will leave a big hole in many hearts.

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My sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends.  Our town will seem darker but Heaven has gained such a bright light.  May you rest in peace and may the many souls that have gone before you find comfort in your warmth and kind spirit.

 

 

Walls of emotion

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It is a very rare occurrence when my emotions take me by surprise.  I am usually fairly in tune with them.  But, tonight, driving past my mother’s old house, the same house I drive by every day on my way to work and again on my way home, the emotion stored within those walls hit me like a ton of bricks.   Tonight I glanced at the house, as I do every time I follow that familiar road, and I burst into tears.

I don’t know where the tidal pool of emotion came from but suddenly I was flooded with images of moments that became important memories in my life.  Christmases, birthdays, family gatherings and quiet nights spent as a family were at the forefront of my brain.  Lingering snapshots of magical kisses witnessed by only the walls upstairs slowly transformed themselves into moving pictures to replay the scene.  That house, the building others would only see as walls and a roof, was my home.  It was the vessel that helped create and store some of the most precious moments of my life.

house

And although there were many happy times, there were also moments of great sorrow.  Those walls echoed as I told my parents, hysterically through sobs, that my best friend had passed away in 2003.  That roof sheltered both my parents as they battled their illness and those walls protected them for as long as they could.  That structure that is a seemingly unnoticeable building to passers-by will forever have a large part of my history carved into its frame.

That architecture will always be a part of me.   Each time I drive by and take the time to trace the outlines of those walls there will always be an affinity to its design and purpose.  It is said that we need to let things go to be happier but I feel the need to embrace those things to stay connected.

(image credit)

 

 

 

Until we meet again

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heaven

 (image credit)

When I am overcome by sorrow and surrounded by an outpouring of emotion, the writer in me takes over and helps process the overwhelming feelings by using words.  I cannot express enough gratitude for those words at times when tears and despair are not adequate enough to describe the sadness of attending a funeral for a 30-year-old man who had been experiencing the best year of his life.

In the aftermath of a tragic event, two parents lost a son, a younger brother became an only son and my best friend lost her brother.  The news of his passing was felt in our small town like the shock waves recorded during an earthquake.  Everyone who knew Cam was rattled to their core.  The emotion was raw, the grief was all-encompassing and the anguish could have been described as physical pain.

We gathered in Toronto today to celebrate Cam’s life.  We shared tears, we shared many hugs and we all knew we had lost something special in our lives that we can never get back.  Cam was that guy that everyone loved to be around.  His smile will be forever etched in the memories of those who were fortunate enough to see it and his absence will never go unnoticed.

His funeral service today was a touching blend of spirituality and prayer, accented by a heaping dose of Cam’s sense of humor.  As the family left the service, the well-recognized Monty Python song “Always look on the bright side of life” played while we stood, waiting to join the family outside.

“Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.”  —Phillip Brooks

Cam truly was a man of character.  May you rest in peace, Cam.