Keeping an eye out – fiction

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This short story was written for a collection called F*&$ed Up Fairy Tales.   I thought I would post it here to get my creative juices flowing and get back into the twisted spirit needed to get working on my novel.

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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 appear at the only motel for miles and he had meticulously prepared for the arrival of 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 eyes 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 having to work.  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 dilated 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 the single malt Scotch directly 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 evening.  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.

In the wee small hours

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With no curtains for protection, the jagged streaks of moonlight spilled through the bedroom window across my duvet.  I had awoken only moments before, trying desperately to talk my body into falling back to sleep before my brain woke up but it was too late.  In the same time it took me to blink twice, my brain had formulated twelve simultaneous problems that it was determined to solve before I was allowed to return to slumber.  And, as an afterthought, those cranial neurons began formulating ideas for new blog posts and I was scrambling to record them before they evaporated into dream dust.

I have lost count of the number of times I have awoken from a deep sleep with a great idea for a post.  But between the darkness on moonless or cloud-covered nights and my inability to locate my phone to document them, those potentially great ideas vanished into thin air.

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(image credit)

There must be a gigantic vault of lost ideas – a safe so large it contains all of the great writing ideas that were unable to come to fruition because they were never forced from our subconscious onto our keyboards.  It hides in the vacuous space of our imagination and traps wandering thoughts as they escape during those wee hours in the morning.  If only I knew how to break into that vault.

As my late-night Kathleen Turner voice gurgled out incomprehensible syllables I tried my best to recall and record the latest gem last night but, as I replayed the audible gibberish this morning, I couldn’t really comprehend where my thought process was taking me.

One day I’m going to crack that safe and I’m going to need a lot of Red Bull to keep me up long enough to record the wealth of ideas that is trapped in its metal casing.

 

I already went through this once…

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“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ E.E. Cummings

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It is a rite of passage and a fact of nature that, when we grow from a child to an adult, our voices change.   Perhaps I hadn’t realized when I began my blogging journey that I was a child of writing.  I was a mere toddler grabbing at words like they were all mine but contrary to a toddler’s way of thinking I wanted nothing more than to share those words.

Recently, I have been going back through the moments of my childhood.  I have not been pouring over photographs in family albums but I have been going back through the early stages of my blogging days and I am amazed at how dissimilar my writing voice is from then to now.  The nuance of my phrasing is a far cry from what it once was and my voice has changed to signify the growth in my writing.

Contrary to going through that awkward teenage phase in life, my progress as a writer has been uncomplicated and relatively steady.  I feel comfortable in my writing skin and I walk down the hallways of the writing school in my mind with great confidence.  There are no cliques to contend with, no teachers to please and the only club I wish to join already has my name on the roster of its members.

I want to write, plain and simple.  I want my voice to continue to develop and be able to show the experience I gain each day by simply writing more words on a page.  I want my voice to whisper.  I want my voice to sing.  And I want my voice to yell at the top of its lungs when it has something to say, anything to say.

Maybe this is the puberty stage in my writing.  And just maybe I have reached the cusp of adulthood and I can finally embrace the voice that will truly represent who I am as a writer.  There may a be a few breaks in the inflection and the tone but I think this voice is here to stay.

 

 

 

Excuse me while I expose myself

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The title of this post conjures up several images.  Some of those images are quite flattering and sexy and others are the images that I wish I could wipe from my memory.   Spoiler alert – this post has nothing to do with anything remotely related to nudity, apart from the flagrant display of flashing in the image below. (sorry)

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(image credit)

When we are authentically naked, when we truly bare ourselves, we are baring our souls, not our bodies.   We let others into our hearts, our minds and our dreams.  All of the hypocrisy is stripped away and we are left naked with no false fronts to hide behind.   We bare ourselves here on our blog sites, with our words, and we run naked through the blogosphere.  We put more honesty and integrity into our words because, here,  we feel comfortable in our skin.  Here, we feel like we are representing our true selves.  Here, we feel a kinship with like-minds and we feel a comfort level that truly allows us to just be who we are, stripped of any preconceived notions.

Our thoughts and prose give us permission to expose ourselves.  The only shroud we hide behind is the blanket of our truth and our musings.  We leave the most important part of ourselves open for all to read and, in that part, we find the inner strength to continue our journey.  Our inhibitions are no longer stifling us from exposing our innermost thoughts and feelings.  We feel accepted in our natural state.

We do ourselves a grave injustice and we add nothing to this world if we cloak ourselves in any cloth that hides who we truly are.   To be completely ourselves, to be truly naked, we need to trust in the path we follow.  We need to believe that the people who are near and dear to us know the true essence of what we represent, and we need to feel that the people meeting us here for the first time understand the inner workings of our brains.

Be honest in your writing, let it reflect who you are, and don’t deny your readers the opportunity to see you as you truly want to be seen.  Let them into your mind.  Let them see you naked.