Ashes to ashes – fiction

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heart-ants

She knew his heart would crash, landing right at her feet the moment she told him it was over.  What had been a fairy tale beginning had quickly turned into the twisted relationship only Dean Koontz could do justice in one of his macabre stories.  It had been tumultuous, to say the least, and she just needed to be free of him.

Over the course of their relationship, he had retreated into a cocoon inside his mind, fueled by the haze of booze and cigarettes.  She had not realized his heart had shrunk to such a miniscule version of what it once was until she saw it laying before her, cold and lifeless on the stony ground.

His face seemed to become more emaciated the longer she looked at him.  He had not reacted verbally to her accusations.  He could only nod in sullen agreement because he seemed to have lost the ability to speak.  She berated him, lashed out for each minute she spent wishing her life with him had been different.  With each bitter word she uttered, her Machiavellian intention became clearer to him.

She couldn’t tell if his eyes actually became bigger when he realized what was happening or if it just seemed like it because his body was withering at such a rapid rate.  His hair-line seemed to recede as she watched and his gaunt complexion resembled more of a skeleton than a human body.  She pulled the small doll from her pocket and lingered before she pushed the last pin into the woven material that covered its chest.  A small sigh escaped her lips and she plunged the final pin into the doll.  What remained of his skin and bones hastily turned to dust and fell to the cobblestone street.

She stood idle for a few moments and watched as the ants began to march single file through the crack in the stone.  Like a well trained army, they worked as a team to circle the tiny carrion and haul the remains of the lifeless heart down the hole to take home as a trophy.  Little did they know, the spell she had created would only allow that heart to exist for mere minutes after the rest of his body had disappeared.  The ants would get it into the hole but it would never remain solid long enough to present it to the colony.

As she walked away, she carefully removed each pin remembering the outcome that each jab had on his physical being.  She tossed the pins in the gutter and placed the doll safely back in her pocket, hoping, once again, this would be the last time she would need it.

~~

mutant750-wk

Written for the Grammar Ghoul Challenge - to use the picture above – Just a lonely heart by Marina Carvalho
is licensed under CC by 2.0
,  and the word crash with the following definition - Move or cause to move with force, speed, and sudden loud noise

 

 

 

The monsters in the closet of my mind

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orwell

 (image credit)

There have been many writers before me who have been driven by the same demon.  I love words.  I love using them like paint and creating a wall of graffiti that truly represents me.  I love to dip my fingers in those words and rub them on the wall with the freedom of a child learning how to paint.

Writing this blog has been such a wonderful experience for me.  I can write each day about whatever my brain sees fit to write about that day.  But the more time I spend with my blog, the less time I spend trying to struggle through that painful illness of writing my book.

Maybe this blog is teaching me something.  Perhaps knowing I can devote time each day to my blog means that I am capable of changing that focus and spending the time trying to bring the characters of my novel to the finish line of their bizarre journey.

I get you, George.  Time to face that Demon head-on!!

I’m glad I keep hearing the little voices

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Being intuitive is a blessing.  I’m not clairvoyant, nor am I a psychic medium, but I do listen to the little voices in my head.  I trust my gut and if I didn’t do that my beliefs and my vision would be extremely limited.  Those wise, inaudible voices have led me in directions that I would never have seen myself going and they have stopped me from making some egregious errors in judgement.  Sometimes I am deaf to their sage words but I blame nobody but myself for tuning them out.  I know they were there and could only sit back, shaking their heads in disgust and disbelief when I ignored them.

intuitive mind

That divine breath, those silent whispers help to feed my creativity.  Their incessant murmurs push open the door to my imagination and their audacity knows no boundaries.  There is no time of day that is sacred, no moments that they do not feel their intrusion is warranted and there is no warning before they emerge.  Once my third eye is open, words seem to fight over themselves to be the first to reach my fingertips and be expelled onto the screen.  I am grateful for those whispers and will heed their advice for as long as they bless me with their wisdom.

As much as I would like to take full credit for the words I compose, I must feel that intuition when I’m writing.  That third eye, that sixth sense, allows me to combine strings of words that make sense.  They make me feel the way the characters in my stories would feel.  I have to know their thought process and how they would react to the situation I carelessly cast them into.  Those murmurs in my head help me hear the voices of those characters.

Writing would be a very lonely business were it not for those invisible cries of tiny authors that wait, sometimes not so patiently, on my shoulders.  Do you hear the voices too?

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

 

 

 

 

 

Screw the other two percent!

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I’ve finally gotten to the point in my life that I can be proud of my accomplishments instead of picking them apart to find the most minute flaw.   My cake decorating days were rough!  I would spend hours putting together a three-tier cake designed specifically to match the request of the bride and, although she thought it was perfect, I always found the tiniest blemish and was disappointed in myself for not making it perfect.

At least I know I came by this mental mutation honestly.   When I was in high school I was a good student, especially in math.  I would bring home a test with 98 percent and my dad thought it was funny to ask “what happened to the other 2 percent?”  Despite the fact it was said as a joke, to an impressionable fourteen year old girl, it felt like a failure to me.  Unfortunately I have carried this with me along the way and although it has made me strive for that 100 percent even more, it has also made me extremely self-critical.

With my writing, something is different.  I have more confidence in my words than I have had in any other area of my life.  Perhaps with age really does come a sort of wisdom, or just maybe that elusive two percent was never meant to cause me so much concern.   Either way, I give myself that little punch on the arm when I’m really proud of something I’ve written, and not just in theory, I really punch myself in the arm…….

   

I hope you are able to be proud of your accomplishments.  Your successes should never be measured by anyone other than yourself.

Getting the lead out

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The Daily Prompt had me thinking again this morning.   This is what it had to say – “When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?”

~~

I vaguely remember the pre-keyboard era.  Either that, or I am trying to block it out because I do remember it and it makes me feel somewhat vintage.  I was the girl who loved to write letters to pen pals, write silly love poems, short stories and crazy plays that could only be created by an 8-year-old mind and acted out by animal puppets.

I would spend hours printing and practicing my ‘cursive’ writing.  (that word plays heavily in my vocabulary these days, but with an alternate suffix and a very dissimilar meaning!)  I loved to write so much that my wonderful penmanship turned into an obsession with calligraphy.  My doodles in high school were never flowers or hearts, but intricately designed versions of the alphabet.  There was something so satisfying about being able to create that type of flare with my own hand.

calligraphy

(image credit)

Now the world is so different.  Millions of fonts can be downloaded with the touch of a button on the keyboard and all of that creativity I used to enjoy has been replaced by technology.  I miss the excitement of buying new ink for my calligraphy pen or having to buy new pencils because I had spent so much time writing that they had all been worn down to little nubs of wood and lead.

Although I began writing my novel in longhand, the novelty wore off when I realized how much faster I could record the ideas on ‘paper’ by using a keyboard.  I do miss the days of the natural flow of ideas from brain to pen or pencil and didn’t have to tune out the incessant clacking of the keys.  Oh, how we suffer now for our arts.  ;)

 

 

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.

vacancy-pink-neon-sign-326-p

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.