Innocence (fiction)

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The curtains had already parted and the blackened room was silent.  There was no Maestro leading an orchestra to fill the deafening reticence.  He was pushed forward onto the stage and he sat in the still, invisible air, straining to hear any signs of movement or shallow, clandestine breathing.  The scraping sound of the rusting pulley system startled him as the curtains were drawn closed behind him.

 Although he was not bound to his chair, he was unable to move.  The bright stage lights abruptly came to life and blinded him, etching his likeness into the velvet material behind him.  He could not see the crowd that sat only yards away from him but he could feel them.  He could feel their hatred and the anger in the myriad pairs of eyes burning into every fiber of his being.  

The energy in the theater rose to a climax and the chanting of the crowd became almost ritualistic.  The three-dimensional quality of his body seemed to dissolve under the pressure of their angst.  His tortured screams filled the hallowed space.  They came to reap what he had taken from them.  They wanted their souls back.  One by one he felt the energies being ripped from his body and his cries slowly muted into whispers.  His physical body became lifeless and transparent and his screaming could no longer be heard.

His own soul had been the last to leave his body.  His mouth is forever open, frozen in a scream of repentance and regret.

7, January 1655

~~

“Do you believe any of that, Marcus?”   Danielle continued to read the information in the tour brochure.

The tickets to the historical theater are sold for $10.00 each.  Those who really want to impress their friends say they can still see his shadow on the curtain but those who come looking for their lost soul can still hear him screaming, fighting to get back the essence of the souls he had taken.

Marcus shrugged and didn’t know what else to say.  “Maybe Pope Innocent X wasn’t so innocent after all.”  He subconsciously rubbed his fingers on his ears to silence the sound of the more than century-old screams.

~~

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Written for the 2nd challenge at Grammar Ghoul Press.  I love that this new challenge is greasing my writing wheels!  The challenge was to write a story based on the above picture and the following word prompt:

Reap (verb):
Receive (something, especially something beneficial) as a consequence of one’s own or another’s actions.

There is always a little movement in the shadows

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I was 12 years old when I first saw the movie “The Changeling”.  True to its title, it altered some metaphysical part of my being.  I was a relatively normal child, as normal as kids could be in the 70’s and 80’s, but I still remember my reaction to that movie and the subsequent “change” that happened in me.  I knew from the moment that story ended that I would never be the same.  I didn’t sleep in my own bed for at least three days and I vowed I would never play with that same tri-coloured rubber ball again.  To this day, it still haunts me to see the Pepsi emblem. It reminds me of the horror I felt watching those scenes of a bouncing ball take on a life of its own and subject George C. Scott to interminable terror.

If I were a recurring patient at a psychiatrist’s office (perhaps I should be), I undoubtedly would be told that the reason I prefer a shower to a bath was a direct result of Russell Hunter’s tale of a haunted house and the fury that a spirit could unleash on living, breathing human beings.  If I pause for a moment to put myself back into that mind space, I can still hear that young, disabled boy beating on the sides of that claw-footed bathtub as he was drowned by his father.

This is the feeling that a good horror movie is meant to elicit from its viewers.  That lingering terror, although irrational, invades the deepest reaches of our psyche and makes us second guess relatively commonplace parts of our existence.  Human beings, by nature, are fundamentally flawed, and we seek the terror in the shadows.  The horror genre only adds fuel to that fire.

Although Carol Kane starred in “When A Stranger Calls” in 1979, I did not see that movie until years after I had moved on from The Changeling.  Regrettably, for me, I watched that madness on a big screen during my tenable years as a babysitter!!   I took my role as guardian very seriously, but nearly jumped out of my skin each time the phone rang while the children I had sworn to protect were in the next room.  If anyone had called and asked “have you checked the children”, I would have come completely unglued!!

As the years have unfolded, I have been able to detach most of the parallels of movie horrors from my own perception of reality.  Although my current basement resembles something akin to the “Red Room” in the Amityville Horror, I nonetheless regard the creativity of the horror film genre as it is mean to be portrayed. It is nothing more than scary entertainment meant to ensure I still look for movement in the shadows.

I do believe in spirits, but I am not going to be consumed by the notion that they hold any ill will towards me, nor are they bent on doing me bodily harm.  There are no ghost writings on my walls, nor do I hear evil voices or things that go bump in the night (except the squirrels in my attic).   The only admission I will make is that I will NEVER have a Ouija board in my house – EVER.   Even though I don’t believe I will come to any harm from spirits lingering in between worlds, I am not going to entertain the chance that I open a portal and tempt  a forbidden soul with the vestigial energy contained in that board.  (Watch the movie Witchboard and you’ll understand my paranoia)

What scary movies left a lingering impression on you when you were younger?

U.F.O. = Unexpected Flying Ordure

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During the seven years that I have been in a relationship with my dog, she has been nothing but loving, giving and very intuitive of my desire to not scoop the poop.  I have almost three acres of land and she has been courteous enough to befoul the outskirts of my property and not defecate on the portion of greenery that I mow on a relatively frequent basis.

Today, I cleared the lawn of the remnants of chewed branches and fired up the mower for what may be the last mow of the season.  I nonchalantly pushed the machine in the usual fashion, adhering to my own rules of the direction of lines in my lawn maintenance, and it happened.  The shit literally hit the fan (or the mower blades, close enough).

I hadn’t thought to look for any brown bombs on the lawn because Callaway is too gracious and too private to leave her feces in plain sight.  I silently cursed as the wafting smell of dog crap reached my nostrils and did everything in my power not to gag.  I glanced over at the deck and Callaway was watching with a deep concern for my well-being.   There was no sense of embarrassment coming from her, so I knew the poop in question had not been produced by her.   We both glanced in the direction of the neighbor’s house and knew that the black lab from next door had left his calling card.

get off my lawn

 (image credit: quickmeme.com)

 Perhaps we should have had a few more scheduled play dates so Callaway could train Casey in the art of excrement.  At least I will be more prepared the next time I have to cut the grass and scan the lawn with a thermal imaging camera.  You can’t be too careful these days and we all know – shit happens.

Of portents and hints, and frogs behind Chintz

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I should have expected something strange to happen after finally getting my mind back into the creepy place where it likes to linger when I write fiction.  I crossed back into that dark place in this blog post and felt a sense of relief knowing that I could still find refuge in the shady corners of my brain.  Perhaps that energy drew the unexpected visitor to my window.

The overcast sky left the early evening completely devoid of light.  The dense bushes and large overhanging trees did everything in their power to make sure no illumination was cast on my little house in the woods.  From my nest on the couch, a slight movement diverted my attention from the television.  In the ambient light given off by the TV, three discernible fingers were visible between the window frame and the cloth blind.

Although startled by the movement, I quickly ascertained, by the size of those little digits, that I would not find myself in harm’s way.  I lifted the blind to get a better look at my late night visitor.  This little tree frog spent several minutes jockeying for a higher vantage point on my window.  I don’t think he was too appreciative of my flash blinding him every few seconds and the sudden burst of light seemed to make him lose his grip.  He slid down to the bottom of the window and hung there for a while.  I’m not sure which of us lost interest first but he left and I immediately Googled “frog on a window”.

My little visitor is a symbol of transition, transformation and cleansing.  I had already begun to formulate a plan in regards to making myself a writing schedule and changing some things in my life.  Cutting out the mindless hours I spend in front of a TV would be a great start.  Getting back to my healthier way of eating will be a close second.

It’s time to feel better and put my brain energy to good use creating ideas instead of digesting other’s ideas.  Thank you little froggy.  Next time, pull up a chair and stay a while!

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Until death do us part (fiction)

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In his mind, she was perfection.  Every line, every nuance of her face was so aesthetically pleasing to him he knew his plan had to be flawless, just like her.  He would spend the time really getting to know her, find out her likes and dislikes and do everything in his power to have her all to himself.

Each day that she passed by him, she became more beautiful.  Her eyes became a softer, more enchanting green.  Her smile held such true emotion and, as the days went on, she seemed to recognize him as she walked by the coffee shop where he waited for her each morning.  She was the first to say hello and he felt a great sense of pride, and victory.  His diligence and his patience were paying off.  He tried to contain his excitement as he met her gaze and nonchalantly said hello back.   He quickly diverted his attention back to his book, hoping she wouldn’t notice his hands shaking with the elation he was feeling.

He silently chided himself for his adolescent behavior.  He could not make one mistake.  He slowly lifted his eyes from his book to see her turning to get one more glimpse of him before she rounded the corner.  Things were going better than he anticipated.  A level of trust was being established and he was counting on that trust to help him be the guy that gets the girl at the end of the story.

Sign to Nowhere

His memory of those days was so vivid.  He replayed those early days over and over in his head, reliving them like it was just yesterday.  The car jostled along the dirt road and pulled him from his reverie.  He lowered the visor in the car, allowing him to look at the photo of her angelic face smiling back at him.  The sign loomed ahead, drawing him to her once again.

His journey had brought him back to his haunt and he opened his folding chair to face the beautiful landscape.  The grass and wildflowers that he had positioned so carefully had been doing their best to conceal what lay below.  He knew she must still be alive because the rocks had moved and the sign had been pushed further out of the ground.   It was only a matter of time before she ran out of oxygen and would truly be his forever.

~~

Written for the first challenge at Grammar Ghoul Press.  I was excited to see this challenge and not quite sure why my brain went in this direction.  I blame the cold meds!!  Click on the button below and go check it out.

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How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

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There is a myriad number of things I have seen on Facebook.  Most are mindless, time-filling, nonsensical things that I waste too many of my spare moments looking at, but every so often I come upon a sign or saying that really strikes a chord deep within me.

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”

~Satchel Paige

It was a simple question but those words really resonated with me.  Sometimes I forget the number of my authentic chronological age.   I have honestly never felt that my time on this Earth truly reflects the age I feel I am on a daily basis.  I have always thought that I have an old soul but I have a young energy.  Time strings us along, giving us a sense of comfort as we grow older and we are more comfortable in our own skin.  But time does not have to make us feel any older than we want to be.  Wisdom does not always come with age, wisdom comes with understanding and acceptance.

live your life

Too often we are classified by our age.  The year on our birth certificate does not have to define how we must act or how we should feel about ourselves.  Age really is a state of mind.  I will never define or categorize myself by the number of times the Earth has orbited the sun since I was born.  Nor will I let the stray grey hairs that peek out from under my Garnier Nutrisse #535 hair color affect how I live my life because of the number of years I have been alive.

When we are told as children to act our age but what does that really mean?   How can you behave as a number?  To prove my point, Yoko Ono said it perfectly, “Some people are old at 18 and some are young at 90 – time is a concept that humans created.”

How old would you be if you had to pick a number?