Friday, December 23, 2011

Crazy for Christmas

It happened again.  Jaye posts about it, so I'm aware of it.  Marina says "You should try it, Kelly!"  Another flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig.  This time with the absurd deadline, by the time I got to it, of less than 19 hours.  And you know what?  Turns out, it wasn't so absurd!  I give you:

Crazy for Christmas

                “I just don’t know what came over me.  I was there in line, patiently, like everyone else, waiting for the Black Friday sales to start.  Why do these sales keep getting earlier and earlier every year?  Who needs to start shopping at midnight?  A few people were chatting.  A couple others were plotting routes through the store.  I was tired, so I just kept to myself. 
                “Maybe that was it – I’ve just been so tired lately.  There’s never enough time for everything that needs to be done.  I work all day and come home to help the kids with their homework.  Make dinner.  Clean the house.  Do laundry.  Get lunches and backpacks for the next day ready.  By the time everything is done and I can get to bed, it’s past midnight and then I’m waking up at 5am to do it all again.
                “You could feel…almost a hum in the air as it got closer to the start of the sale.  Pallets were everywhere, stacked high with the deals that were being offered.  Ridiculous prices – some of them made you think that there was no way the store was making any money off of them.  And then, in the back of my mind, I could hear this other voice, telling me to not let anyone get in there and get MY deals, MY bargains, MY products that I had been waiting in line for!
                “I thought I was just overtired.  After the shopping was done, I was going to go home and take a nap.  Try and catch up on some of the sleep I needed.  I shook my head to try and clear it.  The pallet closest to me was nothing but toasters, 6 feet high.  There must have been more than 100 toasters on that little wooden base.  And the little voice inside me started trying to convince me that I needed that toaster.
“It’s just a toaster, for Pete’s sake.  I already have one and didn’t need another.  Everyone I know has a toaster.  And, really?  A toaster for $2?  How good of a toaster could it be?  I wasn’t even there for the toaster sale!  I’d been in that line for hours for an XBOX360.  My son had been wanting one for years.  I’d finally been able to save up enough money for it.
                “The sales people came out and people started perking up.  Phones were put away, people stretched.  One lady did deep knee bends and some lunges.  I remember thinking that she should’ve worn better fitting pants, because hers kept going low enough to show butt crack.  All around me, people were starting to shake off their tiredness.  But me?  It felt like a fog was coming over me.
                “I don’t know how it happened, I really don’t.  My hand was on my purse, keeping it near me like I always do.  Then my hand was in my purse, around the little can of pepper spray I keep in there for emergencies.  When the sales people removed the dividers, I turned and sprayed everyone with the pepper spray and ran to the toaster display.  I grabbed two of them, one under each arm, and ran off.
                “I felt like I was watching someone on TV, shouting at the screen.  ‘What are you doing, you idiot?’  It’s like I was on autopilot, but the part of me that controlled my mind was paralyzed.  I was moving and talking and shouting at people, but none of that was what I was telling my body to do. 
“It was almost a relief, when I was caught at the front doors.  A part of me – the real me, not this crazy me – was shocked at my behavior.  Was I really going to run out the door with four dollars in toasters? 
“I don’t remember much after that.  It’s like a fading dream.  I was in a car and my arms were behind me.  They hurt.  I was in a room with lots of people, and they were arguing.  A man in a uniform brought me to a room with a bed, and I was so happy to see it that I started crying.  At last I could sleep!
“Someone dressed in all white brought me here, to see you, after I slept.  You said you wanted to help me.  That was nice.  No one has offered to help me in such a long time.  So now I come to see you every day and I get to talk and talk.  You don’t argue with me over anything, or say that I said or did something wrong, or that I’m late getting somewhere.  And whenever I leave, you give me those little pills that make it really easy for me to sleep again.
“Do you think, though, that I could maybe be untied from this chair?  It would be nice to be able to move my arms and legs again.  Or itch my nose.  Maybe someday soon? 
“For now, I think I’d like to go back to my room.  I am so very tired.  There’s a picture of a Christmas tree on the window and I like to look at it as I fall asleep.  I’ll see you tomorrow, Doctor.  Merry Christmas.”

Sunday, December 18, 2011


"There's a blog challenge I think you'd like," says Marina.  "Go over to Chuck Wendig's blog and see."

I'm new to writing.  I'm also apparently easy to lead around, because I went.  And I looked at the 50 Unexplainable Black & White Photos to use for inspiration.  And I absolutely LOVED #28.  The story behind that photo flashed into my head, clear as a bell.  Getting it written was almost as easy.

I hope you enjoy it!



“It was perfect, don’t you think?”  Margaret pulled her robe close around her and sat down at the vanity in their room.  She began pulling pins out of her hair.  “Perfect wedding, perfect reception.  Perfect honeymoon.”  She smiled at her new husband in the mirror.  Carefully, she placed the hairpins into an ivory box before starting to brush out her hair.
“The wedding was perfect.  The honeymoon will be perfect.”  Charles moved up behind her and started to rub her back.  “Why not save that for later?  I thought there might be something else you’d rather do.”  He leaned in and pressed a kiss to that sensitive spot just below her ear.
Though a shiver ran through her at the touch, Margaret pulled away.  “I’m almost done.  Why don’t you start warming the bed up for me?”
“All right…don’t be long,” As Charles walked away, he began to undo the buttons on his shirt.  He shrugged out of it, and tossed it in the hamper.  His pants followed soon after.
Margaret watched him in the mirror, admiring his broad shoulders and the way his muscles rippled as he moved.  Pants slid past lean hips and down long legs.  She was down to the last 10 strokes of her hair when he pulled his socks off.  Already headed towards the bed, he tossed the socks behind him, not checking to see if they made it to the hamper.
A muscle twitched under her left eye as one of the socks landed on the floor.  ‘Surely, he’ll get it and put it in the hamper,’ she thought.  Instead, he folded back the covers and climbed into bed.
Margaret returned the hairbrush to its spot on the vanity.  She turned towards him as she stood, and he grinned at her.  Slowly, she walked towards the bed, toying with the belt of her robe.  Charles’ eyes lit with anticipation as he watched her approach.  There was a slight pause in her step as she passed the sock laying on the floor, and a slight twitch of her eye as she walked past it.
At the end of the bed, she began to untie her robe.  It fluttered open, giving her husband a glimpse of what he had been waiting so many months to see: black lace fitted snugly over creamy white skin.  Pulling the belt free, she crawled onto the bed. 
Straddling him, she crept up his legs until she could sit on his lap.  She could feel him pulse beneath her, hard and ready.  She ran the belt lightly through her fingers.
“How about we try something…a little different, tonight?” she asked. 
Charles’ eyes widened: his wife had a kinky side?  Fantastic!  “Absolutely!” he rasped.  “I will try whatever you want!”
She leaned over him, which brought her breasts in front of his face.  He moaned as he ran his hands up her body to cup them.  Over his head, her face was grim as she straightened out the belt.  Neatly, she wrapped it once around his neck and looped the ends around her hands.
Sitting back, she looked down at him.  His hands were now on her back, holding her close to him so that he could have his mouth on her.  She tugged gently at the ends of the belt, pulling it just tight enough to get his attention. 
He looked up at her as she leaned forward.  He met her hungry kiss, moaning when she pulled the belt a little tighter.  He began to writhe beneath her, caught up in the moment.  She bent towards him once more, to whisper in his ear, “You shouldn’t have left your sock on the floor.”
He had just a moment after hearing that statement of warning, enough to realize that it didn’t fit the current circumstances, before she pulled the belt tight.  Too tight.  He tried to signal her that she was hurting him, but a glance at her face told him that she knew.  That she was doing this on purpose.
He tried to buck her off, but her legs clamped down on him, holding him down.  He batted at her a few times, but gave that up to try and loosen the belt.  A breath, just one breath of air, and he could fight her off.  His hands clawed at the noose that was getting tighter and tighter.  His vision started to grey.  His movements became weaker.  Just before he passed into unconsciousness, he thought he heard her sobbing.
Carrying Charles with her, Margaret stepped into her closet.  She set him on a dresser, next to the others who did not live up to her standards of perfection.  She smoothed his hair into place and gave his cheek a fond pat.
“It’s a shame it didn’t work out between us, Charles.  I really thought you might be the one.”  She looked down the row at her past attempts.  She fixed her father’s beard and straightened her mother’s eyeglasses.  Her gaze strayed back to Charles.
“Hmm.  I think it’s time for someone with blonde hair…”

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I'm working on something new.  Something only 3 other people have seen only a small portion of so far.  But no one really knows where it's going.

I actually came up with this idea all on my own.  I'm very nervous.  If other people come up with ideas and they don't pan out, it's not my fault, because it was someone else's idea.  Right? 

But this's all mine.  I haven't even talked it over with anyone, trying to decide which direction it should go.  Part of me feels I should share as I go, so I can get feedback.  A bigger part of me feels I should just let the finished product be as it is.  Mine.

There's always editing.  This isn't written in stone, after all.

A friend and I were chatting, and we both agree:  Swagger is sexy.  Swagger is borne of confidence, that innate knowing that you are King (or Queen) of your domain.  It isn't opinion or conjecture or supposition - it's fact. 

I want to swagger.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Write about writing

"Write about writing" I was told, when I asked what I would do with a blog.  I know precious little about writing. 

I know that when the mood hits me, writing can be fun.

I know that I like hearing lovely words of praise.  (But, really - who doesn't?)

I know that I like getting constructive criticism to help me improve.

It started as...I don't know, not quite a joke, but a silly Facebook post from Marina that said "Zombie haiku. Feel free to join in."  The lightbulb flashed on, and I joined in.  That was the first 8 verses of the Zombie Haiku that's on here.  The next day, it was all I could think about.  So it got longer.

Then it was:
"We should all write Halloween stories!!  I'll post them on my blog!" from Jaye. 
"But Jaye, I wouldn't know what to write about."
"Write about cannibalistic faeries.  Make it a love story.  Oh, and it needs a duck."
A love story about cannibalistic faeries with a duck??  How the heck was that going to work?  Oh, wait....  and that became The Red Band

But, see, Marina and Jaye actually write.  Jaye is a published author, Marina has a collection of short stories for the Kindle.  For sale, not for free.  And people have purchased them!!  Who am I?  At the moment, I feel a little like a wannabe, riding their coattails. 

I am learning a few things as I go:
- that I like to have an idea kicking around in my head, waiting for the little bit of something to make it sing.
- that it feels pretty good when something comes together nicely.
- that I have a bit of a twisted mind when it comes to some things.
- that other authors are amazing people, not territorial like I think I was expecting.
- that sometimes, you need to write; it doesn't matter what else you try to do, nothing goes right until you do.

So it appears that I write less (much less) about the technical processes of writing, and more about my discoveries as I write.

I can live with that.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Zombie Haiku

Shuffling, moaning
This is taking forever
I wanna eat brains

I smell you hiding
I can’t wait to eat your brains
Dammit, where’s my foot?

The river runs red
The revolution begins!
The undead are here

They run for their lives
The trap ahead has been laid
Little do they know

Around the corner
With guns, chainsaws and knives
Silly, weak humans

Look at them cower
Little children in the night
This won’t hurt a bit

Oh, you are tasty!
Irish, with a hint of Thai?
Or is it Chinese?

Oh, I am so full
I can’t eat another bite
What is for dessert?

Thus starts Chapter Two
Full of misery and pain
Will the humans live?

A new day begins
The sun’s rays light the carnage
Of the night before

Bodies all around
Blood and guts and brains and goo
Littering the street

Survivors come out
Of their safe hiding places
In ones and in twos

Crying and confused
Looking around in a daze
What the hell happened?

We have to fight back
We must save our families
I don’t want to die!

The meeting is loud
Not a lot is getting done
No one can agree

Do we run away
Do we stay and kill them all
Who here has a gun

Finally, a plan
Move the children and old folks
Everyone else, fight

Night is coming soon
Say your goodbyes while you can
Tonight we fight back

Darkness has fallen
Moaning sounds are nearer now
The dead are hungry

A group of people
Fire bright against the dark
Will they live or die

It’s all they think of
The need to feast consumes them
They’re coming for you

They may not be fast
But there is no stopping them
They will hunt you down

Hear them shuffling
Dragging their feet on the ground
Running is futile

Everywhere you look
Everywhere you try to hide
You are not safe there

Your life is theirs now
Give up all your hopes and dreams
They no longer count

You can try to run
Tomorrow, you’ll be dinner
You cannot escape

Here come the live ones
Strong and proud and determined
With their eyes blazing

They carry weapons
Chainsaws, guns and machetes
Like those could stop us

We will have our feast
We cannot wait anymore!
Soon there will be blood

Fear is in their eyes
These silly, little humans
Why do they resist

This one is too scared
To put up much of a fight
She smells delicious

She struggles a bit
Blood moves faster in her veins
Oh, this will be good

Soft flesh of the neck
That tears apart so nicely
Fresh blood flows freely

Her struggles weaken
She collapses on the ground
Skin is in his teeth

He rips chunks of flesh
Off her now lifeless body
Others have her scent

The others have come
Clustered around her body
Fighting for the scraps

It’s time to move on
She has nothing left to give
Good thing there are more

Now the fear is real
And the humans start to run
They’ll die if they stay

The wave of zombies
Moves forward across the town
There are none left alive

Zombies multiply
Spreading across the country
Humans have no chance

A few hide away
Secret underground bunkers
But their time will come

Huddled together
They are few and far between
And we are hungry

We have caught your scent
You should come and play with us
We won’t hurt you…much

The Red Band

                “I cannot believe they stuck me with you, of all faeries!”  Fatina threw up her hands as she fluttered in the air.  “Even Arcus the Dunderhead would be better than you!”
                Nibale flew up to meet her.  “It’s not like I’m happy about this either!  Do you think I have nothing better to do than drag around a Papinae on this mission?  I hope you can keep up, because I will not be held accountable for your failures!”
                Both faeries hung suspended in air as they glared at each other.  The Grand High Faerie Council had decreed that a hunter from each tribe would be assigned the task of locating a rogue faerie who was ignoring the Age Restriction.
                A thousand years ago, the Council determined that if allowed to continue hunting unchecked, faeries would soon eat themselves out of existence.  Were younger faeries easier to catch?  Absolutely.  They weren’t old enough to have learned any survival tricks.  But they were also needed to continue the line; what would the faeries do when they ran out of food?  It was decreed that faeries could not hunt anyone under 7 seasons.
                But young faeries had recently gone missing.  And twice now, a nursemaid had been found dead in the woods.  As the guardians of young faeries, nursemaids were the only faeries who had lifetime protection from being hunted.  Due to the very long life cycle of faeries, nursemaid positions were extremely hard to come by.  Early on, it was suspected that someone wanted a position with the nursemaids.  But with the discovery of another missing youth, just yesterday, it was clear that there was a rogue faery, someone who didn’t follow the laws set by the Council.
                Eolin, a tiny faerie of the Pleinette tribe, spoke up.  “Can we put aside our differences for the search?  The sooner this is over, the sooner I don’t have to be near you two.  Let’s find the rogue faerie, turn him in for sentencing, and forget we ever had to spend time together.”
                “I can if she can,” Nibale jutted his head in Fatina’s direction.
                “Well, then, why are you two sitting there?  Let’s go to the site of the last find, already!” Fatina turned and flew off before the other two could respond.
They caught up with her just before Futinard Hill, where the last body had been found.  It was there still, waiting for the investigation to be completed. Then it would be donated to the young ones in the nursery.  It looked much like any other body after it had been fed on: crumpled on the ground, with some body parts in unnatural positions.  Normally, though, other faeries cleaned up after themselves, usually by donating the remains to the nursery.
                Eolin landed on the hill and started examining the body.  “Not much was eaten…what’s the point, then?  The organs are still here, thigh meat is still here – anyone see a finger?  He’s missing a finger.”
                “Maybe the attacker got scared off before he could finish,” Fatina suggested as she scanned the area. 
                “It’s obscene to attack a young one this way.  Has he no morals, that he would prey on one who cannot defend himself?”  Nibale returned from a search of the perimeter.  On his face was a look of disgust.
                “Maybe he was bored.  Or hungry.  Or unable to control himself.  Look – the young one’s band is missing and he’s older looking; maybe he didn’t know that this was a young one,” Fatina said.  Young ones were supposed to wear a red band around their arm to signify they were not yet to be considered huntable.  This young one’s arm was, indeed, missing its band.
                Eolin signaled to the guard that he could move the body.  “We’re not going to get anything else out of him.  At least he was found in time, so that we could still give him to the nursery.  Hopefully, this will be a lesson to the other young ones to leave their band on at all times.  Now, we should go interview our witness.”
                “Witness?  There was a witness?  Who is it?” Fatina asked.
                “Yes, Old Alice.  We better get there soon, before she goes to bed for the day.”  Old Alice slept most of every day, and she was the devil to try and wake up if you needed her for something. 
                The flight to Old Alice’s took them past a pond, where several ducks were gathered.  One of them was keening over the body of a dead duck, stretched out on the ground.  As the trio watched, others came and took her away, while his body was covered with brush and ferns.
                “Ugh!  Would you listen to that?  Like she never thought he would die??  That right there is why you never get attached to anyone.”  Eolin could barely contain her disgust over the public display below.
                “I think it’s kind of sweet,” both Nibale and Fatina said, almost in unison.  Surprised, they stared at each other for a few moments before Fatina went on.  “I would think that it’s very comforting, knowing you have someone to depend on.”
                “Someone to share your troubles with, someone to help you hunt, someone to help keep you from being hunted…”  Nibale added.
                “It’s weak and degrading!  Like the two of you!”  Obviously, Eolin wasn’t shy about sharing her feelings.
                As she flew off, Nibale and Fatina looked at each other.  “I never knew you felt that way.  I thought you were like all the rest: ‘Look at me!  I’m a man!  I don’t need anything else!’ ”
                “Well, it’s not something I advertise, but yeah, if the right faerie came along, I’d be OK with sharing a nest with her.  We should probably catch up with Eolin.”
                “Yeah, OK.”  But as they flew off, Fatina looked at Nibale a little differently.
                As they got closer to Old Alice’s nest, Fatina dropped behind.
 “What’s the holdup, slow poke?” Eolin had as much patience for others as she did compassion.
“I have a cramp in my wing.  I’ll be there in a few minutes.  Go on ahead!”  Fatina landed, so she could see to her wing.
“I’ll stay back with her, make sure she’s OK,” Nibale said.  “Get to Old Alice’s before she goes to bed; we’ll be there soon.”
                Eolin grunted and flew off; as she did, Nibale thought for sure that he heard something that sounded like ‘dead duck.’
                Nibale landed next to Fatina and offered to take a look at her wing.  After a thorough inspection, he said, “I can’t see anything wrong with it, but maybe we should walk for a while and give it a chance to rest.”
                “OK, sure.  Are you sure you don’t want to go on ahead?  I’ll be fine and catch up as soon as I can.  Really, you don’t need to wait for me.”  Fatina seemed worried that she was slowing Nibale down.
                “No, I don’t mind.  Eolin will probably do better talking to Old Alice without me there…she still hasn’t forgotten that time I ruined her nest trying to catch a stray ball all those years ago.  When I was going to be with the two of you, I thought I’d be safe, but I don’t think I want to risk it with only one bodyguard.”  Nibale grinned at her.
                As they walked along, they spoke of many subjects.  They found they both liked reading and campfires.  They had the same opinions when it came to how the Council was governing, but differing thoughts as to how someone should be elected to that position.    Time sped by as they walked and chatted and soon it was dusk.  They were nearly at Old Alice’s nest.
                “I wonder what’s going on up ahead?”  NIbale could see flickering lights as they neared the village.  As they rounded the bend, they saw about 15 faeries standing outside Old Alice’s.
                “There she is!  Get her!”  Eolin pointed dramatically at Fatina.  “Keep your eye on her!  She says her wing is hurt, but I bet it’s a scam!”
                “What?!  What is going on?!”  Fatina looked around frantically as faeries surrounded her.
                “Old Alice saw you, Fatina.  She saw you with the young one.  Game over.  Take her to the Council!”
                As the horde of people surrounding her ushered her towards the clearing where the Council had their meetings, Fatina desperately scanned the faces of the faeries surrounding her.  Her gaze landed on Nibale, who regarded her with a hurt expression.  She tried to reach out to him, but he pulled away from her.  The faeries around her parted, and she was left alone in the center of the clearing.
                “Fatina, you have been accused of hunting young ones.  There is a witness who saw you perform this crime.  How do you plead?”
                As Fatina took a moment to scan the faces of the Council and the others who had come to watch, she decided on her plan.  “I plead not guilty!  The witness in question is old and easily confused.  What proof other than her failing eyes can she give that would condemn me?”
                The Council Elder, Ratosh, looked to Old Alice.  “Well, mistress?  Have you any other proof?”
                “I do!  After she felled her prey, I saw her take the band of off his arm, fold it and put it in her pouch.  Check her pouch!  If the band is there, she is guilty!”
                “Fatina, please present your pouch to the Council at this time so that we may inspect its contents.”
                She had gambled - and lost.  There had not yet been an opportunity to remove the latest young one’s band to store with the others.  With her fruitless attempt at a defense shredded to pieces, all she could do was remove her pouch and hand it to Ratosh. 
                “It was an accident, the first one.  I didn’t know until it was too late!  The first bite – the meat was so tender and juicy and fresh!  After that, I can’t explain it – it was like an addiction – I couldn’t stop!!  I’ll get help, I promise!  Assign a guard to me, to keep it from happening again!  I’ll do anything you demand.”
                “All faeries know the penalty for hunting young ones.  We do not make exceptions for anyone.  Fatina, you are found to be guilty of the hunting of the young ones.”  Here, Ratosh held up the young one’s band for all to see.  “As set forth in the Age Restriction a thousand years ago, the punishment is death, the sentence to be carried out immediately. May your soul find the peace in the afterlife that it could not find here.”
                Trapped in the ring of advancing faeries, Fatina knew she had nowhere to go.  Then –
                “NOOOOOOOOO!  I cannot let you do this!!”  Nibale broke through the ring and ran to her.  He placed his hands on either side of her face and gazed at her. 
                Fatina looked into Nibale’s eyes – he had come to save her!  She heard him say “I could have loved you!”  The last thing she saw was a tear running down his face, just before he broke her neck.