First Line Friday – An Ill Wind

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The autumn chill descended over the town and with it came rot and ruin. October’s breath plays in the streets. Dense blanket of fog keep the Sun at bay. Breezes swirl but lift nothing but a few leaves. The stiffling scent of certainly wasn’t moving away.

The Almira dogs stop their incessant howling. Sounds fail as silence takes a bite from the hustle and bustle of Suburbia. Wood creaks,slightly muffed like under a rug. Two mutts slowly back away from the fence made of chicken wire and old beams. Wood crumbles. Wire rusts through instantly. Tentatively they take their last steps.

Trees sway above. The fog moves a little further. The stench lingers. Upon the next house, another life falls.

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Things that go bump in The night

She knew she’d hit something. But what? She saw the shape suddenly jumping or running right in front of her car. Her heart was racing while she got out of the car. Maybe it was just her imagination. Maybe it was the fog and the darkness setting in. Maybe she did not hit anything. Maybe it was just the fog. But she felt it too. She slowly made her way to the front of the car. And then her heart froze. There it was.

It’s her first new car. The damage is just awful. Her silver arrow had a broken noise! Julia now had to figure out how to explain this. Her new baby crushed.

She screamed once, then twice. Stomped her three inch heels, snapping one in the process.

“Oh Julia. We talked about you getting that car. I thought it was too much power for you. I’m so glad you didn’t kill yourself. ..” She mocked the voice that would tell her how bad it was. She cried a little. Uttered some more semi coherent phases. She once more limped around here vehicle on one broken heel.

She kicked the object responsible. Then again. Then again.

“Aaaahhhhh, my shoes are ruined. My car is ruined. What is wrong with you?!” She terse voice looks for something to blame here.

“Ok calm down Julia. You got to call. Get it over with. He’ll come get you. Make you feel loosy about it. Then he’ll fix the GOD DAMN PIECE OF SHIT CAR!” Talking to herself on isn’t working. But the echo from the other side of fog is. The echo chides her as well.

The Baxter freeway. Road to nowhere. Expressway to avoid everyone. Here she sits. Staring at broken car. One person there. It’s really quiet. Because there’s no cell phone service.

Gulp. The body in front of the car is no longer in front of the car. Julia thinks to herself. Maybe it wasn’t an animal at all. That’s right it was just shadow. Could of been a deer. … bounced off to the side. It happen fast. Surely nothing could have walked off with the damage to the car.

The fog parts showing the rock wall keeping the car from falling down forty foot drop. Tree tops stand tall in front of her. The full moon casts their shadow at her. The birds of fog dance in the moon’s glow.

“It would be so beautiful. ….”

Her thoughts and voice cut short. There’s some kind of figure sitting on the rocks. Engulfed by shadow but it’s there. She can feel it. It can feel her too.

“Oh god, it’s not dead. I need to know what it is. Why is it just sitting there?” She whispers. She half crouches and leans toward her companion still thirty plus feet away. Her heart beating like bongo drums in her ears. She stands frozen for a minute or half hour. Time has all about stopped.

She checks her phone. No signal! She walks backward to the car. Her eyes on that dark shape. Her mind finds what looks like legs but not quite right. Are they human? Not quite right. Are they animal? Just a little too thick. She looking for movement. Hoping for no movement. Her hand feels the car behind her. The sharp edge of bent nose pricks her finger. Slow warm blood drops from those manicured nails.

Then it happens. The thing in shadow moves. It’s stretching to upright itself. The fog rolls up from the side of road. In a flash, it stands on two legs but didn’t seem like a person. The moon light fades beneath the fog. Darkness and headlights. No creature. Julia jumps in the car with a very loud door slam.

“Calm down girl. It’s alive. See you didn’t kill anything. .. But the car. .. I wish I could see it. That fog covered everything. Oh no. What’s that sound?”

There is a single sound piercing the fog. It could be a howl. It could have been a scream. It didn’t sound hurt.

From the corner of her eye, comes movement. A flash of brown. Then the window shatters. A clawed hand grabs her by the hair. Screaming replaces breathing. She fights off the first wave. Then a second. It leaves her sitting. Alone. Sitting. Dark road. It’s going to be a long night.

Do You Have Halloween Stories

This is from Spillwords.com… They have been gracious enough to accept my works. Give them a try.

13 Days of Halloween series submission page at Spillwords.com

Fill out the form below to submit your literary work for consideration to be published as a part of a series called ‘13 Days of Halloween‘.

The series will run from October 18th through October 31st, and we will be featuring a different literary work everyday for 13 days.

All literary pieces should embrace Halloween, and the spirit of this holiday. It should make reference of Trick or Treating, ghosts and goblins, black cats, superstitions, or any appropriate iconic Halloween character.

We look forward to your literary treats!

Photo Challenged 177- Clancy’s Ghost

His eyes walked up and down then side to side across the velvet dress. Her face wrapped in a scarf of blue clouds. Still he knew. His troubled mind knew. His nose wrestled to keep the scent from being taken in. His ears could create her voice in the wind. Her presence was’ll disconcerting at best.

“Not all dreams are created equal. You can not ignore men as I am no more than what you made me.” A coarse soft whisper rasps Clancy’s ears.

“Go away! Go away! You’re not real!” Clancy spins in his dark room. Eyes wide searching for her shape. Nerves taut. Chill of icy fingers brushing softly against his back.

“You can’t refuse me. Ha ha, silly Clancy” he voice climbs as falls in laughter of a child. “I’m your every embodied desire and want. You built me in those likenesses you could not possess. My touch is all you’ll care to know. You made me from your cold indifference then added desire.”

“You’re just a nightmare! No, no…..no more. No, no … no less. A bad dream. Charlotte! Be gone!” A frail silhouette waves at the darkness.

“Years that fall through cracks in days fashioned us. You call me by a name.” She reveals her face with the features of all his loves unknown.

Another night in which our monsters return. Clancy’s ghost settles into his mind for another night.

Written as part of a challenge called Photo Challenge, details are available at https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/photo-challenge-177/

A Rope

From the trail the old tree looks lopsided.  A solitary branch separated from the green leafy mass to the right. String of biege hangs still upon it.

The afternoon Sun puts a premium on shade.  The old tree makes for a good stop between isles of scrub bush.  The winds that were so free in morning have retreated.  Sound is hiding along with it too.

Under the tree, footprints paint a picture of a tussle.  It appears two or three on one. They circle under a rope tied into circle.  No signs of anyone left here. The cool respite may feel strange but it breaks the heat.  My eyes grew a bit heavy from the ride.  As I’m alone, rest should be about quickly. 

Slumber slips away from me. Dreams stir of people. Strange dark men hunting and calling out. Its a struggle oddly muffled. My eyes open to darkness. 

Arms have me and I lunge forward. They aren’t speaking my language. It feels they are questioning me.  My throat grows tight. My mouth opens but i have no breath to yell.

“Boys, you got the wrong one!” A voice distant rings.  

My mind grows dark.

“Does he look like Gus?” the voice continues.

I fade to black

End of the Road 

A knock on the door.  Followed by six more.   Staccato wraps follow the first soft touch.  A solitary light shone in a living room. 

The full moon rises.   It lights the last house on the pavement.   The road falls to gravel and disappears into the woods.  The woods reaches around the simple house and its barn.  The white glow of the moon paints it better in the night than the Sun.  The door hides within a small porch, shrunk by the boxes and tables stacked around. 

The hand rises again.  The knocks continue six at a time.  Staccato beats. 

“Hang on baby! hang on…. We’ll get you help.” Brian looks down.   A face looks back.

“No one will open the door… it’s too late they’ll never open the door.” Connie voice fades.   Her jeans covered in blood.   The yellow t-shirt dirt covered and suddenly wore out. “It’s cold.  Maybe there’s blanket in this stuff.   Maybe morning…”

“I see someone.  They are in there.   They’ll help us.” Brian wipes his head.  A streak of blood runs down fron his forehead.  His face shows he doesn’t think help is coming. 

Brian returns to the door.  A series of knocks continues.   Each becoming a little more panic stricken. “Hello?! We need help.   Just call the police…  anything! Please!”

Connie is on the wooden porch. She is sitting against soft boxes that lean over toward her a bit.  She’s scared but holding on a brave front. “Sit next to me.  The morning.. They’ll see us.”

Shuffling sounds inside stop her.   The dragging and stopping catch their attention.  The door had three little boxes that show how dark the inside is but little else.   

“If you open that door, I’ll kill you both. Shotgun is in my hands.” The voice followed by a tapping on the other side of the door. “You live to see tomorrow…. I’ll habe to deal with Y’all then.   Stop banging or you’ll wake up the Dead!”

The shuffling starts again.   This time fading away.   The single light flashes out.   

The Moon –

I run.  A staggered path weaves between rock, trees and cactus.  My enemy is above.  I feel the eyes scanning the landscape. 

“Shadows are my friend.” I whisper to my fellow creatures of the night. “I will sleep on safety beneath your own nose!”

I want to laugh.  But sound travels to easily here.  Its bad enough I see my quarry.  But it’s myself dug in the hole hunted.   He can’t get what he can’t see.   The plan is working so far.

The clouds thin.  Moonbeams stretch out.  Rays of silver like nails in my coffin.  I hide with my back finding an uncomfortable Saguaro.  I watch the light chase the darkness.   Hope is a thin shadow.

My pulse rises to match a deep thumping heart.  If heartbeats slow maybe I can breath.  But for how long?

I turn my head to look.  

His face smiles back.  An oblivious look or game over expression.  If I could hear him.  I hate the distance between us.  Only in moving do I get to find out who wins this night.

“I would stab at you.  You hide too far away.” I look away from him. “There has always been a man within the Moon.  He stalks us all.   He had always been death. He will always be death.  Tonight, better be someone else’s turn.”

I curl into a ball and wait. 

Written as part of a challenge called Tale Weaver, details available  at https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/tale-weaver-116-the-moon/

Isabella

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“You have candy?!  Give me candy and I won’t eat your brains.   Not right away.   I just need candy” Isabella circles like a puppy. Bright shiny eyes albeit a bit disturbingly colored.”I’ll be good.  Really! I need chocolate.”

Mr Mills looks awkwardly at the child. “Who have you this hairdo? And those contacts? They are horrible! You look like a Halloween doll! Where’s you guardian little one?”

His hands twitch as they tug at the sleeves of the blue ill-fitting suit. His eyes stay down away from the child.  His middle aged conditions knawl at him.  He wants answers but the child is obviously spoiled beyond belief. 

“I ate her brain.  She told me to take of my wig.   So i jumped up on her shoulders to chew hers off her head. I was surprised when it was real.” she looks around the room for an unseen need “I guess that’s what the screaming she was doing was all about. But I didn’t get my candy yet.   So where’s it at?”

“Rich imagination child. I’m here on serious matters.  It won’t take much more before in feed up with your game.   Isabella, be a good girl.  Go find Ms Maples….please.” His face is a tightrope.  The words filter through clinched teeth. 

“Ok, I’ll go get someone. Do you me too? Really she’s not much to talk to anymore…” Isabella kicks at the floor.  The realization that no candy is coming sinks in. 

“Yes, Isabella, I would like that very much.” Mr Mills watches her disappear. Little foot steps find a hallway and echo against dark wood panels.

He turns to look at the strange tapestry of a fox hunt on the wall.  “No wonder she’s so dark.”

A squeaking sound builds within the hall that Isabella chose.  He waits to turn.   The woman clearly kept him waiting for a reason.   No-one thinks child services ever sees these tactics.

“Here she is…Ms Maples.  You wanted to she her.   Here she is!” The little girl poses like the magician completing a trick.

“My God! What happened here?!” His voice quivers and fails. His face stretches and pales.  Dark holes once held eyes can’t move.  Slowly his body leans away.

“You asked.  I brought her to you.   Where’s the candy,  Mr Mills?” her voice starts to sing. 

Ms Maples is on a dolly.   Her skull sticking out, part of its skin covers what’s left of a face. Her pale skin shows signs of bruising.   Tied hands hold her together in a modified ball.  

“Oh please, give me the candy.  You adults are hard enough to deal with.  My sugar is low….I don’t know weekday I might do next.   Right, Ms Maples.” Isabella smiles. 

Mr Mills runs for the door.  Small feet move much faster than old feet. 

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Writing Prompt 202 – The Other Me

I sit uneasy at the kitchen table.  While nothing was out of place, that is exactly the problem here.  I’m not going through all the trouble of cleaning when the dirty dishes rush back in the sink. The washbasin, a peripheral madness that draws clutter. 

But still, I imagine footsteps.   The girl and the invisible door are at play here.  She comes from the chamber of proverbial oddities. I have been there.   And truly owe several complocations in my life.   

Namely the other me.  This is where the cleaning comes from.   Its like a demented twin.  Everything I leave in my preferred state of chaos is ruined and organized.  I find the extra work of searching for any item in place doubles the wasted time organizing it. 

I use the corner of my eye to play a twisted game of mental tag. I like to refer to it as the needle in the dragon’s eye.  I’m just as likely to win as stabbing said dragon. The other me refers to it as the pariah and the marionette, the strings I only feel from tune to time.

So I nurse my coffee.   My mind is engaged in the intimate departure of logic.  Maybe the gravedigger’s maze is more accurate. The daylight has parted awhile back. I resist the dream connoisseur with more confessions from bedlam.

I’m drawn to the chair next to me sliding out.   I see his face… rather my own.  A waking nightmare continues. 

https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/writing-prompt-202-its-all-in-the-title/

Tied Up in Others 

“Those words…. They were sharp as glass.  I can feel them still.” Dave’s voice monotone delivery fades away.

His mind churns them over and over.   Minutes to hours. His mind whittles away today with their harshness.

His place outside next to his garage.   Blank eyes look in the air for the answer to what consumes him.   His washed out blue eyes hide behind glasses.   Years have added wrinkles to better disguise his intent.  His salt and pepper hair match his close cut bread.  His pallid face blank from lack of conclusion. 

“I can remember… Her words started about me not doing something.  Her brown eye harden and bloodshot. I just thought… well, I can listen. But then I’ll think about the words.  I’ll start making dumb mistakes.”  Dave wave his hands explaining this to an unseen companion.

He sits back on his metal chair.  His breath pauses.  Fingers engage in hunting for a cigarette.  His lost addiction remains fresh to his body.

The chasm of what we do and how quickly it can change, spill before his feet.  A series of bumps shake his thoughts free.   

“I recon I’ll have to check on her.   She’s probably waking up.   She will probably be a little cross about the whole tired up thing.   She never was much for understanding.”  Dave looks toward the door leading in the garage. 

His eyes open a but more.   His head swivels side to side.   Inventory of his neighbors send important now. 

Dave slides forward in his chair.   Both arms come to rest at the edge of the chair to propel him up.   A simple motion seems like slow motion.   Dread suddenly checks on his face.  He had always hated confrontation. Maybe, it will be easier with her tired up a bit. 

The ordinary door leads to a garage more storage than garage.   Boxes of varies color and age stack toward lights and open rafters.   A path, five to eight feet winds through the maze of excess things. The bumping noise get more intense as he moves toward crudely made cage.  More chain link fencing leaned against cinder block wall.  A few metal poles keep an opening with a giant cocoon drifting side to side. A rap of fencing follows a soft bump.  Oddly hypnotic in motion.

“Grace, you are awake.  We didn’t have to go this way.   But now that we did… Get comfortable.   I’m not the best at things,  as you keep reminding me.  Well, I’ve had a few  hours to think it over. I’ll have to think some more about how we move on from here. Please, fur once let me think.” Dave sips at a coffee mug.  He smiles a tad. “I’ll be back in awhile. Don’t go anywhere.”