A brief story: The Argument (rough)

He adjusted his tie. Dad always tied it too tight. Especially when he was wrought with worry. He coughed when the pressure released itself from his Adam’s apple.

Such a peculiar term, he thought. He opened his mouth and faced the passenger seat as if he were to process that thought into words, but his mouth dried. And in his forgetfulness, he sighed a very sad sigh. His shoulders slumped heavily and he readjusted his grip to the steering wheel of their very old but very loved Ford Focus.

Light stung his eyes in his awful posture, so he lowered the visor. The CD sleeve still held all of their favorite albums and even a couple of burned mixes. Taking the disc most decorated with pastel sharpie, he shoved it into the aftermarket player in the ash-covered dash.

“Ooh La La” by the Faces boomed from the old speakers. The very first song. The most important song. It reminded him to never leave angry, but he did anyway. The silence after their argument was deafening. Maybe this will drown it out, he hoped.

I love this song, she thought while staring out the window and hummed. Her clenched, interloping fingers loosened as the wave of the song’s chorus softened her anger. She sat in the passenger seat, in silence with her twin who was dressed, “to the nines.”

Arguments between them were rare. They were twins after all.  They knew each other more than anyone else. However few, their arguments were vicious. Mostly because neither wanted to believe that they didn’t agree to something — that the other couldn’t understand one’s reasoning. This argument was just that.

She felt compelled to apologize and make amends. The day was dreary enough. The fog was so thick it clung to the windows like wisps of cotton candy. The buildings and traffic lights barely pierced its veil once within a certain distance. It was like something from a bad horror movie using too much dry ice.

She turned to her brother with a shabby smile and asked, “Why so gloomy?”

Startled, he slammed the brakes and jerked his sight to the passenger seat. His sister’s grin faded like fog in the sunlight and an unexplainable wind pushed the remaining funeral programs from the seat to the floorboard.

His chest heaved as his breath caught up with him, panting as the papers all flipped to the picture of him and his sister.

 

 

Strange things happen when writers congregate…

Nora Chat

Having writing buddies is incredibly important for us writers/authors. These are the people who will get your ass in gear more than an editor, but they’ll do so with love and coffee. Emphasis on that last part. They motivate you and need motivation. They groan and complain the same way you do and understand the whys.

Creative people work at (mostly) night. It’s almost like the entire world sucks up the earth’s mojo during the day, and we (selfishly and selflessly) use it to slice open our wrists and rest them against the keyboard. The easiest part is writing. The hardest part is writing. Creative people understand this and are there for a shoulder cry over a fictional character at 3 a.m. It’s an entire underground support system that not many people understand.

I, for one, get excited when I find other writers. I flock to them like a proverbial leach and hope that I am not too weird. If you happen to be a writer, feel free to send me a message here or on my Facebook page. I will be incredibly happy to have new friends. Especially ones that are up this late. :S

Need more motivation? Here’s Jenna Moreci…

 

Fat Death

I have once stood in the same room
Where death has sat, happy and fat
Swollen full from the life that once laid before him
Mocking those victimized from the loss of soul
A heart they so loved and blanketed themselves in
His laughter roared with thick saliva dripping from his faceless teeth.
Content with his destruction, he kissed my cheek
And whispered with a breathless wheeze

“I will see you soon. Very soon, my sweet.”

Brief Story: Jumper

All of my recent shorts have been story ideas. This one is no different, except that I came up with it quite some time ago. It’s inspired by a personal event that I previously mentioned in my “Religion” blog. I have undergone a lot of personal and spiritual changes in the past few years. It’s been so dramatic that I am often in awe of it. Whenever I finish the BT series, I think I will probably follow through with this story line. I feel it is different than what you’ve read and I’m hoping to show my versatility when it comes to the different genres of writing.

Of all the places I am damned to roam, this is one of my favorites. For some reason, people flock to the pier in all kinds of different situations. Fishing, first dates, marriage proposals, and sometimes break-ups. I think it has something to do with the energy of the water. The very life source all creatures rely on and the one element they’re drawn to the most.

I like to watch here. It is the easiest place to detect emotion. The very thing I am cursed to feel and these very acts I am no longer allowed to personally experience. For I am a Jumper.

Jumpers are souls who remained heartless in their living life and are now condemned in the After. There is no fire and brimstone, just the torment of emotions never belonging to you. No one will understand the loneliness of that hallow shell. The brief, blissful moment of pure, vibrating joy and the ever daunting realization that it will never, ever be yours. Ever again.

Jumping is involuntary. Imagine being a bird a midst an oncoming rainstorm. Sudden bursts of wind blind siding you into a different direction. I am pushed; stumbling into a living being, hearing their deepest, momentary thoughts and their most heart-felt feelings. My soul becomes one with theirs and for that slight interaction, I am human again. An addictive punishment.

Such gloomy, stormy days like these leave the seagulls screaming as they glide above the pier. Patrons are strolling on their lunch breaks, enjoying their warm drinks and recharging with the surging rough waves. The rain has yet to begin and I wait on the bench beside a sleeping, intoxicated, heavily bearded homeless man. I like to think I protect the homeless now. I feel the most pity for them and they are the easiest to Jump. I was not kind to anything homeless in my Living and I felt the need to repent now in the After

No one can see Jumpers in the After, just like any ghost story will tell you. Not even the most spiritual of people can detect a Jumper. Therein lies another punishment.

My stomach knots suddenly and I feel my soul being suctioned away from the bench. I look toward the beard of the man and close my eyes tightly, only opening to them to be still looking at him from a different angle.

Through my heavily aged eyes, I feel compassion. A sense of familiarity and reminiscent, I have been in this man’s shoes. I look towards the darkening skies and can smell the salt water intensify. It will rain soon. A wrinkled, blood spotted hand reached and heavily shook the man’s shoulder. The burst of whiskey and earth made my compassion grow as I remembered my days under freeway bridges.

“Hello, sir,” the man’s eyes widened at my mannerisms, “So sorry to disturb you. It’s going to rain soon and since it’s extremely chilly, I was hoping you would like to join me for some warm food and good company?”

As lightning flickered off in the distance, I found myself covered in hair and staring back at an older gentleman in an olive raincoat. His pale blue eyes reflected his sincerity and my heart filled with excitement, curiosity, and some skepticism.

A gush of wind caused me to shiver. The old man smiled and said, “We’ll get you some warmer clothes. What do you say?”

I gratefully obliged, taking his helping, feeble hand.

My soul remained there on the once occupied bench and I watched the unpredictable pair wander off the wood slats and up to a nearby diner. If I could release any tears, this would be a beautiful moment. Compassion was my horrendous reminder. Something I lacked in the Living was now my most addictive emotion in the After. I never knew what it felt like to receive it, nor what it meant to give it. I was too stubborn and too ignorant.

The pier was quickly clearing, but I was only waiting for the rain. The cool, variable droplets splashing against my bare skin was a sensation I also missed. It wasn’t long before the darkened spots flushed the weathered wood, hammering like a machine gun to a tin roof.

I closed my eyes and tried to imagine catching a puddle in my…

I can’t keep going on like this. They all think I’m crazy! Maybe I am. Maybe I am just as worthless as they say.

I opened my eyes, peering into my dainty hands. I picked at my fading nail polish and stared intently at the small promise ring. I’ve been spinning it so much that the skin it rested against was an angry red. I crossed my feet under the bench and felt my sun dress become pinned in between a set of slats.

Pure dread was poisoning my chest and I wanted so much to rip out my aching heart. I didn’t want to feel anymore.

I just want to be numb. I want to be empty so that they can’t hurt me anymore. What would the church say? I don’t want to go to hell, but they’ll condemn me there anyway. What about my parents? Oh Lord, I fear their disappointment! 

Tears warmed my cheeks from the cold rain I was drowning in. My body shivered and the pier vibrated from the crashing waves below.

My clothes were now sticking to my body, Won’t make a difference anyhow. It will be over soon. 

A calming relief fell over me. I stood and adjusted my pink floral skirt while taking a deep breath. My dress shoes filled with tiny puddles as I slowly made my way toward the end of the pier. Adrenaline quivered in my veins and I found myself incredibly conflicted. I could feel my legs pull as my body was resisting. But my heart insisted. It knew it couldn’t survive the torment or the judgement of those people. Fear, hope, sorrow all occupied my mind in an entangled battle. Only one will prevail by the time I reached the splintered rail.

Just as a gush from a wave floated up and sprayed my thighs, I closed my eyes… and I jumped…

“Abigail! Don’t!” I was halfway down the pier, calling after the most amazing girl I had ever known. I was empowered by a deep love and impending fear. The rain pelted against my tan skin as if the sea was trying to push me back.

You can’t do this Abi! Don’t leave me subject to the cruelty to those monsters! 

I watched as her stiffened dress allowed her freckled body to turn to me. The frightened look upon her face pierced my entirety and I pushed harder against the slippery wood. My throat grew dry and my heart beat heavily against it.

I reached her just in time to grapple her forearm, “Abi, don’t do this! Don’t leave me! I can’t do this without you!”

A curious glare slipped onto her face and I could feel the familiar suction. I wished it to stop! I wanted to save her.

Don’t let her die!

I saw my own arm separate from my host and I reached for her face. I wanted to caress it and reassure her that this was not what she wanted. She wanted to live, I felt it in her soul . She wants to live, to love and love freely.

Fear and anger wrinkled her forehead as she looked to my hand, “Let go of me… Jumper.”

My soul immediately leaped back into my host. Just then, A strong wave crashed into the edge of the pier, rattling it’s entire stance. It was enough for me to stretch my feet and steady myself, but also enough for the puddles in Abigail’s shoes to release her feet from the rail. Tumbling backward, her grip released and her arm slipped through my fingers.

Abigail didn’t scream and neither did I. I was too fixated on her comforting stare. She saw what I was. She could see me.

So, after her, I jumped.

How’s the stew?

Here’s a little sequel of “Tea or Lemonade.” I just couldn’t help myself. The following video helped with inspiration and I think you’ll find it quite fitting.

“Goodness, Papa! This here stew’s real good!” Exclaimed my dirt-covered little boy while scooping up more broth in an over sized spoon.

“See? I told ya your mama’s veggies would be good this year.”

I smiled as he nodded and took a large bite of a cooked onion and chewed a cube of beef. He quickly swallowed and commented, “I sure wish she was still around so she could eat with us.”

My throat had tightened at his words and it became difficult to swallow. I still ached for her even though she had to be punished. I wish she could have seen her garden this year. No matter what, she will always be a part of it now.

I sometimes wish I didn’t catch her out in that barn, bent over the corn crib. Some day, I will find the man who was thudding her hips against the wood, defiling her and the sanctity of our marriage. If only my aim had been better in the dark, I would have pinned him to the barn post instead of slicing his shoulder with my hunting knife.

I love my wife, even in that moment of finding her loving another man. Even afterward, while she sat with her head in her hands, her tears flowing through the cracks of her fingers, I lovingly poured her a shot of bourbon and stirred in a bit of ground almond.

And while she clutched her swollen throat, she still reached for me to save her. So I did. I tackled her to the floor and softly pressed against her neck. I wiped the tears from her eyes as she turned blue and I whispered, “I love you with everything inside me, but you don’t love me enough. I can’t let anyone else have you.”

I cried when I carried her back to the barn, cradling her just as I had when we entered the threshold of our home for the first time. As the heat left the cheek pressed against my chest, I hummed to her softly while brushing her ruffled hair. I turned her face away as I laid her body down on a black, wool riding blanket. I couldn’t let her see me. I wanted to spare her the decency.

After some time and a now dull saw blade, I gathered  up the pieces and tied the blanket together with rope. My wife was now in shambles just like my heart.

Admiring my work, I wiped the blood filled sweat from my neck and quickly decided where to hide her. It wasn’t quite Winter, but the pond would be cool enough to keep her from decomposing too much. As I watched the pack slowly sink, I said my final goodbye and haven’t cried since.

By the time the top layer of ice thawed in the Spring, I fished her out and threw her in with the pig slop. They must’ve felt like royalty with such a bountiful feast!

All I had to do was clean the pen and I had spectacular fertilizer. Just as my son said, the garden came in really good this year. The vegetables flourished and we even had plenty to share with my brother.

I shook myself from my thoughts just as a knock came at the door. In walked the belly of my young and pregnant sister-in-law followed by my exuberant brother.

“Well, hell, c’mon in! Yer just in time for some supper!”

She eased herself in my wife’s chair and ruffled my son’s hair. He smiled at her and continued his focus to the contents in his bowl.

“That must be some good eatin’ there, kiddo,” said my brother as he sat, opposite of me.

I immediately stood and fetched them each a bowl with a helping of cornbread and a glass of tea. I hadn’t quite mastered my wife’s tea, yet, but no one ever complained.

“Have you heard anything about Maggie?” My brother inquired. He always asked about her and I can see his concern was for my son.

I shook my head and tried to negate the conversation, “Eat up.”

I proudly watched as he leaned down and scooped the cornbread into the mud colored broth. His shirt collar folded slightly over his muscular shoulder as he brought his food to his mouth. Just enough to reveal a large, light pink scar. A scar that healed nicely over a large cut. Right in the spot… where I threw my knife.

I stared intensely, gripping on to my spoon and whitening my knuckles. He must’ve felt the heat of my glare as he cleared his throat and adjusted the fabric. As he turned to me with a chewing smile, I rapidly blinked away my fury.

I made a glance at my brother’s wife and back to the man who forced me to murder mine, “How’s the stew?”

Brief Story: The Witness

Hey there! Happy Monday!

I figured I would give another brief story a try. The last one seemed to make some movement and I enjoy it when others enjoy my writing. Some of my stories stem from the haziness of falling asleep. I often have flashes of dream-like visions and they are a great kindling for a firestorm. The following is one of those visions:

I wasn’t a particular fan of the judge’s chambers, especially if it were Judge Calhoun. The musty smell of many cigars flavored the faux wood panel that barely hung on with its 30 year old glue. His small box felt like many of the interrogation rooms I’ve spent time in. Light only seeped through the small slithers peering through thick wooden blinds.

Yet, here I am; horrendously anxious and wiping my moist palms on the Armani fabric that’s slipped over my vibrating knees. I felt as if I were in the principal’s office, awaiting my parents to hear the news of my troubles. I’m a lawyer, I should be better at hiding nervousness with my trained stone face and relaxed demeanor. I just couldn’t. I was caught, I know it!

With the pressing eyes of the prosecutor, I knew she was certain of any damning evidence she had against me. What was I supposed to do? The already blood-soaked knife he so willingly pressed against my throat was enough for anyone to oblige to his commands, but I was doomed from the very start. I shouldn’t have taken that shortcut down a well-known terrible neighborhood. I shouldn’t have curiously glimpsed down that dark alley where the street light reflection of the mid-air knife caught my attention.

I had already doomed myself with being a celebrity attorney, plastering my name, my face, my family all over TV ads and billboards. The instant he glimpsed my face from my driver side window, I became a prize buck for an expert hunter.

“Hey, I know you! You’re that big time lawyer I seen on them park benches! Oh, just my lucky day! We gon eat good tuhday!”

I felt his breath and saliva spray behind my ear as he dragged me from my (painstakingly obvious) luxury sedan and into the unbiased street light above. While doing so, someone spotted his murderous creation in the alley way, screamed, and forced his ragged face to turn. He mistakenly revealed himself to the witness who captured his mug on a camera phone just before running.

A bundle of profane, racial slurs slipped over his tongue as he tightened his forearm around my neck. A midst his panic, his brain must’ve been scrambling to come up with an idea before he finally realized he had struck gold just minutes prior.

“You know, law man, I’ve seen them purdy pictures of ya family. You sure are proud, ain’tcha? Be a shame if sum’in were to happ’n to ’em! I bet dat li’l boy uh yours really looks up to ya. I might just go and string ’em up in a car wash som’ers and watch all the blood run to his head. See how much he bleeds then when I slice open his kidneys.”

After heavy tears and an abundance of pleading, I agreed to be his attorney in his murder trial. I couldn’t care less if my career went to shambles or if he had killed me that very night. There was no way in hell I would let him touch my family.

He let me drive off as the familiar police lights flashed in the distance. I looked back as I sped away, watching him lick  the crimson from the steel blade while pointing at me with his sharp index finger.

The months leading up to sitting in the Judge’s chambers had been far too easy. Everything was falling into place and it looked like the odds were in this murderer’s favor. The guilt was starting to seep through my pores and I would soon become just as much of a monster as he. I couldn’t let him kill them, but I was going to be the reason he would kill again. How would I know that he wouldn’t go after my family? I didn’t, but I couldn’t risk it.

The witness wasn’t anywhere to be found and the condemning photo hadn’t turned up. No matter how many stones I un-turned, doors I knocked on, or papers I’ve flipped through.

“Your Honor, new evidence has surfaced and we have reason to believe that the defendant’s counselor was there the night of the murder.”

Her eyes were dark as coal as a slight grin crept it’s way to a corner of her lacquered lips. My nemesis was out for me and this was her moment. I could tell she wanted to gloat. She wanted that cape of hers to flap in the wind as she stood, proudly righteous.

She handed the nicotine yellow folder to the tired hands of Judge Calhoun. When he opened it, he immediately furrowed his brows.

“Counselor Hammond, is this your license plate?”

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little fun one. The vision I had was of the nervous guy in a suit, sitting in a courtroom. I thought it would be a little more fun to play it out as an attorney, rather than someone on trial.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Tea or Lemonade?

Since the Haunt season is finally over and I have a social life (writer’s lie), I am trying to get my writing juices flowing. I challenged myself today, to come up with a short story within my hour lunch break. I wrote the following in 40 minutes. Although, I could elaborate a whole lot more, I decided to keep it short. I haven’t edited it, so here you go:

The deceitful breeze poured through the hollow, metal pipes that chimed as it greeted them. Beads of sweat trickled down the back of my dampened hair as the same humid wind kissed my already baked skin. I released a tiresome sigh as I squeezed the freshly cut lemon over my cupped hand, allowing the pulp to rest in my fingers.

 

My bulging belly was an obstacle while leaning over the porcelain sink, but I was happy. I was happy and swollen with pregnancy and love. Now, I’m covered in lemon juice and sugar for the sake of the men weeding my garden behind the back porch. I wasn’t allowed to strain myself for the tomatoes and bell peppers, but I insisted on allowing me to make lemonade and tea. Gratefully.

 

I stirred the tall glass pitcher filled with yellow deliciousness and rattled off to a daydream with the rhythm of the wooden spoon. A day dream that I had often, reflecting upon my husband. I watched as his arms glistened and tighten as he pulled the straggly weeds from the dark, damp, coffee ground earth. Just as they had the evening of our wedding day. I imagined running my fingertips over his flexing biceps and feeling the most loved I had ever felt.

 

I run my hand over my incubated child and wondered at which point had he been conceived. Our life was filled with so much passion in our first few months as newlyweds, I couldn’t count. I ran my hand on the cold countertop and remembered our romantic nights spent cooking (more than just supper).

 

“Honey, are ya almost done with them cool dranks?”

 

I snapped from my haze and called out the kitchen window, “Sorry, darlin’! I’m just waitin on the tea to boil!”

 

Oh, the tea. I glanced over at the boiling kettle and anticipated it to whistle. I slowly poured the steaming liquid into the plastic pitcher and over the already measured grains of snowy white sugar. As if floating in a hot spring, the tea bags bounced in the current and melted away their bitter sorrows. I again, returned to the window, pretending to hopefully be captured by another breeze, intending to absorb the magnificent body of my husband’s older brother (who also was seen catching a peek).

 

Biting my lip, I find myself in another flashback while admirably studying his wide, muscular shoulders and the shadow of his beard. His hazel eyes staring deeply into mine as my legs rested against them and my fingers entwined with a hay bale. Surprising cold chills resurfaced from memory and I could feel his breath against my chest while my mind recited his profession of love. My presently swollen feet curled my toes against the hardwood and I stirred the tea quietly, feeling overjoyed with so much love. How could a girl be so lucky? How could my heart feel so much for two people?

 

Both loves feel incredibly different, but incredibly intense in their own unique way. Growing up, I thought love was just a word, something you feel for certain people. There were no dimensions, no differentiating levels other than family, friends, spouse. Why did it have to be segregated? Why was this rule in place that I could only have just one?

 

I pulled the clear, thin, drinking glasses from the cupboard, swirling my heart through my interrogative mind. I basked in the cool breath of the icebox, selecting cubes and allowing one to sizzle against my skin.

 

One glass of lemonade for my hardworking, ever-loving, beautiful husband. One glass of sweet tea for my magnificent, protective, lover. And a glass of half tea, half lemonade for me. Why couldn’t I have both?  A dilemma no less, but I am happy, fat, and in love.

It may not be the best, but it definitely peaks an interest into the rest of the story.

Happy reading!

XX