Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Side Show

This is another Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge. I highly recommend you check out the picture that was given as the prompt this week. I have other ideas and just may write a couple more stories based on this one. For now, enjoy this...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Great God Pan

Today I am doing a book review of a classic tale of horror titled, "The Great God Pan" by Arthur Machen. It was a book I had been meaning to read for many years and finally got around to it, and I am thankful that I did.

The tale is set in England and shows Dr. Raymond proceeding with an experiment on a young woman, Mary, in order for her to see the great god Pan. His experiment both succeeds and fails as Mary is able to see Pan, but is left in a deep psychosis from which she never comes out of. There is a businessman, Mr. Clarke, who is present for the surgery, and we see him later reading from a manuscript. There are two stories related, that give the impression that something supernatural is occurring. Mr. Clarke finds out about a man frightened to death. A friend visits the place of death and has his own experience. He shows Mr. Clarke the picture of a woman who looks like Mary, the young lady from the experiment years earlier.

A series of suicides follow in which the connection is made to the woman in the photograph and the experiment. The woman is known to have many different names and in the end turns out to be the daughter of Mary. She is deduced to be the offspring of Mary and Pan.

This story is full of suspense and terror. The way he builds up a scene and leaves you to your own imagination is masterful. The visual elements in the book are also successful in leading you from the wondrous meadows that Helen traverses to the seedy, dirty back streets of London. The fear can be felt through the words and reactions of the different characters.

A classic tale and one that has withstood the test of time, "The Great God Pan" has claimed a special place on my bookshelf and will no doubt be a source of many nights spent wondering about Pan himself. A muse, maybe. Horror at its best - definitely.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Baby Pulp

Think film noir, with babies... And, once again, thank Chuck Wendig for this challenge.

Can't Kick the Habit

The pacifier lay between the two of them. Guns pointed under the table, sweat rolled down their fat little heads. Neither of them dared to move as the customers in the restaurant took no notice. The fedoras perched atop their heads, along with sharp 3-piece suits, gave the impression of business as usual.

A waitress came over and sat down their bottles too hard. One of them tipped over. She pretended not to notice and walked away.

The warm milk dripped steadily out of the nipple, pooling beneath it. Baby Hugo could see his nemesis flinch slightly. He wouldn’t be able to hold on much longer and Hugo knew it. If anything was true about Baby Vince it was that his one weakness was the bottle. This was a wide-known fact. Hugo had kicked the habit recently after many failed attempts. He could hold out all day if he needed to. Vince did not know this.

Plump hands still holding the guns in place, they each waited for the other to move.

The milk started to ooze toward Baby Vince’s side of the table. A bead of sweat rolled down his forehead and onto his nose tickling him. Even though he wanted the milk badly, he still did not move.

Vince’s mouth was so dry, his tongue stuck to his toothless gums. He would be all right once he got his fix. That was all he needed.

When the milk reached the edge of the table in front of him, Vince felt a warm sensation spread over the front of his shirt. It drove him crazy, the smell and temperature of the liquid gold. He started to tremble, the gun moving unsteadily in his hand. He was losing it.

Baby Hugo watched the scene play out in front of him. The finger on the trigger squeezed slightly to get ready for action.

All at once Vince’s hand flew up and in one swift move grabbed the milk and shoved it in his mouth. Nearby a champagne bottle popped. The gun fired and Vince fell forward on the table.

Hugo picked up the pacifier and put it in his mouth , satisfied.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another Flash Fiction post

Here's another Flash Fiction Challenge from Chuck Wendig's blog at his Terrible Minds website. I have been having so much fun with this little side project! Regular blog posts will have to be peppered in sometime. :) Enjoy!


The following is an excerpt from an interview with a local man by the name of Mr. Sam Homer. It is dated August 15,2006. The purpose of this interview was to gain historical information about the town of Murrayville, TN for a non-fiction manuscript. Mr. Homer passed away shortly after this interview at 76 years old. In this part of the interview I had asked him about the old hotel that stands on the outskirts of town. What he told me is as follows.

“Back when I was a boy, still in high school, maybe I was 15 or so, there was this new fellow that came into town, a Mr. Donovan. He just drove in one day in a fancy new car. Had a lot of money, this one did, and didn’t mind to show it. I remember him walking into the soda shop wearing a pressed suit, not the kind you could get at JCPenney’s either. That’s the way he always dressed and his hair was always slicked back. He had long fingernails too. I remember that because I had never seen a man’s hands look like that before. He walked right up to the soda bar and told old Syd to go ahead and let all of us kids have a soda on him. Most of us were too happy to be getting a free drink to think on it much, but I knew there was something strange about that fella. He scared me, you see, with his showing up one day like he did and no one knowing anything about him. I couldn’t tell you where he was from. He didn’t talk about himself. He didn’t talk much at all. About the time he got here he started working on that old hotel. Now he did hire a couple of local guys, but he did most of the work himself. You wouldn’t think a man like that would ever get his hands dirty. No sir. There were lots of strange things about that one, though, I tell you. Sometimes us kids would walk down to see how much he had built and how much he had left on it. Every time he would be out there, still in a button-up shirt, sleeves rolled up past his elbows, sweat stains and all, just hammering away. He wouldn’t even notice we were there. It was like he was driven to build it, but by what I wouldn’t like to speculate.

A funny business to open up around these parts, a big, fancy hotel like that one. Why, there weren’t enough people coming in around here back then to need that place. We all thought he would grow tired of it and go back to where he came from, wherever that was, but he didn’t. He finished up that place and stayed there. The sign was always lit. Rooms were always open. Everything went on just like that until the next summer. A couple of counties away a couple went missing. No one made much of a fuss about it for long. They figured they had went and eloped. Their family stepped in and tried to do some investigating on their own when they didn’t come back. They found out that the man and woman had stayed at Donovan’s place. It didn’t really have a name, just that big sign over it that said Hotel. We all called it Donovan’s place.

Nobody could ever prove he killed those people, but that’s what was being said. If you thought he was strange before, heh, well now he was plumb crazy. He stayed in there all the time, even hired a woman to come clean it up regularly and she would bring him some groceries.

Later that fall another person went missing. A man. This is when it got interesting, you see. He had also stayed at Donovan’s place, but hadn’t been seen after. Then the cops got pretty suspicious. They searched the hotel once and then it was like they were satisfied. Never went back. I think he paid them cops off. People talked about it all low for awhile, just figuring he done it, he killed them somehow and covered it up.

Us kids were curious and got to talking about sneaking in that place, trying to find the bodies or something. You know how kids are – too dumb to know when to be scared. We all got together one night, must have been about 7 or 8 of us boys, and walked out there. It was a pretty good piece to get there, but we weren’t tired. Thought we were going to catch him red-handed. Be heroes and all.

We walked around the side of the building and saw a light coming out a window in the back. A couple of the boys climbed on each other’s shoulders to look in. It was him, Donovan. They said he was sitting in a room all by himself in his shorts and socks. He wasn’t watching tv, he was just sitting there with his head in his hands. I didn’t see him, but the boys said he didn’t look the same at all. His hair was messed up, and he hadn’t shaved. They said he looked filthy. We messed around and all the doors were locked. Somebody noticed a pair of shoes sitting out by a door in the back. They had mud caked all over them. There wasn’t anybody staying at that place then. No cars, no lights. People were avoiding that place since the story hit the newspaper last time.

The moon was so bright that night, I can remember. It was almost full. You could see real good with no help. One of the boys found some footprints going to a wooded area behind the place. Well, we all followed them. Crazy thing to do looking back on it. Never knew what we were gonna find.

The prints went back a good ways in. It looked like it had been traveled quite a bit, all stamped down. We were all getting real tired and were about to turn around since we had a long walk home when we saw something shiny. We went to see what it was and couldn’t believe what we found. Cars, not too many, but cars just sitting back in there. They weren’t all messed up, either, they were in good condition. Not too old, either. When we came up on them we could see there was something inside them. Looked like scarecrows all stuffed up real big, sitting up in the seats. They were dressed real nice in new clothes, and had been fixed to look like they were driving with their arms on the wheels and all. Like they were on a nice Sunday drive, is what they looked like. Some of the boys wanted to open up the doors and get a better look. All the windows was rolled up, you see. A couple of them were about to do just that when we saw a light coming towards us. We went back into the trees a little to hide real quick like. It was old Donovan. Same clothes on, and in those muddy shoes we saw. He looked like a crazy man back there with no shirt and his hair all this way and that, standing there in his underwear. Then I tell you he did the strangest thing. He walked right up to one of them cars, right up to the driver window and bent down to look in. He looked like he was smelling it or something. Then he jumped bolt upright and bent his head back, like he was looking for something up in the sky, and he howled. He howled like a dog, I tell you! Except it didn’t really sound like a dog, and it sure didn’t sound like no man,  more like a wolf baying at the moon, like in one of them late night movies. I’ll never forget that. A couple of the boys got real spooked and took off. I tell you when they ran, old Donovan snapped his head around to look right where we were at. The rest of us didn’t dare make a move. You know it could’ve been the moonlight or plain old fear playing with my head, but I swear when he looked at us, his eyes were different. They looked all big and yellow. I can remember how they were shining. Now I'm not one to believe in ghost stories and all of that nonsense, but that night made me believe in something.

Quick as a flash that man ran off in the direction he came from. I mean he was flying! The rest of us took off then. I know I didn’t stop running until I got home. It was right after this that old Donovan up and left town. One day he was here, the next he was gone. He left that place just as you see it today. They’ve never been able to sell that property. It’s cursed, is what I say.

Me and the boys would talk about what happened that night on occasion. As time went by the story got all blown up, like they tend to do. I can tell you I remember what happened, and I know what I saw, can’t forget it, but I’m not going to tell you what I think was ailing that man. You probably have some idea. My grandmother used to say, if you speak it's name, you give it power. All I know is he left, and I don’t want him showing back up. One of the boys said they went back to the woods a few years later and there weren’t no cars back there then. Eh, maybe they went, maybe they didn’t. One thing’s for sure, I’m not going back there. I think we got lucky we got out of there alive.

Now that old hotel still stands. They oughta knock it down. Ain’t nothing but bad blood in that place.”

Monday, March 7, 2011

Flash Fiction Challenge

Well, folks, this is my first Flash Fiction Challenge. Thank Chuck Wendig for having me come up with this little profanity saturated jewel.

I hope you enjoy! Don't say I didn't warn you. Mwahahhahhhha!

Running on E

If I had it to do all over again I never would have agreed to go to that fucking party. Hell, maybe I never would have been friends with J.D. at all. He gave me these piss poor directions, too. Way I figure it, he’s responsible for the whole damn thing. All right, I admit I should have looked at the gas gauge before I left, but isn’t a man allowed to make a mistake?? I mean, come on, anybody can do that! But do I deserve this? To die like an asshole in the middle of nowhere by this, this, this whatever-the-fuck-this-was?!!
Let me tell you how it all happened. J. D. told me Wednesday that there was going to be a party a few miles down the road and a bunch of hot ass girls were going to be there. I gave him some hell about how his idea of a hot ass girl and mine were probably real fucking far apart. After a bit of back and forth I finally said ok, only because he agreed to buy the beer. I didn’t have anything better to do, and if I got laid, well, hell yeah – bonus! At the very least I would get some free beer out of the deal. He gave me quick directions and we went back to work.
I didn’t give it much thought until Friday when J.D. reminded me about the party. I didn’t know why but I had a strange feeling about it. Now I’m not one to call psychics or have my palm read, however, I can look back on it and see that it was probably my intuition telling me not to go. I didn’t listen.
I left work and went straight home where I had my usual sandwich and a beer. These were tough times for me and I was lucky I still had a job, so that meant no cell phone and not much food. Sandwiches were pretty much my usual. Oh, and those little noodles in a packet. They’re cheap and if I’ve got some hot sauce they’re pretty satisfying. My beer budget had hit rock bottom also. I had resigned to buying the cheapest beer I could stomach. Just might take a few more to get a good buzz. Not too many of those lately.
I had sprawled out on the couch with the tv on and fell asleep. I woke up to the feeling of a cold, wet shirt. The beer I had been holding when I fell asleep had slipped out of my hands leaving quite a mess. After a quick shower, a game of smell-the-shirt to find one clean enough to pass for acceptable, and another beer, I was on my way. As I got in the car I still couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.  
Let me tell you about my car. My car is a piece o’ crap. It got me to and from work. If I hit a pothole hard enough it would probably fall to pieces. Adding in J.D.’s directions, which included an out of the way shortcut I had never heard of, and it all equaled to a recipe for disaster; not to mention the fact that the closest gas station was probably two miles down the road. In the face of mortal danger there are a surprising number of what if’s and should have’s that run through your head at break neck speed. I wonder if this was like the ‘life passing in front of your eyes’ thing. This could have been my personal version of it.
I had only walked about a hundred yards from my car when I needed to take a piss. It was dark and no traffic so I just stepped a few feet into the woods and started to take care of business. That’s when I heard the most horrifying sound.  A scream, I guess you could call it, mixed with a high-pitched whistle, and a grating metal sound, all in one. But what I saw was the kicker.

About 20 feet in front of me was some kind of creature. It looked like a spider and a crab snuck into that machine in the movie, “The Fly” but it didn’t quite make it through all the way. It stood at about 5 feet tall and had long, thin, barb-covered legs, too many to count, but the eyes – holy crap – the eyes covered its’ entire head. Each was a different size and none had eyelids. They protruded from it and all moved around, looking in every direction. There was one big pincher leg in the front which it seemed to kind of lean on. The mouth was the most horrendous feature. Shining in the moonlight was its’ enormous, irregular maw positioned on the front of the things’ head and lined completely with gigantic, triangular, razor-edged teeth that were layered in rows as far back as could be seen. A dark, stinking slime dripped out of its’ mouth and fell to the ground.
The scream that issued forth from it pierced the silence of the night. All of its’ legs twitched out of sync causing to seem as if it were advancing. It wasn’t. Yet.
Once it was finished with the noise, it slowly raised one of its’ long legs up in the air over its’ head like a dagger.
I was frozen in fear and disbelief. What the hell was this thing? There hadn’t even been something like this on one of those late night B-flick horror shows I watched as a kid. I knew at that moment I was going to die.
It paused for a moment with its’ leg poised to kill. Then it lunged. It made no sense that it could move that fast. The tip of its’ leg sliced diagonally through my chest and belly. I fell back.
Then it dragged me into the woods.
Funny thing is I felt nothing.
Until it started to chew.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pen and Paper vs. Computer

A cozy chair, a quiet room, a piece of chocolate and my pen and paper.

That's all I need for writing. In my dreams!!!

Switching to reality. Ah, here it is: the corner of a chair and wedged between toys, 3 minutes tops between random requests from the kids, NO chocolate, but yes, my pen and paper.

I still use a pen and paper. I admit it. This is how I've always been. There is some comfort for me to think of approaching this noble of crafts like many have done before me. Don't get me wrong I have a computer. A pretty nice one. I love it and use it frequently, but maybe I still write manually because it's partly superstition or partly because it's convenient for me. Both, probably. For one thing, I prefer to edit on a handwritten copy. But in all honesty it probably leans heavily toward superstition. I am a superstitious creature by nature and can remember being this way as a child. Old habits die hard, I guess. My poetry was always written on paper because I didn't want to go to the computer lab on campus unless I absolutely had to. Not the most comfortable of places. Definitely not a place to create. This was before laptops and not too many people had pc's in their dorm rooms at the time, me and my roommate included.

I suppose I will always find it comforting to write on paper. Recently I had the opportunity between cleaning up kid messes, changing diapers, and helping a 10 year old study for a Social Studies test to sit down at the computer and write. It was nice! And pretty damn fast. I could almost write as fast as I think (which is saying a lot). It was a short-lived privilege, so I retired back to my notebook where I am most familiar.

I'm curious - do you guys like to write with pen and paper, or are you more a modern tech junkie and prefer the computer?

Let me know, please. No rewards and no prizes to offer, but be satisfied knowing that you will be contributing to my curious little mind. *taps fingertips together with evil smile*

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On getting back to writing

Just write. Write all day. Write as much as you can. These are all phrases I have been seeing a lot lately. It seem I'm seeing it in blogs, articles, and websites... I'm taking it as a sign from the higher powers that be to get to it. I am passing along the message.

I remember being on my high school newspaper staff, and later also in college briefly. So young. Scared and nervous. In high school my first assignment was to interview the principle. Yikes! I laugh now, but then I was sweating bullets. I knew I liked to write, but I didn't know what I wanted to do with it.

When I was in college, at first I declared an undecided major, then quickly moved to English. One day in the English hall I saw something that changed everything. There was an ad on a mutli-colored, many papered cork board -  on you know what I'm talking about college people. It advertised a contest. I was early for class so I decided to check it out. Remembering back, I think it said something about submitting a poem for a chance to be published. I thought, why not! I had never tried this before. So I wrote my first poem that evening.

At the time I was living in a dorm, and there wasn't much to do on a weeknight when you're broke and single. Gathering up all necessities: my English lit book, a thesaurus, a yellow legal pad, a pen, and my trusty copy of Shakespeare's Sonnets (my favorite). I didn't make a big deal out of it, and after awhile I had hammered out a few poems as I watched the free Showtime channel they gave us on campus. David Duchovny's Red Shoe Diaries was always a staple. I chose to go with sonnets. I loved it! It made me feel like I had accomplished something, and turned out to be therapeutic. Showing it to my English teacher was nerve-wracking, but she told me it was good, so I sent it in. BAM! A few weeks later I received a letter informing me my poem would be published. There were a few more instances after this that resulted in my poems being published, but I took a break from school for various reasons and my poem writing went with my schoolwork.

I knew then that I wanted to try and write a novel someday, but I would always end up talking myself out of it. Many years have gone by and I write occasionally for myself only. Recently I met some great people on Twitter that have inspired me to start writing again. Now here I am writing my first novel. I can't believe I didn't do this before, but now seems to be the right time for me. How did you start writing? Did you do it when you were young and continue, or were you a late bloomer like myself? I am curious to see what responses I receive. I hope you enjoyed my first post, I know I enjoyed writing it. :)