Slaughter

“I’m going to carve 100 pumpkins,” Laura said.

My daughter held up a rusty steak knife and lightning flashed behind her. Thunder rolled across the heavens and all thoughts save two were blown from my mind on a Halloween breeze:

  1. Where the heck was I going to get 100 pumpkins?
  2. When did my daughter get that steak knife?

“Darling,” I said, “that’s a lot of pumpkins. You’re seven. Last year we did two and we both needed to have a nap.”

Laura wielded the knife like an ancient Viking warrior. “I must have pumpkins, Daddy.”

“Great, I’ll bring the car around.”

My little princess sheathed her rusty sword in a little scabbard she had made herself from one of those felt sheets that were foam instead of felt, so a foam sheet thing from the craft store and I made quick calculations on both of our tetanus shots. She was unconcerned. I decided to roll with it. We had had a tough year and if pumpkin slaughter would make us feel better, why not?

Out of the car as soon as it stopped, she drew her steak knife and charged the patch. I handed my credit card to a surprised teen with bright blue hair and an apron that said, ‘Happy Acres.’ I should have known she would eventually go on a berserker rage. It was in her blood. I had once tried to cut down a tree with a butter knife while in a similar mood. I texted Carrie, my wife, a picture of our daughter dragging pumpkins into a pile by their stems with the caption, ‘bonding.’

I waved at the teen and he brought me a jug of cider. I chugged it. Laura was now randomly stabbing the pumpkins. I sighed and approached the murder scene. Laura grinned up at me. She was dripping in pumpkin juice and had managed to get the top off of one of her unfortunate victims. I offered her the jug of apple cider.

She took the jug and handed me the knife. I stabbed a pumpkin. I know I should have taken the knife and been a responsible adult. I didn’t. I just stabbed the pumpkin again, forming a crude triangle eye. My daughter doused herself in apple cider and let out a war cry. Another rusted piece of cutlery appeared in her hands, a spoon this time, and she attacked the guts of a scalped pumpkin.

Her wide gray eyes were bright with excitement, joy, and an eensy bit of crazy. I called the teen over as my little Viking carved her first pumpkin by caving its head in. “We’re going to need more cider,” I told him.

“And donuts,” she said as she bit into a pumpkin, growling.

God, I live for Halloween.

End.

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The Apple Thief’s Friend

The deer was not majestic.

Behind the chain link fence, the deer had his tongue out in a blep. He was scrawny and undignified. Lane eyeballed him and he stuck his tongue out at her before blinking. Lane, dressed in deer patterned leggings and an oversized sweater, held her white bucket tightly. It was loaded to the brim with gala apples.

“No,” she told him.

The deer tilted his head and licked the fence. Lane rolled her eyes at the deer. She pointed to the ‘no deer in the orchard sign.’ He was unimpressed and stomped a delicate hoofprint into the wet ground. Nose twitching, he tilted his head toward the gate.

Lane’s sister approached her with her own bucket brimming with Granny Smiths. “I’m going to make a pie and some turnovers before I let Mom turn the rest into apple butter or oooo jam! Whatcha doing?”

“Talking to this deer,” Lane told her sister.

Allison was in black leggings but her sweater was a smaller version of the one her sister wore. She did her hair in the same braids as Lane even though hers was cornsilk to Lane’s fawn-colored hair. They had the same green eyes but Allison was not one to talk to deer.

“Deer don’t have vocal cords,” she remarked.

It was just like Ally to be literal and factual and scientific. Lane ignored all of it and pointed to the deer who was still scrawny, still undignified, and still offering her an unobstructed view of his tongue. Lane huffed.

“He wants to get into the orchard,” Lane remarked as the deer bobbed his head as if in agreement. “I’ve told him deer aren’t allowed by indicating the sign.”

“Deer can’t read,” Allison countered.

“It’s a pictogram,” Lane argued. “See,” Lane said to the deer as she pointed to the cartoon version on the sign, “This is you, and this is no. Savvy?”

The deer stared. Blinked twice.

Allison shook her head. “I’m going to get some Winesaps too. You coming?”

“In a minute, I’m in the middle of something here,” Lane said.

Allison bounded away with her bucket of apples. Lane stared at the deer. The deer stared back.

“I’m not letting you in,” she told him.

He blepped.

“Seriously, you can’t come into the orchard, it’s not allowed,” Lane insisted.

The deer’s eyes went from hers to the gate and back again.

“No.”

The deer’s eyes went from hers to the gate and back again.

“No, stop.”

The deer’s eyes went from hers to the gate, paused, he pawed the ground, and looked back again.

Lane looked to the heavens. When she looked back, the deer was still there. The deer was still staring. He was still poking his tongue out at her adorably with his scrawny undignified person. Lane opened the gate, stepping back out of his way. He bowed.

“Yeah, you’re welcome. If anyone asks, I was never here.”

The deer slipped into the orchard and disappeared into the trees.

The End.

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Benny Tells Lies

“I met Michael Jackson before he died,” Benny said, embellishing the story. He had seen the King of Pop on a corner and waved at him. “He was super nice and let me listen to his new song. He did the moonwalk for me and they interviewed me for a national paper. It was cool.”

Maya nodded. “Cool,” she remarked.

Benny sighed. Nothing he said ever impressed Maya and he so wanted to impress her. She was gorgeous with her rich russet skin and large grass green eyes. Her hair was in long braids down her back and she had dressed conservatively today in a harvest gold dress with a floral print. Her expression wasn’t pretty, however. She looked irritated. He had no idea why. He’d tried telling her about his stint with Nirvana in the 90s and she hadn’t even acknowledged him. Sure Kurt hadn’t let him play guitar on stage, but he had done a soundcheck once when the sound guy was in the john. He had regaled her with tale after embellished tale making himself seem whimsical, intelligent, caring, and just plain amazing. Still, she never fell into his arms. She never loved him.

“Why don’t you like me, Maya?”

“Ben,” Maya said, her tone saying she was annoyed and about to disappear back to her desk. She was only talking to him now because the coffee hadn’t finished brewing and Maya loved her coffee. Benny knew that and had taken the last of the coffee, so she would get one from the fresh pot and maybe stick around and talk to him for a moment. “You’re full of garbage. You haven’t told me one true thing in the five years we’ve known each other.”

“That is so-I always tell you the truth,” Benny argued. Well, he did tell her kernels of truth. He just liked to add icing on top to make them better and more impressive so she would be impressed.

Maya rolled her eyes. “Tell me one true thing right now. No lies, no embellishments. Just pure, unadulterated truth.”

Benny frowned. “I always tell you the truth.”

She poured herself a cup of coffee before it was done percolating. Benny stood there listening as the coffee awkwardly pinged against the bottom of the maker. Coffee was spreading from the base to the table as she poured. She eyed him the entire time, daring him to call her out for making the mess.

“Admit you took the last of the coffee so you could terrorize me with one of your garbage stories, and maybe I’ll thinking about downgrading my hatred of you, to a rich dislike.” Maya dared him as she reached for the creamer. She had to reach past him because he had moved it farther away so she would have to reach past him. He had put new cologne on. He was convinced if she got a proper whiff of it, she would like it, and in return him. She leaned back and sneezed.

Benny worried the cozy on his paper cup. “I knew you wouldn’t want to drink the dregs.”

“Hm,” Maya said. He was blocking her way out of the room. “But you didn’t start the new pot. You waited for me to start the new pot. Yeah, think I’m going to stick to a deep-seated hatred of you if it’s all the same.”

“No Maya,” Benny protested. “Come on! I like you. Why won’t you give me a chance?”

“Because you tell lies, Benny,” Maya answered. “You tell lies and you make my life more complicated and annoying just to tell me these stupid lies. You never stood a chance, Ben.”

“But-but,” Benny sputtered. “I once saw Death eating a fudge pop!” he blurted.

“Eat a fudge pop, Benny,” Maya said in a nasty tone. “Talk to me again and I’ll call HR.”

“But that wasn’t a lie! Maya! That was true! I did! A woman had a heart attack at an ice cream truck and he took her fudge pop!” Benny chased after Maya.

Maya went to HR. Benny was outside holding his box of supplies by the end of the day. That night found him sitting on the Trenton Bridge looking down at the murky, polluted waters. A man in a black tracksuit walked up to him.

“Hey,” Benny called out to the stranger. “Do you like hoagies?”

“Sure,” the man in the tracksuit replied, slowing to a stop. “Why? Do you have one? I gotta tell you, I haven’t had a single thing to eat in forever. I can barely remember what it was…”

“No, well, I don’t have one on me. I was just going to say, I invented them. So, you can thank me for that,” Benny said, trying to perfect his breezy tone. There was something unsettling about the man in front of him. He had a shock of brown hair, nice features for a guy but his skin was a sick milk color. “I mean, you don’t have to thank me…”

The man leaned against the bridge’s rail and eyed Benny up and down. “Hoagie inventor, huh? Worked at the naval yard then…? Or are you just lying, Benny?”

“I-I no, I did work at there and it was after this guy Hogan, Irish guy and we…” he trailed off as the man stared.

His expression was a mixture of disappointment and disgust. “Seriously, Benny?”

“What-?”

“You want your last conversation ever to be about some urban myth about how hoagies got their name? Ugh, why do I even bother!” the man rolled his eyes and snapped his fingers, “Oh wow! I remember now. The last thing I ate and it was years ago now, was a fudge pop!”

End.

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Review: The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath by Ishbelle Bee

MirrorGoliath-144dpi

FROM THE BACK COVER:

1888. A little girl called Mirror and her shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds. Mirror does not know what she is, but she knows she is no longer human.

John Loveheart, meanwhile, was not born wicked. But after the sinister death of his parents, he was taken by Mr. Fingers, the demon lord of the underworld. Some say he is mad. John would be inclined to agree.

Now Mr Fingers is determined to find the little girl called Mirror, whose flesh he intends to eat, and whose soul is the key to his eternal reign. And John Loveheart has been called by his otherworldly father to help him track Mirror down…

In this disturbing fairy-tale for adults, a little girl called Mirror is being chased by a demon called Mr. Fingers. Mr. Fingers is determined to eat her and use her powers to solidify his reign on the Underworld. The only thing between the girl and certain death is a shape-shifter called Goliath Honeyflower.

Set in Victorian England, this book is full of dark characters in darker situations doing terrible things under the guise of being upright citizens. A clockmaker, well sought after, fills his clocks with the souls of children. A boy named Loveheart is taken to the underworld and driven mad. Even the heroine, Mirror, is more than she appears after having been stuffed in a ladybird clock by her grandfather.

There is such a bright and beautiful level of madness in this story. The way the pages are laid out with text that grows and swirls around the page adds to the lovely level of crazy. Our heroes are insane. Our villains are also insane and in the middle is a little girl who isn’t human any more just trying to escape back to Egypt.

I think this is the closest you could come to going mad safely. It has the same feeling as falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland but the level of madness is higher, more dangerous and definitely bloodier. The world is well built and easy to slip into. Scents, colors and typography are used to make it into a full body experience.

You are drawn into the world from the first page. Each chapter choses a character’s head to be trapped inside, making you feel closely related to all the characters. Loveheart is more the protagonist than Mirror and he quickly became my favorite character with his flamboyant outfits and black eyes. But Mirror holds her own, aging rapidly to meet the dangers that surround her. And Mr. Fingers is the stuff of nightmares.

For me this was a perfect read. I zipped through the book, caught up in the insane imagery and unusual word choices. It feels very visceral, using all the senses to keep you engaged. If this were a painting you could stare at it for days, the layers would be thick and full of hidden gems.

I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of Lewis Carroll and don’t mind squelchy bloody, gruesome bits in your fairy tales. I would give it five out of five stars. The only thing I can complain about is that it isn’t longer. This story features epic world building with well developed characters.

I am looking forward to reading more from Ishbelle Bee in the future and can’t recommend her enough.

Her website is : http://ishbellebee.com/

On the Downeaster Alexa…

I haven’t written in awhile. Sorry. I’m in a precarious position where I am flat broke and scrambling. I have to take odd jobs and take on projects and fix pools. I’ve painted houses, made cards for special occasions and for about 4 weeks I worked at a greenhouse. Then they let me go…

It was mental torture. The pay sucked and basically I hated it. But I went out of my way to be pleasant (was told I was rude,) worked my ass off (and kept getting looks like I wasn’t) and basically tried to be a model citizen. There was no sound in the greenhouse. Sometimes the fans kicked on and the silence was relieved for seconds at a time but honestly it was like being in a sensory deprivation tank. And I couldn’t find my MP3 Player.

I did however, remember all the words to ‘Downester Alexa.’  The song is sad and haunting and all about what it’s like when you’re an obsolete human being. He’s a fisherman in a land of no fish and he can’t do anything but what he knows; fishing. So I spent 4 weeks alone, with no sound, working my ass off and singing a song about loneliness. Ha, if anyone had worked with me, seen me or even heard me that might have been cause to get rid of me. Person A – “Tell her to stop singing that song, it’s sad.” Person B – “Let’s just fire her…” But nope. I saw someone at the beginning of the day and at the end..or if I saw the bosses they gave me looks as if I’d peed in their breakfast cereal. It was rough and frankly a relief to be fired.

On the writing side of things, after being fired, I edited 100 pages of my story ‘Life with Amy’ and only have about 20 pages left until I force one of my friends to read the whole damned thing and tell me if it sucks. Maybe I’ll write a story about a greenhouse employee that kills everyone next, as a way of putting my job in perspective… I know I will be spotty on here until I get regular employ. I should be working on a commission right now (3 gods on a field of blue in acrylics–) but I needed to update my playlist to include ‘Downester Alexa’ to remind me that I cannot work in a vacuum.

Feel free to comment with stories of crap jobs you’ve worked. I love being sympathetic and empathetic.

 

Chapter 1 Slowly Plugging Along…And Randomness

The writing continues…oh…so…slowly. The dialogue is fun and very silly. I still need to add some background stuff and flesh out the sites and sounds but it is happening. It might take an all day marathon of Matt Smith tomorrow to brush up on the banter but I think I can suffer through that. It did lead me to web searching a few little gems of the old show and some of those wonderful webisodes Moffat likes so much. It’s all research I tells ya. I also bought another Doctor Who Book to read (more research,) new Wii cables (Inky the Guinea Pig ate the old ones,) and a Jackson Pearce novel because she is brilliant.

Jackson Pearce is  also wonderfully friendly and responds to tweets directed at her, near her or around her. I’ve talked to her about things like: Sleepy Hollow the TV show and whether or not Abby and Crane will end up together and Amazon mix ups. It reminds me that I want to be as accessible to my readers when I am as published as she is. She also does clever videos online. I hate the sound of my voice so…maybe, maybe not. Ok, tangent over. But there was a point. Ohe yes there was: follow me on Twitter… @1fuzzymonster — I will respond to you because I have nothing better to do with my time. (That’s a lie. I am very busy making ebook covers on fiverr and searching for gainful employ. Hire me and I will work for money. But I watch General Hospital every day and I check Twitter when Sonny Corinthos is on. Sorry Maurice Bernard, you are amazing but your character is so….1993.)

This week I have promised myself to get back on the writing horse. I have an unfinished short story. I have at least 3 novels in need of rewrites and edits and my Doctor Who Book. I also apparently made some money in royalties from Amazon for some books I self published. Unfortunately I can’t remember what email address I used. Go to work that one out this week. I was thinking of adding more to that… If you want to read a good one I wrote with Drew Pepin, check out Circles. It’s only 99 cents and it’s not that long…It’s also super violent. Ha, I am usually less gory and more silly/supernatural but this was a great collaboration with a great writer and friend.

I will hopefully hit you guys back later in the week with some good news on the job front, the freelance writing front and on whether or not a person can go mad watching the same few seasons of Doctor Who over and over again (ask my BF and he’ll say, ‘yes.’)

Feel free to hit me up about writing in the comments. Also if you have a self published book and you want me to interview you for this super random blog of mine, drop me a line. I love to pick other writers’ brains. Mmm brains.

It is Begun….

Outline is finished! 

After my lovely interview with the incredibly talented and congenial Charlie Daye, I thought I might kick my own ass into gear. So I actually sat down a few days ago and worked out what was wrong with my outline: Predictable. So I added some more conflict and changed out who the baddies are and bam, completed outline.

Today is the important one though, because I have actually written the opening gambit of my novel. I have a working title (it is terrible) and an opening gambit (which is passable so far…) and I am super excited to get to the part with the Doctor. He is, after all, the fun part. I’m very excited. Of course this means my Writer’s Block is also very excited. My Writer’s Block likes to get into my head and stop me from writing by making me worry about unrelated things. Currently it is busy worrying about an uncompleted (and maybe impossible) art project I have due for tomorrow. It’s making me mental. But I’m going to keep on being proud of my opening gambit and try to focus on being excited.

My step plan is working in so far as I have done the first couple steps:

1. Come up with an idea(s)
2. Add some subplots
3. Complete Outine

Next is: Write 3 Chapters. 

Wish me luck… In the meantime maybe I’ll haunt some other authors and get the lowdown on how they do it. Stay tuned all.