#NaNoWriMo Update: Progress Thus Far #writing #amwriting

As of today, I am sitting at nearly 3,600 words. Not too bad as my minimum goal is 12,000 but still I am a bit behind. I’m not too worry as there will be days where I can double the daily word count and catch up.

I am writing while developing the story and character arcs. I really should have done this back in October but oh well.

Today I finally wrote the summary/blurb and posted it on my NaNo profile. I will share here:

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger’s Christmas follows Ginger Garner a young twenty-something who is running from her broken past in hope of finding a place where she truly belongs. The challenge is staying at one place long enough for people to get to know her as she has difficulties with trust and letting down her guard.
Brent Haywood a young widower with a ten year old daughter who is gradually losing her sight has been trying to pick up the pieces and start over in a small town in the Adironack Mountains. The last thing he wants is to fall in love again.
When Ginger comes to Trappsville, a small town in the mountains reeling from recent devastating floods, seemingly random incidents occur that would keep her stay longer than planned. As the residents begin to grow on her, fears and nightmares threaten to send Ginger running again.

#WEPFF #WEP The Harvest (#Poem #Poetry)

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*This is my entry for the Challenge above

 

The Harvest

 

Last week we took the ATV
Down the dirt road to survey the fields
Brimming with corn, wheat, and beans

Daddy said it was going to be the best harvest yet
We’ll finally be able to pay the past dues
And save the fledgling farm

Mother Nature
Oh how we tend to forget about her
At times

She has no mercy, she does not care
Man is nothing but a nuisance
An unnatural specimen in a natural world

Since that day of his joyous declaration
She ravaged the fields with a fury my Daddy never saw before
Ruthless, savage like a shark in a frenzy

This morning, I stayed inside but
I watched as Daddy soberly walked those same fields
His shoulders slumped, his head low

The best harvest turned out to be our worst,
And his final
God rest his soul

 

(Word Count: 142; NCCO)

*This was inspired in part by the recent destructive weather we’ve endured up here in North Dakota with September being the wettest on record, and the freak but historic snowstorm/blizzard on October 10-12 where two feet of (or more) snow blanketed the fields that have only been partially harvested. This may turn out to be one of the worst year for farmers in decades.

Never Forget: Looking Back (a 9/11 story)

September 11, 2001. 

The day that changed America.

I know it changed me, and my perspective on the duality of mankind (evil vs. good).

I’m finding it difficult to believe that it’s been eighteen years when it feels like it just happened.  Even now, certain images or sounds still evoke all those terrifying feelings and thoughts I had on that fateful day.

An airplane flying over my house.  A fireman on a street corner.  Any high rise structure.

It took me sixteen years to step back on a plane.  I have flown a few more times since; however I am still unable to shake the uneasiness that disaster can strike at any given moment.

In 2017, the events of 9/11 continued to haunt me so I decided to write a micro-story and eventually turned it into a video, The Bench. In a way, I did this to try and purge some of the feelings of intense sadness and of the anger over what we all had lost that day. I wrote this from a fireman’s perspective drawing upon a specific story I saw on one of the many 9/11 documentaries.

 

 

The actual photo that inspired my story:

(Someone took the iconic picture of a fireman sitting on the bench when he couldn’t find his wife anywhere)

Article detailing his story — Husband and Wife Survive World Trade Center on 9/11

Although his story had a happier ending, I wrote my story with the thought of so many others who’d lost their loved ones. And even worst, never to have their remains found.

 

My Story

 

9/11 had a profound effect on me. For several months afterward, I struggled with depression.

Perhaps in part it had to do with the fact I am from New York state. Born and raised upstate, my hometown was about five hours north of the Big Apple.  I’d spent time among those enormous high rises (yes, including the Twin Towers), roamed many of its streets, and walked along the boardwalks admiring great ships of war.

My husband and I had just relocated from New York to Raleigh, North Carolina in May of 2001.  I’d flew on an American Airline plane back to New York in July for my sister’s wedding.

On that day, a Tuesday, I was a teller working for RBC Centura in one of their branches near REX hospital (only a few short miles from the RDU airport).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annette, another teller, was there initially as we got ready to open the bank. But just before opening, she received a phone call that her grandmother was taken to the ER so she had to leave.

It was a few minutes before opening, Waller, the branch manager, got a call on his cell from his mother to turn on the news.  A plane had crashed into one of the Towers.  We quickly went back to the break room and turned on the small television and sure enough, we could see plumes of smoke rolling out of the North Tower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first thought was that a commercial plane had accidentally hit the Tower.

An accident. That’s all it was.

With that, we opened the bank for the day.

As there were no customers yet, I rushed back to the break room to continue following the breaking news when I witnessed the second plane hitting South Tower.

I’d felt like something had knocked the wind out of me as I found myself holding my breath unable to take another.

Oh my god…that was no accident.

When the third plane hit Pentagon less than 20 minutes later, I was thinking, my god, we’re under attack.

My heart was racing. I couldn’t help but wonder – where will they hit next?

Unbeknowst to me at the time, my brother, Rick, was working that very morning at the American Airlines Southeastern Reservation Center in Cary, NC.  He personally knew the coworker who took that agonizing call by one of the flight attendants (Betty Ong) from Flight 11 (the plane that hit the North Tower). But when the call initially came in (between 8 and 8:30am), no one (including him) except for the supervisors knew of the tragic events unfolding.  The coworker was told to keep the call discreet as not to spread panic through the center.  Unfortunately, no one was able to get help in time for her and the passengers of Flight 11.  Rick said that this coworker was so distraught, they had to resigned.

It was sometime before 10am when I began hearing that the FAA were grounding all flights. I also remember hearing that all planes were accounted for…all except for one. That one, Flight 93, crashed in Pennsylvania.

Throughout this whole first hour of being opened, not one single customer came to the branch.  The main phone did not ring. At. All.

I was still the only teller.  Annette was gone.  Remi, the part timer, wasn’t due in for another hour. Throughout this entire building there were only myself and the branch manager.

It felt so eerily strange.

Up to this point, I was feeling a little frantic and unnerved, but managed to keep myself together.

A little before 10am,  I decided to go back and check on the news for any new information and watched disbelievingly as the South Tower collapsed.

 

Oh. My. God. Did I just see an entire high rise crumble to the ground?  How was that even possible?

Less than 30 minutes later, North Tower fell.

There was a loud buzzing in my head as my mind tried to decipher all that had happened. This was such craziness! Who would do such horrific acts?

I was stunned.  I was afraid. Then I became angry.

Whoever was responsible, needed to pay for all those lives lost.

I was so livid, I really wanted to smash something.

Anything.

The phone rang.

It was my husband, Jay, who’s a teller at another bank across town. A former soldier who fought in Desert Storm in 1991, it was his calm voice that snapped me back from the edge I was about to fall from.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

I had to take several deep breaths before I could answer, “Yes.”

After all that had happened up to this point, the bank decided to keep their branches opened; but the rest of the day was a blur for me.  I don’t remember if Remi ever did come in.  I’m sure he did. I do remember the only two customers who came.  One of them took the drive-through, the former owner and CEO of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Everything felt so surreal.  I couldn’t tell if I was awake or asleep. I suppose I was in shock, but I can remember the utter relief I felt when we finally locked the doors, and seeing my husband waiting in the parking lot.

Thank god, I can finally get away from here!

For the next week or so, the skies over us were empty. Silent. The RDU airport nearby was practically barren of all life.  Rick was given nearly a week off before returning to the Reservation Center.

Our lives, everything, had changed forever.

Feeling secured in our country had only been an illusion.

Even today, I can’t help looking over my shoulder every once in a while for the next disaster to strike.

 

What about you? Where were you on September 11, 2001? How did that day change your life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nightingale #Poetry #Spoken #Poem

This short poem was written for a group on Facebook – WE PAW Bloggers

 

 

 

 

Nightingale

 

The nightingale weeps a lonely song

Its mournful tune filling the forest

Splintering every branch and bark

While shedding pieces of a broken heart

As beacon for its lost mate

#IWSG The Horror and Suspense of Life

This post is for IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group), and this month’s question: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

 

Right from the get-go, I’ve always been drawn to the darker sides of things. My first story I ever wrote (around eleven years old) was about a creepy house where a girl entered on a dare and discovered a decapitated head in a fridge.

Pretty morbid, eh?

So, I started with horror, then it became horror-paranormal to horror-apocalyptic, and now it’s mainly suspense.  Through these genres, the common theme always centered around death.

When my cousin (and best friend at the time) Darren passed away just before our fourteenth birthdays, I was hit with the stark reality that we were not invincible or immortal.  That even kids die.

Since then, I have experienced several other deaths of family members and friends.  Many of them died well before they were at the peak of their lives, or even able to realized their dreams.

This have always weighed heavily on me.

And showed up in pretty much whatever I wrote be it a short story or a poem.

A loss of some form. The darkness that’s constantly there.   .

I enjoy writing both horror and suspense mainly because it’s cathartic for my broken heart, and it’s my way of dealing with the pain.

What about you? What’s your favorite genre to write/read? Why? I love to know!

 

Animivorator #Flash #Fiction

Dark gray clouds hung heavy in the sky like a blanket of wispy fog partially covering the treeline in the distance.

Kurt’s day didn’t start off on a positive note as he trudged along the heavily cracked road.

“I’m so sorry Mr. Buxton, I’m unable to work today due to an aging car that I can’t fix because the wage you’re paying me royally sucks!” he muttered as his brown eyes pandered ahead of each step, hands deep inside the pockets of the long black coat, “of all days to break down, it had to be today.”

“What’s so special about today?”

Kurt jumped and swerved around to see where the voice came from.

There was an old man standing well off the side of the road nearly encased in shadows. His clothes were tattered, his salt n’ pepper hair oily and unkempt. Kurt noticed a strange looking box that he held in his gnarly hands.

“Excuse me, sir, are you alright?” Kurt asked as he stepped slowly to the man.

The elder’s pale face only partially visible save the eyes which were hidden under the lid of a baseball hat with its emblem long worn off.

“Sir?” Kurt now stood a mere yard from  him. The wooden parcel appeared very, very old. Its craftsmanship told Kurt it came from a time long since past. The box wasn’t perfectly squared. No, it held more of a rectangular shape which reminded him of a–coffin.

“What’s so special about today?” the man asked again. His croaky voice carried an unrecognizable accent.

An icy breeze swept over them. Kurt’s body shivered as he buried his hands deeper in the wool pockets.

“Um, I have a presentation to make,” Kurt let out a sigh of frustration as the breath came out in a wavy mist and drifted upwards briefly before dissipating.

“One you really do not want to make,” the man stated as he continued to stand still.

Kurt cocked his head at this strange person before replying, “You’re right, I don’t really give a damn about the presentation.”

“What if I could take away the misery you call your life and give you one with a true purpose?” the man’s tone was an eloquent one.

Kurt straightened as he considered the man’s offer. The breeze suddenly halted as if nature was holding its breath.

Shrugging, Kurt said, “Sure, whatever.”

The man’s lips curled upwards ever so slightly, “Care to see what’s inside?”

Kurt glanced to the peculiar box, “Okay.”

As he took a step forward, the wind let out a whistling moan which caused the hair on the back of his neck to stand up.

He paused.

“There is nothing to fear,” the voice crooned.

Kurt watched as the lid slowly rose releasing a familiar scent.

Cinnamon.

“Come a bit closer,” the smile on the man’s lips grew when Kurt took another step, “and behold your future.”

As Kurt stood over the box, the first thing he noticed was that there were movements inside.

Was there something alive in there?

Blinking, he peered even closer.

At first, he thought he was looking at a box full of the old-fashioned clothespins painted grayish-white. He then realized that the tops held faces.

“What the hell?”

His mouth dropped when he noticed that these “clothespins’ were all looking up at him. With their rapidly fluttering eyes.

Black. Soulless.

“My god, what kind of freak are you?” He stammered as he attempted to take a step back, but a sharp coldness cascaded through his body when he discovered he could not move.

His boots remained planted in the dirty snow, his eyes on the ghostly stick figures.

“What kind of sick game is this?” Spit spewed from his lips.

With a joker’s grin, the man let out a soft, menacing chuckle, “My dear sir, I assure you that this is no game,” the interior now completely exposed, “it is futile to resist. Give in, and fulfill your chosen purpose.”

The more Kurt tried to move his head, or even a leg, the louder the drumming grew in his chest. His face, red with sweat beads rolling down the sides, he opened his mouth and let out an anguished roar that only the trees heard.

Panting, Kurt closed his eyes, fighting back the hot tears, “wh-wh-who the hell are you?”

“The name is Reike,” the man pushed up on the hat’s lid revealing a taunt face that held eyes that were like coals, and a mark engraved in his forehead – of a full moon with an eye in its center.

“And your soul now belongs to me!”

Story written for the Mid-Week Flash Challenge

In the Seams of Being #Suspense

The breeze. Its touch on my skin is warm, the scent sweet and rich with pine and lavender.

The songs of robins, sparrows and blue jays fill my ears as they flutter from tree limb to tree limb.

I feel strange though. As if the world has shifted, unnaturally. There is nothing solid under my feet, but the smell of dirt is so close to my face.

If I really concentrate, I’d swear the earth’s under my back.

My nostrils detect another smell. One that’s metallic–like rusted iron. I’m trying to move my head but it will not budge. My body has become one solid leadening object that refuses my mental orders.

What is wrong with me? Why can’t I move?

The lids of my eyes are heavy as they slowly slide down. Soon, all I see is the blackness which is being accompanied by an iciness that goes straight to the bones.

The chirpings of the birds are fading. I feel a pull in that I want to fly away with them.

Oh please, don’t leave me!

Instead, my head feels like it’s sinking while spinning around and around like some child’s toy top. Like a slithering blanket, a deep chill spreads through my legs, and soon it’s creeping for my hips.

Flashes of images filter through my mind. Of faces and places, I can no longer name.

Just as the icy tendrils slid towards the sternum area, a loud snap rang through my head as my eyes sprang open.

A moaning wheeze escapes my mouth and it is at this moment I finally realize what is truly going on…

I’m dying.

Confusion fills my mind.

What happened to me? How did I get here?

Only to be answered with images of shining metal objects as I heard my skin ripping like a zipper followed by fire.

Through the billowing fog, I quickly become aware of the burning pain in my gut as my mouth fills with the thick salty liquid.

“I see you’re still hanging on,” a man’s voice whispers near my left ear.

Choking on my own blood, I’m trying to find this man. He has to be standing right beside me, but my eyes no longer see anything. It is as if I’m in a tiny room and someone has turned off the lights.

Something hits the ground disturbing the dirt just enough that I felt the movement under my left leg. Then I catch a whiff of him.

Rotten fish.

“No one will be looking for you,” I hear him say, “they all think you’ve gone on your retreat in the mountains!”

He guffawed as sounds of metal and wooden objects clinking together echoing over me, and another rumbling thud to the ground.

“Your boyfriend won’t miss you either!” I can hear the creaking of rubber soles, “he’s fishing with his Army buddies the next state over.” He lets out a sigh that tells me just how sick this man really is, “Yeah, it’s just you and I — soon to be just me. Ha!”

Suddenly, an awful stench washes over my face as I feel him pressing against my shoulder.

“You know the longer you hold on, the more painful it’ll be,” he pauses for a second, “but, I hope you do ‘cause I have special plans just for you!”

 

 

*End of Part One*

Urn #Poetry

There is a box
Mother keeps close
Next to her bed

Half of her heart
Now in ashes
Love of her life

If possible
I’d give her my
Splintered portion

Daddy, you were
Gone way too soon

An angel you
Keep watch o’er us

Amongst all the
Other souls who
Once filled our lives

Life may only
Be teardrops in
The pouring rain

But you’re the sun
Waiting to break
Thru the gray clouds

Tho I can’t see
I can feel your
Love shining down

And that alone
Will be enough
‘Till we meet on–

That golden shore

 

This poem is for my Daddy who passed much too soon

Omen #WEPFF

Dead birds
Circled the base of the oak tree
Like some morbid decorated rug

Frozen
Bodies, eyes as black as onyx
Like mini-devils in disguise

Dirtied
Snow lined the opalescent horizon
Like some smeared prismatic lense

Winter
My heart’s an icicle waiting to break
Like the diamond under a hammer

Like a message from some deep dungeon

I know what awaits me
-a box in shape of the reaper

*Author’s Note: This poem was written for the #WEPFF’s April Challenge (Click on image below).