(Un)Expectations #Writing #IWSG

This month’s question: Has your writing ever taken you by surprise?

 

When I penned my very first story at the age of eleven, I had no expectations on where writing would take me. What started out as a challenge ended up being a lifeline that I’ve used time and time again.

Writing took me on a journey to places I never dreamed I visit. Experiences I never thought I’d ever partake in. It enabled me to meet like-minded individuals from all over the world, from all walks of life.

Writing changed me.

In fact, I think it might have saved my life more times than I care to admit. Whether or not it kept me from insanity…well, that depends on who you ask!

Writing has been the one constant in my life while the rest has been full of chaos and changes.

I guess what I never expected when I wrote that fateful story all those years ago was how writing would change my life.

Something it’s still doing.

As I sit here at my desk, I see a future that holds more changes and yes, even heartaches. But knowing that I have my writing to hold on to as I travel through the possible dark path ahead, I believe I will be just fine.

 

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Isolation #microfiction

The cold, sinking, sickening feeling sweep through my body.

Again.

My palms, sweaty. The pounding in my chest is making me dizzy, breathless.

It’s that knowing that there are things you can’t control, or things you just don’t want to face or deal with yet…

Why can’t it all just go away? Why can’t I hide in that recess of my mind where everything’s sunny and happy? Where the responsibilities and burdens are not pressing down on me so that I’m unable to breathe or function?

Oh, how I long for the days of innocence! When the evils of this world haven’t touched me yet. When life was blissful, and I was so naïve.

Where has she gone? Will I ever find her again?

Do I want to?

Time keeps marching forward.  The world passing by as I sit here at the window, watching out.

The desire to interact long gone.

Here, where I sit, familiarity’s my friend, my comfort.

Out there?

Chaos.  Fear.

The unknown. The pain of the past.

My heart’s splintering as my mind. Torn between wanting to remain here, and stepping out there.

Freedom. Oh to be free.

The better question is–to be freed of what? 

 

 

 

 

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 – Part Two #Suspense

My body feels like it is being cupped by something cool but heavy with a sour musky scent. Did I fall asleep in the tub again? My head tips to one side but only for mere millimeters before it met resistance.

I can not see anything. Are my eyes still closed?

I order my right hand to rise up to touch my face, but it will not budge. It is stuck under something…it almost feels like either a thick pilty blanket, or dirt.

It is at this moment I realize how difficult it is to breathe. Something is sitting on top of my chest.

“Do not try to move,” the man’s back to my left ear, “it would be useless.”

A grunt emanates from my lips as I try to move my arms anyway. He’s right, it is useless. I try to force the eyelids to open, but it is like they are barred by something strong like steel.

My heart is pounding causing my chest to ache.

What is he doing to me? Why doesn’t he just kill me and get it over with?

Something metallic clunk heavily to the ground quite close to my head as I feel the breeze from it.

“Well, if you really must know,” more clinking and motion of some kind, “I just buried you in oh about three feet of clay, but left your head uncovered so you can still breathe.”

I hear him grunting with more clinking noises.

“I’m going to set up somewhere nearby, bring out some popcorn and watch the fun,” he let out a croaky laugh, “not so much for you I’m afraid.”

The crunching of rubber soles fill my ears as they tread over the ground quickly fading away until the only thing I hear is the sound of my shaky breathing.

I attempt to wiggle my body one more time to see if I could budge the dirt-filled cover on top of me, but a sharp, fiery pain shoots through my bowels causing me to cry out.

Gasping, I can feel the tears trickling down my face.

Damn! Damn! Why is he doing this?

The fire is burning so hot it feels like thousands of pins are ripping through my innards. My lungs are spasming as I try to gulp in air but just can’t get any. My head, spinning…spinning out of control.

Oh god, I’m not ready to die.

“Lexi.”

It came so faintly, I nearly did not hear my name being whispered.

“Lexi.”

That voice…why does it seems so familiar?

“I’m right here, Lex.”

For the first time, I finally am able to open my eyes. The scenery around me is different somehow. The tall pine trees now obscured by layers of mist. My eyes glance all around and zeroed in on a human form encased within the fog.

My mouth opens as I attempt to ask for its identity, but nothing would come. Just the shuddering wheezes.

“I am here. You are not alone, sis.”

My brows crinkle together as I ponder on the boy’s words. I’m the only child unless–no, that is not possible. Can’t be.

Jax?

The name forms a vivid image in my head of a boy with a shaggy blonde mop on his head and a face loaded with brown and red freckles. The green eyes mirrored my own.

You can’t be here. You’re dead.

To be continued…

Didn’t catch the beginning?  Here’s Part One.

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*

10 Films Based On Short Stories

Are all movies produced from screenplays only?

Nope.

Many have been inspired by novels. Think Harry Potter and Twilight. But, did you know that there are a large number inspired by short stories?

Here are a few just to give you an idea:

Sleepy Hollow – based on Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Birds – based on Daphne du Maurier’s story with the same name

Minority Report – based on Philip K. Dick’s story with the same name

I, Robot – inspired by a collection of short stories by Issac Asimov of the same name

Candyman – based on Clive Barker’s collection of stories in the Books of Blood

They Live – based on Ray Nelson’s Eight O’Clock In the Morning

Dark Water – based on Koji Suzuki’s Floating Water

Screamers – based on Philip K. Dick’s Second Variety

The Thing – based on John W. Campbell Jr.’s Who Goes There?

In my next post, how does a short story get selected to be a film?

#WEPFF Requisition (Science Fiction #Story)

Pixabay

*Author’s Note: This post will serve a dual purpose. One, to satisfy the word prompt for today’s Write28Days Challenge (Glory). Second, to participate in WEP’s February’s Story Challenge (theme: 28 Days). 

 

Requisition

 

Glory fingered a loose strand of black hair as her green eyes stared outwards. A warm breeze caressed her petite body as she sat on the wooden steps of the white porch. The air carried a mild scent of sweet honeysuckle which she slowly breathed in.

“Enjoying your final day?” Came a husky voice from behind.

She turned partially towards her housemate, an aging, thin man, sitting in the rocker, and nodded, “Yes.”

He leaned back as he took in the mountainous view spread before them.

“It’s a shame you couldn’t be granted another twenty-eight days here,” he said as his colorless eyes scanned the horizon’s deep purple and pink hues, “it makes no sense at all as to why they couldn’t allow you to remain here indefinitely.”

“You know that’s not how it works,” she muttered as her arms wrapped around her knees.

“Yes, but it is unfair, not to mention unjust,” the man tapped a finger on the chair’s armrest.

With a shrug, she replied, “I’m just grateful to have had this one last wish before it’s all over with. I mean, goodness, I had the chance to see all of my friends and family, to say my good-byes…even if none of it was real…it was nice.  Really nice.”

The man scowled as he nodded, “Yes…yes.”

“I know you try to understand, Jessup, and I appreciate it very much,” Glory said as she glanced down the expansive meadow where she could see the shadowy forms of buildings that made up her childhood town, “but you don’t have to stay any longer.”

Jessup let out a long exhale, “Yes, but it doesn’t feel right to leave you to -eh- to face your end.”

She smiled, “You are too thoughtful, but I will be okay.”

His eyes swept over her before he bowed his head, “As you wish,” and within seconds, his body dissipated into a thin cloud of mist.

Glory studied the empty chair for a moment before returning her attention to the sky. The streaks of purple and pink were quickly transitioning to layers of dark blue and black.  The usual nightly orbs obscured by a looming menace in the heavens where billowing sinister clouds barely concealed an enormous fiery mass barreling towards her.

A shiver ran through her body as she closed her eyes.

Will I feel any pain? She wondered as waves of heated air brushed over her.

The earth beneath her rumbled as the roar grew louder and louder until her body shuddered right off the porch, and on the rolling ground.

Crackling and sizzling filled her ears as she opened one eye to see where the fire was when she realized the sounds were coming from her skin.

Just as the burning grew unbearable, everything went dark.

*****

 

Bleep bleep bleeeeeeeep.

The blipping line on the monitor instantly became a steady line.

A tall man in a white jacket stood staring at the screen for several moments, the bushy brows burrowing which revealed the deep lines around his brown eyes.

“Dr. Cruz?” came a woman’s voice from the nearby console.

“I will never get used to this,” he said, “extinguishing lives all for what? Profit? So that our government can repay its debts?”

“No, it’s mankind’s next step in its evolutionary process. It has also helped science learn much about the human’s consciousness,” the same woman replied.

He bowed his head for a long moment, eyes closed as he pondered on her words. Then, he shook it.

“Those are just the Company’s taglines.  We are nothing more than an assembling line for repurposing human bodies for those who can afford them. For the few who want to extend their own selfish, futile lives.”

“Dr. Cruz,” the woman’s tone now stern, “I wish to remind you that everything said and done here are being carefully monitored.”

He clenched his jaw, “Time of conscious death, 23:02,” his fingers tapped hard on the blue-lighted tablet’s screen.

To his left, the woman in a white jacket turned to focus her attention on the various displays of electronic devices in front of her.

“Closing the file for collateral number 230645 aka Gloria Swann,” she said as she pressed on the glowing screen, “body already prepped and ready for shipment to recipient number 02A02,”

 

 

Sunday Story: Surrender

Deepwater Horizon – Neatorama

*Warning: has mild language.

 

Ben was resting in bed, perusing a Road & Track magazine, when the first blast shook his quarter.

Damn crane must have dropped another casing, he thought casually and went back to the article.

But, when the second blast reverberated through the rig, he knew something was wrong.

Deadly wrong.

As he pulled on his sneakers and life-jacket, an enormous explosion blew the heavy-duty door off its hinges like it was just a piece of cardboard; only it didn’t feel like cardboard when it smashed against his stocky body instantly knocking him unconscious.

Somewhere in the murkiness, a familiar voice floated to his ears.

“Do you love me?” It was Mia’s, his high school sweetheart. She leaned her petite body against the blue sports car.

He was bent over the 8-cylinder engine, his hands fingering the spark plugs, “Course I do,” he said.

Mia let out a chuckle, “Liar. You love your car way more than me. ‘Sides, my Daddy won’t let me marry you anyway.”

She let out a squeal which strangely morphed into a high pitch ringing.

“Warning,” echoed a female computerize voice, “proceed immediately to the lifeboats. This is not a drill.”

When Ben opened his eyes, at first he thought he’d gone blind but realized the lights were knocked out. Back up on his feet, he steadied his shaking body and assessed the situation.

The white strobe lights faintly flickered through the thick, black mass pouring into his sleeping area. His head throbbed as something warm trickled through his lips.

Blood.

He could feel the entire rig rattling and groaning as one word penetrated the deep fog within his mind.

Blowout.

“Oh, god,” he said.

When he stepped out in the dark corridor, the scent of burning oil nearly overwhelmed him as he bent over to gag and cough.

Got to get to the lifeboat.

The trek to topside was met with twisted steel and thick smoke. Twice he had to seek out a new direction. On his last attempt, the heat was so intense he could hear the soles of his sneakers sizzle with each step.

Sweat streamed down his smoke-grimed face as he quickened his pace up the warped metal stairway. Another voice wormed its way into his head. His father’s. They’d gone fishing at Pilot Pond that last time–just before the fatal heart attack.

“Son, every man needs to decide the kind of road he’ll travel. Whichever one you surrender to will rule you for the rest of your life.”

It was an odd conversation as Dad was never one for offering advice of any kind, it was as if he knew his time was nearly up. Ben hadn’t grasped what the elder meant…until now.

The closer he moved to the surface, the louder the roar and screams grew until he broke through, and entered hell.

Surrounded by towering flames and billowing black smokes. he sought out familiar shapes or bodies. Nothing appeared like it normally should only melting steel structures and burning debris falling from above creating blockades everywhere he turned.

Where’s the damn lifeboat?

His tearing cobalt eyes searched through the hellish scene for the section where a lifeboat should have been. He saw nothing.

As he stood near the edge of the platform, the realization that he’d been left behind coursed through his body as his eyes surveyed what lied below.

“Oh, sweet Mary!” He croaked.

The water was on fire.

Mia’s face filled his mind. Her mesmerizing chocolate eyes, the ones he always lost himself in.

“Why wouldn’t your daddy let you marry me?” He’d asked.

Those eyes narrowed and seemed sad, “He said you’re too much into the things of the world, and that you’d value them over me.”

“He’s wrong,” he replied.

“Liar,” she laughed softly, ” and you know it.”

Another explosion ripped through the rig as the heated blast slammed into his body, and sent him flying in the air. As he landed on the steel landing, he felt all the oxygen whooshed out of his lungs.

Was this how he was going to die? Here, on this fiery rig? In all of his twenty-four years, he’d never truly done anything worthwhile except work on that worthless piece of metal on wheels. His father was right, and so was Mia’s.

Ben wanted to change that.

Grunting loudly, he pulled himself up off the hot steel surface and looked out over the blazing sea.

And jumped.

 

 

*Inspired by the true events that took place on the Deepwater Horizon

 

The Birth Of a Writer: My Origin Story

 

*If you’re interested in joining the DIY MFA Book Club to take part in the weekly writing prompts, click here

 

My journey to becoming a writer began when I was about eleven years old. I was a girl, a loner, struggling with being an outsider due to my hearing disability and difficulties with  communication (I spoke funny and didn’t always hear what people said even though I wore hearing aids).  As a result, I spent a lot of time in imaginary worlds and with my imaginary friends. At times, however, this proved dangerous.

An example: A year or so earlier, I was in my basement where I had set up a line of chairs. I was pretending to be Wonder Woman, and wanted to see how far I could jump (or how many chairs I could clear). My imaginary friends kept edging me on, “More! More! Make it longer!” Of course, I didn’t want to look like a poor sport, I added a kiddie rocking chair at the end, and proceeded to jump.

Well, I didn’t make it. In fact, that rocking chair was my undoing as I landed on top of it, straddling it.

I think you get the idea.

I ended up in the ER that evening, and for the next two or three weeks, using the bathroom and stairs were challenging (not to mention, painful!) at best.

Let’s move forward to when I was about eleven years old. My best friend, Melanie (a feisty red-head who didn’t mind my weird lisp and pronunciations) challenged me and a few other classmates to see who could write the “scariest” story. So, I sat down and wrote about a girl who accepted a dare to enter a haunted house where she’d discovered a decapitated head in the fridge. I no longer remember if that girl managed to get out of the house so I’ll just leave it to my imagination. Anyway, what I can clearly remember was how they all reacted when they read my story.  One was totally grossed out by the details, others either squealed or shuttered. I’d loved every reaction.

I then realized that with writing, I could “act” out my imagination without harming myself (or anyone else!). But most of all, after writing that story I felt like I had found something I could be good at. Writing was something I could excel in and not be looked down on as “odd” or as the girl “who spoke funny.”

Writing also gave me that guilty pleasure of making people squirm.