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

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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*

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone #Poetry #SpokenWord

Now that I’ve declared I was a poet (much more so than just a fiction writer), I decided to really put myself out there.

By recording poetry as “spoken word.”

This was a huge thing for me as I absolutely HATE the sound of my own voice. This mainly stem from a history of speech problems due to my hearing impairment.  So, after listening to other poets’ recording their poems, not to mention some hard-core loving encouragement from Susan Richardson, I took that leap.

Quiet was my very first attempt.  This poem was actually inspired by having listened to so many of Avi Kaplan’s music:

 

Once was a poem I wrote years ago, but it’s a story I feel is still very relevant today:

 

I may do more in the near future.

You’re My Miracle #Poetry

*Author Note: If my husband could tell his story within the framework of a poem, this might be it. Everything you read is true.

Childhood, innocence
Taken by my father’s fists
Who snatched me away from Momma
Hopping state to state – slumming in trailer parks

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser
Echoed the themes of my whole life

Daddy didn’t care,
Momma, nonexistent
Step mom, drug user
Not one who gave a damn

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Then I met you on the college green,
You were that life-line I held on to
But those words refused to let me go–

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser
Don’t even bother – you’re unworthy

I believed them, oh I believed
Never telling you how I truly felt
Letting you go – my greatest regret
As I watched you walk away

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Continents and wars separated
Us until one day I learned
Someone’s stolen your heart

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Without a care in the world High Risk became my game
No one would even know if
I’d died in some god-forsaken desert

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Son of bitch, I survived
Like a cockroach I kept returning
Unwillingly, oh so what was the point?

They kept chanting–
No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Time blurred – broken dreams, heartaches
My constant reality as I wandered
The wasted land called Life

Perhaps there were some truth to the words–
No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

One day, out of the blue
An email by you asking–
“Do you still remember me?”

Battles I’ve fought but never one as great
as on that day when in my heart
I truly wanted to hope —

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Life was just as cruel to you
With your own battles
Losing your love, your sight

Do I remember you?

Oh, yes…

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser
Slowly fading, fading till only a whisper

Twenty years have since passed
I still hold you in my arms and
You hold my heart

You accepted me as I am
You loved me inspite of my
Brokenness

You saved a boy no one wanted
And instead of a loser
You made me the man I am today

You are my miracle

X Marks the Spot

Nearing the end of April, I find myself reading over the poems I’ve written for both NaPoWriMo and A to Z Challenge, and it kind of struck me how dark some of them sounded.

This must be me in some kind of funk (aka depression). The poem, Lonely, kind of nailed it on the head –

I sit at the window
And watch

As the world
Leaves me
Behind

This is exactly how I feel. Long story short, my hubby works long hours and travels out of state much of the time, and a son who’s busy with high school, sports, and hanging with his friends, so I am alone at home most of the time.

When I “retired” in 2015, I was looking forward to being home, and to be able to write without any time restraints. That same year we left the hectic city life that was Raleigh, NC and moved up to a farmstead just outside Grand Forks, it was just what I needed. I’d been battling anxiety which was steadily worsening and meds were not helping. With wide open spaces, I felt I was finally able to breathe.

Nearly four years later, anxiety is almost non-existent but depression is starting to take over my life. I mean, I am only in my 40s, and I feel I still have much to live for.

Everything that has happened to me, all the crap I went through, and the losses I’ve experienced, and they all come down to this—me, sitting at home, alone with just my laptop and nine cats.

I write, a lot. I interact with people via internet. But, I want more. I want to get back out into the world. I no longer want to hide and be left behind.

But, I am hampered with limitations of all kinds.

I don’t drive. There is public transportation but it’s limited to certain days and to certain places (none of where I’d love to go).

In the time I’ve lived here, I haven’t been able to establish any real friendships within the community (they tend to be quite “clicky” when it comes to “outsiders”).

Yet, with my hubby and son who practically can fend for themselves, I have no limit as to what I can do and where to go as far as time and availability. How do I narrow the chasm and break through to the other side?

As I sit here typing, there is a window next to the desk where I can watch birds pecking away on a pile of seeds my guys threw down weeks earlier, I am struck by how free they are to fly wherever they want yet they are limited. Limited by weather conditions and availability of food. These two determine where and when they fly. These limitations though do not seem to affect their attitude as they sing and flitter to and fro. Why? They take what they have in whatever condition things are and fly and sing anyway.

Yes, they have limitations but these do not stop them from being birds who still find ways to fly and sing to their little heart’s desire.

I want to do the same.

So, I will start with what I have and where I am at, and go from there. It’s time that I fly free regardless of my current limitations, and see where the sky leads me.

Scars #Poetry

We all have them
Seen, unseen
No one’s untouched

Life’s no one’s friend
Embattled
You will survive

Our bodies may
Be riddled
With crushing fears

Remember this,
You’re never
Alone, fight on

Embrace the scars
They are the
Light for the lost

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).