Stories

WP – Haunted

 

It was the shrieks in the night that I wanted to address first. I could live with the bloodstained walls, the ghostly figures standing behind my reflection in the mirror, and the lights continually flickering like it was a party, but I needed my sleep.

I went to the toy store and bought a cheap Ouija board, made of plastic and cardboard. It was pink, too, because that was the only model they had in stock, and the box featured pictures of teenage girls asking silly questions along the lines of, “Who has a crush on me?”

Later. I promised myself. If it worked with getting me a night of undisturbed rest, then maybe I could spend a few minutes indulging in secret questions about my personal life. I couldn’t imagine any demons being attracted to the ridiculously girly thing tucked under my arm, so I was probably safe in that regard.

Home was an Edwardian bungalow. I had loved it so much when I first saw it, I had ignored the warning signs: like the way the real estate agent had refused to be alone and kept looking over her shoulder. In retrospect, I should have realized something was up. But I was caught up in admiring the original woodwork and the rich color of the brick, and didn’t pay her any mind. I guess you could say that I was too busy geeking out.

The housing market crashed before the ink was dry on the paperwork, and now I was stuck. No money to move, and no one to buy. I was the owner of a bona fide haunted house.

It had been months since I’ve slept straight through the night, and there were dark circles under my eyes. If those ghosts managed to kill me, I vowed, I was going to haunt them to see how they liked it.

I set myself up on the kitchen table. I wasn’t sure if the Ouija board would work with only one person, but I couldn’t turn to anyone else for help. It seemed like everyone I divulged my circumstances to either insisted that I needed to see a psychiatrist, or wanted to worship the Devil in my basement. There were a surprising number of really disturbed people in my social circle, to the point that I decided that I needed to reevaluate my life choices.

Later, after I had slept on it.

I put my fingertips on the planchette and said in my most authoritative voice, “I command you to speak! Who are you?”

The lights dimmed and the fixture started to swing, but the planchette remained completely still. I had the feeling that the ghosts were laughing at me.

I snapped. “Fine, guys, whatever! The fact is, I’m stuck here and you aren’t going to get rid of me no matter what. Could you just cool it during the night so I can get some rest? I’m going crazy here!”

This time, everything went completely still, and even the usual bumps that continually sounded in the background were silent.

“Thank you!” I exclaimed, and this time the planchette began to move. It was a strange sensation, as if my hands were pushing it despite my efforts to keep them limp, and I watched it slowly pick out the letters:

S-O-R-R-Y

“It’s cool. You were probably just excited to talk to me, and wanted my attention. Right? You seem alright to me,” I said. I wondered if this was the beginning of a strange friendship with my ghostly roommates, but nothing else happened.

I kept asking questions for another half-hour, but got no other responses. I even, on a lark, asked if there was anyone who wanted to date me, but nothing. Sheesh.

I said goodbye, packed the board up, and went to bed. The next morning I woke up feeling better than I had in a long time, and all the usual hauntings picked right back up, including the ghastly image of a corpse glaring at me in the mirror as I brushed my teeth.

I could live with this.

Books

Stranger Things 3

I adore the first season of Stranger Things.

I wasn’t looking forward to season 3. WAY too much time had passed since season 2, and I had stopped watching Netflix entirely ever since they killed member reviews (I like to have an idea of what I’m getting myself into, especially when the kids are around (which is almost always)). But, as my husband and I were browsing through the new releases on our Nintendo Switch, we saw that a game had been based on season 3, and we asked ourselves, ‘When was that supposed to come out anyway?’

Apparently, July 4th, so we slogged our way through it. ‘Slogged’ is really the best word, since season 3 was terrible.

The general overview is that the characters were turned into bland props, all of the quirky nerdiness that made the show so appealing in the first season was gone entirely, and there was a heck of a lot more cussing all around in lieu of intelligent dialogue. Instead of existential Lovecraftian horror, the main focus was on everyone breaking up with each other for the sake of relationship drama. Gag me.

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My review, full of spoilers:

Continue reading “Stranger Things 3”

Stories

The Midnight Window

I recently came across this short story that I originally wrote in 2008. I liked it enough to use it as editing practice, and brought it up-to-date to my current skill level.


He was watching them again.

He found his nose pressed against the cold glass window, his eyes locked on the room beyond, unconsciously counting the rising and falling breaths of each dark lump snuggled warmly in the bed, and he had no memory of how he had gotten there. They were bigger. They always seemed bigger each time he huddled against the side of the house, watching them sleep. He wondered how many years it had been, then found it absurd that he would even still care.

He used to also watch through the window on the other side of the house, gazing at the sleeping woman with some unknown regret pounding at his frozen heart. Used to, that is, until a man appeared next to her in bed, and he realized that his former position was no longer empty. After that, he lost all desire to venture beneath that particular window, and the pain that seared him never flared up again.

Now he spent his time with the small ones, peering at them through the blackness. Sometimes he would stay there all night, unable to tear himself away until the threat of dawn forced him into hiding. Those two sleeping mounds, buried under blankets, contained the last living fragment of him. When he saw them, he felt calm.

The littlest one woke up one night. Her head had lifted from the pillow and she looked toward him, riveting him in place despite his desire to flee. She didn’t seem afraid as she slowly slid out of bed and tiptoed up to the window. He could see her face clearly, and her long blonde hair that flowed down her back over her lacy nightgown. Her familiar blue eyes met his, as she put her hand against the glass, and he felt compelled to press his own hand against the other side. Then she whispered a single word,

“Papa.”

Something shot through his insides when he heard her speak, and he found himself floating as a silver mist, terrified that the wind would scatter him across the surrounding forest. It was some time before he found the strength to will himself back to solidity. He learned something crucial about his nature that night, and it gave him the resolve to stay away.

He didn’t know how much time passed before he went back, but the longing had become to much for him to deny. There was a third shape now, much smaller than the others, nestled between them with a tiny fist held up into the air. He knew what it was, and was surprised that he didn’t care. Perhaps he was now too far removed from his humanity to experience that emotion again.

This would be the last time that he would gaze at his children. They had moved forward with the life that he could never share, and it was time for him to let go. He was a vampire now, and didn’t belong in the world of the living. The final threads that kept him chained to the place were broken, and soon he would forget that they had ever existed.

About Writing

Rules, shmules

I hate those “writing things to avoid” sorts of lists, as I feel that they rather miss the spirit of creativity. After all, slavish devotion to a set of rules will result in limited writing.

Take, for example, the advice to never start with the description of weather. If you say it fast and don’t think too hard, it seems like sound advice. After all, something like, “The sun was shining brightly as Timmy walked down the street” is pretty boring.

But sometimes the weather matters.

The sun was shining brightly, the birds were singing cheerfully, and a cool breeze was playing through the leaves, making it the perfect day to work, Timmy thought as he pulled out his hacksaw and began cutting up the corpse in front of him.

The description of weather is used to deliberately create a juxtaposition with Timmy’s grim work. That’s interesting.

So, if you’re starting with describing the weather just because you don’t know where else to start, then you should probably spend more time brainstorming. However, don’t be afraid of describing the weather if it serves a purpose to enhance the story, no matter what someone on the internet might have said. Whoever wrote those rules was just after page views anyway.

About Writing, Light Eternal

About Light Eternal

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I think that the best way to describe Light Eternal is as a Gnostic romance. Or, as my husband so succinctly put it, I studied up on Gnosticism so I could write trashy fanfiction about it.

I like fantasy romance, and most of my ideas revolve around the simplicity of two people in love. One of my biggest disappointments with the romance genre (and fiction in general) is that very few of them start with marriage, which, in my personal experience, is when I would say the real adventure begins. My novels don’t revolve around the question of “Will they get together?” but rather, “What are they willing to do to stay together?”

I also like magic and larger-than-life characters, so with a touch of amusement I would say that I ascribe to the “One-Punch Man” style of storytelling. The conflict isn’t about how they are going to be strong enough to win, but is instead an almost human interest exploration of what life would be like as the strongest, smartest, etc.

Light Eternal also contains a lot of pagan elements, including soul retrievals and spiritual parasites. The story is about gods and goddesses surrounded by a rich mythology, verging on spiritual fiction. Because there is a strong theme of Light versus Dark, there are a lot of Gothic and horror moments as well.

Finally, it is a novella about trauma, mental health, and dissociation. It illustrates the damage that traumatic events can cause, and the struggle to continue on with life afterward.

It is the best fictional Gnostic romance book out there!

Available for free with Kindle Unlimited

About Me

Terror as an author

I’ll be honest, as a writer, letting someone read my stories is embarrassing.

Asking someone to pay to read them is mortifying.

I can understand why publishing houses became a thing. Hello, I wrote a book. I am now too embarrassed and mortified to distribute it. Ha ha ha.

Seriously, I don’t want to let people know what sort of things go on in my head. That’s why I’m quiet and shy. Just move along; you don’t know me.

But don’t really. I actually do want people to read my books. I’m just scared. What if people don’t like me? What if people do like me? I’m not sure how I’d handle either.

That’s why I’m a writer, I suppose. Fictional worlds are easier to navigate.

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Light Eternal

Light Eternal

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A young woman, fleeing a terrible secret, finds herself beset by a supernatural beast which threatens not her body, but her very soul–and the mysterious stranger who saves her claims that he is not what he appears to be… and neither is she.

Before she knows it, the two of them are traveling across the country, fleeing a mysterious threat that seems to lurk beneath every shadow, while her benefactor races to heal her of injuries to her mind and soul that threaten not only her, but himself, the world, and the very fabric of reality.

Now available on Kindle with 50% MORE editing! JOYOUS JUBILATION!

You probably didn’t notice that I yanked down all but the first three chapters that I had posted here and on FictionPress, so I can have the book be provided for free with Kindle Unlimited. Go ahead and give it a shot; it’s short and you have nothing to lose. 😉

About Me

Halloween

Back in the day, when everyone else was calling Christmas their favorite holiday, I would boldly declare “Halloween!” as mine. Needless to say, I didn’t fit in.

It’s my tradition to make costumes every year, and October is usually spent sewing while glitter gets everywhere. I spend the entire day of Halloween celebrating with activities for the kids, and on the big night we go trick-or-treating and carve pumpkins.

I have a reputation amongst the neighbors for taking Halloween very seriously. But what can I say? Darkness is part of who I am. That’s why I like horror movies.

So,

Happy Halloween!

Light Eternal

Light Eternal chapter 3

Chapter 3

“Where do souls go when they die?” Muriel asked out of the blue; her eyes were focused on her plate in front of her, as she used a fork to pick apart a waffle soaked in maple syrup. They were in the dining room of the hotel, with employees bustling around them to clean up the uneaten leftovers from the buffet table, as the other patrons slowly trickled out. Aion looked at her and carefully gauged the question in his mind, but, before he could answer, she commented instead, “Continental breakfasts always sound more exciting than they actually are.”

“Eating them usually helps make them more exciting,” Aion replied, the empty dishes from his own meal still sitting in front of him – he hadn’t wasted any time in satiating his hunger, then had settled back into waiting for Muriel to finish playing with her food. He was the most patient man that she had ever met, because he didn’t look or sound the slightest bit annoyed; just amused.

“Why don’t you have a home?” Muriel asked, in one last effort to avoid eating, but the way Aion’s face never changed felt unbearably persuasive; it made her feel that they would be there until the end of time, waiting for her to consume something. A patient man, she decided, was not necessarily a good thing. Because Muriel wasn’t too keen on sitting there all day, she finally took her first bite.

“Because I’m not human, and didn’t possess this form until last night,” Aion spoke after Muriel had swallowed and taken another bite. She had waited too long; now, the waffle was soggy and cold. Next time, she would eat right away, since she was sure that her will wasn’t stronger than Aion’s – his face never changed, no matter what she did.

His words make her choke slightly, but, after she recovered, she rolled her eyes at him and sighed in exasperation, then said, in her brattiest know-it-all voice, “Then how do you have money?” For some reason she felt loopy, and wasn’t sure why she was acting that way, but Aion was at ease. Besides, she had the feeling that he couldn’t abandon her, and he was unlikely to react poorly, anyway.

“Law of Attraction.”

“What? That doesn’t even make sense,” Muriel scoffed.

Reaching into his pocket, Aion pulled out his wallet and opened it, flashing her with a large number of bills that all sported big numbers. “Makes perfect sense to me.”

Gasping slightly, Muriel’s eyes opened wide. “You’re kidding me! I thought that the Law of Attraction was silly New Age gobbledygook. It really works? Just like that?”

Shaking his head with a slight smile, Aion pocketed his wallet. “I tell you that I’m a non-human creature of Light, and the part that you don’t believe is the wad of cash that I’m carrying around.”

Scowling, Muriel huffed, “If you put it that way …” before stuffing a large bite of waffle into her mouth. Secretly she was glad that he was showing off, because it made him seem slightly more approachable. It was hard to know how to talk to someone who seemed to have mastered stoicism so completely.

“What’s my name?” he asked suddenly.

She looked at him blankly, then laughed softly to cover up the anxiety that had formed a lump in her throat. “I don’t remember.” She tried to sound casual, to make it seem normal that she didn’t know his name, even though that frightened her even more.

“What’s your name?” he asked instead.

“Muriel Gardner.” She leaned back and folded her arms, losing her appetite entirely. Her voice had an edge to it that she hadn’t fully intended, but she didn’t want him to keep asking her questions.

The man, however, was satisfied. “As long as you can remember who you are, then we’re okay.” That caught her even more off guard than the original question had. Even though she was trying to pretend that it was normal to not remember his name, she didn’t want him to go along with her. She wanted him to give her a reason to be defensive, to lose her self-control and sob over how broken her mind seemed to be. She wanted to cry. But instead, he was calmly watching her with unwavering eyes. Something in her face must have tipped him off on her thoughts though, because he slowly and carefully continued, “Do you know what happened last night?”

“It was cold.” Muriel shivered reflexively, remembering the moonlight on the frost and the darkness that enveloped her, so she rushed to finish, “Then I met you and we got a hotel room together.”

Somehow she knew that she had said the wrong thing. Even though his expression remind blank, the man stood up and said, “Come. We’re going to buy a notebook, and you’re going to write in it every day.”

“What for?” Muriel slowly followed him, trembling slightly. She was sure that she had done something wrong, and this was somehow going to be her punishment. Maybe he didn’t actually like her, and maybe he was only there because he had unsavory intentions for her. But he smiled, and Muriel found her heart calming down. She was being unreasonable, she decided, and she shouldn’t entertain such dark thoughts.

“For starters, you can put my name in it to help you remember,” Aion teased as he opened the door and waited for Muriel to walk through. His tone sounded friendly and a bit flirtatious, so Muriel stuck her tongue out at him as they walked down the hallway.

“And what else would I write?” she asked.

“Just journal. We need to know if you experience further soul loss … or worse.”

“What could be worse?”

“You’re susceptible now, and I swore that I would protect you.” Now he was being evasive, so Muriel stopped with a slight stomp of her foot.

“Give me a straight answer,” she demanded.

“Not until you’re capable of remembering it,” he replied.

“I do remember. My soul was taken,” Muriel whispered and looked down, her bottom lip quivering. “After …”

Aion was quick to press a finger against her trembling lips, stopping her from speaking. “That’s good enough. You’re returning to lucidity.”

“What is a Grim, and why did one attack me?” Muriel asked. She suddenly felt small and vulnerable, so she grabbed onto Aion’s arm for fear that a gust of wind would blow her away. She wasn’t sure if she existed anymore or if she lived in Aion’s imagination, and the only way to reassure herself was to feel his solid muscles in her hands. Remembering was too much for her to endure, and she wanted to forget again. She wanted to forget everything, even her own name, but at that moment it was too well established in her mind.

“They are hell-hounds – omens of death. They come from the underworld. I can’t tell you why one attacked you.”

“It wasn’t because …” A tear spilled from her eye and onto her cheek.

“No.” Aion put his hand over Muriel’s. “That made the damage worse, but the Grim being there had nothing to do with it.”

“Do you know everything about me?” Muriel rested her head against Aion’s arm. He felt good to touch, and she wanted to snuggle against him even more.

“Probably,” he replied.

“Are you my guardian angel?”

“I am now.” He wrapped both arms around her and patted her hair, and electric tingles shot through Muriel’s body. As long as he was there, she knew that she was safe.

“I know nothing about you,” she whispered into his chest.

“Do you remember my name?”

Muriel paused. “Aion.” She felt pleased with herself for remembering, and started to grin.

“That’s something that you know about me.” He smiled with her, then took her hand as they began walking back to their room again.

“What sort of name is it?” she asked.

“A big one,” he replied.

“It’s two syllables.”

“I know.”

“What does it mean?”

“We could look it up online.”

“You’re frustrating me!” Muriel hit him lightly on the shoulder and giggled slightly.

Aion winked as he said, “That was the idea.”

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Also available on FictionPress