Tag Archives: fiction

A Finished Book

image
Look at me, all done reading a book!  And not knowing how to explain why it’s been so long since the last time I did that.

I remember reading Kate Morton’s other books…

  • The House at Riverton
  • The Secret Keeper
  • The Forgotten Garden
  • The Distant Hours

…so I didn’t think it would be a stretch to like The Lake House.  And I did like it.  I just didn’t love it.  There was way too much messing about getting to the point.  And far too many coincidences and characters and back stories and sub plots and descriptions and hopping around in time.  Just too many words.  I guess that’s why I could never write an entire novel, lacking the patience to expand everything to death without giving the ending away in the first chapter.

A child disappears and it takes seventy years to solve the mystery of what happened to him.  People with secrets!  You just want to give them a shake.  How’s that for a book review?

If the reading of this book hadn’t started well before Christmas and proceeded in fits and starts up until this afternoon I suppose I might have found it shorter.  Mostly I read in bed when I was already tired and rarely came across anything riveting enough to keep me awake.  Not even half way through I found myself no longer caring what really happened or why, but FINALLY the end arrived and it all came together in the neatest little package ever, tied with a bow.  I don’t know why that felt trite and disappointing, but it did.  Just too darned neat and tidy and resolved.

Anyway, it’s a story and it’s been told.  If you like Kate Morton you will enjoy this.  But I don’t think you will be blown away.

Advertisements

The Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story

I was tagged by Colleen at Silver Threading to continue the Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story.  I contributed to this in the early stages, way back before Hank was murdered.  A lot has happened since then.  My part at the end is the purple part.  Happy reading!

The Blog Hop Rules are simple:

1. Add a new post on your blog with these rules, the story so far, and who’s been tagged.
2. Title and tag the post as Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story.
3. Add at least two sentences to the story.
4. Pick another Pepper to tag. (Preferably one who hasn’t already been tagged).
5. Add a link to your chosen Pepper’s About page to the Tagged list below.

The Original Story Was Started by Fish of Gold

Edward walked into the hotel lobby just as the sun began to light up the city. He dragged a large, heavy trunk to the reception desk and rang the bell.

As he waited for someone to answer the bell, he tried to calm his breathing and wiped his sweaty brow with his coat sleeve. He heard a soft thud fromy the trunk and jerked his head towards it. His eyes had just a touch of fear in them as he listened for any other sounds. He never meant for things to go this far.

When the concierge emerged for the door behind the registration desk Edward stood up straight and tug on the lapel of his coat and says, “Er.” The concierge huffs and says, “Yes, may I help you?” Edward clears his voice and stutters out, “Mr. Maddox told me to deliver this trunk here for him.” Before the concierge could respond Edward abruptly turns and quickly runs out the door.

“What the …,” the concierge half-yelled as Edward cleared the door and ran down the street of still-waking businesses.

The concierge, Randy, was now more than a little put out. First, he had been interrupted while playing Candy Crush at the end of a dull night on the desk. Now, he was having to deal with miscreants leaving junk in the lobby. He hoped his boss didn’t walk in at that moment and chew him out for it.

Well, Randy thought, “I guess I can prop my feet up on this at the desk.” He slowly, but carefully as not to ruin the flooring, started to drag the trunk into the office.

As Randy dragged the Victorian-era trunk with brown leather-bound maple paneling and shiny brass studs nailed into the trim, he noticed that the weight wasn’t distributed evenly. Grunting when he tried to lift the heavy luggage over a snag in the office carpet, he finally maneuvered the large object into position. This would be perfect for resting his tired feet, so he plopped his posterior into the cushy high-backed chair and threw his feet up into the light side of the trunk.

Still bitter about his Candy Crush high score getting interrupted, he decided to pull up Plants vs. Zombies instead. Circulation returning to his legs, he vowed silently that no zombies would eat his brains tonight. He’s seen “Walking Dead.” They weren’t getting him or his sunflowers. Maybe it was thinking about zombies, perhaps it was thinking about how immobile he was if the zombie apocalypse hit, it could have even been the soup he made for dinner, but something didn’t sit well with him.

And then he heard and felt a thud coming from inside the trunk.

He whipped his feet off the trunk so fast, one of this shoes went flying across the room, knocking over a coffee cup. Dregs oozed out from between the cracks of his boss’s favourite mug.

“Damn it,” Randy exclaimed momentarily forgetting the sounds from inside the container. And then the screaming started.

The day clerk, Hank, had just entered the hotel lobby when he heard the screams coming from the office behind the reception desk. He ran fast as he could into the small office and saw Randy slumped in the cushy office chair, wide-eyed and breathing heavily, and wearing only one shoe. Randy’s face was ashen gray and he was literally shaking.

Hank saw the large, antique trunk, its lid open and some sort of thick liquid inside. “What the hell, Randy?” he asked. “What was all that screaming about? And what is that trunk doing here?”

Randy extended a shaky hand toward the open trunk and pointed. All he could say was “something.” He said it several times, his eyes filled with fear.

Hank looked carefully at the trunk and then walked slowly closer to it. That’s when he noticed rancid smell and a trail of dark liquid leading from the old trunk out of the office and into the hotel lobby.

At precisely the moment that Hank’s addled brain (which, franky, was a rather slow-moving machine in the smoothest of situations) caught up to the reality of what he was witnessing, the sounds of pandemonium crashed into the ears of both men. Screams seeped in under the doors. The metallic crunches and thuds of cars unwillingly having their shapes rearranged filtered through the lobby windows. Hank imagined that he heard bones snapping and blood dripping amidst the chaos, but certainly that wasn’t possible. Was it? Hank locked eyes with Randy, both faces reflecting terror to the other. What had been in the box? More importantly, would they be held responsible? Given his usual weasel-like demeanor, Hank made a brave decision: He would go have a peek at the street to get a better idea of what he had gotten himself into. Inhaling deeply for courage and balance, he shifted his foot to begin the short walk back to the lobby doors. And that’s when he noticed it … he was standing directly in a puddle of the sticky fluid from the trunk, and it was working its way through every opening of his shoe.

All of a sudden, both of his feet started to burn like he had just finished walking on hot coals. He certainly was getting paid enough to deal with such crazy shenanigans. He should have been a lawyer, just like his mother wanted him to be.

A quick detour to the mens room appeared to be in order, and whatever lurked outside the lobby doors would just have to wait. Leaving a trail of shoes and socks and rancid ooze behind him, Hank pushed through the washroom door, noticed that the cuffs of his pants were ruined and decided to drop those too.

He hopped up to the counter, turned the taps on full blast and plopped both of his burning feet under the gushing, cooling water. It immediately turned a sickly greenish purple. One of the cubicle doors opened and a stunned person stopped dead to take in the sight of a disheveled boxer-clad day clerk effectively occupying two of the sinks, decided against washing his hands just this once, and hurriedly scuttled sideways to the exit. Hank heard the door open, he heard the door close, and in between over the thudding of his own heart, he heard the muffled sound of chaos from the streets.

Outside the hotel, meanwhile, Detective Dick Richards swore loudly and then crammed into his mouth the last third of that cream-filled donut that had distracted him enough to slam into the school bus stopped in front of him, causing the city bus following too closely behind him to make an unmarked-car sammich.

All the school kiddies looked fine, but they were bellowing on the sidewalk outside the hotel, the same joint that he’d been casing undercover for weeks now, waiting for those clerk clowns Randy and Hank to take the trunk from that middle man Eddie. Cripers. Those clerks watched so much HBO they probably thought that trunk held zombies or vampires or something. Dick Richards wanted to clean up this mess outside so he could get back to his binoculars and watch for the next player in the game to show up.

Detective Richards was squirming out the passenger side window and was hanging upside down as Detective Sargent Beverly Hills approached his accordioned vehicle. Dick would know those gams anywhere. Bev had the best legs in the Department, although Andy Highwater on bicycle patrol came in second with his long, tanned….

“What the hell are you doing Detective Richards? You are required to stay put while the fire fighters use the “jaws of life” to remove you from this mess.”

“I’m fine, Bev.”

Dick lost his purchase on the car and dropped like a stone further out the window, slamming his head on the curb, effectively knocking himself out. Meanwhile, a HAZMAT Team showed up to contend with the dark ooze that trailed from the hotel. An uniformed officer ran over to Beverly and informed her that a dead man had been found in the men’s washroom of the hotel and he appeared to be one of the desk clerks. An EMT was tending to the revived Detective Richards, so the Detective Sargent followed the Officer into the hotel and to the washroom, relieved to leave the pandemonium outside. Beverly stopped in the washroom doorway, stunned by what she saw.

It was not possible, was it? Given her line of work, she had seen many corpses. But this one was different; this corpse was her ex-husband Hank. “Oh, Hank. What did you get yourself into?” she moaned softly to herself. Despite their divorce, she had no hard feelings toward Hank. He had always been a nice man. He was just so…dim-witted. Ending up as a murder victim in a hotel bathroom was proof, as far as she was concerned, of his general ineptness.

The hardest part of this job was never knowing when you would meet a corpse you recognised.

Slim chance, but there was Hank, with his pale cheeks pressed up against the mirror. A noticeable crack in the glass, overshadowed only by the putrid stench of…what WAS that in the air?

Beverly began to step closer, instead turned away covering her face. A ringtone echoed, and she fumbled for her phone. As she accepted the call, she realised it was not her ringtone but, ‘Everyday I’m Shuffling’, Hank’s favourite song when they were still together.

She hesitated, ‘…Hello?’

‘Hello Bev…you never read my poem’ – the call ended and a text came through.

Beverly sank to her knees frantically trying to open the text with her now trembling fingers, the officer wondering what this idiot woman was doing, tapped her shoulder. Beverly glanced at him and gestured to the phone, ‘It’s from…him’, she mumbled – pointing at the corpse of her ex, ‘I can’t read it, we must read it!’

The officer – being a gentleman – read:

‘You held me with my fears
With a gaze of distant years
Your face reflected in the glass
I breathed in, the scent of arsine
You tried to help me stand,
Then I saw within your hand
Your axe about to thwack
The mirror will expose your crack.’

Heads down, engrossed in the text, they almost didn’t see the dark reflection in the mirror. They looked up just in time to dodge the large axe that seemed to be heading straight towards them. When they turned around, the black cloaked figure was rushing out of the restroom, laughing maniacally saying “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”. Bev and the officer looked at one another quizzically, was it a clue? What seemed most odd to Bev was the voice of the cloaked man. It sounded just like Hank, but how could that be when she was looking at Hank’s dead body, laid out on the bathroom counter before her? It was becoming clear that this wasn’t a normal murder scene and they were dealing with a lot more than contaminated ooze.

Bev’s face felt cool like a slither of ice had been brushed across it, crimson fingertips rose to wipe away a slick of almost slimy sweat from her brow as the other grasped the mobile. Legs weak, trembled like a baby doe as she attempted to rise not initially noticing the officer’s thick hairy topped hands that went to aid her. His greedy digits apparently needed to slide under one ass cheek, stealing a squeeze before hoisting up as the other paw wrapped around her slender upper arm brushing rather too keenly against freshly starched cotton covered breast.

Though Bev was in shock, she detested this Officer, his actions causing a reaction akin to touching an electric wire as delicate hands rose with purpose, palms flat slamming in to his portly chest, pushing with determination and anger. Neat little heals slipped amongst the acrid slime on the floor as shrill voice shouted “Get your grubby hands OFF me Officer you dirty DOG!” as whhooooooosh, feet went out from underneath the enraged patron of order.

Slender body crumpled and bent like a piece of old parchment as limbs flailed in attempt to block the obvious conclusion of her action. The accused Officer did as instructed, moving away, only to see the saucy morsel crash to the floor, raven locks billowing over slippery floor as a ‘CRACK’ of skulls echoed over the tiled floor.

“OH BOLLOCKS” could be heard loudly from the restroom. “SHE’S DEAD THE SILLY BITCH” followed with a tone of indignance at the inconvenience of it all. He crouched down just to double check, muttering “what a waste.” Thick set knuckles tugged the mobile from her grasp, standing to stretch as leisurely as a rise from a good nights slumber, cracking a few joints before proceeding to leave.

“FORENSICS” he bellowed, doing a quick dart back of body avoiding being face slammed by the opening bathroom door as a group of officials rushed in. “WATCH THE FLOOR” he yelled, tucking the mobile in to his trouser pocket, leaving and murmuring “you know what to do”.

Heavy footsteps slowed a moment as a “buzz buzz” was felt against his hip. The phone gyrated like a limber pilates teacher as sweaty fingers lifted it out, swiping to open the message “I am watching you, you filthy pig faced man, don’t ever touch my ass again!”

The Officers mouth resembled a breath starved goldfish momentarily as he turned, retreating to pop his head back in the restroom.

“She is dead isn’t she?” he asked the gang of forensics.

“Oh yes man, head split open like a melon” one geeky spotty male answered.

A sigh of relief escaped stubble ridden lips as he turned to leave feeling a slither of cold, as cold as ice pass his face.

Blinking repeatedly, a form appeared, floating before his eyes; it was Bev as if made of glass, or water, shimmering almost ethereal like, turning and advancing towards him. He glanced entranced by the pure beauty of what was before him, oblivious as she opened her mouth as if to scream. A sound not heard by others catapulted through his brain, as if splitting it in two, eyes burning and bulging as hands pushed either side of his head as if to hold it together.

Time slowed, everyone slowed, sounds of voices became blurred, movements merged one in to the other as the silhouette of glassy form left.

“This is officially the worst migraine,” thought the officer.

He looked in the mirror in order to fix his hat. It felt tighter than usual. Funny things happened to him whenever the migraines made their presence known.

As he adjusted his hat, he caught a glimpse of Bev’s silouette in the mirror. By the time he saw the hammer in Bev’s hand, it was too late. He was right though. This was the worst migraine the officer would ever have.

Hours later, Detective Dick Richards knelt just outside the restroom door and put a hand over his nose to try to stifle the thick stench of blood emanating from the room. Now there were five bodies in the restroom, and a trail of bloody foot prints leading down the hall, into the lobby, and out to the street.

Richards took out his cell phone and dialed an old, familiar number. It only had three digits. All of them were the same.

“Yesssssss?” a voice hissed on the other end of the line.

“The plan’s been foiled again. The contents of the trunk are… missing. At least five people are dead. Five good people.”

“And you think I care about thisssssss?”

“No, of course not. But it’s my job to keep you informed. What’s my next move, boss?”

“Since the contents of the trunk have been misplaced, His Excellence will not be pleassssssed.”

“Clearly.” Detective Richards fidgeted, wondering what exactly His Excellence would come up with as punishment this time. Another trip into The Pit? Richards shuddered to think of the time he accidentally misplaced the twelve virgins to be ritually sacrificed.

“Don’t worry, Richardsssss. The Great and Powerful Cortoogoo has wonderful plans for you. Now, it is time to move on to the next step. You must acquire The Key.”

Tiffany Van Helsing, Demon Hunter, hated early mornings with all her heart. She especially hated really early mornings. She also hated cold weather and field work a whole lot and when all three combined as they had this morning, it was extra-special annoying.

She supposed it was all part of paying her dues as the youngest member of the infamous clan of Van Helsings, who had been running a wildly successful Supernatural Critter Disposal company for the past 100 plus years, since Old Gramps Van Helsing first took a cross to Count Dracula in the 1890s. It still wasn’t fair, though. Her older sister, Morgana, not only got the the Van Helsing raven curls, height and slender but super-humanly strong build, but she got all the plum assignments too, tracking only the highest-level VIP demons in their swanky jet-set, private club and Monte Carlo yacht environment. Tiffany got five feet of ordinariness, mousy hair, a tendency to put on a few extra that time of the month, and all the crappy jobs. Oh yeah, and she inherited Grandma’s ability to see ghosts. Big whoop.

She had brushed past five spirits already as she gingerly picked her way through the fragile dawn light over the loose branches and slippery leaves of the deserted forest. Damn it, she hated the 5-inch heel over-the-knee platform boots she had to wear on hunting expeditions too. “I mean really,” she bitched to herself for the umpteenth time, “who the hell tracks demons in a boots and a leather mini skirt when it’s 40 degrees outside?” She’d been pushing to update the mandatory uniform for years, but Morgana loved it, and Morgana always got her way. What she would give for some tennies and warm fleecy sweatpants. “Oh well,” she sighed, absent-mindedly tugging the skirt leather over her exposed butt cheek. “Once I corner this evil detective, stop him from opening a portal from the underworld and releasing hellspawn on the unsuspecting populace, I should have time for a Pumpkin Spice Latte from that new Starbucks across from the office.”

She reached the top of the hill, and crouched suddenly, cursing under her breath as her stiletto heel snapped a twig in the chilly silence. She could see her target, Detective Dick Richards, below her in the faint light, all dolled up in the Standard Issue Robe and Pointy Hood, etching a pentagram in the loose dirt of the hollow. He had already set out a bunch of candles and she could smell the stench of burning incense. Looked like a basic Key Invocation to her; shouldn’t take long to wrap this up. Then she could get on to some warm pumpkin-spiked goodness and much more comfy shoes.

Tiffany was so taken by the thought of it, she could almost smell the intoxicating combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and corn syrup in the air. “Soon enough,” she thought.

Upon completion, Detective Richards rose and began to walk the perimeter of the pentagram. Once. He still couldn’t shake the stench of the hotel bathroom. Twice. The blood. The weird black slime in the sink. Beverly. Poor Beverly. He’s always liked her. Why did she have to get all caught up in this? It was almost enough to make him turn in his black robe, for good. “Damn it!” He’d lost count again. It had to be perfect, or it wouldn’t work. He fell to his knees, quickly erasing the pentagram in the dirt with his hands.

Tiffany, seeing her golden opportunity, agilely leapt to her feet. She took a solid step backward for momentum, a little too solid. Her right stiletto pierced the ground, lodging itself firmly in the mud. Tiffany didn’t hear the leaves crunching behind her as she struggled to free her boot. It came loose all at once with a jolt. She spun, struggling to regain her balance, and found herself nose to nose with Edward and the unmistakable smell of cinnamon. “It’s your favorite,” he said coyly.

The psychiatrist looked at the strange child before him. He had been referred by the school guidance counsellor. Several dolls lay in disarray with a tiny trunk at the side. Blood, blood, blood he said. Was this possession? That was the last thought before he was thumped on the head by a toy hammer and bludgeoned to death.

————————–
This was the portion written at peacelovegreatcountrymusic.
————————–

“He was odd from the moment he was born,” his tearful mother blurted out. “I knew the whole time I was pregnant that he wasn’t gonna turn out right.”

“I watched for all those warning signs I see on Dr. Phil but nothing ever happened. One night, I woke up to check on him and he was standing over my bed whispering. When I tried ushering him back to his bed, he said he only took orders from the shadows.”

“I slept with my door locked that night.”

My left temple was on fire and I knew I should have turned my phone to silent. This was going to be one long-ass day and the flask in my pocket was bone dry. I put on my badge and checked my holster.

_________________________

This portion was written at Liz’s food for fun

First things first. I refilled my flask using the larger bottle of Jim Beam tucked away in my bottom desk drawer. After stashing the flask deep into the pocket of my coat, I left the office for the parking lot where I climbed into my rusty 1997 Honda Sedan. The short distance was covered quickly and soon I pulled up in front of the small house on Maple Lane where a good man had been brutally murdered. Even from the outside, there was a stillness. A sense of dread. Nothing good could come of this visit. I took a swig from the flask and reluctantly left the car to walk the front steps and ring the doorbell.

____________________

This  portion is written by Deborah at Notes Tied On The Sagebrush

Tiffany looked at Edward blankly for a minute as he stood there with her Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte. “What are you doing here Edward?  I’m busy following that warlock you see over there etching his pentagram in the dust and I don’t have time for a latte.”

” Cool!” snorted Edward, ” Can I watch?”

Just then they both heard a rustling sound and looked toward the place where Dick Richards had been busy with his pentagram. But Dick wasn’t there. He was standing right in front of them glaring with glowing red eyes. He made a growling noise. Were those fangs bulging out of his slobbery lips?

This is getting pretty freaky , Edward thought, just before Dick sunk his teeth into his neck.

____________________

This portion is written by Colleen from Silver Threading

It was all over in an instant and Edward slumped to the ground in a heap taking Tiffany’s Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte with him.  Dick slowly turned towards Tiffany smiling wickedly as blood dripped down his chin.  Some of the spiced coffee had splashed onto his robe.  The spots smoked as if the spices were burning holes into him.  Dick tried to smooth over the burning holes with his hands.

“Damn it Tiffany,” Dick said.  “Why did you bring that idiot with you?”  “He burned holes in my robe with that spiced coffee.”  “What the hell?”

Tiffany just stood there looking ravishing in her 5-inch heel over-the-knee platform boots staring at Dick like she had never seen him before.

“Dick, why did you have to kill Edward”, she asked.  “I thought you had better ways of taking care of your urges than this,” she said angrily.

Tiffany stood over Edward’s body.  She could see the two perfect holes in his neck where Dick had feasted.  His body was limp and his skin white from the blood letting.

But worse than that, she was out of coffee.  And it was this stupid Dicks fault.  She clenched her fist behind her back and then in one fluid motion decked the unsuspecting Dick Richards with a powerful right hook to his left jaw.  He was down and out long enough for Tiffany to turn on her pointy heels and rummage through her Gucci bag for her phone.  She quickly punched in a search for “Disposing of Warlocks and Vampires”. Then she added “portal keys” to that.  What came up was a confusing list of possibilities.  Green smoke, black magic, curse of doom, gates of hell.   All of it was giving her a colossal headache, but Richards was beginning to stir and she had to do something fast.  She dropped her bag and her Starbucks gift card fluttered to the ground at her feet.  Caffeine!  Yes, that was the solution!  She stooped to pick the card up with a happy smile.  Then her face hit the dirt. 

____________________

Fish of Gold
To Breathe Is To Write
Silently Heard Once
Not A Punk Rocker
Amusing Nonsense
Inspiration In Progress
Mindful Digressions
Nerd in the Brain
Knocked Over By a Feather
Breathing Space
Mark Bialczak
Lucy at the Excessive Gardner
Debra at Booking It
Idiot Writer at Idiot Writing
Storm Chaser At Parenting A Teenage Tornado
Eclectic Odds And Sods
Destino at Chasing Destino
Cheney at Blog Apocolypse
Drunk On Life
Love Marriage Worms
galesmind
food for fun

Notes Tied On The Sagebrush

Silver Threading

Breathing Space

Have all the Team Pepper people been tagged already?  It’s getting hard to find somebody new.

So I am tagging Fish of Gold to continue the story.  Because she started it.

Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story

I’ve been chosen to continue the Nano Poblano Blog Hop story that Fish of Gold started. Thank you Mer at Knocked over by a feather for passing it on to me!

The Blog Hop rules are simple:

  1. Add a new post on your blog with these rules, the story so far, and who’s been tagged.
  2. Title and tag the post as Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story.
  3. Add at least two sentences to the story.
  4. Pick another Pepper to tag (preferably one who hasn’t already been tagged).
  5. Add a link to your chosen Pepper’s about page to the Tagged list below.

 

And now here’s the story:

Edward walked into the hotel lobby just as the sun began to light up the city. He dragged a large, heavy trunk to the reception desk and rang the bell.

As he waited for someone to answer the bell, he tried to calm his breathing and wiped his sweaty brow with his coat sleeve. He heard a soft thud from the trunk and jerked his head towards it. His eyes had just a touch of fear in them as he listened for any other sounds. He never meant for things to go this far.

When the concierge emerged from the door behind the registration desk Edward stood up straight and tug on the lapel of his coat and says, “Er.” The concierge huffs and says, “Yes, may I help you?” Edward clears his voice and stutters out, “Mr. Maddox told me to deliver this trunk here for him.” Before the concierge could respond Edward abruptly turns and quickly runs out the door.

“What the…,” the concierge half-yelled as Edward cleared the doors and ran down the street of still-waking businesses.

The concierge, Randy, was now more than a little put out. First, he had been interrupted while playing Candy Crush at the end of a dull night on the desk. Now, he was having to deal with miscreants leaving junk in the lobby. He hoped his boss didn’t walk in at that moment and chew him out for it.

“Well,” Randy thought, “I guess I can prop my feet up on this at the desk.” He slowly, but carefully as not to ruin the flooring, started to drag the trunk into the office.

As Randy dragged the Victorian-era trunk with brown leather-bound maple paneling and shiny brass studs nailed into the trim, he noticed that the weight wasn’t distributed evenly. Grunting when he tried to lift the heavy luggage over a snag in the office carpet, he finally maneuvered the large object into position. This would be perfect for resting his tired feet, so he plopped his posterior into the cushy high-backed chair and threw his feet up onto the light side of the trunk.

Still bitter about his Candy Crush high score run getting interrupted, he decided to pull up Plants Versus Zombies 2 instead. Circulation returning to his legs, he vowed silently that no zombies would eat his brains tonight. He’d seen “Walking Dead.” They weren’t getting him or his sunflowers. Maybe it was thinking about zombies, perhaps it was thinking about how immobile he was if the zombie apocalypse hit, it could have even been the soup he made for dinner, but something didn’t sit well with him.

And then he heard and felt a thud coming from inside the trunk.

He whipped his feet off the trunk so fast, one of his shoes went flying across the room, knocking over a coffee cup. Dregs oozed out from between the cracks of his boss’s favourite mug.

“Damn it!” Randy exclaimed momentarily forgetting the sounds from inside the container. And then the screaming started.

The day clerk, Hank, had just entered the hotel lobby when he heard the screams coming from the office behind the reception desk. He ran as fast as he could into the small office and saw Randy slumped in the cushy office chair, wide-eyed and breathing heavily, and wearing only one shoe. Randy’s face was ashen gray and he was literally shaking.

Hank saw the large, antique trunk, its lid open and some sort of thick liquid inside. “What the hell, Randy?” he asked. “What was all that screaming about? And what is this trunk doing here?”

Randy extended a shaky hand toward the open trunk and pointed. All he could say was “something.” He said it several times, his eyes filled with fear.

Hank looked carefully at the trunk and then walked slowly closer to it. That’s when he noticed rancid smell and a trail of dark liquid leading from the old trunk out of the office and into the hotel lobby.

At precisely the moment that Hank’s addled brain (which, frankly, was a rather slow-moving machine in the smoothest of situations) caught up to the reality of what he was witnessing, the sounds of pandemonium crashed into the ears of both men. Screams seeped in under the doors. The metallic crunches and thuds of cars unwillingly having their shapes rearranged filtered through the lobby windows. Hank imagined that he heard bones snapping and blood dripping amidst the chaos, but certainly that wasn’t possible. Was it? Hank locked eyes with Randy, both faces reflecting terror to the other. What had been in the box? More importantly, would they be held responsible? Given his usual weasel-like demeanor, Hank made a brave decision: He would go have a peek at the street to get a better idea of what he had gotten himself into. Inhaling deeply for courage and balance, he shifted his foot to begin the short walk back to the lobby doors. And that’s when he noticed it…he was standing directly in a puddle of the sticky fluid from the trunk, and it was working its way through every opening of his shoe.

All of a sudden, both of his feet started to burn like he had just finished walking on hot coals. He certainly wasn’t getting paid enough to deal with such crazy shenanigans. He should have been a lawyer, just like his mother wanted him to be.

A quick detour to the mens room appeared to be in order,  and whatever lurked outside the lobby doors would just have to wait.  Leaving a trail of shoes and socks and rancid ooze behind him, Hank pushed through the washroom door, noticed that the cuffs of his pants were ruined and decided to drop those too.  He hopped up on to the counter, turned the taps on full blast and plopped  both of his burning feet under the gushing, cooling water.  It immediately turned a sickly greenish purple.  One of the cubicle doors opened and a stunned patron stopped dead to take in the sight of the dishevelled  boxer-clad day clerk effectively occupying two of the sinks, decided against washing his hands just this once, and hurriedly scuttled sideways to the exit.  Hank heard the door open, he heard the door close, and in between, over the thudding of his own heart, he heard the muffled sounds of chaos from the streets.

Who has contributed so far?

Fish of Gold
To Breathe is to Write
Silently Heard Once
Not A Punk Rocker
Amusing Nonsense
Inspiration in Progress
Mindful DigressionsNerd in the brain

Knocked over by a feather

And now me!

I pick markbialczak to be the next Pepper to add to this story!

nano

 

No Looking Back

light and shade

 

He leans over the balcony railing with her note in one hand and his half smoked cigarette in the other.  Can’t stay, sorry love, pressing matters, no point waking you up to say goodbye… So many lies.  He wants to believe them and doesn’t know why.

The paper crumples in his fist, drops to the patio stone.  He watches it skitter and dance in the morning breeze.  Imagines her leaving, how she walked, the set of her shoulders, the swing of her hair.  Gone, like that.  With no looking back.

He slowly exhales.  His head hurts.  So does his heart.

**********

Light and Shade Challenge – 100 words inspired by the above picture and this quote:  She tells enough white lies to ice a wedding cake – Margot Asquith

Leaving

boarding the train

 

Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold.  There was nothing green yet anywhere I looked, and the air stayed cold until well past mid day.  Sometimes the sun would break through the grey mist with a half-hearted attempt at cheering up the sad and dismal countryside , but all that brown was discouraging,  and day after day it seemed to simply give up without a fight.

No, come back!  I wanted to shout at it.  Try harder.  Winter is an asshole, you can make it go away.  But the sun doesn’t listen to anyone.

Those last few bleak days I spent hesitantly preparing to leave, because I was reluctant too.  Remiss to walk away from a life that had become impossible, but which remained, in spite of everything, still strangely comforting in its familiarity.   Afraid, wary, hanging back,  I kept searching for one good reason not to go.  There were reasons, but in the end,  none of them were good enough.

A shrill whistle sounded in the distance and the tracks grumbled and shook as a numbing north wind whipped stray locks of hair across my face and into my eyes, some of the long strands sticking to the tears that kept stubbornly falling no matter how many times I brushed them away.  My ticket to freedom was crushed and broken in one clenched fist.   The other one dragged my heavy bag across the platform.   And then I boarded the southbound train.  With all my might and resolve I resisted the backward pull and in my head I wiped the slate clean.

I felt as stubborn as the sun.  Strong and steady and enduring.   Soon I’d be ready to shine again.

The Speakeasy at Yeah Write # 157 – include the following sentence as the FIRST line in your submission: “Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold.”

Teleported by Accident

The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman might be the strangest book I’ve ever read.  “LONGLISTED FOR THE 2012 MAN BOOKER PRIZE” is the phrase that impressed me I guess.  Truthfully, I don’t remember how it turned up on my kindle.  Or why.  Maybe it was one of those muddle-headed middle of the night minor mishaps, where I push some buttons on my e-reader with my eyes closed.

I read a few pages and thought, oh my God, what have I gotten myself into now?  Several chapters in I lost count of the times I’d  back-tracked and re-read passages and even whole pages trying to get it all to make a bit of sense.  Eventually I had one of those ah-hah moments.  Once I realized it’s simply an insane story that’s all over the place, that’s when I started to love it.

This partial quote from the Amazon  site sums it up well:

…..a historical novel that doesn’t know what year it is; a noir novel that turns
all the lights on; a romance novel that arrives drunk to dinner; a science
fiction novel that can’t remember what ‘isotope’ means; a stunningly inventive,
exceptionally funny, dangerously unsteady and (largely) coherent novel about
sex, violence, space, time, and how the best way to deal with history is to
ignore it.

If you can wrap your brain around thousands of brilliantly crazy metaphors and similes and want to read a book with four different endings, this could be just what you’ve been waiting for.  There are some difficult  parts and bits of bizarre cleverness that I’m sure went right over my head, but there are also hilarious scenes that had me laughing out loud.  For me it was a sort of roller-coaster read – I had to make myself sit back and enjoy the ride – so that when it was over, I found I couldn’t remember a whole lot about it except for the fun.

Ancestor Mystery

If you could speak to one family member who has passed on, who would you pick?
Why? What would you want to ask them?

My great great great grandmother, Margaret Scott (1782-1865) came to Canada from Ireland with her six children – John, William, Thomas, George, Eliza and Mary Ann.  Her husband died on the ship.

It’s her husband I’d like to talk to, because no one seems to be able to figure out exactly who he was.  Or if he even existed or was on the ship at all.  If we knew more about him we could trace the ancestors all the way back to who knows where.  Not too many people back then cared much about a womans origins, so there appears to be nothing else to be uncovered regarding Margaret.  And without a name for her husband and some dates there’s just dead ends.

Much easier to go forward from her son William to his son, Robert John, to his son, another William (my grandfather) to his daughter, my mother, another Margaret.  (If I’ve learned anything at all, it’s that our family liked to use the same names over and over again, kind of like the Royal Family, but infinitely more confusing because we never thought to add roman numerals to their names.)

Besides asking my great great great grandfather who he was and where he came from, I’d like to know how he died.  Maybe Margaret threw him overboard.  Although I can’t imagine how she thought she would survive on a different continent without a husband, raising six children on her own.  She lived to be 83, so perhaps she had a plan.

Next time I go to see a psychic (I actually saw one for the first time a couple of weeks ago! It was great fun!) I’ll try to remember to ask her about my great etc. etc. no-name grandpa.  Accuracy isn’t as important to me as a good story, so there’s an avenue to explore.  Maybe he’ll have so much to say I’ll be inspired to write it all down for posterity.  And then one of my descendants will have the fun of sorting through it all trying to separate fact from fiction.  Like it matters or something.

Fiction Vs Nonfiction

Fiction please. Non-fiction can be pretty fictional too if the facts come straight out of the author’s biased and opinionated little head.

I’d rather read a story based on fact than the other way around. Which would be facts based on stories or stats or evidence. Or the truth, or the only way to do something right, according to some expert know-it-all.

Give me keen and insightful observations, and let me figure the rest out on my own.

Powered by Plinky