31 October 2010

*The Sentry

Intro: I wrote this story early in preparation for being out of town most of the week. I initially thought I would write something more into the horror genre since today is actually Halloween but decided I didn’t want to go that way. Last week’s story was violent enough for me and I didn’t even describe anything. I’ve already written about monsters and vampires. So, all that remained was the eerie setting. Now you have it.

The old château, long vacant, stands in the middle of a sheep paddock. The formerly gray walls are stained black and white from age and green from the moss and ivy taking root. Though the outer walls crumble from persistent rain and biting wind, the interior remains unchanged but for layers of dust. Tapestries drape across the walls, the faded pictures look out with cracked faces and eye whites now mute gray and lifeless. Rugs line the corridors. During fierce wind storms, the woven fabric and fur send up occasional forms of dust as if something stalks the halls.

Cracked and forlorn furniture lurks in the rooms, their red shadows dancing across the walls in the eerie setting sun slicing through the holey walls. A bassinet stirs in a nursery. Faded silky cloth swathes over the edge precariously while the pillow rests against one leg. Other rooms hold large canopy beds, the canopies covered in threads from spiders’ whose posterity are only husks resting in the corners. Faceless toys wait discarded in the middle of the floor.

In the servant’s portion of the building the heart and breath is damp and still. The kitchen houses a large oven used to feed the army deployed which is never to return. Ashes remain in a grate, the coals disintegrated under the heat of a fire eternally cold. The black pot with white deposits from well water evaporated through time, hangs empty over the somber fire.

The few windows which held glass stare at the world with empty eyes. A few shards of the previously striking stained image lay sprinkled across the pews like spilled sugar. Nothing remains of the hymnals but corroded leather and a few wisps of papers not found by the chapel’s new inhabitants. Candles in neat lines consist of burned twine held in place by a frozen pool of wax.

A tile slides of the roof, shattering against the overgrown courtyard. The shards remain in good company amongst all the other broken slats which once shielded the top floor from the elements. Though the tiles remain as reminders of the protection, the stable retains no indication of such guard save for a few faint smudges. Thin stripes and a few clumps tell of thatch falling to the stone which left the only trace possible for moldy plant life; a trace which is only visible where the rain cannot reach to wash clean.

The wind picks ups and yet another tile shatters the silence. Not a silence of reverence but of desertion. The stone stairs leading to the roof are smoothed and coated in slime from the dripping water. Outside, up high, the wind tugs and pulls at the stones, screeching in anger. A tile rattles but remains otherwise fixed in place, supported by those around it.

At the edge of the building crouches a gargoyle, a nest wedged in the crock of its wing. The nearly faceless beast remains impressive, ignoring the years of deposits from the local fowl. Its face is fixed outward, forever a sentry, guarding its empty château, in a field of sheep.

27 October 2010

New Tires for First Snow

It’s snowed and it isn’t November yet. All hail tradition.

I have an hour commute, one way, through a canyon each day. My husband is worried about the drive through the winter. Since we knew it was going to snow eventually, my husband arranged with someone through work, to get new tires for our car at a place near my work. We tried to find the place on Saturday but got horribly lost. On Monday my husband called his contact and got the exact directions to the tire store. So, feeling somewhat confident with the directions, I drove to the store on my lunch.

The store wasn’t really a store, but a warehouse. I’m someone who doesn’t do well when talking to people I don’t know, let alone walking into a large warehouse that has no front office, trying to get someone’s attention, telling them I need new tires but at a discount price because my husband talked to one of their managers (who isn’t actually at the store but please believe me anyway). The mechanics were all really nice but nothing they said could make me feel comfortable about sitting in a small office trying to stay out of the way as they continued to work. *shiver*

But, by golly, I have new tires and just in time for the first real snowfall. (Just don’t ask me to do it again.)

24 October 2010


Intro: It might be best if you read this intro after you read the story and then reread the story again.

This was a dream I had early this last week. It has been bouncing around my head for the last few days and when I tried to come up with an idea of the story, I decided this was a good one for Halloween. Since this is a dream I tried to keep the same feeling in regards to the character being locked in place, limited action/reaction, the vague world based on feeling and not physical detail. I promise most of my dreams aren’t based on doom and gloom. I do have cheerful ones but when I wake I only remember the details for a few minutes before all that is left is the satisfied feeling. It is the darker ones that stay in my mind.

My hand shifted on the metal bar as the force of the bus stopping made me stumble forward. I glanced up as the bus driver climbed out of their chair and walked down the few steps to the street. Even with headphones in, I still heard the single gunshot. My body shivered as the driver climbed back into the bus, started the engine, and drove on. A young man lay sprawled on the street, undoubtedly dead. I pulled back from the window and shivered.

The bus continued on its route picking up people. There was no empty seat. I shared the overhead bar with half a dozen other people. Their faces blurred together as I thought about the young man, dead, in the street. The death made no sense. I felt I should get off but at every stop I remained where I was, like my hand was glued to the warm, slimy metal bar above my head.

Everyone shifted forward from the sudden lack of momentum, but it wasn’t an official stop in the route. The driver climbed down from the seat. Though I stared directly at them, I couldn’t make out any features. The blue, or maybe gray, uniformed figure stood at the front and said something I couldn’t hear even though I stood a few feet from the them. People shifted to stand in the aisle. I watched the driver pass and the people fell, dead. I think from a gun. No one reacted. My hand remained fixed on the bar as I vaguely took in the scene. There was no doubt they were dead, but there were no details, just the undeniable knowledge.

The driver moved back to the front and started the bus up. Through the front window I saw someone, sitting in the street. They pointed, their mouth forming words I couldn’t hear. As the bus stopped again, making me stumbled forward, I watched as the driver climbed out. The young man, in perfect clarity turned in place, frantically gesturing. I understood. He’d seen the driver kill the others. He was calling for help.

He fell, still. The driver got back on and the bus continued. I glanced out the window as we past and saw the young man, sprawled on the street, undoubtedly dead. I pulled back from the window and shivered.

20 October 2010


Growing up I listened to a lot of classical music. My mom controlled the radio at home (still does) and in the car it wasn’t until we learned how to drive until she relinquished the stereo to our begging. My dad, on the other hand, has always favored classic rock. My brothers and I have always enjoyed the music from movies, granted we prefer the orchestral music and not the rock “inspired by.” We could get away with playing it around the house because it could be considered classical. (I love classical music. My favorite is Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and no I can’t spell it without the help of a dictionary.)

When I was in college my friend introduced me to a site that has remixed video game music. I was hooked, even though I hadn’t even heard of 80% of the games and had only played maybe 5%. I have hours of the songs downloaded to my computer and listen to it while I’m working since it can really get my emotions going.

At the convention my husband and I went to a couple of weeks ago, we went to a discussion on the history of Japanese RPGs. The presenter did an amazing job of present the facts, making it fascinating, and pronouncing all of the foreign names. What made me laugh was the fact throughout his discussion I knew many of the games he was talking about. While I haven’t played many (my parents believed in Game Boys and computers not the big consoles), I have watched other people play them, or listened to the music.

17 October 2010

*Monsters of Imagination

Intro: I attend a weekly writing group. One of my friends writes children’s books and she has been working on a monster idea. When I came across this writing prompt I couldn’t pass it up. Besides, it kind of fits the season. When you were little, you could swear there was a monster under your bed--but no one believed you. On the eve of your 30th birthday, you hear noises coming from under your bed once again. The monster is back and has an important message to deliver to you.

“You don’t exist.”

“I don’t have time for this, lady.” The voice growled.

I squeezed my eyes closed wishing my husband were here and not on a business trip. “No. This is a figment of my imagination. You don’t exist.”

“Okay, let’s pretend I don’t exist, will you listen to my message now?”

Twenty years earlier, a monster lived under my bed. I hated him. As a ten-year-old, I thought it was common to have a monster. My friends and family didn’t agree. While I told fantastic stories about being kept up all night because my monster shook the frame or made groaning noises, they thought I was lying. Finally, it got so bad that my parents took me to a councilor. When I overheard the councilor tell my parents in hushed tones that he believed me certifiable, I knew I had to do something. The monster stayed until I was fourteen but I never mentioned him again. After another couple of years, I was convinced, just as much as my family that monsters didn’t exist.

Now, on the eve of my thirtieth birthday, the monster was back.

“Come on, lady. I’m not asking for much. Just a minute of your time.”

The dark shape loomed at the side of my bed and I squeaked pulling the covers up and moving further away. The same horns. The same scales. The same four arms. My nightmare was back.

“Go away, go away.” I rocked myself clutching the covers in tight fists.

“You haven’t changed at all. You use to do this back in the day.”

“Just go away.” I howled.

The last time I had seen my monster was in a similar situation. He was silhouetted against the window, moving steadily closer. I screamed, my parents came running and he was gone. They asked why I screamed and I just said it was a nightmare. He never came back. When we moved to another house a year later I watched the movers take away my bed. The bottom frame was filled with scratch marks, too large to be caused by an animal.

“Fine.” The voice said. “Don’t listen to me.”

The room fell silent and after a few minutes I opened my eyes. A large black face was inches from mine. The yellow eyes unblinking. I screamed and tried to scramble away but I was already in the corner.

“Do I have your attention now? Your daughter is in danger.”

“What?” I gasped thinking of my eight-year-old step daughter sleeping down the hall. “Don’t touch her.”

“Monsters come to the imaginative. You’re daughter has a strong imagination.”

The monster moved away and slunk back under the bed. I could hear his claws scratching the frame.


“You had the strength to quell me. Her monster grows stronger by the night.”


“I figured I owed you. You always did know when to scream. Made my job fun.”

The scratching stopped and I waited for only a moment before dashing out of room. As I moved down the hall, I could hear a faint whimpering. I burst through the door and moved to the bed. The little girl threw herself into my arms, something she’d never done in the year I’d been her mother.

“It’s okay, Penny.” I crooned stroking her hair.

“It’s going to eat me.” She sobbed. “Help me.”

“Of course I will. Let me tell you the first rule of dealing with monsters.”

13 October 2010

Sewing Project

So a couple of weeks ago I mentioned how I am no seamstress by any stretch of the imagination. This next year I hope to change that. My husband and I had the opportunity to attend a convention this weekend. As with all conventions, this one brings out the diehard fans and their costumes. (I have learned to accept the fact that even if the convention is geared for a different genre there will always be storm troopers and Dr. Who walking around.)

The costumes this year were amazing. I mean these costumes are something that could be used in a movie if the actor accidentally destroyed the professionally made clothing. So, I’m feeling motivated beyond belief (which is good since remember the whole stretch of the imagination comment earlier). I already have our costumes planned out and I probably won’t even have to break the bank to purchase the required fabric. Plus if I start now I can plan the sales better and not be (as) stressed when the con rolls around next year. No staying up until two in the morning trying to hem the mile long dress in time for the event in the evening.

Then again, in two months I may be writing that I am way in over my head and that we are going to be doing something completely different that doesn’t require even looking at the sewing machine. I hope not.

10 October 2010

*The Quest

Intro: I don’t normally do poetry so I thought I would try it. I apologize in advance to the true poets out there.

My quest begins.
I take a hesitant step into the dark.
Unnatural shapes
Dress in black
Lurk through the shadows.
I clutch my bag tightly
Moving towards the first target.
I am not alone.
Monsters run past
Attacking the entrance vigorously.
Their appetite only momentarily satisfied
They rush on.
I move forward
Wary as ever.
The door opens,
Light spills on my trembling figure.
I smile innocently
Quietly whisper,
“Trick or Treat.”
And hold out my bag.

06 October 2010

Family Bonding

A few weeks ago someone asked me why I married my husband. I told her it was because he didn't find me weird and always made me laugh. She thought I was joking. I wasn't. I love my husband very much and I am very glad he doesn't find me odd. Both of us like anime and while it is nothing to be ashamed of, the majority of the population can't understand why we'd rather spend the evening watching Japanese animation then the most recent episode of the hottest reality show or a sports game.

While my parents and sibling never enjoyed watching it as much as I do, they never comment against my interests. (I've gotten them to watch a few shows with me they really enjoy.) My husband had a different response when he was younger with some of his family members so he learned early not to mention it to other people.

This weekend my husband and I were able to spend some time with some of my husband's cousins. I don't know one of them as well since she has wonderful opportunities out of state and country. She mentioned that while she was in working in Japan she had some neat cultural experiences. We immediately bombarded her with specific questions that took her by surprise. We had a wonderful time talking about what we knew of Japanese culture. As we left that night, my husband and I talked about how much fun it was to have similar tastes with someone in his family.

03 October 2010

*Sweet Dreams

Intro: It’s nearly Halloween. Time for something a bit different. I don’t normally write horror/paranormal so forgive me if it isn’t as emotionally straining as you would typically expect.

The green expanse of hills stretched forth under my gaze. I sat, perched atop a large granite rock taking in the scenery listening to the sounds of birds flying overhead. This would be a good place to rest. My fingers plucked at the fabric of my trousers, covering the sleek phone engraved with a pentagram that rested there. Throwing it onto the rocks below would definitely be satisfying, for a brief moment. Was it worth the trouble later? I glanced at the blue moon, cresting over the next rise.

An awful electronic melody screeched, deleting the memory of the musical birds. I pulled out the phone. It was nothing more than a text message.

Harvey, come home.

My long black coat rippled in the wind as I made my way down the mountain side to the small village below. I could travel even further than I could before. Surprising, since I was nothing more than a figment of someone’s imagination. I was dubbed a personal pooka a servant to shield from the terrors of the night. Who needs a Jeeves? Before even reaching the bottom of the mountain, my coat of fabric had been replaced by thick black fur. The phone now imbedded in my head as my summoning link to the master.

Where are you?

At least when I didn’t have the phone, I didn’t have to hear the incessant ringtone which was impossible to change. I jumped up on my hind legs and pressed the bell to the rental my master was staying in. The real Jeeves of the household let me in.

He didn’t even look at me as he shut the door. There was no reason he would. I’m a figment of a deranged imagination visible only to the sick mind who dredged me up. Up the stairs, around the corner, up even more stairs, to the middle floor of the mansion. It was an uncanny ability, but not unexpected, always knowing where the master was located. He lounged in the library, a book newspaper propped on his legs. The large window behind his chair looked out to the east, over the town.

What took you so long?

I flopped on the floor next to his feet. It was my nightly duty to see to his dreams. Nightmares that plagued his sleep I consumed and kept away from him. He was nothing more than a weak willed necromancer. The butler glided smoothly into the room, pushing a trolley.

“You’re lunch, sir.”

“Thanks, Jeeves.” The master replied, rubbing his hands together.

I wasn’t around when he summoned the newest butler. It wouldn’t surprise me if he looked for the most proper looking English gentleman he could just for the opportunity to call him that ridiculous name. When I arrived, I was ordered to take the form of a white rabbit. I refused.


I tilted my head to the side and looked up at him with one yellow eye.

What do you think of Ireland so far?

“Fine, maybe you could release me into the wild here.” I replied drily. The words forming easily even in the canine snout. “You could consider it your good deed for the day.”

And maybe I’ll just send you back to the eternal Hell.

I closed my eyes and didn’t reply. My Hell did not burn; it merely existed to show me what I couldn’t have. Burning would have been a comfort.

“Is there anything else you need, sir?” Jeeves asked.

Just a piece of the nearest virgin’s soul, and perhaps some blood from a seventh son of a seventh son. I yawned biting the end off with a snap of my jaws. If I wanted to share, the master still wouldn’t hear my thoughts. That was what human speech was for. I was a part of him. He was no part of me.

Jeeves bustled around the trolley. Even if he had feet, he wouldn’t have stepped on me. The advantage to spirits as household personal, they never left a mess of their own by having dirty shoes.

“You can go.” The master said with a wave of his hand.

Jeeves bowed and left through the wall. A handy skill to be sure.

I glanced outside admiring the small town basking in the moonlight. Beautiful, silver, powerful moonlight. The time was right.

Harvey, I—

His voice cut off as I stood, the black coat flapping around my ankles. Light from a blue moon, powerful enough to bring nightmares to life. My golden eyes flecked to red as I advanced on the half-wit of a necromancer. I held up the small silver phone embossed with a pentagram and crushed it in my gloved hand. His weak connection severed as the pieces fell from my fingers.

“Shall I show you Hell?”

“But you’re a pooka.” He stammered falling out of his chair.

“You summoned something far worse.”

“What?” The word shrieked out of him as I moved even closer.

“Yourself. The self of nightmares.”

His screams brought Jeeves floating to the room a few minutes later.


Sitting comfortably in the chair, I deposited the newspaper on the floor motioning to a large garbage bag in the corner. “Take that out to the trash.”

“Of course, Sir.” Jeeves said picking up the bag and moving to the door. The bag sloshed with the motion.

The door shut. I leaned back in the chair closing my eyes and drifted into a peaceful sleep full of the horrors I’d collected.