Monday, February 26, 2007

Dark Lumps (Variation/Rewrite)

Sarah spotted the first of the pimples on her forearm and frowned. She has never gotten one here before. Still frowning she pinched the pimple. Sharp pain immediately burst up and down her arm, but the lump did not pop. She wiped the tears from her eyes and tried again, this time gritting her teeth against the pain. This didn't last long, however. The pain was just too intense to keep trying. She plopped down at the end of her bed and couldn't stop herself from weeping.

She absently scratched the top of her head, and more pain erupted through her. Sarah gasped and shot off her bed. She ran to the bathroom down the hall and looked in the mirror. She had to wipe tears out of her eyes before she could see anything...she wished she hadn't. Like the one on her forearm three more pimples stood on her brow, just above her left eye, one on her chin, and another on the lower lobe of her right ear, like a grotesque earring. She gaged at the sight of these and turned away from the mirror, she didn't dare inspect the top of her head. She didn't really need to anyway. She knew what she'd find up there.

Reluctantly she turned back to the mirror. Tears trickled down her cheeks. What's happening to me, she wondered. It was then she realized that the pimples didn't look like ordinary pimples. They lifted out of her skin like round, dark, decaying teeth. She stepped closer to the mirror. God, this was gross. But the more she looked the more she knew these were not pimples at all, but something else. Something worse, if that's even possible.

The skin on the tip of her nose began to ripple and wriggle, as if many tiny worms had somehow gotten inside that little nub. Absolute horror froze her where she stood. And, before her eyes, a dark lump the size of kernel of corn rose from the skin on the tip of her nose. Sarah began to tremble. Oh God, oh Jesus, she thought She found she couldn't even speak.

Here's an easy one. Just rewrite the story and add an ending. Easy as that. This is just a blueprint for an even greater story...and I can't wait to see what some of you can come up with.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

ICE 2/24/07

As I sit here in my living room, listening to the sleet and rain mix snick and patter on the windows, my toes are already growing numb, even under two heavy blankets. The power has been out for three hours now, and there's no heat. The temperature outside is twenty-one degrees, but that's not counting the wind chill. My estimate would be that the temp. is actually somewhere in the teens, with the wind chill added in. The wind outside , according to this mornings' weather forecast, which I saw before the power took a crap on us, is roughly forty to fifty miles an hour. The rain hits, freezes, hits, freezes. There are downed power lines everywhere and in some places the power line poles themselves have snapped.

It's cold. I want to get my family somewhere warm before it gets any colder, the thermostat inside reads 45 degrees, but I can't. All we own for vehicles are two Chevy Cavaliers...I'm not sure even a four wheel drive could make it. The roads are treacherous out there, nothing but glare ice at least a quarter of an inch thick. It would be madness to drive the ten miles to my parents place where they got a wood burning furnace. So here we stay. No heat, no way to warm up but huddling next to each other under a few heavy blankets.

I tried calling the power company for this area using my cell phone, but according to the automated woman on the other end, they are "experiencing a high volume of calls due to power outages", and can't take my call at this time. I want to reach through the phone, grab that mechanical woman by her non-existent throat and-

No. I must calm myself. There are a lot of folks out there in the same hollow boat as I am. They're cold too. They need help too.

I can't help but wonder if this might be some sort of prelude to what it would be like a year or so before we kill each other with all those nuclear missiles aimed every which way? I wonder how cold it will get then, before death finds us all? I shiver at the thought, instead of the growing cold in my house.

It's an old house and has little insulation because of the fact. So I imagine it's colder here than say a newer home. A new home we're planning on building come this spring. A month or so too late.

I write horror stories, and this power outage would be something I'd throw in as an added scare factor. It's scary to know how much we take for granted. It's scary not knowing how long the power we rely so heavily on will be out. It's scary to know you just might freeze to death.

This is not a horror story, however, but it's scary enough for me.

My family and I are fine now, I might add. My dad managed to make his way to our house in his Ford Explorer and save us. The power is still out in my town and now it's just a waiting game. Weather forecast predicts a foot of snow or more to cover the sheets of ice for tonight and tomorrow. They say the power will be out for a couple more days. I wrote the above while sitting in my cold house. I wrote it in my note book. I wrote it to cope.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Walk

Here's a poem I wrote just the other day in my quite place. The woods beyond my home.
A Walk

Trees sway in the cool air
As I walk this path here
In the woods beyond my home
I'm afraid of the garden gnome
The little guy with his jolly grin
Terrifies me, and I know he's alive
Yes. He roams now, just beyond sight
In the thick brush to my right
I can hear him panting as he keeps pace with my stride
He walks with me often, in these woods
He wants me to help him
But what he wants, I can not give
He wants my life for his
He wants me to die
I don't know why he chose me
I don't know why he bothers me so
All I know is that I must keep walking this path
I mustn't let him trick me
For evil gnomes are tricksters you see
So I walk here, in these woods with my strife
I save my life....

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wings and Horns

Here's something a little different. Enjoy.

Wings and Horns
"Tell me you love me." Kristen says into his ear.
"Tell me."
Her breath is hot on his ear lobe and he can't help the shiver that passes through him like ice water through his veins.
The room swirls with various aromas uncommon for a bachelor pad. Instead of lingering body odor, stale incense, and spoiled milk, what mingled in the air and danced before his nose that of cinnamon, honeysuckle, a hint of vanilla, and something else he just can't put his finger on.
James smiles and breathes deep, taking it all in. He doesn't open his eyes. If he does, he fears, everything will disappear, even dear Kristen. Kristen his lover. Kristen, the angel. She isn't really an angel, of course, but he's unable to think of her as anything else at the moment. At the moment, if at any other, he truly does love her.
"I love you." He whispers int he gloom of his bedroom.
She giggles. It's a sound like, yes, angels singing to his ears.
"Say it again." She says.
"I love you." He repeats.
He hears her sigh, hot air blows into his ear and neck and he shivers again.
"Good." She says. Then-
"I'm gonna rip your fuckin throat out!"
James's eyes pop open in the darkness.
"I said good." Kristen says.
Frowning, James turns int he bed to face his girlfriend. He waits a moment before speaking.
"Are you okay?"
"Fine, why?" She says, sounding bewildered.
"You said you were gonna rip out my throat." He says.
"What? No I didn't. I said good."
Silence drew out into the dark room. James ends it with a question.
"You sure?"
"Jesus James! I was just about ready to jump your bones, and now this? I never said that!"
More silence. James thinks about what he heard and decides to give it a rest. Besides, why would his angel say such a thing int he first place? Ridiculous. He wraps his arms around her naked body.
"You were saying something about jumping my-"
A hand shoots out of the darkness and claws his face. He shrieks and rolls away. Soon he feels warm liquid running from his cheek to his chin and patter on the sheets.
"Bastard! I'm gonna kill you! Kill you! I'm gonna eat your fuckin tongue out right now!" Kristen screams.
James rolls out of bed, breathing heavily and scrambling to his feet. One hand cups his injured cheek.
"James?" Kristen says. James pauses on his way to the door. He turns. What the hell is going on here?
"Where you going?"
"Um.." But he can't think of anything else to say.
He takes a step toward the bed. With the street light filtering in through the drape on the window he can see a dark, raised shape in his bed. Kristen is propped up on her elbow, looking at him. Trembling, he takes another step forward.
"You scratched me." He manages.
"What are you talking about? I haven't touched you? And where are you going naked?" Kristen says, her voice sounding both weary and puzzled.
James, utterly lost, steps backward to the door again. Something isn't right here. Some thing's wrong with Kristen, some thing's wrong with his angel. His angel has grown horns out of nowhere....
This is a start for a novella I'm working on. It began as a romance piece, my first, and then suddenly developed into something else. Just thought I'd share a glimpse of it here. Feel free to leave a comment on this. Thanks.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Kill'em All!

Well, I somehow found time to write this story for a Stewart Sternberg assignment. I didn't think I'd get one done this time around, but I did. It was a quickie but I think it turned out all right. Oh and the drawing goes with the story. There's a scene simlar to it in the work that follows. Thanks. And do remember, I have to take pictures of the drawings with my digital camera so the quality of the drawings aren't always going to be so swell. Sorry.


Max popped the new cassette tape into his boom box and pressed down the PLAY button. There came a moment where nothing happened, and then, oh, and then, the fastest, most radical music lashed out of the speakers at him.
He sat there on the floor of his bed room, rapt, absolutely absorbed in what hammered out of those speakers. He couldn’t move and his temples pulsed with blood to the beat of frantic drums. His breathing paused as the heavy, gritty and insanely fast guitar riffs licked and screamed at the air and into his teen ears. The air around him felt thick in itself, sweaty almost. A ghostly smile lengthened on his pimply face.
If he’d known the music was going to be this intense, this intoxicating, then maybe he should’ve bought the tape when all his friends did. Man this was totally kickin shit! This-

“Max!” At first he didn’t even really hear his father scream. Then-

“Max! Turn that shit off! Open this door! Now!”

But Max found he still couldn’t move. He was digging the music, oh yeah, digging it baby. His head throbbed wondrously. Christ it was like being high or something, even though he had no idea what that felt like yet. But if had gotten high he imagined this was what it felt like. Beautiful. Absolutely-


Max came back to himself with a start. The door to his bedroom trembled on its hinges. He reached over. Hit the STOP button, and sighed. He already longed to hear that thunderous music again. He reached out to hit the PLAY button again, but-

“Max, you open this door right now so help me, or I’ll bust it in.” His dad’s voice was low, and ominous.

He got up off the floor and unlocked his door.
His dad, a tall, thin man with a bushy mustache, stormed in.

“What in Christ’s name was that crap I heard?”

Max cleared his throat, opened his mouth and-

“Tell me! What the fuck was that crap I heard?”


Max’s dad strode to the boom box without warning, and ejected the new cassette tape. He held it in his hands and scowled down at it as if was some rotten slab of meat. His broad forehead furrowed.

“Met-all-ica? Who’s that supposed to be? Metallica? Sounds like a bunch a coke heads makin a bunch a noise to me. Why the hell you go’n get something like this for, huh? Why waste your money?”

He brandished the tape at Max as he spoke.

“This is crap, Maxi. Why can’t you listen to some good ole Johnny Cash, or, I don’t know, Bruce Springsteen? Why this shit?”

Max could only shrug. All he knew was that he liked the music he heard from that defenseless tape in his dad’s large hands. He loathed Johnny Cash and hated The Boss. All that country and pop music made him want to gag. But this, this, why, this music was different. It was revitalizing, energizing.
His dad rolled his eyes, pulled up a loop of tape from the cassette, slipped one callused finger through the loop, and yanked. Foot upon foot spun out and on to the floor.

“Dad no!” Max rushed forward.

His dad gave him a rough shove backward.

“Get back max! This is for your own good!”

His dad snapped the plastic cassette in two. Shards of plastic rained to the carpet. Max froze in a state bordering horror. His dad gave Max a somber look, sighed and dropped the ruined cassette on the floor amongst the rest of the ruin. HE then left the room without speaking.
Once his father was gone, Max hurried over and knelt before the mess that used to be his brand new cassette tape by a new band called Metallica. Ten bucks down the drain. He mowed all those lawns, for what? This? To sit here looking at a broken tape?

“Shouldn’t have played it so loud.” He murmured to himself without being aware of it.

This probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway. His dad had ears like a dog and could possibly even hear if Max let loose a fart.
Max gathered up the remains of the cassette tape and tossed it in the small trash can by his night stand. As he stood there looking down at the mess rage bubbled up inside of him. Who was his dad to tell him what he could and could not listen too? IT wasn’t like the old man had bought the tape for him.
He looked in his wallet. All he found was a five dollar bill. Not enough to by another copy. It was enough, though, to buy a used David Bowie tape. But Max didn’t much care for David Bowie. The guy was good, sure, but just not something he liked to listen too all the time. Might as well just save the five and mow a few more lawns to make another five dollars and then re-buy the new cassette from the music store down town; a new band called Metallica. What a cool name too: Metallica. And the title of the tape he liked too: Kill’em All. Good stuff.
So, Max went out to mow some lawns.
By six that evening he came home, sweaty, hot and with two extra dollars to his name. His dad had gone off somewhere. His mom was finishing up dinner. No one had really needed their lawns to be mowed today. He went straight his room, turned on the fan and sat in front of it. As the sweat cooled on his skin, giving him goose bumps, he heard a faint click! sound. He ignored it and let the fan continue to cool him down. That’s when the strangest thing happened.
Music began to rumble out of his boom box on the night stand. Startled, Max whirled on the end of his bed. The boom box continued to hammer out music. Heavy music. Metal music. But…
No, that couldn’t be. The cassette was broken, the tape ruined, how-

“Scanning the scene in the city tonight! Lookin for you to start up a fight! There’s an evil feeling in our brains, it’s nothing new, you know it drives us insane!” Screamed the vocalist for that new band Metallica.

Max’s heart trip-hammered in his chest. He moved off the end of his bed and looked in the trash can. The ruined tape was gone. His eyes fixed on the boom box.
Five minutes later Max sat, one ear tilted to the closest speaker of the boom box. Silvery saliva drooled out from one corner of his mouth. His eyes stared off into nothingness, wide and vacant. His mouth stood agape and what looked like blood spattered the side of his face nearest the boom box. This reddish liquid also poured and sprayed out in pulses to the heavy metal music still pounding the air. The claret dripped from the edge of the night stand to the floor. Most of what used to be Max was nothing more than a husk now.
An hour later his mother was calling him down for dinner. He heard his father screaming for him to shut the shit off, damn it, shut it off right now! Ah, but he couldn’t shut it off. He loved the music. The music was the world. The music gave him true life!
After a few minutes, Max finally stood from the floor and shuffled toward the door of his bedroom. He knew what to do. The music told him what to do. The music was God, and he must always obey God.
He paused. Some of the real Max tried to push itself back in. He realized that he was carrying a mini sledge hammer in his right hand. He noted the blood all over the night stand. Then he was pushed back again and the music took over for good.
Max opened the door, and went to join his family for supper. He knew what to do. The music told him. He’d Kill’em All!

The End

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Just a little Note

Since my latest variation assignment flopped on me I guess I'm reduced to sitting here and looking stupid. I blame myself. Perhaps I started everything out too hard. Maybe I should've just had folks write my stories in their own words. Think that would be okay? I write something and you rewrite it to fit your own style? That's how the whole idea started in my mind and then I thought I'd make a little bit more. Take my latest failed attempt for example. Perhaps I should have just asked you to write the entire story in your own words and add a middle to the story. Sometimes I get ahead of myself and I need to slow down. I get into trouble when I try to push the envelope on something. It always backfires on me. This note isn't to rant about how you should be at least trying my assignments, so please don't misunderstand. I'm just feeling low because I got my first rejection for the year. Everything backfires. Maybe that's what I should have titled this post. Everything backfires. Or how about treadmill? That's what I feel like I'm doing right now, walking on a treadmill, going nowhere. Stewart wrote about doubt in an earlier post. Maybe this is my doubt post. I love to write and I do believe it's worth it, but it still seems so damn hard to get anywhere. I'll keep plugging away at it, of course, but some of my heart isn't there as it had been from the beginning. It scares me to think about it.
I'm lost here. Lost in my own head. And being lost is scary enough....

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Thing Under the Bed

Yes, I draw too. This drawing goes with the variation assignment in the post below. It's the thing under the Bed. Sorry it's so fuzzy. My scanner is on the blitz and I had to take a picture of it with my digital camera. Oh, and since you probably can't see it very well, there's a hand crawling out from under the rolled back blankets.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Of Past and Present

Well, it's a new month and I've got another variation assignment for you. God please you still remember the last one. For this one I'd like to delve into the past and present tense forms of writing. I've had a lot of problems with this in the past, somehow merging the two forms in a single sentence. I still have the problem, but now I know what to look for and and so I catch most of them before they fester there in the story.
Okay. For this variation I will write a couple paragraphs in the past tense, and the last two in the present tense. The first two will be the beginning of the story and the last two are the end of the story. Now, here's what I would like you to try. The middle of the story is missing, so I'd like you to come up with a middle. It can be in either past of present tense. OR you can do your own variation of the story; beginning, middle and end. The catch with this latter though is that you must begin the story with the present tense, switch to past for the middle and end it in the present form again. Does this seem hard? I tried to think of something fairly easy with this one, I hope you all can at least give it a try. Thanks.

Hands Under the Blankets

Past Tense Beginning:
Mary felt them as they groped and slid over the skin of her bare legs. Oh God, she thought, terrified. Oh God let them stop. Either God wasn't listening or He didn't care, because those rough hands under the blankets kept on groping and feeling. Tonight It felt like there were three of them down there, just feeling her up in silence. The problem was she couldn't move. She couldn't jump out of bed and run, because the thing under the bed would come out. And if that happened she might as well inject herself with Drain-O because surely that thing would rip her apart. The hands, although frightening and uncomfortable she could deal with. They'd be gone in an hour and then she'd go to sleep...or at least try.

If she hadn't bought this stupid bed, none of this would be happening in the first place. But it had been so beautiful sitting there in the woman's storage shed. So uniquely beautiful! The lady she bought it from said it used to be her great grandmother's, but the woman had only slept on it herself once before she stored it away in the shed. Now Mary knew why. She felt why. The reasons were cupping her calves and stroking her knees. They never went passed the knees, thank God and all his Glory. If they ever did that she just might go insane.

Present Tense Ending:
The tentacle wraps around her waist and begin dragging her back to the bed. She struggles, crying out in both pain and horror. The tentacle cinches tighter. Mary gasps and takes hold of the door jam.

"No." She pleads, crying. "No."

Tears spill down her cheeks as her fingers begin to slip on the jam. It will kill her, she knows. It'll kill her and those hands will pull her back under the blankets to continue their aimless groping. Mary begins to scream, licking her legs at the sickly thing around her waist. It's no use. And her fingers slip away from the jam.

There is a slobbery growl. Something chitters at her. The tentacle drags Mary across the floor of her bedroom, back to the bed, back to the monster under it. Her fingers dig into the carpet and her nails peel away and stick in the fabric. Mary lets out a shriek. It's going to eat her now. She knows it will. But then, as her feet are sucked under the bed, she spots something on the night stand by her bed. (The pair of scissors she used the other night to trim off a frayed thread on one of her blankets.). She grabs them, squirms and risks a glance back. Two very large green eyes peer at her from under the bed. Under the bed where her feet are. She feels something hot and wet run across their soles. Mary screams out and uses the scissors to cut the tentacle away from her waist. The creature yelps like a an injured puppy, and then begins to shriek. The tentacle slips back under the bed and Mary is free. She gets to her feet, and runs for her life.

Before she realizes it, she runs a full mile away from her house. There, along the three mile stretch of road leading to town, Mary collapses, barely able to breathe, let alone cry.

The End

I added and extra paragraph here just to make the ending more of an ending. I really hope you have fun with this.