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An Unexpected Fairy Tale

April 26, 2012 11 comments

So, as I said on Wednesday, I wrote the following piece as my entry to a flash fiction contest. I hope it does well but I also hope you enjoy it.

The Little People

In older days, the Wee Folk were courted by brave but foolhardy men who sought treasure and power. Those poor fools were tormented to madness and then left to die as the pitiful creatures they were.

Wiser people left offerings for the Fae. Showing respect to things they didn’t understand. These people were rewarded in subtle ways for their generosity because the code of Sidhe demanded balance through the return of a favor.

People, who are not immortal, change with the passing of time. They forget the lessons of their grandmothers, and so, the Fairies were forgotten. The Fair Folk were no longer believed in; though they were still among us.

John sat looking at the tiny plaster fairy that his daughter had made for him. It was lopsided and the wings were mismatched but that didn’t matter. Hanna had molded it with tiny hands in a summer craft class and he would proudly display it on his desk.

Hanna had also borrowed a book of legends from the library. So after learning about the fairies his little girl had begun setting out bread and butter every night. “It’s just a matter of time until the coons that are eating that bread start tipping over the trash cans.” He thought as he sat the little statue beside his daughter’s picture.

She had made him promise to feed it. To leave something out at night for the fairies who would come to see the small lump of clay. So he had, and now, as he prepared to head home for the night, John felt a little silly placing a cracker at the statues feet. The important thing to him was the promise. He taught by example and it wouldn’t do to lie to his daughter. He would keep his word.

The next morning, John stood outside his cube in wonder. The cracker was gone. He would later decide that the night crew had thrown it away but he wouldn’t think about that for hours. He was too dumb-founded by the beautiful, fresh-cut flowers that were in his coffee cup.

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Good news

April 25, 2012 Leave a comment

I actually have quite a bit to cover and most of it is good news.

I was lucky enough to have one of my stories selected for inclusion into the second issue of “The Sirens Call”, a bi-monthly EZine. The theme was “Through the eyes of the watcher” and my story, “Duck, Duck, Goose” appears on page 53. They also placed an add for “The First Door”, on page 35.

The cost of a subscription is $6 for 6 issues. I have read both and really enjoyed them. I can’t wait to find out what the next theme will be and I will definitely be submitting again. The members of Sirens Call were a pleasure to work with. You can pick up a subscription here and I would suggest it. This is good stuff.

Second on the list is another bit of publishing news. I just received confirmation that my story, “Streams of Silver”, will be included in the 2012 Hoosier Writers anthology. Right now it looks like the anthology will be printed in July, which will make for one heck of a nice birthday present for me. When I have more information about where this will be available I will post it.

Last item on the agenda for today is to talk about the short story I am about to post. Scream Horror Magazine (@ScreamHorrorMag) was on Twitter posting comments from their followers about the state of vampire fiction today. There was a lot of complaining about vamps no longer being monsters. To much sharing and not enough scaring going on in the dark these days.

I accept this and declare that we, as writers, need to step up and provide the blood sucking oil that these squeaky hinges want. You asked for vampires that are monsters and I wrote a story for you. I hope you enjoy it.

I will also be posting an extra story this week. There is a contest for “An Unexpected Fairy Tale”. A flash fiction contest with really cool prizes. I will post a link and my entry by Friday.

Which brings up an interesting point. If you have something that you would like to see a story about let me know. I could always use the writing prompt.

L. E. White

Smores

The members of Cub Scout Troop #7 were all sitting around the fire with wide eyes and slack jaws as they listened to Mark’s dad. “We all heard the stick snap. It was loud and close. Which meant that that thing was only a few feet behind us.”

Dillon made a whimpering noise as he crammed the last half of his s’more into his mouth. Jake glanced at him and snorted before shaking his head and turning back to Mr. Turner. From where I stood behind a tree I could see most of the boys glancing into the woods from time to time as the story continued. My own son sat on the other side of Mr. Turner, twisting his fingers together the way his mother did when she was nervous.

“We did our best to be quiet, but one of the others just couldn’t keep from crying. He put his back against a tree and wiped his nose on his sleeve.  I looked at him and whispered, ‘We gotta move’, but it was too late. I saw the great clawed hand wrap around the tree and grab his face.”

One of the boys on the other side of the fire was bouncing both legs in anticipation while the twins had actually scooted together until each one looked like he was sitting in his brother’s lap.

The sudden crack of a limb in the woods was so perfect that I jumped right along with the boys before looking down to be sure that I hadn’t just peed on my own shoe. I didn’t know whose father had done it but I was a little jealous of how well he had gotten us. A few of the boys even stood up as if they were going to run. The men were patting shoulders in an effort to keep their charges in line and I chuckled away the twinge of fear I felt. I always wondered if the mothers were this mean to the brownies when they went camping.

As I zipped up and prepared to head back to the fire I felt a cold chill run up my spine. Normally, a chill from taking a whiz in the woods hits me when I start and not after I finish but whatever. I shifted my pants a bit and started to step around the tree when I realized that someone was behind me.

Maybe it was the story, but I spun around expecting to see a monster. Nothing was there of course but I looked around at the moonlit trees anyway. That was when a cold and clammy hand clapped over my mouth. The voice was soft and smooth, hissed out so close that I could almost feel the lips brush my ear even though I didn’t feel the hot breath of the words.

“Hello Scoutmaster.”

*****

I had them. After that stick had broken, the boys were almost wetting themselves with fear. I hadn’t been a scout and this was the first time I had ever told ghost stories around a fire but now I saw the appeal.

Oh my god this was fun.

My son had told them I was a writer, so it wasn’t all that surprising when the scoutmaster had asked me if I would like to tell a scary story. I stood up and looked around, seeing anticipation in the eyes of the young and the old before I realized that this was something I had never done before. I had never seen the effect my words would have. I had never seen people anxious to know what was going through my head. This was fantastic.

“He made a squeaking sound as his body slid around the tree, but we turned and ran for our lives as we listened to him scream for help. The word came out twice. Each scream higher than the other before it stopped. From there on the only sound the three of us heard was our own breathing as we staggered through the woods.”

I looked up to see the scoutmaster stagger back into the light of the fire. I had assumed he had left to go take a leak but it looked like he had gone and tied one on. I was knocked out of my storytelling as I watched him stumble from the tree line.

“You ok?” I didn’t want to change topics but he was kind of swaying where he stopped between two of the boys. He took a couple of unsteady steps forward and fell into the fire.

The boys stared in morbid fascination as all of the fathers jumped up to help. We had him out of the flames in no more than a second but I knew it was going to be bad. Even for the seconds that he went in he would be lucky to survive.

“I’ll get my phone,” the tall skinny father of the twins said as he headed towards his tent. I just hoped Brett would have a signal this far into the forest.

I had stayed back from the body. Alive or not, I couldn’t help so I just kept clear. Two of the fathers were trying to help the scoutmaster while two more were trying to calm the boys. That was when I heard the strangled sound from the tents to my left.

Brett was twisted at the waist. It would have looked like he was being dipped by a shorter dance partner if it wasn’t for his kicking feet and the arm that smacked feebly at the back of the person holding him. A second or two later, he stopped flailing and began twitching. Another moment and he stopped moving.

The short man dropped Brett on the ground before he straightened up and began making his way to the fire. He walked with slow, calm steps to stand just behind the still cowering twins as he looked at me with a blood soaked smile. Cold settled around the group, almost as if it had started snowing when he arrived. The children and their fathers shivered as they became aware of our guest and turned to look at him.

“I hope you don’t mind if my sons and I join your camping trip. They have always wanted to attend scouts but the meetings are usually too early for us.”

His eyes twitched, just a little, and I turned my head to see that two pale boys were standing outside the circle of scouts. They both wore matching smiles that made me think of my own son as he got ready to cut a piece of pie. While every pair of eyes was locked on our blood soaked intruder we had been surrounded.

*****

This was my last camp out with this troop. My birthday was next week and then I would move up in the scouts. I had been sitting beside Mr. Turner for the story and he was good. I couldn’t help but feel like we were being watched by some monster as he described camping as a kid but I knew monsters weren’t real.

Then Mr. Travers staggered into the fire. Tim and Tom’s dad went for his phone and got eaten, and three vampires attacked us.

I should have run. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do anything but I didn’t know if any of the others read the horror comics. They might not know how to protect themselves. I was the oldest; I had to try to look out for the others. That was my job. So I stood up and went for a burning stick and I am sure that is all that saved me. One of the little vamps went through the spot I had just been sitting and tackled Dillon.

It took no more than a few moments but the entire camp scattered. The big one lunged over the fire and jammed his hand through Mr. Turner’s chest. He squeezed the blood out of his heart into his mouth as he headed after another adult. The little monsters were hitting the kids so I ran. The idea of fighting back with fire was stupid when these things were that fast.

I ran through the woods, small limbs and dying leaves slapped at me as I went. I hadn’t noticed it before but it seemed like there were nothing but briars between the trees. They scratched my arms and pulled at my clothes as I ran. If I could get to the creek I would be safe, vampires couldn’t cross running water on foot.

The creek was close and the screams were further away. I was breathing hard and had sharp pains stabbing my side. I knew there was blood on my arms from the briars. I had managed to get this far without smacking into a tree but that was when I hit a giant wild rose bush. I planted one hand on the side of a tree to keep from falling face first but still got slapped in lips by the thorns.

I cursed. It hurt and I was tired. I was trying to keep from crying when I felt someone grab my collar and hoist me into the air.

“You are far too young to use such language.”

I looked at him in the dark. The moon was bright enough to show the slick dark stains on his chin and cheeks. I was hanging from his hand like a kitten when you pick it up by the extra fur on the back of its neck. I was helpless as the monster smiled at me. His mouth didn’t have just one set of sharp fangs. He looked more like a shark.

“You are the last one and I think my boys should slow down and take their time. However, I don’t want them hearing such language.” He reached up and forced my mouth open, putting his fingers in and pinching my tongue. “You remind me of some of those “squeeze and talk” toys. They are annoying until you pull out the noise maker.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Haibun Hijinks

April 18, 2012 Leave a comment

I decided to try something new this weekend and attended a poetry discussion and writing prompt that was held in Bloomington Indiana. The Bloomington Writers Guild had posted a notice of the event and since it was free I gave it a try.

And thus the adventure began.

First, Saturday was stormy and I was racing to get inside before getting wet. This almost worked. I was getting out of the car, arriving with literally one minute to spare, and dropped my car key beside the seat. So I had my ass hanging out of the car while trying to find the key between and under the seat, while begging the sky not to cut loose and soak me. I finally got the key in hand and darted to the building. The rain started half way across the parking lot and I managed to get inside a moment before the first sheet of water came down.

So, I am now standing in a quiet foyer of a converted house that is labeled as a women’s writing center. A lady comes out of a back room and tells me to come in they have just started. So, I follow her into a room and find I am the only Y chromosome in the room.

And I am wet.

And I am late.

Great! First impression achievement unlocked to its fullest potential. Then I go to grab the closest seat and am directed to the other side. This empty seat wasn’t to be mine but I can have that one. So, I cross the room, extending my interruption and discomfort a bit and they resume. A few minutes later, I am caught up and things go smoothly from there.

The subject of the meeting as haibun, a form of Japanese writing that is a travel log. You would write a short story, as in a paragraph or two, about some element of a trip and then write a Haiku to go with it. I love this, it was fun to write and I had never heard of it before.

We discussed a couple of haibun before doing a five-minute speed write to get things moving. The topic of the speed write was smell, meaning the way you smell yourself. I wrote something fictional but managed to do it and most of a haiku. I stole an extra thirty seconds or so to finish and managed to get a full haibun out of it.

We discussed a few more and then took twenty minutes to write another. I loved this one and will be posting it below. I broke from the traditional form by writing a haiku for both the beginning and the end. It was a blast.

The group of ladies that were in this group was great. There was a lot of variety in writing style as we read one of our prompts at the end of the day. I will be doing this again.

Now, after the meeting I spoke to the group organizer and mentioned feeling a little odd being here since I hadn’t realized it was a women’s circle. Turns out it was supposed to be coed but I was the only guy to attend. So that helped with feeling like an intruder a bit.

Like I said, I will be posting my haibun today. It isn’t scary but it was too much fun to write for me not to share it. I hope you enjoy it.

Next week I will be back on track with a vampire short story. I was following a thread on twitter where @ScreamHorrorMag was discussing the overall lack of vampires as a monster in recent fiction. They all seem to be tortured and looking for love, not just a meal. I accepted this as a challenge and you will see that next week.

L. E. White

Vegas Baby

Slow, dusty driving

Dry, arid air draws out thirst

Cotton balls chewed slow

*****

You would think that Vega would be the best. The free drinks and fast money draw out the hoots and hollers of the easily entertained. Cleavage carries a tray of liquid courage around while big fish are preyed upon by well wrapped bait. That guy actually raised his shirt to scratch his chest so he could flash chiseled ripples at a hunting cat, hoping to become her prey.

But this is all silly when you find yourself standing on the side of a great rock. The sun shines off red and gold dust that ignores the flash of neon lights. Scrubby brush, like the hair in an old man’s ears, crawls up by our boots, and you ask if I am ready to go.

Yeah, I’m thirsty, but no, I am most definitely not ready to go.

*****

The wind can whistle

Through the crack and crannies left

In mothers old bones

Categories: Uncategorized

Lucky Seven

April 11, 2012 Leave a comment

@RenWarom decided to tag me in the Lucky 7’s meme that is currently going around. The basic premise is that you go to your current writing project and then head to page 77. From there, start at the seventh line and then post the next seven lines or paragraphs with no explanation or modification.

I love this idea, but I haven’t written anything that has 77 pages yet, so I am going to be picking different 7’s to make this work. My WIP is in the outlining stage of what I hope will be my first novel length work so that’s out to.

Let’s see. How about most recent completed story? Rock Garden was recently finished and has been posted to Critique Circle where I am looking for people to read it and tell me what is wrong. Seventh line for seven lines? That should work.

Ya know, I hope. 🙂

*****

The wind blew their hair back and had I been standing off to the side each would have had a halo of spun gold behind them. It was far too windy for me to fish but I never turned down a request to catch frogs and skip rocks. So instead of mending fence or putting a new roof on the chicken coop I was going with my girls to play in the water.

The day had started as it always did. I had fed the animals while my wife made breakfast. My daughter had played with her pets and we had checked the weather to help plan our day. As far as we knew, today wasn’t supposed to be special, just hot.

*****

And so there you go. Now I will try to tag seven others to do the same before I say goodbye for the week and offer another story for you. So I will tag seven that I have been talking to recently. So to you I have to say, “Your It!”

1.) Belinda Frisch @b_frisch

2.) Michael Tat @Michael_A_Tate

3.) Kendall Grey @kendallgrey1

4.) Kristen Lamb @KristenLambTX

5.) Ash Krafton @AshKrafton

6.) Jessica McHugh @theJessMcHugh

7.) Thea Gregory @TheaIsis

L. E. White

Runner

I was frozen in place. You have to admit that staring into the yellow eyes of a large predator could do that to anyone. It wasn’t moving yet. Simply watching and sizing up its prey.

I looked down at my shoes. They weren’t running shoes but considering my days of high school track it didn’t matter. I didn’t need to be faster than the bear; I just needed to be faster than the other people.

Looking at the party made me cringe. My wife would be carrying the cake covered birthday girl and my son was only ten. I was faster the rest of my in-laws. I was faster than any of them.

But my family would not be.

If I did out run them, I would never be able to look at myself in the mirror again.  But I guessed that the hard part about being a coward was living with what you had done.

As the creature stood, I realized that it wasn’t a bear, but rather some cross between a man and animal. It was the sort of thing you see in a bad horror movie, not at your daughters first birthday.

It growled, a low and rumbling sound that you felt as much as you heard. That sound alerted everyone else to its presence. They turned and stared for a moment before it lunged.

That was when I ran. I hated myself but I couldn’t stay. I was crying as I heard the first scream but I didn’t see what happened. I was faster than everyone else.

*****

Two months later, I was sitting in my recliner, drunk out of my mind. My house was covered in newspapers that told of the carnage. Front pages that asked how a small suburban park could host such a bloodbath or how the only survivor could be left to roam free.  I hadn’t been out of the house to do anything except buy more red label and I intended to keep doing that as long as I could.

I hated myself. I hated that I was a coward. I hated that I had vomited on the detective’s shoes when they had shown me photos of the shelter house and the intestines that had been strung around it like party streamers. I hated that I had sobbed until I pissed my pants when they showed me the photo of my daughter’s half eaten first birthday cake with a finger stuck in it to replace the candle.

The sun was setting and I was wondering if I could manage to get up and go to the bathroom when I realized that someone was in the house.

“Take what you want but leave my booze alone.”

My wife stepped around the corner as she said, “We aren’t here to rob you. We just came to see you.”

I squinted one eye as I looked at her. She had my daughter in her arms and my son stood just behind her. “Ghosts again.” Tears stared as I looked down at my lap. “I’m sorry I ran. I couldn’t help it. Please stop haunting me.”

She walked over a put my daughter in my lap, I felt the weight of our girl on my legs and wrapped my arms around her as I hugged and sobbed. “You can’t be real. How can you be real?”

“We came back to visit Dad.”

“Yeah, we wanted to see you after you ran away screaming and left us in the woods to die.”

I looked at them as my girl started squirming. “How did you get away? I thought you were dead?”

My son started shaking as my wife stepped closer. “We got out because we changed. He wanted a family, not food.”

I yelped as pain shot up my arm. When I looked down I saw my daughter’s finger tips carving groves into my arm, her tiny finger tips looked like little black claws and I could see black hair growing on the back of her hand. I pushed her to arms length and looked up to see my son ripping off his shirt. My wife took another step closer, her eyes turning yellow as fangs appeared in her mouth.

“We learned that you don’t leave family behind, so we came back for you.”

Life in Process

April 4, 2012 7 comments

So I am still working on a couple of different stories. I have submitted to multiple publishers and I am anxiously awaiting responses.

Other than that, I don’t have a whole lot to say at the moment. I was reading a story to review here but I backed out on that. I didn’t feel right posting a bad review for a story that I felt was unfinished.

Which leaves me with nothing much to post here today. I have flash fiction like always but without going into personal life I don’t have much to say.

Do you, the readers want to here about the everyday? I would like to know.

L. E. White

Drugs

The sword slid out of the new corpse with a sucking sound that reminded Mark of his little girl eating a lollipop. He smiled in grim satisfaction as he turned his attention to the man in the corner, a gangly individual who looked a lot like Ichabod Crane.

“Hi,” Mark said, raising his voice into a horrific parody of a young girl’s. “My name is Mandy and my friend Terra told me all about you.”

Ichabod’s eyes widened and his jaw fell open as Mark began walking towards him. “She said you were really nice and easy to deal with.”

He shook the blood from the sword so that a tiny red rain fell to the floor. “She also told me that you were willing to trade for pills if I wanted to.”

The stork like man pressed his back against the wall as if he thought he could push his way back through it.

“Since she had her accident I wondered if you would want to make the same deal with me?”

The man was shaking his head no as he held his hands in front of him. “That wasn’t my fault man!”

Mark slashed at the outstretched hands. The sharp steel of his great-grandfathers cavalry saber sent fingers falling to the ground as Ichabod howled in pain.

He stood in front of the drug dealer, waiting on bird-man to quiet down enough to hear him. This time, his voice, and not the imitation of a twelve year old girl’s, rumbled through the room. “My daughter died after having had sex with you and your buddy to pay for drugs. If you hadn’t given her drugs, she would still be alive. Now, just like you said, you and I are gonna play so that I can feel good too.”

Categories: Flash Fiction, Random