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Archive for August, 2012

Keeping up to date

August 29, 2012 1 comment

I want to take a moment and do a little advertising. I have made some progress over the course of the year as a writer and today, I want to ask anyone who will listen to go buy the things that I have been included in.

I try not to push, I want you to read and buy my work, but I don’t want to just stand around screaming “Look at this!”, and drive you away. Considering it has been almost a year, I want to take a few minutes and point out what you can look at.

First on the list is my novella, The First Door. It is still available on Smashwords. This was, literally, the first thing I wrote with the intention of working as a writer. I self published this and I will admit that I have learned a little bit about writing since this came out. I still like the story and I think you will too. Just be kind and remember that it was my starting point.

The next place on the list will be The Sirens Call. A bi-monthly e-zine produced by Sirens Call publications. I have been fortunate enough to have stories included in two issues, Number Two and Number Three. Both of these were themed publications. Number Two is a collection of horror stories that are from the eyes of an observer. Number Three was titled Obscure Ink. My stories are “Duck, Duck, Goose” and “What May Come”.

Next, I want to share stories that are currently available in print. Real, honest to goodness paper. When the first one of these came out I felt I could say I was an author. Sure, getting paid to have written anything technically qualifies me as a writer, but there is a difference in how you feel when you can hold a book that has your name in it. That feeling is what I am chasing as I continue to write.

My first print story came out in the “Hoosier Writers 2012“. This collection was gathered by another Bloomington resident, Lowell R Torres and is full of stories by authors that are from Indiana. My story, Silver Lining, is a horror story that takes place in Indiana as well.

The second print anthology is “Once Upon A Time, A Collection of Unexpected Fairytales“. This anthology came out of a contest. I entered to win a t-shirt and ended up being included in an anthology of the entries. Some of these stories are just fantastic and I would recommend this to a broad audience.

This is everything that has been published so far, but I have a few that are still on the way. The first of which is one of my non-horror stories. I submitted a piece to a charity project called, “The Shield of Wisdom, A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Athena“. This was the first non-monster story I had written and was also the first accepted submission that I had. It is tentatively scheduled to come out this fall.

Second, I have two stories that are going to be included in, “A Quick Bite of Flesh”. A flash fiction zombie anthology from Hazardous Press. This was a really big boost to me. I had submitted my story, “Like Father, Like Son”, along with my contact information. That contact information included the address to this blog. The editor visited and read through some of the flash fiction and selected a second story, “Scouts”, from here. This was the first time someone had picked something of mine instead of me trying to get them to take it. I was floored.

Somebody really liked it.

The final anthology that I am currently scheduled to be included into is “Carnage, After the End.” by Sirens Call Publications. The theme was to have stories that focused on the survivors after a world ending apocalypse. What kind of apocalypse was up to me.

I saved this one for last because the story, “Rock Garden” is currently the work that I am the most proud of. I think this story is far above anything else that I have written. My goal from now on is to write this well again.

That is it. I have stories submitted to a number of other places and I am waiting to hear if they are accepted or not. Monday of this week, I received another rejection from a magazine that held my story long enough that I thought they might have shut down. That one will be going out again in a day or two.

I just finished my first classic fantasy story and it is about to be beta read. I have a couple of other short stories I am working on and my first novel just passed 24,000 words. I am liking this story and it will be an urban fantasy in the world of the First Door. I have a lot of plans for this setting and I hope people will enjoy reading it enough to allow me to publish them. Until next week.

L. E. White

Dare You

Ian wasn’t scared. They were all full of crap and he wasn’t going to let those sissies live it down.

Ian kept telling himself that he wasn’t scared as he took slow steps towards the woods. He knew that Connor, Timmy and Landon were standing at the hedge, watching him go.

They had told him that the only way they would let him into their club was if he could prove he was brave.

“I am braver than you are,” he said. “You won’t even tell Hanna that you like her.”

That had made Timmy mad, so he decided to teach Ian a lesson.

“Oh yeah, well if your so brave then how about you head into the woods and pick a bowl of black berries.”

The woods.

The woods that old man Higgins had died in.

The woods that the monster lived in.

The woods that were dark, even during the day.

Ian had felt shaky but he wasn’t a chicken. He was brave. He would come out with the berries and then he would sit there and eat them in front of the others.

Every step made the trees seem bigger. Their leaves blocked out the sun and left giant shadows around their roots. Ian could hear things rustling through the leaves above his head and below his feet. Things that he couldn’t see.

There wasn’t a path into the woods, just a spot that didn’t have briars in the way. Ian walked into the darkness and after a few feet he walked face first into a spider web.

“Aaaiiieeeee”

He swung his arms and batted at whatever it was before dragging the webs off of his face. Once he realized what it was Ian began to giggle. “Spider webs,” he whispered.

After that, Ian picked up a stick and walked through the woods swinging it in front of him to keep the webs out of his face. He marched along, looking for the grove of blackberries that older boys had sworn was there.

The woods were so quiet and creepy. No birds called and nothing skittered around through the leaves. Ian didn’t see any of the little animals that he expected to see and soon he was turning to look over his shoulder after every couple of steps.

When he saw the patch of sunlight Ian stopped for a second in surprise. The trees were still dark where he was but a wall of brush with bright patches of sunlight peeking through stood off to his right. He had walked so far that this had to be it. The berries must be through that brush.

So he walked closer and as he did so he began to feel that itchy sensation that you get when someone is staring at your back. Ian turned around to check over his shoulder again and then put his back to a tree and stood, listening and waiting, to check if maybe the guys had followed him into the woods.

There were no sounds, so he turned his attention back to the thicket. From where he was, he thought there might be a break in the brush a few feet further around.

There was a break, and after Ian crawled into the little cluster of brush, he stood there staring in awe. The canopy of trees had left this one small spot open, and all around the clearing, blackberry bushes had grown. A thick wall of dark green leaves showed clusters of black and red berries that were all larger than his thumb.

“Woah.”

Ian reached out and picked one from the briar closest to him. It was so juicy and full that a drop of the dark purple juice came out just from his touching it. He opened his mouth and closed his eyes, savoring the sweet taste as he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small brown paper bag.

“I hope you enjoyed that.”

Ian’s eyes snapped open and he shrieked, dropping the little paper bag at his feet. He spun in a circle, but didn’t see anyone around.

“Who’s there?”

He turned around again, snapping his head back and forth as he tried to see who else was there. When he finally calmed down, he bent to pick up has sack, and heard a rustling from the bushes in front of him.

Ian stood back up and stared as the leaves of the briars began to move. The shafts, covered in sharp thorns, twisted and wiggled, drawing together until the leaves could lie over and cover them like an umbrella as you closed it up.

The berries and leaves shifted, moving to cover or be covered until the plants themselves had formed into a thin limbed body. Two big red berries sat in the face like the eyes of a
jack-o-lantern.

Ian began to tremble as the green body took a step towards him. “I said that I hope you enjoyed that.”

Ian’s jaw was chattering like it did when he spent the day in his snow fort. The paper sack crinkled and flapped in his shaking hands.

“I won’t hurt you,” the plant said.

“Y-Y-Y-oo-o-oo-u wo-Won-won’t?”

A sound like the leaves make when a big wind blows through your yard came from the plant, “Of course not. I was just asking if you liked the taste of my berries?”

Ian shook his head back and forth in an effort to forcefully clear it. There was another rustling of leaves.

“I did not mean to scare you.”

“It’s ok.”

“Did you enjoy the berries?”

“Oh yeah,” Ian said, “That was the best berry I ever ate.”

The leaves below the red berry eyes shifted a bit to make a crease that looked a little like a smile. “Good, I do not get many people out here to try them.”

“People think the woods are haunted,” Ian said, “You might have scared them.”

“I hated to do it but I had to,” The plant-man said as he shrugged his leafy shoulders. “The wood cutters would have torn up my home if I had not tried to scare them away.”

“I am sorry,” Ian said, “I would never cut your trees.”

“Good, then you can come back if you like.”

“I was supposed to bring some berries back to my friends. Can I have some?”

The plant crossed its arms and tapped the bottom of its head with one leafy hand. “The berries will crush if you take them in that.”

Ian looked at the bag and then back at the berries. “Yeah,” he said, “they were way to juicy for me to take a bunch back.”

“I will allow you to take back two berries for each of your friends,” the plant said, “If you want more you will have to come back.”

“Ok”

Ian picked a few of the berries and dropped them into the bag. Once he was done he looked back at the plant man who was still standing there watching him. “I will go tell them what happened and ask them to come back.”

“You had better not tell them about me,” the plant said.

“Why not?”

“Because they will either not believe you or refuse to come out of fear.”

“Good point.” Ian nodded in agreement as he shifted back and forth. The plant might not have been dangerous but it was still kind of scary when he was alone.

“One thing,” the plant said, putting its hands on its hips. “If you are wanting to come back and get more berries then you need to bring me something to trade for them. I grew them, after all.”

“What do you want?”

“Bring water and plant food.”

“AAHHHH,” Ian said. “We can do that.”

The plant said, “Until next time, goodbye.” and then Ian watched the green man melt back into a cluster of briars.

The boy crawled out of the little gap in the briars, getting scratched as he went. Once he was outside, he rubbed the bloody line on his arm with a frown on his face before heading back to his friends. Ian was sure that they would love the berries.

While he walked away, the face of the green man watched him go. The mouth smiled with a row of leaves that were rolled up on the edge so that they looked like the smooth flat teeth of a man.

As the child got further away, the leaves unrolled, replacing the flat edges with jagged points that looked more like the teeth of a shark. A thorn covered limb snaked out and lapped around the lips in a gesture that looked like it was licking them.

“Soon,” the wind through the leaves whispered in its rustling voice. “Soon.”

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Cleveland

August 22, 2012 1 comment

One down, three to go.

Not the comment you might have expected from parents who were delivering their first child to college, but it is what we said to each other as my wife and I dropped our oldest off in Ohio.

This leads to a few comments about Cleveland. Not that I am going to say anything bad. I have to say that most of the people we met were polite and nice. Some even went all the way up to helpful, which I have to say, is a bit more than the average stranger that I have met around my home town. The wife and I have even commented on how rude some of the areas near our home have become. Little old ladies who will glare at you for being in their way as they drive down the middle of the lane, for example, have become the norm in one particularly red and white town near us. The thing I am wondering though is why the people of Cleveland were so nice. I have a hunch.

They were drunk.

I have never seen so many bars, pubs, lounges and taverns as what I saw driving around Cleveland. I know I am exaggerating, but I honestly felt like there was at least one place to drink every block. For those places that didn’t have an establishment that served alcohol, there was the convenience of buying from the local grocery store, quick mart, gas station or super shopping center.

Maybe Indiana is just more or a stick in the mud. We do still have dry days of the week, but I never thought I would be surprised by booze. I drink; I don’t have a problem with you drinking. Hell, if you are a happy drunk, I’m even ok being with you when you are drinking if I am sober. But how many bars do you need in a square mile?

Truth is that I might not have noticed if it weren’t for breakfast. The wife and I had dropped of our son the night before and were looking for a place to have breakfast the next morning. We found a small restaurant from a chain that we were not familiar with and decided to give it a go. The food was good and she loved the omelet. That is all fine and dandy.

The thing that got me though, was watching the waitresses make mimosas’. I have never been handed a breakfast menu that recommended a bloody mary or a mimosa for breakfast. I have never been one to drink in the morning. Watching the groups around us put these three quarters champagne drinks away as the means of starting their day got a bit of a chuckle out of me.

Until I started reading the names on the signs for businesses on the way to my son’s new apartment. Good lord, how many places to drink does one city need?

Then again, they were nicer and more polite than some of the places around here, so who am I to judge.

L. E. White

Burn

I like to drink. Some people think I am a funny drunk and others say I am a mean drunk, but the truth is that they are both wrong. I am never drunk. I don’t get to feeling light headed or sleepy or relaxed. I don’t notice a difference.

I drink because I like the taste, the burn of the alcohol going down my throat. It makes me feel good but I don’t know why.

So I tried something new. I lit the alcohol first and then drank the shot. I wondered if it would make it burn more or not. I didn’t notice a difference.

That was when I realized that it was the fire that made me happy. I enjoyed the idea of the burn that I didn’t get. That was when I started ordering flambé.

The poor waitress burnt her arm. She screamed and cried and I took a deep breath and marveled at the smell. The burn made me; well, let’s just say I really enjoyed it.

So today is time for another first. I have a different waitress, a girl, barely old enough to serve me a drink. She thought she could drink me under the table, so I challenged her to shots after work and she took me up on it. We drank until she hit the floor and I carried her out to my car.

Now we are under a bridge in the middle of nowhere. She is still passed out, which is better for her. She is also soaked in whiskey from the two empty bottles that are now lying beside of her. I have my lighter in one hand and the other is busy. I struck the wheel, causing those fantastic little sparks to set the fuel ablaze and tossed the lighter into the air. It flickered as it arced away, a tiny comet in the pre-dawn light that filled me with a joyful tension.

I took deep, shuddering breaths. Trying to take in as much of the burn as I could, each breath sending a flare of burning ecstasy through me. This is so much better than just drinking the burn and I felt so happy, so complete.

It felt like hours before the fire went out and I collapsed in a spent heap while still leaning towards the slowly raising smoke of my first real happiness. I felt complete in a way that I had never felt before. I imagined that this was what great men felt like when they had accomplished what I had.

I had discovered my purpose in life. I now knew my place in the world.

Some men just want to watch the world burn. Most of them lack the courage of their convictions. I would not watch the world burn from an idle place. I would be a great man, sure in my destiny and complete in my focus.

Some men just want to watch the world burn, but I would set it on fire myself.

Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror

I really wish I had a clever title for this.

August 15, 2012 Leave a comment

So today, Wednesday, August 15th of 2012, I begin a new journey. One that I am excited to see begin. I will be leaving my home and driving my oldest child to another state to attend college. I am at a bit of a loss for words.

Yesterday, I went to work and my darling wife took my youngest child to his first day of Kindergarten. This will be the last first for us.

Yesterday, my daughter officially started High School.

Yesterday, my middle son started second grade. I hope he hasn’t corrected his teacher yet.

Yesterday, my wife and I celebrated our 19th anniversary.

August is always hectic, it is always busy, and this year, it is emotionally charged in ways that it has never been before.

Good luck Shawn. Work hard and take care of yourself.

Good luck Ian. Remember that yours is the third door on the right and that you are supposed to be nice to the other children.

Good luck Connor. Remember to pick up your brother before leaving the school.

Good luck Emily. Be careful and tell that boy to stop looking at you. You have a father with a gun, a shovel and no sense of humor.

I love you dearest. I always will.

L. E. White

Good Old Days

I don’t know what to think of these kids today. I would swear that my sons have no sense of what it takes to survive. The little monsters just want to watch cartoons and play video games. Games are fun but there is a time and a place. This isn’t it.

“Turn. That. Off.”

He looks up at me with sullen eyes as he shuts his little game system. I would grab it out of his hands and smash it but they are expensive. I don’t want to be wasteful.

But this is important. Today is his first hunt. He hasn’t been out before and I realize that he doesn’t know what it takes. I have tried to teach him how important it is. To explain why he has to learn but kids today just don’t get it. So, like his older brother, I will take him hunting. I will ignore his boredom until we see something to shot at and then I will watch his eyes light up as he sights down the gun. I will watch the boredom drain out and be replaced by desire.

I will watch him fill with hunger.

We are lying on the ground beneath a pine tree. The needles are soft and as long as you lie still you won’t get poked. He is just like his brother, fidgeting and hissing every time another needle pokes into him. He will learn.

The tree is low to the ground, offering better cover than a tree stand and keeping us protected from the elements. If it starts snowing, we won’t be leaving because of cold and wet. This is one of the best natural blinds I have ever found.

The trail in front of us is heavily traveled. I pointed out the droppings and prints as we walked in but my boy didn’t seem all that interested. A few years ago, we walked this same trail in the spring. I pointed out the same things and he stared in fascination. I remember stopping his hand when he reached forward to disturb one of the little piles of waste. “We don’t touch that, it’s dirty,” I had told him, mimicking his mother’s voice a little. Today, he almost rolled his eyes when I pointed these things out.

All that will change in a little bit.

He has a gun of his own; an ancient shotgun that my grandfather used to teach my father to hunt. Dad had used it to teach me just like I used it today. The two of us were sitting in a circle of heavy briars that he had enjoyed hunting in when it had started raining that first time. I will never forget sitting in the rain for an hour as we waited for something to come through. I had been sure that we were the only things foolish enough to be out in the rain but Dad had been sure that we would see something.

He was right.

I heard it before my boy shifted again, the crack of leaves being stepped on. He might not have heard the sound, but he knew it when I tensed up. I listened to his heart beat speed up and saw him raise the gun. He was aimed at the trail and focused on where it was pointing. While I realized that something could have walked by on any side of the tree I wasn’t going to say anything yet. I didn’t him making noise by whipping his head around.

The steps were slow, I wasn’t sure what was coming but I was sure that it was moving with caution. Either it had spotted something else, or it had heard the rustling noises that my son had been making. If we stayed quiet and patient, our quarry would still walk by. Most animals aren’t smart enough to just turn tail and run if they didn’t see you.

Ten minutes later, I saw our target. The soft brown of its coat shifted with each step and the ears twitched as they independently sought out sounds of predators and prey.

I smiled as my little boys eyes widened with the excited fear of a true hunter. He was feeling the thrill of seeing his prey and experiencing the fear of missing his shot. When his eyes darted over to me I nodded to the gun, giving him a slight, silent sign to go ahead. Giving him my consent to grow up a little bit today.

The only problem with this blind is that the branches and needles help hold the sound in. The old gun roared as a he squeezed the trigger and my ears were ringing from it. I don’t know if he watched or not but I saw the animal twitch as it felt the first sting of his shot. I then watched in amazement as it fell over.  My oldest hadn’t managed to kill his first in one go and neither had I.

My boy, no, my little man, is almost dancing in his excitement to go out and check his shot. He is babbling questions as fast as he can speak, asking if I saw it and if he really got it. I hold him back to be sure that it is dead. I don’t want to slip out and find it just stunned. These things can be dangerous to begin with, much less if it’s wounded.

A minute or two pass and it is still just lying there. So we slip out, weapons ready in case it is just stunned, but they aren’t needed. The thing is shuddering as they always do when they die, twitching all over.

“I got it Dad. I got it!”

We stand there, watching the fur fall out and the claws pull back as a literal walking nightmare passes on. The legends aren’t true, werewolves don’t transform back and forth with the moon. They are walking monsters until they die, then you get to see who they were. The great werewolves of the northern world are ferocious, powerful and dangerous.

And in this case, still able to be killed by a young hunter on his first hunt.

“You did real good. Your mom is going to be proud of you.”

We go home. Him bouncing and talking ninety miles a minute while I smile or nod as needed. I would love to tell him to calm down, or to take it easy, but I won’t ruin this by making him behave. He earned the right to talk as much as he wants.

He runs in to tell his mother, to share his glory. I am gathering the guns when I notice his video game. It has fallen out of his pocket and in his excitement he left it in the truck.

I leave it there too and head in to listen to how much bigger the wolf has gotten as he tells his family what he has done.

Categories: Flash Fiction, Random

Another page in my family history

August 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Time isn’t like boiling water. It still flies away, even if you watch it.

My daughter is about to start high school. She is way to pretty for my sanity. Guns don’t kill people, fathers with pretty daughters kill people.

My littlest is starting kindergarten and the next one is starting second grade. The house will be empty all day, every day. I am excited and yet I also recognize this mile marker as the one way ride that it is. Our last first day of school. The rest of the first days are just another year. This is the last real first day we will get.

My oldest, my first-born, my heir.

Yeah, him. He starts college. We will be moving him to school next week. With fresh towels and sheets, his own grill and a deep hope that he will get his butt up and get to class on time every day.

I feel old. Plain and simple. I am watching time go by and wanting to grab it by the tail to hold it in place.

But I can’t.

L. E. White

Headache

The pain is coming back. A low humming that is felt behind the ears. Too bad it won’t stop there.

Soon, it can be felt across the back of my head. Like the band that holds your earphones together for those big, noise cancelling headsets, the kind that radio people wear. The band is complete but not across the top of your head, instead it runs around the back, connecting your ears.

Once it is there, the pain starts to move up, a slow, crawling sensation that hurts as it goes. A trail of pain that covers your scalp is left in its passing, kind of like the slime that a slug leaves if it crawls across your windshield. I can’t even comb my hair without feeling like I am pulling it out. Every now and then, I look down at the comb to be sure.

It takes days for this to reach its end. I always fight against it, trying not to let it get to me but I also know better than to believe that I will be able to resist. I know that the pain will continue to crawl over me until it gets behind my eyes. No medicine has ever helped, even though I have taken them all. I know that is when it will hurt the worst and I know, I know, I know that that is the time when my mind will go blank. That is when I will disappear and that is when I will sleep.

I will sleep for a day or two. I won’t remember anything. I will wake up thirsty and hungry. I will come to and I won’t know where I am, only that I have to go to the bathroom so bad that I will stumble and pray I don’t have an accident on the way to the closest toilet.

That is also when I will see myself in the mirror. Unshaven, unkempt and blood covered.

I have never yet managed to remember who the blood came from, but I know I won’t be hurt. There will be no wounds, and for a few days, there will be no pain.

Then, the pain will come back, and this will all happen again.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Trying to get productive

August 1, 2012 Leave a comment

I finally managed to finish the most dreadful portion of my current work project. I have been working with my team to write the testing process. A bunch of documents that nobody wants to read which everybody hates to write.

But now that is done. That stage is behind me and hopefully it will stop sucking the life out of my writing. The last few weeks have been well beyond not productive. With the issues of life in general and the draining effects of work I was worthless.

Here is to not being worthless anymore.

So I will be working on a new short story for submission to an anthology. I will be working on my novel again, trying to put more words down so that I can make my goal of finishing a novel this year. The worst part is that it is all a BICHOK issue. I am the problem, so I must change to be the answer.

Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard.

L. E. White

Run Between the Rain Drops

Sam stood at the window and watched as the clouds cam toward him. There would a storm soon and it could be his last. So he watched; looking at the living clouds. Roiling and writhing with the force of that Mother Nature had built into it. He watched and tried to find the beauty in it that Amanda always had but he failed.

Tears found silent paths down his face as he thought of her. Running and dancing in the rain, singing and teasing and even stripping in an effort to entice him outside with her. This had been one of her favorite things in the world and Amanda had always wanted to share it with him. “To share her love with her love,” she had said.

The two of them had watched those witchy paranormal shows because she loved them. It was on one of those shows that had said that fairies could only enter our world from the tween, the places that are in between. It had also said that the fairies could only get you if you were in the tween. She had loved that episode.

“So where are all the fairies then? Why don’t they just come here more often?”

“I don’t know,” she had said as she gave him a playful poke in the belly. “Maybe they don’t know because they don’t have cable.”

Maybe they had been eaten by the monsters. Sam didn’t know but he had guessed that someone got the monsters a cable subscription. They had learned about traveling in the tween.

He wondered if they had heard someone make a joke about running between the rain drops.

Amanda had been dancing in the rain; wearing white and dancing dirty to pull him out into the rain with her. She was going to win, dragging that thin, wet t-shirt over her head as the monster stepped out of nothing. Her arms were up and her head was covered when it ran its hand through her back. Sam had watched his wife’s heart pop out from between her rain-soaked breasts without seeing the look on her face.

She hadn’t screamed, but he had.

Now, Sam might be one of the last people on earth. The monsters kept coming and they were relentless. He had heard the news that they were coming out of thin air in doorways and from gaps in buildings. They came from between and killed anything they could reach.

It had been weeks. Sam had done his best to protect himself and had started carrying an axe for protection. The rotting arm in his front doorway was proof that it worked. They could be cut and he hoped that it had died in pain.

This wasn’t living though. He was hungry and he was heartbroken. So as the rain began to fall, Sam prepared himself, gripping the axe and walking out into the yard.

All he wanted was to take one of them down before he went to see Amanda dance again.

Categories: Uncategorized