Archive

Archive for December, 2012

Learning to write a little beside the rules

December 26, 2012 Leave a comment

I recently discovered a call for submissions to a one sentence anthology. Each story could be no more than 350 words long but it had to consist of only a single sentence.

I know I can write a run on sentence, but not breaking them up proved to be a lot harder than I had expected. My efforts to keep what I write from running on and carrying my mind away are, at least partially, working. This was a lot harder than I expected.

One of the biggest things I noticed was that I would lose the thread of what I was trying to write when I tried to carry things on without breaking them up. How this is possible, I just don’t know. You would think that keeping a sentence together would lend itself to carrying on the same thought better than breaking it up but in my case that just isn’t how it worked.

The submission guidelines also stated that each author could submit up to three pieces. I wrote six, so that I could select what I thought were the best three of the group.

By the time this post goes up, the submission period will be closed. If you would be interested in seeing it, and the examples that they posted, you can go to, http://www.mbennardo.com/index.htm and look around or go directly to the blog post at, http://www.mbennardo.com/blog/2012/12/open-submissions-one-sentence-stories/

While the post says that I can post my submission on here, I want to wait until I hear something to post the three that I submitted. However, I have no problem sharing the other three with you now. I hope you enjoy them.

L. E. White

#1 Rambling Fear

I sit here now, to tell you of things that ought not to be mentioned in polite and civilized conversation,  and find my tongue struggling to select those words which will best describe to you, dear listener, the depths of darkness and despair to which this tale will fall; for fall it will and in so doing, we see not the lengthening of shadows or the spilling of blood, but rather the subtle symmetries and distinct junctions that have forever separated the beauty of mathematics and the extraction of true essence from the common mind and in so doing, leave the outer realms, those of dreaming, nightmare and vision, beyond the contemplation of the narrow, closed-minded and strictly scientifically minded individuals who do not partake in the pursuit of those things, for things they must be considered, which shall be forever unnamed by men and yet shall be sought out by formula complex and alien, that they may, on no more than their own merit, suffer the attentions of, not darkness, though without doubt that word does seem to fit, but rather the progenitor of darkness, and in this telling, I hope to impress upon you the folly of seeking that which is unnamed; for in names, there is power and in the naming, a measure of control, such that the unnamed is also that which may not be controlled, and in that case, is the only consistent, undeniable and unchanging force which we know, remembering that in man, the most fearful and dangerous thing is fear of the unknown, which is exactly, dear friend, what has been released.

 

#2 Without

It was difficult to keep my focus on what I had to do, but that is to be expected when one is faced with the prospect of a grim and terrible death the way that I am as I chant and work, raising the power, casting the spell, opening the gate to a dark, quiet and hollow land that sits beside our world without actually being a part of it, an alternate world that is only seen in deepest dreams by a special few but that I discovered and learned, oh cursed knowledge, about in my nightmares while losing the ignorant bliss that would have kept me from allowing these things that wiggle and twist their way into our world through this magical portal, and in allowing them to come here, I am killing everyone and everything because I can’t bear to see the rest of you enjoy the happiness of daily life without her beside me to hold my hand, breathe my name and look into my eyes; so I will do what no other has done, I will share my pain with the world, allowing everyone to suffer as I do because I am, at heart, to selfish to go on without her while all of you have each other.

#3 Gift Wrapped

As Tammy rolled out the paper, she thought back to other Christmases, to other gifts that she had wrapped and to the happy surprise of her family as the opened up exactly what they wanted; it didn’t matter if it was a new bike, or a new set of golf clubs, Tammy went to great lengths to be sure that Santa never disappointed, that he never came close and that he never almost got it right; no, for her family, only a perfect gift would ever do which was why she now picked up the rose clippers and walked over to the struggling form of the pretty young secretary that her husband had been screwing for the past couple of weeks, though he didn’t know that Tammy knew about it, and sheared off one of her fingers, carrying it back to put it into a little black box before setting it on the paper and neatly forming sharp creases so that the corners of the package would look crisp and professional; the packages had to look good, even though there were over a dozen of the boxes to be filled and wrapped, because when it came to gift giving, to really giving the gift that someone obviously wants, the presentation was almost as important as the contents.

 

Advertisements
Categories: Flash Fiction, Writing

Review – Game of Thrones

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

I have heard it before. Over and over friends have said the same thing. I can’t count the number of times we have heard this in the last couple of years.

“You guys should watch Game of Thrones. You’re gonna love it.”

And now I have to admit that they were right.

The wife and I went out with friends this last weekend and heard about the show again. All of the same points about why we would love it and as usual, I said that I would try to remember it. The difference was that this time I did remember it. So we found season one and gave the first episode a try.

I was hooked the moment I saw the White Walkers. Fantasy monsters had me. I believe the wife was hooked at the discovery of the Dire Wolves. My daughter, I think she got caught up in the Stark girl that wanted to be queen, but I could have that wrong. As the Hand of the King said, “War was easier than daughters.”

I know that everyone has raved about the series. The books are famous and I understand why, it’s just that I haven’t had enough time to sink into a long fantasy series. However, this is really good.

So, for those who have seen it, you’re right, I love it. For those who haven’t, everyone else is right, you should be watching this.

L. E. White

Bullseye

The shaft of the arrow was smooth. It slid under the cold, wind cracked skin of my fingertip without a sound. The only noise was that special one that the bow made. A tiny groan as the string shifted and the wooden arms flexed. It was the sound of my bow preparing to throw the steal tipped timber towards my target.

Every time I heard it, I felt goose flesh crawl down my spine in anticipation.

As a child, I had grown up with stick and string in hand. My father had been an archer in the King’s army and a hunter outside of it. We made our way in the world by selling meat and fur.

I took to his trade with smiles and joy. It wasn’t that I enjoyed killing, but shooting. To place an arrow into the air was my greatest joy. I practiced as much as I could, learning the art of fletching and bow making when I could not shoot, so that I could care for the tools of my trade. Our bows were legendary, but never for sale. Neither of us bothered to make bows to sell, for I had inherited my love of archery from my father. We were not craftsman.

We were archers.

Many times, the elk and deer we had shot decorated the tables of the king. Many times, the enemies of our king had died before they ever reached the line because our arrows stood quivering in their chests.

The king had praised our skills and paid us well. He admired our work and personally offered my father commissions and honors. Each time, my father said that he was no more than an archer. Each time, he swore his loyalty to the crown and swore to leave the hunt to defend the realm. Yet, in truth, each time he refused his king. Each and every time, he chose our freedom over the king’s gold.

The king called us to his castle and asked that we hunt with him. A high honor to some though we did not speak of it as such. In his simple way, my father said he would be happy to hunt with our king, and that was his undoing.

The king was growing older, and his arm was not as sure as it had once been. Our monarch’s sharp eyes had dulled over the years and his ears did not hear as clearly as he remembered. When we out shot him, both his prized archer and the man’s son, the lord of our land became angry.

Like many a spoiled child, the king could not accept that he had been beaten by age and practice. He claimed that our bows were the secret and demanded that my father make him one.

My father was a simple man. He was not quick or wit and this may have been the thing that caused his death.

My father refused, saying that he did not have time to fashion a bow with the winter hunting season approaching. Our king flew into a rage. He commanded his men to drive arrows through my father’s hands and then tied him by those arrows to one of the horses. As soon as the king bellowed, “seize them,” I had hidden. I watched what happened, crying in silence so that the soldiers who were searching for me wouldn’t hear me. None of those pondering clods would ever find me in the woods.

I was almost a man when that hunting trip began. I am sure I was a man afterward. I stole through the woods in the night and headed to the south; away from my home and on to another future.

I spent years making bows and arrows. I built and crafted until the caves I had claimed for my home were filled. Then, I made my way to an archery tournament held in the land of our neighbors.

I won.

I stood before a king whose men had once died to my father’s aim, and declared my heritage. I offered my bow to that king. I told him of what had happened, and offered my bow, all of my bows, to help him expand his kingdom, if he but decided to ride north first.

Today, I stand in front of my old king. His army fell to a sky full of arrows that I had made. Arrows shot from the bows that I had crafted. He kneels in front of me, groveling for his life, but I do not hear him. My arm is steady as I listen to the music of my bow being drawn.

Categories: Fantasy, Flash Fiction, Review

Review – I am Legend

December 12, 2012 Leave a comment

I am not really one of those people who worry about watching something right when it comes out. If I hear bad reviews of a movie, I might never bother to watch it. Every now and then, I miss something good because of this.

I think “I am Legend” is one of the movies that I missed. This movie is old enough that the spoilers in this almost shouldn’t be listed as spoilers.

In case you don’t remember, “I am Legend” is an apocalypse story starring Will Smith. A doctor has modified a virus in an effort to cure cancer and inadvertently turns mankind into a monster between a zombie and a vampire.

Smith plays the part of one of the survivors. A military medical researcher who is one of the 1% of the population that is immune to the mutated virus in its killing and its mutating forms.

I heard a lot of bad things about this movie, people on the net saying that it wasn’t good because Smith wasn’t able to pull off the parts of it where he is alone. However, I was happy with the performance. I think he did a fine job.

I was a little disappointed with the ending. I was expecting something besides his self sacrificing death but it worked. Nothing wrong with it, just not what I felt was coming. However, the ending wasn’t far enough out of left field to make it a surprise.

The only part of the film I took exception with was the suicide mission. After losing his canine companion, Smith’s character goes out and fights the mutated, using an SUV as his primary weapon. This portion disappointed me as I didn’t feel it was in character. I understand the hopeless factor that they were going for, the desperation that forces someone to give up, I just didn’t like it. That and the way the fight itself was written didn’t appeal to me. The location he chose being the primary problem.

All in all, a good movie. I enjoyed it and might even watch it again. If you haven’t seen “I am Legend”, and you enjoy zombie or apocalypse movies then I think you will enjoy this one. Not great, nothing genre defining, but enjoyable.

L. E. White

Movie Night

Shawn looked at the book or more specifically the picture of a man on all fours biting the throat of some woman. The black and white image was grainy and blurred, most likely due to the age of the book. It had been printed long enough ago that he doubted there were digital scanners in use.

For a little town with a serious racist streak and a bible thumping reputation, a full set of the “Encyclopedia of the Occult” in the school library seemed out of place. He wondered if the librarian was more open minded or if maybe the little old ladies in the PTA just didn’t know the books were there.

For a city kid who had been taken in by his aunt and uncle, this town was a drag. There wasn’t a place to skate without the cops escorting you home and nobody had any idea about the important things in life. Clothes, music and attitude were all at least twenty years behind what he liked to think of as the civilized world.

That, and if you weren’t a jock, your life in school was hell.

He had been bullied, punched and picked on since he got here. None of the girls realized how cool he was and he doubted they would figure it out in the next year and a half before he would turn eighteen and be able to leave.

So this is what Shawn’s life had turned into, sitting alone in the library at lunch to avoid the other boys. He felt pathetic as he brushed the long bangs of blonde hair behind his ear.

“I like that picture too.”

Shawn jumped, he hadn’t realized that the girl had walked up and now he looked like a puss. He looked up at here and tried not to frown. She was tiny, flat and skinny with short brown hair. He had no idea who she was but since she wasn’t pushing a cart around he guessed that she wasn’t a library assistant. That meant she was one of the losers who always hung out in the library at lunch.

She stepped closer and put her tiny, pale hands on the back of a chair. “Do you like the whole series or just that picture?”

Oh God, Shawn thought as he looked at her. Why couldn’t she be at least cute? “I ummmm just grabbed what was beside me.”

She wasn’t making eye contact. “Oh, I thought you might be interested in this kind of stuff. Nobody else ever looks at these.”

“Not really,” he said. Shawn tried to be too cool to talk to her but he had to admit that it was nice to at least have one person talk to him without being a douche. The problem was that if he started being nice, this might make things ever worse. “I like horror movies and stuff but this …. Yeah.”

“You like horror movies?”

Crap, he thought, I don’t want to start being seen with this much of a spaz. He just nodded, looking back down at the book.

“I do too,” she said, “My name is Nancy.”

Shawn just nodded and half smiled. “Shawn.”

She stood there for a couple of seconds of awkward silence before she whispered, “Bye,” and darted away.

***

Shawn risked going to the lunch room after meeting Nancy and was rewarded with a roll in the back of the head. Good God these red necks were a waste of space. He didn’t want to hang out in the library any more but it was better to put up with a nerdy girl than to deal with the D-bags from whatever team they were on. So today he was back at his table.

He was watching the stacks and saw Nancy dart between a couple of shelves. Shawn was sure she had seen him and he frowned as he thought of dealing with her. He was sure this school sucked more than any other he could have attended.

“Hi.”

He nodded to Nancy without looking up.

“Can we join you.”

Shawn looked up at the word “we” and found two girls standing to his left. Nancy was there, still looking like her mother had done a bad job making her clothes, with an arm full of books and a big case that he knew was for some musical instrument.

The other one wasn’t all that much different. As they sat down, the dishwater blonde with pasty makeup and no tits was introduced as Mary.

Mary was the prettiest, not that it was any compliment, and she started talking since she was obviously the alpha of the pair. “So Nancy told me she had met you here and that you were talking about horror movies?”

Shawn looked at her and nodded, she seemed worthless, but considering his prospects so far, maybe she wasn’t that bad.

“We like horror movies too,” She said. “In fact, we were planning on getting together and watching a bunch tonight.”

Shawn nodded once more. It was like a train wreck. He could see it coming and he didn’t think there was any way it was going to get better.

“You want to join us?”

“I don’t know.”

Mary grinned; it made Shawn think of those books that describe someone as predatory. “Thing is, just horror movies aren’t that much fun by themselves. You have to get out of your head to really enjoy them.”

Now Shawn looked up. Those words seemed like a different sort of invitation. He was wondering if maybe this chapter of the Geek Squad might have some good party favors.

Mary smiled, her face creasing with a massive set of dimples. Nancy looked a little flushed but she kept her eyes down. “Once we can really relax, then ‘Movie Night’ gets fun.”

Shawn looked at them. Neither had a clean complexion or any figure to speak of. Despite that, there wasn’t an eighteen year old boy in the world who wouldn’t think about a stoned threesome no matter what they looked like.

“When and where?”

Mary’s smile got bigger and Nancy blushed a little. Shawn tried not to think about it much as the girls gave him a time and an address.

“See you,” they both said as they stood up and left.

***

“Where the hell am I?” Shawn said as he looked at the map on his phone again.  He had been driving around the little pin on the map for fifteen minutes and he hadn’t found the house yet. This wasn’t really a subdivision, it was more of a sprawling collection of homes. They didn’t look uniform and they weren’t packed in to fit as many houses as possible into one small area. It was almost a small town of its own.

Shawn looked up after turning around in another cul-de-sac and saw a light where the front door had opened. The front porch light turned on and then Nancy stepped out and waved.

“Bout fucking time,” Shawn said as he pulled up in front of the house and killed the engine.

“We wondered if you were lost,” Nancy said. She was wearing short and a half shirt that would probably have kept his attention on another girl. On Nancy, she just looked like a little boy.

Shawn grunted and walked in past Nancy, stopping just inside the door to look around. “Whoa,” was the only word he managed. The house looked normal on the outside, but inside it was all wood, dark and polished so that it looked like it had been through a fire and then cleaned up. There were all sorts of stuffed animals lining the walls and three was even a full size polar bear standing at the end of the entry way.

“My father loves to hunt,” Nancy said as she shut the door and walked past Shawn. “Just wait until you see the family room.”

“So this is your house?”

She smiled over her shoulder and then led the way to the family room. “Yeah, my folks our out of town and Mary is staying with me.”

The family room was filled with animals. All kinds of birds were mounted on one wall as if they were flying away. Deer, Elk and Moose heads were on the other side of the room. The big thing though was that there were bears in every corner, each one a different type.

The couch faced a gigantic fireplace. Shawn expected to see a bear skin in front of it but when he looked there furry rug was narrow. Heads came out of either side and when he looked closer Shawn realized the rug was a collection of wolves. Each one was laid out beside the other to form a catwalk style carpet leading to the hearth.

“Wow.”

“You can say that again.” Nancy came down the stairs and joined them beside the rug. She must have just gotten out of the shower because she had a towel wrapped around her head.

“You stay here a lot?” Shawn asked as he looked around. When he turned to look at Mary he realized that she wasn’t wearing a bra. She had put a white t-shirt on while she was still wet so that it was clinging to her body. She wasn’t impressive, but Shawn still got caught staring.

“All the time,” Mary said with a smile. “We have been friends forever and we stay together all the time.” She twisted her foot and looked Shawn up and down before just staring a little below the logo on his t-shirt.

“So, um, where are we gonna watch the movie?” Shawn asked. Turning away and fighting the heat that he felt in his cheeks.

“The TV is in that cabinet,” Nancy said, pointing to a large wooden cabinet off to the side of the fireplace.

The girls grabbed drinks and popcorn while Shawn sat down on the couch. When they came back, they flopped down on either side of him and turned on the show. It was an old werewolf movie, but at least Shawn didn’t mind watching “The Howling” again.

Shawn was putting beers away pretty fast and the girls just kept giggling as the movie went along. The characters were in ‘Flow’ and the husband was getting it on with the werewolf lady when Shawn felt a hand on his leg. He looked down to see Mary touching his leg and then looked up into her smiling face.

“I love this part,” she said,  moving her hand up and down his thigh. “Don’t you?”

Shawn nodded, drunk enough not to care how pretty she wasn’t. He was about to shift toward her when he felt another touch on his other leg.

“I think this is my favorite part too.” Nancy said as she imitated Mary’s movements.

All Shawn could do was to smile and relax. He spread his arms out and put one around each of the girls. “I think this might be the best part of the whole thing.”

“Naw,” Mary said as she raised up off the couch and stepped over onto the wolf skin rug. “It gets better.”

Nancy stood up and extended her hands to help the boy up off of the couch. “Lots better.”

“Wow, you’re strong,” Shawn said as the tiny girl almost popped him off of the couch. “How did you help me up so easy?”

Nancy giggled as Mary grabbed Shawn’s other side and they ushered him to the center of the wolf skins. He sat down and then laid back so that he could see the movie. The couple on screen were getting busy and the girls were helping him out of his shirt. Just as the close up on the werewolf lady’s transformed eyes went across the screen Shawn’s world went black for a moment, covered by his shirt. Once it was off, two small hands pressed him back onto the fur.

“This is actually the best part,” Mary said. On screen, the werewolf bit into the drunken man, tearing into his shoulder with long, white teeth.

Shawn felt hot breath on his shoulder and his stomach as the girls leaned over him. Maybe this will be worth it, he thought.

He gasped in a breath as his shoulder exploded into pain. His beer driven haze was blown away as he fought against the tiny girl that was biting his shoulder. Shawn grabbed her hair to try and pull her away, ripping out a small chunk for his efforts. Nancy jerked out his grip and turned away. Shawn put his hand on his shoulder and felt a warm, wetness cover his palm. The boy started to raise his hand up to look at it when he felt something wet on his stomach.  The trailing sensation of being licked felt so out of place that he looked down to see Mary.

She pulled her head away after the lick and turned her face to Shawn. The girl’s eyes had turned bright amber and when she smiled he saw a mouth filled with sharp teeth. Her voice came out low and rasping, “This is the best part.”

 

Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror, Review

Short and Sweet

December 5, 2012 4 comments

This week is very short. We are getting ready for Christmas as a family, planning to celebrate Yule with some friends, just normal stuff.

Oh yeah, and my water line broke.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I detest digging holes. I have no interest in carving through Indiana clay for the three feet that keeps my off of the actual water line.

I do have a new idea for my farm though, so if anyone knows anything about clay mining, I would love to hear from you.

This crap sticks to everything.

I was so happy to be digging and then filling that hole back in that I could have urinated rainbows and defecated lolly-pops.

After typing that, I will now have to give a creepy smile every time I offer someone candy.

L. E. White

Candy

The kids are getting ready to go out for the night. Putting on wigs and makeup. They have empty bags and hopeful expressions. Each one is ready to say those three little words that will make tonight magical.

“Trick or Treat.”

Behind closed doors, parents and little old women are filling baskets with sweets of one sort of another. Most of them consider this a perfect chance to see everyone out having a good time.

I am sitting with my basket. I am looking at a photo of my child, the round faced little girl who I brought into this world.

They teased her. Called her names and treated her like dirt. They were real monsters, their actions made them worse than the costumes they will put on tonight.

She was so kind. I remember watching her nurse baby birds and bunnies as I pick up another candy bar and stick the hypodermic needle into it.

I remember walking out to the tree house to call her in to dinner. The warm summer night after she had went to the county fair. She wanted to run around by herself, a little bit of independence for a girl who had just reached double digits in age.

I remember see her hanging from the rope. I will never forget that.

The note didn’t say anything, it just asked why everyone hated her.

As I push the plunger, and one CC of the liquid slides into the candy, I smile.

Every child that rings my bell and says, “Trick or Treat”, is going to wonder why I laugh, hold out the bowl and say to them.

“Trick.”

 

Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror, Random