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An idea for breaking out of a rut

July 30, 2014 Leave a comment

So, a friend that I was discussing lest weeks post with had, what might be, a really good idea. He suggested that I should start forcing my writing into different genres. I write a lot of stories where monsters happen, I should start writing something different.

I like this idea. I am going to give it a try next month. Now, if you have an opinion, please feel free to share it.

This weeks story was testing using the Hemingway Editor that Jon Jefferson suggested. I love this site. It is easy to use and catches passive voice, which is something I am horrible at finding. If the writing on here does improve, we all have Jon to thank for it.

This weeks story ran long, breaking the thousand word mark. I hope you enjoy it.

L. E. White

Shift

(because no better name came to mind)

He wore cowboy boots even though he had never been on a farm. The heels made him taller, and in his mind, he believed that they turned his walk into a swagger.

The girls at the dance club just laughed at him.

He spent four hours trying to get some attention from any of them. He knew it would be hard, being a little older than they were. Now that they were college girls, five years shouldn’t have mattered. He believed that they should view him as worldly.

“Would you like a drink?”

The blonde turned to look at him and her eyes bulged. Her mouth puckered and twisted. Her nose flared with her effort not to laugh out loud at him as she lifted her eyes up to his. “No. No thank you.”

“Oh come on, wouldn’t a little company be better than sitting alone?” He tried to smile out of one side of his mouth, like that actor in the action movies.

She snorted before clearing her throat. “What’s your name?”

“Thomas,” he said. “Thomas Greene.”

“Well Thomas Greene,” she said while swiveling on her bar stool to face him. “I would rather be alone the rest of the year than to sit here drinking with someone like you.”

He had plenty of experience with getting rejected, that was the story of Thomas’s life, but she didn’t need to be mean about it.

“Good luck Loser,” she said while hopping down from the stool. “You are so going to need it.”

He narrowed his eyes and his lip pulled back from his teeth a little bit. It was all he could do to keep from snarling at her. To keep from lashing out.

“Hey buddy, I think it’s time for you to leave.”

Thomas turned around and looked up at the man standing behind him. “Why,” he asked. “All I did was ask her name.”

“You been doing that all night. Ain’t no girl liking it. I had one complaint and you was looking at her like you meant to do something stupid. Time to go.”

The bouncer was at least six inches taller than Thomas and about fifty pounds heavier. Thomas thought he had a shot, but then he noticed two other bouncers walking up. He wasn’t so sure about three, so he nodded and turned to leave.

The blonde was standing beside the door talking to some preppy guy with his collar turned up. As Thomas walked past he heard her say. “I’m Clare Ames. Nice to meet you.”

He tried not to stomp as he walked by.

***

Thomas was sitting in front of his computer, again. He was alone, again. He was mad and frustrated, again.

He hated his life.

Social networking wasn’t the same. Even then, he almost never managed to talk to anyone enough to even think of them as his friend.

He mopped his face with his hand, wiped his hand on his shirt, and looked at the search bar. Clare Ames, was easy to find.

He started looking through the pictures she shared. Every time he saw something he thought was important, he wrote it down on the paper beside him.

After a few minutes, he knew that she had an apartment off campus. Then, an app on her phone updated, showing that she had arrived at a restaurant by the river.

“I doubt that.” Thomas stood and pulled off his shirt. He stepped up to the mirror and took a long look at himself. “Time to show Clair who is a loser and who isn’t.” He turned to his open window and jumped towards it.

An owl hooted as it headed north, towards the river.

***

The big bird found two cars parked in the lot, but there wasn’t anyone in either of them. It circled the lot twice before swooping down to land on the gate post to the public access ramp.

A fat, dark grey, cat jumped off the post, and headed towards a path on the left.

As it went, the sounds of whispering grew louder. Before it turned a bend that led to a picnic area, the whispering changed to a muffled moan.

The cat sped up.

There was some kind of blanket spread out on the grass, making a big, light square on the dark ground. The guy Clare had been talking to was resting on the table, the half naked girl wrapped around him like a hospital gown.

The cat sat down and watched as the people did their thing. Every now and then, it would nod when she made a loud noise or changed positions. It didn’t take long, maybe five or six minutes all together, before they split apart and the guy started putting his clothes back on.

“That was great,” Clare said. She was lying on the table, arms spread wide, staring up at the stars.

“Glad you liked it,” the guy said.

“Maybe we could get together again sometime?”

“Sure,” he said as he started walking towards the path. “I’ll give you a call tomorrow.”

She lifted up onto her elbows and watched him disappear down the path. “I didn’t give you my number,” she said before flopping back to look at the stars some more.

Thomas didn’t move. He sat, naked and cross-legged, where the cat had been a moment earlier. He took a deep breath and sighed. Revenge wasn’t his answer.

There was a soft sound in the clearing and Clare sat up. She looked around, and then reached into the pile of clothes above her head to grab her phone. She clicked on the flashlight, and a pair of amber eyes reflected its light back at her.

“Hi kitty. I hope you are having a better night than I am.”

The cat meowed once, then turned and darted away from the clearing. Clair turned her phone off and stretched back out. “Yeah,” she said. “Everyone else leaves me alone out here. Why don’t you just leave too.”

***

The guy hopped into his car and rolled the windows down before backing out. The girl had been fun, but there was no way he would be calling some bar skank the next day.

When he wanted her, he would just go pick her up at the bar again.

He was speeding towards the highway, wondering if he would get back in time to order a pizza, when an owl came in the passenger window. Talons sank into his arm and wings smacked his face. He took his hands off the wheel, trying to cover his eyes while screaming and swatting at the bird.

As the car went off the road, the owl left through the skylight. The man’s scream was cut off by the sound of glass breaking and fiberglass splintering.

***

Categories: Flash Fiction, Links, Random

Stuck in the muck in the rut

July 23, 2014 2 comments

I submitted a flash fiction piece to Freeze Frame Fiction and it was rejected. The letter I received was one of the best rejections I have ever received. Freeze Frame included a few of their slush reader’s comments.

This brings up a few things that have been bothering me recently. One, this is one of the only finished pieces that I have for this year. I am working on editing a couple of stories, but I haven’t been writing enough new stuff. Can’t make it without writing it. I have to start finishing more of what I start. Now, this is something that only I can address. I can’t ask for help and I have to buckle down and be a professional. I need to get off my ass. In that spirit, I did just finish a new short that I will be submitting this week.

The other thing was the content of the comments. Tired, overdone, not tight enough and forced were all words that were used. After reading the pieces that they accepted for their inaugural issue, I have to agree. My piece wasn’t up to par.

But how do I address this? I post stories on this blog as a way to practice and try to foster a positive work habit. It is an exercise.

When does it stop helping?

At some point, just writing a small story a week isn’t doing me anymore good. How should I approach improving my writing from where I have gotten too?

I have had a few stories that I believe are professional quality, but I don’t think I have developed my style enough to do it consistently. I need to improve on this.

I would appreciate comments from anyone with an idea. I don’t need words of praise or a pep talk. It isn’t a matter of being down on my work. This is an issue of not knowing the best way to proceed from here. I can see the gap between my work and the selected works, but I don’t know how to get off the plateau that I think I have hit. If you have any ideas for someone who can’t afford to take writing classes at this time, I would love to hear them.

Today’s story is an older one. One that has been submitted a few places but never accepted. It has holes, but I think it is better than what I had. The piece I was trying to write for today just came out like sludge. It isn’t good, it isn’t interesting and it doesn’t deliver any punch at all. Lackluster is the only word I can think of to describe it. Therefore, it gets thrown into the bin.

Thanks for reading

L. E. White

The Clockwork Angel

We stood there looking at it with our mouths hanging open. Considering how long we stood there, every one of us should have choked on a fly. Stunned by the beauty, complexity and sheer size of it; not one of us could have formed a coherent thought; we just stood in silent amazement. Staring as our lights glinted off of the smooth surfaces of the prize we had discovered.

Neither Indiana Jones nor Benjamin Franklin Gates had anything on us. We had found the clues. We had made the connections and we had surrendered jobs, family, money, blood, sweat and tears to stand here. In a sense we had given our lives to be here.

We were in a room that was hundreds of feet tall and hidden below a little church in Greece. We were about three quarters of the way down the wall on a stone platform. The church was old and said to have been built on top of the site of an ancient shrine. The tunnel we had used to get here had been a carved spiral staircase that was connected to a crypt in the cemetery beside the Church. The platform had been carved out of the rock as the chamber had been cleared, a polished nightstand for a sleeping giant. There were a variety of metal bands laid into the floor and wall, forming an intricate pattern that looked similar to a modern circuit board.

The clockwork angel was enormous and made of something that looked like bronze. It knelt on the ground as if in a silent prayer. Spider webs as thick as a down comforter stretched over it, almost as if the arachnids had tried to hide this marvelous work of art.

“Are you ready to start it up?”

The other three looked at me with a mix of confusion and surprise. They had been in such awe of what we saw that it was as if they had forgotten what we planned to do in coming here. In an instant their confusion was replaced with excitement and anticipation. This was what we were here for. Each of us pulled out our key and began looking for its lock.

I looked at the tiny thing in my hand. An intricate metal disc with ancient writing carved into it. I had found this in a flea market in Indiana almost ten years ago. It was the pendant in a necklace that consisted of a leather thong that someone had threaded through one of the holes in the top. The seller had said he found it in a storage unit when he had cleaned it out. I gave the guy two bucks for it and started trying to figure out what the symbols were. From the moment I had looked at them I had thought that they were more than just pretty squiggles. So much time had been spent looking before I discovered that they were written in what was supposed to be Olympian. The Greeks had believed that their gods lived on Olympus. What almost nobody knew was that they had their own language that was unique from ancient Greek.

After years of searching, I had stumbled across a book that told of an ancient medium that had been given the language. His book had proved to be difficult to find. After months of searching I had discovered that the only known copy was in a university museum in France. While I was there trying to decipher the disc I had met Paul, the owner of another key. Paul’s family had been collectors of old crap for generations. I was looking for other old books when he saw my necklace. The discovery of the second puzzle piece had kept me going when I had been ready to give up. Over the years we had met Sam and then Emily. Each key held more clues to the nature of our quest. We continued researching for years with little success until about six months ago when Emily had found our breakthrough. The old map had named this hill the Daemons Perch.

Now I was here with the owners of the other three discs. We had pieced the riddles and clues together to get here. Each key was unique, meaning that there would be four places to put them on this platform to trigger the machine. According to what we had translated from the keys this was the daemon of hope; a gift from Hephaestus, the Greek god of the forge, to his people centuries ago.

I was following one of the metal bands set into the wall when Sam found the first of the key holes. There was a slot in the floor that separated one of the metal bands. Beside it was an inset metal plate with an etching of my disk.

We all helped him to wipe the dust and grime away from the spot. Once the crack was cleaned out I slipped the disk in and heard a click as it fit into place. There wasn’t any of the key above the floor for me to get a grip on if I tried to remove it. Just like that, it was gone.

It didn’t matter. Now that we knew what we were looking for we were all on our hands and knees searching for the places to put the other keys.

Sam’s key was the last and he smiled at all of us as he dropped it into place. After a moment or two of nothing happening a low vibration could be felt in the floor. There was a hum in the air that sounded like electricity in an old radio. Another minute and we could see the metal bands beginning to glow. We were all standing at the edge of the platform. The others started shinning their lights around to see what else was changing but I decided to turn mine off and get a better look at the glowing symbols.

As I peered into the darkness I could see the glow spreading along the metal bands that had been set into the walls. It was like watching water run down a window. The light crawled around and down the walls. As the minutes passed I moved to the wall to get a better look at the bands while the others stayed near the edge, watching as the light reached its way down to the angel. The bands in the walls were covered in the same cryptic writing that the disks had been. The symbols themselves were glowing brighter than the rest of the metal. I pulled a notebook out of my pocket and started to make a rubbing of one of the bands when we heard the shrieking of metal rubbing against metal and I dropped the paper from hands now slack with wonder.

I joined the others at the edge but was driven back by great jets of steam that sprayed up as the angel began to awaken. Grinding metal and clicking gears produced a deafening cacophony that could be compared to hundreds of railroad cars all crashing together. How the other three stayed at the edge of the platform I will never know, but I was pinned flat beside the entrance to the stairs as if I had been crucified right there on there that wall.

The great thing began to rise up. A single glowing symbol, Omega, stood out from the center of its massive forehead. As the magnificent winged machine stood the plates that made up its surface shifted, as if a shiver had caused goose flesh to spread across its skin. At every joint, great wheels and gears could be seen moving against one another. Springs, as small as my arm and as great as a bus, joined to the feathers of its wings to make hundreds of different angles to catch the winds. Everything about the giant was beautiful. The glowing light of the chamber even caused glinting lights to dance across the angels lines like lightning in a summer sky.

It stood straight, placing the platform at waist level. Wind and dust and great sheets of spider web buffeted us as the wings twitched a little. Watching this, you would have sworn that it was preparing to spread them out to fly. The mystic glow kissed its wings, sending a kaleidoscope of lights around the room. I was mesmerized to the point of paralysis. So fixed that I had forgotten to even breathe; gasping for air when my body demanded it.

Sam broke from his stupor at the edge of the platform and had the presence of mind to raise his camera and start snapping photos. The flash reflected off the angel and then again off the bands in the walls. The great head creaked and groaned as it turned to look down upon the platform where we stood.

The angel bent its knees to lower its great head closer to us. The idea of having this bronze titan looking down upon us was as terrifying as it was inspirational. After all these years we were face to face with a machine of legendary stature. This moment was humbling in a way that was beyond description.

It took a few seconds but then the moment was gone and the titan stood straight again. With one smooth and terrible motion the clockwork marvel raised its right hand up above the platform and swatted down like it was trying to kill a fly. To it, we may well have seemed like flies, there is no way to know, but in the second that it took for the monstrous mechanical marvel to slap the platform we were on Sam turned and looked at me in shock, not fear, but shock. I saw his face and realized what was happening with just enough time to take a step along the wall so that I stood in front of the doorway. One step in that one second was all the time that any of us had.

The gigantic hand hit the stone and knocked most of it off of the wall. My companions did no more than start to raise their voices before the sound was stopped and replaced by what could sounded like the god’s hammer breaking a stone. I was deafened by the noise and thrown backwards by the force of the blow. I hit the stairs and felt a single sharp blast of pain shoot down my legs before I felt nothing in them at all. I could see the odd angle between my knee and ankle. A bend in the leg where there was no joint but at that moment it didn’t matter. I was much too concerned with looking out at the metal monster that had just squashed my companions.

The angel didn’t seem to notice me so I drug myself the few feet to the edge of the doorway where the platform had just been. I could not stand so I lay down on the floor and turned to look up at the beast without poking my head out of the door. My fear was that it had seen me evade it but I had nothing to worry about. It did not bother to look back down; instead, it turned to look up the shaft. I watched in morbid fascination as it took hand holds on the other side of the chamber and began to climb towards the surface.

I drug my worthless carcass back to the stairs and started the long and exhausting climb to the surface. The light from the glowing metal wasn’t bright enough for the glow to extend into the stairwell so I climbed up through the suffocating darkness with no idea of how long it would be before I saw the sky again.

When I at last saw the light seeping in around the edges of the door at the top of the stairs I began to cry. A new burst of energy pushed through me and I struggled up the last of the steps. I drug myself out of the old crypt and thanked god when I saw the rising sun. We had broken into the crypt at night to try and avoid detection which meant that it had taken me all night to climb out of that hole. I pulled my way to the edge of the cemetery and propped my back against a stone so that I might see the town where we had rented rooms.

What I saw though was smoke and rubble. A few small fires burned in what had been the village but now there was nothing to speak of. Standing in the middle of that tiny hamlet was the angel. The clockwork beast towered over the remnants of the little town. It looked around as though it had lost a pen on the floor before its head to the side as though listening. The great bronze monstrosity drew its fist back and punched the ground. The strike came down with such force that it made ripples on the surface of a puddle a short distance away. Whatever, or whoever, it had heard was no more.

It spread those unbelievable wings and beat down with them. The force of the gale that those wings created was so strong that I felt it in my hair despite the distance that separated us. Rubble and what looked like bodies flew out in a great rolling cloud as the angel’s wing beats did the impossible and lifted its massive frame into the air. The sun reflecting off of it was blinding to the point that I had to close and shield my eyes. A moment later the glare was gone and I could look at the thing as it raised high into the air before flying to the east; towards the next closest town.

I sat there in shock at what we had done. The machine that was supposed to be the angel of hope from an ancient Greek god was now destroying everything in its path. I looked in brainless fascination at my bloody pant leg for few minutes before I realized that my blood was still leaking out. I had no idea how much blood I had lost and was too tired to care. I knew that my actions had caused this destruction. That I was responsible for all the lives which that thing would take before someone destroyed it. I was getting cold. I felt like I had been out camping in the morning frost. The last thing I thought before a sleepy darkness claimed me was that the symbol on the angel had been appropriate in its irony.  Omega was the end.

 

Categories: Fantasy, Writing

Keyboard Power

July 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Keyboard Power.

This is a webcomic and article from http://what-if.xkcd.com/

The premise for the site is that people send in unusual scientific questions and then the answer is posted on the site.

Now, I am a big fan of xkcd. I have shared some of the comics on here before. I am also a big fan of the science questions, so having just found this, because I hadn’t been doing anything except reading the comic, was a big bonus. However, this particular question is really good considering its relationship with writing.

I hope you follow the link.

L. E. White

P.S. There is a link at the top of the page where they are releasing a what if book. If you enjoy the site, you should look into getting a copy once it is released.

Categories: Links, web comic

Review – Hemlock Grove

July 16, 2014 Leave a comment

My wife and I just started watching season two of Hemlock Grove, a paranormal drama from Netflix. I have to recommend this. The show is well done, there is good acting and in most cases, it trumps any werewolf or vampire movie you want to watch. No, it doesn’t beat them all, there are a few that do a really good job, but in truth, those seem to be few and far between.

If you are a fan of the monsters, then you should be watching this show. Best werewolf transformation scene ever.

On the writing front, I am editing three different things at the same time and plotting two more stories. This is frying my brain in new and unusual ways. I don’t enjoy editing. I am happy to make revisions, but editing is my bane. I love my editors for taking the time to tell me what to fix so that you guys will enjoy the story more.

So, of course, three at once. I am a special kind of idiot.

On an un-related note, the wife and I may get to work as staff on another comic book and toy convention. That was a blast and I can’t wait.

L. E. White

Resonance

Martin sat on the floor, back in the corner so that each smooth, plastered surface pressed against one shoulder.

With his back in the corner, it couldn’t get him from behind.

He looked down at his empty hands and then turned them over, looking at the grime that left dark lines under his nails and spider web patterns across his knuckles. He wondered how long it had been since he had first gotten sucked into this game.

The job advertisement in the paper had seemed too good to be true. He had agreed to a physical and mental aptitude test a week later and been excited at the prospect of a check.

A week later, he was in this maze of hallways and offices. Martin was covered in small wounds and bruises. He was naked and grimy, with blood splattered all over him.

He had blood up to his elbows, like he had dipped his arms in red paint.

He was sure something was in this place with him. Martin had heard a strange whistle a couple of time, followed by screaming and some gigantic wild beast roaring or howling. He didn’t know what made that noise and he was sure he did not want to find out.

He had run into other people a few times. They would either run away screaming or run to him, so happy to see another person that would collapse at his feet, sobbing and saying how great it was to see him.

Until they saw the blood. Then, they would look at him with wide, terrified eyes. They would stand still, mouth open, and then every single one would ran away. He didn’t want to be alone, but after chasing and losing a few of them, he would just let them run.

Every time he stopped chasing them, he would hear the whistle. Every time he heard the whistle, he would pass out. When he woke up, Martin would find himself alone. Most of the time, there was also a slick smear of blood somewhere in the room with him.

A door, almost in the opposite corner of the room opened, and a beautiful woman with dark red skin walked in. She was wounded and covered in blood and gore like he was, but she did not look afraid. She looked at him, and for a minute, Martin wondered if she was crazy. She looked at him like a piece of meat.

“Hi?”

Her lip curled up, though he couldn’t tell if it was snarl or smile, and she tilted her head to one side. “Is he the last?”

“The last what,” Martin asked.

A hollow voice sounded through the room from an intercom speaker that Martin had not known was there. “He is.”

“Good,” she said, and then she stepped towards him.

He watched her drop onto her hands and knees, facing him. He started to ask what she was doing, but his voice failed him when she grunted in pain. A ripple in the muscles on her back ran down her arms to her wrists before the skin on her knuckles split and she howled at him. He sat in the corner, shivering, as he watched a creature out of his childhood nightmares tear its way out of the woman. It rolled on the ground, whimpering and whining, and Martin started to lean forward, as if he might be able to help it stop the pain.

Then he heard another whistle. It was deeper and felt like his bones began to vibrate while it played. As a memory of hearing it before tried to reach him, his own skin began to split and fall off his hands. Searing pain shot through him as the skin peeled away, revealing thick, wet, dark fur.

He felt a deep roar tear its way out of his throat before darkness swallowed him again.

Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror, Review, Were

Humorous Exposition: Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October | Tor.com

July 11, 2014 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

What a wonderful weekend. The joys of camping out on the 4th.

July 9, 2014 Leave a comment

I got to take the family camping this weekend and it was one of the best weekend vacations I have ever had.

And my family is the reason why.

We went to Midian, a new camp ground and festival area between Bloomington and Bedford Indiana. Midian is owned by a group of our friends and after just two months, was rented out for a major festival. After talking to them about that success, they mentioned having a pitch in dinner with a few fireworks on the fourth and then a clean up day for the grounds on the fifth.

The wife and I decided this would be fun.

So, we packed up the kids and a whole bunch of my tools and headed out. I was worried that it would be a problem for my boys, 7 and 9, who don’t much like getting away from computers, TV and games all that much, but this was their first camping trip beyond the borders of our farm, so we were hoping they would be alright.

I also packed my baby, my reason for cooking, my smoker.

We got there and everyone was sitting around, taking it easy on Friday. Saturday would be the work day, but not the 4th. So, I set up the smoker, helped put up some playground equipment for all the kids that showed up and pitched a tent.

As the evening went on, I ended up cooking a whole lot more meat that I had figured I would. We had brought ribs and whole chickens, but others brought in sausages and brats and hot dogs that I smoked as well. These were all a first and to my surprise, they turned out very well.

The fireworks that had been donated were amazing. There was a whole lot more than fountains and roman candles. There were a bunch of the big mortar shells and the show ended up being competitive with any of the professional shows I have seen in my area.

Then, we got serious with our fun. The fire tenders lit the main fire and I joined the drummers. People danced around the flame, kids included, until the little ones went to bed. We kept playing and dancing into the night and everyone had a blast.

The next day, my wife and I started cleaning out the area we camped in. We removed stumps, pulled weeds, cut down small trees and dug up rocks. By the time we called it a day, our brush pile was close to four feet tall.

It looked a lot better.

I don’t know how you celebrated your holiday, but mine turned out to be wonderful. We accomplished something useful and got to spend time with our friends. My boys made new friends and were happy to have given up their electronics and AC. The trick will be to get them to do the same thing at home.

Wish me luck. I don’t when we will get to go back, but I know that we will.

L. E. White

Kaleidoscope

Nancy bit her lip as she smiled. Her eyes were half closed, blocking out as much of her surroundings as possible while still being able to see where she was going.

Her long curls bounced in time to the rhythm of the drummers as they pounded out an eclectic rhythm on ten djembe drums. The night air was cool; kissing her skin to remove the perspiration and chill whatever side was away from the fire.

Nancy spun and twirled, her body was the center of a swirling riot of colors as the silk scarves whirled away from her like the blades of a kitchen blender. Her feet stomped into the sand, pushing up between her toes so that when she lifted her foot a spray of grit flew away, hiding the bells around her ankles in a puff of fog like powder.

The festival was huge, one of the largest she had ever attended. There were so many new faces in the crowd that Nancy lost track of names. For every dozen new people she met, there were two dozen that she only saw walking by. There were far too many people to get to know in a single weekend.

Yet the girl at the edge of the ring stood out from the rest.

As Nancy went by, she watched the crowd. She would smile and wave at old friends or reach out and beckon new ones to join her in her dance. When she saw the slender brunette she stumbled, shocked by the intensity of her stare.

Nancy recovered and continued around, looking for the woman as soon as she was around the fire. The ghost of a girl, pale and tall with hair so blonde that is was almost white, stared at her with a hungry expression that reminded Nancy of a man who wanted to be alone with her. The woman was full of desire and her eyes blazed with longing.

The men might not be able to coax Nancy away from the fire, but that girl could.

Nancy stretched her arm out, wiggling her fingers, but the girl did not move. She just stood there, arms straight down at her sides, staring at Nancy.

She dropped her arms and did two quick twirls, letting the flow of the dancers carry her around like the time she had ridden the sea on a surf board.

Nancy was on the other side of the fire, wondering if she should leave the line to reach for the girl, when an ice cold pair of hands took ahold of her shoulders.

She squeaked before she saw who it was. The pale woman was beside her, pulling her out of the line of dancers to stand in between them and the crowd.

“Hi,” Nancy said. She opened her mouth to finish introducing herself when she was stopped by a pair of cold, thin lips on her mouth.

The woman pulled Nancy closer, sliding her tongue into the dancer’s mouth as she pressed their chests together. Nancy stiffened in surprise, but then melted into the kiss.

“My god you are cold,” she said, giggling a little.

“Warm me up?” The woman’s voice was soft and a little scratchy. It sounded like she was a heavy smoker who lived by drinking straight bourbon for years.

“Okay,” Nancy said. She looked at her cold friend. “Dance with me around the fire and I bet you warm up a lot.”

“That is not what I had in mind.”

The whispered response sent a wave of goose bumps down Nancy’s spine. The girl leaned over, placing a kiss on Nancy’s throat that made her arms tremble.

The pain was sudden and sharp. Nancy tried to jerk away as she said, “Ow. Don’t bite,” but when she pulled backwards, the woman’s arms tightened, crushing the air from her lungs.

Nancy’s hands fluttered at the girl’s hips, trying to smack her away. She heard another woman scream and wondered why, before she found herself lying on the fire warmed sand.

She glanced up and watched the thin girl grab one of the men who took care of the fire. She dragged him down to her height, forcing his knees to buckle as she buried her face in his neck.

Nancy tried to yell, but her voice wouldn’t come out. She thought that the fire must have been dying behind her because the light was fading, narrowing her vision into a tunnel like she was looking through a kaleidoscope.

She watched the beautiful woman drop the fire tender before turning around. Nancy saw the wide, red, stripe that ran down the woman’s face and neck to roll over her breasts and stain the front of her dress. The woman hissed and disappeared from Nancy’s line of sight.

Her eyes moved, and the shrinking tunnel focused on the vacant stare of the fire tender. His mouth was moving, reminding her of a fish out of water that was trying to catch its breath. There was a red mess below his chin, but the fire must have finished going out because Nancy couldn’t see him through the darkness any more.

 

Categories: Horror, Links, Random, Uncategorized

Like a Headless Chicken

July 2, 2014 5 comments

I have been working on rush jobs during the day and working outside during the evening and weekends. This doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to write.

That said, I do have quite a bit of writing done. I am almost half way through the final edit of my first book. This is a modern fantasy story with wizards and monsters living in the world today. My working title is Double Occupancy. Once I finish the editing, I will be submitting this to agents and trying to find representation. Wish me luck.

I have also submitted a handful of stories to a number of different places and I am waiting to see if any of them will be accepted. One of them, a pre-colonial Native American’s and Cthulhu story, has been accepted and I am waiting to get the marked up copy from the editors. I will wait to announce it fully until we are closer to publication.

I love working with editors. I have heard of other writers who go on tilt when someone marks up their submission. I don’t get this. The editor is there to help your work make more money. What part of this is a problem?

Oh well, like I said, wish me luck and I hope to have good news to report next time.

L. E. White

Recorded

Dr. Martin sat a tiny digital recorder on the table between them and pressed the little green button. There wasn’t a sound, but the square display flashed and changed from its reflective black surface to a soft, dark grey with a single white line across it. The doctor cleared his throat, and the line spiked up and down at the sound.

“This is Dr. Zackery Martin, interview tape 12 with patient Allen Black.” The movement of the display mapped the modulation of the voice it recorded. Spikes up and down showed that he was speaking in an even, steady voice.

The flat line bounced up and down as the doctor made a variety of noises while shifting in his seat and adjusting his clip board. There was one final spike when he clicked his pen into writing position and then the line went flat. It remained that way while he looked at his subject. Neither said a word for at least a minute.

“Allen, is there anything you would like to say before we begin?”

The line bobbled a little as it recorded the sound of the couch cushion rubbing against Allen’s head while he shook it from side to side.

“Alright then, would you please continue your story from where you left off yesterday?”

“I will.” The voice that answered Dr. Martin was soft and deep. When he heard it, he always thought that it sounded very calming. The voice did not draw attention to the speaker and Dr. Martin assumed that it would be easy to miss in a crowd.

He looked down at the recorder. As Allen spoke, the line would drop down below the mean, but it never spiked up. Dr. Martin had experimented with his recorder for hours after his first interview with Allen. For everyone he recorded, the voice would cause the line to move up and down, showing more than just volumn, but modulation.

Allen’s voice never spiked.

As Dr. Martin watched in fascination, he became lost, drowning out the words as he watched the device.

“We had laid the candles out in a large circle around the woman who was suspended above the well. She did not scream or cry, because she believed that we were about to make the world a better place. The all knelt, bending until their heads rested upon the earth. Once they were in place, I struck the triangle, signaling that they begin their chanting.”

Dr. Martin started when Allen paused for breath. He looked down at his tablet and saw a strange symbol of curving lines and tiny circles that he had doodled. “What was the chant,” he asked, running his finger over the symbol.

“Nig hi ulath. Me go Fei Nu Areth.”

Dr. Martin felt a tiny shock where his finger traced the symbol. It was like he had just touched the doorknob after walking across the carpet. It was the same snapping sensation as he remembered from childhood.

The doctor glanced at the recorder and his eyes widened. As Allen continued the chant, the modulation stopped moving at all. Dr. Martin had the sudden image of those words in the air, moving out of the room and down the hall rather than into the recorder.

When he lifted his eyes to look at the back of his patient’s head, Dr. Martin saw the air between them shimmer, like heat rising off the road in the distance. It wavered and distorted for a moment before the doctor realized that the disturbance was expanding.

“Allen,” he said, and the fear in his voice made it shake. He saw that on the recorder.

Allen stopped chanting. The air shimmered for another moment before the effect went away.

Dr. Martin let out a deep breath of relief. He opened his mouth to ask Allen to continue his story, but stopped when he felt the presence of someone else in the room behind him.

The doctor turned to see who was there and gasped.

Allen laughed, a hysterical, high pitched laugh while lying on the couch with his eyes squeezed tight. The recorder moved up and down, not in time with Allen’s laughter, but with the muffled, wet screams of the Doctor.