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The End is a Beginning

December 31, 2014 2 comments

With my post falling on the last day of the year, I couldn’t help but write about change. It just seemed like the right story to tell. I hope you like it.

L. E. White

Change

I could see the bullet in the air. It was moving, but it was like I was watching a movie. There weren’t any ripples in the air as it flew, but I could still see it. I watched it fly across the clearing. I watched it hit Jeff, my boyfriend, in the chest. I watched him fly backwards, thrown into the air by the force of a little piece of steel which had slammed into him.

I didn’t know why some crazy red neck had brought a shotgun to a party around a campfire, but I knew it was a bad thing. When I asked about it, everyone just shook their heads and said he was worried about wild dogs. The answer wasn’t good enough, but I just moved away from him and grabbed a drink. It was a party. Nobody else seemed to have a problem with it, so I did my best to drink my problem with the gun away.

Then the argument had started. There had been yelling and spitting and shoving until the guy lifted his gun up to point it at the other man’s head. That guy must not have been as drunk, or maybe he was just better at hiding it. I didn’t know, but I watched him dodge to the side and grab the barrel to keep the shotgun from getting pointed at his head again. The gun went off.

Now I admit that I am really just a city girl. I know nothing about my dad’s guns. I thought all shotguns were filled with buck shot. I didn’t know they had bullets. The one that I saw had little lines wrapping around it like the blades of a fan. The bullet spun in the air like the football when my dad was trying to teach my brother to throw a pass.

I turned back, away from the body that bounced on the ground, and looked at the guy with the gun. When I did, I realized I was looking right down the barrel. The fighters were still struggling and now the gun was aimed at me.

There was a loud cracking sound, the weapon jerked in both of their hands, and I got to see another slug come out.

I wanted to dodge, but my body wasn’t moving as fast as my brain was. I stood still, staring, as the bullet hit me just above my left breast. I felt a burning flash in my chest at the same time that I felt air rush past my ears before I the ground.

A second after I landed, I felt a wave of pain wash over me. I didn’t realize I could hurt so much, but every part of my body was popping and cracking. My limbs jerked like I was having a seizure and I felt explosions all over. White light flashed in front of my eyes a few times and then the clearing lit up like someone had walked over and flipped on a light switch.

All of a sudden, I could see everything in high definition. I don’t know what it was about dying, but every leaf that rustled in the soft breeze above me was sharp and in focus. I saw a spider on its web between two dead limbs, and I could see it wrapping a moth up in delicate, glassy thread.

My sense of smell changed, and I was horrified to think that the last thing I would ever smell was the sweat of the people around me. As I gasped and choked on the pain that erupted inside of me, I noticed the perfume of the girl that we had just been talking too. I knew that there were more than three different beers around the fire and that someone had brought pizza.

My stomach cramped down in a spasm of hunger at the pizza. I had eaten before we came here, but dying was making me hungry. I smelled the coppery sweat smell of blood and I felt drool puddle in the back of my throat. I could hear people screaming, but all I could think about was getting something to eat.

I managed to swallow and I closed my eyes. The world went black, and at the same time, most of the pain disappeared. People were screaming and cursing, but as I listened, the words became distorted. It was getting harder to understand them even though each word sounded sharper. I was almost sure I could even hear one person’s teeth chattering.

“What the fuckin hell?”

That voice came through loud and clear. In my mind, I saw an image that looked like an old black and white photo of the fire. I could see everyone standing around it like manikins in a window. Above the head of the man who had shot me was a comic book bubble with the words inside of it.

He changed then, when I realized he was standing there and staring at me as I struggled with the pain from my wound. His manikin grew brighter as color flooded into it. I knew where he was. How he had stopped struggling with the other guy who had been fighting and how he was staring at me. His stood there, eyes bugged out and jaw hanging open.

There was a moment where he was in full color, but then he turned red. It was like someone had just flicked on a big red spot light and aimed it at him. I could still imagine all the details. The pattern of his flannel shirt and the scuffed cowboy boots he had been strutting around in. But now it was all just different shades of one color.

Red.

I opened my eyes, and I was amazed that the world still looked the same. Everyone was in black and white except for the man who shot me.

I felt my lip curl back from my teeth as I focused on him. Everyone was moving away from him as I stood up, and I wondered if they could all see my ghost. After all the pain, I was sure I had to be dead, but I felt like I was getting up. I could feel the leaves and grass under my bare feet and it took a moment before I considered that I was wearing shoes when he had shot me.

I felt my chest vibrate before I heard what sounded like a big dog growling. It didn’t make any sense though, I hadn’t seen a dog. I usually paid a lot of attention to dogs. I thought they were pretty but they were always afraid of me. They would growl and snap no matter how nice I was to them. When I looked around, I saw everyone backing away, but I never saw the dog.

When my eyes landed on the guy with the shot gun, I felt a wave of heat spread out over my body. He had that stupid shotgun pointed at me again, but the booze was making him shake. I smelled the acidic stench of urine and noticed the spreading dark spot on his jeans and that made me happy. He had pissed himself when he saw my ghost rise up. He deserved to be afraid.

He deserved to hurt. He deserved to suffer like I had. He deserved to die for killing me.

The darkness around me seemed to get blacker and the asshole with the gun seemed to get larger. It was like I was watching a movie where the camera was zooming in on the face of the bad guy right before he got what he deserved.

And that was the last thing I remember before waking up. I am alone. I am still in the clearing and the remains of the fire are still smoking. There is blood and gore everywhere around me. Pieces of people from the party are scattered all around the clearing, and I am covered in blood.

But somehow, I am still alive. My chest hurts, but I can’t find a bullet hole.

I am so confused.

Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror, Were Tags:

Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip on GoComics.com

December 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip on GoComics.com.

 

On writing with Calvin and Hobbes.

Categories: Links, web comic

Yuletide Greetings and Well Wishes

December 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Happy Holiday, whichever one you choose to celebrate. Be happy and safe. I have a ham to roast, children to spoil and family to be with. See you in a week.

L. E. White

Cliché

It was a dark and stormy night as Dirk stared at his reflection on the inky black window. He squinted his eyes as he tried to peer through the deepening darkness to where he knew the gate house lights burned. He vainly wished that he had been born with storm sight, the magical power that would allow his mind’s eye to see the world from the raging fury of the clouds above.

Dirk spun around and stalked quickly back to the desk, grabbing the scotch bottle and pouring another drink from the rapidly emptying container. He tilted his mouth back, letting the burning liquid distract him from the burning feeling of unease that chewed through his belly like a rat, burrowing its way through old house walls.

***

I looked up at the young man who sat on the other side of my desk. He was leaned forward, perching on the edge of his seat like a hawk watching for signs of prey in the field below. He was excited to see what my reaction would be. I could tell from the twitching at the corner of his lips. He bounced his leg a little bit, his body refusing to hold still because he was almost literally overflowing with exuberance over showing me, his instructor, his work.

The problem with teaching an introductory creative writing course is that most of the students are novice writers. They have no idea of story craft. Their work is dreadful and the department chair doesn’t want to lose students to the harsh realities of a writer’s life. I have been asked not to do more than suggest revisions and offer gentle guidance that will lead the student to enroll in the more advanced classes. I am supposed to encourage them to continue their education and enrollment.

In this piece, the only thing my aspiring wordsmith had failed to do was to describe his character from the reflection. That was a lot of bad writing to cram into the first two paragraphs.

Some days, like when I have just gotten off the phone with my ex-wife, I am more than happy to tell a student what I think of their work. Other days, well, other days are more hopeful about the future.

This was terrible, but he was lucky. My ex had not called this week.

“I like it,” I said. “But I think there is a lot of room for improvement. Do you have time to go over it?”

He didn’t stop smiling; he just reached into his bag and pulled out another copy.

And a red pen.

The Holidays Season

December 17, 2014 Leave a comment

I just cannot get over the looming dread of another winter. I know that a lot of people find joy in the changing of the seasons and the circle of life. I am just not one of them.

I can handle three out of four seasons, but we are about to enter the fourth and I am down.

That was a really bad football joke.

Anyway, off with the griping and on with the story.

L. E. White

Decking the Halls

Josh held his hand up to his sister, a tiny plastic snow flake dangling from a wire hook on the end of his finger. She stood on the little ladder that their parents used to reach the highest shelf in the pantry, stretching to reach the top of the tree.

“How many more ornaments are there,” Grace asked.

“Two,” he said when he looked down into the box. “Three if you count the star.”

She nodded and stuck her hand out, wiggling her fingers as she waited for him to give her the next ornament.

Glowing orange embers fell towards the floor. Each one turned black, cold and lifeless, before they reached the polished wood.

Josh climbed up to the top rung of the stool and lifted his sister up so that they could put the star on top of the tree. There was a crackling sound, like someone crumpling paper, and more embers floated down.

“Do you think they will ever come back and see it,” she asked.

Josh shrugged, “I don’t know.” He patted his sleeve, trying to smother out the flame that danced across the fabric. “It’s been such a long time since the left.”

Grace frowned and dropped her eyes to the black stubs of her toes. “I wish they would hurry up and come home. I want to see Mom’s face when she sees that we decorated the tree.”

Josh sighed, smoke spraying out of his nostrils like steam shooting out of a teapot. He didn’t have the heart to tell her the truth. Not when it was always a week before Christmas to her.

Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror Tags:

Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip on GoComics.com

December 15, 2014 Leave a comment
Categories: web comic

Winter

December 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Deadlines at the end of the year suck. Everyone is scrambling to make things happen during some of the most depressing weather possible. Good luck to everyone on the boat with me.

I am dreaming of spring and summer. I am ready for the turn of the seasons and it isn’t even officially winter yet. This is going to be a long one.

L. E. White

Fresh Powder

She looked down at her fingers and flexed them, digging her nails into the snow. It was cold but still soft and loose, letting her make tiny furrows like she had when she worked in her flower bed.

But all of her flowers had withered and died a long time ago.

She stretched her fingers forward again, repeating the process to try to distract her mind from the throbbing pain in her leg.

“One more run,” he had said. “We have plenty of time.”

She had been right behind him, racing to the fire, and the cocoa, and the blankets. He had looked back at her, laughing loud enough that she could hear him despite the rush of wind in her ears.

She had watched him hit the tree.

She had tried to twist and come to a sudden stop, and she had failed. All that did was let her hit something in the snow with her leg turned sideways.

The sudden, white hot flash of pain had left her dazed. When she had tried to stand, another jolt had knocked her out.

She grinned and chuckled at the thought that she had been knocked out cold.

She began to giggle and then to laugh. The laughter built up until she was forced to onto her side, arms wrapped around her stomach. She laughed so hard that she forgot about the pain in her leg as tears froze to her cheeks.

She stopped shaking, but couldn’t stop laughing, and as the numbness made her sleepy, she wondered if she would still be smiling when they found her.

Categories: Uncategorized

Beginning of the end of the year

December 3, 2014 Leave a comment

I don’t have much to say for this. This month marks the celebration of birth days and the season of giving.

I am happy to have my children and I love them all. Happy birthday to the ones who were born in December.

I am not a fan of Christmas, but only because I think there is a lot of missing the point that goes on.

Lots of words to write as I fall further and further behind. So, it is time to get busy.

Or maybe just busier. I am not sure.

It is also time to start thinking about new year’s resolutions.

Oh well, enough rambling for today. I hope you enjoy the story.

L. E. White

Driving Home

I’m sitting at a four way, and I don’t know which way to turn.

I’m sure my house is close by. I think I recognize that old maple tree in the yard beside the stop sign.

But I think it looks a lot like the one on the other side of the street.

I’m an adult. I have lived my life, paid my dues and worked to make the world a better place. I know I have.

I’m sure of it.

The guy behind me honks, so I go ahead and turn; even though I don’t know where I’m going.

 

Categories: Flash Fiction, Random, Writing