Archive for the ‘serial’ Category

Say What? Part #5

June 28, 2017 Leave a comment

Tom looked from the seat to the dog a few times before turning around. It creeped him out when animals did that. Like the cat he used to have that would hiss at empty rooms before running out. He had hated that cat, but when it died, he moved out of the house because he didn’t feel safe in it when he was alone. Tom always figured that the cat knew something that he didn’t. Better safe than sorry.

Harry didn’t let up. Tom wanted to reach over and sooth him, but considering his current project. Considering that the old legends discussed a supernatural monster that he might be chasing, Tom just couldn’t put his arm up.

The dog might be onto something.

“Alright,” he said. “Calm down. We are out of here.”

He was so rattled that when he started to pull out, Tom forgot to check his blind spot. The honking of the horn made him jump as he slammed the brake. The sudden jerking of the vehicle nearly spilled the big dog into the floorboard, but all of the disasters were avoided. Other than getting cussed and flipped off, both Tom and Harry were fine as they pulled onto the street.

When he looked back into his rear view mirror, Tom thought he saw someone standing in the empty parking spot. He snapped around to look, but he couldn’t see anything.

“What the hell?” He asked Harry.

A chuffing bark seemed like about as logical an answer as he had come up with.

Categories: serial Tags: ,

Say What? Part 4

June 22, 2017 Leave a comment

“This sucks so much worse than I imagined it would,” Tom said. He looked down at his watch and sighed. “We’ve been here for three hours and nothing.”

Harry didn’t respond. He was looking out the window, fog forming on the glass from his breath.

“I blame you.”

The dog took the blaming with stoic aplomb.

Over the years that Tom had known Malone, he had gotten familiar with the doctor’s house. They were both lonely and Tom’s interests made it easy for them to have a reason to talk. Neither would have felt comfortable just calling up a friend to hang out but as long as Tom was writing, they had an excuse.

Years of beer and pizza while discussing injuries and accidents. All sorts of talk about anything just so that they could have a friend.

The big dog belched and Tom looked at him with a disgusted snarl. “Excuse you,” he said before wrinkling his nose and jumping out of the car. “Oh good god. I am getting your teeth brushed tomorrow you disgusting beast.”

Harry began to pant while wagging.

When Tom shut his door again, he turned to lecture the dog, but stopped without a word.

Harry turned and faced the backseat. His lips pulled away from his teeth and he snarled so that Tom could feel the vibration in the seat.

But the back was empty.

Say What? Part 3

June 15, 2017 Leave a comment

The idea of the doppleganger ate away at Tom’s days. Minutes slipped by while he stared at his computer without any idea of what he was looking at. He would sit in the restroom looking up legends and definitions until his legs went numb and he almost ran stop signs on his way home.

Two days later, and he had covered every inch of his novel planning wall with notes and drawings about the creature.

His dog, Harry, was sitting behind him licking the last evidence of having eaten the pizza, while Tom stood staring at his wall with his arms crossed over his chest.

“The problem is that the magical creature I think of when I use the word doppleganger can’t exist,” he said without looking back over his shoulder. “No matter how much I want there to be magic in the world, it’s easier if I accept that it isn’t.”

Tom turned around and grabbed an empty beer bottle. He tried to take a drink, frowned at the bottle, then headed into the kitchen to get another. “Harry,” he said. “What do you think?”

The dog stared up without comment.

“Right,” Tom said. “If it isn’t magical, then it has to be a twin or a disguise.” He turned to look at his dog and smiled. “So if that is true, then that means we can try to track whichever it is. That means it is time for a stakeout.”

Categories: Flash Fiction, serial

Say What? part 2

May 31, 2017 Leave a comment

Tom sat in his car for a moment considering the possibilities. He reached into his pocket and extracted the little note book that he kept his life in. The tiny journal was his personal rebellion against the current trends of keeping everything in their phones.

“6:30 pm. Called Malone and sat up appointment to discuss poison as a plot device. Told to come by at 7:30 and bring root beer.” Two bottles still sat in the cardboard carrying case where they hadn’t finished them all. Tom could remember smiling at Malone as he lied and said that he loved Hawaiian pizza.

His notes of the conversation started at eight and ended at nine. They had discussed Tom’s female lead using poison to kill her abusive stepfather. Since she was a teen, they had focused on household chemicals and easy to collect ingredients. They settled on mushrooms and for the story, he intended on her putting them on a homemade pizza.

As he flipped back through the notes, Tom noticed that they were faded. The note to meet up was clear. The ink was crisp and black on the off yellow pages of his journal. The next entry, his notes from the conversation, looked like he had left the journal out in the sun for a few years.

He picked up a second note pad and copied everything over. Then, he started making notes of the other parts of the previous night’s conversations. The other projects Malone was working on. His progress on this third novel. The procedures used by the city coroner’s office from back when Malone had worked for them.

Nothing stood out to Malone as unusual or interesting. The doctor had worked for the city years ago, but at least the last ten were spent doing his own research on agricultural chemicals.

Tom tapped his pencil against his chin. “Maybe this has something to do with that last group of hormones he was working on,” he said as he put the pad back into his backpack. “Maybe he found something that was worth shutting him up over?”

Tom started the car and started toward work. “That still doesn’t explain how I could have talked to him after he had been found? I must be going crazy.”

Tom’s day was a disaster. Even knowing his proposal was due in two days, he couldn’t make himself work on it. He kept making notes and jotting ideas down on post it notes. By the end of the day, his desk was covered in scraps and debris while the documents and spreadsheets remained unchanged.

One note off of his blue pad kept drawing his attention. It only had one word, but the more he considered them, the more he was sure it was the only solution.


Categories: serial, Uncategorized

The Hours #20

December 7, 2016 Leave a comment

I watched the others sleep but noticed that they did not sleep well. All of my companions twitched and fidgeted, making pained and frightened noises as they did so. I had no idea how long they would sleep, but I took the time to consider my course of action.

When they woke, each looked around in confusion with fear in their eyes before they realized where they were. Eyes roamed around, looking for the beasts from their nightmares as the quiet of the afternoon was ripped apart by gasps of surprise.

Samantha was the first to wake. She looked at me and her eyes narrowed when she saw Mary resting against my chest. When her eyes returned to mine, she bit her lip, lowered her eyes again and lifted her hand to wipe her eyes. She did not meet my gaze again, though she did sit up so that Carl’s arms were no longer around her. I wish she had looked up so that she could have seen me smile at her.

Mark was the next to rise. He looked around the boat and rubbed his neck. I assumed that was the last physical sensation he could remember from when I had watched the torch disappear into the night. After his eyes met mine he turned around and looked at Samantha. He looked at Carl’s sleeping face, sighed, and then turned to stare over the side of the boat.

Mary woke and began brushing her arms. She looked all over, searching her arm and skirts for intruders before looking at us and letting out a sigh of relief. She curled into my arms, burying her face against my chest and shuddered.

Carl was the last to wake. He jerked up with a start and drew in a huge breath. After his moments of disorientation, he sighed and shook his head.

None of us spoke. Carl and I picked up the oars and moved the boat along as fast as was possible until making our port. Odd and uncomfortable words were exchanged with the boat’s owners and the coach drivers, but everyone was as off put by our attitudes as we were.

My friends and I parted ways. I sat in the study, staring at the fire and drinking far more brandy than was my norm, replaying the dreams that I was certain were not just dreams.

I would have to proceed with caution. I would not hurt Mary. She deserved better than that, but I could not ignore what I felt for Samantha. In that strange dream world, despite its horrors and pain, I had found love.

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The Hours #19

November 30, 2016 Leave a comment

When I opened my eyes, I was genuinely surprised. I tried to reconcile the bright sunlight dappling my face through a canopy of dark green leaves with me memories of breaking bone. I could still feel the burning and tearing of my flesh where the worm had attacked, but the sight of clouds moving through the sky to my left made me question my sanity.

Perhaps I had lived a life of sufficient virtue to be granted paradise. Perhaps I was hallucinating. Perhaps I was even dreaming.

This thought stuck in my mind. The idea that I was dreaming beat upon me like a hammer striking steel yet I was sure I had just died. I should not be thinking at all. I should be nothing more than a ghost in a strange land.

Something made me look down. Some weight that made it hard to breath. I lowered my eyes, expecting to see an absence of legs or the worm chewing on my guts. I did not expect to see a pile of golden curls.

“Mary?” I whispered the word, speaking just above a breath.

I looked up and found that Mark was in the middle of the boat. He was curled in a ball with his head on his arm. Then I could see the toes of Samantha’s boots.


She was dressed, and whole, and alive. She was reclined in the other end of the boat, her dark curls resting on Carl’s chest, his arms around her.

I snarled at the idea of him touching her.

I looked around as the others slept and confirmed that we were all still dressed. They were all uninjured and as far as I could tell our canoe had drifted to the side a short ways before we were supposed to have landed.

We were alive and well. It had all been some horrible nightmare.

As I rested there, feeling Mary’s body move with her breath I watched Samantha. I looked from Carl to Mark and realized I was clenching my fist. It was more than a dream. I felt it in my bones. It was more than a dream and I would not leave the woman who had saved my life and shown me a new world. Samantha had shown me love.

There were many things I would have to change.

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The Hours #18

November 9, 2016 Leave a comment

We walked together, no longer hand in hand, but holding hands. I watched over her, not because I did not want to be alone, but because I was worried about Samantha’s safety. With every step, I grew more concerned for her than I was for me.

“Stop.” Samantha hissed the word, pulling me back by the hand so that I almost fell back into her. “Be careful.”

I had been looking up, checking for spiders or birds, so I had missed the large hole in the ground a few steps in front of me.

“Thanks,” I said.


I looked at her in confusion, wondering why I needed to be so quiet because of a hole in the ground.

She leaned over, whispering so that the heat of her breath sent chills running down my spine. “Wait and watch.”

We stood there for a few minute before I saw a gigantic fly weaving its way through the forest. It dodged from side to side, flying as if it were a drunk staggering home after a night on the town, until it reached the center of the little clearing that we had been about to step into.

A worm of some sort shot out of the ground, its mouth opening and spreading out like a fisherman’s net, as it tried to grab the fly out of the air. There was a swishing sound and a quiet clap as the worm’s mouth missed the mark.

Almost a dozen of the worms shot up after the fly before one managed to catch it. There was a squishy sounding crunch as the insect broke apart, and then the field went quiet.

“Oh,” Samantha said. “I had only seen one of them.”

I nodded and began to lead the way around the clearing. We did more looking around than we did moving, doing our best to be careful. Samantha pointed out holes ahead of us, and I would move further away into the brush.

When the worm shot out of the ground beside of us, coming out of the middle of a bush covered with thick green leaves, it was a total surprise.

The wide net of a mouth was large enough to wrap all the way around Samantha’s chest and still catch my arm as it snapped shut. I was jerked closer to her. The force of the delicate looking jaws clamping onto us sent a sharp jolt of pain through my body as my shoulder popped and knocked a short scream out of Samantha. As our bodies were slammed together, I heard cracking noises come from Samantha’s torso and I realized that her ribs had just broken.

The worm let go, pulling back into the ground. I turned and tried to wrap my good arm around Samantha’s waist. Her eyes rolled, even as her knees buckled, and I felt a stabbing pain shoot through my chest.

Then the worm came back up.

Its mouth wrapped around us and when the worm’s jaws snapped closed, my own breath was forced out of my body as my ribs snapped. Waves of burning pain tore my mind to shreds and for a moment I thought I was on fire.

Then, I looked into Samantha’s eyes. She was looking at me, nose to nose, as our bodies were lifted into the air.

I tried to say “I love you,” but no words came out. She mouthed the same to me.

Darkness crashed down as the pain threw me into the abyss of unconsciousness. My last clear thought, “If only we could have had more time,” seemed to echo around inside my mind in the way a man’s voice will answer him in the mountains.


Categories: serial

The Hours #17

October 26, 2016 Leave a comment

When I woke, the sun on my face was nothing compared to the warmth of Samantha’s back pressed against my chest. I thought of the night before and found myself envious of Carl. He had known this woman, and all of her charms, and for a moment I was glad he was gone. I had indeed loved Mary, but it was without knowledge of the woman that Samantha was. Now that I knew, I vowed to make her the husband she deserved.

“Good Morning.”

I grinned and waited while she turned to face me. She smiled, and the whiteness of her teeth against her dark skin was dazzling. I smiled back as I pushed my head forward to place a gentle kiss on her lips.

“I was worried you might regret last night.”

“I regret nothing.”

She let out a tiny giggle. “Neither do I.”

“I cannot wait to get you home,” I said.


I lifted myself up on my elbow and looked at her with one raised eyebrow. “So I can make you my wife.”

“Why would you do that?” Samantha lowered her eyes. I was stunned for a moment and she took my silence as an opportunity. “With your title such a marriage would not be tolerated.”

“I do not care.”

She looked up at me with hope, and I kissed her again. This time, I had no intention of breaking this kiss. I ran my hand down her side, gripping her bottom and rolling her to her back as I moved my body above her.

Then I heard a growl.

We looked up to see one of the hairless rat bear things on the other side of the creek from us. It’s front feet were in the water, but it wasn’t looking at us.

I followed its gaze and gasped. Something, and I could not even relate it to a living animal that I had ever seen well enough to describe it with metaphor,  was walking towards us. It had what appeared to be more than one head and one of them focused on the rat while the others swept back and forth.

The rat hissed and there was a splash. I tore my eyes away from the nightmare and saw that there were actually half a dozen of the monster rat creatures. Had this thing not come upon us, Samantha and I would have been torn apart.

Samantha gasped and I turned back to see something that could have been a cross between a scorpion’s tail and an elephant’s trunk lifted up from the nightmare’s back and the rats shrieked. The appendage twitched and there was a flash as something flew out.

A rat died, squealing, as a four foot long quill pinned it to the ground in the same way that a scientist pins a moth to a cork board.

I don’t know if it wasn’t interested in us or if it just didn’t see us, but whatever the beast was, it stalked past us as it continued to shoot the pack of rats with those enormous quills. Once we were out of the thing’s line of site, Samantha and I scurried to grab our cloths and escape as quietly as possible.


Categories: serial

The Hours #16

October 19, 2016 Leave a comment

As the day progressed, the stream was joined by two others and might have been better called a river when we came to what I judged to be a good place to camp. The water ran wide and shallow between two high cliffs. There was a small overhang that left an indentation tall enough for me to stand in. We were close to the edge of the cliff and I believed we could run out if anything came at us in the night.

I found a few small fish in a slight pool and was able to net them with my shirt. We roasted them and ate before full dark had come upon us.

“You seem to have missed your calling as a fisherman,” Samantha said. “Those were very good.”

“Thank you,” I said. “I believe the secret to the recipe is the soiled shirt.”

She smiled widely, and I grinned. Staring at her until her smile faded.

“Why do you look at me like that?”

“I was thinking of everything you have told me about your relationship with Carl.”

She stiffened. “Oh?”

I lifted my palm to her. “You have been a good companion. Without you, I would not still be alive. I think Carl misjudged you when he said that the marriage was not favorable.”

Samantha’s mouth fell open.

“He and I spoke about you and I must admit that I judged you poorly. I gave to much import to the conditions of your birth and status. Carl did as well. You would make any man an excellent wife.”

Samantha sat there in silence for a long time. “Those are kind words,” she said. “But after my tale, we both know that no gentleman will ever be willing to have me.”

“You ladies put far too much weight into the value of your virtue to a nobleman.” I shook my head. “There are many ladies who do things before their wedding night. There are many who have known more men than their husbands, both before and after. You will not have issue and I will carry your secret to my grave.”

She chuckled before leaning over and placing a small kiss on my cheek. The impression of her lips burned on my skin while Samantha rested her head upon my shoulder. “You are very kind.”

“My father would have skinned me for being anything other.”

The night wore on in silence for a while and I felt the visit of Morpheus approaching. I wondered about keeping watch, and was about to ask when Samantha spoke. “You saved my life today.”

“As you would have mine.”

“Thank you.”

I meant to tell her that she was welcome, but Samantha leaned up and interrupted me with a kiss. Not on the cheek, but a full kiss, slow and soft.

When our lips parted, I swallowed and regretted being able to hear it.

Samantha moved, taking a seat on my lap and wrapping her arms around my neck. “You are a fine man,” she said. “You have been kind and brave without asking a thing of me. That is more than any other man I have known.” She rested her palms on my chest, her dark skin standing out in stark contrast to my inner shirt’s almost white fabric. “I do not attempt to replace your Mary, but if you want me, I would be yours.”

I answered her with a kiss and forgot all about taking turns keeping watch.


Categories: serial

The Hours #15

October 5, 2016 Leave a comment

Though I do not know what providence guided us through the cursed woods, some higher power delivered Samantha and I to a smalls stream. Unlike the river, whose muddy depths had concealed the nameless terror that stole away my best friend, the stream was clear. Upon seeing the water, Samantha rushed forward and fell to the ground. She plunged her face in, slurping water to quench her thirst until she was forced to rise and gasp for air. The poor woman repeated the process several times before pausing to look around.

My own throat burned with thirst. I wanted nothing more than to fall beside her, or perhaps simply leap into the stream and roll in the water, but instead I stood over her, club in hand, waiting and watching.

When she felt satisfied enough to look up at me, Samantha’s eyes widened in realization. “Oh,” she said. “Thank you. I did not consider watching. I was just …” As she trailed off, her eye fell with a look of shame.

“Don’t worry about it,” I said. “I would have insisted you go first anyway.”

She nodded as she rose and picked up her own club.

The water was such a blessed and soothing relief that I almost laughed after the first mouthful. While I didn’t lie on the ground that way Samantha had, I did plunge my face in so that I could drink it in as fast as possible.

A few minutes later we traded again. Whether it was because she did not feel as pressing of a need or because of the shame she had felt for making me stand guard over her, Samantha didn’t lie down to get her drink. This time, she drank from a single cupped hand, never releasing her club from the other.

This probably saved her life.

Another of the hairless rats, though smaller than its brethren, charged at us from across the stream. It darted out from beneath the brush and leapt at Samantha. Her hand was lifted ot her mouth when it came, and she let out a muffled squeak as she lifted her club.

The vermin was airborne as it crossed over the water. Fortune was the girl because its mouth wrapped around her staff, pushing the limb towards her body and knocking her backwards with its weight.

Samantha caught the free end of the stick with her raised hand and pushed back, which lifted the over-large rat away from her a bit. The thing’s claws raked the front of her, shredding her camisole and gouging at her corset. She growled at it, her face showing the strain of pushing the monster away.

Her strength was insufficient to  throw the creature off of her, but it was enough to lift its head up level to my waist. I stepped into the swing and caught the loathsome beast in the ear with my swing.

The force of the strike made my hands tingle and itch. The overlarge rat rolled off of Samantha, though it never released her club. It twitched and jerked for a moment, then rolled further away from the girl. I seemed to have  knocked it senseless, for it was having trouble finding its feet.

My next swing, straight down. drove the creature’s nose into the ground and shot blood out of its ears. It twitched and released its fluids, but did not rise.

I helped Samantha to her feet and looked her over. Her corset had survived, though it was now all that really covered her upper body. She was lucky that she wasn’t bleeding, though there were angry whelps crossing her bosom. I placed a finger tip just beneath the top most scratch, sliding it across down as I examined her injury. I had not considered the impropriety of it until she took my hand in hers and pulled it away.

“I think we need to leave,” she said. Her chest was heaving and her breath came in frightened gasps after the exertion of the fight. “Which way?”

“Let’s try following the stream,” I said. “Perhaps …”

My thought was interrupted by another one of the rats. It scampered out and rushed to its fallen comrade. We watched as it set to the feast that I had provided it with looks of disgust on our faces before making our silent exit.

Categories: serial