Posted in Life, Uncategorized, Writing

It’s Been Awhile…

I have a lot of catching up to do, I know. I let life carry me away, and time management has always been a struggle for me. However, it just gets harder with every day I go without writing something. So, here I am. Back where I started. One of my idols, Ursula K LeGuin has passed away and I find myself struggling with just everyday life.

Dishes and laundry and playing chauffeur for my son and his much more exciting life, plus the Postal Service which can easily take a good chunk of time just by itself. But, in the end it is all excuses. You can make time for things that matter to you.

Perhaps I have found myself struck dumb with a severe case of apathy. I wonder if Ursula ever felt that, or did writing just flow all the time? I’ll never meet her, so I suppose I will never know for sure, although I have many books about writing by her. The answer may well be in one of those.

Maybe it is just laziness, maybe I don’t know, I secretly do not want to be happy. Maybe I don’t know how to be happy for long.

I hope any who still pass by this way forgive me for my rambling. I was partly inspired by the new Amazon series Electric Dreams, inspired by Philip K Dick, another author I envy. I liked all the episodes, some were more inspired than others. But the ones dealing with reality and being an other really resonated with me.

I don’t know how closely they follow the source material, because it has been a while since I read the stories, and some of them didn’t list which they were inspired by. Either way, they were interesting, and I am glad I saw them.

I also took the plunge and updated my laptop to windows 10. Unfortunately, I cannot find my copy of Office, which is the writing program I am used to using, and new copies are such an expensive proposition. Plus, I am so fond of this dear old laptop, but apparently windows 10 does not have a driver for my video card which is built into the motherboard. I can’t upgrade it, although I have upgraded everything else on this friendly dinosaur.

So, I have had  a few issues. Although, like the rest of this ramble, it is just more excuses. I will do better. I need to for myself. New Writing coming soon.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized

A Tale of The Loss of Various Stuff And Brick-A-Brack-it-A

Now I would like to write some fiction as it has been awhile. I had to upgrade my laptop to Windows 10 from Vista because of my silly Hearthstone addiction, yes, I am a nerd, finally able to admit it all these years later, and Blizzard was not going to let me keep playing if I didn’t upgrade. I had been sitting on this windows 10 for awhile, I bought it originally for my desktop which still needs a processor.

More evidence of my nerd-dom right there, I enjoy  putting pc’s together. I also love my cat, even though she sat on my processor which I stupidly left out, and bent the pins. I tried to straighten it and ended up breaking them off. So, to make a long story longer, I am full of contradictions. I love my cat and my computer. I love writing, but find it hard at times to get motivated.

I lost a lot of items when I moved, and found another item that didn’t make it. My Microsoft Office disc. I re-downloaded scrivener, and will have to rebuy Office in the future. It costs too much to buy it now, so now it will force me to learn scrivener which looks like a lot of fun. Trying to find the upside in losing software that will cost over a hundred dollars to replace.

The other items I lost were some irreplaceable ones and some I can re-buy. My fitness cd’s, my rings, including a one of a kind genuine amethyst ring which the jeweler destroyed the mold he used to make it afterwards, Cowboy Bebop dvd collection, and my tassel from graduating high school and community college, and my community college ring. A little crystal vase from my now deceased Grandma was also in that box.

I was grateful for the help at the time, but also exhausted and stressed out. It’s Over Now, as the Alice In Chains song goes, but, every time I think I’m past it, I ran across another thing I need that I don’t have.

It has been frustrating but I have learned some valuable lessons. One obvious one is that stuff is just stuff. The vase isn’t my Grandma. I still graduated even though I don’t have the tassel to prove it. I do have the diploma. Another obvious rule, which if I had been sane I would have known and should have known better, never let people who you know have a high probability of having a meth addiction into your house. They will rob you blind every time.

They were taking stuff from one box and adding it to anther, I was constantly telling them no, I am keeping that box. While I was loading two boxes, I left the third at the top of the stairs, when I came back it was gone. I really thought, perhaps I was mistaken and there were only two boxes. I was so tired.

Nope, they hauled it off when I was gone for ten seconds. So yeah, that was stupid of me. And, since I let them in it is a she said she said situation. I did let them keep a lot of stuff, so, I have no way of proving that they stole anything.

I decided to chalk it up as a lesson learned. Not to get invested too much in material things, and to make my peace with the loss. And, you never make good decisions when under a lot of stress. You need time to think and process.

If anyone is rushing you into something, it is probably not to your benefit. If anyone offers to help with nothing in return, sometimes, there is an ulterior motive. The world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Occasionally, there is a glimmer. But most of the time, there is something else at work. I wish that wasn’t the case, but in my experience, most of the time there is a cost, a hidden cost, but a cost nonetheless. Make sure you are willing to pay it. There is no free lunch, as they say.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Happy Birthday to Myself, GRRM, and Sophia Loren; And a Missed Opportunity Turns into a Lesson Learned

I  have always liked that my birthday is the same as Mr. Martin’s as his books have inspired me since the late nineties, long before the HBO series came about. In fact, for a long long time I kept an email of him basically telling me off.

I volunteered at an E zine, and somehow my Editor in chief got GRRM to agree to an interview, and he was my favorite author at the time, and I was trying to make it perfect. I researched him thoroughly, had a list of questions and topics. It was a phone interview.

I thought I was ready, and this was back before cell phones were everywhere, so I was going to use my landline, and I forgot I had long distance blocked to save me from spending money where I shouldn’t.

I started to panic when the time came for the interview, and I couldn’t get through. I completely forgot I had the line blocked. So, Mr. Martin emailed me reminding me that his time was precious, and that I wasted an hour of his life that he spent waiting in his office, and I didn’t get another chance.

I felt like an idiot, but I also was in awe because he was like a rock star to me. I for a long time had GRRM listed as a contact in my email. Finally, I deleted it.

It was an AOL account, so I doubt it is still active now that he is insanely famous. I know a little free E zine would not be able to secure an interview today, and if you read this Scott, I am still amazed you got it back then. It was still an important non event in my life, that I will never forget.

I had an awesome list of questions too. The interview that never happened will be the most important event that didn’t happen to me in my life. It taught me a valuable lesson. You can never be too prepared. If you think you are, check again. And re -check. And double check. Also, your time is valuable, whether you are a famous author or someone writing on the side. Everyone’s time is valuable. And, it wasn’t a waste. I did learn something from it.

Posted in Life, Uncategorized, Writing

Time to Do Some Writing….

My site is back and hopefully here to stay. I plan on doing a lot of writing, and hopefully it will be just what I need to elevate my craft. Thank you all for your patience while the site was in hiatus. I appreciate any and all follows and I do follow back as a common courtesy.

I took this week off from work and it was nice not having to worry about getting up early and to have an open schedule. I do feel for those out there that make their own schedules though. It was at times hard to get motivated. I wasted some time, but that was okay.

I kind of knew that was going to happen. It is like the kid who isn’t allowed to eat candy going to a friend’s house and an open candy dish is right there. Time has been like that for me. I never have enough of it it seems, and when I do I squander it like a lottery winner does their winnings.

I am trying not to be too hard on myself. But at the same time, we never know how much time we are allotted in this life. So, it is imperative to make it count.

With that in mind, be expecting some timed writes, writing prompts, and short stories of surprise and wonder coming your way. And, again, thank you. Your encouragement and inspiration is what keeps me posting.

Sincerely,

JennRae.

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

The Problem —A Character Study

The nightmare was about over when she laid the test face down at the front of the room, shuffling out the door shouldering a book bag that was lighter than it should have been. She knew she was failing geometry. Math was not her specialty. She cared less about school every year, as she felt her soul slipping away slowly, painfully, drifting away from its purpose.

Nothing seemed real, or important. She would watch the news at night talking about possible nuclear war, and people starving in some country across the world with the deep cynicism of one far removed from it all. She imagined the bomb going off and not having to explain to her parents her failure in geometry. It almost would be a relief, if only it was painless, and quick.

A post nuclear world seemed strangely interesting and a world that she would want to explore in a video game, or a comic book, or even a movie. In reality, perhaps not. I’m sure a resident of Nagasaki during World War II would probably love to switch with her and have a failing grade instead of all the radiation and cancer and sudden death.

What was it a friend of hers always said? First World Problems. Yeah, it makes everyone who complains about slow internet, or waiting in line to buy new shoes feel like a jerk. Some big eyed waif in some third world country someplace was doing hard labor without shoes, and here she was in ‘Ross Dress For Less’ cursing at a long wait while she buys a pair of zebra striped patent leather heels.

First world problems, indeed. Meanwhile, she would go to school, go to bed, and wake up to go to school while both her parents worked during the day and were tired in the evening. She had a younger brother that had some special issues that seemed to take their time, and she felt like an afterthought. Someone that was background noise. Until she screwed up, but that wasn’t the kind of attention she wanted. She would rather be background noise.

She had saved up for those zebra striped heels from babysitting a cousin who was in that age bracket where they are too old to be a baby but too young for real school.

It was hard work because the little guy had a ton of energy and could completely destroy a room in a matter of minutes.  Plus, he put everything in his mouth, so she had to watch him carefully. Balancing that with school work and studying was hard.

School used to be easy for her, but this year she felt suddenly stupid. She couldn’t concentrate and found herself slipping from the room while the teacher’s voice became a constant drone like a hive of bees. She felt so incredibly tired.

Finally, her teacher cornered her the next day as she was attempting to sneak out. “Natalie, wait a moment will you? I want to speak to you.” She gulped and sat at the nearest desk watching the others file out the door, some looking at her blankly, most not even looking at her. She had become invisible to most.

“Okay, come here my dear, just sit down.” Mrs. Grimble got up and shut the door after the last student had left, leaving the room to just Natalie and herself. “Okay,  you need to tell me what is going on with you. I see you struggling. Coming in late, not turning in homework. I can see it in your face. Is everything all right at home?”

“This is about the test, isn’t it?” She said tiredly.

Mrs. Grimble looked her in the eye, and pulled out her test from a drawer, handing it out to her.

“I think it is more than that. I looked at your records from last year, and I can see a drastic difference in your work. I hope you know I want what is best for you, and I hope you feel you can trust me. I just want to help you.”

Natalie looked down at the desk, and then eyed the wall clock ticking away. “I think I will be late for my next class, Mrs. Grimble.”

“I talked to your other teachers. We do compare notes on occasion. And, it is the same story. There is something going on. We can see it. You just aren’t really present in class. Would you like to speak with the counselor? Would that be helpful?”

“I do not know what’s wrong. I guess I feel like I have to be perfect all the time. And, no one likes me. I feel stupid this year. I just can’t think. I am just so tired. I just want to sleep and not wake up.”

Mrs. Grimble looked horrified, and concerned all at once. Natalie wanted to shove her desk over and scatter all the pens and pencils onto the floor. She suddenly felt anger toward her for all the fake sympathy, the pity.

She didn’t want sympathy, or pity. She was all alone, and everyone seemed false and fake. She didn’t trust Mrs. Grimble. She didn’t trust anyone. She did have a secret, but she wouldn’t share it here, not with anyone at the school.

“I think dear, that we should schedule you with an appointment, to see Mrs. Fenton. It can’t hurt, right?”

“You want me to reassure you, Mrs. Grimble? Or is this your way of asking my permission?” Mrs. Grimble was jotting something down on a pink slip and she slid it across the desk toward Natalie.

“Are you going to tell my parents? I don’t want them to be bothered with this.”

“Don’t you think they should know that something is bothering you?”

Natalie looked at the slip in front of her, not reaching out to take it.

“It would just make them worry about me. I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want them to fret or worry about me. They have their hands full dealing with Brian.”

“How is your brother doing, Natalie?”

“As good as can be expected for someone who is slowly dying. He takes all their time when they aren’t working, and they worry over him, and sometimes they get hopeful. Then other times things are bleak. I am tired of the roller coaster at this point. I just wish a miracle would happen, or it would be over. Sometimes I hate him. Isn’t that terrible? I am a horrible person aren’t I?”

“No, dear. You have a lot on your shoulders right now. Maybe you should just take a leave from school. It would be hard to catch up, but I can talk to the principle and the counselor, and we can explain the situation…”

“No, I don’t want to take a leave. I just want things to be easy again. I don’t want to be stuck in the house watching my brother all the time. Watching him slowly get worse. Just watching. I’d rather be bored out of my mind here.”

“Natalie, you want to graduate with your class, right?”

She said nothing. Mrs. Grimble pushed the paper a little closer to Natalie. “Take it. Go to Mrs. Fenton. It can’t hurt.”

Natalie reluctantly took it, and lifted her bag and didn’t say another word. Mrs. Grimble watched her leave and began composing an email on her computer.

 

 

 

Posted in Fiction, Life, Uncategorized, Writing

The Secret

“What is life? Why are we here? I mean, what’s it all for anyhow?” The curious red head asked  her Uncle in all seriousness, her eyes squinting to avoid the glare of the campfire as the flames toyed  with each other in a never ending battle for supremacy. He laughed a deep, carefree laugh. She asked so many questions that he shook his head after awhile. She was a born inquisitor, and was tireless in her examinations. She wouldn’t quit, even after the rest of the children grew tired and went to sleep in their tents.

“Life,” began her Uncle choosing his words slowly, “is complicated. It can’t really be summed up in one word, nor can I explain it in a one night. It is one of those things that we do year after year. We search for the why’s and the what for’s. It wouldn’t be any fun if we started with all the answers, would it?”

She looked solemn a moment, her face puzzled, the words settling into the niches of her young brain. “Well, what if I want all the answers?” Her Uncle shook his head again, and chuckled. “Well, one of the first things you’ve got to learn, and this is a big secret. In fact, come closer.” He motioned with his hand gently for her to crane her head as near to him as she could conspiratorially.

“The secret?” She whispered hopefully when she deemed she was close enough. The fire warmed them both, and the crackling of the wood was soothing in its own way.

“Awh, yes, the secret. First, you must promise me something, then I will share the secret with you.” The red head gave a frown, unsure of the new conditions of this secret.

“All right, I promise.”

“Well, then. You promise? You promise this will be the last question tonight? Your Uncle is getting tired, and must get some sleep, too.”

She frowned, she didn’t like this promise, but since she had all ready agreed, she could do nothing but nod. “The secret is…,” he began again, watching her face light up in anticipation, “No one has all the answers, and the world doesn’t give you what you want, but dishes out what it has.”

“That can’t be the secret!” she shouted. Her Uncle laughed again.

“See? Not everything is as you would want it. Better to discover this now, then later. And, since you promised, you must go to bed. And, I can get some sleep.”

“But I didn’t promise to go to bed!” She cried, horrified at the thought.

“Well, I am tired, and I can’t stay up to watch you, so you must sleep like the others. Your mother is all ready asleep. It is only fair that I get to sleep too.”

She grudgingly agreed, and walked slowly to her tent with her little face turned toward the ground in disappointment. Her Uncle watched her in silence, as the fire started to die down. He absently added one more log, thinking. Who would be there to answer his questions when the time came? He got up stiffly, and made his way to his tent, contemplating life and its meaning.

 

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Short Stories of Suspense and Wonder

The office was hot and stuffy. It was an unusual business. They did reviews of short stories instead of novels, and published them into one volume entitled Short Stories of Suspense and Wonder.

There would be the usual stack of magazines and literary journals on the long table, and the short story reviewers would grab the choice bits to cover until only the newsprint of local human interest stories and obituaries were left. Suzie waited on the outskirts, smiling at her fiance, Geoffrey. He wasn’t feeling ambitious today, and waited for the men in front of him to stop arguing over a short suspense piece.

Geoffrey wanted something local, something nearby, something that would not require too much real work on his part. They had all ready published a few volumes of this, and the next very well might be their last, because people just didn’t buy review magazines of short stories on a regular basis.

Geoffrey was only here because of a friend himself. That and Suzie had talked him into it. Easy cash, only work a little on the weekends, besides his day job, he might be able to save up for her ring, which he kept putting off, and so on. Suzie fancied herself a writer, but she hadn’t written a story in years.

Finally the others went to their cubbyholes, talking excitedly about this author, or that one, Geoffrey wasn’t really listening. He walked up to the table and glanced over the remains. Pieces of magazines lay everywhere, certain stories had been yanked from them, and now they lay there disemboweled. His eye caught one story, on the inside of one magazine that hadn’t been destroyed yet, but instead lay propped open to some ghastly art done in a seventies pulp mag style around the title. Just my luck to get a horror story, he thought, unimpressed.

He picked it up, and looked in the back where they have the “about the author” stuff, he wasn’t going to go out of state, or even over fifteen miles if he could help it. Alexandra Tarpin, Fir street, building 1001. Hmm.

That wasn’t far. That was just downtown. This was her first published story, and she was eighty years old. There might be something here, Geoffrey smiled to himself, and took the scissors lying carelessly on the table, and cut out the article, writing down the author contact info in a small notepad.

He did find it odd she had her address listed in the magazine. They normally just left it at the city, and he usually had to do a little grunt work to get the actual address. But her address was right there; less work for him. He left the table and approached Suzie who was still waiting.

“Well? Where are we going? What town?”

“Suzie my dear, we are going to Fir Street.”  She looked at him a moment, and then grabbed his little notebook to see for herself.

“Well, that is a surprise. Since you waited for everyone to pick first I thought for sure we would be left with Siberia. And, she’s a granny too? Writing horror? This will be interesting.” Maybe to Suzie, as Geoffrey tried to stifle a yawn. “Well, let’s get this over with.”

Geoffrey’s old Chevy truck pulled up and parked at Fir Street, and they both gazed at  number 1001. It was a rundown brick building with moss growing between the gaps and a cracked sidewalk that poured directly into the street. Geoffrey shut the car door with Suzie following and approached the an old door. He looked into the window in the center of the door, and saw a small hallway with two additional doors leading further in.

“Come on, we aren’t here to spy on her,” Suzie said testily. Geoffrey didn’t know why she insisted on coming along anyway. This wasn’t the most exciting work.

Geoffrey tested the outer door, and found it unlocked. “A real trusting granny, ” he quietly said under his breath. They both walked into the small hallway, and were faced with the two doors he had noticed from outside. Which one was the correct one, and what kind of crazy house was this?

“We should have knocked. You don’t just waltz into her house like you own the place.” Geoffrey shrugged. Suzie glared at him and knocked quite loudly on the door to the left. They waited a few minutes, Geoffrey glancing at his watch. “Maybe I should have tried to get her phone number.”

“You think?” Suzie rolled her eyes, annoyed. An elderly lady opened the door, and looked at them in surprise.

“Just in time. I am holding a writing seminar upstairs.” She said calmly her voice sounding like a typical granny.

“Mrs. Tarpin? Actually, I was hoping to review your short story,” he paused to glance at the article to remind him of the title, “Zombies and Ghouls.” Suzie gave him a sharp elbow to the side, when he almost laughed saying the title out loud.

“Well, let’s talk upstairs anyway. I often invite guests into my house. it’s so large and lonely here all alone.”

They followed Mrs. Tarpin upstairs and through a door into a long room filled with old school desks.  At the front of the room was a large chalk board. Normally, a reviewer would have read the material first, but Geoffrey felt like the title explained all he needed to know of her story.

“So, what inspired you to write this?” he asked first, although Mrs. Tarpin looked distracted. There were about five other people in this room all chatting among themselves.

“I should really get back to my discussion. Perhaps you can study the story more, with your friend here, and see what you can come up with.” Mrs. Tarpin gave him a smile, and went back toward the chalk board. Suzie took a seat at one of the desks, and implored with hand gestures that Geoffrey do likewise.

“Okay, okay. I guess we should actually read this thing. Hopefully, it is better than it sounds.” Geoffrey sounded less than confident about this and had to visibly suppress a grimace. Suzie sighed. He knew she hated his dramatics. As Geoffrey began to read the story, he noticed that it didn’t start out like he thought it would.

A man, a Mr. Fenton who was married with a few kids was unhappy. He had been pining in secret for the girl who lived next door. Their houses shared a wall and he would see her going by with a smile. He was convinced she was teasing him. He became so despondent; he started destroying things in his own house.

One day, his wife and kids were gone, and the man could think of nothing else but this girl. He went into his cellar, which he had discovered while trashing the place; a hidden cellar, of course.

He brought a candle with him. ‘Why  not a flashlight?’, thought Geoffrey, annoyed. The man kept going, and it started sloping down, sharply. He kept on until his candle was burning his fingers. He didn’t know where he was going, or why, he was just angry at that girl for teasing him.

Finally, he felt everything was wet around him, and this repulsed him, he groped to find his way back, his candle having gone out, and he found what appeared to be a large round luminous ball of mysterious substance. ‘Oh, come on!, though Geoffrey, incredulous.

This ball was hard for the most part, but when he applied enough pressure, it burst, and showered him with green muck. He had no idea what it could be. He again started to grope the wall, to try and find his way back.

It remained wet and slimy most of the way. He soon felt very tired, and got the strange impression he was dying down here.  His skin appeared to be slipping off, and he was all wet from the walls.

He felt so very tired. He had to rest, yet he couldn’t sit down in the muck. He soon realized that he could no longer feel anything; it was as if he was numb all over.

“Why am I reading this? I know what is going to happen.” Suzie glared at him again.

“Just read it, you might find yourself surprised.” He shrugged.

The man continued upward. Soon he heard giggling and laughing, and it made him think of the girl. Instead of looking forward to seeing her, he felt an intense anger.  He felt like destroying the world. She was laughing at him, he knew it. He went towards the light. Soon, it was everywhere, and he realized he was in the other house. The girl was louder, and very close.

He could smell her tender young skin. He looked down at himself, wondering about the muck covering him, when he saw that his skin was slipping off. His legs were like one of those wrinkled dogs, and his clothes were slimy and torn.

He looked at his hands, and they had a bluish tinge and looked for from healthy. He had to find the girl. She went hopping and skipping, and stopped when she came within his sight.

She looked at him aghast, but said nothing. She had a look of pity on her face, not the look of horror he had been expecting. He grew intensely angry at this. He came up to her reeking of the muck, and yelled at her, “Why have you changed? Why are you not teasing me?”

She said nothing. He passed her and went further into the house where her family lived, leaving her to wonder.

“That was very stupid. See? I did know where it was going,” Geoffrey added with certainty.

“Don’t you find it odd, that he asked her, why she had changed?” Suzie asked. Now that he stopped to think about it, it was an odd thing for him to say.

Mrs. Tarpin came over, finished with her lecture. The other five people talked excitedly. “Out of curiosity, Mrs. Tarpin, what was your lecture on?” Suzie asked, being nosey as usual.

“Why, dear, it was about relating your life events into your story, you know, to make it seem more real.”

“Mrs. Tarpin?”

“You may call me, Alexandra, Mr. ?”

“Mr. Barris.”

“And what is your Christian name?”

“Geoff, Geoffrey Barris.”

“Now, what was it you wished to ask me?”

“Why did you decide to do a story like this, I mean, Zombies and Ghouls?”

“Why do you think, young man, it intrigued me.”

Suzie cut in, “Why does the man after he is changed, ask the girl, why she has changed? It almost seems like something someone might say. But, I am not sure what it means in the story.”

“Well, I did think of it, dear.” She chuckled at this. “He says this, because she no longer mocks him, and he didn’t know why. He had observed that he had changed, but he didn’t know in what way exactly. In fact, to the girl, he looked much the same, except the condition of his clothes, of course.”

“You don’t say that in your story, why not?” Geoffrey suddenly found himself interested in the bizarre old woman.

“Perhaps it was an oversight. Would you like some tea? Or cookies? My other guests are leaving just now, and we can talk more about the story if you wish.” Mrs. Tarpin did seem like a normal granny, other than the fact that most don’t write short stories about zombies.

“Uh…Mrs…Alexandra, where do the Ghouls come in?”

“Well, when he discovers that he doesn’t appear to be rotting, to ordinary people, and has rediscovered his mind, he becomes a ghoul.”

“That’s not in the story either. Do we have a shorter version?”

“No, that is the version that got published. In all truth, I didn’t want that for the name. But the editor thought it sounded catchy for his magazine.” Mrs. Tarpin left the room to get the tea, leaving the kitchen door ajar. They both waited, not saying a word.

The door creaked open all the way, and Suzie turned to address Mrs. Tarpin, when she saw a man in a bathrobe turn toward her and give her an odd grimace. Something made her fearful, and she started to  back away. Geoffrey looked at her like she was insane.

“Is that? Are you?” Suzie stammered.

He came at her, with a look of anger and no longer appeared to be human, but a strange bluish creature whose skin had been rotting. She screamed, and Mrs. Tarpin was there , and with in-explainable super human strength, lifted Suzie up and placed her on top of a tall refrigerator. Geoffrey remained below, with speechless mouth agape.

Mrs. Tarpin quickly made some fried eggs, and bacon, and gave them to the man who seemed to be an old man once again.

“Suzie? Are you crazy? Why did you do that? And, Mrs…Alexandra, how did you lift her like that? You made it look easy.”

“Mr. Barris, are you that stupid?” Mrs. Tarpin said with an odd tone of menace. He watched as the old man shoveled the food into his mouth straight off the frying pan, still sizzling.

“I think we would be going, don’t you dear?” He addressed Suzie who was still cringing on top of the fridge.

“I know why he said, why have you changed.” Suzie exclaimed in a daze. “Oh no, we have to leave now.”

Mrs. Tarpin sighed with regret. “If you must leave, let me show him back to his part of the house. He just thought he smelled food cooking. Come, dear.” She led the man creature to another door at the back of the kitchen, and locked it with a click.

“Come, child. Let me get you down from the fridge. It is safe now.” Suzie backed away from her, shaking her head. Mrs. Tarpin’s arms seemed to elongate, and she grabbed the frightened girl anyway, and hauled her down from the fridge.

“Now, dear, listen to me. You can go out this way, and Geoffrey can go out this door.” They could hear the man creature pounding loudly on the other side of the door, and the sound of wood splintering under the impact.

Suzie nodded, and ran out the door not looking behind her, and into the large school like room and then beyond downstairs into the small hallway.

She reached the front door, and opened it, and wasn’t sure whether to close it and lock it, or wait for Geoffrey. She heard the door on the right open, and Geoffrey entered the small hallway, his eyes appeared tired, and had dark circles under them as if he hadn’t slept in days.

Suzie quickly got out of the house, and locked the knob from the inside and ran. It took only an additional second for the door to be unlocked and for the knob to turn, and for it to open. She saw Geoffrey staring after her with his eyes blankly watching.

***********************************************************************************

Mrs. Tarpin entered her bathroom, and noticed that Mr. Fenton was all ready in the tub, the water a dark grey from his rotting flesh. She got rid of her illusion and went to take care of his wounds. If he didn’t get new flesh soon he would die.

Mr. Barris followed her, his eyes beginning to bulge out of his head, his skin starting to decay. She could use some of his skin in the meantime. Before it was all dead.

Alexandra Tarpin still remembered that day a long time ago, when Mr. Fenton had shouted at her, “Why have you changed?” He had only reached out and held her hand but a moment, and didn’t know why she had started to wither.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Transition– An Experiment with Stream of Conciousness

I dream of the sea, green noisy, coming in furiously, pounding the shore with a force that could knock a grown  man onto the ground and pull him under.

I dream of a love so strong that the one in love dies of a heart attack, but is blissful at the last possible second of life. I dream of the craziness of a nuthouse turned loose on the empty streets to vandalize the dreary storefronts.

My dreams are nightmares in the shapes of children’s building blocks gone horribly wrong. I find myself in a maze of my own making, only I forgot to  make myself a way out. I scream, but no one can hear, because I am not awake. The alarm resounds with buzzer like clarity, a dream within a dream, a labyrinth of eternity on a small scale. The scream turns inside out to show a display of a red interior that transforms into the interior of an ancient car that is on the edge of a precipice just like in the movies.

One move, and over we go to a glorious technicolor death down below.

And then I wake, and I scream, because it isn’t a dream, but a distorted reality, grinning at me from all angles in mock triumph. I am insane, I decide one day after witnessing the death of thousands before my very eyes. Or maybe, I never woke up, only thought I did, and am now tumbling down an earthen rabbit hole that is also a bottomless pit leading to a black hole where not even a beam of light can escape. An alarm sounds, do I hear it? Am I awake now?

I fear I am, and experience the total whiteness of nothingness, where every object is a foreign one, and I am floating to a remote island with seas of intense blue, but there are sharks waiting for me, to make me into a fine meal. At least there will be an end to it, the madness I mean, the crazy multi colored flashiness of existence.

Is that what I want? An end to it? To be thrown away like the core of an apple? Awh, but the seed hits the ground, and one day grows to be an apple tree. Is there never an end to it then? If there is a beginning, there must be an end, that is symmetry.

Two perfect halves waiting to be reunited on the beaches of bliss and ignorance. Hands touch, and collide, and the fragments shatter like broken glass in a cheap hotel, going every which way, and in a hurry like a bus without brakes. Slow down, we don’t want to die after all, only too scared to really live, but even more afraid to die.

So that’s it. Life. I must be dreaming because no life is as ridiculous and nonsensical as this one. Or is it my ego, in the foolishness of thinking that I am unique? No, I am unique, and so it the man in the trench coat on the park bench over there, you know, the one reading the newspaper so intently, brow furrowed with concern and worry. He’s looking at the NASDAQ,or could it be the comics?

He’s gone, but there is an old lady with a poodle approaching. She sniffs the air suspiciously. What is it that she smells? The urine of a homeless man who slept on the park bench all night, with the stars as his own personal tableau? Or is it the city trashcan filled with half eaten fast food that apparently was not fast enough.

The lady with the poodle is gone now, and so is the bench and the trashcan. Where am I now? In bed, with the sheets pulled up tight around my chin which I hate. I hate being constricted. I feel so helpless.  Like I am going insane. Going,  as if it is a destination, a plot point, a physical locale one can visit, and then leave.

My eyes examine the ceiling and I know I am awake. I can count the tiny dots on each panel. It is the type of ceiling one finds in an institution, or a school. Only I am in a sterile bed, made of a mattress and metal, counting the dots. A hospital, my mind tells me. I am in the hospital.

What for? I ask myself, but no one answers. What was I expecting? Another personality? One named Susan with one and a half kids, and a beagle with a pink collar? Or an old lady named Gertrude with a fat cat on her lap, mewing. Whatever, there is no one here but me, and I can’t think straight.

I slowly lift my arm to touch my temple, and it feels funny. Soft like rotten fruit that’s been in the fridge way too long. I am all tied down, as if I tried to get out of bed earlier. Maybe I did, I can’t remember. I recall pain, white hot pain, on the beach, and then nothing. Who am I? What beach?

I am blank, nothing, nada. But I am alive, and awake and here in a hospital with a window overlooking a large parking lot.

Posted in Fiction, Life, Uncategorized, Writing

What in the Short Stories is Happening Around Here…

Figured I should explain why I am posting so many short stories. I had a booklet of short stories that I had been sitting on for a long time that I had wanted to publish. But, I figured since I also write newer material, I may as well self publish them here.

I did a sequel of sorts for Between the Cliffs on here,  the original which I had published in a  literary journal in college as Jennifer Rae, and I was looking for the first part since it has been over ten years I figured it would be harmless to put it out there now.

Instead, I found a treasure trove of other stories that I am editing slightly and posting here. Eventually, I will find Between the Cliffs as I kept the issue that it appeared in for my records.

So, as a disclaimer, a lot of these I must have written when I was in a sad mood. So many of them are tragedies, I am getting depressed re-writing them. I am not sad currently. I am not suicidal, or depressed. There is a ton of things to live for, not sure what I was processing at the time. But I am not in that frame of mind currently.

Posted in Life, Uncategorized

Catnip, Farmer’s Markets, and Other Random Occurrences…

Since I have been silent a while I feel I need to explain a few things. While I adore writing, and I love writing spontaneously on here the most, it isn’t what currently pays the bills. If only it was. Alas, I have been picking up hours here and there and working a lot and haven’t yet figured out a time management strategy that works in the new place.

I am attempting to make a sort of small writing area where I can be in the right mood. But, I also like to keep an eye on my kid and my furry kiddo which means I spend most of my time in the living area.

I just gave my furry child a ton of catnip just to see her antics. She is adjusting to a strictly indoor life pretty well. I had some concerns that she would try to escape or be destructive out of boredom, but so far, she is adjusting by playing with her toys a lot more. Which makes sense, no access to mice and birds and  a plethora of time on her paws. Why not give some of the toys more time, of course a couple of them might not survive many  more thrashings.

My un-furry son has also been keeping me busy with his numerous activities from music, to Judo, to hiking trips. I feel like my second job is planner / chauffeur. And, writing has fallen behind the postal service and my son’s errand running. I know I could find time. It is just a matter of will power and planning.

Plus, I am still deciding on things in this place. I kinda don’t like how my bedroom is laid out. I am thinking of rearranging all the furniture.

I made the mistake of reading something about Feng Shui, and now I can’t get it out of my head how my bed is by a door, a window and across from two other doors. I don’t think there is a way to sleep in that room and have good luck, so I guess I am kinda screwed, according to feng shui anyhow.

One of the upsides to moving is you get to start over; it’s much easier to change things up now before I get too used to things. I may rearrange the living room as well. There are some ideas that I won’t know if they suit me or not until I actually see it.

My son and I go on almost daily Pokemon walks about town. It is a sort of ritual that also gets us some exercise even though we stop walking every few feet or so because he “has to catch them all,” it is better than  watching YouTube videos all day, which he would also love to do, and on one such walk we stumbled onto the Farmer’s Market, which was awesome.

A man was there who makes chain mail and some steam punk style jewelry.  It just turned into something else and somehow we ended up buying honey and almost a hat. So, sometimes I get some good experiences out of random encounters.

There is something to be said for not having everything planned out; for having things up in the air. It is like a surprise gift, an aha moment. I like being surprised. I feel like I am not surprised enough.

I feel bad for missing Zelazny’s birthday post the most, because he was a writer that affected my style a lot and he is one of my favorites. Speaking of surprises, I briefly went into some of the books I have left, and saw a hard back of The Green Pearl by Jack Vance.

I thought I lost all my Vance because they were in paperback form. Sometimes you forget what you have and surprise yourself with long lost treasures. I know it is just stuff but it is amazing how often I get reminded.

I go to get my sunglasses, they are gone. I remember reading Le Morte D’Arthur, oh wait, it was a paperback, it is gone. Dracula, gone. I had it since I was in Middle School, I bought it at the book fair.

I still have How to Write Science-Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. Which is good because I wrote in the cover of that one. I tried to make sure I kept the books like that, but I did get a bit rushed. So, someone going to Good Will might find some of my treasures unknowingly. If so, I hope it wasn’t one of my teenage angst notes.  Sorry in advance if some poor soul were to stumble upon those. There is a reason I don’t write much poetry.