Monsters

He makes her forget when she looks into his eyes. No more dusty echos of terrors skittering around her head. Doesn’t feel crazy when she’s with him, he makes it feel right.

It’s nothing but a little dance when she’s with him, spinning and preening for his affections, sliding her hips a little more, breathing a little deeper, watching the world go soft as his smile lights up her heart. It all turned out easier than she thought it would, she wasn’t horrified after all. They don’t seem like little cherubs then, just little gifts to give him for his amusement, something to whet his appetites.

Oh, those appetites. He can give her what no other can; gentle lips and soft hands soothing the rage, making her hatred sing with adoration of his hands, his lulling poetry, his compassionate patience with her fears. No other lover is willing to test her limits, no one else knows how to set her free. No one else understands what it takes to become more than human, to rise above the chains they tie to you, to learn to enjoy sliding next to darkness, skin to skin, the scent of blood as heady as the scent of sweat and fear.

Without him, she is trapped inside her own dark chains. Without him she knows the nature of Hell. She does not worry what awaits her when they are caught. She knows he will not be near forever, she has but moments of pleasure to enjoy while she can. It is her time to live in the light, to proudly step from the shadows and stand by his side, letting the sun shine on her monster within.

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Twitter #GrimList2019 prompt: monsters.

Ritual

We thought she was going autistic. Every day at 3 pm, she crawled under the table. Mama would have to croon to her to come out so long that she took to piling her ironing on top of the table, so she could fold and make the time have more purpose. She was there crooning, just as she did every day, with all that soft laundry piled on top of that old table when the plane crashed in our field, and the giant picture window she always loved to look out of as we ate dinner, it blew inward and a largish shard kind of chopped off her head.

There was something about the way her shoulders were set when we found her, out in the yard, something about the way she sat as she was waiting with that copycat smile, and we could see where she came out of the rubble, the path she cleared under the clothes that kept the shards away from her tender skin, there was something in the way her eyes were kind of rusty at the edges, the way she seemed to slither behind secrets in her usual silence, it just wasn’t her anymore.

I almost think it started when mama started dating him, well I mean I know I smelled that breath myself once or twice. It was like he was of decay, one of its things walking around on earth in a human skin. We hated him, but he seemed fond of her, I saw her brace herself against his breath every day.

I think it was around then when she started looking lost in her eyes, when she seemed to always be looking upward and aside when you talked to her, when her fingers stared itching over her skin and she started mumbling quietly in the corner. The shrink said it was a self soothing ritual, and I asked why was she practicing magic, but the shrink said no, it wasn’t. But it was then that she started hiding under the table, every day, right at the time that mama died and after that, that man wasn’t allowed to keep us.

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Twitter #GrimList2019 prompt: ritual.

Sacrifice

Once, as she looked upon him, her blue eyes would darken with love as they snuggled, and she would smile at nothing while she stroked his hair. She was happy that he would keep her company while she binge watched her shows, though they both knew they didn’t interest him much.

That’s how he proved his love to her, with little gifts of compassion, conceding to her desires and fulfilling his promise to take care of her. Yes, it helped keep her near him so he might take care of his needs, but it became more than that. He had become quite fond of her.

He stroked her hair, alive with trembles reflecting the light, her eyes bright and sparkling, she seemed to glow. It was a shame he had to betray her. He knew she would never accept that he always loved her laugh, he admired her perspectives on literature, he considered her to be strong and capable and beautiful. Of course he truly loved her. It is not sacrifice without love.

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GrimList2019 prompt: sacrifice.

Bones

Here comes my shame, in the form of tears. My heart aches as I know I’ve lost all hope of being taken seriously, at being heard, at being humored out of respect or compassion because emotions mean I’m being silly. Silly like a child.

I reach for him, I step toward him, I open my hands in plea as he sneers and stands superior.

“We have bills to pay and I don’t have time to play your games. You watch far too much television.” I’m always just oh, so silly.

“Please, I feel it in my bones.” Some phrases have no meaning, seem empty but pretty combinations of words, until your shins almost itch deep inside with an odd tingle, your shoulders grab themselves tight, your spine slams tense, bracing itself for the blast.

Despair sets in as he walks away, a flash of his lucky cuff-links sets me to grieving though I don’t know why. Until the airline sends them later, the only thing that was left, their fiery gleam charred to a lifeless black.

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P.S. – For those who follow me through wordpress, for yesterday’s prompt I put a haiku on Twitter.

 

Cemetery

Umber leaves as teardrops

Restless skittering whispers

Blanketing the dead

Carnival

A bored carnival worker looks at me. Security might seem light here, but carnies are a suspicious lot, aren’t they? Doing their own shady things?

“What would you do to get him back? To fix your mistake?”

I know my hands aren’t shaking, though my stomach says they should be. Can she see my nerves on edge? Does she think I’m a pickpocket? Do they have some kind of a guild or gang where only their people can work the crowd? What if I draw enough attention that she remembers my face?

“Are you a kind girl? Are you loyal, compassionate, a good listener, a true friend? A good big sister?”

Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter where this leads for me. It’s Joey, and if something happens to him because I couldn’t pull my shit together… Start moving. Don’t look at the carnie. I smile and try to look interested in a booth full of colorful trinkets and tapestries. I try not to fidget.

“It’s cute that you worry about the child’s life. Death isn’t the worst thing I could do. You don’t have to taint your sweet little soul. I could just keep little Joey for company.”

I see two clowns and a janitor standing in a huddle by an empty tent. Are they on break? Or do carnies work together, whispering of suspicious types who walk alone, riding no rides, playing no games? Fuck it, move, grab one, get out. I only need one. A child for a child.

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P.S. – For Twitter #GrimList2019. I had video footage that fit the prompt :). Also, without pitch adjustment, I sound more like the villain than the teen.

Grim’s List Seems An Awesome Idea

I saw a beautiful tweet today. It seems my writing hiatus is ending.

 

Periwinkle Blue

The scream of a blue jay broke through the shadow of the trees, a war cry as it battled a squirrel in the yard she pushed her daughter by. She paused to dab at her forehead with a silk scarf while her toddler cooed at the squirrel. She enjoyed this street, with its trees so old they cracked the sidewalks, sheltering the stately homes that carved out a well-manicured niche from the old-growth forest.

Periwinkles tumbled down the lawn to kiss the base of the towering tree the squirrel skittered up for safety. Sweet little flowers the color of the dress she wore, that woman he introduced her to at the party. She couldn’t remember her name. She looked so much like the woman on the news, the one that went missing.

She dismissed the thought. Her child thought the billowing white flowers were popcorn. She smiled at the thought of telling him when he came home, it was cute enough that maybe he would listen. Where would she be without him? Could she be without him? Could she do that to their daughter?

A flash of light on fluttering leaves startled her. She was embarrassed at how high she jumped. The leaves were pretty though, flitting in and out of the light. They reached the park, she hadn’t noticed. The clang of the iron gate reminded her of prison bars, but it would keep her child safe while she relaxed.

She sat on the fading bench and browsed her phone, looking for a podcast to enjoy. She tried one of her favorites, always good for distraction. A few minutes into it, she closed it. She tried reading earlier, she already knew she couldn’t focus on a plot. She decided to watch the birds.

The birds are in usually in pairs this time of year. Male birds preening and dancing, showing all their flash and none of their substance, female birds in awe of their skills and flattered with their attention, to be later disappointed when they find themselves chained to the nest.

A tiny white pebble caught her eye, reminding her of the tooth she found wedged between the boards on the porch this morning. She decided to push her daughter on the swing. Maybe the laughter of children would give her the peace she needed.

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Tarot deck: Archeon. Tarot Prompt: Queen of Pentacles, reversed.
Interpretation: A sensual woman, gentle but strong. She loves beauty, pleasure, walk is in the light of prosperity with dignity and grace. A patient, compassionate listener.
Reversed: Falling into despair. Sharp, cutting, regret. Guilt, trapped in past misdeeds, bad choices, falling. Rather than a wealth of joys, narrowed in focus to a singular intrusive thought.

389 words. More tarot stories.

P.S. – Another repost, but things are smoothing out around here some and I should be able to write again soon.

Lover’s Leap

I always thought you had rescued me from the chaotic darkness, with your graceful light. I admired you for how well you knew all the rules, that social dance that overwhelms me. With just a few flashes of your smile and steady handshake, you waltzed us right into the large house on the hill that makes mother green with envy.

You’ve always known what to say, what to do. I’ve never seen you angry. Ever. Not even when I ruined the stove. But there was always something I could never pin down, something that always made me wonder about how perfect your responses were, something that left me feeling like you might not be fully sincere, but I tried to have hope and tell myself it was my past making me nervous.

Now that I am to be a mother though, I feel some other instinct is making me watch you a little too carefully. I think maybe I’m beginning to see what I’ve been seeing all along. The young women that have been on the news have all been so familiar, in a way that bothered me but I tried to dismiss.

I asked about my favorite cashier that I hadn’t seen for a while, hoping she had made it into the school she applied to, and I found she was one of the missing. I just hadn’t recognized her out of context. It opened my eyes. So many faces around me just aren’t there anymore. We knew them all, didn’t we? Shadows from the corner of my life, girls I noticed yet never saw.

And then last night, the blood in your hair, but I could not see a cut. I went through our closet today, and there are too many of your clothes missing that I can’t find in the laundry. Were they burned? Dropped in a river?

I can tell that you know what I’ve realized. I see my time is getting shorter. So I came here, were you proposed to me while we watched the sun set over the ocean. The overlook where the waters are too rough for swimming, were fishermen won’t sail.

I look at my own hands on the wheel and I remember how true it felt when you said I was nothing without you. I could not survive. You are right. You’ve clipped my wings to ensure it. You will not shape your daughter as you have shaped me.

We idle the car near the edge of the world and watch the sun set, and chat pleasantly while you try to figure out exactly how much I know. I smile, and evade as my heart fills with sorrow. As the sun blows a kiss to greet the oncoming night, I let my foot slide and we drive.

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Archeon Tarot Prompt: Three of Cups, reversed. 466 words. More tarot stories.

P.S. – This is my Archeon Deck. Much more serious, dark, and beautiful than my tongue in cheek zombie deck. Perfect to explore the dark hearts of human monsters while I dive into my research on serial killers and enjoy whole new levels of understanding on my latest Criminal Minds marathon.

The Student

The love songs of the night gave way to the chatter of birds as the girl made her way across the prairie to the hut. Dew drops reflected the overcast sky, turning the field into a dreamlike silver, cut through with a green brush stroke winding behind her as her toes tickled the dew to the ground.

She watched a butterfly opening its wings in the rising dawn, fluttering lazily, enjoying a few more minutes in its silky floral bed. She was tempted to tease it on to her finger, but catching butterflies was a child’s game and she was too old for such things now.

Father had stopped howling. He was likely either dead or sleeping. The virus didn’t grant him much peace, she wasn’t sure which one she preferred.

Inside the hut, the smell had quieted down, grown more earthen. She would have expected something sour. Like when fruit turns to wine. This smelled more like mushrooms. He sat quietly, observing her as she observed him. He wasn’t breathing.

“I promised Mother I wouldn’t kill you. Do you remember Mother?” He was still enough to be made of stone. Except for those eyes, which were darker now. The irises were larger, large enough to be seeing rather well in the dim light. That explained why the monster had stuck to the shadows, his eyes were likely sensitive.

She opened the curtains, letting the dawn creep closer to the thing that used to be her father. The chains rattled as he shifted his weight away from the light, but there was no other reaction. Interesting. That implies physical distress, but not at a critical level.

“We never did spend a lot of time together, Father. I think I will remedy that. I propose a partnership. You shall teach me exactly how to defeat the plague. I pray I don’t cause you too much discomfort in the process.”

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Zombie Tarot Prompt: Page of Swords. More tarot flash stories over here.

Run

“Stop! Look at her! Look at her in the light!” I could see his face, he was older than I thought. I doubt he remembers where he got all those battle scars.

I turned to her, not trying to obey him, but wanting to make some comment, some suggestion, that I forgot as soon as I saw her face. I couldn’t understand what I saw, she was beautiful as always, but there was something creepy and whispering, like a mask was cracking and something gray and shadowy was underneath, but I didn’t actually see anything wrong with her at all.

She raised a hand and touched my face. “Shh, he speaks in lies and can make people see things.” Her whisper sent thrills of delight down my spine, and her touch was warm like sun glowing through honey. I calmed, and she grabbed my hand, and we ran into the shadows.

As we ran down the crumbling stone tunnel, our footsteps reverberated in my head with my heartbeat, weaving together to make a beat of panic, and I realized I could almost hear someone singing in the background. Was that here, was it real?

I realized I couldn’t remember what we were running from, or where we were running to. Then we left the tunnel and the moonlight hit her skin, and she was so beautiful. It didn’t matter anymore, so I followed.

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Zombie Tarot Prompt: Justice, and the Lovers. This week I decided to do a two-card draw to represent the predator and the prey. More tarot stories.