Sunday, September 28, 2014

Always

Milk Wood

Never had Ronald felt so insulted. It was true that he dragged his feet in the morning and that he tried to cut short the work day by starting to get ready to leave the office half an hour before the end of the shift.

However, he had never missed a day’s work, never lost a paper or misfiled a document.

“You’re always stealing our doughnuts,” was far more than he could handle. He even brought the coffee, well, once or twice a month. The least the crew could do was to allow him to take a doughnut, or three.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Trapped

France Portnawak (Titanic)

September 20 2014
Event: 500 Word Challenge
Host: Lizzie Gudkov
Prompt: Picture 
Time: 30 mins






Trapped in a corner, she recalled her days of wandering, of lurking in the shadows, of hiding. 

She still clutched onto the Victorian medallion. It was stroking her soul, scratch by scratch, widening the deep wound slowly. 

She had been advised not to take it, but she didn’t listen. She had to have it. No one would ever tell her she couldn’t have it. 

She knew far too well that the medallion was not hers. She knew it would never be. Yet, she held on to it, determined. 

Trapped in a corner, she recalled her days of believing, of dreaming, of hiding. She saw it, the hungry wolf. His red eyes were glimmering faintly. It was preying on her soul, circling her fears slowly, step by step. 

The medallion would be her protection, they said. And she held it close to her chest, an uncontrollable wave of desperation taking over her feeble decisiveness. 

And now she was trapped. And the wolf knew it. And she turned to face the wall, the medallion still in her hand, its edges sinking in the soft skin of her palm. And she couldn’t wait anymore. And the fear was overpowering. And no one else knew those red eyes as she did. And no one cared. And… 

She woke up. Nights were becoming worse for her. The nightmares… 

She sat up in her bed and looked around. Where was the medallion? She looked for it all over the house. She turned drawers inside out. Nothing. It had done its job. It had somehow moved on. 

Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, the obsession growing, while sleeping and being awake. 

It’s a spell, someone said, or was it a curse? 

Time going by didn’t help even when she became confused and started looking for the wolf out in the garden till late at night, the neighbors peering through the curtains concerned about her unusual behavior. 

Her family got more and more anxious and decided to commit her to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. She’s so young, they said, mourning the loss of a promised future. 

She never left that place again, that horrid white place, forever recalling that Victorian medallion with the face of a wolf on it, forever trapped in a lonely inexplicable corner.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Is there something you want to tell me?

Mystic Falls


September 6 2014
Event: 500 Word Challenge
Prompt: Is there something you want to tell me?
Time: 30 mins







A smile, a pause, a silence and a defeating feeling that there’s something you want to tell me. You don’t smile. You’re just in silence.


I try to bridge the awkwardness, knowing well that your motionless despair, so unlike you, is the bearer of more silence, perhaps even such a devastating silence that no sound, not even noise, will ever cross it.

And the lunacy of blindness, the deafening sense of loss, weakens my willingness to stay.

Should I volunteer a word or two? Should I attempt that?

You just sit there, looking at your hands, twisting your fingers against one another, making me feel their pain for being forced into odd positions. They are white in the knuckles.

And I drift into that crazy chain of thoughts I seem to follow more and more. White is good. It’s a sign of purity, of new beginnings. Purity?!

I look around and try to remember. The wooden chair that had to be repainted, for which we had a very serious plan and that ended up being covered with hippie flowers and a black skull so small that no one ever noticed it. It was our private joke. The bookshelf that wasn’t straight simply because it was so amusing to watch people’s faces, tilting their heads to make sure it was not in their minds.

And you twist your fingers and staring at them as if they could come off from all the twisting, a panicking eyebrow dancing up and down dangerously.

Fear turns into anger. Slowly and stubbornly I practice my fake smile; I’m going to need it. And it is this suspended smile, held only by the thinnest of lines, that dangles desperately on my face.
“I have to go,” he says.

And I totally misunderstand what he means. I nod, agreeing. That surprises him. He expects some resistance, an argument even. And I think he has to go somewhere. But he has to go.

And when he stands up, he finally looks at me, his tortured fingers tucked away in the tight pockets of his blue jeans, so very blue, too blue, the ones he bought recently along with a few colorful T-shirts and shoes and a black leather jacket that didn’t match anything he has.


He walks out the door, his steps reverberating onto the white walls, that special white we had chosen together a long time ago. And he was gone.

A few weeks later, he took his new clothes with him and left the old ones behind. “You can give them to charity,” he said. And he was wearing that black leather jacket that looked ridiculous on him.

The clothes went to the local church; they’d know what to do with them. I gave the fishing gear to the neighbor’s kid. The CDs and DVDs were offered to the small high-school’s media library. Everything else went to the garbage.

It didn’t feel like a break-up. It felt like mourning.

And that was it. After we signed the papers, we never saw each other again.

I went back to that same church to drop a few of my own old clothes and I saw the dreadful black leather jacket. “Your ex-husband left it here. He said you thought it looked ridiculous on him,” said the priest, stuttering slightly.

No, I hadn’t told him anything. It was her. And I stood there, twisting my fingers and wondering if it had all been a waste of time.

“I have to go,” I said. The priest nodded. And I left, my steps reverberating onto the white walls, that white that was so insidiously strange to me.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Guard

H22O

The wolf was a hungry beast. It prowled around, lurking in the shadows, its red eyes glimmering in the darkness. It fed on my anger.

“Keep it,” the man whispered.

I tried to stifle its eagerness, its thirst.

“Kill it, kill it,” the man whispered.

I couldn’t understand. Keep it or kill it? Keeping it would feed the hunger. Killing it would perpetuate the hatred. I too would’ve given in. I saw no way out.

The man grinned, his teeth as sharp as the wolf’s and he said “There’s your wolf. Guard it with your soul. It’ll keep you alive.”

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Vice

Kat Beach

The devil crossed the border, looked around and decided that that small village was the perfect place for a vacation. When he set out to find a hotel, he came across a smartly dressed man. He felt so tempted; a foot, just a foot, and the idiot would trip. He sneered. Then he came across a kid on his new bike; a foot, just a foot… He sneered. Finally, he came across an elderly lady. This was the one. A foot, just a foot, and… The devil was shocked and mortified. His pride was completely shattered. The elderly lady sneered.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fork

Waterland


The man stormed out of the restaurant, screaming. He ran around aimlessly before collapsing onto a pile of snow. Upon closer inspection, the police officer realized that the man had a fork stuck in his eye. Some said it was an accident, others a bet. When the officer got closer, the man lifted his face from the snow and smiled. “What a ride!” The officer was baffled. Suddenly, the man stood up and took off running. The ambulance eventually caught up with him in a field, digging for money, he said. “Oh yeah, it was a bet,” concluded the officer.

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Story Waiting to Happen

MOSP

... MOSP (click here for full text).

This post is part of a series of monthly articles for the Virtual Writers Inc.website about sims in Second Life that could be the source of inspiration for writers. My goal is to trigger ideas for new stories, new characters and new settings. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ace

Black Kite

People say happiness is upgraded when shared, although Ron was skeptical about that. Last time he tried to meet a girl, he spent months recriminating himself for his goofiness, which triggered a discouraging sense of social inaptitude. However, he was a determined man. One day, he summoned all his courage to talk to the cutest girl he had ever seen. He sat next to her and played his card. She talked and talked. He listened. She talked some more and he listened. Thirty years later, they are still together. It seems people were right about that happiness thing after all.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Load

Tokyo 3.1

The truck slid sideways on the ice-covered highway, the load at the back hindering the anguished attempts to stabilize the heavy vehicle.
When the police arrived, it was difficult to tell the truck from the pile of contorted multicolored metal. The rescue services tried their best to see where the victims were.
They all sat by the side of the road, the victims, amazed that no one could see them.
“Is that the light we are supposed to see, Dad?” asked thirteen year old Tommy, pointing at the fire engine. His Dad nodded. Tommy always wanted to be a firefighter.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Age

Winter Moon

Being a kid has its disadvantages.
Being a teenager becomes, more often than not, a nightmare.
Yet being an adult is the worst.
It’s not only the fact that we are adults for most of our miserable lives, but also because, as old age kicks in, murmurous mondegreens tend to progressively take over our volatile certainties.
In the future, age will be irrelevant, I suppose.
I wonder if we’ll just get stuck at old age or if we’ll choose which age we’d like to be.
Oh, gosh. I just realized that we’ll all be young and breathtakingly beautiful!
How dreadful!


This story is a wink at Vonnegut’s short 2BR02B and Second Life’s avatars that tend to be young and beautiful! However, there seems to be an invasion of very creepy, pseudo-fashionable avatars lately which are definitely not breathtaking. For those of you who are not in this virtual world, sorry about that cryptic reference. If you’re intrigued, do a search on SL’s fashion models and recent blog posts and you’ll understand what I mean. However, beware, it’s literally nightmare material and totally unlike beautiful Monroe!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Media

LEA26 Resonant Osmosis

“What do a gondola, a widow and a gun have in common?” asked Prof. Mullins while being interviewed on TV.

The anchor didn’t know.
“Mullins, of course!”
The studio crew snickered.
“So, who’s Mullins?” continued the behavioral researcher.
“The wife shot him,” replied the anchor. “No, he’s the killer; he killed a man, a husband… in a gondola!”
“Interesting,” replied the researcher. “But Mullins didn’t kill anyone, well, not directly anyway.”
“Oh?”
“Mullins is an experimental program named after its founder.”
That’s when everyone walked out of the studio.
Within the next few hours, dozens were killed all over town.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Limbo

Tierra de Fuego

The body was splattered all over the wide street, right in front of the town hall.
The Mayor scratched his head, looking up at the sky and down at the body. The police Chief did the same while trying to convince federal authorities to come over as quickly as possible. And everyone else just did nothing.
The truth is that the body had fallen from the sky, a rather unusual occurrence, one must admit. But the most bizarre aspect of this story was the fact that, ever since they closed the local airport, not a single plane flew over town.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Story Waiting to Happen

Milk Wood

... Milk Wood (click here for full text).


This post is part of a series of monthly articles for the Virtual Writers Inc. website about sims in Second Life that could be inspiring for writers. My goal is to trigger ideas for new stories, new characters and new settings. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Boggle

Tokyo 3.1

“I need spine surgery.” Tessa’s work colleague John always found a way out of work. “I have a brain tumor!”
As a matter of fact, he claimed to be a good friend of most of the medical staff at the hospital. 
One day, Tessa accidentally… on purpose… made him trip in the corridor at the office. John grumbled all the way to the hospital. 
A boggled Tessa wheeled him through the corridors. “No one is acknowledging you…”
“Ungrateful people… I practically paid for the whole new surgery wing,” replied John. 
Tessa sighed deeply, thinking to herself “some things never change”.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Tolpuddle Martyrs

Katsbeach

Event: 500 Word Challenge
Time: 30 mins

***

It was time for revolt, it was time for anger.
Work, work and struggle for nothing more than work.
Be lost, be penniless, be a slave.
Be. No food. 
Be. No home.
Be, the emptiness of any tomorrow ahead.
Be. No more.
And they fought back. They believed. They could. They did.
Others didn’t. They condemned ideas, they condemned actions, they condemned everyone swiftly.
And a martyr became nothing more than a name on a yellow, brittle piece of paper, a faint recollection of an immemorial past.
They tried to run, to hide, but they couldn’t. They didn’t.
Lives irreparably uprooted into faraway lands filled with unknown nothingness, filled with the certainty of an impossible return.
They struggled. They fought. They lost.
Back then, they lost. Yes…
Today, they are recalled. They are here.
Their ideas, their actions, their tomorrows became our today, their message still alive and meaningful, almost unbelievably meaningful, in a world of no tomorrows, pessimists say.
But now they live on. They live.
Now, they do.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Have You Ever...

Kronbelt

“Have you ever written a letter so filled with passionate love that, years later, you simply cannot believe it was you who wrote it?” asked the old man, the most recent addition to the prison system.

“Nope… Where I come from we don’t write love letters. Heck, we don’t write at all,” replied the seasoned cellmate. “Will you write her love letters now that you’re here?”

The old man sighed so deeply that his cellmate thought he was having a heart attack.

“You killed her, didn’t you?” asked the cellmate.

“Love…” continued the old man. And he looked outside nostalgically.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Writing Challenge: 30 Minutes, 500 Words at a Time!

Milk Wood

I get asked frequently whether the Writing Challenge I host Saturdays is a Dash. This happens because there is indeed a Dash taking place throughout the week.

In the Dash, people have 15 minutes to write a story/poem on the prompt provided by the host.

My Writing Challenge is not like that. So, what is my event all about? Let's see!

The Writing Challenge is a goal-oriented writing event. 30 minutes, 500 words!

From the Virtual Writers website"you can make a long story short by taking small disciplined steps every day, instead of sitting idly by waiting for inspiration to strike."

So, the aim of this event is to gear writers, bloggers and anyone who enjoys writing towards getting work done. No Real Life, no Second Life (SL) meddling in. This is the time to focus and write.

We gather at Milk Wood in SL, home to the inworld group of the Virtual Writers, every Saturday at 11am noon SLT for 30 minutes of frantic writing.

This is an event for all writers! It doesn't really matter what you are working on, your latest book, short-story, blog post, newspaper article or even your roleplay character. What matters is to get to 500 words.

Yes, that is very difficult. Sometimes we simply get stuck. However, the idea is to push you to write, no stopping and thinking, no procrastinating. Just get those words down on a piece of paper (or computer screen!) as fast as you can, as many as you can.

"What if I can't get unstuck?" you may ask. Well, to help bypass that difficulty, I suggest a prompt at the beginning of each event. This prompt is taken from the Virtual Writers prompts page.

At the end of the event, many ask me if they should share what they've written (as it's done at the Dash). You can! It's not a "must", but if you'd like to share for the sake of sharing or if you'd like to get some feedback on your writing, we'll be glad to read what you've written. 

I must add that many prefer not to share their work inworld due to Linden Lab's ToS, especially the Content License and Intellectual Property Rights section. I'll leave it up to you!

Again, the goal is to write, to get unstuck and write as much as you can! 
30 minutes, 500 words!
Join us!


Resources:
What is the 500 Word Challenge?
Virtual Writers Inc. inworld group
Virtual Writers Inc. owner, Harriet Gausman.

Event:
Day: Saturdays
Time: 11am Noon SLT/Pacific US
Location: Milk Wood in SL

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Magic Words

Betelgeuse 5

The owner of a store in a terrible neighborhood placed a stories dispenser next to a candy dispenser. The first was free, the other wasn’t.

He encouraged his clients to grab a story, but they just smiled and took candy instead.

One day, a young woman walked in. She seemed undecided.

“Are the stories for free?”

“They are,” he replied, delighted.

The young woman rotated the button and a small paper came out.

“Is it a good story?”

She smiled.

Many people started dropping by and, as unrealistic as it might seem, they began to smile a lot more too.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Courses

Milk Wood
"Learning never exhausts the mind." 
Leonardo da Vinci

2014

April 28 - June 20 - Start Writing Fiction - Review
June 8 - August 1 - Forensic Psychology
June 23 -July 11 - Good Brain, Bad Brain: Basics

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sausage

Avatar Games

The Neuroscience teacher was considered quite the genius. However, he lacked the most basic speaking skills.

“This sausage-shaped thing is called myelin,” said the teacher pointing at a diagram of a neuron. “When it’s gone… bzzzt.”

One day, as he prepared to start the class, someone screamed BZZZZZZZZZZZZT from the back row. All students erupted in hysterical laughter.

The teacher slowly walked towards his desk, pulled a button-shaped thing from inside a drawer and hovered a finger over it.

From that day onwards, before sitting down, the whole class would anxiously examine their chairs while the Neuroscience teacher snickered, waiting.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Story Waiting to Happen

The Far Away

... The Far Away (click here for full text).

This post is part of a series of monthly articles for the Virtual Writers Inc. website about sims in Second Life that could be inspiring for writers. My goal is to trigger ideas for new stories, new characters and new settings. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Temper

Goatswood

If there is any expression I hate is the proverbial “temper, temper”. I have trouble dealing with self-righteous people who wave the flag of knowing-it-all and when they add that sanctimonious “temper, temper”, I wonder how a tragic fatality doesn’t inevitably occur.
Every now and then, there is someone who throws a single “temper” at me, going from a low pitched beginning to a dragged high pitched ending. I’m not really sure which is worse, to be honest.
So, to avoid losing my temper with all this temper business, I’ll wrap up, thinking that perhaps I should’ve written about… swords!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Natasha

Torno Kohime Foundation


Final submission to
the MOOC Writing Fiction course, running between April 28 and June 22.


***


It was hard to believe that this woman in her mid-thirties, looking rather fragile, constantly staring at the floor, could’ve killed her mother in such a vicious way. For weeks, a parade of witnesses testified before two rows of shocked jurors about the horrors she perpetrated.

Natasha was strongly advised not to testify, but she did sit on the stand, swore she would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. She uttered a few well rehearsed incoherent sentences, a few unintelligible words and absolutely no reply to any of the questions either the prosecution or the defense asked her.

At the end of each incomprehensible answer, she smiled the most captivating smile at the perplexed jurors. When her defense attorney threw his hands in the air for dramatic effect, her fate was decided. 

That smile, that innocent-looking deviously misleading smile, saved her from the electric chair. The psychiatric ward would become her home for the rest of her life.

As time went by, she grew impatient. She still had unfinished business to take care of outside and being caught by that smug rookie detective was definitely an unexpected drawback.

Determined to find a way out, she progressively shook off the image of being a meek, broken woman who struggled with abuse all her life and who, in a moment of sudden anger, killed her mother. She started metamorphosing back into her fierce and daunting self without anyone noticing.

Talking to the shrink seemed to help appease the growing demons inside. 

She told him about her past, her obsessively controlling and abusive cop father, at whose hands the kids suffered some of the most sickening punishments. He would yell at them to stand up for themselves, but he would beat them up if they ever did. 

She told him about her small sister who was found dead in her bed, some sudden breathing problem, they said. Natasha knew exactly what happened. She heard it all. She was only seven years old and her sister, four. 

She told him about her mother who never took the kids’ side, an accusatory tone fluttering in each sentence, the same accusatory tone Natasha fluttered at her mother the moment she did it. It took her a lifetime to prepare for that homicidal moment, but she didn’t tell the shrink about that.

The past, although increasingly distant and crowded by bizarre plans and disastrous certainties, reminded Natasha that moving along, day after day, was her only chance. 

The long corridors of the ward had a slightly disturbing feel of childishness as she walked from end to end, wearing her shinny long black hair in a tight braid, the sides of her head carefully shaven, her sneakers screeching on the bare floor. 

There were drawings of trees and flowers, and elephants and dolls and all sorts of things that would never fit in a corridor, she fabulated. “Aren’t these drawings nice?” she would ask the warden. He nodded. There were no drawings, only the cold whiteness of aseptic walls, but that didn’t matter. She wanted them to think she was still insane. 

However, there was indeed something on those walls. There was a door. Natasha knew it well, the door under the staircase, the door no one else remembered, her way out of there. She found this door by accident when looking for garden supplies. 

Shortly after being sentenced, she took up gardening as one of the occupational therapies the ward offered its patients. A Gothic gardener was something most wardens found quite amusing. She would wear her own black clothes, as patients were allowed to, her short nails painted in a deep black nail polish.

Although it did seem a bit odd, gardening soothed her inner turmoil. She didn’t like flowers though. They would die eventually. She preferred bushes, small trees. They would grow and bloom in their own particular, sometimes peculiar way. Just like her.

Her mind kept coming back to that door. It was partially hidden by an empty cupboard that she could easily slide to one side. She realized that it led to a narrow corridor, probably a discontinued way in for supplies. 

Natasha was almost caught a few times, snooping around under the staircase, but her relentless smile disarmed even the most suspicious warden. For some reason, that clown’s smile, a middle ground between innocence and devilish incoherence, made people think that she was an idiot, that she could not understand things too well. She could. She understood things far better than anyone, even better than most of the staff.

It was paramount though for her to orderly comply with the demands made upon her. She never grumbled; she did as she was told and she always took her medications, the same medications she would orderly and routinely spit out as quickly as she could.

One day, she found herself in the dining room, ducking just in time while a china plate sailed past her and smashed against the wall. Ruby, the most annoying inmate in the ward was causing havoc. She would throw a fit on a regular basis, which included tossing plates in all possible directions for no apparent reason. The wardens tried to catch Ruby, who ran around in circles behind the sofas and the tables and the benches. The patients yelled and screamed and hit their heads with their fists. Some drooled and laughed uncontrollably. 

This routine became quite annoying, however, the confusion, as expected, provided a unique opportunity for Natasha to go to the small door. Finally, it was time. She had gone through this moment over and over again in her mind. She slid out of the room and into the dark corner under the stairs. She was amazed at how smoothly everything went. It took her less than ten minutes to be free again.

The authorities looked for her for months in a frantic urgency, especially when a series of unrelated homicides with male victims caught their attention. There was the yuppie guy at the bar who groped her leg and waved a credit card under her nose. They found the credit card stuffed inside his throat. There was the old man who rubbed himself on her, pretending to reach for the darts stuck on the dart board. They found his eyes turned into two bullseyes. There was the biker dude who wore a black sweaty bandana, who grabbed her braid and pulled her head back to force-kiss her. They found him strangled, the black sweaty bandana waving in the wind. 

She was only doing what she had been taught, anyway. Plus, she was getting ready for that unfinished business she still had to take care of, that pesky matter of her father. 

He did try to visit her back at the psychiatric ward at some point. However, she vehemently refused to see him. Instead, she paid him a visit as soon as she was ready to start a new life. He was found dead, brutally murdered. He too wanted to scream. He too struggled for air when his face was smothered by a pillow. He too died of some sudden breathing problem.

Natasha still wears black jeans and black t-shirts under a black leather jacket, but she cut her braid off and shaved her head completely. She is called Jennifer now. The authorities never caught her again. “After all, tomorrow is another day," she uttered, smiling.

***

Relevant links:
MOOC, Writing Fiction - Reflections about the course
MOOC Week Two Final Task
MOOC Week Three Writing Task
MOOC Week Five Writing Task
Future Learn

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Storm

Water Reserve

Storm was his name. He was a guide at a park.
Storm never missed a day at work.
Storm was an example. Well, except for the hurry. People told him to slow down. He wouldn’t, ever. People told him that they wanted to enjoy the walk. He replied they could enjoy it fast.
Storm rushed through life as quickly as he could, until that day when he decided he needed a change. The midlife crisis, people whispered.
He crossed the street to the park slowly, enjoying the quiet moments before a day’s work and he got hit by a speeding truck.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cold

Skye Elgol

The massive wall had been built to create two worlds, the real and the unreal.

The crowds gathered on one side, effusively enjoying the reassuring calmness. They felt protected.

When the old man placed his cold hand on the wall, a cry of anguish erupted, followed by sheer horror.

At first, there was only a dry muffled sound. Then, as if in slow motion, the wall crumbled in a thousand icy fragments.

The real and the unreal could no longer be distinguished. People no longer had that soothing comfort.

Once more, they were doomed to face reality… and to think.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

An Unpublished Labor of Hercules

Milk Wood

“Tell me,” the detective uttered.
“I don’t know, sir… She was already dead,” whispered the beggar.
“What? Speak up, man.”
The beggar got closer and whispered a bit more.
As always, the detective stroked his mustache pensively. The beggar did have a point. The victim bore a remarkable resemblance to that writer, something Christa, Christine.
“She was just there...I almost tripped.”
The detective tried talking to the local police, but they went around, scratching their heads, not knowing what to think or say.
“We are doomed,” he mumbled.
It became obvious that now the darn thing would never be finished.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Story Waiting To Happen

Taka no Sakura

... Taka no Sakura (click here for full text).

This post is part of a series of monthly articles for the Virtual Writers Inc.website about sims in Second Life that could be inspiring for writers. My goal is to trigger ideas for new stories, new characters and new settings. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Skeletons Look So Real

Cerridwens Cauldron

Working at the restaurant was Kip’s bread and butter. He didn’t particularly enjoy being a waiter.
Nevertheless, he was friendly to the customers and people seemed to genuinely like him. But, in essence, his life was boring.
However, every now and then, he felt the lure of the illicit.
When his boss asked him how the restaurant should be decorated for a Friday 13 Scary Night, he knew exactly how.
The result was impressive. The skeletons look so real, said the customers, snickering nervously.
His boss was happy with the extra clientele. And Kip smiled deceitfully, pretending to be human.
100 Word Stories (Prompt: Butter)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Watch

Collins Land

“No one will die on my watch,” barked the cop. “Give yourself up, so we can go home safely.”

The problem was that the man was not going home safely. He would be arrested and sent to jail. “I didn’t do it,” he protested.

“Good. Walk this way and we’ll sort things out.”

When he came out, hands in the air, wearing nothing but filthy clothes, he thought there was hope.

Suddenly someone yelled, “He has a gun.” And a barrage of deafening shots made him collapse.

No gun was found and the real killer was caught two days later.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Nut House Hunger

Collins Land

Event: 500 Word Challenge
Host: Harriet Gausman
Time: 30 mins
Prompt: He ducked just in time as the china plate sailed past him and hit the wall.
MOOC: from 5.7: The serial killer who is an extraordinary gardener in her "free time"...


***


Natasha ducked just in time as the china plate sailed past her and hit the wall. None of the wardens had foreseen that, coming from Ruby, the soft-spoken, gray-haired elderly patient.

Had it been Natasha, then they would’ve expected it for sure. She was prone to sudden states of extreme irritability. But not this time, this time, she just ducked. Well, not “just”… She immediately felt the urge to wrap her hands around Ruby’s skinny neck and tighten that evil-speaking throat of hers into a total and final silence.

However, Natasha had bigger issues to deal with. Her planned but increasingly annoying stay at the nut house was starting to wear her out.

A few weeks earlier, at the trial, she had uttered a few incoherent sentences, a few unintelligible words and absolutely no reply to any of the questions either the prosecution or the defense asked her. Although she had been strongly advised not to testify, she proudly sat on the stand, swore she would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so helped her God, and smiled the most captivating smile, looking at the horrified jurors. Then she smiled to the judge.

Natasha was convinced it had been the smile, that innocent-looking deviously misleading smile that saved her from the electric chair. When her defense attorney threw his hands in the air for the dramatic effect, he was quite good at that, and asked to approach the bench, the judge had already decided. It would be prudent and advisable to have the accused undergo a thorough psychiatric evaluation.

A few days later, she was visited in jail by a shrink. She told him about her past, her obsessively controlling and abusive father, at whose hands the entire family suffered some of the most sickening punishments. She told him about her mother who never took her side, an accusatory tone in each sentence. She told him about her small sister who was found dead in her bed; they said it had been a sudden death syndrome. Natasha knew what happened. She heard it all. She was only seven years old and her sister, four.

She never smiled while talking to the psychiatrist. It didn’t take long for him write up a report and deliver it to the court. There Natasha would hear the verdict. She would be committed to a mental health facility.

And here she was, ducking just in time while another china plate sailed past her and smashed against the wall. The old broad would have to go, one way or another, perhaps just like she had done it to her mother. Yes… just like that, she thought.

There was a generalized confusion in the recreation room. The plates kept flying, coming from nowhere. The wardens tried to catch Ruby, who ran around in circles behind the sofas and the tables and the benches and the piano. The patients yelled and screamed and hit their heads with their fists. Some drooled and laughed uncontrollably. 

Natasha grew impatient, hoping no one would find the small door. They would block it and destroy her chances of becoming free once more. I must go, she thought. 

She found this door quite accidentally when looking for garden supplies. She had taken up gardening as one of the occupational therapies the hospital offered its patients. 

A Gothic gardener was something most wardens found quite amusing. She would wear the bland cream uniform for patients and her long black braided hair, the sides of her head shaved, her nails painted in a deep shiny black nail polish.

Although it did seem a bit off, gardening soothed her inner turmoil. She loved watching something grow from nothing into a wonderful plant. She didn’t like flowers too much though. They would die eventually. She preferred bushes, small trees. They would grow and grow, and bloom in their own particular, sometimes peculiar ways.

I must go… I must go, she thought. She had spotted the hidden door when her shoulder accidentally hit an empty cupboard that slid slightly to one side. She found out that the small door led to a narrow corridor, probably the way in for supplies. The level the recreation room was located in was the same level of the kitchen. The hospital had previously been a hotel.

Natasha was almost caught a few times, snooping around that narrow corner under the staircase, but her relentless smile disarmed even the most suspicious of the wardens. For some reason, that clown’s smile, a middle ground between innocence and devilish incoherence, made people think that she was an idiot, that she could not understand things too well. She could. She understood things far better than anyone, even better than most of the staff.

That small door would be her way out, back to her hunting grounds. Natasha was hungry again, longing for that sense of completeness of the senses that always appeased her angry fears, the storm growing within.

I must go, but not yet, she thought, not yet. The Ruby issue was still pending. And maybe solving that would satiate her hunger for now.


***


Character building: The idea here is to use the stereotype (Gothic) and go beyond it, giving the character something a Gothic person would not likely do. Does gardening work with a Gothic-looking character?! Umm... I'm not sure...!

I wonder what would work? I want to show the kill/nurture dichotomy inside of her. A pet? Somehow, I don't see her with a pet... And choosing a crow or a rat would go back to the stereotype of portraying a certain oddity.

I must reshuffle "the cards" and see what comes up. Any ideas? Please, add them in the comments. Thank you!