Sunday, September 27, 2015


Avatar Games

The antique Victorian mirror had a silver handle, beautifully carved. It glowed each time someone picked it up. Every single person thought that was good, after all everybody secretly wished to be special. The problem was that the more the mirror glowed, the more dangerous it became. No one knew that as soon as the mirror reached a state of glow overload, the first terribly unfortunate soul to hold it would turn into a cranky shriveled old witch. Darn bad luck that Harry was the one who grabbed it. And yes, he is now officially a cranky shriveled old witch.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Now That Her Secret Was Out

The Celestial Realm

Now that her secret was out, Barbara would have to go back to that horrendous place and dig it out. She yearned to forgive and she tried, she really tried to go beyond everything that had happened. However, things didn’t work out that way.

The mid-afternoon sun was still invitingly warm. She looked at her watch and decided to drop by her mother’s house.

The first thing she heard was “Why are you wearing boots? Take them off; they are filthy. Where have you been? Burying bodies in the forest?” Her mother snickered.

Typical… Obediently, Barbara took her boots off and placed them carefully outside by a flower pot. “The white roses are coming along nicely.”

Her mother replied something from the kitchen. Not important, she thought. Her mother always rambled about insignificant aspects of her daily routine while she was preparing something to eat.

Barbara grabbed the remote and pressed the buttons in a hurry, jumping from one channel to the next.


“What do you mean nothing,” asked her mother, walking in the living-room holding a tray filled with a cacophony of cookie dishes and tea paraphernalia.

“Nothing interesting on TV…”

“They’ve been on and on about that body. The lake water made a lot of damage to it. Perhaps we have a serial killer in the neighborhood!” Her mother seemed quite happy with that possibility.

“Doesn’t it bother you at all that you might be killed in your sleep by a complete stranger?”

Her mother snickered. “Of course not!”

And that was it on the serial killer topic. They drank tea and had cookies. As a matter of fact, Barbara had tea and cookies. Her mother had tea and a touch of whiskey, as usual. She drank throughout the whole day and excused herself by saying it was just a touch and not a full bottle.

They talked about the garden at the back of the house, overlooking the lake, and the flowers and the grass, which wouldn’t grow properly. It’d grow in patches, while other parts stayed empty.

“Have you tried to scatter fertilizer on the empty areas?” Barbara pointed through the window.

Her mother shook her head.

“And why not?”

“It’s not worth it. Nothing will grow there. I’m sure of that.” Her mother unceremoniously pushed her aside and closed the curtain. “Forget about it.” 

Her mother always knew best and that infuriated Barbara. “Well, I must go. I still have a few errands to run before going home.”

As she walked to the front door, her mother followed her and leaned against the wall, arms crossed, watching. “Be careful out there. You know that the world is not what it seems,” she said, after a few minutes.

“What do you mean?”

“Just be careful.”

He mother always enjoyed those mysteriously threatening warnings to make her feel insecure. 

Barbara would be careful, no doubt. She had to go back to the woods to dig up the damn thing. It was getting late and she didn’t want to get stuck, alone in the darkness of that damp, cold place.

The ground was easy to dig into. It should be an in-and-out operation. That was good.

The black plastic bag she had wrapped around it was still intact. No one had touched it, not even wild animals. She grabbed it and cleaned some of the dirt off of it.

Then, she filled up the hole carefully, tapped the shovel on it and covered it with a few branches. It looked as if no one had ever been there.

She thought of dressing up in one of those nifty white overalls the police people wore with little white sock-type thingies and a hood over her head, but she gave up on the idea pretty quickly. Having to find one, probably stealing it, would be too much of a hassle.

Suddenly, her cell rang. “Mother. Yes, yes. Not yet. Yes. No, I’m going home now. I had to drop by the… ahm… the… supermarket to pick up some stuff. Milk… I didn’t have milk. Oh, mother. Stop. I like milk now. Yes. Ok. Yes…” And Barbara hung up the phone. 

Now she was certain of what she’d do to the damn head.

She drove all the way back to her mother’s neighborhood and parked a block away. She walked up to the house and dropped it by the mailbox, semi-hidden by the flower pot, the one with the white roses.

The ever so curious neighborhood paperboy would snoop around first thing in the morning and find it. By 10am, she’d receive a phone call from the police telling her that her mother was downtown, arrested for suspicion of murder. At 11am, she’d call her cousin Paula, who was a lawyer. By midday, she’d be at the precinct. By 1pm, she’d… 

Oh, who cares, thought Barbara. Let her mother deal with it by herself.

Take your boots off. Where have you been? Burying bodies in the forest? Soon, it wouldn’t be so funny anymore, mother dear.

It hadn’t been the lifelong sarcasm or the constant nagging that made her make this decision. The humiliation was far less relevant and hurting than the betrayal.

A secret is a secret and when one vows to keep a secret, as her mother did, one is bound to keep it no matter what. Trust is the most fragile of things and it was gone. 

The carefully laid-out cover-up story of her going abroad to do volunteer work for 5 years crumbled down to pieces when her mother, at a recent family reunion, had too much to drink and told everyone what Barbara’s trip was really about.

The family was shocked. The diligently quiet, studious little girl had turned into a junkie drug dealer.

She hated her mother for that. For the first time in her life, she knew she’d wait for the right opportunity to teach her mother a lesson.

Barbara just had to use the head she had tripped on a few days earlier while going for a walk by the lake. The smell was foul and she never did see the body, covered by the water, no doubt. For some reason, she just grabbed the head and decided to bury it. She didn’t think too long about it; she just did it.

The decision was slightly out of the ordinary, to say the least. However, one clear thought crossed her mind. It might come in handy one day. And it did.

Thinking back, it hadn’t been that difficult to add her mother’s hair to the head. The body was severely damaged. It was impossible to get fingerprints, but the dental records would be as clear as… water. And that fresh little detail of the hair made her mother look even guiltier. She would be portrayed not only as a killer, but as a sick, twisted mind that went back to her victim’s head to relive the moment.

When asked why she hadn’t hidden the head, her mother couldn’t answer. Why was that, thought Barbara, because you had your touch of whiskey, right?

Barbara now had the house all to herself. She got rid of her mother’s old and stuffy furniture and painted the walls in bright colors. She nurtured the garden and saw it bloom happily over the next few months, even the grass.

When told about it, her mother wouldn’t believe her, of course. She would complain about Barbara’s boots being dirty and about her hair being in disarray instead, seemingly oblivious to the fact that she would spend the rest of her life in jail.

Coming to think of it, the fact that her mother hadn’t kept Barbara’s secret became the best thing that ever happened. Barbara was finally free.

500 Word Snatch Writing Challenge (written and revised over several daily sessions)
Prompt: "Now that her secret was out, she'd have to..."

Sunday, September 20, 2015



Annie hated the smell of the farm and she especially hated John, the handsy foreman. But she liked hay and the color red. What a shame hay wasn’t red.

The farm had a machine that scooped bales of hay and took them for storage.
Just for fun, she would go in the barn at night and destroy the bales by forking them and throwing the hay in the air.

When John’s bloodied hand waved faintly from underneath the hay, Annie was stunned. Ops…” She looked left and right and… forked the pile of hay again. “Well, it’s definitely red now.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I Can Do Strange Things, Believe me

Gehena Vampire Clan

“The problem with being nice is that people forget you have a dark side too.”

That’s how Charlotte closed her speech. It took her a good 3 months to prepare it. She wrote a first draft, then a second, a third, and she stopped counting by the eleventh.

When the day of the meeting finally came, she wanted to miss it and just stay at home. Those meetings were so boring. 

It was a small group of about 10 people. The stories were always the same. They had different names, true, but their paths were excruciatingly similar and she found herself counting the tiles on the floor to numb her mind. 

They never told the group that the day before they had done what they really wanted to do and that they had enjoyed it immensely, excited as if they were talking about a new taste of lollipop or an exotic dish, depending on their mental age.

They simply rambled about their daily routine, shyly implying that they thought about it, but that they pushed those thoughts away into the darker corners of their twisted lives, as they were expected to do.

And Charlotte got so bored. 

She wanted to scream at the top of her lungs, telling the world what she had done. She had done it over and over again, methodically, systematically, and no one would ever know; no one would ever admire her brilliancy, her artful and empathetic masterpieces. Yes, she had a few of them. Actually, now that she thought of it, each and every one was absolutely brilliant.

She tried recollecting all of them. It was becoming more and more difficult. She smiled. 

Yes. People thought of her as a friendly, happy, thoughtful young woman. She enjoyed that.

When Charlotte had the car accident and spent a few days at the hospital, the neighbors visited her. They offered to water the lavender garden, but she preferred her beautiful plants to suffer slightly than to have her neighbors snooping around the house. She hadn’t had time to put a few things away properly...

As soon as she was released from the hospital, the neighbors dropped by with soup and stews and pies. She never allowed them in past the front door, never. Perhaps they thought that was rude of her, but her open smile and her tired looks somehow offered them a plausible explanation and they forgave her.

When did she start attending these dreadful meetings? It wasn’t long ago, not even a year. At the beginning she went every week. She thought she could somehow slow down her urges by attending the support group get-togethers.

Then she got friendly, in hindsight too friendly, with a fellow called Thomas, who decided she was too much to handle, “high maintenance” as he put it. 

After a while, he stopped going to the meetings. Everyone wondered what happened to him, yes, they did wonder. They still do.

That’s when she started going once every month. Enough was enough. 

For this month, however, she wanted to state something more than the usual feeble ramblings that annoyed her deeply.

“I can do strange things, very strange things, believe me.” And she sat down.

The group remained in silence. Someone coughed nervously.

Ellen, the group facilitator, didn’t really know what to say. She shifted slightly on her chair, buying time. “That was…”

“The truth,” said Charlotte. “We all think this way. We just sit here and pretend we don’t, week after week, month after month. It’s mind-boggling. I thought this was a support group where we could talk freely about our concerns. I thought we were safe here, that we were surrounded by people who cared, people with whom we shared the same anxieties.

“I thought we were here to hold hands and push one another towards a better future. White flowers in our hairs and all that bullshit. I honestly thought that I would feel better about myself, empowered, free.

“Yet, all I can think of is to get away, run away as fast as I can, and never come back. I am so tired of us not speaking openly. I’m so tired of trying to endure this and I sit here counting the fucking tiles on the floor. 30 in that direction and 50 in that direction,” and she pointed towards the exit door. “Isn’t it ironic that to leave we have a much longer path than to go grab a donut?”

Ellen tried to interrupt, with no result.

“I know. You think I’m crazy. I most likely am. At least that’s what they told me when I was a kid. You’re nuts, you know, they’d say, smiling. I never took it seriously. They were smiling, the bastards. Yeah, they were smiling. All I wanted was for them to tell me the truth.”

“What was the truth?” Ellen ventured, treading a very slippery terrain.

“The truth… The truth was the same as your truth. What is your truth? I did the same things you all did. Perhaps I did them in larger numbers. I was never appreciated. They don’t even know what I did. I don’t care. But I refuse to sit here, meeting after meeting, listening to the same crap over and over again.”

“What are you talking about?” Ellen looked at her intensely with those big green eyes of hers that begged to be shut down, smiling.

Charlotte reciprocated the smile. The bastard is smiling that same cryptic smile her family had smiled. She’d have to do something about this Ellen. 

“Never mind. I apologize for the outburst and I’ll leave you to your meeting. This is clearly the wrong support group for me.”

Amidst feeble protests, Charlotte walked towards the donut table. “30 plus 50, 80. Well, that’s just about right. You don’t mind I take one of these, do you?”

Everyone shook their heads, relieved she was about to leave them for good. She could see that in their eyes. When she left the room, donut in hand, she had a new project.

Throughout the next few months, the media did mention the disappearance of a certain moderator of an obscure local support group, a woman whose past was never quite clear and one who made the controversial decision to start a support group for people who felt the urge to perpetrate acts of extreme violence towards others but who had never acted on it - that last bit was clearly stressed in the brochure; it was underlined, bold and in italic, just in case.

The police looked into every attending member of the group. They even checked former members, most of them serving time in jail. They talked to the neighbors and all they said was that she was such a friendly, happy, thoughtful young woman. They did talk to Charlotte too and they found nothing relevant.

As the police drove away, she took a deep breath. No problem. Everything was ok. The lavender was working amazingly well. The neighbors loved the scent and even the homicide detectives praised it. She hated lavender, but what could she do.

“And that makes 81.” One day, they’d know about her, one day. A snicker followed the mumbled words. She had done it once again. And once again, no one had noticed it. Perfect.

500 Word Snatch Writing Challenge (daily sessions)
Prompt: "I can do strange things, believe me."

Sunday, September 13, 2015



The tracking adventure ended abruptly when Lana tripped and fell off a cliff. Instead of the expected anguished agitation, her tracking companions looked down in silence.
“She was never good at this.”
The others shook their heads.
“Should we try to fetch her?”
The others shook their heads.
“Look for help?”
The others shook their heads. And they stood there for a while.
A cell-phone rang.
“It’s Lana’s. Should I answer?”
The others shook their heads. And they continued their tracking adventure.
“Good thing we paused a bit up there. I was getting out of breath.”
The others nodded enthusiastically.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Just for Fun!

Free Bird
A few weeks ago, Cortez Brandriss challenged Free Bird group members in Second Life to submit their book titles for a chance to have their name on the cover.

Just for fun, and because I love this title, my submission was "A Month of Sundays". This is actually the tentative title of the mystery novel (unedited and unpublished!) I wrote last year during the NaNoWriMo.

Free Bird
Much to my surprise (I was sure a LOT of people would send in very imaginative titles), mine was chosen and is now a part of the Books-By-You Collection.

Cortez and her team are very creative and extremely friendly. It never ceases to amaze me how their dynamic approach manages to bring together a large group of people, promoting everyone's participation and generosity.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Time to Start the New Writing Season

Milk Wood

UPDATE: The daily 500 Word Snatch started September 14, Monday. For details, read below.

Summer flew by and we’re back to our routines, the writing one included.
For those of us who take writing very seriously, it’s time to plan ahead. So, I’d like to let you know about a few events I host. These events promote writing by using word-boosting techniques.
I present a prompt (its use is optional). The timer is set for 30 minutes and you aim to write at least 500 words. It’s that simple. You can work on anything you like, new material, your WIP, your blog posts; you can plot new stories or revise old material.

At this time of the year, many prefer to make use of these writing sessions to prepare for the upcoming NaNoWriMo.

Whichever your case may be, you’re welcome to join me at the following events.

Saturday 500 Word Snatch 
Goal: To write at least 500 words in 30 minutes.

I host the 500 Word Snatch write-in at Milk Wood in the virtual world of Second Life. The event takes place every Saturday at noon SLT (Second Life Time)/Pacific, 8pm PRT/UK.
This is a writing session. It’s not a reading or a critique session. However, if you’d like to have some help regarding a character you’re not happy with, a plot twist that doesn’t seem to be working, a setting that suddenly is not the right backdrop to a scene, feel free to ask for feedback.

Daily 500 Word Snatch
Goal: To write at least 1000 words in 2 periods of 30 mins with a break of 10-15 mins.

It’s not easy to have the time and the peace of mind to sit down to write amidst the demands of our busy lives. So, it’s important to have a schedule that helps us get organized.
To provide a friendly writing group and promote a writing routine, I plan to host daily write-ins at 2am SLT/Pacific, 10am PRT/UK in Milk Wood, Second Life.
During September (starting date to be announced) and October, the daily 500 Word Snatch write-in will take place Monday-Thursday. In November, I’ll host it Monday-Friday.
The daily 500 Word Snatch is hosted especially for writers in GMT+ time zones, nonetheless everyone is welcome.

Twitter Word Scrimmage (to be confirmed)
Goal: To boost your word count during the NaNoWriMo. The person who writes the largest amount of words is declared the winner. 

Most likely and for the third consecutive year, I’ll host a weekly word scrimmage on Twitter.
It will take place every Wednesday throughout the day for 12 hours. My shift will start at 2pm PRT/UK and last for 30 minutes, followed by a 30 minute break till the next host takes over.

UPDATE: The Twitter Word Scrimmage of the Virtual Writers didn't take place this year.

As you can see, there’ll be plenty of preparing and writing within the next few months.
Plan ahead and try to set up a writing routine. Let your family and friends know about it and ask them to respect the times you’ll be working on your story. It’ll save you a lot of stress, believe me!

Should you have any question, feel free to IM me in-world in Second Life or send an email to Join me. I’ll be happy to welcome you at one of my events!

Sunday, September 6, 2015



They say building your own house is an empowering experience, buying your own lumber, your own nails, your own tools. Matt especially enjoyed his fuel-powered chainsaw with a ground breaking design; it was absolutely amazing. And no one was allowed to touch it. Yes, the others got splinters stuck in their eyes, fingers hammered till they were black and blue, but the fun it was to saw those logs was unbeatable. However, when someone saws a hand off by mistake, that can be a bloody mess. In the waiting-room of the hospital, Matt sighed. “Good thing it wasn’t my hand...”