Writing to commence daily at this point. I may only get out a sentence here and there….I might actually get a paragraph but I’m getting something down. I WILL finish and it may read like utter tripe but that mother fucker is getting done.
Question is — which one. I guess I’ll go by mood and when sci-fi snark hits me we’ll go with Jason Leeks and when I feel like exploring fantasy/horror we’ll go down the rabbit hole of that other story which completely comes as a blank right now. Huh. I can’t remember the damn story and I wrote an entire introduction……. long ass one too.
I also now have the hubby riding my ass about completing the screen play for 7″s of Love. I have the story but it needs to be converted into a screen play and then he is now going on about wanting to do short films again so I have had to drag out the notebook of splatter films and reacquaint myself with all of those gory stories. He has informed me we now have friends who have the means to make some of these short films happen if we get off our duffs.
Have I mentioned how much I really just need, like, a year to myself. No job, just well, the job of writing for myself. blah!
There are three specific genres I am passionate about when reading; science-fiction, horror and fantasy. Each of these genres has been very influential in my life and has had a hand in molding my personality and who I am yet when I look back — I don’t recall very many female authors in this genre. The most influential writers of the current times that have made a huge impact on me are Douglas Adams, Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman and Stepehn King. I can only think of one female author who made an impact and that was Kathe Koja and her book Bad Brains. I believe I have read that particular book at least 20 times. However, I have no other female authors in these genres on my bookshelves. Why? Is it because women tend to write in other genres or is it because woman are not as accepted? I don’t know that answer. I’m not one to jump on the “woman are not treated equally” band wagon. In fact, I tend to steer as clear away from that mantra as possible yet I’m perplexed by this phenomenon. Especially since these threee genres are the ones I tend to write stories under.
Speaking of writing. I formulated a new idea while clearing an excel spreadsheet over the last few days. It centers around an entity seeping through the dimensional walls and infecting a playground full of children. Initially thought to be a disease – they are treated at a local hospital only to discover it is something much more sinister and turning the chidren from peaceful happy-go-lucky youths into something much darker and dangerous. I’m fleshing out the storyline. Hopefully I’ll get to work on this soon. I seem to be stuck in a no-go situation with Jason Leeks momentarily so maybe stepping into another world for a bit will stop me from obsessing and the story will start to flow naturally again or at the very least I can relax from trying to move that forward for a bit.
Anywho – thoughts on this whole, woman not being in the top of the three genres I listed (horror, science-fiction or fantasy)? I’d love to hear from others on their opinions of this. I have no definitive opinion; just curiousity.
A couple of days of decompressing and focusing on anything but editing or writing and I feel about a billion times better and all energized. I also read a great blog that I’m a shit for not remembering, but once I do I’ll link it. The blog was an awesome perspective on how amazing it is to do the rewrite of stories. I have been looking at it all fucking wrong. Instead of focusing on the tripe that I have written I need to remember I have a foundation now. A quick draft (well, as quick as I can be) of an amazing story and now I get to play with it – make my characters stronger and the story even more twisted, really bring out what I wanted from the beginning. Its a journey that takes some miles not a fast sprint down the block. As much as I want to be at the end of the road jumping in triumph, I am not there yet and need to stop expecting such quick results.
This is truly the first experience I am having with a serious effort to produce a quality story. One that will make the reader stop and think, “Did I just read that right?” A story that will also invoke some pretty disturbing images by the end of the story. I don’t know why horror/splatter writing has become my choice of genre. I do know I grew up on horror books and splatter movies. When I would read horror books I would always get disappointed because the authors always seemed to stop short of really describing and getting into the true gore of the acts occurring in the book. I don’t want to do that in my writing. I only hope I can accomplish it well for the audience. I do have many other ideas that run more to the fantasy side of fiction as well, but those are all longer stories and will have to come after I have successfully mastered a perfectly structured short story that I’m satisfied with in its entirety. Small steps and all that stuff. Anyway- I will be a busy beaver this weekend so stick around for some art, photography and lots more writing.
I’m putting out here the rest of part II and the finished part III and IV of Ray’s box. I’m working on the final piece of the story. I hope to be able to post it this weekend and then I’ll run through and start editing and get it up in my short story section. So, enjoy and remember its still unedited so be patient.
Ray’s Box continued….
The space leading from the front of his apartment to the few rooms in back was not very long. When you first stepped into the hall immediately to the left was the door to his own room. Currently the wall on that side was covered with reeking, wet boxes stacked to just below the ceiling. He took a few steps forward careful with each inch not to get anywhere near them. Ray craned his next, his eyes darting to steal a glance into his room. His heart sank and his stomach dropped and settled in his bowels as he saw the mess that lay all over his floors and bed. It wasn’t just that the boxes, were again everywhere, there was a dull red glistening on the normally beige carpet. His blanket was not so much a covering to keep him warm at night but had become a gargantuan towel that had soaked up and dripped liquid jewels of shimmering red chunked together here and there with clots of matter that he refused to put a name to as he stood motionless. Faintly he could here Momma in front of him. She continued to shuffle forward the few feet into the alcove that was part of his small dining area situated in front of the kitchen, the final room in this stretch of the apartment. Ray could hear her panting, raw, ragged horrible noises that started deep in her animated corpse and ended with a detestable thick odor that hung in the air even after she moved on.
After what felt like an eternity he snapped his head forward and continued the few steps through the rank air, his nose crinkling in disgust and his throat closed itself off for the briefest of moment, he stopped as his foot left carpet and his heel thunked onto the wood floor of the dining area.
“Momma…why?” croaked from him between gasping breaths.
“Ray, child, you are the slowest child. A Mother should never have to deal with you but I did..OH! How I dealt with you the best I could. “ She raised her flabby hers and flung her finger forward. He expected to see a lightning bolt shoot forward but instead her fat bingo-wings rippled under her arms creating small waves from her armpit to her elbow. As it wiggled bits of flesh sprinkled his floor and Ray’s confusion mounted but the fear that gripped him from the time he entered the apartment building was melting away. She was dead yes but this was his Momma and she would make everything okay once she could get it all explained.
“Pick up that box and mind you don’t let if fall to pieces before you get it on the ground here.” Gargling the words gravity absconded her and the remaining meat on her arm thwacked aside her filthy breast as she pointed to the floor between Ray and her.
Ray tentatively eyed the box that rotted before him. It was the size of a midrange microwave box but with none of the flare of advertisements on wattage and a popcorn button. Instead it was a measly tanish brown that oozed a thick liquid of gore not just from the seams but from the very pores of the constructed material. The box itself was bleeding. Profusely. Knowing that if he did not comply the ending result would be a nightmare he thought was over with Momma’s death, Ray stretched his arms forward and splayed his fingers around the least matted portions of the box sides and attempted to lift it down. The damn thing weighed a ton. He was forced to step forward and grip the putrid container tighter bringing it slightly into his chest lifting with all his strength while his eyes scrunched closed-tight, holding his breath and ignoring the thick clots of death that slipped out of the container onto his feet and clothes. Stepping back quickly but cautiously, there was no way this was going to spill out any more than necessary, he turned and bent quickly to the ground letting if drop with a meaty, wet thunk at his feet.
“Good Ray. I knew you still have those gentle hands. Now I need you to open the box and look inside. You will find what is to become your life’s work laid out for you.” Huffing in her death breath she reached behind her to find a dining chair and flopped her body into the seat while he dared not look at her eyes, fearing she really meant what she said.
“Momma…what do you mean? Why do I have to open this? Please don’t make me do this.” The quivering in his voice brought forth an immediate kick from what was left of her right foot into his shin as she sat opposite him.
Ray folded himself in half as he reached down to lift the flaps of the box. He knew already what he would find but what he did not know was more important.
“Norma?” Her face sat bloated, eyes bulging and lips full with the collagen of the deceased on top of the butchered remains of her small frail figure and intermixed with the organs no one should ever see outside of their loved one.
“MOMMA NO! This is not me. WHY!?” confusion clouded his face as Ray looked from the one he loved and into the crazed eyes of Momma.
“Ray, child, once again you are going to test my patience. You remember when you were growing up…you remember all the time we spent together. You know how much I loved you and that a Momma’s love was the only pure love. You remember don’t you?” Her tongue clucked at this last question.
“I remember Momma. I remember everything. I know there is nothing more pure than what we had but what does that mean to me now?” Slumping his shoulders in childish defeat he waited for her response.
“Tsk Tsk Tsk Tsk…” Momma tapped her fingers on the table she sat beside as she heaved in with great difficulty enough air to tell a tale without ever needed another breath. Her lungs whistled no longer being able to contain such quantities of oxygen.
“Ray – I raised you from a little thing. I did it by myself. I had no man because no man could understand the love a mother has for her child and that the child must always come first. I tried.” Momma gazed up her eyes rolling with an attempt to look Ray in his own eyes. He stepped from behind the box and slowly pulled out a seat opposite her at the table. There was something coming. He wasn’t sure what it was but he knew the explanation for all that was occurring would not be as simple as he would want it to be; not just a dream he would wake from. No. Not that easy for him. Not this time.
“I tried to find a man. I really did. We both know a Daddy in the house would have been good but none of them seemed to understand that you were first for me and always would be. I couldn’t explain to any of them. Then one night…It all became clear to me. They came to visit me.” Her words rode past his ears in eerie understanding. When she said They, Ray’s spine straightened and a tingling of familiarity rippled throughout him.
“Who are They? Why do I know them even though you haven’t said?” The question hung in the air fragile and searching for a response.
“Well son, They are the ones who gave me my life’s mission. In the middle of the lonliest night I could ever recall; you were around twelve at the time and starting to really come into your own. You were such a handsome young man and getting more grown up every day. I was having a fit of a dream and I shot up in bed and there they were; standing at the foot of the bed. Two of them came to explain things to me. Each one holding a box for me; not like the boxes you got. Your mission is so much more than mine. Anyway – they brought me those two boxes and told me I had to open them just like you when you got here tonight. I tell you, I was terrified” Her eyes widened at the memory and even in death the shivers that took her shoulders were visible to Ray.
“What were in your boxes?” The words quizzically fell off his tongue before he could stop himself. He squired backwards in the chair using the tip of his shoes to edge the box at his feet as far away from himself as possible. While disgusted at what was in the box and terrified of what Momma may be telling him he began to get a sense of looming relief. There was an enlightenment that was waiting to show itself and it welled up in his soul as he incited her to continue.
“I had to open it myself, just like you did. Inside the first box was a book. A photo book for keepsakes type thing and I flipped through it and all the pictures were of us. Polaroids of you and me. Pictures of us and confirmation that the love I was feeling would be okay. I could be with you and it would be just fine. The pictures showed the whole story. They stood at the foot of my bed and remained long enough to explain that I was to make sure and show you my love and also to keep you in line because there was greatness to come from you. If I didn’t do my job, you’d never complete your job when the time came. The visions they showed me — I shuddered to think of the pain and hell I would suffer if I didn’t do as I was told. So, that night, once they had gone from my room and I guess this world because they didn’t just walk out of door – they just disappeared, *Poof*, gone from the foot of my bed in a shudder of air; I came to you and sat at the foot of your little twin bed and thought about what I was to do.” The story continued out of her and Ray was flung back to his childhood. Years seemed to fly by in reverse blurring his vision and then settling him into his bed at twelve just a few weeks before his thirteenth birthday. He had been lying in bed thinking of the few friends he had that were going to go with him to see some new horror film that he no longer remembered or cared to remember. Ray shivered, recalling his Mother slowly entering his room that night, cautious with each step and being smaller, younger in those days when she sat on his bed the edge barely dipping down, just slightly and the smell of faint roses hung in the air, scents of her soap fresh on her skin lingered around his bed. Momma had always been a stern parent. She was known around the neighborhood for being the strictest when it came to rearing her only child and the few friends he had their parents always made sure to get him home right quick or they knew he would suffer. As she sat on the foot of his bed she slid her hand over his calves, rubbing them gently as she explained how much she loved him and the time had come to demonstrate what that would mean for the two of them. Somewhere deep inside his groin his body knew what she was talking about and he shuddered, then and now as he sat across from her in the kitchen. Yet what was a shudder of confused fear at twelve and a half was a shudder of renewed excitement in present day.
“Ray! Pay attention. Ray!” snapping her fingers and trying to purse her lips like she use to when we was young and not listening, Momma commanded him back to now and continued.
“If you haven’t figure out your job yet boy, let me fill you in on what you are to do.” She stretched her spine, skin pulling and sliding off of bone, sitting up straight and stared him deep in his eyes.
“We have to get ourselves back to what was once our best. You and I Ray, we belong to one another but you have a growing need in you. One that, I think, you’ve felt and that’s why you are alone right now. I know you, you had a little something to keep you busy since I’ve been gone but you got rid of her. Why?” Leaning back she placed her arms across her rotting chest as best as a corpse can; crushing dried muscle and settling bone on ribs. She waited. Staring He sucked in air, dragging the dust of decomposition into his lungs and thought but just a brief instant.
“Momma, I’m not sure I could have done those things. I know what they are and I feel them. Her name was Bella. She sufficed to fill my desires but then they became more intense. I wasn’t sure…..how does one just go about fulfilling those desires all of a sudden. I wasn’t prepared and didn’t know exactly how to prepare so I walked away.” The river of words poured from his lips. Ray never even registered the full impact of them till they had all left his throat and hung in the air between them waiting to be plucked down and processed. It was only then that he realized precisely how much he had wanted to take Bella. Drag her down and make her his to own and dominate. He could picture her now. Her delicate skin and dark hair with those round green eyes. Bella, her beautiful face sitting on the perfect body with supple breasts and the curves from waist to hips giving the illusion of a perfect hourglass; he knew he had to go back for her. This could not be over. Momma was right.
“I’m sorry.” The words from Ray swam towards Momma. As they entered her head she slammed her fist to the table and dropped forward like an animal to attack. Baring her teeth she could have been preparing to rip the flesh from her prey but instead she growled from deep within her chest and slowly rose.
“Ray, get you lazy ass in gear. Do what you are supposed to do and make sure it is done well. You have fun too. You deserve that after I have been gone so long but you do best to remember that I’m not going away either. You do your job and you keep doing it well and I get to come back. WE get to come back and stay together forever but if you waver one more moment then it will all be destroyed and they will take you with me this time.” Tense and icy were the words that returned his apology. Ray dropped his head. His chin rested on his breastbone and he closed his eyes drawing in more air; he contemplated the joy he now felt knowing she was coming back. The feelings that rose from within his heart and his pants gave him all the strength he needed to move forward.
“Momma, you are right. I was being a coward and if I had known that I was holding you back I would not have let her go. How long before you can be back? I don’t want to wait too long; its been torture not having you beside me. I miss you and I even miss the punishments. Lord knows I never thought that I would say those words but I do. If I have to endure in order to have you back in my arms, I’ll do what needs to be done for your caring and sweet caresses.” Ray’s eyes closed while softly speaking the few words that he knew would cement the happiness he had been missing in his life since Momma had passed away.
“Good boy. Now, Ray I think you might have a visitor soon. Let’s move away from all these boxes and wait. Once we get things started I should be my old self in no time.” Momma stood warily on her barely formed legs shuffling backwards and forwards to gain release from her chair’s embrace. Stumbling for balance she cantered forward and around the box at Ray’s feet coming to stand in front of him. He raised his head and looked into the dead eyes that were once vibrant and saw the spark behind them that he knew would be returning. Cautiously he raised his arms, reaching to embrace her at the waist and gently pulled her forward. His lips lightly grazing the grey and putrid flesh while memories of her soft skin pressed against him in teenage lust flowed forward in his mind; his tongue slowly grazed the remaining swatch of the skin just below her navel. Tears sprang to his eyes in anticipation of what would be his again in the near future. The pain and pleasure mixing to bring him to a feverish pant; face flush with desire he now thought of Bella, he needed to find her.
Part III: Bella
Ray and Momma made their way back down the hall. Their footsteps squishing in the carpet as they entered the living room and sat on the couch a scene like any other home on the block; Mother and son sitting down to catch up only a trail of blood throughout the apartment and a corpse as entertainment was the only difference. As they settled back next to each other Ray thought about Bella. He had always known there was something deep within him, something that wanted to really push him to the edge with her.
They had started dating shortly after Momma had died. Ray had never really had any other relationships other than Momma’s so it was a bit strange for him but he soon got use to letting her control him just the same. The last two years had flown by for him and as they had come up on the second anniversary of his Momma’s death it had become such a strong pull in him to pack Bella in the car and take her to the cabin. The cabin. So many summers were spent there with Momma. He remembered the pain and the pleasures she provided him in the private of the wooded hills with no one near them for miles. He almost did it too. He almost got her in the car but panicked. Once that panic set in he thought for sure Bella knew what he was up to and he quit contacting her. He let her think he had disappeared from the city altogether; it was easier to pretend that way.
“Ray, she never knew what you were up to boy.” Momma leaned close to his ear faintly exhaling onto his neck as she drew out that last word. “Boooooooy.”
“How do you know”
“Ray, Ray, Ray. I know so much that you would just do best to let me take over from here on out.” She rested her fingers on the inside his thighs, gently massaging them while leaving more flecks of skin and muscle on his pants than remained on her hand.
“In fact, she’s on her way here now boy. When she gets to the door, you’re gonna do everything I tell you to and not anything else.” She squeezed his thigh on that last word, death nails remarkably strong dug into his leg. As the pressure was released from her grip the door rang out and Ray jumped, startled by the exactitude of Momma’s prediction.
Momma patted his knee gently. Pointed a mostly bone and dried tissue finger at the door, “Go answer it and act natural. She won’t know I’m here so don’t be an idiot and ruin things.” Momma scuttled from the couch to the far corner of the room as Ray strode across the opposite side of the room, taking a few quick steps of excitement to his front door. In order to maintain his level of control he kept his actions as normal as possible including peeking out the peephole and verifying that yes, it was Bella standing on the other side of the door. Stepping back, he realized he was now looking at his apartment as it had always appeared to him. There were no more bloody boxes, trailing muck or that incomprehensible door. The only oddity was that his decaying Momma stood in the back corner behind him. Ray took a deep breath, exhaled all that he could and pulled open the door.
Her back was to the door when it creaked open and she whirled around in surprise. The wind from her long auburn hair blowing past Ray’s face bringing the scent of lavender into his head and the memory of her skin’s feel. It was her favorite flower and she wore it every day. A smell so strong that it the beginning it drove him mad but before he left abruptly he began to imaged what he would have done with the fresh clippings she always kept in a vase at her entry door. This thought soothed him and he felt his lips crack a warm smile spreading out and reaching up to his eyes that now began to shimmer in a light that was not even noticed until it echoed from his pupils.
“Ray?” Bella twisted her purse straps with one hand, wrapping her fingers in and out of the bangles that hung from the front pockets of the bag while she waited for some response. It had been two weeks since she had heard anything from him; as if he had dropped off of the face of the Earth, his disappearance had been so alarming. He had crept away in past times but never to this extent and with such a persistent refusal to return any of her calls or texts.
It had only been two weeks since Ray had walked out of Bella’s apartment and not looked back. The urge to do unspeakable things had been so strong and it had been too much to burden himself with so he cut all ties. Now, as she stood before him he realized just how quickly he had forgotten the beauty she possessed and it suddenly clicked how much she resembled the woman his Momma was when she was younger. In the few seconds it took to register he took in all that was once alive in his Momma. The long brunet lock that ended in slight curls, her fair skin and dark brown eyes reflecting towards him with the pain of confusion. Her full lips attempted a smile as she stood waiting on the edge of his response. The purse she fingered in anticipation hung loosely next to her small frame wrapped in the simple fabric of a summer dress with her hips pushing out to the sides thanks to her hour glass figure that had kept him mad with desire for the last year. The briefest of moments was all it took to bring it all back to him and as he cleared his throat to finally respond he heard a silent laugh coming from across the room. Amidst the laughter Momma’s voice spoke up, “Ray, Ray, Ray. You flatter me. I should have known you would never stray far from me. Even in death you did your best find me still living somehow.” He stole a glance over his shoulder at the pile of upright death in the corner and returned her laugh with a sly hidden smile and returned his gaze quickly upon Bella. Finally after the longest moments of her life, although ticked out in seconds on her watch, Ray opened his arms and enveloped her in an embrace. His face nuzzled into her neck and she could hear him deeply inhaling her scent as he gently kissed the crook in her neck between shoulder and ear. “Bella, please forgive me. I don’t know why I left again. It’s so maddening even to myself.” He took a step back and slid his hands down her arms and interlocked his fingers with hers. She beamed up at him, her radiant smile showing her immediate forgiveness. “Ray, it’s okay. I know you still are adjusting to a relationship. You have only ever had your Mother so it has to get overwhelming at times. Don’t worry. We can go as slow as you need. It’s been a year and I’m still here and don’t plan on leaving either.” Ray slowly walked backward holding her hands and guided her into his apartment.
“I really hope you don’t leave. I have finally realized why you are in my life and you are so very important to me. I was so blind to see what was right before me.” He backed himself to the sofa and they sat together. As they nestled together in the couch she looked up at him and sighed. “Do you really mean that? Are you really there now?” Bella had been waiting for months to hear him commit to her in any fashion beyond their current relationship status which always seemed to be on the verge of nonexistent. Ray lay his head back on the sofa and let out a soft exhale of air. Smiling as he exhaled the word, “Yes”, escaped his lips brushing the air in a soft embrace barely reverberating in her ears.
While he had his head on the back of the couch what Bella didn’t see was the putrid form of what was once his Mother standing behind him with her decaying fingers slowly massaging his shoulders. His yes was not completely for her but also for Momma; who he knew would be there to take care of him from now on and as the future played out in his mind the stench of hundreds of days entertaining death whispered past his ear and rested inside his head. “Ray, take her to the cabin. It’s all set up and waiting for you.” Once this opportunity had been dropped into his skull he again slowly nodded, raising his head he gazed into Bella’s eyes with a smile spreading from ear to ear as he thought about his plans.
He sat upright and voiced his idea for moving forward. “Bella, let’s start over right now. We can go to my cabin in the country. It’s only a couple hours away and we can spend the weekend there, just the two of us working on making this the relationship what you have always wanted from the beginning.” He had worked his voice and body language up into a frenzy as he brought up his idea and anticipated her enthusiastic response. She had been pleading for months to move their lives together forward in a more intimate manner and he had always rebuffed her advances. He was now giving her desires to her on a private silver platter – more than she had ever hoped for from him. In response to his decision Bella wrapped her arms around his neck and hurriedly requested to stop at her apartment on the way out of town. “Actually, we don’t need to – I have everything ready for us at the cabin. I set it up months ago but hadn’t had the nerve to get us out there just yet. We won’t need anything but each other once we get there.” Smiling coyly he stood and pulled her up with him. “You ready?” He stared into her eyes with the knowledge that this was more a formality at this point and no longer an actual question. Her excitement pulled him to the door as he trailed behind her looking over his should at Momma. The remaining teeth in her jaw glistened through the smile that threatened to tear her lips apart.
I wrote a piece of flash fiction years ago. Last week I joined a writer’s workshop to start to really try and hone my skills and get these stories rolling. This piece of flash was the first thing I posted for review and help to expound. I got some great reviews with very helpful directions to steer myself. I set to work. I was going to wait until completely done but I promised a few people mid-week I’d have it done. As is everything in my life, I’m behind. But anywho — I’m going to post Part 1 – Ray’s Home and half of part 2 Ray’s Mother. Please feel free to leave any comments or critique if you wish. Keep in mind this is the first draft and I took a 411 word piece and have been building on it slowly. Here goes:
By Jamie Mayes – March 2014
PART I – Ray’s Home
The cool, stale air of enclosed space swished past Ray while he cautiously moved down the familiar corridor. Tile clacked loudly and echoed off walls. He kept forgetting to pick his knees up high to keep from stomping boot heels causing the electric atmosphere more tension. Time thickened, slowed, and took away all sight in the common sense replacing the straight, peach-colored walls with cock-eyed ones leaning forever sideways trying to escape into another dimension. Pictures no longer hung at perfect perpendiculars against the line of the floor but stretched; contorting themselves into macabre pieces that would be titled something like “Hillside Sunset for the Serial Killer”.
Ray knew he meant to be going somewhere. There was a purpose to his movements but one that no longer registered because he kept concentrating on minimizing the distractions that were contained in this hallway. Ahead was a right turn. He could hear the slow, labored shuffling and hushed coos of a motherly nature on the other side of that turn. The building and its halls are Ray’s mistress. He has wondered their comforting labyrinth for years and lived within the belly of the beauty for the better part of a decade but tonight the façade has cracked. The attraction falters and he dares not even guess what is coming at him around the razor sharp edge of that right turn. The rhythm of his heart quit working at a pace set to sustain life and took on one that exudes the knowledge of impending doom. His breath quickens and he can taste the tuna sandwich from lunch that was hours ago, running his tongue across his drying lips he steadies himself with two more strides before he faces the unknown. He stands at the cusp, frozen for mere seconds when all emotion drains from him and he is left standing naked. His eyes are blank and the air escapes in quick huffs from his nostrils but the young woman who rounds the corner does not notice the statue Ray. While he attempts to compose himself in what is becoming a short trip into hell with a long stay reserved in his name she moves ever closer. Brushing past, the scent of patchouli and pot filter into his nose when he notices the rats she guides on leashes and cockroaches nesting on her shoulders. He doesn’t know why or how he knows but Gether is her name and this is her ritual. They are a twisted group that calls themselves family and take a walk every night to calm before sleep. She disappears briskly from his existence as the fleeting memory of this moment repeating itself over and over invades his senses then dissipates into nothingness, his brain forgetting immediately again everything but what was next in the hallway as he took the right turn. Ray could not recall why his heart wanted to beat outside of him so desperately or exactly how the hall seemed bigger and smaller all at the same time. He kept moving hoping that it would provide answers when the doors of the building began to announce their presence, beating their devil drums and rattling door handles. He had not noticed them before but now they pulse with life and beg for his attention. They all wish to be opened and explored but Ray knows better on that much at least. His body has not betrayed him so far that the stench of his own fear does not escape him or his personal bubble. It circles him, a snake winding itself among the branches of a tree waiting to strike but with nothing there to attack. The pressure builds within Ray and it builds behind each door with no end in sight. When the hallway became a tunnel of doors he could not recall but there they were, looming and daring him. Ray continue to push through the murk in the air of the dank hallway and his eyes seem to play tricks now. The space in front the nearest door, all doors in the hall has begun to swim around itself. Currents of air wave back and forth as something takes shape beneath the supposed natural world which encompasses the area in front of each innocuous panel of wood screwed haphazardly to the crooked walls.
Brown. No more of a tan. This is the color that becomes apparent as the apparitions solidify and become reality or what Ray supposes is now reality at least for him. Slowly the vibrations in the air calmed and the fuzzy tan items began to take a shape. A shape Ray was familiar with in his usually normal life. They were boxes.
What the hell?
In front of every single door there now sat a box. Tan in color but all different sizes and girths. He came upon the first one and stared.
Is this for me? Do I open each of these? Is someone just playing games with me? What’s that smell? I swear I know that smell…what is it! It’s not sealed. The flaps are just criss-crossed. I could easily open this up and at least find out maybe what is going in this building. GOD! The smell is getting worse. Are those flies?
A door began to open on the other side of the box he stood over. The hinges creaked, straining, an enormous blue and green Hawaiian belly appeared before him. Bending down the belly became drooping breasts stretching the colored flowers, then multiple neck folds molted with body grease mixed with what he assumed was grey dirt and finally a disfigured face which all came together to form what he could only guess was a woman with protrusions out of her neck for arms. A woman who did not bathe but only sat and ate and picked up boxes left at her door by shear will of the universe. Ray stepped back. The grey orbs that sat in her face traced his body as she straightened up with her prize. She turned to close the door and while doing so her body expelled an odor, loudly proclaiming it’s presence from the vicinity of her ass. The stench required immediate departure causing Ray to nearly pass out while running farther down the hall. He tripped over boxes that were everywhere in the hallway. His body revolted from the noxious fumes he inhaled. He finally stopped. Standing in the hallway that he knew was much longer that it should be, he gathered himself; rubbing his stomach while staring at the walls.
Ray bent forward pressing the palms of his sweaty hands on the knees of his jeans. He moved his gaze down the wall to the floor beneath his tennis shoes.
What? What the hells all over my shoes? Fuck! What’s on the floor!?!
He peered from the floor at this feet to the surrounding tile. It was covered in burgundy dirt and mud. He followed the trail of muck from in front of him to the nearest offending box which he now noticed created the source of all the slimy mess from behind him at one end of the hall to the seemingly infinite edge of the hall remaining in front of him. Each one of them had to contain something dead. It was the only explanation. Ray had only seen something like this once in his lifetime. The accident on Macon Road near his Mother’s house when he was in his early 20s; he was headed back home after another failed date. The bodies were lying in dirt. It was all mixed together; dirt, blood, body fluids. Mesmerized he couldn’t take his eyes from the vile floor trying to process what this could all mean to him.
Why am I here…..
Ray stood, staring down the oppressive hall. The length and disparity of what lay before him taunting his senses; dragging him down into the pits of fiery nightmares of his youth. It brought forth the foreboding fears of the monster that lurked in his closet waiting for him to uncover his leg or arm so it could step out finally and devour his body in a bloody mess wiping his entrails off his maw after a midnight snack. He looked behind him, contemplating the entrance knowing he could go back out and try it all again. The though lingered in his mind turning over and over, tumbling in fashion. Then it was gone. He knew if he tried, knew if he headed back in his footsteps that still echoed in his memory that he would not find the door out. It would not be where he left it – something, someone wanted him to move forward. There was a pressure that built in him as he turned on his heel, his foot slowly making boot marks in the dirt and blood squelching farts sound of the floor from the moist body fluids finding their way up, making a home in his ear canal. The gooey noise caressed his lobes and whispered, move Ray – we are waiting.
Inhaling stale death he continued down his predetermined path. Stepping over boxes that litter the doorways while contemplating the pressure which continues to build from his bowels rising with each shaky movement until it fills his brain making his teeth chatter in anticipation. The air begins to shimmer again. Ray loosens a breath from his anguished lungs and it pools in front of him. A cloud of smoky white puffs he has seen quite often in the cold northern winters that come each year to his small town in Ohio. His sweat is no longer an unwelcome sticky on his back but a cool feeling which reminded him of the coolness he got when watching his favorite serial killer flicks. The cool of utter relaxation, the cool of deep comfort as you slide into freshly laundered bed sheets. This new feeling had him pressing back the tide in his mind, moving forward at a renewed pace. The vigor of his steps as he planted one foot before the other stamping his existence into each hard placed footfall on the filthy tiles and actually creating small splashes of gore while he dared the shimmering air to give him its newest vision. The building decided to cooperate with his wishes as the walls wobbled in and out there was a thunderous clap and his entire surroundings shook heavily on its foundation. The hall filled with a noxious odor again and a thin fog covered his view briefly before sliding away in snakelike ripples leaving him with direct site to a gargantuan steel door on massive hinges not ten feet before him at what was now the end of his torturous journey.
PART II – Ray’s Mother
Gray with bolts the size of his hands, the door towered before Ray. It stood to a height that defied that size of the wall holding it hostage laughing at the constraints of man’s idea of physics. Carvings adorned the surface which reminded him of Egyptian writings from PBS specials when he was a young child. They use to come on his old black and white television in the afternoons stealing him away to strange lands and taught him of the pyramids full of mummified dictators, their servants and fortunes amassed around them. There was a slick shiny glisten to the raised forms in a foreign tongue seeming to mimic the wet lining of a freshly gutted intestine. Ray stood in reverent silence contemplating where this may have dropped into existence from or who might be waiting on the other side. He slowly lifted his arm balling his fingers into a loose fist and with bold, solid hits he knocked three solid pounds. No longer feeling any of the apprehension in his bones as it seemed to seep out of his pores and disappear. The sound of this knock echoed with a booming crescendo. Roaring past his ears the noise reverberated through the air behind him.
BANG! BANG!! BANG!!!
Then, he waited. Ray’s breathing returned to normal patterns of slow inhales and even slower exhales while he waited. His heart-rate dropped and he began to feel the familiar calm he feels when he meditates each morning. A ritual he started when he was in his late teens. It helped him in keeping himself centered, allowing him to deal with the insanity that typically ensued his hours and days living at home with his dear, dear Momma.
Now….where did that come from…I haven’t had her in my head for years. This place is TRYING to drive me nuts. Open up now. I need to move on. I know you are on the other side there. I think I see your foot shadows under that door.
Ray had lowered his head with each release of oxygen until his chin was resting on his chest. Tranquil now he watched the shadows jitter in their stance. Slightly moving left to right trying to figure out if they (whoever they were) should open the door. Patiently he opened his lips and finally broke the silence which had engulfed him since Big Haiiwan Tits had left him in the wake of her butt-music.
“I see you.”
The syllables left his lips behind and slid through the metal door as a ghost through the wall touching lightly the ears that had waited for years to hear that voice. The stranger reached forward and Ray heard the fumble of an appendage on a handle. Groaning and creaking with ancient age secret mechanisms turned and gears grinded in response to the touch from the caretaker inside. Hissing in protest the door continued to swing open and Ray waited, at this point, rather impatiently yet slightly apprehensively after the horrible trek to get to this moment.
Something feels wrong.
His mind took a step back while his body remained rooted to the inches he stood form the threshold. A final screech of metal on metal and the door stood wide and in its frame stood the figure of a tiny woman. She stood no more than five feet from heel to the tip of her head if you didn’t include the wild mange of red hair that poked up off the balding patches, she looked Ray up and down with a coy grin and opened her arms to give him a warm welcome to his home.
“Raa-aay” came the high pitched sing-song voice that was the source of all the pain in his entire life from diapers to diploma.
He covered his eyes with quivering fingers and his mouth puckered, jaw bouncing between open and shut. A fish caught out of water looked more manly than him at the moment.
“Momma”, whimpered its way out of his lungs and hung quietly in the air between the two of them while he fought the urge to move into the waiting arms of his Mother. The Mother he buried not two years ago. She should be deep in the earth at this point conversing with worms and having tea with beetles but instead she was in HIS apartment that appeared to be unchanged except its current location in this apartment building at the intersection of Hell and Confusion.
“Ray, why did you take so long getting home?” sweet syrup pouring off of each syllable as Momma dropped her arms and instead beckoned him in with a wave of her hand. Her hand, of course, not cooperating perfectly as in death, your joints are not always to be trusted and her hand flopped backwards against her forearm. Huffing in frustration she violently flapped her arm causing the hand to swing back into place with a loud slap against her inner arm. She giggled in the delight of disgust this brought out of Ray’s eyes.
“Momma, why are you in my apartment?” Stepping into the entry she backed out of his way and made room for him to pass her. Sliding his feet across the carpet he entered the room refusing to make any contact with her body or eyes. The door slammed shut with a finality that seemed to tell him that life might not be much longer for him. He shambled further in and stared down the hall that was to the left on his entry/living room.
Dear fucking GOD! Its full of boxes..NOOOO!
He stopped in his tracks noticing the blood mixed mud prints he left in his wake. Finally daring his head to move he looked up into the face of his dead Mother. It had been two years but it had not taken the toll that he would have expected. Her body remained mostly intact but the biggest ringer for her condition was the smell of death wrapped in the warm arms of the compacted dirt. There were bugs peeking in and out of various tears and rips in her skin and her eyes occasionally disappeared behind a large worm or fat grub. He had opted for the cheapest casket he could find when she died. Ray decided he wouldn’t make that mistake with himself. Dead or not, he was not going to have things crawling on him for as long as he could help it.
“Ray! Pay attention boy.” Momma’s jowls jiggled reminding him how in full bodied life she had been almost as large around as she had been tall. Fleas jumped from her chin aiming for anything to keep spreading and her eyes bore into him with supernatural strength
“I am here because of you and your lazy ineptitude. Just like when you were a kid. Can’t finish a damn thing and always running from your own shadow. Most pathetic child ever. You need to follow me and open your damn ears boy.” Her voice was strong yet muffled from a bloated tongue and a maw full of earth. Huffing and grunting, waddling in her death walk a worse visual than even her waddle when she was breathing life – she shuffled past Ray dropping bits and pieces along the way. Ray followed at a pace that longed to be going out the door but instead moved his feet over the piles of rot containing a tooth here and then a finger next. Doing his best to not step on anything that was once attached to his Momma he looked up into the hall as they entered.
I am cleaning out my computer as I have been given a new laptop and the conversion of info from one to another needs to be seamless. I need to be able to use this opportunity to purge some of the massive amounts of “stuff” instead of just moving it to a new home. In doing so I came across the beginning of a horror story/novel that I had in my mind at some time, who knows how long ago. I’m thinking of continuing the work on this particular story. In any case, the below is what I found and I would LOVE some feedback. Feedback was my intention with this website all along so anything is fine. I take all criticism, good or bad, for what it is and hope that it can make what I do better.
Here it goes:
In a clap of thunder that shook the grounds of Southeast Texas, the world changed dramatically.
Daniel arose from his favorite easy chair in the beloved living room of his suburban Houston home. His body shook with each drop of rain that struck the pavement and sluiced down sidewalks. The lightening flashed like an atomic bomb and in the same instant Daniel ceased to be anymore. What now stood on his dark green berber carpet sucked in the smell of fresh meat along with the acrid scent of oxygen and carbon dioxide. It snapped Daniel’s head back and then sharply up, popping all the vertebrae inside Daniel all at once. It was preparing for the sweet, decadent feast of flesh this new place had to offer. It walked down a hall and out the front door. The wetness slammed into Daniel’s body and it smiled with his mouth. It/Daniel walked to the middle of the street and thrust it’s arms into the air. It howled into the night and slammed it’s arms back down to it’s side. The moment its arms touched its body the entire neighborhood was torn into oblivion. Houses were now laying in small splinters where whole homes were just standing. The cars where tiny mangled messes while the concrete of roads and sidewalks were now large chunks of rock. It’s body was drenched in rain water mixed with blood as it stood in the middle of the street savoring its treat.
“I AM DANIEL” It proclaimed, making Daniel his in name and body.
Angie sat in her bare room that was home and listened to the rain storm pouring buckets down around her. Literally around her; she was looking for the only bucket she had to catch the water from her ceiling when the room was lit with a brilliant and eerie flash of lightening. The deafening thunder that followed chilled her to the bone and made her jump in terror. She had never been in a rainstorm so loud and violent. She expected to find herself in the midst of a hurricane but this storm had come from the west not the coast. The meteorologist had said it was the most puzzling storm system he had ever seen warning the city that it would be a horrible down pour and to expect flooding on the magnitude of the 2001 Allison storm.
Angie Winston had been through many storms before, in fact, she was in town when Allison came through the city. She was stranded and almost drowned in a low lying intersection. She had climbed on top of her car and prayed that it didn’t rise past the roof of her Jeep. Angie had lived here in Houston her entire life, what little bit you could call a life. Her Mom died right after she was born and her Dad had never been around. She was raised by her already ancient Grandmother who always had good intentions but was too easy to fool. This gave Angie the ability to do what she wanted and get away with more than she should have ever thought of doing with herself. She was 12 the first time she got drunk and it was in a bar close to downtown where most of the shady people could be found on any given night. This was just the beginning in a sordid twist of life experiences. Angie never finished school and had never really cared to anyway. She had all she needed at 23; a job dancing at a semi-decent bar while running packages to clients as well, a place to put her head (albeit rather wet but still hers) and wheels to get her around the city. Houston may have lots to offer but if you don’t have a car then you don’t have the opportunities to make the kind of money Angie could in one day.
Right now she was cursing the day she decided to rent such a piece of sweltering shit house. It had seemed like such a great idea at the time. Gabe had told her about the place because it was so close to downtown and her bar but he left out the part about it being so close to the Wards. It was run down and there was always some sort of a siren blaring past during the most inconvenient times but it was cheap and didn’t raise any flags that might cause questions about her finances. She finally found her bucket next to the toilet in the bathroom. The previous night had definitely been another lesson in what not to drink. Angie grabbed the bucket and trudged back out to the one room of the house and stuck it under the torrent of water now coming through a rather large hole in her ceiling.
“Well, fuck.” Angie sighed.
I may have, kind of, cheated on my day two prompt. It all depends on what you call cheating. I looked at the prompt before going to bed last night (okay like three nights ago) so I could have some time to think about things. It sounds like cheating. I feel like I cheated. Oh well, the prompt is an interesting one. I will be writing about meeting up with the “one that got away” on Valentine’s Day by accident. I thought about this one alot because I am not a romantic person. I think I figured out the best way to approach this one and really hope you enjoy the story. Don’t forget to give me some feedback. Anything is welcome as long as its feedback and you don’t decide to tell me about the last trick your dog is doing – that just doesn’t help. LOL
Now- enjoy this final Valentine’s story.
Standing in the middle of the Farmer’s Market I wondered what possesed me to come out on this day. I am surrounded by couples finding the perfect indgredients to their Valentine’s dinner while I pick at the eggs just looking for breakfast tomorrow. I hate this day. It always is a sad reminder of my relationship status. The lonely status of one. This year it is on a Saturday which makes it worse. I can’t just run to the office and get some work done while quietly ignoring the deliveries of flowers to my co-workers. It never helps that I’m always reminded of college on this day either. It has been a good three years since I left school but I still remember Danny. He was such an amazing, beautiful person. It didn’t have to end but I was stubborn.
As I stood in the middle of the eggs and raw milk thoughts of the past continued to play in my mind’s eye until I felt a nudge in my shoulder.
“Uh, excuse me.” reverberated through my ear and I immediately knew that voice. Turning abruptly I stood mere inches from the man I was just remembering. I whispered,”Danny?”
He stood before me in the flesh. His bright blue eyes seemed to glisten in the light as they looked down at my face. His shaggy black hair blew around his head in the breeze of the early morning. My breath caught in my chest while my eyes became cloudy with the tears of regret that have stung my memories for the last few years.
“Jessica, is that really you?” Danny asked while smiling down at me.
“It is, I replied. “I can’t believe YOU are here. It’s been so long. How are you?” I managed to get it all out in one long breath praying I didn’t sound too excited.
“Well, I moved back for a job opportunity about a month ago and things have been going pretty well. How are you doing?” He replied
“I am doing okay myself. Same old stuff as always. Are you living around here?” I answered as I hoped he couldn’t detect the nervousness in my voice.
“I rented a place around the corner from the market. I’m still trying to decide about buying or not. Are you here to get stuff for tonight?” He quizzed.
“Tonight….? OH, tonight. No, I’m getting a few things for breakfast. How about you? I remember you were quite the cook. You have something planned for this evening?” I asked this hoping the answer was no. I couldn’t believe my luck. I couldn’t believe any of this was going on. He was actually standing here in front of me having a conversation like we were still in college and no time had ever passed.
“I don’t have plans, no, but I might. What are you actually doing? Would you be interested in catching up over dinner?” His eyes squinted in the light and a soft smile crept over his face as he peered down at me waiting for my reply.
I do everything I can to hold in the excitement before I answer his question. The very thought that after all these years I could possibly correct what I did wrong – my head is pounding. “Of course, that sounds lovely.” I casually respond hoping that it sounds as calm and collected as I imagine.
His face seemed to beam in delight as he responded, “Great! I have a really special dish that I’d like to make you and we can have some wine while we catch up. Still love a good steak with some red wine or has that changed?”
“That would be the perfect meal yes.” The feeling in my stomach is overwhelming and I’m starting to perspire a bit while I relish in the crazy circumstances that have brought us together in the middle of the Farmer’s Market making dinner plans. I am already thinking about what to wear and if it should include the sexy underwear I haven’t worn in months. My eyes flit down to my nails that need a manicure and I KNOW I will need to at least shave. As I’m languishing in the thoughts of preparing for this date (dare I call it such) I can hear him speaking to me again.
“Okay – well, why don’t you give me your number and I’ll text you my address. Let’s say we meet back up at my place around six?” The words flowed out of his luscious lips and planted themselves in my ears.
“Wonderful.” This would give me the time I needed to do some quick clean up and maintenance on myself. He started to pull his cell phone from his back pocket and punched in my number as I gave it to him. “I really look forward to this Danny. It’s been a long time.”
“Me too.” He quietly responded. “Well, I better get going if I’m going to get that dinner ready for tonight.” He leaned forward and his arms wrapped around me in a warm embrace. I trembled in excitement. “It’s going to be a great evening.” He whispered in my ear as he hugged me tightly.
I hugged him back feeling the strong muscles in his back and shoulders as he leaned on me. I breathed in the scent of him and was rushed back in time to the last moment we had together. I still cannot believe this is happening. Our embrace broke and he stepped back waving, “I’ll see you in a few hours.” I waved back, smiling and told him, “I look forward to it.”
As he turned and walked away I took deep breaths. This is really happening. I have thought about Danny for the last three years. I have regretted what I did when it was time to decide on where our relationship was going to go at the time. Now – I have so much to do. I decided anything for breakfast tomorrow could wait and rushed back to my car so that I could get myself ready for the evening. It is going to be a great one and I can’t let myself look like a schlempy mess.
I stood on the front steps of the cute row house that had the address matching the one in my phone. It was 5:50 and I was terrified to ring the bell. I know being a little early was not a big deal but yet I still couldn’t bring myself to announce my arrival. I stared at the house numbers above the door and finally willed myself to ring.
The door opened a few seconds later and Danny stood before me. He was still dressed as he was when we met at the market but he was a little disheveled from working in the kitchen.
“Hey. Sorry, I’m a few minutes early – I hope that’s okay.” I mumbled sheepishly. Geez!! What is wrong with me? I dated this man for 2 years but yet I keep acting like I am on a first date (which this very well may not be a date).
“No no. You’re fine. Come on in and you can help me put the finishing touches on the salad. I just need to cut the cucumber and tomatoes. Which one do you want?” He provided this option while walking across the entry of the house down a short hall. I followed him trying to think about what he just asked me when we turned a corner and I say a beautifully laid out table for two. On the other side of the table was the kitchen and there sat the unfinished salad.
“Oh – hmmm…I think I’ll take the cucumber. I’ve never been good at cutting tomatoes.” I replied as we both stood in front of the cutting board. Danny handed me a small knife and the cucumber. He stepped to the right opening a small cabinet above my head and pulled down a bottle of red wine.
“Would you like a glass?” He asked me.
“Of course, red wine is my favorite but I guess you remembered.” I smiled at him as he poured the glasses and handed me one. I set down the knife and took a sip while finally pausing long enough to take in my surroundings. I am actually standing in the kitchen of Danny’s house. He is standing next to me close enough to feel his body heat. I am going to be sitting down to a dinner with the man I should have never let go all those years ago. I took another sip of my wine and finished cutting the cucumber and handed Danny the knife. Now we can finish this salad and get to the table. I’m finally feeling calm and really accepting this situation. Things are going to be good now and it will be a great dinner that will hopefully be the start of something new.
Danny finished cutting the tomatoes and put them along with the cucumber into the salad. He grabbed the bowl and walked to the table, setting it in the middle. I followed him smiling and sipping my wine. As I got close to the table my head spun. Apparently it’s been too long since I last had a drink. I felt a bit flushed and dizzy. He turned and looked at me pointing to the chair in front of me. “Go ahead and sit while I get the steaks off the grill.”
I sat in silence feeling the room sway. I should drink a little slower. Instead I pick up the glass and sip again. I figure even if I’m a bit swimmy I’ll at least be completely relaxed for our dinner. Danny returned with a sizzling steak and set it before me as he took his seat on the opposite side of the table.
“This smells divine Danny.” I picked up my knife and cut into the steak. It was a nice medium cook and the juices ran across the plate. I bit into the meat and the warmth of the juices flooded my mouth as it melted like butter on my tongue.
“Oh Danny, you have outdone yourself. This is the most delicious steak I have ever had and it is so very tender.” I gushed as I cut my second bite. He grinned from ear to ear taking in the compliment.
“Here, let me refill your wine. I’m glad you like the dish. She was a lovely specimen. I knew she would be delicious.” He mused as he refilled my glass.
“Now you even know the sex of the meat you cook.” I laughed as I sipped more wine.
“Well, it is good to know where your stock comes from and I like to hand pick mine. It makes the meal so much more intimate and meaningful.” He leaned back in his seat as he cut his steak preparing to take a large bite when he looked up at me.
“Are you feeling okay?”
I looked down at my plate and realized how intoxicated I felt. The room was swimming and I could barely feel my limbs. They felt like lead weights hanging from my core. I tried to say, I’m fine, but the words would not come out of my mouth. I looked up at Danny, helpless and confused.
“No, I guess you aren’t feeling okay. I was hoping you would get to enjoy more of your dinner before things got this far. I tried really hard to make sure the dosages were right. I really wanted to see you enjoy Penny.” He rose from the table with the last sentence. I looked at him again with confusion. What is going on began to play over and over in my head.
“See, Penny was amazing and I never wanted her to go. I learned years ago what I have to do if I don’t want people to go. You taught me that. You were the first to show me what I had to do. But you still got away. Now, I don’t have to ever let you go either.” He felt under the table by his chair and when he pulled his arm back he held a bloody hammer. Seeing the hammer I finally understood. I began to gag on the meal I just consumed. I can’t believe I just ate……Penny. I try to get up and run but my legs won’t move. All I can do is rock back and forth in my chair trying to escape.
Danny, the one that I let get away, moved closer with each rocking motion, raising the hammer over my uncontrollable body.