Trailer Trash

The sorrow was tangible, hovering over the trailer park rubble like impenetrable fog. It engulfed them in a blanket of hopelessness.

Survivors wandered through debris piles searching for scraps of their former life mixed amongst the tornado’s aftermath. Their humble neighborhood resembled a steamy, fetid landfill.

Sylvia perched on the dismembered steps that once led to her front door and stared at her brother’s dissected keyboard. She wanted to feel his presence, hear his music again. But staggering numbness consumed her as she watched the ambulance drive away, its sirens silent, its lights extinguished. The need for urgency gone.

Now don’t be too sad. This is a work of fiction, after all. Well, mostly. This story was written for the Friday Fictioneer’s photo prompt. The challenge is to write a story or poem based on the photo, in 100 words or less. I clocked in at exactly 100 words.

Five Flashy Tales of Terror

Don’t look under the bed. Lock the door to the cellar. Did you hear that noise? I think I saw something out there. I swear the butcher knife was right there a second ago. The call is coming from inside the house! It’s alive!

It’s a month-long October terrorfest over here. Enjoy these five flashy tales of terror in honor of Halloween and for those of you with a lack of literary focus. All stories are 25 words or less.

The Kiss

The passionate kiss made her tingle. Their first date lasted until dawn. He left her drained.

Buried

Buried alive in the suffocating darkness, he frantically clawed at the coffin lid. Something clawed back.

You are Served

She stirred the cauldron of boiling goulash; removed the fingernails and eyeballs. Yesterday’s dinner guests were hearty. Tonight’s unsuspecting guests ate with gusto.

Rest in Peace

The raven perched atop the tombstone, cawed at the full moon. A disembodied voice replied, “Quiet! You’ll wake the dead.”

Fingerpaint

She painted his pain in pulsating scarlet and decaying rust. Fingers caressed canvas. Created perfect strokes. She discarded his other parts.

Trifextra Week Ninety: More Frightening than the Darkness

More Frightening than the Darkness

Unattainable peace through the barrel of a gun

Exploitative power in the guise of faith

Habitual hate through the ignorance of tradition

Intolerance. Prejudice. Repression. Separation.

Helplessly turning a blind eye. Silence. Defeat.

Written for Trifecta’s Trifextra Weekend Challenge. Our task this weekend was to write about what scares you in exactly 33 words. Many things scare me, but I think I covered a plethora of fears in my poem.

A Day to Remember: A VisDare Short Story

It was a romantic and dangerous place. It reeked of prestige and privilege. “The Gherkin,” a building shaped like a glass pickle; the name always made her smile.

The groom and his four groomsmen were drawn to it, pulled to the 41st floor by a great force. They gathered each year on October 31st, to remember her, to forget her, but mostly to lessen their guilt. The fifth anniversary of their wedding day. The fifth anniversary of her death.

They are forever connected by the bride’s memory. They had all loved her once, but she had chosen only one. They fought for her affections. She tried to stop them. They outnumbered her. The consequences were tragic.

As they admired the infinite cityscape, the groom whispered, “I wish I could tell her I’m sorry.”

“You can, my darling,” she answered. “You all can. I’ve come back to collect your penance.”

Another VisDare story based on the photo provided by Angela over at Anonymous Legacy. I’m back to creepy, but his one is a subtle creepy. The photo is of 30 St. Mary Axe, “The Gherkin,” in London’s financial district. If you want to join the VisDare challenge, click on the badge:

Anonymous Legacy

Friday Fictioneers: Rewriting a Life

Friday Fictioneers 10-18

Copyright – Janet Webb

Your hands are violent verbs that strip my dignity. Your mouth spews appalling adjectives that shroud me in shame. Your eyes are knife-like nouns that wordlessly wound me.

For so long, you have dangled your modifier for countless feminine cohorts; you cannot remember their proper names. Your own personal pronouns of pleasure, they come and go like perilous floodwaters.

When you tire of their metaphorical affections, you return to your superlative wife. You drown me in your hyperbolic drivel, and the cycle repeats.

Except this time. No longer your weak dependent clause, I declare my independence and rewrite my etymology.

Taking a one-time break from my month-long creep-fest, I wrote this not so creepy 100-word story for Friday Fictioneers. The challenge is to write a story based on the photo in a 100 words or less. I tried to steer away from the flood/disaster theme and do something a little different.

Bedtime Stories

This short story was previously published by Sips Card back in January. I thought I would share it for my month-long Halloween creep-fest. If you’ve never visited Sips Card website, check it out. They publish fiction short stories and poetry, and they are a paying publication.

In their own words, here’s what they are all about:

Sips Card puts short fiction and poetry into local coffee shop venues around the country (and in Scotland). We are a publication run by artists, for artists. Each card contains a QR code, loaded with a short story, or set of poems, from a writer meant to last as long as a cup of coffee. The cards include the issue’s author, story title, and website/e-mail.”

Check their submission guidelines at sipscard.com/submit/ and send them one of your stories or poems. The next issue is their 2nd Anniversary.

Bedtime Stories

by Lisa Yow-Williams

Gracila rummaged through the decaying wooden trunk, growing more horrified with each discolored, aging photograph she discovered. She touched each one apprehensively and swallowed hard to hold back the revulsion that caused her stomach to spasm.

She tossed the photographs in a haphazard pile and cautiously pushed them around, mixing and churning the display of horror, fearful that touching them might contaminate her. Dust swirled heavily in the dim rays of sunlight filtering through the lone porthole in the musty attic room. She wished she had never opened the old trunk.

She wanted to look away but couldn’t. She was transfixed, mesmerized by the realization that the photos changed everything. It meant the monsters were real.

The stories were supposed to be fairy tales; bedtime stories passed down from generation to generation. Gracila’s mother told her the fables of The Extinct Ones when she was a child. She believed and they frightened her then, but she grew up. Now, strewn on the scuffed, wood floor in front of her was the proof of their existence.

Closing her eyes tightly, Gracila tried to recall one of the bedtime stories from her childhood. She could picture her mother, Thyla, sitting on the edge of the bed animatedly mimicking The Extinct Ones.

Gracila’s wide eyes would stare at her mother in awe as she curled into her favorite velvety blanket, and pulled it up to her nose. She pressed her shoulders deep into the pillow as she tried to create a cocoon of safety around her to keep the monsters away.

Thyla would start the stories with, “Many, many seasons ago The Extinct Ones invaded and ravaged our planet with pestilence and carnage…,” in an eerie, high-pitched voice and wild eyes that she reserved solely for story time. Her mother would flail her arms like a feral animal attacking.

Gracila loved the vivid stories; loved being scared. But not like this.

The sound of the creaking floorboards wrenched Gracila from her memories. Her mother stood in the attic doorway looking as if she might faint; her face pinched and pale. Her trembling hand tightly grasped the locket around her neck, causing her knuckles to turn white. Gracila glared at her mother through wet eyes, speechless, with her mouth slightly opened in disbelief.

“I hoped you would never know the truth. I should have destroyed the photographs, but they are a part of our history that I couldn’t bear to eradicate,” Thyla said mournfully.

“Why, Mother? How can they be real?”

“I should never have told you that those bedtime stories were fairy tales. It was a mistake, I realize now. But now that you know they’re real, we must talk,” said Thyla as she entered the attic room and knelt down on the floor next to Gracila.

“So they were real, and they did all the horrible things from the bedtime stories?” Gracila hissed as she reached down to pick up one of the photographs. She bent it and thrust it angrily at her mother. Spittle flew from her mouth and a frothy glob settled on the edge of her lower lip. Tears flooded down her blotchy, red cheeks.

Thyla gently took the photograph from Gracila’s hand and said, “Yes, and much worse. But they can no longer hurt us or anyone else. They’re dead. Our ancestors gave them the name The Extinct Ones because they could no longer bear to utter or hear their true name. Over the centuries the stories have been passed down as tales, mostly so we would never forget. We just wanted to protect the children.”

“I had no idea they were so hideous, Mother. The stories didn’t prepare me for the site of them,” Gracila said as she gazed at the photograph her mother held. “They’re disgusting animals without compassion,” she gasped.

Thyla turned the ancient photograph over and held it up to Gracila as she said, “The name we no longer utter is here on the back of this photograph.” She pointed at the name as Gracila stared at it in dismay.

Gracila took the photograph from her mother and looked closer, attempting to pronounce the name correctly, “Humans? They were called Humans? What a repulsive name.”

Trifecta Week Ninety-Nine: The Halloween Party

In a boozy haze, she lifted her leaden, aching body from the kitchen floor and focused on the havoc that surrounded her. Flashbacks of a wild pre-Halloween party, a disturbing bacchanal rife with numbing spirits, lavish feasting, and unspeakable butchery, plagued her mind. What had she done?

She stood on wobbly legs and harshly rubbed her eyes. Bodies and empty booze bottles, parts and pieces, littered every kitchen surface. The gore was strewn and smeared like graffiti painting the room.

Horrified, she screamed, “Wake up, you lushes! Whose idea was it to drunk carve all these pumpkins last night?”

This 99-word story was based on the word, Bacchanal (the first definition) from page 99 of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Oxford Dictionary Pg99

This week is Trifecta Week Ninety-Nine, a very special week for the writing challenge. They’re looking for at least 99 entries from all the Trifecta writers. So get on over to their website and join the challenge. One lucky Trifectan will be chosen at random to win a $99 gift card to Amazon.com or to a local, independent book store of their choice.

Trifecta Week Ninety-Eight: The Collection

Spider WebIt is my once a year kill night. My one night to unshackle the surplus of depravity that dwells inside my skin. My one night to add to my collection of catches. I hide my craving under the guise of a push-up bra and plunging neckline that effectively captivates the ogling eyes of every man in the hotel bar. I sit on a corner barstool, the perfect vantage point for man watching.

The men are drawn to me like bees to nectar. Pathetic. Desperate. Arrogant. None of them will satiate my hunger.

“What can I get you,” the bartender asks.

I swivel around to look at him. Desire prickles my skin. My heart palpitates. He is the prey I hunt for, the catch of the year.

“A zombie, please,” I say, a little breathless.

His smile is charming, full lips and flawless teeth. His skin is a lovely, creamy brown. And his eyes, those eyes are dark with a sparkle of mischief. I am in love.

“Tommy,” I say, reading his nametag, “I believe in being direct.” I lean forward to give him a healthy dose of cleavage, and he is instantly a captive in my web.

“What do you have in mind?” he asks, placing my zombie cocktail on the bar.

I take a long, slow drink and reply, “When does your shift end?”

“Right now,” he says and motions toward the other bartender. They covertly whisper and give me that knowing look. I smile innocently and slide off the barstool.

As we exit out the back door, he says, “I hate to use a cliché, but, your place or mine?”

I slip my arm through his and pull him close. “My place,” I reply, and gently plunge the needle into his arm. He collapses against the car, awake but paralyzed. I push him into the backseat and whisper, “I have a spectacular taxidermy collection I want to show you. I’m an enthusiastic hunter, and I love to keep trophies.”

This October creepiness was written for Trifecta Week Ninety-Eight . The challenge this week was to concoct a tale using the third definition of the word:

ZOMBIE – 3:  a mixed drink made of several kinds of rum, liqueur, and fruit juice

Sorry, living dead lovers, no zombies here other than the fruity, tropical kind you drink. If you would like to join the challenge or read the other stories and poems, click on the badge:

Trifecta

The Troubled One

Troubled One“Shhh! They’ll hear you. We’re going to get in trouble again,” whispered Claire as she flicked off the flashlight. Darkness surrounded them.

“Sorry,” replied Desi. Her eyes seemed to twinkle even in the dark. She was always so animated.

“We have to be quiet. Mommy and Daddy are already mad at us. We’ll be toast if they catch us talking,” said Claire. “They’ll split us up. That’d make me sad.”

“Me too. It’s a good thing you covered for me last time. We should do something about them,” Desi said.

Claire was confused. Desi always said and did strange things that didn’t make much sense to her. Like last week when she convinced Claire that the lemony smelling liquid under the kitchen sink was lemonade. Their mom caught her just as she was about to take a sip. They were both in trouble, but Claire took the brunt of the punishment for that one.

Claire asked, “What do you mean, ‘do something about them?’”

“You know. Get rid of them. So they can’t bother us again.”

Hesitantly, Claire asked, “You mean kill them?”

“Of course, silly. What else would I mean? We need to get them out of the way.”

Desi had a mean streak in her. Sometimes, while Claire slept, she would take all their toys and throw them in the trash. She said it was because they interfered with their time together. Once, she even stuffed Barbie into the toilet and flushed her. The water gushed all over the floor and leaked through the ceiling below. They both were grounded, stuck in their room every day after school for two weeks.

“We can’t kill them. I thought you loved them?”

“Sure I do, but I love you more. I just want to make sure we always stay together. Sisters forever.”

Claire thought about Desi’s idea. She pushed the wool blanket off their heads and stared into the dimly lit room.

Footsteps in the hall made them both freeze. The faint strip of light under the closed door darkened as a shadow appeared. Someone stopped outside the room. They waited.

A woman’s muffled voice said, “Get to sleep in there. I won’t ask again.” The shadow disappeared.

Desi spoke first, “See. They’re sneaky. You know I’m right. They’ll never let us be.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Claire said. Her thoughts reeled. She was torn. She thought about what it might be like without parents. They could have such fun together. No one to boss them around. No more chores. And, best of all, no more school or homework. Desi usually knew best. She was the smart one.

“Desi, I have to think about it. I can’t decide now, okay? I’m sleepy.”

“Sure. You think about it, but you know I’m always right.”

Claire flopped onto the pillow, exhausted. She reached out, pulled Desi to her chest and whispered into her brown, synthetic hair, “Mommy told me that dolls can’t really talk, but we know the truth. You are always right, Desi.”

She put her hand on Desi’s smooth plastic face and closed her shiny, glass eyes. The long, stiff lashes tickled Claire’s palm. Their childlike giggles eventually gave way to dainty snores.

The Lady and the Lamp

Oblivious to the police officer, the woman gazed at nothing as she clutched the giant lamp.

“Ma’am, what’s your name?” the officer asked. “You’ve been riding the subway all day. Do you need help?”

He touched her arm. She felt stiff, cold. Instinctively, he jerked away.

A nearby passenger, horrified, scurried off to the other end of the car. The others took notice.

The officer reassured, “Everything’s fine. Please remain seated.” His statement ignited a flurry of panic as they stumbled over each other to get to the exits.

He felt for a pulse in her neck. Nothing.

The subway screeched to an abrupt stop. The woman’s head toppled to the floor and rolled to the huddled passengers. Collective shrieks were followed by sighs of relief as the officer picked up the severed head and said, “Calm down! It’s just a rubber mannequin. Someone’s idea of a Halloween joke.”

This story was written for Anonymous Legacy’s Visdare 40: Oblivious photo prompt. Just a little warning, October will be the month of sheer creepiness and trickery in all my stories. I’m starting off mild with this one, due to the 150 word limit.

My Newly Published Short Story

I’m excited to announce that one of my fiction short stories is published in the October 2013 issue of Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. Here is a link to the story if you wold like to read it:

The Spring Offering

A strange little piece of myth and folklore.

Photo Source

Please leave me a comment here, and let me know what you think about the story. I appreciate feedback.

I would like to thank Foliate Oak for publishing my story. I would also like to send out a “Thanks” to fellow blogger Michael Alexander Chaney, whose posting, Top 10 Literary Magazines to Send Your Best Flash (and Maybe Get Accepted Too), led me to Foliate Oak in the first place. I don’t think I would have discovered the magazine on my own.

Trifecta Week Ninety-Seven: The Blue Dress

“What do you think about this one? Does it make me look fat?” she asked holding up a blue sleeveless dress she’d worn a million times.

“No. Just pick. We have to go,” he replied with impatience, tapping his wristwatch.

She stared at him, clearly hurt by his dismissal of her feelings. She chucked the dress at him and stomped off to the closet. He rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands and whispered, “No that doesn’t make you look like a fat-ass, dear.”

“I heard that!” she yelled from the closet. “Are you saying my ass is fat?”

“I said it didn’t make you look fat. You. Are. Not. Fat,” he yelled back.

She emerged from the closet wearing nothing but a scowl and leaned against the doorframe. He waited for her to either cry or lash him with a sarcastic retort. He found it difficult to predict her mood. Their eyes locked until he couldn’t take it anymore. He visually wandered around the curves of her naked body, lingered over her scenic parts until he stopped on her most stunning, picturesque view.

“What are you staring at?” she asked with a smirk.

He looked away shyly and stood. “You know what I’m looking at. Now, put this on so we can go,” he said holding out the blue dress.

Giving in, she snatched it from him. “You’re right. This one’s my favorite.”

She slipped on her underwear and squeezed into the dress. Admiring her reflection in the mirror, she said, “It wasn’t this tight last time I wore it.”

He hugged her tenderly and said, “You ready now? Our appointment’s in less than two hours.”

She pulled away and stroked her pregnant belly. “Yep. I think we’re both ready now.”

So, the challenge for Trifecta Week 97 was to use the third definition of the word:

ASS 3. (adverb/adjective) often vulgar—often used as a postpositive intensive especially with words of derogatory implication <fancy-ass>.

This could have gone horribly vulgar and dark, but I decided to lighten it up for this challenge. I’ll return to my regularly scheduled intense creepiness next time.

Friday Fictioneers: A New Purpose

“Why are we here?” asked Scarlet.

“To witness her firsthand,” replied Sapphire.

Goldie scoffed, “Witness whom?”

“You see that big tree?” Sapphire asked. “She’s the next generation. We’re just old oak, ladies. Pine is the new black.”

“You mean nobody wants us anymore?” Scarlet exclaimed.

“Well, I don’t want to look at her flawless, tight grain,” Goldie said resentfully. “Just ‘cause were old doesn’t mean were ugly and useless.”

“What’ll we do now?” Scarlet asked. “Get tossed in the trash?”

With satisfaction, Sapphire replied, “Never fear. We’re being repurposed. We’re going to the antique shop. They’re calling us shabby chic.”

This weird little 100-word story was written for Friday Fictioneers photo prompt. I thought I would try something different, and by different I mean not dark or depressing. Be sure to stop by and check out the other tales.

The Payment: A Short Story

Crouching behind a scrawny shrub, you hold your breath and wish it away. Maybe if you avert your eyes, it will be fooled by your pathetic attempt to hide. Sweat trickles down your sides and the small of your back, feigning a ghostly touch. You shiver.

Seventy years ago, you were warned of the eventual sacrifice, but your ego decided for you. Time sailed by at an unfathomable pace, and now you’re running from an evil that is demanding repayment in the form of flesh. It has found you.

In a whoosh, it descends; a black-winged beast. You feel the flutter, a gentle graze on your cheek, and your transformation begins. Your flawless, once adored, youth drifts away as effortlessly as sand in a whirlwind. Your skin wilts. Wrinkles, as deep as fissures, ravage your body. You disintegrate into the earth. The ultimate payment received for prideful services rendered.

This has been another Visual Dare story, Visdare 39: Adore. Originally, this photo inspired me to write something sweet and happy based on the woman’s lovely face and the light in her eyes. But my dark side emerged once again. I just can’t help myself. If you want to read the other takes on the prompt, click on the Anonymous Legacy badge below.

Anonymous Legacy

Flashy Tales of Deceit and Innuendo

I wrote a few flashy little tales for those of you with a super-short attention span. Or for those who just like a quick punch in as few words as possible. All flashes are 25 words or less.

Erasure

The needle punctured her flesh, plunged the poison with ease. The scalpel sliced her skin with precision. Her new face erased 20 years.

Heady

You savor his handsome face from across the bar. His smile is delicious. You decide this one will lose his head over you.

Keeps on Giving

He gave her the gift of a lifetime. The doctor assured her it was treatable.

The Ride

He had a crush on her. She was flattered. They took a leisurely ride in his car. She didn’t complain about the uncomfortable trunk.

The Day of Rest

She sinned on Saturday. Prayed on Sunday. God answered, “It’s my day off. Call back tomorrow.”

Spin

Clothes discarded. Heat radiated. Wet. Vibration. Gyration. The spin cycle is climatic.

The Final Surge

I am dying. My final moments tick away. The life leaks from me as the remaining 1% of my battery powers me down.