The Calm Before

g4CONTINUED FROM Thinking and Walking

“…am tired and going to bed.” This is just dumb she was grown and who cares? Natalie didn’t know how she would deal with tomorrow. Why does she work for her parents again? Maybe a career change is in order.

Some how she managed to pass out at some point.  Ugh, she doesn’t feel remotely rested, this is going to be a long day. “Oh well,” she mumbled out loud as she rolled out of bed. Her head was throbbing from the hangover acquired from last night. She didn’t’ even drink that much. Ah! but the Amarillo Martini consisted of mostly ruby-red grapefruit juice, from concentrate she was sure, and vodka. She always got a hangover from them.  “Must be the sugar,” she thought to herself.

Walking into the bright white bathroom hurt her eyes and she instantly decided that showers were overrated. Besides, she would probably leave work early or be told to go home anyway. Natalie quickly got dressed, grabbed her keys, and headed out the door. Why were her parents so Traditional? Why can’t they just love her without trying to impose their will upon her?​

It was a two block walk from her house to the office. As she approached the building she could see her dad glaring at her through the iron bars attached to the front door. “Damn he’s been waiting for me,” she said to herself. Dread crept over her and she felt like a five-year-old who was about to be scolded, spanked, and then sent to bed. He opened the door for her as she got closer and………..


Thinking and Walking


CONTINUED FROM Lollipops and Fools Gold

“Hey, Matt, What’s going on?” Natalie took a deep breath in anticipation of what her older brother had to say. “What the fuck did you do? Dad called me bitching to the point that I just hung up on him.” She stopped walking and stared straight ahead into the distance. “Can I call you back tomorrow I have a lot to explain.” Matt replied, “Are you okay though?” “Yeah, I’ll live,” she said. “Okay call me tomorrow,” was his last response as Matt hung up.

This is not that bad, or so she thought. “The Gates of Hell will surely welcome you,” her dad had screamed at her through the phone. Who would say that to their child?

She knew her mom was an ally. There is something about moms that people neglect to realize. A mother’s purpose is to make sure that their offspring will thrive. She knew she would call her mom tomorrow and discuss this situation rationally. Her dad, however, was unpredictable. Her brother, Matt, already knew everything.

Natalie feels overwhelmed as she decides to start walking again. She tormented herself for years over this and she doesn’t need all this negative crap in her life right now. She has done everything the right way according to others and this is not fair.

She ambled up the concrete stairs into her Victorian three bedroom and two bath home. Walking into her foyer she stopped while placing her keys in the bowl on her accent table. Natalie looked herself in the eye with the aid of her foyer mirror. “Say it, ” she told herself. “Just say it openly,” she said out loud. “I…… of Hell will surely welcome you,” her dad had screamed at her through the phone. Who would say that to their child?

She ambled up the concrete stairs into her Victorian three bedroom and two bath home. Walking into her foyer she stopped while placing her keys in the bowl on her accent table. Natalie looked herself in the eye with the aid of her foyer mirror. “Say it, ” she told herself. “Just say it openly,” she said out loud. “I……


Lollipops and Fools Gold



As Natalie left The Chancellor’s House she couldn’t help but to ask herself if she was as big of an asshole as she felt. She didn’t have to blow that guy off and act so cold. Maybe he just wanted a good talk and some company. That thought is what settled the situation in her mind. She did the right thing because good company is not something she was going to be at this moment.
As she was passing Nancy’s Confections Natalie couldn’t help but to glance in the window. There was an elaborate display of day old fudge and hard candies. She can remember the days when adult obligations were non-existent. Those were good days. Filled with true happiness and no worry. Not like now, being an adult is complicated. Funny you spend most of your youth wanting to grow up and all of adulthood wishing you didn’t.

Her dad used to stop by Nancy’s every other Wednesday after school. He would let Natalie and her brother get a hand-made Lollipop and a small bag of fools gold each. Oh, what a treat! Those were the good days.

What was she going to do now? At least the long walk home would give her some time to clear her head. She couldn’t wrap her mind around how her dad reacted and what he had said to her. How did he find out anyways? Just then her phone began to ring. She looked at the iPhone screen with dread. It was her brother. She didn’t want to answer but she didn’t want to worry him either. “Oh god he knows,” she thought to herself. She answered, “Hey Matt.”……………………
THIS STORY CONTINUES @ Thinking and Walking



“Being Disastrous can be beautiful,” she said hoping this conversation would end soon. She just needed some quiet to think. “Don’t you mean being beautiful can be disastrous?” the man in the seat next to her asked. “No,” she replied. Natalie knew what she meant better than most and didn’t feel like continuing small talk tonight. She wasn’t aiming for a one night stand or a romantic rendezvous. She took a sip of her Amarillo Martini and motioned for the bartender.

Jones, the bartender, knew automatically that she wanted her check. She had been coming to The Chancellors House every Friday for the last 2 years. It was one of the oldest bars in town. Those who love period correct restorations would revel at this place. It feels as if you have been transported back to 1935 when walking through the heavy old door. It was a hotspot for anyone traveling to the area. This old relic was even featured it on one of those traveling shows.

Natalie despised small talk at the bar it never led to anything good. When the seat next to her became occupied by a lonely looking businessman she knew her time there would shortly come to an end. Jones had finally made it to her with the tab. She gandered over it and decided to leave cash. She got up from her stool and grabbed her purse from the back of the chair. Taking a moment to glance at the man in the seat, he had said his name but she forgot it, she looked for a quick exit. It was obvious that he wanted company but she was in no mood to be social tonight.

Not after the whirlwind, her life was about to become. Not after earlier today. She looked him dead in the eye and said, “To be disastrous can be beautiful if that’s the only way you know.” This was a sincere statement. Now she needed to get home and try to sleep even though she knew she wouldn’t because tomorrow her life would officially turn into chaos.

CONTINUE STORY WITH Lollipops and Fools Gold

Ivy in the Hollow II

via Daily Prompt: Expectation

He began his explanation, “All modern humans that live here in this dimension ‘Earth’ are actually……..”

“…..halfbreeds.”   Somewhere down the line one entity from a realm came together with another and had offspring.  The beings in each realm have special abilities, we will call them strengths.  Eventually, the offspring, half-breeds, made their own home….. Earth.  There are still many purebred lines in each realm but they are thinning out.  He knew his explanation was still confusing and did not make much sense but you have to start somewhere and getting her to believe him was not a top priority.  Nate was just enjoying being able to talk to someone.

Elysia is his home and nothing would ever change that.  He knew going back was not an option but he will forever think of the beautiful golden fields and endless sunlight, he would never see a sight like that again and certainly not in this realm.  In Elysia, they could grow any and all plants.  Their strength lies within the land and they are to always protect it.  No plant ever died in their care and they thrived being in the sunlight and within the fields.  The thought of home almost made Nate homesick but he had no time for that now.

Ivy listened intently but still could not believe what he was saying.  She figured he was either messing with her or certifiably looney. Either way, this was better than being at home or alone out here for the millionth time.  What really was her Expectation?  She sat to talk with him knowing he was not right mentally.  He didn’t seem unusual, inhuman, or superhuman.  No, he actually reminded her of Lance, the star of the local Lacrosse Club.  Well-built and athletic, that is what she saw when she looked at Nate.  She saw a little crazy in him but he was not physically abnormal.  “So where are your parents?  Do you have parents?” she asked.  “Yes, I have parents everyone does, right?” he said as he stopped and stared blankly into the woods, deep in thought.

“My dad, Xavier, and my mother, Hea, are back at home in Elysia with my brother Dimitri and sisters Nera and Phaedra.  I had to leave because I am being accused of a forbidden crime.  Well, it is forbidden in Elysia but here you may think it is nothing out of the ordinary.” he answered.

“What was it?  You know, What did you do?” she responded.

Nate wondered if he should divulge his past and then realized he had nothing to lose by conversating with this girl so he began. “Nera was set to marry, Lethe, our district leader and I………….


Ivy In the Hollow***Read the First Part***


John Henry Fuseli Painting

Night Terror

That moment when you wake but you are not awake. The terror that rises within you is swelling. You know this feeling, you now clearly identify it. You tell yourself, “It is okay you are asleep and this is a dream.” In reality, you know this is something else but it is not real all the same. The feeling of panic is there and you feel as if something is creeping toward you. You want to scream but you tried that scenario before and nothing came out. You try so hard to open your eyes and they just will not work and it feels like you are using all of your might just to crack them slightly.

It will trick you and you will think everything is okay but as you drift back off that sudden rush of panic enters again and you are lost within your own mind. Something is there and you just want to scream, “Let’s get it over with!” You mentally scream this while trying to open your eyes because you feel something unpleasant is coming to get you. You know you are sleeping but you are in a twilight haze. This feels too real to be a dream but it has to be, essentially it is. At least that is what they say.

Eventually, things escalate and you feel a presence standing over you. The fear is so terrible it is indescribable. You never see exactly what it is but you do feel it. You feel it coming far before you feel it standing over you. If you’re lucky then you won’t see the shadow. The shadow is terrifying.

You get to where you dread to sleep. You could experience this every night or once every other year. No matter how many times it is you never forget that feeling. It is almost as if you can sense it is going to happen days in advance. Maybe it really is something sinister. One never knows but what I do know is, it doesn’t feel like a dream and the fear is very real.

Sleep paralysis at its finest.

Nothing Stays Clean

via Daily Prompt: Clean

Maria never thought she would stay in Walker’s Court, it was the epitome of poor living in her small hometown.  No, she always thought that she would escape and go on to do better things in life.  History has a way of repeating itself and like her mother, Maria had her first daughter at 15 years old.  She knew she would never see anything outside of Chapman City Limits the day she took that pregnancy test.  She is 25 now with 3 children, living in government housing, not where she wanted to be at 25.  She has seen things in Walker’s Court that most only see on the true crime documentaries.  People being shot, stabbed, beaten, and raped.  That is leaving out all of the drug activity she witnesses on a daily basis.  None of that would prepare her for what she encountered her first day of being a housekeeper.

She answered an ad that read, “Elderly couple seeking housekeeper.  5 days a week.  Great pay.  Contact Glorie 555-543-2121.”  She called the number and spoke with a sweet sounding older lady who explained the couple’s plight.  They were both in their 80’s and had been married for 60 years.  Both of their children had passed already and they were having trouble keeping up with their everyday housework.  Her husband was bedridden and had been for the past 4 years.  Maria felt terrible for the nice older woman.  She was asked to come to Glorie’s home to meet her and see if she felt capable of taking on the task of being the housekeeper.

Maria arrived at the address she was given and was greeted by a very large and intimidating Victorian home.  She knocked on the door.  No answer.  She tried again and finally, after about 5 minutes the door creaked open and a cute 5-foot tall white-haired lady answered, “Well, hello dear you must be Maria.”Maria replied, “Yes Ma’am and you must be Mrs. Glorie.”  The elderly lady smiled and nodded.  They proceeded through a grand foyer with 20 ft ceilings and into a parlor room.  The parlor looked like it had not been touched since 1920.  The room had nothing of modern time in it.  All of the antiques looked brand new and this intrigued Maria.  She figured the couple must be antique collectors.

Maria listened intently at Glorie went through the list of the day-to-day tasks that would need to be done.  It was all the normal household chores.  Dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, and etc…  The pay was going to be $5000 a week.  Maria almost had a fainted at this number.  She could not wrap her mind around why it would be worth that much to an elderly couple to keep their home in order.  She hesitated to even ask.  One thing that did strike her as odd is Glorie did not even mention her husband’s name.  Maria asked, “So what about your husband?  I know you said he was bedridden.”  Glorie all of a sudden paused and a blank look crossed her face.  “Oh, John?  He had a stroke 4 years ago and till this day remains in bed.  He is only to be bothered by me, but thank you for asking.”  This seemed like a short, straight to the point answer and needed no further explaining.  “So you will start tomorrow?” Glorie asked.  “Sounds good,” Maria replied.

She would never forget her first and Last day working for Glorie and John.  She reported in at 7 am and everything went smoothly until about 4 pm.  She had about 3 hours left until she would be off.  She was going to give this job her all because the money was more than she would make anywhere else, ever, and would possibly be her ticket out of Walker’s Court.  She was cleaning upstairs when a repugnant scent entered her nose.  It smelled of death.  She followed her nose to where she thought it was coming from.  Mrs. Glorie was downstairs reading in the parlor and she did not want to disturb.  She stood outside 2 large wooden doors and knew instantly that this is where the aroma was drifting from.  She hesitated but entered the room anyway.  It was so dark and the smell was overwhelming.  Maria turned and quickly retreated from the room.  She fumbled for her cell phone so she could access the flashlight on it.  She prepared herself to bear that repulsive smell once more and reentered the room, flashlight in hand.  She scanned the room with her light and saw that this was a bedroom.  She could see someone or something on the bed.  The 20-foot walk from the door to the bed was a horrific one.  The smell grew with each step.  She could only see the top of a head so she slowly pulled the covers back while asking, “Are you okay?”  She was already pretty sure this situation was grim.  As the covers peeled back so did the flesh on Mr. John’s face, well, what was left of his face.  The smell that escaped from the covers made Maria instantly vomit.

At that moment she looked up and saw Glorie standing in the doorway.  “I said he had a stroke dear and hadn’t left bed since.  Did you think he was alive?” Maria looked at her in shock, she had no words to say.  She immediately bolted and called the police.  At the very least Mrs. Glorie must not be in her right mind, living with her dead husband’s corpse for 4 years.  The police did a welfare check as Maria waited across the street by her car.  They came out and thanked her for calling them and they found both bodies.  They must have been deceased for years judging by the decay.  Maria protested but knew not to protest too much as she did not want to seem crazy herself.  She just was in shock at this point and was trying to wrap her mind around everything.  Perhaps Glorie was not the sweet old lady she thought maybe she murdered her husband and someone else.

Maria went home and sat in her old plaid chair.  She watched the news that night and saw the story. “Elderly couple deceased for years discovered in abandoned home.  Autopsies are pending.”  She just stared at the T.V. and thought out loud, “Nothing stays Clean in the slums of Hell, but I’d rather be here in Walker’s Court, than anywhere near that house.”


via Daily Prompt: Ten


Delaney opened her eyes as much as she could muster.  She could see some sort of light but knew there was something covering her head and she was tied to a sort of table. Where was she?  What happened?  The last thing she recalled was getting off of work and walking to her car.  She felt so disoriented.  Being a pharmacist she knew instantly that she must have been drugged.  With what, she had no idea.  “Think, Think, Think” she said to herself.

She heard a creaking sound and could sense another being in the room with her.  As the aroma of soured milk and cigarettes began filling her nose she wanted to gag.  Thank goodness she did not because right now whoever came in does not know she is awake yet.  She had no idea where she was or who she was with.

She could make out a large shadow.  Shuffling around the room.  She assumed she had an old potato sack on her head due to the fact she could faintly see between the fibers.  At this point she wished her eyes were duct taped shut so she did not know what was going on.  She could tell the figure was pacing the length of the small room.  At one point she stilled herself as she felt heavy breathing on the sack covering her head.  The smell was of old rotted meat and this time she did gag.

“Oh you are a dainty one.”

The old coarse voice that smelled of rotten meat said.  She then heard the sound of metal.  Like silverware clanking together.  She could tell the voice was talking but to who?  Oh it must be to himself.  How strange….or was it?  “What happened?” she thought to herself.  She remembers a small flash of being grabbed and having some wet fabric put over her face.  “Yes, Okay Im getting somewhere,” she thought to herself.

The wretched voice began to softly sing,”Ten toes, Ten toes.  I see Ten pretty little toes.”

Just then she felt sweaty cold hands touch her leg and something being placed around her big toe.  “What is he doing?  A foot fetish?  Oh, god if I survive this I promise I will…..”


Was the sound that echoed through the room followed by Delaney’s high-pitched screech.

The voice began to sing, “Nine toes, nine toes.  Just nine pretty little toes left.”


via Daily Prompt: Exposure

Dinah was a beautiful girl inside and out.  Everyone has their flaws and hers happened to be stubbornness.  She was raised by strong-willed people and she was very much their child.  She is reflecting upon everything that has happened up until this point.  Silence is her friend.  She has never felt so torn.  She feels nothing and everything all at once right now and it is unbearable.  She tries so hard not to cry, not to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing her in pain.

She reflects on the time she met Todd.  He was a magnificent boy all of 19 years old.  He stood 6 foot 1 and had mystical green eyes.  She was smitten from the beginning.  Everything moved so fast.  She was 17 when they met and 18 when they ran off and got married.  His parents were thrilled.  Her parents were devastated.  She was blinded and Todd was dependent.

Youth has many advantages and many flaws.  In youth we do not realize that what we want is not always what we need.  She wanted him more than anything else in the world and she still does but it was not meant to be.  They had always been inseparable except towards the end.

Everyone has their own flaws and while she was bull-headed he was controlling.  She was micro managed at every turn by Todd.  She was so blinded by love that she never saw it while it was happening.  She only sees it in retrospect.  It doesn’t change her longing for him.

They got into a particularly explosive fight that warm March night.  She left to clear her head and ended up at her parents house for dinner.  Todd called 100 or more times and sent 15 threatening text messages.  The last one said goodbye and she would miss what she had when he was gone.  She felt something off and tried to call him, tried to text him, and she was left with only one solution.  That was to call the police to do a safety check.  She prayed this was a bluff but deep down she knew it was not.  She worried inconsolably and commenced to calling the precinct every 2 minutes for an update.  She already knew by the third call.  She curled into a ball and cried on her mom’s bathroom floor.  They said “Mam can you please meet us at your residence.”  Her parents drove her.  She sat in silence.  No thought at all in her head.  She felt the inevitable loneliness.

Todd made good on his threat and had shot himself with a Smith and Wesson colt 45.  There was no coming back for either of them at this point.  He died and so did she.  The world would never look the same to her ever again.  People would not mean the same to her as they once did.  She became beautifully broken.

The thought of living with out him was far more than she could bear.  She went to her moms that night and fell into a death we all know as shock.  Her heart did not want to believe he was gone but her head kept bringing her back to reality.

She went through the motions of living, planning a funeral, and dealing with people.  She was not really there though she put on show for everyone.  If she was asked one more time “are you okay?”  She was going to lose her shit and maul someone, which was not her nature normally.  His family blamed her.  Her family  circled the wagons around her a little too much.  She was drowning in her own silent emotion.

This is her thoughts as she watched them throw the last bit of dirt on Todd’s grave.  She was only 19 and this aged her immensely.  She wanted to cry but 8 days of nonstop crying will affect that ability.  She stood there knowing everyone was looking at her.  Some were there for support while others judged her.  She stood there until she was the only one left.  She dropped to her knees with the revelation that he was really gone and for one as introverted as her this emotional Exposure was the worst form of torture she would ever endure.  To be alone while your best friend is six feet below you.  You can’t look, touch, or feel them.  It is torture.  She couldn’t go on.  She didn’t want to go on.



via Daily Prompt: Overworked

Let me tell you a story about how I unearthed my family’s deep dark secret.  The one they kept locked in the basement.  My name is Lucy Graines and I am an only child of only children.  I hated my childhood.  Raised by a meek and docile woman.  Tortured by my hateful and domineering father.  He was a “the glass of milk is spoilt” kind of man.  The day my legs were strong enough to run far away.  I did, and I never looked back.  Mom died ten years ago.  I felt a tinge of pain when my childhood friend called to tell me.  If dad would have died first I may have tried to reconnect with mom.  Dad died last spring.  Heart attack they said.  Good riddance I say.  I came back last year with every intention of selling this old place.

From the outside you would think this three-story monster of a victorian house was a mansion.  Long ago it was.  Of all the 6000 square feet only 2000 is habitable.  Makes for a difficult sell especially when people find out someone died in your house.  Think about it though, most old houses have seen death.  That is a fact.  People and their superstitious nonsense never cease to amaze me.  I thought I could clean the place up and make it at least presentable so it would sell.  That is when I discovered our dirty little secret.

Cleaning the attic I found old albums.  I thumbed through the “Baby” book.  Mom and dad were so young.  They actually looked happy in the photos.  I don’t think I ever saw them interact happily.  Not like in these photos.  They almost look normal.  I turn the page, “Baby Girl Graines born June 25, 1976.  I actually felt dumbstruck.  I was born in 1980.  I turn the page again.  In big bold lettering “Leslie Morna Graines”.  The book ends there.  Everything else is left blank.

This book and name never left my mind but at this point in time there was no one left in my family for me to ask.  Being an only child of only children had drawbacks.  Especially when you are the last one left alive.  That scratching is driving me nuts!!!!!  Every since I moved back I have heard it.  I remember it as a child.  Mom would tell me it was raccoons in the basement.  That made sense enough.

Three months ago I found dads journal.  I honestly didn’t take him for a “writing my feelings” sort of man.  I thumbed through it.  I didn’t much care to read how he felt, it is not like he ever cared about me.  I thumbed through it until I saw the name “Leslie”.  I am too consumed with ambiguity to go into detail.  Basically I had an older sister and she was bat shit crazy.  At the age of 4 she killed their pet cat, Charlie, with scissors.  Mom apparently was pregnant with me and this was not the first animal to die (and was far from the last) at Leslie’s hands.  They locked her in the attic at first.  There were hoping she would get better but she only got worse.  From what he wrote I could tell he began to fear her.   They ended up moving her to the basement.

When I read this my heart dropped and I ran to the basement.  There was an old room they referred to as the “paint room” and the door was permanently stuck.  Or so I thought.  I could hear the scratching on the other side.  Even if I had someone to confide in there was no way in hell I was letting anyone know what I thought was on the other side of that door.  I half thought myself crazed.  After 3 days of prying on the door I found the key.  It was put away in dad’s garage. I found it taped to the bottom of his workbench drawer when I went to grab a screwdriver.

I ran to the basement grabbing my flashlight on the way.  I opened that big wood door.  My light illuminated this small bare room.  It smelled as if there were 15 corpses in this tiny little room.  In the corner I saw her.  She was dirty and crazed looking.  Hunched down holding something.  What was it?  What is that in her hand?  Just then,  she lunged at me, mouth gaping, teeth ready to bare down on me.  I realize at that moment what she had been doing, the thing that she was holding. She was eating a rat. She had been sitting on a mound of partially eaten rat corpses. That must have been how she survived for so long.  At this point I decided to take over dad’s tasks.  The journal outlined everything.  He would quickly open the door and feed her once a day.  He would somehow restrain her and clean the room 2 times a week.  Seems like an easy job until you realize the person you are feeding and caring for is constantly trying to attack and kill you.  I kind of understand why he was that way now.  I get it.  I thought I could tame her.  What a joke.  She almost got the better part of me 3 days ago.  Thank goodness Mr. McKney was dropping the mail in the box.  I would have been a goner if he had not heard my scream and she had not gotten him first.  She pounced on him and I slammed that big wood door, locking it with a quickness. I had known that poor old mailman since I was 5 years old.  It is a shame.

I know what I have to do now.  It is too bad my old man didn’t finish the job first.  I’m too Overworked and overwhelmed to deal with this.  I’m better off taking the insurance money and running at this point.  I managed to shut and lock her back in her tiny little room with poor Mr. McKney’s body.  That is something I will have to live with and now  Im going to take this gas can and fix all of this.  There won’t be a splinter of that damn house left by the time the local firemen make it here.  I am the only child of only children that will always be my legacy.  I will see to that.