Monday, October 20, 2014

An Empty Pasture

An Empty Pasture

It's a good thing I'm crazy.

If I wasn’t crazy, I would be dead – just like the rest of them.  Being crazy is what saved my life…well, it at least saved me from death. 
Thirteen years ago I was committed to a hospital.  It was just a normal hospital like St. Francis or St. Augustine’s.  I was diagnosed with a tumor, so I spent a few years undergoing surgeries and biopsies and all sorts of tests.  They ended up having to cut out part of my brain because that tumor just kept growing.  They couldn’t stop it.  With all the tools and technologies that they have nowadays, and they can’t stop something from growing inside your head. 
That doctor must have used to be a barber or something.  He goes and cuts out the tumor, but he takes a little too much off the top with it.  Just a sixteenth of an inch too much and I lose a little bit of who I used to be apparently. 
They say I used to be a nice sweet guy.  The kind of guy any gal would marry and the kind of guy any mother would love.  But not now - now that ain’t me anymore.  Now I got an attitude problem, a short temper, and a violent personality.  Now I got issues that I ain’t had before.  Now I got to spend the rest of my life locked up under surveillance. 
Well, things could not have been any luckier for me.  Let me tell you…
A few years after being under house arrest in this awful facility, I’m having a very lovely day outside minding my own business.  I’m sitting in a chair, drinking a tea as the sun is gently warming my skin and all of a sudden a ball comes flying out of nowhere and knocks that tea right out of my hand!  It fell and shattered under my rocking chair.  As I leaned forward to stand up, I could hear the glass breaking under the chair and it sounded like a car being crushed at a junkyard. 
I couldn’t stand that sound.  I couldn’t just sit here and let my tea attract the ants and bugs that would soon be here swarming my freshly brewed tea that I made for me.  So I walk across the lawn to the older man who just kept staring at me.  I look him in the eyes. 
I hear voices behind me saying things like, “He didn’t do it!” and “It was an accident!”  Accident, all right. 
“I’ll show you an accident!” I says to him.  “I’ll show you!”
So I grab him by his collar and throw him down on the ground.  He was on concrete, so he hits pretty hard.  I jump on to him as fast as I can to make sure he doesn’t try and escape.  I look around and I find a stone within arms reach sitting on the grass next to the concrete path. 
I won’t go into bloody details, but let’s just say that between his face and the glass he broke out of my hand – the broken shards of glass looked better than his face did when I was through.
That gave me a week in confinement.  This is where I got really lucky.  When I was down there, the world ended.  I’m not even sure how it ended, but it did and I survived it. 
The room they kept me in was ten stories underground.  They don’t want anyone knowing we bad people are down there, so it’s so deep that if the building caved in, search crews would give up trying to dig for us because we are so far down there buried. 
They would bring us one meal a day - steak.  We either ate it or went hungry.  They would bring us water twice a day.  Brought it in big pails so they wouldn’t have to keep coming back.  I ate and drank and rather enjoyed the solitude.  Nobody knocked anything out of my hands down there.  Nobody at all.
One day the lock on my cell door unlocked itself.  I thought it was a trick or a trap at first, or even maybe a mistake.  So I slowly peeked my head out into the hallway.  I didn’t see anyone in the hall.  It was deathly quiet too.  One light at the end of the hall kept flickering.  I wasn’t sure which way to go, so I just walked towards it. 
I stopped underneath the light and just stared for a moment.  It was odd somehow.  It was beautiful flickering almost to a beat.  I could hear in my head the sound of Metallica’s ‘One’ playing to the beat of it’s flickering. 
That’s when things got weird though.
I never believed in ghosts.  I don’t believe in an afterlife either.  But things started getting strange.  Odd things kept happening starting at that moment. 
Something touched my arm.  I turned around and there ain’t nobody standing there so I look back up at the light.  Then I feel something push me.  Not a light tap, a strong physical push.  I had to take a step forward to keep from falling over.  I spin around completely and I still see nobody around me. 
I start walking down the hall away from where I was held captive for a week.  As I’m walking, every door is unlocked for me.  As if the spirits are leading me home. 
“I must be dead.” I think to myself.  But it felt too real to be death. 
I have no idea of where to go, so I go back to my old room.  I walk inside and the first thing I see is my bed all nicely made up.  I been sleeping all week, but all this strangeness happening makes me want to at least nap and see if I can wake up to a different reality. 
Just as my head hits the pillow, the door to my room swings shut.  I cower up against the wall it startled me so much.  But at least I am safe here in my room.  At least I hope so.

Every day since then has been basically the same thing over and over.  I just wander these halls waiting for someone to find me.  I have enough food to last for years here.  I don’t have much for entertainment, but I look through the barred windows for hours in hopes of seeing dust flying up from a car, or someone riding up on horseback, or even a young child who lost his or her way and just needs a friend. 
Every once in a while as I wander through the desolate halls, I think I hear the laughter of children.  Or hear footsteps.  I try and follow the sounds, but they are distant echoes from another time, possibly another dimension. 
I do get so lonely locked up here by myself, but even if I could leave, where would I go?  I assume there to be some sort of nuclear fall-out beyond these walls, and I don’t want to take a chance.  I would rather stay here and die alone than have my insides rot away from breathing in contaminants. 
Close to the end of every seven days, things start to get weird again.  I will start to see blurs of what I believe to be dead people in my peripheral vision.  Wheelchairs will roll across the room on their own.  The radio will turn on and off by itself.  I will sometimes hear some music come from it, but mostly static.
         Every night when I return to my room, my bed is already made up.  I didn’t do it, I never do.  If it were up to me, I would just leave my bed messy and comfortable. 
            At the end of the week though - at the end of the week when I start seeing dead people wandering these halls aimlessly. 
That’s when they come for me…
            These tall gray colored figures.  I can never make out their faces, but they come and grab me.  I have tried to run from them and hide from them.  There is no escape from them.  Their long slender gray fingers grasp me so firm, the more I fight and squirm, the tighter they squeeze. 
They talk to me in some foreign language.  It doesn’t sound like any language I know or have heard of.  I once saw a woman play a saw used for cutting wood on TV.  She used a violin bow and a wood saw.  The sound it made is almost identical to the voices of these gray creatures.  They shriek in agony just to communicate with each other.
They would drag me and force me away with them.  It used to be that they would tie me down to a table and lock me up in a room.  They would restrain my limbs and force-feed me pills. 
It’s been years and I take less pills now.  I’m down to just one pill that I have to take. 
Instead of forcing the pill down my throat, once a week they lock me into a room.  Once I take the pill, they release me from the room and everything and everyone is gone again.  No more voices.  No more visions.  No more anything…except uncontrollable bliss. 

            “So doctor, tell me once again what these pills do…”
            “You see, the patient has various negative disorders that are difficult to…to deal with.  These pills that we keep giving him help him to cope with those…those issues, so to speak.  It makes them manageable, by taking them away.”
            “I still don’t follow doctor.  You may need to dumb it down and simplify things for me.  What exactly do they do?”
            “From his perspective sir, these pills block out reality.  They block out things he doesn’t want to deal with.”
            “And what things might those be?”
            “People.  They mostly block out people.  He cannot see or hear them when the pills are at their full potential, but the pills only last about a week.  After a week we have to administer another pill, or he starts to come back to reality.  He starts to see people.  He starts to hear the world around him again, and that’s dangerous.”
            “How is that dangerous…?”
            “He is a killer and a monster.  If we leave no cows in sight, the dragon has nothing to kill and therefore cannot slaughter.”  
            “Brilliant!” he said, removing his glasses and rubbing his eyes with his right hand.
            “I like to think so.  Would you like to have some dinner, sir?  The steak here is very delicious!”

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Fishing Hole

(From the Kingston Chronicles)


The sun was setting over Kingston.  The amber skyline left a beautiful reflection over St. Stephens Lake.  An old weary man was perched on a deteriorating wooden bench at the end of a lonely dock.  His cane lay at his feet next to his tackle box and rusted old can of live worms.  An old ragged John Deere hat was protecting his worn wrinkled face from the sun, as his his green flannel shirt saved his arms from his farmer's tan getting worse.  He reached into the rusted Folgers can and pulled out a 6-inch night crawler.  He bit it in two, spitting half of it back into the tin can and carefully placing the other half onto the hook of his fishing pole.  Both hands were shaking as he tried to get the worm and the hook to meet.  He paused for a second and perked his head up as he heard rustling in the brushy field behind him. 
“Grandpa!” A young boy screamed as he parted his way through the weeds and then tripped at the edge of the dock, falling onto his hands and knees. 
A smile came to the old man’s face, not even turning to see the boy approach, tumble to the ground, and then return to his feet immediately running again. 
The dock rattled and shook as the boy approached his grandfather and gave him a big hug.  The old man was careful not to hook the boy with the pole, or accidentally drop the live bait that was squirming in his hand.
“I almost didn’t think you were going to make it tonight.”  The old man stated surprised and delighted to see his grandson.
“I snuck out.” He said bashfully looking down at his shoes.  “I only did half the dishes,” raising his head,” but I’m gonna do the other half when I get back home.”
The old man gave the boy a look out of the corner of his eye, and then offered just a hint of a smile.
“I know you will.  Would you like to use my pole?  I was just about to put this fresh crawler on there,” dangling the worm close enough to the boy’s face he could have licked it,  “you should be able to get a big one with the size of this worm!”
“No thank you sir, I like to bait my own - on my own pole!”  He exclaimed holding up his maroon colored pole like it were a sword and he were a knight in shining armor ready to slay a dragon.
“I know the feeling – just like this old man.  It’s the only pole I’ve used and owned for the last 42 years.”
The boy knelt down onto the wood of the dock and reached into the coffee can.  He shifted the top layer of dirt around for a minute and then said, “I think I like this one.” extracting a night crawler from the pail with a handful of dirt also in his fist.  He pulled half of it out before the worm snapped back into the pail like a rubber band.  The boy dug for a little bit.  “Get back here, you!” and then successfully pulled the entire worm out.
“Careful not to get your fingers close to the end of that hook.  I don’t wanna have to cut our fishin’ trip short again by needin’ to visit Dr. Fox again.”
The old man kept one eye on his bobber and one eye on the boy as the boy attempted to put his night crawler on the hook several times.  Still smiling the old man announced, “Atta boy!” as the hook pierced the worm.
The young boy smiled back proud as could be.  “Just wait until I pull one in that will be as big as my shoe!  No, as big as my leg!”
“I think I’ll catch one bigger than that son, mine’ll be as big as you are!”
The boy’s eyes got big as he stared at his grandfather.  His jaw dropped open and he let out a small gasp.  “As big as me??”  His eyes leered at his grandfather and gave him a look to let him know that he wasn’t buying into that fish story.  Then they both broke into laughter as they broke eye contact and the boy crawled onto the bench to sit next to his grandfather.
The frogs started singing and the sunlight was slowly fading, as the bobbers floated no more than 3 feet away from each other rising and falling with the waves as a cool breeze cooled the evening air across the lake.  The water began glistening with slight hints of amber from the crimson sky. 
“Tell me a story grandpa!  A scary one like you tell when we build campfires in the backyard, and roast the marshmallows!”
“I think you’re old enough now, I can tell you the really scary stories - the old stories and legends of Kingston.  Just remember that these are all true…” he paused, leaning in.  “…or so the legends say.  Do you think you’re ready?”
The young boys eyes got wide with anticipation.  He swallowed hard and couldn’t decide whether to smile or to run.  “I’m ready.” He said in a slight whisper, almost inaudible as the scent of sulfur came from nowhere and began to sneak into his nostrils.
“Nope, not if you’re scared.”  The old man said playfully, sitting back into the bench protesting the boy’s wishes.  “If you are not sure you’re ready, you’re not.  I’ll have to tell you the stories about the rabbits again that kept stealin’ the radishes from your Nana’s garden.”
“NOOO!  I’m ready!  I'm ready!” he shouted bouncing up and down on the bench and kicking his feet.  “Please!”
“OK, settle down there tiger, you’ll scare the fish away.  Get yourself comfortable.  These stories may leave you breathless.”
With that, they both cast their lines into the water…


            “I got one!”  The young boy’s rod bent and the line ran randomly through the water like a dragonfly.  “It’s a big one, I can feel him fighting!”  The boy shouted jumping onto his feet.
            “Don’t forget to set the line.  You forget that, and you can forget about having dinner.”  He called out as he reached down for his cane so he could stand up.  “Give it a good tug and set the line…that’s it…just like that…now pull it in!”
            The boy leaned back and yanked as hard as he could letting out a high pitched squeal that was comprised of half exertion and half delight.  The fish flew almost straight up and for a second looked like a dark green wingless raven soaring through the dusk.  The fishing line went taut straight up in the air and the bass fell down onto the dock with a thud, almost breaking one of the planks of the dock.
            “Look at the size of it, Grampa!  It’s the biggest fish I’ve ever seen in real life!”
“It is quite the whopper.”  He said grabbing the fish with one hand, and a needle
nosed plier with his other hand.
“Speaking of whoppers Grampa, when are you going to tell me the really scary
stories?  Those stories didn’t scare me at all!”
“I’m getting there little one.  If you could hand me that knife over there, I’ll show you how to gut one of these things and get him ready for cleaning and eating.”
The boy handed his grandfather the knife by the leather covered blade.  The old man held the fish flat against the dock with the palm of his hand.  He put the cover between his teeth and unsheathed the blade.   He carefully pressed the blade into the fish just below the gills.  Blood ran onto the dock and dripped into the water.  The blade ran down the belly of the green bass until it reached his tail pouring the guts out onto the wood.  The young boy was unsure if he was excited about his catch now, or felt bad for their helpless, and now lifeless, prey.


“I told you that you wouldn’t make it all the way through the stories.” The old man said with a slight chuckle.  He looked over at the young child who was now lying at the end of the bench.  His head resting on an old wadded up jacket. 
The two of them caught a lot that day.  They had a bucket full of half a dozen fish or so.  The dock was covered in scales, guts and blood to prove it.  Grandpa grabbed his wooden cane by the carved serpent handle and patted the boy’s legs, “It’s been a long night there, champ.  You did good.” He struggled slowly getting up from the bench. 
He grabbed the knife that still lay in the boys lap.  Using an old towel, he cleaned some remaining blood and entrails from the knife.  Looking down, he noticed that there were still a lot of innards still on the dock also.  Using his boot, he kicked what he could into the river.  It made quiet splashes as it dropped down and began its long journey towards the Gulf of Mexico. 
The moon was now high in the air, and the sun had been set for at least a couple hours.  He looked up and enjoyed the stars for a moment, inhaling the sweet smell of the river, the field behind him and his freshly slaughtered prey.
He leaned over the boy and kissed him on the top of his head.  The boy made no movement.  The old man’s cane thumped across the wooden dock leaving swirls in the water as he limped back to solid ground.
He stopped on a patch of worn dirt on the shore’s edge and turned around.
“Rest well, son.” He paused as a tear came to his eye.  “I hope you rest in peace.” 

And with that, the old man disappeared into the field.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Killing Mum


A mother sits at a table alone, staring straight off into space.
The daughter approaches the table.
The daughter stops next the table and remains standing.

Mum?  Mum…MUM!

The mother is startled and slowly looks up.

It’s ok mum.  There is nothing to be afraid of.  

The mother starts to cry.

Mum…Mum, look at me.  In a few minutes, it will all be over, 
and nobody will be any the wiser.  Go ahead mum…

The daughter sets a large knife down on the table.

…go ahead, kill yourself…

But…But what will your father think?

It doesn’t matter.  Don’t worry about what he will think.  
This isn’t about him, is it?  This is about you and your happiness!  
You need to do what is best for you!

…I don’t know…

The daughter slides the knife closer and sits down.


The daughter takes her mothers hand.

Mum, you know I love you.  I only want what’s best for 
you, you know that right?

Mother nods. 

Then you need to do this.  If you can’t do it for yourself, 
do it for me.  Do it because you love your daughter and 
you want her to be happy too.  I can’t be happy if you’re unhappy.  
I know once this is over - both you and I will both be happy!

Mother nods in agreement.
Daughter stands up and walks out.
The mother grabs the knife slowly and begins to cut off a slice of cake.  She eats it, slides back in her chair, relaxes and lets out a “mmmm” and smiles.

Sunday, August 10, 2014



     “Simply fascinating!” Dr. Rogers exclaimed as he scurried across the pale brown linoleum tiles of his laboratory.
     “It happens every time! Every single time!”
     He thumbed through some papers and books across his desk. Lifting a black book with no writing on it and quickly discarding it as the wrong book.
     “I know I left it here somewhere…”
     He opens and closes the drawers of the desk rather abruptly, quickly glancing at the contents and pushing forward. The contents of the desk tremble with each shutting of the drawers. A small lamp falls off the end of the desk with a crash.
     “There you go again, falling for me!” he says addressing the fallen lamp, “I have no time for you right now…time…time, yes! That’s it!”
     The doctor paces back and forth in front of his desk, “Time…I was reading it, then I looked at my watch, I saw the time, I went to the bathroom…rather quickly went to the bathroom…”
     He darts out of the room still mumbling to himself. As he reaches the men’s room he slams the door open and stands in the doorway with his arm propping the door as wide open as it goes.
     “Which stall? Which stall? Blasted, I don’t remember. I’ll just check them all!”
     He has slowed his pace now to a calmer demeanor. He opens the first two stall doors to find nothing. The third door he quickly jumps back from after inhaling the odor protruding from the ceramic pot inside. A wince and a couple coughs later, he opens the last and final stall door.
     Sitting in the toilet paper dispenser is a small non-descript black book. He slowly and carefully steps towards it and picks it up with complete reverence.
     “There you are beautiful.” He wipes the cover off with his right hand and kisses the binder before clinging it to his chest and returning to the laboratory.
     He walks over to a solitary cage with a small mouse sitting inside of it. The mouse sits still but stares directly at Dr Rogers.
     “You little bastard, you!” He proclaims with excitement, “You ate him didn’t you? Yes! Yes, you did! I know you did!” Pointing at the two beady eyes staring him down. “And I guarantee you are going to do it again, aren’t you?”
     Dr Rogers sets his black book down on the edge of the table and walks across the room to another cage with a similar looking mouse in it. He grabs the mouse by the tail and looks him in the eyes as the mouse spins in circles dangling above his face.
     “You, my friend, are next!”
     He walks over to the mouse cage and opens the door slowly. Both mice begin moving frantically, as if dancing a tango that neither of them want to participate in.
     A cat jumps up onto the table startling all three of them.
     “Senor Whiskers! Get down! Shoo! These are not for you! Shoo! Shoo!”
     The cat just looks at him then jumps down to the floor.
     “Now where were we…ah, yes…”
     He opens the cage door and quickly drops the mouse into the cage. Both mice take a moment to stare at each other and size each other up. The first mouse pounces at the second mouse biting the nape of his neck. Both mice freeze in that position as if the first mouse were a vampire and was draining his victim of his life.
     “Soon. Soon. Come on…here it comes…and…”
     The mouse slowly releases his jaws from the second mouse. He starts stepping backwards slowly watching the second mouse go limp. A moment passes before the second limp mouse begins to twitch. The first mouse runs around the cage frantically from corner to corner making sure not to invade the space anywhere near the spastic
     “Beautiful,” the doctor whispers to himself. “Utterly beautiful. The circle continues - the circle of eternity. Run your course!”
     The second mouse that was lifeless just moments ago stands up straight and leers at the first mouse still running wild across the far end of the cage. Within a moment, the second mouse has lunged across the cage and clamped down on the first mouse’s throat.
     Blood trickles out of the throat and mouth as his body becomes flaccid and colder. No more movement. No more life. The first mouse’s body drops to the bottom of the cage motionless.
     “A vision of pure beauty!”
     Dr. Rogers writes continuously in his journal. As he writes, he gets so entranced with his own writing that he doesn’t even notice that Mr. Whiskers has returned to the table top and sits within a foot of the cage. Mr. Whiskers steps forward interested as to what is in the cage. He lowers his head and sniffs the metal bars. A small mouse head pops up startling him. The head drops quickly to reveal another mouse head behind it with blood dripping from its mouth.
     Mr. Whiskers, curious, pokes his paw into the cage. The mouse does not even flinch, but stares with great intent as Mr. Whiskers takes another swing at him.
     Doctor Rogers stands upright and shakes his pen in the air.
     “Damn! No ink! Where is my other pen…?”
     By this time Mr. Whiskers is sitting upright next to the cage, looking innocent.
     “Don’t! Please don’t!”
     Doctor Rogers walks away to another table on the far side of the room in search of his pen. Mr. Whiskers inches forward again, making eye contact with the mouse. He reaches his paw in and takes a swing.
     There is absolutely no reaction from the mouse.
     He swings again and the mouse lunges at his paw biting down on the lower part of his leg. They both sit motionless as if in shock.
     The mouse lets his grip go subtly. Before it registers with the mouse, Mr.
     Whiskers has the mouse in his paw, claws dug deep into his furry skin. A small bit of blood drips to the bottom of the cage as the mouse shakes less and less frequently in the clutches of Mr. Whiskers.
     Mr. Whiskers tries to pull the mouse out of the cage, but can’t fit him through the bars. As he keeps trying, he pulls a leg off the mouse corpse and eats it. Then another leg, the third and the fourth leg. He licks his lips as he pulls the rest of the body out and ingests it with a ‘smack’ as the tail is the last piece to travel past his lips and down his throat.
     “EUREKA!” Doctor Rogers exclaims from across the room, “I found another working pen finally!!”
     He walks back over to the cage to continue writing. As he writes he notices that things have gotten eerily quiet and feels a sense of being watched. He timidly looks up from his writing and glances over the top of the cage to see Mr. Whiskers two hazel eyes peeking over the cage back at him.
     “No, Mr. Whiskers. Please tell me you didn’t. I warned you not to! I even said please!”
     Doctor Rogers stands upright and slowly takes a step backwards, bumping into a stool and loses his footing. He catches himself before slipping and falling. He holds the pen up, pointing it at Mr. Whiskers, “You stay. You just stay. I will
fix this. We will fix this…”
     A loud hiss is heard as Doctor Rogers falls back against the wall.
     His pen drops at his feet.

     A knock on the laboratory door echoes though the room. A older gentleman peeks his head inside.
     “Phil? Phillip? You still here working? It’s me, Grant. You left me a voicemail earlier today saying you were on to something big. I wanted to stop by and see how it was coming along.”
     He takes a couple steps in and closes the door behind him. He looks to his right and sees a desk of shuffled papers with one of the drawers still open. He looks straightens up a stack of papers and then realizes it would be futile to even try to organize any of this mess.
     He looks around the room and walks to the mouse cage. He glances at it, barely noticing the small amounts of blood on the bars and wood chips. Next to the cage, is a small black non-descript book. He picks up the book and begins to read out loud…

                        “In all my years of research, I have never seen or witnessed anything like this. A new type
                        of parasite. A parasite that not only needs a host, but can become the host temporarily. The
                        individual, or in my studies case – the mice, lose all consciousness during the visit, but then
                        become self-aware immediately following the transfer. The transfer always occurs through a
                        bite. One single strong bite which releases the parasite into the next host. Once a residency
                        in the new host is established, the parasite will consume the previous host for nourishment
                        and accomplishment.
                        What I have just witnessed is three transfers of the virus. Each transfer has been from mouse
                        to mouse. I am still unclear as to if it can transfer to other creatures or is limited to mice or even
                        rodents. I plan to find a stray cat in the next week to experiment with. I would consider using
                        Mr. Whiskers, but he has become like family to me and I wish him a long happy life, not the life
                        of a mindless victim. Or worse, the dinner for the host of a parasite.  Today I shall mark down
                        as the day ”

     “…mark down as the day…what?? The day what…?”
     A crunching sound reverberates through the room. Grant looks around trying to pinpoint where the noise is coming from and what is causing it. He walks around the table with the cage on it, cautiously taking his steps.
     He rounds the corner of the desk and takes another step.
     “Phil…?! Are you here, Phil?”
     His hand slides across the counter and he feels his fingers touch something. He looks down and between his fingers lay the skeletal remains of a small animal. He draws his hand back quickly and shudders.
     “Damn you, Phillip!”
     Another crunch is heard, breaking his sidetracked thoughts.
     He takes another step and rounds the other corner of the table. He glances over and sees Doctor Phillip Rogers sitting on the floor. His body half slumped over and his chest covered in a good amount of blood.
     “Phillip, what happened??”
     Doctor Rogers lets out a light groan.
     “Are you ok, Phillip?”
     Phillip looks up at Grant with empty eyes and begins to smile. Grant steps closer and kneels beside his friend.
     “Is there anything I can do buddy? Do you need me to call for some help?”
     Doctor Rogers grins, his mouth opens up and the tip of a furry tail falls out of his mouth. Phillip swallows the remainder of the tail with a big gulp.  Grant tries to pull back in horror, but Phillip already has him by his wrist bringing his arm closer and closer to his teeth.
“Phillip, don’t! Please, don’t!”

Sunday, August 3, 2014



            The blood flowing from the ceiling finally slowed to a trickle.  Mary tried her best to reposition her body in this sea of fluids.  She was trapped in a concrete grave that was filling up slowly with the drainage of her captor’s victims. 
            “Let me out!” she would scream every time that the blood began to rise and fill her underground coffin.  “Please!  Can you hear me?” 
            Her voice would echo back to herself.  She had no idea how far down this grave actually was. 
Moments before the waterfalls of blood would occur, she would have a short moment of warning.  She could hear the muffled screams of people just before they would be disemboweled and drained of their lives.  She could hear them scream, but why could nobody hear her scream?  Maybe they could, but they were ignoring her?  Maybe they just couldn’t do anything about it.  Or maybe they heard her but could not locate where her voice was emanating from. 

“I used to be a nobody.  I still am a nobody.  But at least before I was free to be nobody.  Now I don’t exist to anyone.  I’m all alone, dying a very slow death with absolutely no escape.
It wasn’t very long ago that I was at home enjoying the little things in life – ice cream cones, the sounds of birds in the morning, sunlight…oh, to see and feel the warmth of the sun would be magnificent!  How did I even get here?
I remember that I used to just lounge outside by the community pool.  I wouldn’t bother anyone and nobody bothered me.  We all just kept to ourselves.  That’s the way they liked it; and more importantly, that’s the way I liked it.  Nobody was in anybody else’s business. 
But somehow I ended up here.  Ended up here, in a small concrete cube slowly filling with blood.  It won’t be long before I am completely overtaken and will drown in a pool of other people’s blood.  None of it’s even my own blood. 
I’ve tried digging as much as I could, but all I have done is wearing down my fingernails all the way down past the fingertips. 
I don’t even have enough space to sit up, let alone stand or even stretch my legs.  My head is always angled from the low ceiling and the narrow walls.  The blood has gotten so deep now that even if I tried to kneel to get a new position that I would end up drowning within a few minutes. 
I don’t know what else to do...”

A black car came barreling down a dirt path.  Swerving around trees and kicking up gravel it made it’s way easily and fluidly through the natural obstacles.  The car pulled up to the door of a large shack made of old plywood and metal sheeting.  
The rain just began to fall as the car door opened.  A tall athletic woman made her way out of the car.  She was wearing tight blue jeans, black sneakers and a plain white top.  Her hair was covered by a trucker’s hat that kept the rain from getting in her face.  She rushed to the door of the shack and fumbled a little with the key for the padlock before getting the chain loose and opening a way inside.
She slid the door as far open as it would go and ran back to the driver’s seat of the car.  She pulled off her hat and waved her hair lose before shagging her hair with her right hand.  She pulled off her large-lensed sunglasses with her left hand and threw them onto the dashboard, hitting the windshield with them first. 
She glanced up and saw her reflection in the rear-view mirror.  She adjusted the mirror to get a better look at herself.  She pulled down the eyelid of her right eye and examined it carefully before letting it go and cranking the car.  The engine purred and a clunking metallic sound echoed in the cab of the car.  She pounded on the top of the car, “Stop that!”  The sound immediately stopped and a grin grew across her face.
The car’s axle squealed a little from the rain as it pulled into the barn and parked as soon as the door would be able to close behind it.  She cut off the engine and pulled out a pack of cigarettes with a lighter.  Instead of smoking them, she placed them on the passenger’s seat and stepped out of the car.
She walked over to a rope and pulley system hanging from the ceiling.  She tied one end of the rope to the wall and began to tie a noose with the other end.  She was careful to make sure the noose end could reach the ground before setting it completely down. 
She stepped slowly back towards the car making her way to the passenger side, sliding her fingers along the hood of the car, then over the passenger-side doors and along the trunk.  Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out her ring of keys and found the key fob.  She pressed a button as a latch unhooked and the trunk opened up.
Immediately a young boy popped out of the trunk and ran straight into the garage door that was right up against the bumper of the car.  The boy was about 12 yrs old.  His hands and feet were both bound and his mouth gagged. 
After falling back into the trunk, the boy just lay on his back breathing heavily.  His eyes were dancing across the room trying to gain bearings of where he was and why he might be there.  The woman’s head came in to view and his eyes fixed upon her glare.
“Don’t worry.  I am here to help you.  Do you understand?  I am here to help you.”
The boy’s breathing began to slow down and his body began to feel calmer.
“Here, may I take that off of you?” she asked, referring to his gag.
The boy nodded as the tears stopped.  He sat up closer to her so she could reach his head.
She pulled the gag off and he gasped for air. 
“It’s ok.  It’ll all be ok.”
“Thank you.” he could barely get the words out.
She slipped her arms under his and picked him up out of the car.  His legs almost gave out when she set him down, but he found his footing enough to hold himself up against the car.
“Where am I?” he asked.
She stood close to him and stroked his hair out of his face, leaving her hand on the back of his head. 
“This…this is freedom.  This is redemption.  They may not look like it, but boy – these here are the pearly gates!”
“I don’t understand…”
“I know you don’t.  Nobody out there does.” Pointing towards the outside world.  “Nobody out there does, and I am sick of it!!”  Her head twitching, “I am so sick and tired of nobody out there understanding; nobody out there caring; nobody out there who gives even the slightest damn about me.  Do you even have the slightest clue about what I am trying to say??”
The boy was in tears again.  Her rant left him speechless, and barely able to shake his head ‘no’ at her question.  His lower lip began to quiver and urine began to stream down his leg.

Mary’s ears perked up as she could hear voices.  She could pick out two distinct voices.  They sounded so distant to her, very faint.  One was a woman and one belonged to a boy.  But where are they?  Where are the voices coming from? 
Mary screamed as loud as she could, “Help me!  Please!!”

The woman’s head twitched again. 
“Come on!  I don’t have all day, and you don’t either.”  
She grabbed him by the arm and pulled him towards her as she walked away.  He tripped on his bound feet and his body began to be dragged across the floor as she refused to let go and refused to stop moving.  His body squirmed back and forth trying to get free of her grasp.
She brought him over to where she had tied the noose.  He was fighting for air as she put his legs into the noose and pulled the knot tight.  As she stood up, she kicked him in his side, breaking one of his ribs with a loud crack.

“Oh, no.  Not one more.” Mary thought to herself.  “One more and I’ll be dead.  I need to do something.”
Mary screamed some more and began scraping the top of her cage with her fingernails.  “You need to stop this!  Please!!  I don’t want to die!  You’re about to kill me!  Do you even know that??  Please don’t kill me!”

“Please don’t kill me!” the young boy pleaded.
The woman pulled the end of the rope off of the wall and she began to tug on it.  The pulley on the ceiling let out a squeal with each tug.  The boy’s body began to rise up off of the ground feet first.
“Soon you will be free.” She reassured the boy, “Soon.”

Mary struggled more and more.  Every movement she made was forcing the blood surrounding her to splash against the ceiling of her cell.  She had to stop moving and stay calm so she wouldn’t drown herself before the amount of blood enveloped her.  Her throat gasping and choking as the fluids settled.  She pressed her left cheek hard against the ceiling and began to sob. 
“This is the end,” she thought.  “This is the end.”

The young boy was now hanging from his feet.  The blood rushed to his head making his face the color of a plum.  He squirmed like a night crawler about to be pierced by a hook and soon to be eaten. 
His captor just stood there, watching him struggle.  She had both arms folded across her chest and a blank stare on her face.
“I’m doing you a favor.  Remember that, son.”
“I am not your son!”
“It’s a figure of speech, you ass.”
She lowered her arms and turned around scanning the room.
“That’s right - under the straw.  I left it under the straw.”
Casually, she made her way to a pile of straw about the size of a car and began to dig her way to the center of it. The boy paused as he watched her pull out a trunk.  It scraped across the gravel like nails on a chalkboard.   His breathing grew faster with each heave closer. 
She stopped about five feet in front of his suspended body.  With an arm wipe across her brow, she sat down to gather her breath and thoughts. 
“What is that…?” he asked cautiously.
Without raising her head up, she just looked at him. 
“What are you going to do?”
Her head twitched, but it didn’t even faze her.  She stood up slowly and turned around to open the trunk. 
He tried to swing his body up to see inside the trunk.  All he could see was blackness.  The sound of metal against metal rang inside the box as she moved unseen items around.
The clanking stopped suddenly. 
She looked over her shoulder approvingly, keeping her hand in the trunk.  She pressed one finger against her lips, and then tapped it a few times.
“Yes.  Yes, I think this will be perfect.” 
She stood up, keeping an item hidden behind her back.  
“I have a dream!” she stated as she took a step forward, “A dream that one day all men…” one more step, “…white men and black men…” another step,  “Protestant and Catholic…” She stopped, standing directly in front of him, “…will sing in the words of the old negro spiritual…” she revealed a fireplace poker and he began to scream.

The scream pierced Mary’s ears.  She tightened her eyes and the voice strained her inner soul.  Mary opened her mouth but was unable to scream from the pain. 

Urine filled the boys pants and began to stream down his torso.  His tears fell to the ground as his sobs grew stronger every moment.
“Free at last.”
She raised the poker and took it full swing as it gashed into his thigh.  Red began to spill and stain his pants.  She pulled it out immediately and the stain grew faster.  She placed a finger from her free hand into the wound.  She scooped up some of his blood onto the tip of her finger.  She held up her finger into the air, examining the shine and glimmer on the crimson. 
“Free at last.”
She placed her bloody finger into her mouth and swished it around.

Mary could hear the sound of rushing liquid around her.  She pressed her hands as hard as she could against the ceiling with a scream.

The woman swallowed the blood with a hard gulp.

Gallons of blood came pouring down into Mary's cell.  She struggled trying to find any way of escape, any way to gather just one more breath.
“NO!  NO!  Please, God, NOOOO!!!”

And with a golf-swing to the boy’s head she sang out, “Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The House Guest


An older gentleman knocks on the door:

"Gregory! Gregory Brundle! It's me, Charles! Are you home?"

He knocks again and peeks into the window.

"Gregory! I'm going to come in! I haven't seen you in weeks! 
I'm a little worried about you! Are you ok...?"

Charles opens the door slowly. He looks inside and cringes from the foul smell. 
He waves his hand in front of his face to try and get rid of a fly that flew by him.

"Doctor Brundle! This is Charlie."

(He gasps for air because of the stench)

"I'm here to check on you!"

He walks around the house looking for signs of Gregory.
He checks the table for papers.
He looks at a calendar on the wall.
On the table is a rotting piece of meat. 
He shoos a fly away from the meat, and throws the meat in the trash can.

"Gregory!! Are you here? Can you hear me??"

Charles proceeds upstairs. He swats once at a fly. 
He looks through the bedroom. Nothing in there is disturbed.
In the bathroom, he finds vomit on the toilet. 
As he cleans it up:

"Gregory - what a mess you left..."

He swats at a fly again. 
He wipes a few more times, then flushes the toilet. Before exiting the bathroom he sprays air freshener.
Going out into the hallway, he swats again at the fly, getting more irritated now.

"Oh Dr. Greg - you need to hire a maid and an exterminator 
when you get back!"

Charles sits down on the couch and looks down at some magazines on the coffee table. All travel magazines. 
He swats at the fly again.

"You pesky little insect!"

He rolls one of the magazines up, and slowly stands up looking for the fly.
Charles chases the fly throughout the main level, eventually cornering him in the study of the house. 
Charles closes the door to trap the fly. He waits for it to land. It lands on an open book. 
He swats at the fly and kills it. He picks up the book/journal he killed the fly on, and starts to read:

"Dear Diary - I made a scientific breakthrough. Through countless hours of research 
I have been able to combine my DNA with that of another animal.
 I have introduced that DNA into my own blood stream and am slowly 
becoming more like it. My eyes have multiplied. 
I am growing wings. I am even shrinking in size. 
This is magnificent!! I am truly becoming a fly!!"

From POV:
Charles looks over at the opposite page.
He sees a smudge of a dead fly.
He closes the book.

Roll Credits.