Sunday, October 6, 2013


“This one?” The demon delicately plucked a porcelain head from the wire box using only the very tips of its claws. Still they scratched thin lines up the dollbaby’s cheek. 

“Yeah. That’s the one.” The lizard demon flicked its tongue out, tasting the air around the head. Both nictitating membranes slid over his eyes with a papery sigh, reflecting his excitement. 

Together they strolled past racks and bins of human toys in various states of dismemberment. “Gremlins brought it in a couple days ago. Real fresh. From their jabber I get the impression that the kid was really attached to it.” The red giant chuckled at his own joke before continuing, “Good choice. Lots of potential there.” At the cash register he rang up the purchase, then gently wrapped the remnant in parchment and tied it with a length of sinew. “That’ll be six bones and two eyes.”

The lizard quickly paid and raced home to relish his purchase. He set it on the kitchen counter while he prepared his supper, stopping to stare and sniff at it every once in a while. He ate slowly, deliberately dragging out the anticipation, and forced himself to clean the kitchen afterward. Finally he took the delicacy into his bedroom.

“Oh, you are going to be a treat, aren’t you? I knew as soon as I found your scent.” He sighed contentedly, growling deep in his chest. Lying on his bed he raised the tiny cranium to his scaly lips and delicately licked. The dry tongue rasped against the empty eye sockets and he groaned. “Oh, oh yes. You are good, little girl.” He licked again, more forcefully, curling the forked tips around the back, probing the holes where a few remnants of silken hair remained. “Mmmmm. So sweet. You are mine, now. Mine.” He growled and bared fangs which he scraped across the gaping neck, chipping the porcelain and swallowing the shards lustily. His excitement grew and he rolled over, slavering his mouth all over the smooth round dollhead, grunting and sucking noisily.

The child’s screams woke her parents. It was her silence that brought them running. 

She was unresponsive in the few days before she died. Nothing brought her back, although sometimes she would writhe and scream and tear out chunks of her own hair. Mostly, though, she just lay with her eyes open and stared like a little porcelain doll.

For the second year I am participating in a month of daily writing prompts in the Nightmare Fuel community of G+. I probably won't write every day, and much will be dreck, but I enjoy the challenge and some of these stories may someday lead to something.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Boots pendulum across dry hills
kicking up intermittent static
from disturbed grasshoppers

The tang of bar oil hangs
in the still air, blending
with vanilla rising from 
sun-roasted Ponderosas

Leaning into a tangle of
slashed pine I am surrounded
by Christmas. Sap
smears sticky across my arm
each toss of limbs
brings a fresh whiff

Burring chainsaws drown
speech; unnecessary anyway

Later, chunks of peaches
and pineapple soothe parched
throats. One uncle always
brings cookies. Another
has the beer. Every time mom
suggests pot pie
and serves sandwiches

Plastic forks scrape
heavy paper plates while
our outside life is shared
between tasks. Cousins, returned
update each other on career
changes and impending babies

Drenched in sun-raised sweat
filthy with labor
arms sketched with scratches
torn jeans and tattered shirt
I can think of nowhere else
I’d rather be

Friday, October 4, 2013


“Wolves!” The call resonated through the village, echoing from gritty stone walls. Fires flared as sleepy shepherds stirred embers awake, slowly pulling on lambskin vests and loose linen trousers against the predawn chill. Torches soon flared in the streets, drawn to the edge of town by the shouting.

“Wolves!” the cry cascaded down the valley from high stony pastures where the grass was still green despite the fearsome summer drought.

“DAD! DAD! Wolves!” Desperation tinged the voices of the boys. A few fathers shambled into slow trots, chuckling to each other, remembering their first summer in the hills, how every whisper of wind was sinister, and how their own fathers trotted up laughing. They jogged together, friends since that night, pleased with the idea that their own boys would this morning forge the same bond.

“DADDY!” The words shifted into terrified screams that rose inhumanly then skipped, screamed and skipped in a strange repeat. They men glanced and broke into sprints, hearing the voices split and merge and suddenly fail.

“Where? Where are you?” Deep voices splashed and broke against clusters of boulders. They knew exactly where the boys were, but the question came from somewhere inside demanding a response. None came. They ran faster, leaving intermittent frosty clouds of hot breath hanging behind. They ran so fast they almost outpaced the torchlight, until they crested the ridge to the hollow.

It was silent as they shoved aside the thornbush barriers the boys had erected. The men automatically split left and right in search pattern they had learned as boys looking for stray ewes. “Boys! Boys where are you?!” Their voices rose, angry with fear, colliding in desperate cacophony. “BOYS!” They strode through the flock, shoving aside animals that stood petrified. “BOYS!? This isn’t funny! Where are you?”

The searchers returned to the torch bearers, unconsciously wiping slippery sheep muck from their boots as they strode. “Where are they?” “What the hell is going on?” “You’d better get out here RIGHT now!”

Banded together again they turned to look over the quiet flock. Eyes shone back in the dark, fleeces reflecting red in the firelight. Red. Red like blood. They stared at the animals, seeing for the first time the paws. The long muzzles. The wolves — in sheep’s clothing.

For the second year I am participating in a month of daily writing prompts in the Nightmare Fuel community of G+. I probably won't write every day, and much will be dreck, but I enjoy the challenge and some of these stories may someday lead to something.

Double Image

Lily’s eyes drooped, then sprang open. The teacher raised an eyebrow at her, but said nothing. 

It made no sense. She got enough sleep last night, had plenty of water and a good breakfast. Still . . . There was something about the room. There was a faint whine - no, scream - probably from the fluorescents, that made her turn and twist, trying to locate or silence it. The air was dead. Most of the students were perfect: taking notes, paying attention, asking great questions once in a while, but never interrupting the teacher.  Despite all that she just wanted to put her head down on the desk to rest. Just for a minute. Just rest.

She hated the class, hated the teacher. Business Writing for the Future. Hah. More like Sucking the Life Out of Your Writing. But it was required for graduation, and God did she want to graduate. To leave town, ditch her low-end job at the hardware store, go have some sort of an adventure! All she had to do was get through this damn class. She glanced around, bemused by the dull faces so focused on a future as corporate drones.

Her head sank on her chest, bobbed up, then slowly dipped again. Lily leaned forward, laid her arms on the desk, and gently rested her cheek against the cool smooth formica. The teacher watched, smiled faintly, and started toward her.

Screaming, screaming “Wake up! Wake up!” Lily convulsed awake, twisting wildly, completely disoriented. A dozen voices were shouting at her to wake up, but the room was dim and she couldn’t see right. She blinked, then rubbed her eyes as the shouting faded. And then her screaming started.

The teacher touched the sleeping girl’s shoulder. “Lily,” she said gently. “Lily, are you ready to wake up and be a good citizen?” The girl opened her eyes, smiled faintly, then sat straight up, ready to join her classmates.

For the second year I am participating in a month of daily writing prompts in the Nightmare Fuel community of G+. I probably won't write every day, and much will be dreck, but I enjoy the challenge and some of these stories may someday lead to something.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

First Impression

Were I honest
upon first meeting
I would eschew mascara
and don old
jeans, smeared
at the knee with
dirt from a garden
remnants of pine sap

and some sort of
cooking incident

Maybe I’d wear a ballcap
over practical pigtails

Definitely hiking boots

On a cold day flannel
would settle
in soft frumpy folds
around my curves
over a shirt whose
humorous message
expired long before

That sort of honesty
is frowned up
but somehow my dress
always has a splash
of food somewhere
as if my soul has
leaked through this
carefully made-up