Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Conversations and Cloaks

This is a something I wrote for Salina a few years ago. Don't know why I didn't post it here, but that's easily remedied now. The characters and this particular universe belong, as always, to Salina and me.


“I got this for you Yuki,” a young man in his late teens says, rough voice gooey with affection; a crystal snowflake on a silver chain dangling from his fingers.
“Oh Kazuya,” she gasps, face pink as scarlet eyes widen, “it’s beautiful!”
“Disgusting,” an irritated voice snarls.
Several stories above the bashful boy and his blushing sweetheart, on an often inhabited private roof, a dark figure scowls down at the pair. Dressed all in black save the white scarf wrapped round his neck, the man watches, tense, as crimson irises narrow.
What does she see in that moron?” he hisses, teeth grinding loudly as the fumbling Kazuya tries to clasp the necklace around Yuki’s neck.
“She thinks he’s sweet,” a soft voice responds.
Flinching, he whirls around to glower at the woman standing a few feet behind him. A small smile curves her lips in greeting, secretly pleased at surprising him, as she walks across the roof. Ruby eyes track her, expression unchanging, even as his heart skips a beat. He watches light from the setting sun catch her hair, fixated, as it shifts purple and black, dancing like dark flames. Her smile widens, cherry lips curving higher, as he turns away, annoyed she caught him staring.
“I know you’re her brother,” she says sitting close but not too close, feet dangling over the edge, “and you want to protect her, but you don’t need to watch when she’s with him.”
“Hn.”
“Isn’t it better that she’s dating someone who loves so much he’d die to protect her, than someone who wouldn’t?”
They watch the couple below them embrace; one face annoyed, the other fond.
“If she found someone worthy to date,” he begins, pausing to look at his companion with a meaningful expression full of skepticism, “if such a man existed, the idea that he could die protecting her would be impossible, because no one would be able to defeat him.”
Eyebrows lift in surprise as she takes in his serious expression. ‘It’s a good thing he isn’t the deciding factor in Yuki’s love life,’ she thinks, ‘poor Kazuya wouldn’t stand a chance.’
“No one would defeat him except you,” she corrects, amused, unable to hide a grin as dark crimson irises lighten in pleasure.
“Of course, that’s a given,” he agrees proudly, a small smile teasing his lips.
Breath catching, she nods, unable to speak past the sudden lump in her throat. Heart contracting, she resists the urge to grin wider, turning to watch the street a moment after he does. A smile. He gave her a real smile. Not a smirk, or the wicked twist of his mouth when he’s feeling pleasurably vindictive, not that those looks didn’t have their own appeal, but a genuine happy smile. Hoping he doesn’t hear the loud beating of her heart she sneaks a glance at him from the corner of her eye. It’s still there, a little faded, but the barest hint of a smile lingers. An ache fills her chest, delighted and distraught that she’s managed to cause such a rare sight, knowing it won’t last long.
A burst of wind sends her thoughts scattering with a violent shiver. The day had been warm and her cloak lay forgotten on her bed. Now a storm comes creeping in with the night and she misses its protection. She doesn't relish the thought of staying and freezing, but feels reluctant to leave; they're kind of having a moment. Another icy blast set her teeth chattering, just a little, deciding for her. Best to take this little victory and go before she gets sick. Sudden warmth engulfs her and she blinks, surprised, to find his cloak and scarf wrapped around her. A blush creeps up her neck, but the feel of his residual heat sinking into her skin is too much to resist.
“Are you sure you don't need it?” she asks, more concerned he'll regret the decision than need the heat.
He snorts, giving her a look bordering on insulting. She shrugs, saying, “Just checking,” before ducking her face behind the scarf until it reaches the bottom of her eyes. She breathes him in; fire, wind, and ice cream. The last bit almost makes her laugh. It feels like a stolen moment taken directly from her fantasies. Cuddled under his cloak as they talk and tease; him genuinely smiling. Well, maybe not exactly as she imagined, since there's still six inches between them, but certainly close enough.
Unnoticed, he watches her from the corner of his eye. A strange mixture of satisfaction and pride mingles in him. He knows she's only doing it for the heat, but he isn't going to complain. However unintentional she's wrapped in his clothes, wearing his scent, practically surrounded by him. He finds it immensely pleasing, though he’d never admit to it. Later, when the moon is high and they go inside, He will sleep on silk sheets, cloak around him, surrounded by her.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

#metoo

With all of the stories that have been coming out lately, I've been thinking about the experiences I've had in the past. I'm fortunate to have never been assaulted, but I've been harassed many times. Honestly, I've debated about posting something or not. Knowing that my experiences have been mild compared to many women, I've questioned my right to talk about it. Ultimately, I've decided to write about this one because of how it made me question myself.

Last April my friend and I were at an anime convention and we decided to enjoy the dancing they offer at night. There's music, lights, and you can meet a lot of cool people who are very nice. It's usually a lot of fun. On that particular night, I noticed a group of guys (who had been checking us out as we walked by) follow us into the dance. No big deal, it's open for everybody. I noticed them follow us to the other side of the large room, and saw that they'd stopped nearby and were watching us dance. A little creepy, but still harmless. After a while, one of them asked me to dance and I said, “No.” I just wanted to hang out with my friend. He left.

A little later, he came back, inserting himself between us, trying to get me to dance. I said, “No,” shook my head for emphasis in case he couldn't hear me over the music, and stepped away from him. To be honest, I was kind of annoyed. I shouldn't have had to tell him a second time. He went away, and we kept dancing.

Sure enough, he came back again. This time, he came up to us, said something I couldn't hear, and put his hands on our shoulders trying to lead us somewhere. I snarled, “Do. Not. TOUCH. Us.” He backed off, apologizing, trying to assure us he wasn't that kind of guy. I said, “Fine, just don't touch us.” He didn't bother us again.

The thing is, it wasn't fine. After he left, I immediately felt the need to explain myself to my friend for reacting that way. When I told people about what happened, I felt like I had to explain myself in order to justify why I snapped at him. I felt guilty for making him feel like he needed to apologize. I questioned if my reaction was out of line. I still question it at times. I HATE that. If he had been aggressive or smarmy, like other men have been in the past, I never would have doubted myself. He was apologetic. He wasn't overbearing, He was just trying to lead us towards his friends, huddled in the corner of a dark room, where it would have been hard for anyone to hear us if something happened. The simple fact is, he did need to apologize. He should have felt bad; he crossed a line. He shouldn't have touched us. He never should have felt like he had the right to put his hands on my friend and me. I shouldn't have felt guilty for telling some stranger not to touch me. I shouldn't have felt a need to justify not wanting a stranger to touch me. He should have respected my decision the first time I said no. If he had, I never would have questioned myself.

The reason that I decided to share this experience, which is harmless compared to others, is the fact that it's not harmless. No experience where a person is made to feel harassed or unsafe by someone else is harmless. Just because I've had worse experiences, doesn't make this one okay. Just because he wasn't aggressive, doesn't mean he wasn't a predator. Most importantly, what I want to emphasize to people, is that no one should ever feel guilty or like they have to justify themselves for not wanting to be harassed.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Published!

I had two stories published in Horror Tree's Trembling With Fear.

The first story, The Very Best, can be found here: https://horrortree.com/trembling-with-fear-03052017/

The second story, Picture Perfect, can be found here: https://horrortree.com/trembling-with-fear-08202017/

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Haiku

A bit of haiku fun that came about during a car trip with family.

Waterfalls of tears
Slowly dripping down my face
Such sweet ecstasy

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tell Me A Fable

This is something I wrote about seven years ago as a funny little thing for my friend and, at the time, roommate. For Laura.


Once upon a time there was a beautiful maiden known as Le Fop. Day in and day out she was forced to make beautiful music for hard, distrubingly amusing, task masters. She dreamed of being rescued one day by a handsome man who had hot maple fudge syrup, and was an S. G.

One day she came upon an evil but kind person called Le Fantome, who was cursed to listen to the inane chattering of a fruit cake. Le Fantome made a deal with Le Fop; if she would break the curse the favor would be returned, freeing her from her servitude.

With a mighty swish of her hair Le Fop sent the fruit cake tumbling back. With a loud thwock the fruit cake crashed into the ground, knocking herself out. Freed from the curse, Le Fantome told Le fop in three days the debt would be repaid.

As the third day drew to an end, a handsome man named J.D. appeared. Le Fantome had told him about Le Fop. Striken by her plight, he rushed to rescue her. They married and lived happily to the end of their days.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Rabbit in the Dark

This is something I wrote some time ago. Found it today, added a bit of a touch up.




I sat on the chilly balcony at two in the morning, head tipped back, looking at the cloudy sky wishing for some stars. Two dogs shuffled around, snuffling at birdseed as they followed the smell of squirrels. It was my last night house sitting my Uncle’s cozy two-story on the edge of town. He lived in the final house on a dead end street spitting distance from woods that made a small portion of a highly forested area.
I was determined to take advantage of his balcony, since my apartment didn’t have one, and enjoy the night sky in all its starry glory. Unfortunately, that was looking less and less likely as time dragged on and the temperature dropped. Drooping with disappointment, I decided to give up when a loud rustling came from the woods below. A stomping trample of branches and leaves had my heart racing as I quickly sat up in my chair, watching the tree line for movement. It was probably a bunch of teenagers, I decided, embarrassed by how easily I startled. As the rustling got closer, I heard a voice. Straining to listen, whatever sound the voice was making got drowned out by the crunching of the plants and the undisturbed snuffling of the dogs. Quickly, I tried to surreptitiously quiet them so I could hear better, but they ignored my shushing.
The voice disappeared into the woods as the trampling started to grow distant, much to my annoyance. Giving the dogs a sour look I brought them into the house, closing the sliding glass door so I could hear undisturbed. Stealthily creeping back to my chair, I winced at every scuffling footstep, certain whoever was in the woods would hear. Straining, I listened for any sound. The thundering steps and voice had stopped, muffled somewhere in the woods. With a frustrated huff I closed my eyes, leaning my head against the chair’s cool metal. So much for that diversion.
Might as well go to bed, I figured, heaving myself out of the chair. A shrill squeal erupted from the woods. Pausing, I looked over my shoulder towards the dark trees below. Another frightened whinny split the air. Whirling around I pressed a knee onto the chair, leaning over the edge of the balcony. Eyes transfixed on the woods where the trampling was last heard, my heart thundered madly in my chest as I whispered in horror, “Is someone slaughtering a pig?”
Minutes passed as the sound faded and I lingered, full of coiled tension, staring into the darkness. Then I heard it. A sharp shrill screech followed by terrified screams. Each echoing shriek was louder and more desperate than the last.
Suddenly it stopped.
I waited. Listening intently, I ignored the stinging burn in my horror wide eyes, holding my breath so I wouldn’t miss the tell tale sound of movement. A heartbeat. Two. Ten. Nothing. No footsteps or noises of life permeating from the forest, just an eerie silence pressing down around me. Shivering against a sudden chill as my heart took up a new jumping rhythm in my chest, I decided it was time to for bed.
Hurrying across the balcony I went inside, locked the glass door behind me with a reassuring thunk of the deadbolt and pulled the shade shut, cutting me off from outside. With a trembling sigh I stepped back, checked to make sure all the windows were locked and the shades were drawn, locked the door to the hallway, and shut off the light before climbing into bed. I lay in the dark listening to the soft whispery breathing of the sleeping dogs. Something outside had been screaming. The shrill, scared sound reverberated in my mind sending my adrenaline spiking. Wave after wave of horrifyingly gruesome images assaulted my mind, each gorier than the last. Something had been murdered in the woods. Whatever killed it had come disturbingly close to the house.
I kicked off the covers and hurried across the room to grab a hefty metal flashlight from my bag. Bringing it back to the bed, I slipped under the covers, flashlight resting next to me on the pillow in easy reach. I felt a lot better knowing I had something I could use to defend myself. It was ridiculous, I knew, behavior fit for a young child instead of an adult, but as I lay in the dark, eyes slowly closing, the reassuring cool of the metal made me feel much safer.
Drifting, almost asleep, the sound of an uneven gait crushing foliage in its path caught my hazy attention. Slowly, ears reverberating with every crunchy step, I realized the disturbingly familiar sound was likely what had walked by the house earlier. The same thing that killed something in the woods. Eyes snapping open as that thought drifted through my muddled mind I grabbed the flashlight, sleep forgotten. The snapping crackle of plants dying underfoot gave way to the heavy clicking grind of steps on pavement. That thing was coming towards the house! Sitting up in bed, attention fixed on the balcony door, I bit my lip, teeth sinking into the soft flesh as the heavy rattling steps drew closer.
The steps stopped. Swallowing with a painfully dry throat I listened as a soft snuffling began on the street below. The sound grew louder with each heaving breath as I sat, transfixed in horror, hoping it would leave. Away. Away. Away. Please, God, please make it go away. But my prayers went unanswered as the deep huffing breaths were joined by a terrible screeching SKEEEERFWUMP!
Roused from their sleep the dogs shot up with loud growling barks. Running across the room they stood in front of the balcony doors in a snarling frenzy. SKEEEERWUMP! SKEEEERFWUMP! SKEEEERFWUMP! Each loud bang had the room vibrating with impact. The deafening noise was drawing closer. Hackles rising, the dogs became more irate, little bodies vibrating with barely restrained fury as the rattling blows sounded just outside the sliding glass doors.
It was on the balcony.
Chest tight, my heart thrashed crazily; blood roaring in my veins as fear consumed me. Low guttural panting began in earnest on the other side of the glass completely ignoring the deafening barks of the dogs. Eyes stinging, tears ran in salty tracks down my face as I watched the door. Constricted, my lungs burned but I was paralyzed. Unable to breath. Unable to blink. My entire world had narrowed to the sickeningly deep huffs trailing along the sliding doors. A faint tinkling sounded. Plink. Crick. Tink. The sound of cracking glass. It must be leaning against the glass trying to get in, I realized as my heart gave a strange painful flutter and my throat closed. Eyes rolling, the world turned dark. The last thing I remember was the cool feel of the flashlight falling from my hands.
I woke to thin beams of light streaming through the gaps in the blinds. As I blinked gummy eyes, the events of the night before flooded my hazy mind. Gasping, I pressed into the bed, eyes roving the room for any sign of danger. Nothing was changed. The dogs slept peacefully at the foot of the bed, I was snug under the covers, flashlight rolled painfully under my ribs. Gingerly, I got up and went to the glass doors leading out to the balcony. Gripping the flashlight tightly, I pushed aside the blinds. Nothing. No cracks. No smears of something pressed close. Just smooth unblemished glass. A bubble of hysterical laughter escaped as I looked out at the balcony finding everything as it should be.
A dream! A stupid scary nightmare brought on by an overactive imagination. I laughed again, feeling silly and light. It was a wonder I could watch horror movies without having a coronary. Humming, I took the dogs downstairs, letting them out in the yard to do their business. Standing outside the door my gaze drifted to the street, lingering on the space in front of the house where the thing in my dream had stopped. Well, I thought, as my pulse sped up, better safe than sorry. With slow determined steps I walked to the pavement, searching for any sign of life. The street was fine, the grass un-flattened, and no gouges marring the side of the house. Eyes drifting up, I smiled in relief, feeling terribly foolish. Gaze reaching the balcony I paused, blinked, stared. A scream tore from my throat as I scrambled back. Heart pounding, legs wobbling, another terrified wail escaped as I began to hyperventilate. Along the side of the balcony was a dark red smear of blood.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Loyal Love

This was a very quick write that I did at work. Characters can be found in Branded, A Beautiful Life, and Tremayne's Dream.



Alita doesn't remember much about her parents. Sounds, flashes of images, smells, a fading feeling of love. Mostly, she remembers the night they died. The terror, hatred, and self-loathing. A child's heart within her crying, “I could have saved you!” But, there are some things that remain once forgotten, unconsciously.

They're trapped on an island. The entire town. It appears deserted but their powers, everyone's powers, have turned sketchy and something can be felt lurking just out of sight. Alita and Tremayne seek refuge in the woods. A small clearing away from the chaos of too many heroes trying to be heroic. They'll return once the posturing is done and people are ready to work towards a solution. Usually, that won't happen until Hector has gone storming off and things get worse. Experience brings wisdom; for now they wait.

Alita sits, back against a tree, thinking about the situation as her hands absently move. Tremayne stands, back partially to her, watching the woods for danger. After a time he turns, the question he plans to ask dying on his lips. A small smile curves the corner of his mouth. Crouching, he runs a gentle finger over the crown of daisies she's weaving. Alita stops, fingers frozen in the tangle of flowers, seeing them for the first time.

“I didn't know you could make these,” he says softly, careful not to spook her.

“My mother taught me,” Alita says after a long moment. Twisting the stems with deft fingers she completes the crown. “Daisies have many meanings; one is loyal love.” Carefully she rests the crown on his head, fingers trailing down to cup his face. Silver and amber connect behind sunglasses. “That's what she wanted for me.”