I Like to Give Halloween Presents

Image of 3 carved and lit Halloween pumpkins

Our actual pumpkins for Halloween 2019

And I have one for you!

Halloween is my favorite holiday and I have been known to give Halloween presents, nice little packages of orange, purple, and green tied with black ribbons, but I never got around to it this year. While I always have the spirit of Halloween in my heart, if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’ve likely heard me lament my lack of holiday motivation. Our pumpkins graced our porch for almost two weeks before the inspiration and the motivation struck to carve them. I’ve only visited Spirit Halloween twice, and as I mentioned on social media, I haven’t even tried to raise the dead once yet.

If you’re a frequent visitor here, you may also know that I’ve been struggling with writing lately. I’m stuck on my novel and fiddling with that has stopped up my flow of short fiction. Maybe it’s worry over it not being marketable; maybe it’s an issue of exhausting my writerly energy on assignments at ye olde day job (jobbe?), but whatever the case, it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve finished a piece of fiction.

At least, that was true until I had an epiphany: I could write a story for a Halloween gift this year. I could do it just for fun (my roundabout way of saying that I edited my own work), to get into the spooky spirit and share a bit of it with others.

So, without further ado, I present a piece of Halloween flash fiction.

Click to read ‘Prophetic Dreams by yours truly.

Happy Halloween!

Hungry Like the Wolf

I wrote this story many moons ago—how many moons, you ask. Well, I originally posted it on MySpace, so yeah…moons. I deleted it from MySpace when I decided to use it in 13 Morbid Tales but since my work has evolved, I no longer intend to use it in the final product. Does that mean I don’t think it’s a good story anymore? Absolutely not. This is why I’m sharing it with you all now. Hope you enjoy! And again, Happy Halloween! 

Hungry Like the Wolf

            She walked down the wooded path with him as he stumbled, the smell of alcohol on his breath. Darkness settled in slowly, but settled in nonetheless. She had begged him to take her home, but he was in no condition to drive. “No matter,” she had said with a shrug and a toss of her long, black tresses. It wasn’t that far into town and so she had insisted that she would walk. He had insisted that he would come along. Her honor needed protecting, after all. Yet the thought had occurred to her that protecting her honor was the last thing on his mind. She didn’t like him when he was like this, and she realized it especially in this moment. The thought that things would be so much safer if she was by herself ran through her head as the hairs on the back of her neck not only stood on end, but seemed frozen that way.

            Her friends had warned her not to go out with him that night. They told her that she didn’t know what she was getting into, but she was having none of it. She had looked forward to the harvest party all summer and no power in the heavens was going to stop her from going. I’m in control of the situation, she had told herself, and truly she had believed it. If things started getting a little uncomfortable, she’d leave.

            But now, she began to rethink all of her choices. The discomfort was growing and her legs itched with the need to run. It had rained earlier that day, and the mist crept up from the ground. Sonofabitch! She thought to herself as his hand, that had only moments before, while still at the party, been protectively resting on her shoulder, slid down to cup her breast. This is the way scenes in bad horror movies start. Lately, she had been realizing that bad horror movies weren’t always wrong. She moved his hand away. This was no time for too much liquor, raging hormones, and desire, to mix.

            He moved his hand back and she pulled away from his grasp. “Come on, Jim. I told you, not tonight. I want to go home.”

            The hand that hadn’t been grabbing at her breast still clasped a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. He clumsily brought it to his lips and took a bigger drink than necessary. “So that’s why you decided to come walking all slinkily down the path by yourself. No, you didn’t want me to follow you at all,” he said, his voice thick with sarcastic frustration as he tore a hand through his shaggy, blond hair.

            Her eyes flashed, even in the dark. “I’m walking because you continued to get drunk and couldn’t take me home! There’s no sense in anyone getting killed…” She was cut off by him kissing her hard on the mouth. When she managed to shove him away, she noticed that in his aggression, he had split her lip. She licked it and tasted blood. The situation was getting worse.

            It seemed that he had tasted it too. “Baby, I’m sorry,” he said, and it seemed for a moment that she’d be free. No such luck. “But we both know you can handle a little pain, right,” he continued. He walked back toward her with more motion in his hips than any man should ever have. She could tell that he wasn’t through with these advances by far, and they were alone.

            This can’t happen, she thought. He has to let me go. She had always been so comfortable in the woods, even at night. But she knew if this happened, the trees would know. They’d see, and her place of solace would become her place of shame.

            He advanced toward her and knocked her backwards. She winced against the pain as her head hit the ground hard.

            “No!” she cried as he settled himself on top of her.

            “I don’t fuckin’ get you, Amber!” he said, his voice rough and hoarse. He pinned her shoulders down and kissed her neck in a way that was more a bite than a kiss. “One minute we’re hot and heavy and the next you’re acting like some shy virgin!” He pulled his shirt over his head. “We both know that virgin shit isn’t true. Now come on; let me feel those nails down my back again.”

            My God! He’s going to get his way, she thought as she cried against the pain of the splitting flesh as her nails grew, extending into claws.

            Then the clouds parted, and she saw the full moon in all its glory. She looked into eyes that were growing wide with shock and fear. “I begged you to take me home!” she sobbed. But the words came in growls and the tears were lost in the sleek, black fur growing on her face.

            And this time, the blood she licked from her lips was his.

Random Thoughts About Writing

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been absent from my blog for quite some time again lately.  This is not actually for lack of trying.  Pages of illegible scribbles in my notebook, numerous one-paragraph-long Word documents, and emails to myself (because sometimes inspiration strikes me at the day job, and a “remember this idea” email is the best I can do at the time), will all prove otherwise.  But not one thought materialized into what I would call a publishable blog.  This happens to me a lot.  It’s my thinkin’ ’bout stuff phase.  But I know if I don’t write something, I’ll just sit and think myself to death.  So I bring you…

Random Thoughts About Writing

1. Technical writing is not the same as writing writing.

To translate my thought for those lucky enough not to be living in my brain: Technical writing is not the same as creative writing.

Well, duh!

Some of you may know that I’m a technical writer as a day gig.  On a good day, I really like it.  On a so-so day, I tolerate it.  On a bad day, well…On the chance that someone from the place that puts food on my table is reading this, I’ll refrain from writing how I feel on the bad days. This, by the way, is not how tech writing is different from creative writing.  I have good, mediocre, and bad days with that too.  In fact, I’ve most likely had worse days with creative writing than I have tech writing. After all, I haven’t been collapsed on the floor sobbing about how badly I suck and how no one in their right mind should ever read or publish my atrocious work at the office yet.

One of the biggest differences between creative writing and technical writing (besides the obvious ones, of course), is how foreign technical writing still feels to me sometimes. While I’ve picked it up quickly—as it turns out, every time I’ve written “Proven ability to adapt to new editorial styles quickly and efficiently” on a cover letter, I wasn’t just talking myself up—it sometimes feels like I’m playing in a world I don’t fully grasp.  The best way I can think of to describe it is buying a shirt that says “yacht club” from the $5 rack at Wal-Mart. I can look the part.  I can play the part.  And I’m very good at my job.  But some part of me will always know that I’m a great big poser where technical writing is concerned.  It just isn’t my world.

2. Am I too rebellious to be a successful writer?

Some of you may be looking at that thought and asking yourself, “WTF?”  But stick with me.

I’ve always loved reading. I read all the time.  I think back to high school when, yes, I read all the time—just not necessarily what was assigned. It’s not that there was anything wrong with the literature I was assigned. It’s that it was assigned in the first place. I was told to do it, and so I did it grudgingly at best. At worst, I refused with the panache that only a poor, put-upon teen can muster.

Now I’m a grown-up and so I follow the rules because I’ve worked too hard and have too much to lose not to, but in a lot of ways, I’m still like that teenager I once was. Tell me not to do something; you best believe that’s all I’m going to want to do. Order me to do that very same thing; it’s the last thing I’m going to want to do. (Just so you know, asking nicely goes a long way with me.)

I, like most struggling writers (and what I mean by “struggling” here is that we still need day jobs and probably will for a very long time), dream of the day when my job is simply to write.  But what happens if and when that day comes?  What happens when I’m given a deadline to write precisely the stuff I like to write, and told to just do it? Will I still love writing as much as I claim to? Will I wake up in the morning excited for my day, or will I come to hate it simply because it’s what I’ve been told to do?

For the record, I’m pretty certain I’d still love it in spite of my rebellious nature, but since this thought kept me awake one night, it was worth addressing.

3. What in the hell kind of god am I?

“Whoa! WTF did she just write?”  But again, stick with me.  I’m not a weirdo. Well, actually, I am.  I’m just not that brand of weirdo. And truly, this thought isn’t even all that original.

Writers create worlds and they create the inhabitants of those worlds.  So as far as Word files and stacks of paper are concerned, writers are gods. That’s all I’m saying. And, like I said, it’s not even an original comparison. So, moving on…

What in the hell kind of god am I?  It’s actually a conscious decision that must be made.  If a piece is to be character driven (as the best pieces are), that means giving the characters free will.  Okay, got that.  So what if one of my favorites, my chosen (okay, maybe I am having a little too much fun with this metaphor) does something stupid that could get them killed? Do I let them die, or do I step in and throw them a bone?  And what made that character my favorite to begin with?  Was that character the most godly (the one most like me)?  And what about the characters I had no problem offing?  Am I a vengeful god? Did they have it coming? Did I create them solely for the purpose of being offensive enough to kill? And if so, what does that say about me?

And what about those characters I’ve abandoned altogether?  I have tons of work that just wasn’t working so it’s been put aside. Do my characters lament being abandoned by their god when I’m not working?

Like I said, I’m not that kind of weirdo. I am aware that my characters live only in my mind and on paper, and so I would have to write characters lamenting for them to do so. But it’s a fun little brain teaser for the next time you’re lying awake thinking about a writing project.  There are endless questions that can be considered along this line of thought. So I invite you to examine them for yourself, unless, of course, you actually want to get some sleep.

So that’s what’s been going on in my head lately.  Aren’t you glad I didn’t try to make any one of these topics its own blog?