Category Archives: Writing

The Dark Path

So much time had passed since the night Rachel had done the banishing spell, a whole lifetime. She never regretted that choice. She had a wonderful life with Josh and had built a successful herb business while he ran the local bookstore. She still lived in the cottage her great-aunt and namesake had willed to her and loved the solitude it provided her out beyond the edge of town. She had loved the peacefulness but since Josh had passed she felt it a bit too lonely. Maybe that was why thoughts of Ebon filled her head during the Full Moon. It was definitely a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’. The next full moon Ebon was back in her dreams. His lovemaking skills were undiminished.

“I knew you would not be able to live without me for very long.”

“Not very long? It has been many years since you came to me.”

“Time has little meaning for me. I exist in eternities.”

“Don’t think I will summon you again from the dream world into the real world.”

“I can be patient Rachel. I have all the time in the world.”

Rachel was losing her will to resist him. She knew she had to take action soon or be lost to him forever.Then something happened that shocked her out of her complacency. She was working in her garden when she heard a rustle of leaves along the path to her house. She looked up to see Mabel Marsh walking toward her.

“Hi, Mabel. I don’t have your order of chamomile ready yet, but give me a few minutes and I can get it for you.”

“I’m not here about the chamomile, Rachel. I came to warn you about the killer.”

“Killer? What are you talking about Mabel?”

“Lucy Green was found this morning. She had been stabbed and someone had messed with her too. They found a thorn apple blossom in her hand.”

Thorn apple is also known as devil’s snare. Oh God, it’s happening again. Rachel’s mind traveled back to the time before, of the devil’s snare and murder. There had been several women killed the last time Ebon had been around.

“I thought of you living out here all by yourself. You gotta get yourself a good guard dog, Rachel,” Mabel went on talking as Rachel’s attention returned to the present.

“I know Mabel, you are right. Thank you for warning me. I will be careful. Let me get your order ready.”

Rachel finished with Mabel and waved her off. She knew what she must do now. There was only one person who could help her, Great-aunt Rachel. Her great-aunt was no longer among the living but had visited her on several occasions and been indispensable in the banishing of Ebon.

“I feel responsible for bringing him back after we banished him. What can we do now?”

“He is an old and powerful demon, dear. We will need additional help to complete this task. I am calling for two of my friends from the old coven. They are two of the most talented of my group. Ebon will not be able to overcome our magic.”

Rachel spent the next week gathering all the supplies her great-aunt had requested. She checked the basket to make sure she had everything. There was horehound, birch oil, salt, pepper, a black candle, asafetida powder, angelica, a ceremonial knife, and two golden incense burners.

It was the night of the full moon. As the sun set, Rachel began to assemble all that her great-aunt had requested on the dining room table. She was busy sorting through it when she felt a stirring in the air. She looked up to see Great-aunt Rachel and two other women appear at the other end of the room.

“We’re all here, my dear. Let me introduce you to my companions. This is Ravyn Ruthistle and Rosewillow Riverdale, two of the most talented women of my acquaintance.”

“Thank you all for coming. I know I could not do this without you.”

“It is our pleasure to be of assistance,” Ravyn replied. Rosewillow nodded her head in agreement.

“The moon is rising, we’d better begin,” Rachel’s namesake stated as she took charge of the little group.

“Sprinkle the horehound in the corners of the room Ravyn. Fill the incense burners with angelica and light them, Rosewillow.” She quickly took up the knife and began carving the black candle. The inscription was in Gaelic, Toirmeasc orainn tú go ifreann, with a sigil.

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She noticed her niece looking at the candle. It says, ” We banish you to the depths of hell, Ebon,” she informed Rachel.

“I think we are ready. Everyone gather together. Rachel pore the salt in a circle around us. Now sprinkle the candle with birch oil and asafetida powder. Light the candle as we begin our chant.” All the women spoke in unison.

“We call you here, Ebon. Come to us this night. Come to us now!”

A ghostly image began to materialize in the room. As the women chanted the image became corporeal.

“I see you have a group of whores with you tonight, Rachel. What do you think you are doing? You have no power over me.”

“Ignore what he says and continue the spell,” shouted the great-aunt.

The group continued to chant.

“We banish you from our world forever, Ebon. We banish you back to your demon hell the place from whence you came.”

Ebon growled and hissed but the women’s words held him in place. “You will never get rid of me,” he snarled.

Ravyn reached into a pouch and threw a handful of asafetida powder at the demon. Rosewillow did the same. Ebon let out a howl as his image began to fade. Within seconds he was gone.

Rachel was exhausted from the effort. Her great-aunt and friends laughed and embraced.

“Don’t let yourself give into the dark side from loneliness, Rachel.”

Rachel awoke with a start. Was it all just a dream?


This flash fiction piece was created for the WEP Write…Edit…Publish April Challenge–Road Less Traveled. Sigil image via Wikimedia, ‘candle, lamp, room’ image by borkia via Pixabay.com

Word count: 1001

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Devoted Pet

 

kitten

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Are you finished packing?

Not yet. There is so much to consider, a lifetime.

You won’t need that much because everything will be provided for you.

It’s just hard to leave everything, so many memories.

I can’t leave without you. You mean so much to me.

I am grateful to you for that. You know I love you too.

We do not have much time left.

I will try to hurry. Explain to me again, why we need to leave.

You know why. I have told you many times.

Yes, but tell me again. It will help me to get ready.

The atmosphere here has passed the tipping point. Soon, it will not support life.

I believe what you have told me but how can I leave the only home I have ever known?

All of your family is gone. You have nothing left here.

Are you sure your culture will accept me?

Our race has existed here for almost 10 millennia. We have been observing and learning about you for all that time. We have to board the transport soon.

I can’t call you Fluffy anymore. I must get used to calling you by your true name, Bastet.


This post is for Week #11-2018 Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner hosted by Roger Shipp.

Word count: 200

 

 

 

 

Adventures In Dining

 

burger

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I’d like the burger with fries.

Sounds good. What kind of fries do you want? We’ve got shoe string, steak cut, chili cheese, garlic, sweet potato, blue cheese, and portobello.

That’s a lot of choices. How does anyone make up their mind?

It depends if you’re traditional or adventurous.

I’m feeling adventurous. I had a terrible day at work, and my boss is an unimaginative jerk. What’s the most adventurous thing on your menu?

That would be the Godzilla.

I’ll give that a shot.

A busboy clearing off the leftovers remarked, “That Godzilla is such a messy eater.”

 

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This micro-fiction is for Week #10-2018  Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner hosted by Roger Shipp. Click on the link if you want to join in.

Word count: 98

Let’s celebrate!

About Those Pesky Mistakes In Writing

“No matter what type of writing you do, it can be easy to miss your own mistakes in the editing process. Since you wrote the words, you often read what you intended to write (and not what is actually written). You can’t see any flaws in your writing because you’re just too close to it.”-Allison Vannest on Grammarly.com

I just wrote a post on Stream of Consciousness Saturday about my frustration at missing errors or omissions in my writing of a short story I wanted to submit for a writing challenge. Part of the problem may have been some fatigue, and when I finish a post, I like to publish it pretty quickly. I was not taking enough time for proofreading and editing. So I had submitted my story and then discovered some mistakes. It was embarrassing, and I reached out to the hosts of the website, but there was nothing to remedy it. One error was that I left out a preposition which caused a sentence to not make sense. I could have sworn I had typed the word, but it was probably in my brain and not getting transferred to my fingers. I had re-read my story a few times, but each time I missed the errors. I later realized that in my hurry to submit the story I did not do a good job at all.

I did some brief research and found a handout online on editing and proofreading with some suggestions that explained how this kind of thing can happen even though I was reading over my writing. The handout states, “When you read silently or too quickly, you may skip over errors or make unconscious corrections.” Unconscious corrections, I wrote about this in my SOC post on Saturday, our brains will fill in or correct what is on the page as we read. So the handout suggests, and as a friend writer commented on my post, “try reading out loud, which forces you to say each word and also lets you hear how the words sound together.”  There were some other tips for checking spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Another suggestion was to separate the text into individual sentences and “altering the size, spacing, color, or style of the text may trick your brain into thinking it’s seeing an unfamiliar document, and that can help you get a different perspective on what you’ve written.”

Grammarly has been recommended to me by a couple of writers, and I have added it to my computer. Wondering if this automated proofreader is better than asking a fellow human to check my writing. A reason why I am leery of another human (editor) checking my writing is that it feels a bit intrusive. You need to trust the person to be sensitive and hopefully supportive. A disturbing thought about automated editors like Grammarly, it is changing your writing. I’m not talking about correcting spelling or punctuation so much but if it suggests different words or styles like the Premium version claims it does. So is it really your writing after it gets through?

I proofread my short story with Grammarly Premium, and I found more errors. My most frequent one was leaving out commas, then I had some repeat words. Grammarly did not discover the mistake that I found myself, which had completely messed up one of the sentences. So even though my sentence was grammatically correct, it was still wrong. WordPress proofreader missed a lot more.

I am definitely going to put some of these suggestions to work and keep using Grammarly for now. Have you run into a problem with missed errors in your writing and what tools have you found helpful to address it? Do you prefer human or automated editors?

 


“Editing and Proofreading Handout,” The Writing Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

“5 Tips for Editing Your Own Work,” by Allison Vannest on Grammarly.com ( similar but fewer tips than The Writing Center Handout but also recommends using Grammarly).

Featured Image ‘Anna Brassey, Victorian Woman Writing Journal,1883’ via wikimedia.org

Insecure Writers Support Group, #IWSG, Co-Hosts: Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham,Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner!

Uptight About My Writing

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This funny little thing ( from Nanea Hoffman on Sweatpants and Coffee.com) popped up on my Facebook page yesterday and I wanted to share it. Don’t get the idea I am so compulsive about folding socks but I know some people who are compulsive about things like this and I will not mention names.

One thing that has been bugging me lately is that I have been looking for a new writing group on WordPress or elsewhere where I can contribute Flash Fiction and I found a couple of new places and I think they went out of business right after I posted some stuff. I hope I wasn’t the cause of this but it was disappointing.

Another thing is: Don’t you hate it after completing a post and thinking you have checked it thoroughly for errors and submitted it, you are reading it again and find errors, like you left out a word that totally changes the meaning of a sentence. And you didn’t notice it before.

It’s something about the brain seeing what is supposed to be there and it really isn’t. “You only thought you were reading the passage perfectly, because you automatically (and subconsciously) went back and filled in any gaps in your knowledge based on subsequent context — the words that came later.” (Live Science) from the post “Breaking the Code:

Why Yuor Barin Can Raed Tihs

The above post demonstrates how words can even be jumbled and numbers substituted for letters and we can still raed (read) the text. I was kind of hoping that a person reading my submission would automatically fill in the gaps but I did send them an email and fess up to it.

Is it because I think my writing should always be perfect? Everyone makes these kind of mistakes don’t they? What are you supposed to do if your brain is automatically correcting  errors and filling in words that aren’t there. Please tell me everything is going to turn out just fine.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. “Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “fine.” Use it any way you’d like, bonus points if you use it as the last word of your post. Have fun!” GIFs via Giphy.com. Featured image by www_slon_pics on Pixabay.com

 

Walking Through Doors

Walking through doors that are not your own could be a metaphor for entering into unfamiliar territory or something that is outside your comfort zone. I do that a lot in my fiction writing. My characters do things, say things, and get into situations that I would probably not want to do. I just wrote a flash fiction piece where the main characters decided to go caving which involved rappelling into a deep cavern. In another story one of my characters used special gear to climb up 150 feet to the top of a redwood tree. It is fun to research what I need to make these situations real and I like imagining someone (else) doing these things. That is what is so fun about fiction writing. You can imagine people doing so many interesting things and create their worlds. The writer stands at the door to these worlds and holds the key.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s prompt is “door.” Write about a door you walked through this week that wasn’t your own. Enjoy!

‘Walking through door’ GIF by giphy.com

Falling Deep

Jordan lay awake thinking about how her life had changed so radically in the past few weeks. She prided herself on her independence and planned to travel through life with no attachments holding her down. It’s not that she didn’t enjoy the company of men, but she wanted to be free to go wherever life would lead her in a moments notice. That was before she met Aidan.

She had been on another adventure hiking in Nepal when her group took refuge at Gorek Shep. They were told it was too dangerous to try to climb Everest in the winter. She was lobbying her companions to take a shot climbing part of the way. She didn’t find any takers and resigned herself to spending the night and heading back to Lukla in the morning. She was drowning her disappointment in dark chocolate and a large glass of wine at the fireside when she heard his voice.

“You don’t give up easily, do you?”

Jordan looked in the direction of the voice and saw large dark eyes that seemed to penetrate her with their intensity.

” I guess I don’t,” she replied.

” Your friends are right, this is not the time to climb the mountain.”

“I have given up on that idea already.”

” I am planning on a caving trip. Have you ever tried it?”

” I haven’t done that yet. Where are you planning to go?”

“The Krubera Cave in Abkhazia. It’s believed to be the deepest cave in the world.”

“How deep?”

” The latest measurement was 2,197 meters.”

” That’s over 7,000 feet!”

“Yes, but I don’t recommend it for beginners. I would be willing to give you some lessons.”

” I have to head back to my home base but you have got me interested.”

“Where do you live?”

” I live in Nevada City.”

” Where’s that?”

“Nevada City is in the Gold Country in Northern California.”

“Gold Country?”

” It’s where Gold was discovered and mined in California. The site of the “Gold Rush.” I grew up there. It’s a small town but with a colorful history of people who took risks and sought their fortunes in the Wild West. Maybe that’s how I got my love of adventure. I’m Jordan Sullivan, and you are?

“I’m Aidan Rourke, nice to meet you. Nevada City sounds like an interesting place to visit. Did you ever go climbing around there?”

“Just hiking but I was just thinking about what you said, teaching me about caving. There is a large cave near Angels Camp called the Moaning Caverns. There is rappelling available at the site. If you would like to come to California, you could be my guest in Nevada City.”

Jordan had shocked herself with this invitation to a man she just met but there was something about him. She was drawn to him and wanted to get to know him better. She had relationships before but they never lasted long and she told herself not to expect this one would amount to much either. After all, she was not interested in commitment and the men she usually dated felt the same way.

Aidan had taken her up on the offer to visit California and she had spent the last week showing him around her home town and the surrounding area. She was used to getting into intimate relationships quickly and this one was no different in that respect. What was different about it was how she was beginning to feel about Aidan. Jordan saw this as a red flag. You’ve got to get hold of yourself, slow down. No commitment, remember?  There was something about this one though. He had such an appealing way about him. He was strong but gentle and had a quirky sense of humor that made her laugh. And when she looked into those big dark brown eyes she felt herself melt. What was she going to do? This was getting serious!

They decided to head for the Moaning Caverns the next morning. Jordan found herself yawning over breakfast.

” I didn’t think my conversation was so boring,” Aidan remarked grinning.

” I had a little trouble sleeping last night.”

” Anything bothering you?”

” Nothing really. I’m not sure what kept me awake.” Jordan was not going to admit what or who was causing her insomnia yet, or maybe never she thought.

“Are you ready for some rappelling lessons this morning?”

“I’m ready to get going. Can we leave now?”

Aidan picked up on Jordan’s irritability but decided to ignore it. He was looking forward to teaching her how to use the ropes. He couldn’t wait to get close to her again. He had been attracted to her from the first night they met and now he didn’t know how he would ever live without her. He had the ring hidden in his backpack and planned to surprise her when they were in the cave. He just hoped she felt the same way about him.

They had a great time rappelling down into the cavern. Jordan took to it like a pro. They decided to make one final descent. Aidan started off down the wall of the cave and was halfway down when his rappel anchor suddenly broke loose and he plummeted. Luckily a ledge broke his fall. Jordan screamed and cried out to him but he did not respond. She quickly descended to where he was sprawled on the ledge.

“Aidan, darling, are you hurt?”

It took a few minutes for Aidan’s head to clear then he realized Jordan was touching his body looking for any injury. “Did you call me darling?”

” Yes, and are you going to make a big deal out of it?” Jordan shouted, tears glistening in her eyes.

” Yeah, I’m going to make a big deal out it,” he said as he pulled her close and covered her mouth with his before she could say anything more.

They never made it to Abkhazia but found much to explore in Nevada City after they were married in the Spring.


This Flash Fiction post is for the # WEPFF WEP-Write…Edit…Publish February 2018 Challenge-In Too Deep hosted by Denise Covey, Yolanda Renée, Nilanjana Bose, and Olga Godim. Featured image Harwood hole New Zealand by Dave Bunnell on Wikimedia.org

 

Word Count: 998

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