Category Archives: Writing

Diamond Street

Garrett always liked to joke about the name of the street. ” We live on Diamond Street,” he’d say ‘diamond’ in an exaggerated way as if it meant riches. “Say a few ‘Hail Marys’ and ‘Our fathers’ for me,” her Dad told her when she left for church. Rachel wasn’t thinking about prayers though. Halloween was coming up at the end of the week, and Halloween was always a big holiday in Eureka Valley.

“It’s because this section of San Francisco has the most children in all of the city, ” her Dad would say.

The ethnic makeup of the neighborhood was Irish with some Polish and Hispanic over the hill in The Mission. Rachel and her friends planned to cover as large a swath of it as possible with their big grocery bags to hold the loot.

Halloween celebrations started with a costume parade at school. Rachel and her little brother Ben could hardly eat dinner that night for all the excitement. As soon as the sun set they were off with parents trailing behind.

Later in the evening would be the parade on 19th Street hosted by Cliff’s Variety Store. Heading up the procession was a mechanical Tyrannosaurus Rex followed by a crowd of costumed kids.

” Will you hold my bag, Mom?” Rachel asked Nora.

“You watch yourself, girl, and don’t get trampled in that crowd. Be sure to hold onto your brother.”

“I’ll be fine. Ben’s holding my hand and Jack is here, too.”

Nora felt that familiar chill. She knew that kids can have an imaginary playmate, but a ghost?

Jack stood next to Rachel. “Tonight is when the spirits can cross over and walk the earth,” he whispered to Rachel in a lilting accent.

“There aren’t any spirits, except you, just lots of kids dressed up in costumes.”

Jack wasn’t so sure about that. A witch standing next to the Frankenstein monster looked like that mean old landlady he had back in Dublin.

” Oh, it’s herself all right.”

“What are you muttering about, Jack? You’re spoilin’ all the fun.”

“Don’t worry Rachie, I’ll keep a look out for you and Bennie.”

In all the excitement Rachel had almost forgotten about her brother who held tightly to her other hand.

“Who ya talkin’ to, Rachie?”

“Oh, nobody. Just talkin’ to myself, Bennie,” Rachel answered as she shot a cool glance at Jack.

“Don’t let go of my hand, Bennie.”

” Don’t worry, I won’t. I don’t like the way that witch is lookin’ at me! She’s creepy with that green goo dripping out of her mouth!”

Rachel shot a wary glance at the witch and squeezed her eyes shut to will her away. When she opened her eyes the ugly crone was gone.

” See that, Jack, you can’t let your imagination run away with you.”

Jack was skeptical, but he couldn’t help smiling at Rachel.

All the children marched behind the dinosaur as the proud parents looked on. Rachel smiled and waved at her mom. That’s when she noticed the ugly witch standing behind Nora and froze.

“What’s a matter, Rachie? Why you stoppin’?” whined Bennie. Rachel looked down at her little brother, and when she glanced back at the crowd, the witch had disappeared.

Jack was wondering why Rachel had stood still as a statue as well. “What’s wrong, Rach?”

” Nothing’s wrong. It’s just all your talk about evil spirits. It’s makin’ me see things!”

But the vision left Rachel with a bad feeling the rest of the evening. She hugged her mom extra hard when she got ready for bed.

” What’s troubling you, girl? You’ve been jumpy as an alley cat ever since we got home.”

“Do you believe evil spirits walk the earth on Halloween, Mom?”

“Course not! And who’s been filling your head with all that nonsense?”

“It’s just something Jack told me.”

“I think you been eating too many sweets. I am putting that candy away, and tomorrow we can donate it to the Nursing Home.”

” Okay, Mom, but save a little of it for Bennie and me, please!”

“Get to sleep now and sweet dreams, dear girl.”

Rachel quickly fell into a deep sleep, but it was not sweet.

“So you don’t believe in spirits,” the old woman cackled. Rachel found herself in a cold, dark cave with the old witch who was binding her with a scratchy rope.

” Who are you and why are you doing this?” Rachel cried.

” None of your nevermind, drink this! ” hissed the hag. I am going to switch you with my little changling, and your mam with never know the difference.”

” She will too! ” sputtered Rachel as the bitter liquid was forced down her throat. ” My mom would know me from your rotten little changling any day!”

“Watch your lip, girlie, or you might just lose it!” screeched the witch.

A small twisted creature made its way across the cave toward them leaving a slimy trail in its wake. As it got closer, Rachel could hear a chittering sound coming from its beak.

“What’s that!” she screamed.

“That’s my little darlin’. She’s been waitin’ for me to bring her a little girl like you so she can cross back into the world,” the old witch replied in a gentle, lilting tone.

Rachel was becoming drowsy but fought to keep her eyes open. She knew if she gave in and fell asleep again the witch would do her worst.

***********************************************************************

Rachel woke with a start, bolting straight up in bed, and pinching her arms to make sure she was really herself.

“What the heck are you doin’, Rachie? ” Bennie asked from the doorway.

” Oh, I had a bad dream, that’s all, Bennie.”

“You’re as white as a sheet!” Jack said as he quickly crossed the room.

” I wish everybody would quit making a fuss!” Rachel fumed.

“Who’s everybody?” asked Bennie.

“Oh, none of your nevermind!” Rachel replied.

“Why you talkin’ so funny?”

” I ain’t talkin’ funny!” she said as a little chitter escaped her lips.


WEP October 2018 Challenge #WEPFF-Write…Edit…Publish October Challenge-Deja Vu or Voodoo hosted by Denise, Renee, Olga, and Nilanjana. Featured image of ‘spooky portrait’ via pxhere.com

Word count:  Abt. 1002

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEP- Change Of Heart

HEART SF ♥

It all happened so fast like an ocean wave pulling her out to sea, the wedding in Dublin and the birth of their son, then the voyage across the ocean to a new country. So much hope about what the future would bring. There had not been much to look forward to back in their home town. The oldest son had inherited the farm. Nothing to do but look for the future far away from home in the land of opportunity, America.

Norah missed her sisters and their easy chatter as they all worked in the field. Two of her youngest sisters had already emigrated to Canada, and just one sister and brother remained on the family farm.

“We’ve all been washed out with the tide, carried to distant shores, and now just your letters make me feel like home,” Norah whispered as she put away the latest letter from her sister Mary Ann.

Norah was busy settling into her new home and expecting her second child in a few weeks time. She was grateful to have a roof over her head and that her husband had steady employment even though they lived in a flat. They scrimped and saved to buy a house. They took in boarders, new immigrants from the old country whose lilting speech pulled at her heart. Norah and Garrett were happy to help the newcomers get on their feet. Norah was especially fond of Jack, a young single man who reminded her of her brother. He always had a smile and was quick to laugh. There were jolly parties with fiddlers playing jigs and reels. They didn’t have much in material things, but their music and friends kept their spirits strong.

“When I hear the fiddlers play I could almost believe I am still home in Tipperary,” Norah spoke wistfully after the party ended.

“This is my home now,” replied her husband.

She knew he missed the old country and the horses he used to care for on the farm. Norah bit her lip hard and kept silent. She didn’t want him to think she was unhappy. He was working so hard to make a home for them.

“I do love the evenings when the fog rolls in. It makes me want to cuddle up with you.”

Garrett smiled at his young wife as they walked back to their bedroom, their borders already asleep for the night. It was in the early hours of the next morning when the cataclysm struck. A horrible rumbling and then a violent shaking threw them from their bed. They rushed out of the flat with the rest of the occupants. The air was filled with screaming and the sickening sound of buildings collapsing, with wooden planks and bricks falling into the street. They stood dazed on the sidewalk.

“We better get what we can out of the building before it collapses,” Jack shouted. They quickly ran a relay in and out taking what they could as the building groaned and creaked ominously. They hadn’t had a chance to save much but their lives.

The army moved into the city at the request of the mayor to keep order, provide first aid, and prevent looting. Tent camps were set up in public parks for the survivors who found themselves homeless. People walked around in stunned silence while a child wailed for his mother.

The buildings weren’t the only things broken by the quake. Water mains underground ruptured. Stunned residents salvaged whatever belongings they could, treated the injured, and counted the dead. The moans and cries of those trapped in the rubble would haunt them for years. Their young border, Jack, was killed when a wall collapsed on top of him as he tried to rescue a child.

A woman made breakfast for her family unaware of the broken chimney that caused a fire that burned down her house and half the city. The broken water mains prevented water from reaching the hoses of the firemen. People would later call it ‘the ham and eggs fire.’

What Norah and Garrett couldn’t salvage was burned to ash. They joined the other displaced people in bread lines and tent cities that were set up in public parks. It was the next night that Norah gave birth in one of those tents to a daughter, Rachel. Some of the women assisted in the delivery. An older woman told Norah, “Your little girl baby will have special powers because she was born at night. She will be able to see the dead.”

A chill ran through Norah as she heard the prediction, but she shook it off saying, “That’s old country superstition. We left that behind when we came to our new home.”

“I’m sorry I brought you to this place, Norah,” Garrett whispered as he watched his wife and new baby sleep. His young son Patrick was curled up against his mother’s back.

Many left The City, but the ones who remained were a hearty, optimistic lot, not ready to give up so quickly. Norah and Garrett were counted among those brave ones.

“It all seems like so long ago now,” Norah said as she closed the door to their new house on Eureka Street. “All the bad times are behind us.” Norah walked into the kitchen to finish supper for her little family while Rachel played with her toys on the floor. Patrick had started school, and in a while, they would walk down the block to pick him up. Norah was stirring the stew when she heard her little daughter muttering. She looked over to see Rachel was staring at a kitchen chair and talking as if someone was sitting there.

“Do you want to hold my dolly, Jack?”


WEP Write…Edit…Publish August 2018 Challenge Change of Heart is hosted by Denise Covey, Nilanjana Bose, and Olga Godim.

Word count: 960

Full Critique

Featured image: ‘San Francisco before the earthquake’ ( unknown author) via wikimedia.org

 

Her Unraveling

She felt like her life was falling apart. She had always prided herself on how in command of any situation she was. All was carefully planned and executed. It all started to unravel on that day. She would never forget it. Her company had a new CEO who was 20 years her junior. Conner Cassidy had big plans for shaking up the status quo with the latest business practices. Out with the old and in with the new. It turned out the old included her, Amanda Adams.

Amanda woke up with a start as the trash truck rumbled by her house. She usually would have been up and out much earlier but that was when she had a job. Now one day ran into another and a regular schedule escaped her. As her head cleared it took her a few minutes to realize where she was. She struggled to focus her eyes on the bedside clock.

“Ten o’clock! I better get going. I have the budget meeting in a half an hour.” That’s when she remembered there was no meeting. She didn’t work there anymore. Amanda dragged herself up and into the kitchen. She still needed her morning coffee. Some things never changed. As she sipped the strong brew she found herself ruminating on recent events.

” After devoting all those years to that company I’m thrown out without any apology or thanks for all my efforts. I hope they’re happy with that inexperienced new grad who replaced me.” Amanda recalled how Conner had lit up when Carey came in the room, his eyes following her every move.

“This is getting me nowhere. I’ve got to stop thinking about it.”

Amanda had been given a severance package and realized she was luckier than some of her friends who had been retired from their jobs before they were ready. She just felt at such a loss.

“What do I do now? I wasn’t ready to stop working this soon. I hoped to work for at least 10 more years. I’ve got to try to move on but I don’t want to work for minimum wage at a job I hate.” She was lucky she had the severance but would have to cut back on expenses. Her house was on the market and she hoped to find a smaller place in a less expensive area. In the meantime, she needed to get out of the house. She signed up for a class at the local community college. It was a class on Film Noir. She had seen it listed in the college catalog before but never felt she had the time or energy when she was working. Now she had the time, plenty of time.

Her eyes scanned the room on the first night of class. Except for a few younger ones, most of her classmates were her age. The instructor was introducing the films they would be covering. As he spoke she found her mind wandering. She had seen many of the films long ago. They were before her time but she had always liked those old black and white films. One film on the list stood out in her mind. It was called ‘Dial M for Murder,’ about a man plotting his wealthy wife’s death so that he will inherit her money.

Amanda found herself enjoying the class and was an eager participant in the group discussions. She enjoyed the film screenings put on by the instructor. She and her classmates had fun dressing up in the styles that were depicted in the films.

The last film of the series was to be Amanda’s favorite ‘Dial M for Murder.’ Her blonde hair made her a perfect fit to match the lead character, Margot, who was played by Grace Kelly. The class had a great time at the party after that last screening. Amanda knew she would miss everyone after it was over. She did write down a few of her classmate’s numbers and hoped they would connect again soon.

It was a warm evening and she left the French doors open. She was getting ready for bed when she heard the telephone ring. She glanced at the bedside clock and saw it was after 11. Who could be calling at this time of night? She walked into the living room to answer the phone when he stepped out from behind the French door curtains.


This Flash Fiction is part of the WEP Write…Edit…Publish June 2018 Challenge ‘Unraveled Yarn,’ hosted by Denise Covey, Yolanda Renée, Nilanjana Bose, and Olga Godim.

Word count: 730

Full Critique

***The last part of the story follows from the plot of ‘Dial M for Murder.’ I thought it was fun to work it into my story. Featured image of Retirement Tiara by Steven Depolo on Wikimedia.org

WEP CHALLENGE FOR JUNE....UNRAVELED YARN.

Love Lost And Found

1408991814e81x2

MorgueFile April 1408991814e81x2

Annie enjoyed walking with her dog in the meadow that surrounded her property.  It had been a warm day but now dark clouds were blowing in with the wind.

“We better get inside pretty soon Rusty. It looks like the weather may be changing.”

Annie was about to attach his leash when the dog’s ears rose to a sound only he could hear and he bolted off. Annie knew she would not be able to run after him but walked as fast as she could manage in the direction he had gone calling out to him. She found him sitting near the old car.

“What are you doing boy? It’s just an old wreck of a car.”

Rusty stayed with his eyes fixed on the window. As Annie stood looking at the car she was reminded of Jack. Her father never liked him. They had spent a lot of time in his old car making love and planning for the future. They planned to marry after Jack returned from the Army. He never made it back. She was looking at the window when she saw him.

“Jack?”

They found her body near the car. The doctor said her heart must have failed.


Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner Week #19-2018 is hosted by Roger Shipp.

Word count: 202

Writing Eclectic For Fun

Thinking about my blog and writing and I have come to the conclusion that in the present I write for self-expression and creativity. I do not have professional writing goals. I write about different topics that interest and inspire me. I create flash fiction and microfiction stories. I do consider myself a writer, maybe with a small ‘w’.  And that’s ok. I am a work in progress.


Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG . Cohosts for May 2 posting of the IWSG are E.M.A. Timar, J. Q. Rose, C.Lee McKenzie, and Raimey Gallant!

Featured image by Natassa64 on Pixabay.com

 

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, 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.

Zoso_John_Paul_Jones_sigil_interlaced_triquetra_overlaying_circle.svg

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

Full Critique

 

 

Devoted Pet

 

kitten

MorgueFile 1449286229de9o8

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