The Battle Within

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Here is a short that I think fits the Halloween season.

Hope you enjoy.

The Battle Within

Everyone thought Hell was hot, come on, lakes of fire here. But for Claw it was ice cold, colder than the grave, and he hated it. At one time or another, having tried everything to escape, he had only one option left; find a human to possess before his inner demon fire, his life force, succumbed to the cold.

He went trolling, trying to find someone susceptible, someone to take. He wasn’t after a soul, so no trickery needed. Claw wanted the body, the essence of being, and he was prepared to take it by brute force. It took a while, but finally he found a spark that resonated with his essence. Compatibility was key to a successful possession.

He entered the dream of a little girl ripe for the picking, and invaded, pushing her consciousness deep, subverting control.

Refreshed in his new body, Claw blazed with a heat he hadn’t known in millennia. He woke to morning sunshine filtered through pretty buttercup-yellow, lace curtains. He opened is eyes to a cheerful little room with dolls, games, and toys. Directly across from the bed, a small vanity with mirror showed him a little girl with gossamer tangles of wavy black hair and bright blue eyes. There on her dewy, ivory cheek rode his mark, four strokes of a claw.  

Where Am I? I can’t see. A little voice sounded in his new head.  Mommy! Mommy! Are you there? Help me, please. He could hear the tiny hiccupping sobs that accompanied the words inside him.

Quiet, little girl, no one can hear you but me!

Who are you? Where am I?

I am Claw, High Demon of the Hell Realms, I have taken over your body, and by morning you will no longer exist. This body is mine.

He used his will and power over her to shove her down, where her sweet, chiming voice couldn’t bother him. There was a whole new world for him to explore.

He followed the sound of voices from the room to a kitchen in chaos. Three other people sat at a breakfast bar, leaving one seat available for him. He had no interest in them. The food sitting at the girl’s customary place however did. He climbed up on the wooden stool and examined the offerings before him. He could smell a sweet tang from the short plastic cup and there was yellow fluff and rubber like sticks on the plate.

“Drink all your orange juice,” the woman said. “Clean your plate of scrambled eggs and bacon, then you can play till nap-time. Mommy has a lot of laundry to do this morning.” When she tried to run her hand over his hair, he ducked her touch.

Fascinated by the food, he picked up one of the strips and bit. His eyes popped wide, he moaned at the meaty, chewy, smoky experience of flavor and texture. Nothing in his vast experience had ever pleased him more. He quickly finished the bacon, and while he enjoyed the eggs and juice, he wanted more. No matter what he had to do, he vowed never to leave a world that had bacon in it.

Claw spent the rest of the morning trying to figure out what little girls did. Every once in a while the woman stuck her nose in his business, mostly when he was quiet for any length of time. Wise to her machinations, he made sure to create some kind of noise often enough to keep her out of what he already considered his domain.

Eventually, no matter his diligence at noise, the woman returned calling him for something called lunch. He once again found himself seated with food in front of him. He furtively scanned for more bacon, but was disappointed at not finding any, just an orange-red liquid in a bowl and a triangle of crispy white with yellow ooze in the center.

He looked at the woman and asked, “Is there more bacon?”  His eyes locked on her like tractor beams hoping for an affirmative response. He was sadly disappointed.

“You had bacon this morning. No more. Eat your soup and sandwich. It’s almost nap-time.”

Tasting soup and sandwich, he liked them and found them pleasing, but it wasn’t bacon. Pissed not to get what he wanted, he threw a fit as only a High Demon could.  He found himself back in his bed, butt stinging and hungry.

The woman, surely more evil than Satan himself, had overpowered him, swatted his behind with her hand numerous times, then dragged him to the bed as she yelled, “Young lady, we do not tolerate this behavior and you know it! Get in bed and do not come out until dinner. I will be back in fifteen minutes, you had better be asleep.”

Too terrified to disobey, Claw lay down and closed his eyes. He laid there and searched for the original essence inside, coaxing her to a level where she could understand him. Even bacon isn’t worth this. I’m going back to Hell. That Mommy woman is violent and scary. Satan is nicer.

Before she could say anything. Claw vacated her body.


Countdown to Panic

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NaNoWriMo is almost here and my nerves are just on the edge of shot.

I wish I had some buttons like the ones in the Picture, because boy will I need them.

I have quite a few friends participating and a writing buddy to help keep me accountable.

I’m almost as prepared as I can be, just need to finish these outlines and I’m ready to type my heart out.

I plan on blogging my progress and any pertinent (to my mind) information. It might be hit or miss but I will do my best to keep on track.

I think it will be interesting, and If I have to blog about it, I am less likely to slack and procrastinate.

Alright back to work, talk to all y’all later.

Busy, Busy Little Writer Elf

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I have had a very busy and productive weekend.

As I have mentioned I am preparing for November and National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo.

By some quirk of my dysfunctional mind I find myself with two accounts on where the challenge is held.

Instead of just deleting one or the other, I’ve decided to do a novel for each account.

(silence for the audience)

Okay, so I’m nuts, we already knew that.

Anyway, each novel has a 50,000 word goal for the thirty days of November.

Even worse I have to build the entire worlds and characters and plot and back story, all those things that give a story meat.

“Oh come on! Authors just sit down at a keyboard and let the words flow, right?” asks every non writer everywhere.

Well, not exactly.

Some writers can write in the “pantser” style, writing by the seat of their pants.

Some can only pants some stories depending on length and complication.

Then there is me.

I have to know what is going on and when or at least a structures suggestion of same.

And now once again we are back to my busy weekend.

A friend gave me a writing program and I just love it, it helped a lot.

I use the free program YWriter now and will continue to use it in conjunction with The Writer’s DreamKit.

WDK or Dramatica as it is also called, asked me questions that lead me into thinking more in depth about the plot, character, motivation and goals of the Novel.

I’m some what new to this writing at a productive level, having only dabbled before joining in January of this year.

Well, I have both novels ready for chapter and scene outlines and that is what I will be working on till Friday.

I’m taking the weekend off, than diving in full force on the 1st.

I just have to decide if I’m going to work on one novel a day or break the day into section to work on both.

I guess we will just have to see how it works out, trying both methods.

Mindless Activity

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Contrary to mistaken beliefs using your brain is the most important part of a mindless task.

For instance, walking or any other exercise where no counting is involved, or any activity where you or any part of your body is occupied with a task that does not require thought allowing your brain to ponder, create, or problem salve.

I use walking and crocheting.

I try to walk 5 miles a week, and despite a dog pulling on the leash and an audio book playing in my ears, the rhythmic repetition of steps allow my mind to wander where it may. I hope my mind travels more than 5 miles a week.

Well,  I just picked up a barely started crochet project I started and stopped 4 years ago. It is so satisfying to see row after row of yarn chain connect as my thoughts and imagination sew plot, setting and character together to for a story.

I also like to take a long hot bath and just listen to more of the audiobook I listened to during my walk (no dog in the tub with the Human) and relax so my creativity can simmer and boil like a cauldron, brewing up shenanigans.

So what mindless task do you use to free think?


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NaNoWriMo starts in a couple weeks. I am not ready.

Right now I am working on my characters for a new Novel, but I don’t know them yet.

I have received some great advise on how to do this.

* I have found a questionnaire.

* Some say interview your new characters.

* Others say to have your character write a personal letter.

I think I am going to try the interview first and see how that works for me.

Okay the madness starts in 14 days, so I have to get busy.

See y’all on the flip side, I hope to have some new friends.

I wonder what I will learn from them?

The Curious Histroy Of Johns County (part 3)

Sandy woke much later. It took her a few minutes to remember why her head hurt. She felt like she had a hangover. Luke was still gone. She sat for a moment gathering her thoughts. Diane would have woken her if Luke had shown up, so he was still missing. Tears gathered in her eyes, but she fought them back. She forced herself to get out of bed and went to wash her face. A living corpse stared back at her from the mirror. She was very pale and drawn.

She found Hugo and Diane in the living room, cuddled together on the couch. It hurt to see them like that, so she went to the kitchen before they noticed her. Not hungry, she passed on food, but a bottle of wine caught her attention. While searching for the corkscrew, she found some emergency candles and decided she was going to have a long soak in the tub. Reaching for a wine glass, she spied the book Luke had been reading last night. She picked it up to read it in the bath. Slipping back upstairs, sure her friends never even knew she had come down.

She filled the tub with scented bubbles, lit some candles, and put the bottle of wine and glass within easy reach. She downed her first glass while getting undressed. The second just after sliding into the water, and finished a third in less than five minutes. Deciding she had enough to get a buzz started, she refilled her glass again, but only took a small sip as she settled in to read.

It didn’t take long for the wine to take effect. Because of the wine, her sadness, fear for Luke, and the horrifying sad story, it wasn’t long until her body was wracked with quaking sobs. Wailing, she threw the book across the room, where it landed outside the bathroom on the bedroom floor. Her tears of grief and pain drowned out the ghostly echo of another’s wretched misery. With every moment that passed, she became more and more inconsolable and another cry matched her sob for sob.

Sandy leaped from the tub. She slipped and slid on the wet floor to the French doors. She didn’t see the shadow of a woman hugging herself, a complete picture of misery. Sandy flung the doors open to the raging storm outside, so lost in herself she felt nothing on her bare, wet skin. The wind blew the doors closed again as soon as she stepped out. Fighting against the snow and wind, she crossed the terrace, mounted the railing, and flung herself into the arms of the waiting storm.

Diane placed her hand over Hugo’s mouth to keep him quiet, as they watched Sandy run back up the stairs with wine, a book and candles.

“Good, she’s going to take a long soak in the tub.” She moved her hand and replaced it with a kiss. “Let’s go to bed, it’s been a long trying day, and I’m tired. She’ll know where we are if she needs us.”

Hugo kissed her in turn and agreed. “Do you think she’ll be okay?”

“I think, she probably wants to be left alone or she wouldn’t have snuck down here without saying anything.” Together they mounted the stairs and went to bed.

Late into the night, they lost power, neither noticed as the generator kicked on automatically.

The next morning, Diane knocked softly on Sandy’s door, hoping not to wake her if she still slept. She knew sleep was probably the best thing for her right now. When Sandy didn’t answer, she debated, cracking the door to check on her friend, but decided against it. She’s check on her later.

Diane met Hugo in the kitchen for coffee and breakfast. “Anything from the Sheriff?” Hugo checked the computer while she’d checked on Sandy.

“It’s off, no power. I went and checked, and the generator is running. It looks like the kitchen, furnace and hot water heaters are the only things running” He shrugged his shoulders. “How is she?”

Diane sighed. “She didn’t answer the door when I knocked. I’m letting her sleep a while longer. Unless she asks, let’s not tell her the computer is down.” Sad deep down in her heart, Diane comforted herself by slipping her hand under his collar to touch his skin. “I just don’t know what to do or say to her. Until she’s up, I’m not going to think about it. Let just have some food and find something to do to pass the time.”

A few hours later when Sandy had still not come down, Diane went to check on her. This time she entered the room when her knock went unanswered. Moments later, she flew out and down the stairs screaming for Hugo.

Together they searched the house, but the only sign of Sandy was the still full tub of cold water, guttered candles, and a mostly empty bottle of wine.

Distraught, Diane paced back and forth across the library floor, muttering to herself over and over. “I should have gone in and checked on her. I should have just gone in. What was she thinking, where is she?”

At a loss for what to do, Hugo finally halted her and wrapped her in his arms while she cried softly. The only thing he had ever seen this woman do quietly was cry. It tore him up inside, it was as if she felt sadness so deep, it could only trickle out.

“Come on, baby. There isn’t anything we can do but wait. Let’s go over to the couch and snuggle.” His eyes landed on the book on the coffee table. “Look, love, It’s the book Mr. Johnson left for us. Close your eyes and I will read to you.”

She sighed heavily, laid her head on his chest, and nodded.

A short while later she stopped him. “That’s horrible, stop I don’t want to hear anymore.” She shot to a sitting position, putting distance between them. “Oh, that poor woman, her husband died, then her child, and like that …” The lights went out.

They each grabbed a flashlight, and trouped into the basement to check the generator.

“Gas is good, switches are on, but I see nothing obvious.” Puzzled as to why the machine was no longer running, Hugo ran his flashlight over the generator once more. He turned the switches and dials, but nothing he did restarted the behemoth.

“Jesus, Hugo, can’t you do anything? What else can go wrong this week?” Finally, beyond the breaking point, Diane snapped. “I swear this is your fault.”

“My fault? My fault? Who found this god-forsaken place? Who insisted that we had to rent it, despite the glaringly obvious fact that it wasn’t available for this week?” Just as frightened and frustrated as she was, he yelled back at her. “My fault? I think you need to grab a clue, this is your fault.”

Oblivious to the additional sound of crying, they continued to yell and scream accusations. Finally, beyond all rational thought, Diane swung out cracking her hand across his face.

They stood there breathing hard. “I think you need to get away from me before I do something we will both regret.” At the end of his control, Hugo hissed the words through his clenched teeth.

Never having witnessed him in this state, Diane recognized her danger and ran up the stairs. Hugo heard the slam of doors and knew she must have returned to the Library. He followed much more slowly. Blood flowed hot and volatile through his veins, pounded through his ears, and drowned out the sound of a woman sobbing behind him.

In the living room, the fire burned as hot as his blood. He paced back and forth, mind racing. Every step he took, pumped his anger higher. Her words, her blame, and her slap tumbled over and over in his mind. His cheek, where her hand had landed, burned. Every time he remembered the slap, it burned brighter until he felt white hot, flaming in his skin. He snapped.

Ripping open the library door, it took seconds for him to reach where she sat crying her heart out at the desk. He reached out, covered her mouth and nose with his large, strong hands, hands she loved, hands he love using on her body. He pulled her back against his chest where she had rested her head a short while before. He applied more pressure to the hand cutting off her air. She fought with everything in her. With all the passion he so loved in her, she fought for life, but it wasn’t enough.

Panting from exertion, Hugo let her lifeless body go and stepped back. The rage left him and staring down at her, grief over took him. It drug him under farther and faster than the rage. He screamed out her name and tried to revive her, but failed.

He vaguely heard the voice behind him. “All I loved died, so I gave myself to the storm.”

What could he do, but the same? He gathered his love into his arms and took them both into the storm.

Seymour Johnson drove up the drive of his Mountain Chalet, the annual holiday storms were over, and the snow melted. He could see a car sitting in the circle drive at the front of the house. Unease bloomed in his soul.

The front door was unlocked. Upon entering, he found evidence of the house still occupied, but charging extra rent was not the first thought that came to his greedy mind. In the living room, he spied the book. He knew what had happened, but he picked it up and opened it anyway, and read.

‘Martha Johns, had been widowed when her husband Robert  died overseas serving his country. She went mad with grief when she received the devastating news. While in the grips of this madness, she suffocated her two-year-old daughter, Bea. When she realized what she had done, she wrote her name and the name of her child on her husband’s death notice along with the words, “It is too much. We join him.” Clutching it in her hand, she carried her dead baby into the raging storm. She died wrapped around the small body in the Gazebo her husband had built for her as a gift while she was pregnant. Since that fateful Christmas, every year brings another storm, and any who occupy Johns House dies. Two bodies always found in the gazebo.’

Mr. Johnson, now a believer and sickened at what his greed had caused, laid the book back on the table. He went to inform the police there were bodies in the Johns House Gazebo.

The Curious History Of Johns County (part 2)

“You go on up to bed, darling. I’m gonna stay down here and read that book on the local history. I’m just not ready to sleep yet.” Giving her a kiss and a playful swat on the rear, he headed into the living room where a cozy fire burned. The lamps were on low giving him just enough light to read by.

Outside the window, no one noticed the snow beginning to fall. It went from a light flurry to heavy flakes in a matter of minutes. It worsened until an hour later, when they had a full whiteout.

Engrossed in the book, he didn’t notice the storm outside, though the howl of the wind must have registered on some level. By the time the wail was loud enough, and there was no way he could ignore it, he was crying. Hiccupping sobs blended with ethereal crying. The story never stopped, even as tears streamed out of his eyes, blinding him to the words. As each new tragedy befell the Widow Johns, he felt her agony. Finally at the end, he felt her desolation and inability to continue living.

Luke put the book down on the side-table. Dressed only in the pants and sweater he’d worn all day, no shoes on his feet, he let himself out the door and disappeared into the deadly weather.

Sandy woke alone in bed; looking over, she thought Luke had stayed up all night, again. Sighing, she got up and headed to the shower. She was used to it. Two or three nights a week, she slept alone, and sometimes it bothered her. Today, was one of those days. Here they were in this fabulous house with their friends, nothing to do but enjoy the time and each other, and he couldn’t even try to be there to cuddle with her. Who knew where cuddling could have led?

Clean and refreshed after her shower, she opened the curtains. Snow fell so thick nothing was visible. She could hear the wind as it raged outside the house. Shivering, Sandy closed the curtains. She wondered as she headed to make coffee and to talk Luke into coming back upstairs for a bad weather snuggle and the, whatever else, he’d missed upon waking.

Stopping off in the living room, hoping Luke had slept on the couch, she stopped suddenly to find it empty. Baffled by his disappearance she started the coffee she desperately wanted. While it percolated, she checked the other rooms on the first floor, but still found no sign of Luke. Back in the kitchen, she made toast to go with the java, and sat down.

Sandy rose and put her empty plate in the dishwasher, just as Diane and Hugo entered.

“Ah, coffee, thank god!” Diane dove at the cabinet for cups.

Hugo, still sleepy-eyed, smiled quietly at Sandy, “Thanks for making the coffee. Can I get mine in an IV? Somebody …” he jerked his thumb at Diane. “…kept me up way past my bedtime.”

“Is that a complaint?” Diane waited until he sat, before plopping onto his lap. She gave him a loud smacking kiss on the lips. “We’re on vacation, no one has a bedtime.”

They sat in silence enjoying the coffee.

“Are you ready for breakfast, baby?” Diane asked. “What about you, Sandy? Want some breakfast? Wait, where’s Luke?” She bumped back up and rattled around looking for the makings of breakfast. “Did you wear him out so bad he’s still dead to the world?”

“I had toast, so I’m good, thank you. I’ve no idea where Luke is, He never came to bed last night, and he isn’t anywhere down here.” They both looked at her.

“Is he outside?” Hugo asked.

“I don’t think so. Its storming bad out there, absolutely no visibility. No one in their right mind would dare try.” She shivered at the thought.

Hugo put his cup down, and then moved swiftly to open the drapes covering the closest window.

“Wow, the old man wasn’t kidding when he said there were terrible snow storms Christmas week.” He stared at nothing but white. “Yeah, no way is anyone out in that.”

He turned back to the table. “Let’s go look around, see if we can find him. You said you’ve checked down here, so you go up. I’ll check the basement. There is a game room and stuff down there.” He walked over and kissed Diane on the head. “Be right back, baby.”

Sandy ran back up the stairs, checking each room as she went down the hall. Frustrated at not finding him, she returned to their room. She stood in the middle of the floor looking around. His suitcase was still zipped, so she went and opened it. Everything was just as it was when she zipped it closed; Dopp kit, clothes, and shoes. Troubled, panic rising, she went back down to the kitchen and checked the mudroom where they came in last night. His coat, scarf and shoes were where he’d left them.

“He isn’t anywhere up there,” She said when Hugo came back into the room alone.

“Not down stairs either.”

“His coat and all his stuff is still in there,” she gestured. “His suitcase is still packed. He’s just gone.” She turned in a panic back to the mudroom, grabbed her coat. “He must be outside. If he went out before the storm started, he may be trapped somewhere. We have to go look for him.”

Hugo grabbed her before she could reach the outside door. “You can’t go out there, you won’t be able to find anything, and you said yourself there is no visibility.” He turned her to face him as she struggled to break his hold. “Come on now, you know he wouldn’t have gone out there. He wouldn’t have stayed out there once this storm started.”

Diane stood next to the table where she had set three breakfast plates, looking pale. “Honey, hang up your coat and come sit down, we’ll figure this out.” She walked over, and led her to a seat, gently urging her down. “I’m going to get you some water.” Diane shot a look at Hugo, which he correctly interpreted as to mean ‘Sit with her.’

He sat in chair to her right and scooted next to her, taking her hands in his. “I’m going to call for help. We won’t give up on him. Hey, he’s probably in here somewhere playing a joke.”

Diane, back with the water, helped Sandy hold the glass as she took a sip. “It will be alright, you’ll see, Hugo is going to call the police. They will come help us look for him, okay? You just sit here for a moment.” She jerked her head at Hugo and they both left the kitchen.

“What are you telling her that for? You know the owner said that emergency help wasn’t available with the storms. She’s gonna go nuts when she finds out that no one is coming.” He hissed at Diane.

“I had to tell her something after your asinine ’he’s hiding somewhere in the house’ nonsense.’” She gave as nasty as she got. “Look, she won’t know no one is coming right away, just go call and let them know we have a missing person, so they can get here as soon as the storm clears. Then we won’t be lying to her.”

He stalked to the phone in the library, picked it up, listened, and then slammed it down. He looked at her stricken. “The phone is out, and there isn’t gonna be any cell reception in this storm.” Thinking a moment, he looked around and spotted a desktop computer. “Let’s hope I can get an email out.” He booted the computer and quickly composed an email to the county Sheriff’s office, and hit send. “I’ll leave it on and keep checking to see if we get a reply. What do we tell her?”

“The truth. The phones are out, but we got a message through.” Diane surprised him with her practicality. “They’ll get here as soon as they can. If he is out there and isn’t under cover, he’s already dead and it won’t matter.” She took his hand.” Lets go back to Sandy, I’m gonna try to get her to go lay down. The crying would have worn her out. I’ll have her take a sleep aid, and hopefully she will sleep for a while.”

Hugo pulled her to him and held her close. “What the hell was he doing? He has to be out there. Why would he go out there?”

“I don’t know. Maybe he heard something. It doesn’t matter now, let’s just do what needs doing, and worry when it’s time to worry,” she sighed and leaned her head on his shoulder.

“I always forget how wise you are. You wear a man out, always going a hundred miles an hour, but I couldn’t imagine my life without you.”