Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Your Mid-Week Update for 04/30/14

I have nothing to report this week, dear readers, except for the fact that I am writing this with a British accent.

I may also be very drunk.

In the last six days I’ve impaled my kids’ security guard, and poisoned Heather’s cousin Janet so that my bloody assistant would leave me alone for a few days. I’m quite proud of my spontaneity but I may have taken one of those kills too far.

Because no one is safe anymore, not even at school, my children apparently need more and more security – not that it seems to be doing them any good. I managed to walk all the way through the school, impale the security guard with a prop sword – which is a messy task, by the way…in case you were thinking about it – and walk away without anyone stopping me or even seeing me. I fear for my niece and nephew’s safety.

I killed him for good reason, mind you. He was extremely rude to Sandra when she forgot her lanyard – because the best way to keep track of high school children is to tag them and force them to walk around with a name tag – and made her pay a ridiculous fine out of her own pocket. He treated them like children and insisted that he’s “keeping them safe”. I’m assuming the school saw the error of his ways because at the vigil today, the principal announced that Administration and the Board of Education were entering into talks about how to better protect their children since there were flaws in their current systems.

For my dear readers who have children in public school: you’re welcome.

Now I know you’re probably wondering how I took it “too far”: it was perfectly executed – mostly – I got away with it in a semi-public location, what could possibly have gone wrong?

Children. Children are always the answer to that question.

This time it wasn’t really my children, though. According to my now very quiet nephew the security guard’s body was discovered by two fourteen year old girls who went to get props out of the closet. They’re now traumatized beyond reason so the school brought in grief counsellors and let them loose on the classrooms of impressionable children.


They called me a monster. At least that’s what the children tell me. They came home excited about all the things that had happened at school; how they had a short day and even that was made short by an extensive visit by a child psychologist who talked about the horrible things that I, as the killer, had done and how no one deserves to die in such a horrible way.

Clearly they’ve never met that man who cut me off on the highway last month.

In any case, the parents were required to come to the vigil today, to support their children in this difficult time – I snort. They offered champagne. I drank. James drove home. I’m writing this. Then I think it’ll be time for a nap.

I mean, how can they possibly call me a monster? I did that school a favor. If I can walk in how many lunatics and perverts can just walk into that school? They should be thanking me. Instead there’s just another police investigation and a warrant out for my arrest – as the ‘yet-to-be-determined’ Security Guard Stabber.

Yeah, that’s my name now. Apparently.

I overheard one of the news stations today, doing their report and they gave me a name – for the one murder they think I committed.

You understand now why I drank a little more than was totally acceptable for a high school function?
Thought so.


I guess I had a few things to report.

As always, dear readers,


Stay Safe

Friday, 25 April 2014

World Building: A Guest Post by Sharon Bayliss

As part of the Destruction Blog Tour, Sharon Bayliss has graciously been dragged, lovingly, on to Writer of Wrongs to talk about world building in contemporary fantasy.

Take it away, Sharon.
 
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My first novel, The Charge, was an alternate history. So, as you can imagine, worldbuilding was a pretty big deal. I had to create a fictional historical timeline and fictional countries and cities, all within the parameters of real history.

Then, I started The December People Series, and actually wanted to accomplish the opposite. I wanted to show wizards against a very real backdrop, which meant that my worldbuilding was not about building a world that doesn't exist, but re-creating the real world. Back when I did the worldbuilding blogfest, I reminded everyone that worldbuiling was not just important for sci-fi and fantasy--ALL stories need good worldbuilding. But, I never saw how true that was until I created my own real world.

I think authors writing in the real world often gloss over worldbuilding. I mean, why not? Everyone knows what the real world is like. However, that's not exactly true. Settings are different. Some of the stories that stand out to me when it comes to worldbuilding, were not set in fantasy worlds, but in different countries or cultures. I loved getting to experience a different part of the real world. I also love getting to see my own home and culture highlighted with good worldbuilding.

Details are critical. In Destruction, I reference restaurants and stores. I talk about movies they've seen. However, worldbuilding is not just about places, it's about how the characters think and act. When the Vandergraffs find out they are wizards, they try to understand their new identity within their real world. They wonder things like: How are they like, or not like, the wizards from Harry Potter? How does this fit in to their Christian beliefs? Are there wizards in the Bible?

Here is a worldbuilding excerpt from Destruction:

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Your Mid-Week Update for 04/23/14

There are some things about the next generation that are really annoying: The price of gas, their inflated egos. The list of things I just cannot abide is endless. There are things that should be universal and timeless and I see these kids walking around like they own the place and it aggravates me to no end.

Manners, people. The simple, courteous idea that you should be polite to people instead of shoving doors in their faces and disregarding your surroundings.

I promise, there’s a specific story behind this.

My car is still in the shop from the little incident two weeks ago and I’ve been taking the bus when James has the car. Downtown is full of assholes. It doesn’t really matter which downtown you’re talking about, it’s full of assholes so it really should not have surprised me when this boy decided to ignore my existence. That’s the only explanation I have. I temporarily became invisible so when I was walking behind this kid he didn’t see me and that’s why he shut every door in my face, why he cut me off getting on to the same bus and then stole the last seat from a poor elderly woman who was forced to stand for several stops – and no, that elderly woman was not me, don’t even think that. He wasn’t just inconsiderate, he was rude.

Do you understand now why he had to die?

When some of the crowds had died down on the bus I took the free seat next to him where he slept, practically snoring against the window.

It’s like he was asking for it. Come on.

So there we sat, his bulky backpack taking up half of my seat, his body slumped over, looking dead already. I recognized that look right away. It’s my favourite look for public killings. I don’t do many of them but I love when they look like they’re sleeping. It makes things so much easier.

Especially with this asshole.

His backpack was excessively large, making it a little difficult to get my hand around it but it did mask my movements from the onboard security camera. One never can be too careful. Knowing I needed to strike quickly, I grabbed the scissors from my nail kit in my purse and rammed them into his side, hitting something squishy as I pushed it in as deep as I could. And then I sat with him while he bled out beside me, his backpack and hoodie absorbing most of the blood. Once my stop came, I plucked the scissors from between his ribs and went on my merry way. I found out later that night that James caught the case and would be strategically erasing the security footage from the bus. He’s so sweet that way.

According to the coroner, so my loving husband told me, the man didn’t suffer for long. We’re both disappointed to learn that news but the look on his face when I came home and he saw the bloody scissors made up for any disappointments in the past.  

That man really does love me. Did I ever tell you how we met?

It feels so long ago, we’ve been through so much in these past 7 years. Back then I wasn’t always so careful and I didn’t nearly have as much back up as I do now when it comes to murder. I was on my own, not really concerned about anyone but myself. I wasn’t speaking to my parents and my sister was off doing god knows what. It was a rather lonely time.

But then I met James. He was just a uniformed officer then, so young and impressionable. He called me down to the police station to review my testimony as a witness to a murder – one I committed, of course – and somehow he saw what no one else could. He saw the truth about me and he kept my secret. No one had ever done that for me before.

In the past, when others learned my secret, it usually ended in a bad break up. Of bones.

I killed them.

But with James…I can’t explain it. He questioned me as a witness, he knew my secret, and he asked me out on a date. It was like he wanted to get to know every part of me and that had never happened before. Eight months later we were married and I haven’t looked back since. He is a rare man and I am so lucky to have found him. I mean we have our ups and downs, what couple doesn’t? But in the end, I love him with all my heart, I really do, and I know he loves me back.

Some have said that being in my line of work, being in a romantic relationship at all is a serious weakness; it leaves you vulnerable but I don’t agree. No, I do agree, except for the two of us.

As cheesy as it is, I think having James in my life is an asset. Not only has he been helpful in covering up crimes but he has also been supportive and sweet and just generally amazing. Plus he dotes on me like nothing else. Even after six years of marriage and two children who don’t belong to us.

What was I talking about?

Oh yes; assholes with no manners.

Dead assholes with no manners.

Know what this means, dear readers?

I’m back!

I know I had my little freak out last week, not being able to get my release but I was just so upset with that boy I didn’t even think about it. I didn’t try and psyche myself up for it, I didn’t try and plan it out, I just did it. I didn’t get to watch the lights go out which is definitely my favourite part but at least he’s dead. As long as I get the end result I’m happy. I even stabbed a waiter behind our favorite restaurant that same night just to make sure he wasn’t a fluke. James took us out for dinner to celebrate my return to normalcy. Whatever hold my mother had over me is finally broken, I hope.

Maybe that’s what I need to do now. Maybe I need to stop planning my kills all together. Just have a weapon handy at all times and when an opportunity presents itself combined with the uncontrollable urge I feel, I’ll do the deed.

It’ll be like a little surprise every day, finding out who’s going to die.

I’m still going to be careful, of course. No witnesses in any form. I can be carefully spontaneous, right?

Sure.

Well anyways, thank you for your words of support, they meant a lot to me. I hope I never have to experience that kind of doubt again.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Your Mid-Week Update for 04/16/14

I blame my mother for making me homicidally impotent.

I have not been able to kill since her visit last week. Do you know what that means? That is a week and a half in which I have not taken the life of another human being. A week and a half in which I have not violently released on some poor innocent victim. I am beyond frustrated, I am enraged. You must understand, dear readers, I am not known for my calm nature or my ability to abstain from my natural urges but this week has been a serious test of my patience.

No, not patience. This feels more like torture.

Patience is one thing. I have great patience. The anticipation can keep me going for days.  Holding the knife in my hand, watching the victim from a far, waiting until they’re alone. Knowing that eventually I will be able to make my move and watch as their life leaves their body and I can finally find release.

That’s what it is, for me: a release. A primal urge. A physical, emotional and mental abandonment of social norms in favor of pure and unadulterated pleasure. And there is a pleasure to be had, dear readers. A sinful kind of pleasure that only comes from being in complete control of another person. There is no feeling like it. Knowing that their life is in your hands; knowing that with a flick of your wrist you can steal their last breath, bottle it up and take it with you wherever you go. Knowing that when you come back to that special place where you took them away, the memories will come flooding back and you can relive that pleasure over and over again.

And my mother has taken that away from me.

I don’t even know what happened. After the incident on Saturday night – the one involving a hammer and a certain laundry machine that we will never speak about again – I slept in and woke up refreshed the next morning. I didn’t really feel the urge to kill which is not uncommon. I can hold out for days before the need overtakes me. Which is also why I wasn’t surprised when last Tuesday rolled around and I found a victim.

She works at the grocery store – she told me that she just started working there last month. I’ll call her Sally. Sally was a perfect little victim: isolated, beautiful, naïve. It took me all of twenty minutes to talk her into walking me to my car. In the alley. Where there are no security cameras. And no place to park a car.

As I said: naïve.

I was this close to bashing her head in with a lead pipe, to watching the blood fly across the bricks like a painting as her skull fractured and she hit the wall, landing in a beautiful, isolated, naïve heap. Sadly, there was a man walking down the alley towards us as we turned the corner. There was no time to take them both out so I thanked her for her time and went on my way.

I thought I could hold out for a few more days.

Last Friday, after I posted the update, I realized that it had been a week since I’d killed and I was feeling the urge stronger than ever. It was like drums pounding through my skin every time I locked eyes with someone knowing I could be the last face they saw. It gave me such a rush and, if I’m being honest, I might have been more than a little eager.

I had my victim all picked out. It was going to be Sally. I would not let her live when she should have died days ago. It was my right to decide.

I was so careful this time. I made sure that there was no one around, no security cameras, no alternative exits other than the one in my hand. A lead pipe. The same lead pipe. I wanted the opportunity to destroy her pretty face if need be. But mostly, I needed to recreate that moment – make sure I could recreate that moment.

Maybe that was my problem.

I don’t remember the last time I was so desperate to get a fix, I wasn’t thinking properly.
I lured Sally into the alley behind the grocery store, I raised the lead pipe above my head when she turned her back…

And then this image of my mother and her disapproving face came into my mind and I froze. I can’t believe I froze. Mother just kept staring at me and staring at me and usually I can channel my frustration into bludgeoning my victims but this time… this time I was left standing there with the murder weapon above my head while my victim was bent over tying her shoelaces. Any moment now she would turn around and I would lose my chance to mash her pretty face in.

I threw the pipe away. I tossed it to the side into a patch of tall grass so she wouldn’t see and I let her go. Again.

I thought maybe it was just a fluke – maybe there was something about Sally that wouldn’t let me do the deed. It’s never happened before but there’s always the possibility.

But I kept trying. Over the weekend I tried to run over a pedestrian, poison my waiter, stab my cab driver (I totaled my car when I swerved to avoid the pedestrian; James is not happy), even strangle my mail woman from behind. Every single time I got close I would see my mother and I wouldn’t be able to finish.

What the hell has she done to me?

James has been so supportive in all of this. On Monday when I confessed why the car was totaled he offered to pick out a victim for me. Make it quick and simple. He was convinced that I just needed to do it once and I would be back on track but it’s not working.

We went down to gang territory. All I had to do was pull the trigger for fuck’s sake. My fucking mother cock-blocked me again.

I don’t know what that woman did to make me like this but it needs to stop NOW!

It’s like I’m functioning normally but as soon as I get to that moment of release, the feeling dies – and not in a good way.

The desire is there. It’s so strong. It’s all I can think about but I can’t go through with it.

I need release. There’s too much pent up energy. I need my fucking release.

It has now been 12 days, 7 hours and 16 minutes since I last killed someone. I am getting dangerously desperate, dear victims. Pray you don’t pass me on the street when I finally snap. And I will snap. I have to.


Stay Safe

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Between the Interstice: a guest post by Mike Robinson

Between the Interstice

On Lovecraft and Weird Fiction
"Back then, with the visions, most of the time I was convinced I'd lost it. There were other times, though, where I thought I was mainlining the secret truth to the universe."

                                                                                    ------------ Rust Cohle, True Detective
Behind the wide facade of Speculative Fiction twist the hedge-mazes of fantasy, brood the catacombs of horror and gaze the far-seeing floors of science fiction. Among them, between them, are the closets and crawlspaces of the niche, one of which -- a relatively bigger one -- is the place of Weird Fiction, a dark storage of many souvenirs from fantasy, horror and science fiction, though dusted with its own special charms.
            The former subtitle for my new book, Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray: A Collection of Weird Fiction was actually, A Collection of Speculative Fiction. As one prone to appreciate sprawling ambiguity, to resist specific categorization, it’s a little ironic that I wanted to specify further. But there was a reason for that, besides the stodginess of “speculative”, which has none of the zany, fluid charisma of “weird”.

Goodreads
            While using “weird” may sound like a proud judgment, a literary outcast chest-thumping his identity as such, it’s more a direct homage to the tradition of Ambrose Bierce, Robert Chambers, H.P. Lovecraft and many others. Going further, it’s an accurate classification given my vision of Weird Fiction, a subgenre that, perhaps more consciously than other fields of speculative fiction, stirs together elements of the metaphysical, cosmological and horrific to grimly honor the Big Questions, remind us of our insurmountable ignorance, to pin down our squirming selves into our rightful position in the child’s seat, to whisper, maybe in some alien, mud-packed voice, that, hey, the world slippery and you won’t ever, ever catch it. The world, in short, is weird.
            And past all the horror, the strangeness, that to me is a nourishing thought. Let me explain.
            The moment I cemented my decision to not pursue an M.F.A (or any academic training) in writing is vivid. While enrolled at Otis College of Art & Design, I found in my mailbox a little perfect-bound literary booklet featuring work by the graduate students in fiction. I flipped it open to a random story. After wading cautiously into the second paragraph of a painful scrutiny of eyebrow-plucking, I was done. Other entries weren’t much better. Too many of them seemed concerned with stereotypical, high-literary minutia, unfortunately the focus and baffling preference of innumerable professors, awards, journals, and workshops (cough-Iowa-cough).

My first sale, the storyThe Hand of Spudd in Storyteller Magazine
            Personally, I have little interest in quaint journalistic accounts of Malaysian transvestite violinists at the turn of the century (yes, I made that up), or the endless slew of aptly-termed “McFiction” featuring some cocky narrator coming of age amongst his or her overfed, dysfunctional family. No, I prefer going head-on at the Big Questions, going at them, as George Carlin might say, with no less than a sledgehammer. Give me ballsy confrontations with Life, Death, the Cosmos, with Existence, with God.
            In their noble attempts at social redemption and inclusion, many contemporary teachers of literature treat writings in the framework of their political significance. To me, though, such attempts seem nothing more than new forms of division. It is looking at the grains and forgetting the shore. Does the world really need a Marxist reading of Huckleberry Finn, complete with ten-dollar jargon? Academics are on the lookout for the “next best thing”, the new trend in analysis, the new prism through which to see literary works of yesterday and today. I say: what about our shared heritage? Our shared -- and uncertain -- future? Not as any one ethnicity, gender, party, or faction, but as an entire civilization. A species. A collective piece of this vast Universe.
            Of course, much of this material is studied, and much of it is exhaustively considered and written about. Enter Weird Fiction!
            As any fellow devotee will know, H.P. Lovecraft -- arguably the most esteemed and influential practitioner of the genre -- cleaned out the catacombs with his pen, defying tropes of ghosts and vampires and expanding imaginations with interconnected tales of ancient civilizations antedating our own, of towering alien-gods, of unseen dimensions and humanity’s sanity-shattering smallness in an inexplicable cosmos. All this made more impressive by the fact that he wrote in the 1920s, when so much of that stuff was barely on anyone’s speculative radar, including scientists’. His unknowns are truly Unknown, and will forever elude explanation.
            Certainly Lovecraft’s work has failings, failings probably more surface-level than those of other lauded authors. He was well aware of his own wooden dialogue (hence, quotation marks are scarce in his pages) and his prose sometimes gushes into the purple. Nevertheless, his voice, with its richly archaic, darkly celebratory cadence, stands alone, and will survive as long as we’re unsure what lurks “out there”.

Me suited up, scoping “out there”
            Sadly, Lovecraft, and especially his “Cthulu” mythos, have become somewhat franchised, relegated to corners of the market generally aimed at Dungeons and Dragons fans, horror enthusiasts, and nihilistic young adults sporting black fingernails and lipstick. It is a wide “cult following”, but nonetheless a cult following. Although some scholars have acknowledged his importance, many see him as a troublesome bridge from Poe to Stephen King. It is this identity that has, I’m sure, dissuaded many from giving him a serious go. “Lovecraft? Oh, no, I don’t like that horror stuff.”
            But back up. Here we come back to the question of Weird Fiction itself, because I don’t necessarily consider the canon, or Lovecraft’s work, “horror”. Certainly there are horrific elements in his work, and his career does include several standard supernatural yarns. But in his treatment of cosmic mysteries, and the shadowed realms of prehistory, his is more a prying curious eye, forcing us to consider those Big Questions, to ponder notions of, and issues with, the likes of religion, biology, cosmology, archaeology, and psychology. He sets you on the outside looking in, a contrast to being in and looking further in to the point of navel-gazing. This exercise of outside-looking-in, one I believe most writers of fiction should undertake, helps in a kind of rounding out of thought.
            No matter the genre in which one writes, I believe the best, most poignant stories have at least an undercurrent of  this “larger awareness”, a perception conveying authority and wisdom. So many stories feel constricted by their own world, characters or concerns. Yet to read Lovecraft is to confront directly that raw Unknown that surrounds us, that is us. To get a healthy dose of perspective: a shambling, roaring, behemoth upswell of perspective.
            I mentioned earlier that I think such a perspective can be ultimately nourishing. In an era of economic, cultural and political tumult, when millions of Davids the world over shout in fiery voice against the few far-reaching, corrupt Goliaths, there is morbid comfort in knowing that, despite whatever the megalomaniacal egos of sadistic leaders, immoral bankers, or bribe-pocketing politicians might make of themselves, there are impenetrable forces beyond all of them that will cast mocking eyes towards their suited-up, gold-rimmed delusions, if they even care to acknowledge them. Lovecraft, and the general tradition of Weird Fiction, reminds us just how little power the powerful actually wield. After all, Goliath was, what, ten feet tall? When the mountain-sized Cthulu rises once more, those people will be nothing but scrambling ants -- along with the rest of us.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Your Mid-Week Update for 04/09/14

I don't like my family. I mean, I don't know too many people who are overly fond of their families but between my mother's gambling problem and my father's fondness for sleeping with women who aren't my mother without her permission, family reunions are a nightmare. It's not even their proneness to addiction, it's the fact that I am the only family member who hasn't gone to some form of therapy or rehab to try and "fix" their "problems". I don't look on addiction as a problem; I look on it as a character flaw, one that doesn't need to be fixed. It simply needs to be controlled. That's what my parents never understood - still don't understand - about me or my sister. They were always trying to fix us like we were broken and it was torture.

But at least we always had each other. This was my first family dinner since my sister was arrested and I had to face the two of them alone. Really, I think it was just rude of her to get caught and I could easily make an argument to the effect that she did it on purpose specifically to avoid dad’s birthday dinner.

But I know that's not true.

If I’m being honest, I could have gotten the family reunion over with a few years ago but I always had an excuse available: I have a work function, I have a custody hearing, I’m trying to figure out how to stuff a body into a pizza oven while my husband’s at work. They still laugh at that last one. One day I’ll tell them it wasn’t a joke. Maybe at Christmas.

Thank god for my two little terror’s at home, though. If it weren’t for them I’d be forced to visit my parents at least once a month. I’m so glad they saw reason and blamed their grandparents for what happened to their mother. Now I don’t even need to come up with an excuse, I just tell them that I can’t find a babysitter and wait for next year when they try to call. It’s a beautiful system.

Until this weekend.

I told my mother that the kids were here for the weekend when, in fact, they were both away (Jason at a friend’s house, Sandra touring universities with James). The peace and quiet was so welcome I didn’t think twice about lying to my mother.

And then she showed up at the door. Apparently she called James and he had foolishly told her the truth, thinking I had also told her the truth. I already scolded him so there’s no need to make snide remarks in the comments, dear readers.

So in burst my mother on Saturday morning insisting that my father would be here later in the day and we needed to clean the house for supper with the three of us. Great.

To her credit, my mother taught me some very valuable things: how to get stains out of carpet, and her desire to take risks in everyday situations. Mostly her cleaning skills, though, that woman could spark a blood bath in the kitchen and you’d never know it an hour later.

Huh.

Now I’m very careful about the cleanliness of my home. Too clean and the police become suspicious but too messy and I get these weird rashes all over my body. It’s not pretty. But my father has never been able to stand anything less than perfection when it came to the cleanliness of his home. When we were growing up we wouldn’t be allowed to eat a meal until the entire house passed inspection. I admit that in university I rebelled against him by living in an absolute pigsty but I slowly grew to appreciate the values of living in cleanliness. And having bleach on hand at all times.

Yes, for all my parent’s flaws, I can honestly say that they have shaped me into the woman I am today.

That still does not mean I want to see them on a regular basis and that certainly does not excuse them from acting like assholes at dinner. From the moment my mother stepped into my house she had to comment on everything, comparing it to her precious little condo that she and dad had bought now that they “didn’t have to entertain”. Of course that didn’t stop her from complaining about the fact that I never visit and that they were forced to move to a smaller house since their grandchildren were brainwashed into thinking they were the villains.

They say brainwashed, I say logically persuaded.

In any case, my mother spent more time criticizing my furniture choice, my choice of colour and even my choice of dish soap than she did cleaning which is odd even for her. Usually she’s much better at multitasking.

And then, like good little women, we had to make supper before father dear returned from chopping wood or selling women’s dresses or whatever he does now in his old age. It’s not that I minded cooking, it’s that it was expected of me. I hate when people just assume that I’ll do something. It irritates me to no end and if it were anyone else they would have found the body the next morning and I would be adding their information to my notebooks. But since they’re family I made an exception. 

Mostly because it would have raised too many questions.

Like clockwork, dad showed up as we were putting the food on the table and immediately made a beeline for the basement. He always liked to start at the bottom and worked his way up when he made his inspections. Thank god I remembered to change out my load of laundry. He has a nasty habit of airing out people’s dirty laundry and I doubt blood stains on my nice white blouse would have made him particularly excited. One habit I was glad to break was waiting for everyone to be seated before we ate. Sometimes dad’s inspections could take hours and I was not about to let his invasion of my privacy stop me from enjoying a good home-cooked meal. Even if my mother was glaring at me as I ate in silence.

That’s the thing about my family. Even when we were growing up, I can probably count on one hand the times when we’d had long, serious conversations. We rarely spoke to each other. Everything we said was silent. Glaring or disapproving looks were sometimes indistinguishable from disappointed or disturbed looks but after a while they all meant the same to my sister and me: you’re not good enough. I remember that look always made my sister cry. Even after all these years – in my own home no less – I still get an uneasy feeling in my stomach when my mother glares at me like that. Like she’s trying to burn me from the inside out. Like she knows my dark secrets. Of course she doesn’t. If she did I would have been arrested by now. My mother would literally turn in her own daughter if it meant making herself look good.

Which brings me to dinner - or at least the moment when we all sat down together. I have never believed my mother to be a good woman – nor would she want me to – but there’s a certain level of loyalty even criminals and low lifes have. She brought it up so casually like it was every day conversation. My father, to his credit or cowardice, remained silent as my mother recounted her tale.
I am not known for my calm attitude or my ability to forgive so it is out of sheer preservation that my mother is still alive today. I want you to understand that, dear readers. I am being purely selfish.

My mother turned my sister in to the police. She wasn’t caught by chance. She was ratted out. Four years and she finally got up the courage to confess to a crime I didn’t even know she committed.
After I heard the news, I honestly don’t know what happened or how dinner ended but when I next found myself it was later that evening and James was holding me back from attacking the washing machine with a hammer. Thank god he found me; that was an expensive machine.

All jokes aside, I have never blacked out like that. I’ve had moments where rage has overtaken me with a victim and they’ve ended up more guts than flesh but never for this long and never without supervision. I had James call my father to make sure they’d made it home safe and sound. He sounded so calm as he talked to my parents but I could tell he was scared.

That’s what my mother does to people. She brings out the terror in them. It comes in many forms but it’s like her super villain power: drawing the nightmares from people. I would think it was a gift if it didn’t affect me so much.

Instead it’s a curse. A terrible plague.

In a lot of ways my parents are well matched in that manner. Though my father’s terror is more silent but deadly.

Four days later and I’m still trying to fathom how someone can do that to their daughter. You don’t just drop a bomb on them like that in the middle of dinner. It’s so rude.

I’m hoping I scared them enough that they won’t want to have another impromptu family dinner for at least another year.

As always, dear readers,


Stay Safe

Friday, 4 April 2014

Dreamer's Waltz: A Short Story

Inspiration:


He spied her across the empty bar much too close to closing time. Not for any particularly attractive attribute but for the closed off expression and the empty drink in her hand. She was staring at the bottom of the glass like it held all the answers of the universe and the sigh on her lips told him exactly what he needed to do. He was going to help her tonight, if he could. A woman who looked like that should never have that much sadness in her eyes.
He tossed back the last of his drink and strode across the bar, opening his mouth as he approached her, ready to do the impossible.
"Sorry honey, tonight is not a good night to hit on me."
He couldn’t help but smile but she didn’t see it, never looking up from her empty glass. "Is it a good night to keep you company?"
She did look up, then, staring at him with blurry curiosity. Then she shrugged and turned back to her crystal ball. "It's your decision."
"Actually it's yours." He smirked.
He really looked at her features when she looked up at him, trying to read his intentions. Her face was round and small, the freckles on her nose accentuated without makeup. Her auburn hair was piled atop her head in a messy bun and for a moment he wondered what it would be like to drag the ponytail from her head and watch those curly locks tumble over her shoulders. Instead he waited with a kind smile and a patient stance. Finally, she waved at the empty stool beside her. "Go ahead."

His smile grew wider as he took his seat. "So what's"

"Nuh uh, pretty boy.” Her head snapped up so quickly he jumped. “You can keep me company but I didn't say you could talk to me."
He raised his hands in surrender. "Alright." He waived the bartender down. "Hey Mindy, can you get the lady another drink? On me."
She sighed. "Don't do that."
"Do what?"
"Try and charm me with alcohol." She smirked, convinced she was on to his game.
He chuckled as he watched Mindy quickly dispense something dark and rich into a small glass and pass it over. "I've never heard it described that way before."
"Why did you come over here?" He paused to look at her, confusion and amusement written all over his face. "If you're thinking that I'm going home with you"
"No, no. I don't know.” He shrugged, he couldn’t believe he was about to tell her the truth. Actually, yes he could. “You just look like you need someone tonight."
"Well I don't." She took a long sip, doing her best not to cough as she inhaled a little too quickly.
"Then why are you here?"
She stared him down defiantly. "The liquor store was closed."
He adjusted himself, leaning in closer, that same self-satisfied smirk she’d just had plastered onto his face. "See, I think you just didn't want to be alone."
"Fine. I don't…" she licked her lips, unable to meet his eyes "I came home to an empty apartment and for once I couldn't brush it off." She shook it off and gave him a pointed look. "I'm still not going to sleep with you."
"I never asked you to.” He put on his most serious expression and looked her dead in the eyes. “I meant it, I just want to keep you company."
"Thank you." Their eyes locked and he hoped that she truly believed him. He tried to shake off the warmth that was forming inside; but not completely. Especially when she smiled shyly. "I'm sorry for snapping."
He smiled, leaning over the bar comfortably. "I don't take those things personally."
"How are you so...nice?" He would have laughed if he thought she was joking but she wasn’t. His heart sank.
"A bit of experience.” He admitted as he looked at her sad expression. “I'm sorry for whoever hurt you."
She shrugged, bringing the glass to her lips again. "No need, it's over. I'm moving on."
"Moving on to the next drink, you mean." He scoffed but his eyes widened. Had he just said that out loud?
"You just bought me a drink." Her tone was more scolding than offended; which might have been worse.
"Because I knew you'd want another one but I don't think you need one." What was he saying? Stop!
"You don't know me." He took a quick, calming breath. Okay, he could recover. Maybe.
"You're right but like I said: I've been there."
She released a defeated sigh and took another sip – a smaller one this time. "How do you get over it?"
"Oh you don't." He leaned forward in a conspiratorial manner, revealing the secret of the universe. "But sometimes good companionship and a drink that seems completely unnecessary can make all the difference in the world."
"Do you want to dance?"
What? He stared at her but she was staring right back with pleading but confident eyes. She was serious.
What?
"I'm sorry?"
She swallowed, his eyes following the line of her throat. What had he just gotten himself into? "You're right;” she admitted, “I really don't want to be alone tonight. And I know you don't know me and I don't know you but, for tonight, can we pretend like we do?"
He stared at this woman like she held all the answers of the universe and suddenly all he wanted to do was drink from those lips and hear every sad and lovely story she was willing to tell him. Her green eyes never changed, watching him – maybe for a sign that he would run – and he was entranced.
This was crazy.  This had not been his intention when he approached her and yet, who would say ‘no’ to her? The sad look in her eyes when he first saw her told him someone had but it wouldn’t be him. Was it crazy to want to know her for more than just pretend? Yes! A voice screamed. Yes, it is entirely crazy to want to get to know this woman but for god’s sake, speak now before she walks away.
Speak! He shook away all thought and smiled.
"The pleasure would be mine."

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Your Mid-Week Update for 04/02/14

Dear lord I am exhausted. James and I returned from our long weekend trip Monday afternoon and spent the next 24 hours simultaneously scolding the children and supervising them as they cleaned the house. Neither of them will admit who started it but they threw a party in the house while we were away. A part of me is proud of the kids for rebelling like that and the rest of me is furious that they thought they could trash the house and there would be no consequences. Honestly, how can you reach your late teens without realizing that everything you do is your responsibility? Every single choice. And they had the audacity to blame each other instead of owning up for what they did and then complained about having to clean up for the entire afternoon as they scrubbed the house. They obviously take after their mother. When we were younger, my little sister never did her fair share and blamed me when she didn't get her way. That's exactly what I'm seeing in her children. I love them but they can be unmanageable at times. They have no regard for authority or sense of responsibility. I mean how can they even think this was something ‘okay’ for them to do? I know I’ve only been their guardian for the majority of their teenage lives but I thought we had some sort of mutual respect going on. And then I come home to this…disaster area.

I will not kill my god children, I will not kill my god children.

Some children are just beyond redemption. Unlike my charming weekend victim.

I don't actually remember his name and unfortunately I don't get his local station up here so I can't give you any information on him, sadly. Only the things I remember of our encounter. He was a young man, barely over twenty, lean and tall. Quite handsome in a striking way. Now, you can call me a lot of things but a cougar is not one of them so don't mistake me: I can appreciate an attractive man without finding him sexually attractive myself. Much to my husband's relief. 

I was very nice this weekend and let James pick him out. We met the boy at the grocery store in town. He offered to help me take my purchases out to my car and in exchange, I offered him work in our cabin. You should know me by now, dear readers, I am an opportunist so I wasn't about to kill him right away - I do have some patience. The cabin James and I purchased before the little terrors came into our lives was in desperate need of repair. We rarely go out there anymore and when we do, it's usually too cold for any outdoor maintenance. With the weather finally warming up I figured now was the perfect time to get some work done. 

I must say it was shame that boy died; he was a very hard worker. Never complained, never argued; simply did as he was told and accepted the payment we offered him (free meals, free wifi and fifteen dollars an hour). Call me cheap, call me generous, whatever, but the look on his face as the rat poison kicked in was absolutely priceless.

Don't call me cheesy, dear readers, I was trying to be poetic. Sometimes people try new things; branch out from their comfort zone. That should be rewarded, right?

Maybe I’ll just stick to murder.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe
This is a work of fiction. Any relations to people or events living or dead is complete coincidence.