Friday, April 30, 2010

#fridayflash: Wrenge

Lightening slashed open the raging black clouds. Thunder shook the rocky ground. She stood facing the wind and opened her wings. She was alive for the first time.
Wayne Michaels, murmured in his sleep. In his dreams, he again struck the fatal blow. He watched his wife tumble, in slow motion, down the stairs for the last time. Her mouth formed a round O of surprise; her reaching hands scrabbled for a hold. While he slept, Wayne clutched his hands behind his back. Clutched them tightly as he had on that night as his wife bounced from wall to stairs. Each thump echoed in his brain.

He could have saved her!

If he had only reached out one hand instead of stubbornly hiding his palms like a bad boy caught in the cookie jar.

But Elizabeth crashed to the bottom with one final thud.

From his place at the top of the stairs Wayne heard her gasp out her last breath: saw her chest rise once before she became motionless forever. Her once beautiful face locked into an angry mask of death so hideous Wayne had to look away.

In his nightmare, Wayne’s eyes moved from the fresh corpse to the window where the late afternoon sun swept golden rays across the carpet.

But the day darkened abruptly.

Chills gripped Wayne.

His thudding heartbeat gnashed and grated likes machinery.

“I’m coming,” a tiny voice grated in his ear. “I’m coming for you, Wayne.”

Wayne needed to wake up now. But as he turned toward the window again, a huge dark shadow swept by . . .

Jerked awake by something he couldn’t quite remember, Wayne Michaels shivered in the cool night air. Harsh grinding sounds plagued his ears. It took him a moment realize that his teeth were grating against each other. While he slept, he had kicked off the quilt and could feel goose bumps bubbling on his naked flesh. Rubbing his aching jaw, Wayne reached about on the floor. His hand encountered something soft just as a dark shadow blotted out what little light had been in the room. Shivering with fear that he couldn’t explain Wayne snapped on the bedside lamp. Yanking the quilt from the floor, he wrapped his chilled body and huddled miserably in the big empty bed, still rubbing his jaw. He hadn’t had a problem with grinding his teeth at night since he had been a child. He really hated sleeping alone. Damn Elizabeth. Why did she have to be so weak?

He left the light on for the rest of the night.


Two days later, Wayne paced, stopped, opened the window, snapped on the television, lounged briefly in his recliner, and then jumped up and paced some more.

Glancing at his watch every five minutes, Wayne’s restlessness carried him past the six o’clock news and into the sitcoms. Comedy escapades did little to lighten Wayne’s mood. But, by the time the sun slid behind Mount Mariah, Wayne was nodding in his chair. Thirty minutes later, while Wayne’s soft snores and rigorously grinding teeth punctuated the quick responses of a new TV rescue show, a huge dark shadow filled the softly lit living room and then floated away.

Wayne mumbled in his precarious slumber. The shadow swooped again as the Wrenge soared closer in the indigo sky looking for a landing site.

The porch roof next door, with rough shingles for good footing, gave the Wrenge a perfectly unobstructed position. Stationing herself where her shadow cast a visible stain on the Michael’s living room carpet, the Wrenge folded her great wings protectively around herself and dozed peacefully in the cool autumn air.

Twisting and moaning in his uneasy slumber, Wayne suddenly bolted into consciousness. He sensed, rather than saw, the shadowy mark by the window. Shivering from the cold, rancid night air wafting through the open window Wayne felt his testicles tightening and the little hairs on the back of his neck stiffening. An incredible rush of aloneness swept him and a dull ache in his chest reminded him to breathe. Eerie music wafted softly from the television. The remote lay three yards in front of him, on the coffee table. He longed to reach over and switch off that dreadful music but his limbs were numb with inexplicable fear and refused to cooperate.

His jaw felt like he had been kicked in the face by a horse.

The room was dark.

Bluish light from the television did little to dispel the suffocating blackness that seemed to swell with each breath.

As his eyes grew accustomed to the murk they were drawn to the grayish patch of carpet just ahead. It looked more like a deep hole than a shadow. The oval shape yawned and stretched like a giant mouth ready to take a bite.

As Wayne worked to steady his breathing and try to rationalize his fear—

(Just your guilty conscience at work)

The ever darkening shadow began to boil and twitch. Its edges rolled inward, like a waterfall of ink, while the center bubbled and frothed like liquid tar.

(Just a dream—the music, the stench—just my guilty conscience at work. I’ll wake up soon.)

From the center of the churning darkness a delicate form rose. Faintly iridescent, it sucked in light as it glowed dark blue, violet, finally pale pink. Wayne heard a sucking-pop as the pink shape moved out of its inky pool.

The features stabilized into Elizabeth’s face.

(Now I know this is a dream.)

Daintily, Elizabeth’s pink, naked body stepped forward. Her smiling face was beautiful, unlined and glowing—her body soft and round.

She looks just as she did on our honeymoon, Wayne thought. His limbs felt heavy and his jaw throbbed. The television fell silent but he sensed it watching him with its single blue eye.
Elizabeth’s rosebud lips parted.

“Blood,” she whispered raising a graceful arm and pointing to Wayne.

Electrified by the sudden sound, Wayne’s teeth involuntarily clamped shut: biting down hard on his tongue. The salty taste of blood gagged him as his eyes filled with tears and blurred his vision. Inert limbs suddenly reanimated—flinging him out of the chair.

He was face to face with his dead wife’s wraith.

Elizabeth’s pointing finger dabbed briefly at the trickle of blood on Wayne’s lip. Her touch was icy and damp like a slug inching across his mouth.

Sweat seeped from Wayne’s pores.

A mottled purple tongue flicked from her mouth as the Elizabeth-thing licked his blood from her finger.

Wayne felt her fetid breath on his neck—smelled the stink of decay, and, although he caught only a brief glimpse, he was sure he had seen festering wormholes and writhing maggots on her dank purple tongue.

He could feel his gorge rising and clamped his teeth together. Fresh pain throbbed in his torn tongue and aching jaw. The salty taste of his own blood and the pain in his mouth brought anger.  This was when the reality of Wayne’s situation blossomed in his brain.

(Who in the hell does she think she is . . .)?

Wayne’s arm came up. Hand clenched into a fist. “Listen you . . .”

“Bone,” the Elizabeth-thing whispered as she reached out a small pink hand and tore off Wayne’s upraised arm at the shoulder.

For a dream the pain was awfully fierce, Wayne thought.

The cauliflower knob of bone on the end of the severed arm that Elizabeth was clutching looked dreadfully real. So did the bloody empty socket on his right shoulder.

In a swooning haze, Wayne heard the raucous grating of his own teeth—smelled the sickening odor of his blood and felt the sting of tears in his eyes.

With primal fear he watched Elizabeth peel back the flesh from his severed arm and tear out the bone. It gleamed with a pink hue as Elizabeth’s small hands stripped flesh away. Again his neck and chin were washed in the revolting stink of her breath as her rosebud mouth yawned exceptionally wide and chomped blackened teeth onto the nub of bone. The bone broke with a distinct cracking sound leaving a sharp-looking, splintered fragment in Elizabeth’s hands: hands spattered with droplets of maroon blood and orange bits of flesh and broken blood vessels.

“Tears,” it whispered, touching Wayne’s cheeks and lapping gory fingers with that worm-riddled tongue.

Fear mushroomed from Wayne’s broken body when he saw that rosebud mouth moving toward him.

(She’s going to kiss me.)

His scream was swallowed by the cavernous mouth clamping over his lips. A jolt, like electricity, coursed through his body as the bone splinter pierced his heart. With the last of his comprehension, Wayne felt his soul, or his essence—perhaps it was his tumultuous fear, sucked from his body like a modified abortion.

“Fears,” the Elizabeth-metamorphosis whispered as she stepped back from the dead husk of Wayne Michaels and reentered the roiling shadow.

Rejuvenated, the Wrenge drifted silently across the indigo skies over Memphis.

Author's note: The first two sentences of my #fridayflash story: Wrenge, are courtesy of #storystarters – a Twitter Application.

Holst The Planets & Britten Four Sea Interludes / Bernstein, New York Philharmonic (SACD)


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dragon Chronicles XXIV

Twelve red ones spoil the cover
Far and near come new secrets from rover
Exiting the sky rushes a great Beast of Terror
Shot from the blue through the water bearer

Blood Beast TerrorBlood Beast Terror

Friday, April 23, 2010

#fridayflash: Initiation

By Louise Dragon

Rusty hinges ground on the screen door. His friends laughed. “No such thing as ghosts,” he recited & pushed open the door.

Neal Dodge looked back at his new friends and forced a smile.

I can do this, I can do this, I can do this. The words played in his brain like a neon sign.

“There’s no such thing as a haunted house!” Neal shouted through the rusty screen. “Meet me back here tomorrow, same time, same place.”

Ted Atwood looked nervous, so did Frank Damon, Louie Clutterfield, however, was still grinning.
“See you,” Louie called back and the three boys turned and headed down the deserted street. None of them looked back.

Neal gulped, left the door open, and turned to inspect his surroundings. The tiny hairs on the back of his neck stood at attention. Perhaps this initiation stunt to be admitted to The Torros was not worth it. He shrugged, took of his yellow baseball cap, and wondered if it was against the rules to spend the entire night huddled by the front door waiting for morning.

Neal’s eyes moved cautiously about the room, but his feet stayed put. He’d heard all of the scuttlebutt about the Caserton House. Old Jonathan Caserton had collected children like some people collect stamps. Folks in town say kids still disappear in or around the Caserton house, empty or not. Nobody knows where they go – they just seem to come up missing.

Neal placed his back against the door jam and slid his butt down to the floor. He felt relatively safe this close to the door. He was thinking that if any ghosts or ghouls came at him, he’d be able to out run them right off the eerie property – Torros membership or not.

From this vantage point, Neal caught site of a huge portrait of Jonathan Caserton placed jauntily over the mantle in one of the front rooms. The painting showed a stooped, mustached, old man with a cane. All about him were children, all gazing up at him with sad eyes.

Neal found that he couldn’t take his eyes off the likeness. He’d pull them away, but they always swung back to the canvas. It was mesmerizing -- like a magnet for his stare. At last he just gave up and turned to study the images in the painting.

Abruptly Neal found himself standing before the portrait – he could not recollect walking over to it, yet here he was, inches from the fascinating depiction. He wondered why anyone would have sad-eyed children painted into his portrait when rumors were that he stole, tortured, and murdered dozens of kids during his life as a teacher.

Ted Atwood had said that no bodies were ever found. Frank Damon had confided that old man Caserton had disappeared also. People thought he was still in the house – at least his ghost was – still murdering children whenever one was dumb enough to wander into his path . . .

Louie said it was all crap. Said the missing kids were just runaways and old man Caserton was probably fish food.

Neal returned to his spot by the front door and hunkered down. He did not think he would get much sleep tonight, but his eyes got heavy and he dozed briefly.

In his mind Neal heard screaming. Was it a police siren?

Neal jerked awake. An eerie keening noise echoed around him. Was it wind, sirens, cats fighting?

A beam of fading sunlight shone in through a front window lighting up the Caserton Portrait.

Neal rubbed his eyes and gawked at the canvas -- it had changed.

The old man now held his cane above his head like a crazed executioner. His murderous eyes blazed with purple hatred and his gape-toothed mouth opened wide into a black tunnel of horror.

The sad-eyed children around him now cringed in terror; their mouths open in keening screams of unimaginable fear. Their sad eyes seemed to focus on Neil as he shook the prickly needles and pins from his legs, rose shakily, stumbled, grabbed his hat and . . .


Rusty hinges ground on the screen door. His friends laughed and called to him, but Neil did not answer.

In the front room, in an old portrait, a painted tear ran down the face of a sad-eyed boy wearing a yellow baseball hat.

Author's note: The first paragraph of my #fridayflash story: Initiation is courtesy of #storystarters – a Twitter Application.

The Mammoth Book of Haunted House Stories

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dragon Chronicles XXIII

XXIII. A bird of prey offers itself to the heavens
This appears under the brows of the sevens
The new land will look to the height of its power
When the stranger arrives with a meteor shower

Birds of Prey: A Novel of Suspense

Friday, April 16, 2010

#fridayflash: Buck Shot

Buck Shot
Louise Dragon

Some say, it couldn’t have happened to a better guy. I guess I’d have to agree since I’ve worked for Floyd Barney for going on five years. Oh, Floyd could be a regular guy when he wanted to. Most times he was so busy trying to impress everyone with his greatness that the regular Floyd Barney got lost in the shuffle. I’ve seen the real Floyd from time to time, most of the guys that work with us don’t know he’s in there. Old Floyd kept him well buried, as if having real emotions or caring about others was somehow a threat to his great masculinity.

Floyd likened himself to a real man because real men always caught the biggest fish and shot the biggest buck. According to Floyd, real men had wives who did what they were told, stayed home with the kids and had supper ready for when the real man came home after a long hard day. Real men were smarter than regular men. Real men told others what to do. Floyd Barney considered himself a real man, and he never hesitated to tell us his opinions about real men. Since most of us (except Floyd) had moved on ahead into the millennium, Floyd Barney’s idea of a real man was pretty funny for the most part. Not that we laughed about it in front of him. No sir, jobs in Maine were too scarce for that. But when we all got together in the cafeteria for two o’clock break and Floyd was somewhere else being a real man, we got quite a kick out of it.

You see, as far as Floyd was concerned, not one of us could hold a candle to him. If Charlie caught a twelve-inch trout, Floyd told everyone that he had caught a bigger one. If Steve shot himself an eight-point buck, Floyd woulda shot a twelve-pointer and on and on until it became almost comical to see how far Floyd would go with his stories. Plenty ‘o times we made stuff up just to watch Floyd come up one better.

Real men were above the law too, so Floyd thought until last hunting season, when the state police bagged him for poaching. Had to pay a three thousand dollar fine to get his ass out of that one. Could have gone to jail for it except for the sheriff being his brother-in-law and all. Caught him red-handed with two deer “both does” in the back of his pickup. Guess the state police didn’t fall for his story about his mother-in-law shooting one of them. Floyd’s mother-in-law’s been dead and buried for going on two years.

Floyd had this thing for hunting. It wasn’t natural: he was addicted to it. He just couldn’t seem to stop. Most hunters hunt to put a little meat on the table for the winter. Floyd hunted because he was a real man and real men hunt to kill!

This year hunting season—for Mainers only—began the Saturday before Halloween. The air was heavy with snow yet to fall and it was my privilege to go hunting with the great Floyd Barney. When Floyd picks you to go with him to his special hunting place, you’d better just say, “yes, sir. Thank you sir. I’ll be ready and waiting at dawn.”

When I tucked my orange clad skinny butt into Floyd’s truck that morning, the air felt wrong—like just before Hurricane Bob a few years back. My lanky legs snug to the dashboard sent engine vibrations rocketing up my six-foot frame as we roared off in Floyd’s pickup to his “special” hunting place. I thought we headed out toward Bingham way, but I must have got turned around somewhere because by the time Floyd was setting the parking break, I was as lost as a fly in the soup kettle.

An old rusty Ford grill torn from an ancient vehicle smiled up at me from the edge of an overgrown path of drifted leaves and pine needles snaking downward into the dense woods. Strange, the things that show up in places where you think nobody’s ever been before. In the distance I could see a gnarled and stunted black cherry tree crisscrossed with caterpillar webs and an old deer stand that looked to be growing from the side of a fungi covered dead pine—its needles rusty red against a cracked gray trunk. With all these things to look at, my eyes kept trailing back to that old Ford grill with its broken teeth bleeding rust into the thicket at my feet. The jagged smile on that old grill set off a mood that I didn’t much like.

“Will, I won’t worry about you ever finding these woods again,” Floyd’s voice held a hollow, tinny echo like he was talking to me through the center of a roll of paper towels. “I don’t know how I find them, myself. I just sort of head out toward Bingham way and end up here every time.”

Floyd paused and turned his head from side to side as if listening. It was at this time that I noticed there where no forest sounds: no birds twittering, no squirrels squawking. Nothing, just eerie silence.

“Old Ray Cone was the first to come here with me. Remember Ray? Old Indian guy worked for me back in eighty-seven? Thought he’d be man enough to hunt these here woods with me. Let me tell you: he was out here ten minutes and started crying about the wind.”

“The wind?” I asked, puzzled. “There’s no wind Floyd.”

It just so happened that a poplar tree full of old yellow leaves took this particular moment to rattle them leaves with a dry crackling sound. I never felt any wind but that sound sure jumped me.

“Shit, Will, don’t you go panicin’ on me now,” Floyd spat crouching low and turning in a circle.  “You’re apt to see things in these woods you’ve never seen before.”

I took a deep breath and crouched low like Floyd. What the hell was the old man rambling about now? Was this a test of some sort? Hell, I needed this job.

“Well I guess I can shoot anything I can see, Floyd.” I said carefully.

Floyd grinned: “That’s the ticket. Just don’t be afraid. I swear these deer can smell fear.”

I hoped Floyd was making up that last statement.

Floyd hunkered down on a flat rock and I followed suit.

“The deer in these woods are mighty peculiar,” he said.  “Remember that poaching charge last year?”

I nodded.

“I only shot one doe.” Floyd looked squarely at my face as if he expected me to argue.

“It was right here in these woods I shot her. Wasn’t till I got closer that I noticed the other un. Another identical doe attached to the one I shot. Attached! Connected at the neck with a strange looking umbilical cord. Shoulda left that freak for the wolves, but the wolves of these woods . . . Well, that's another story.

“You just be careful, Will. These deer are something different. Don’t quite know the gist of it all but you’re apt to see anything here.”

As we moved further into the dense silent forest, Floyd’s rambling became more bizarre. He spoke of seeing does with racks of horns. White, albino deer with red eyes. Even a completely hairless buck.

As far as I was concerned, Floyd was telling more of his famous yarns. Until I saw Siamese deer for myself, I’d just nod and go along with Floyd’s foolishness like we do back at the shop. Wait till the guys heard these tales!

The buck emerged from the thicket with the speed and suddenness of a lightning storm. It was as ugly as a bull moose and almost as big. Fear gripped me and I froze. Ten feet away stood the most hideous critter this real man had ever seen.

It was black, like soot, with eyes the color of mud. An oversized head sported a rack of antlers so twisted and out of whack, I couldn’t believe that the poor thing could be standing upright.

I saw Floyd raise his weapon to get a bead on it. The idea of putting something this grotesque on the dinner table was not for me.

As Floyd prepared to take a shot, the buck bellowed the most inhuman sounding wail these Maine ears had ever heard. A series of sharp cracks followed the cry and Floyd fell over beside me.

If I hadn’t seen this sight with my own two eyes, I’d have thought the world was caving in. Bits of hard black bone fragments were pelting Floyd’s face. The Goddamn buck was shooting him. It appeared that these fragments propelled with fierce accuracy through the tips of those twisted antlers. One whizzed by my cheek as I bent to help Floyd.

“Kill it, Will.” Floyd mumbled spitting out blood and broken teeth. “Kill that Goddamn twisted freak.”

Blood gouted freely from holes in Floyd’s neck and face. I think he had a chest wound; I could hear his breath wheezing in and out.

“Kill it!” he screeched at me

I hadn’t noticed the absence of sound until just at that moment when I turned to face the beast. It had vanished, disappeared as suddenly as it had emerged. The clearing was empty and silent.

I turned back to Floyd. “What the hell was that thing?”

Floyd’s eyes were rolling in their sockets, his labored breathing loud in the surrounding silence.

“Listen, Old Man. What is this place?” I shook him till his broken teeth rattled.

Floyd’s eyes cleared a bit and he chuckled.

“I was afraid. I was afraid and it got me. Dern thing knew.”

“What is this place, Floyd? What did Ray say about the wind?”

Floyd coughed out a bubbling froth of red. Wheezed in another breath and gripped my arm like a vise.

“Ray said . . . Ray said . . .” His eyes started rolling back again.

I shook him again. “What did Ray say, Floyd?”

“Said the spirit . . . of the dead . . . float in the wind here. Said these woods is possessed.” Floyd grinned; his lips pulled far back from his bloody jagged teeth. He took another hitched breath and it was his last.

The creatures of the forest were unlike any I’d ever seen before. From hairless, scabby rodents to albino, stunted animals, they scampered soundlessly on the edges of my vision. Their mournful cries haunted my escape. Pitiful glowing red eyes burned through the gloom watching as I stumbled through the briars and vines back to the path that led to Floyd’s truck.

I just had to make it back to the truck.

500 Deer Hunting Tips: Strategies, Techniques & Methods (The Complete Hunter)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dragon Chronicles XXII.

XXII. Over the walls are thrown ashes and dust
Forced into the waters turned to rust
Liberated captives speak and act wrong
As suddenly as it arrived, the terror has gone.

Nostradamus: The Lost Manuscript: The Code That Unlocks the Secrets of the Master Prophet
Nostradamus: The Lost Manuscript: The Code That Unlocks the Secrets of the Master Prophet

Friday, April 9, 2010

#fridayflash: The Skreem Jar

The Skreem Jar
by Louise Dragon

A single dust covered jar sat in a corner of the attic. Scrawled on it in dried blood were two words - Skreem Jar.

Nathan hobbled to the corner; he set down his cane and reached out an arthritic hand to grasp the object. When he touched the dusty glass, that familiar feeling – like a staccato beat – began to course through his decaying old body.

A bent old man had walked into the empty, condemned homestead, but the man who walked out was taller and had spring in his step. The hand grasping the Skreem Jar was no longer a hooked talon of arthritic pain, but now a smooth, tanned, masculine hand that didn’t need to hold a cane.

As Nathan slid into the driver’s seat of his ancient stolen Saab, he tenderly placed the Skreem Jar into the V his thin, shorts clad thighs made on the car seat. He did not want to lose touch again. He needed to feel the rough bloody exterior of the jar against his skin at all times. He had to get the Jar to Claire; this was their hope, their dream, their destiny . . .

Nathan’s mind traveled backward in time as his vehicle sped into the horizon . . .

Always Claire and Nathan or Nathan and Claire – they had been friends, lovers, life partners, soul mates, and Skreemers. Skreeming had been Claire and Nathan’s salvation. While other couples battled through divorce court, had torrid love affairs, or were simply driven crazy by a corrupt society, Nathan and Claire had Skreeming. It bound them together more securely than any mere marriage license could have done.

Whose idea had it been? Nathan could not even remember, but he remembered the first Skreem adventure like it was yesterday . . .

It was shortly after they had finished college, both had obtained great jobs in the corporate business world, they had a fantastic house on the outskirts of the city, neither had ever wanted children, but they mutually agreed that something was missing from their lives. Working, making love, and mundane chores could not be all there was to life – there had to be something more.

At three o’clock in the morning, Nathan and Claire ventured out into the city streets looking to add adventure to their humdrum little lives and, oh, how they had found the adventure that dreams can made from.

Bravely walking through the seamier streets of the great city, Claire and Nathan tried several shenanigans destined to relieve boredom. Breaking windows and kicking over trashcans was fun, but it did not give them the adrenaline rush that they would later get from their first Skreem.

It happened quite by accident, that first Skreem. Nathan and Claire had been throwing chunks of granite through the brittle windows of an abandoned warehouse when they heard the first Skreem. The sound sent pinpricks of fear and excitement coursing through Nathan’s body and he quickly glanced over at Claire. She was breathing hard, her eyes the size of golf balls riveted onto his and her lips curled into a hideously attractive smile. He wanted her right then and there, but Claire had other plans.

“Come on,” she shouted climbing up onto the dumpster and disappearing into a broken window.

The Skreem had come from an old homeless man nesting in the warehouse. Claire and Nathan took turns beating the man until the Skreeming stopped, then they made love right there on the dusty floor inches from the corpse. Once spent, Claire, eyes sparkling with excitement and adrenaline, picked up a dusty empty jar from the warehouse floor.

“We need a souvenir,” she had said. “We need a Skreem Jar to help us remember and recapture this rush.”
Claire had used her finger dipped into the corpse’s cooling blood to inscribe the words across the filthy relic.
Nathan had cut off an ear lobe for the jar and both of them cackling with maniacal laughter had climbed out of the building and stumbled home.

After that night, Skreeming became their drug of choice, their religion, and their bond to each other.

There were countless more Skreems. Sometimes it was a man, sometimes a woman, a few children, dogs, cats – Claire and Nathan discovered that there were all kinds of Skreems. And always the jar came out of hiding to receive a new bloody souvenir. The city was full of Skreems. With each new hideous Skreem came a new rush. The more bizarre and shocking the Skreem, the better the rush . . . Until . . .

The night of the pregnant woman -- Nathan had wanted to hear the Skreem of a pregnant woman, Claire thought that she would sound like any other woman, but neither were prepared for the appeal of that Skreem. They had become so caught up in the moment that they did not notice the eerie silence that pervaded before the arrival of the police.

Fifty Years to Life had been the sentence for each of them . . . Claire -- hustled off to some woman’s prison upstate and Nathan landed in Attica. Separated, they became each like half a person – without the other in close proximity neither had developed the personalities or life experiences to do little more than exist among the prison populations and send longing letters back and forth reminiscing about the “good” times of their youth.

Recently, due to advanced age, Nathan had been released to a city nursing home to spend the remainder of his geriatric life. Yesterday he had gotten a letter from Claire – also released to spend her golden years in an upstate rehab center for the terminally ill and infirm.

The Skreem Jar throbbed hotly against his leg sending that familiar adrenaline rushing and pulsing through his old veins.

Nathan knew that he could reach Claire by dark tonight. The ultimate Skreem was again within reach!

Note from the Author: The first paragraph of this story is courtesy of #storystarters, a Twitter Application.

Souvenir: A novel by the author of Reunion

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dragon Chronicles XXI

XXI. The monster divine omen will be seen in plain daylight
For the first time martyrs invest in second sight
The mountains will tremble to spew forth a new secret
While public outcry exposes the marionette

The Complete Book of Marionettes


Monday, April 5, 2010

Dragon Chronicles XX.

XX. The sly King will understand his ambush
Left hands will have a great affliction to push
Not of your walls, of your lifeblood and substance
Will the prince break the cast with his final glance?



Saturday, April 3, 2010

#fridayflash: Maternal Sorcery

Maternal Sorcery
by Louise Dragon

Quietly, so as not to wake her sleeping teenage son, Gail tiptoed to the back of the house, as she had done countless times before.

The previous owner of the house had been a taxidermist. His workshop, a large room with small windows, was Gail’s workshop now. Approaching the door, she stooped to slip her fingers under Kip’s collar and secure a shiny silver key. Shivering slightly in the chilled night air, she entered, black cat at her heels. The room always kept an aura of warmth and stillness. It was pitch black, but Gail walked to the center as if guided by radar.

Placing a lit match to the white candles on the four corners of her work table brought shadows leaping to life on the pale green walls. Old taxidermy shelves now held bottles, jars, vials, parchments, candles, and a hideous display of tools, their uses known only to Gail. Dried plant flesh and other slabs of unrecognizable material decorated an entire wall. Color-coded strings fixed these items to a series of hooks and nails along the wall. A dry musty smell, like an old unused hayloft prevailed.

Gail lit a fire in the deep old fireplace. Kip stretched his graceful form before the leaping flames, his radiant green eyes alert and watchful.

Three squat incense burners stood in a row on the table, like antique soldiers waiting for commands. Curls of aromatic blue smoke wafted lazily from the burners.

An oval tray, its polished surface reflecting the flickering candlelight, became Gail’s next focus. She withdrew a tiny vial marked ‘POWER’ from an array of like objects. Anointing her forehead, Gail began to feel the power of the oil course down through her body until she was completely filled with its glowing white heat.

Gail took a deep breath and went to work.

As she constructed the little doll, filling it with hair, blood, and nail clippings from her intended victim, Gail conjured up an image of the girl. She knew she must be careful to keep her feelings at bay – too much hate or emotion could do serious damage. She only wanted the girl to go away. She didn’t want to hurt her . . .

“Mom, this is Tara,” Rick had said proudly, his tan smiling face begging her to accept the girl.

Not able to refuse her son anything, Gail had forced a smile and held her large smooth hand out to the girl. “Tara, what a lovely name. And Rick, such a lovely girl. Wherever have you been keeping her?”

Gratitude sparkled in Rick’s copper-colored eyes, so much like Gail’s own. Her heart went out to him.  She knew Rick needed friends of his own.

As she clasped her hand firmly over the small, heavily ringed hand of this Tara-girl, however, Gail’s heart skipped a beat. Outwardly she kept on her sunny smile, while inwardly – at the moment of contact – the destructiveness of this sweet-looking creature played itself through Gail’s mind like a video. Possessiveness, deviousness, and chaos would follow this girl -- would cause her beautiful boy worry and heartache – make him grow old before his time.

This girl would be trouble!

With a heavy heart, Gail had watched the new romance flourish . . .

She pulled her attention back to the work at hand. Carefully she sewed the little golden strands onto the poppet’s head and glued bits of broken red nails to its tiny hands. The inside was stuffed with blood soaked bits of cotton, graveyard dust, henbane, mandrake root, the dried brain of a rat, the blood of a bat, and a few other snippets too disgusting for her to think about.

Little blue beaded eyes and detailed embroidery almost succeeded in bringing the little Tara doll to life. Gail would do just that at midnight – the witching hour!

Right now it was time to think about the doll’s disposal. It had to go far away by one of the four elements: fire, air, water, or land. Fire was out. This would only kill the girl in some gruesome fiery death.

Too strong.

Much too strong.

Gail struggled to pull back those strong images.

There, she thought taking a sputtery deep breath, air, then, or water, or maybe even land?

* * *

“I’d like to mail this package airmail to the Chamber of Commerce in Bermuda.”

“That’ll be twenty nine ninety five, ma’am.”

Smiling, Gail passed the money to a young man with cherub cheeks.

“When will this go out?”

“Should leave Portland tomorrow night on a freight plane. Oh, prob’ly five or six o’clock.”

“Thank you.” Gail flashed the boy a winning smile and floated out of the post office.

* * *

The cherub cheeked young man watched the huge woman glide out, shook his head – which suddenly felt like it was filled with sawdust – and found himself standing there clutching a small package. The package was wrapped in what looked like black tar paper, the address scrawled in bright red paint, or nail polish.

The man gave the box a cautious shake. A dank, rotten, and repulsive odor wafted to his nostrils. With a shudder, he tossed the package into a bin marked ‘AIRMAIL’ and went to wash his hands.

* * *

Gail paced in her workshop. Rick and Tara were in the living room, probably necking. In a few minutes that package would be leaving by air, flying over water, AND landing in Bermuda. Air, water, AND land, she wasn’t taking any chances.

Once the package was in Bermuda, even if it were thrown out, it would never find its way back. Tara would be leaving soon. Leaving for good.

“Why don’t I feel good about this?” Gail asked her cat.

* * *

At seven P.M., over the Bermuda Triangle, a freighter carrying a load of cargo hit an unexplained patch of turbulence. In the cargo hold a spark from the friction ignited. When the flames reached the fuel tanks, the plane exploded into a fireball of yellows and reds.

* * *

Tara never even had a chance to scream. In seconds she was reduced to a brittle black shell of her former self. Rick, however, was not so lucky. When Gail found him in his lover’s arms, he rolled his lash less eyes at her and screamed.

Into the Bermuda Triangle: Pursuing the Truth Behind the World's Greatest Mystery