Tuesday, June 29, 2010

#TuesdaySerial: Wrenge VIII

Wrenge (8) by Louise Dragon

Later that night, Brad carried in the box of artifacts. How could he have known, at the time, that he was removing a block of major evidence from the scene of a serial killer's first hit?



(That's what friends are for!)


The Memphis-Mangler deaths had been all over the front pages for the past month. The Memphis Daily Appeal was having a field day at the expense of the entire police force. Brad could barely hold his head up at the station these days.


After his session with the chief, Brad decided it was time to check out the box. If he could determine for himself that it contained nothing to move the case along, he could dispose of the items and chalk them up as dead-enders. If, on the other hand, he found any leads to the killer, then it was his duty to see that the clues got into the right hands so that this madman could be stopped. Maybe then Brad would feel slightly exonerated.


Spreading the paraphernalia out across the desk in his study, Brad checked each item. He did not relish this chore but felt he owed it to the department. He could remember, as a child, watching his dad pour over evidence in this way, hoping for a clue. It had looked like fun to him then -- now he was at a complete loss about where to begin.


The books were standard issue -- could be purchased anywhere. The rest was a mystery. Elizabeth had been up to something -- something weird.


Aimlessly, Brad poked about in the box of drawings, looking for something -- anything -- familiar. As he laid out the bizarre rhymes and patterns randomly, he came across a rough drawing of a winged oval surrounded by crudely drawn red and black symbols. For some reason his father came to mind again.


There was something . . .


A case. That one case where his Dad had spent many hours in this study rifling through garbage like this. Weird iconic symbols drawn in red ink . . .


(It really wasn't ink, was it?)


Dad had finally cracked the case after hours of studying similar clues. The perp had been a cult leader of some sort. Brad could remember his father's voice on the phone speaking of sacrificial deaths committed in the city. Several deaths bracketed by secret rites with mysterious symbols etched in blood across walls, floors, and even corpses.


Photographs, that's what Dad had been mulling over. Lots of photos from a grisly murder scene back in the seventies. Brad had been a young boy. A young boy with plans to follow in his father's footsteps . . .


A winged oval . . .


Carved into the flesh of . . .


The perp's name? It had been an odd name. Memorable, somehow.


Brad closed his eyes and concentrated. His father's voice rich and deep: talking excitedly on the telephone. They were going to arrest him -- the perp -- the murderer. He lived in Memphis on Chelsea Street . . . Part of Dad's beat.


Nightside? No . . .


Nightshade -- that was it! Joe Nightshade.


The man had lived in an old church on Chelsea Street. Had practiced voodoo black magic there with blood and human sacrifices. Had gone to prison for it too.
~~~
Continued . . .

Link to Wrenge (1)



Voodoo
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Friday, June 25, 2010

#FridayFlash: Eellen

Eellen by Louise Dragon


Her nights twisted into the fevered nightmare of a creature she hated but couldn't help being.


Eyes opened to a different day . . . sunlight and sparkle from a high basement window moved Ellen’s mind out of the murky shadows and into a bright new realm. The cycle now broken, seven bloody years moved into the background . . . begging to be forgotten.


Ellen looked at her pale white hands – like lumps of dead fish. She viewed color beginning to bloom into a smooth pinkness. She was becoming whole again. All that work . . . all the sacrifices -- just to spend these short bursts of life as human as possible.


The tall woman limped into her underground bathroom to gaze into the mirror. She reached out and ran a large pink hand over the surface of the cool glass. She watched as her scrambled features rearranged. Liver-colored gills on the sides of her neck healed over into smooth pink flesh. Ropes of salmon-colored appendages softened into glistening blonde hair on a football shaped head that grew rounder as Ellen watched her reflection. Glittering black stones recessed in caves of lumpy fish-white flesh peeped out and softened into warm brown eyes. Needle sharp fangs gradually smoothed over to even white teeth that fit into her now normal sized human mouth.


Looking down, Ellen saw her flippers had separated back into five toes on each foot and this time when she moved to walk, the limp was gone.


The naked blonde woman stepped into the shower and adjusted the needle-like spray to soft warmth that spread throughout her body. She soaped and shampooed but always imagined a lingering seaweed-ocean odor like decaying fish emanating from her talented pores no matter how thoroughly she washed the new pink body.


Ellen dressed in a loose flowing caftan of soft silk, tied back her blond tresses with a silk ribbon and pressed the code numbers into her underground security system keypad. A large metal door hissed quietly open letting her into a normal looking Louisiana cellar complete with trickling ground water and mild mildew scents. She climbed the stairs and proceeded to check out her small beach house. The cleaning service had done well and the house still looked lived-in, warm, and inviting. She stood briefly on the back porch and gazed across Crowley Cove at the secret biology lab where she had once worked as an aspiring marine biologist. She shook her head sadly and moved back inside.


Ellen made a few phone calls with her new rich, throaty voice. She knew she had a mere seven days to work and needed to continue with the façade of running this house at least as well as she had in her past life.


After her mundane chores, Ellen scratched a new note and a check for the cleaning service and headed back down to her underground lab.


She had seven days to break the cycle or she was doomed to spend another seven nightmare years as an underwater predator of the most hideous proportions.


Ellen knew there were hundreds of varieties of anguilliformes, divided into many families and generations.


Absently she passed the naturally occurring underwater cave access that she had discovered by accident years ago in the basement of her then new home. Her lab smelled of ocean salts and brine and was comprised of a huge concrete square with worktables in the center and various aquarium tanks bubbling across the three walls surrounding the underwater cave access.


Ellen proceeded to extract blood samples from the eel species in her tanks and compare the results with her own blood. She had to find blood from a generation of the culprit that had bitten her fourteen years and fourteen days ago in this very room and she had seven days and seven nights to get it right.


Her boggled mind was on the verge of remembering just what those people across the cove had been doing to the sea creatures in this area before her accident.


Had they been making the creatures more aggressive for some reason? Or had they just been looking for a new acne cure? Ellen’s mind could no longer remember. She only remembered the bite from the infected animal, the sudden anger, and then blinding hunger that sent her careening through the waters in search of . . . death. Killing and tearing had become her world. Eating and swallowing chunks of raw flesh that was still alive in her narrow cavernous mouth – the thought was almost pleasant and she found herself wiggling a little on her stool . . . anticipating the change.


WAIT! She still had six more days . . . unless.


Ellen glanced up at the clock and noticed she was on the seventh hour of humanity.


Could it be?


Was the process accelerating?


Her brain kept interrupting her human thoughts and injecting her mind with visions of killing – visions of blood, warm and salty in her cold mouth.


Numbing cold, rubbery skin, gaping gills, killing and eating. Once again life became simple for Ellen as she soared through the waters of Crowley Cove.
End

Author's Note: The first paragraph of this story (although somewhat modified) is courtesy of #storystarters, a Twitter Application.
Consider The Eel: A Natural And Gastronomic History
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Dragon Chronicles XXXII

XXXII. Suddenly arrived, the terror will be great
A bird of prey offers itself to its mate
Enemies will seize the marine city
Drinking by force the waters poisoned by pity




Wondrous Secrets of the Ocean Realm: City in the Sea & Star Gardens

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

#TuesdaySerial: Wrenge VII


Wrenge (7)
by Louise Dragon

"Brad, come in and have a seat," Chief McNeil began, rising from his overflowing desk and pointing to an orange plastic chair.


Brad sat stiffly and quickly wiped his damp palms across his lap. "You wanted to see me, Chief?"


"Relax, Brad. I'm simply looking for information. This is a small department, so everyone needs to work together. For the good of the whole unit. Don't you think?"


"Sure Chief. What can I do for you?"


"Are you familiar at all with these Memphis-Mangler killings?"


"It's been in all the papers. They're even saying that Wayne Michaels, my best friend, was the first victim of the Mangler."


"Precisely, which is why I wanted to talk to you. It seems that all five of the victims following your friend were real lowlives: pimps and wife-beaters. Then we have your friend, Wayne Michaels: honest, hard working family man -- the only victim who doesn't fit the pattern. Frankly, this case has the homicide boys chasing their tails."


Brad swiped damp palms across his knees while the Chief went on.


"I checked the reports and found that you called in the dispatch, Brad. This means you found the first in a series of Memphis-Mangler victims. You know, as well as I, that the first scene's the best place to start if you're stumped. My men have taken the Michaels place apart -- gone over it with a fine toothed comb and -- nothing. I want to discuss the details of that scene with you today, Brad. There has to be something that we're overlooking. Some tiny detail . . ."


The chief stopped talking and looked expectantly at Brad from beneath two bushy, gray eyebrows.


(Well you see, Chiefy, there's this little box in the trunk of my car . . .)


Brad rubbed his damp palms together and took a deep breath. "Well when I got off duty that night, I was supposed to meet Wayne at The Overton for a couple of cold ones. Wayne had been feeling depressed since his wife died -- tragic accident. I've known Wayne and Elizabeth since high school. Wayne was one of the finest rangers in Shelby County. Well, when he didn't show up, I . . ."

~~~
Continued . . .

Link to Wrenge(1)

Bad Cop: New York's Least Likely Police Officer Tells All
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Friday, June 18, 2010

#flashfriday: Family Reunion

Family Reunion
by Louise Dragon

Tidbot hit paved highway and shattered into hundreds of tiny parts . . . just like it was supposed to do. Each new little Tidbot rolled cautiously away looking for an appropriate host.

~~~

Pete Cardillo, dreading the thought of attending another of his wife’s Easton Family Reunions in Benton, observed a strange yellow streak of light across the sky ahead. He reached over to grab his wife’s arm. “Sandy, did you see that?”


Sandy, her nose in a romance novel, glanced up. “See what?”


“Looked like a bolt of lightening hit the highway up ahead,” Pete said craning his neck.


“Oh. Well don’t stop. We’ll be late. You know how angry my mother gets when we’re late. Besides . . . the sun is shining . . . how could there be lightening?”


Pete sniffed and pulled the car over. “Mama’s just gonna have to wait, honey. Look at that!” He pointed to a small black crater in the middle of Interstate 40.


“We don’t have time for this,” Sandy whined setting her book aside.


“Course we do.” Pete hopped out of the car and slowly approached the black hole that made a gap in the yellow lines of Interstate 40. The air smelled funny . . . like hot electrical cords.


Inside the hole, Pete saw hundreds of tiny silver beads of liquid – like mercury beads after a thermometer breaks. The beads criss-crossed the interior of the hole like they were trying to find a way out.


“Pete, you be careful,” Sandy called from the car, her voice whiney and shrill just like the voices of her entire clan of Easton relatives waiting in Benton.


Pete warily placed a single finger into the hole and watched as the silver beads rushed to his appendage like sperm to an egg. The first to reach him popped through the tough skin of Pete’s finger with an audible popping sound.


His entire body jerked with a spasm as the Tidbot made short work of liquefying most of his brain and replacing the tissue with liquid metal circuits.


The drooling, shuffling, half man, half robot entity approaching Sandy Cardillo’s horrified face that day with a handful of silvery beads to share with her and her family still looked much like Pete Cardillo.


His modified body struggled to walk and talk normally but the controlling Tidbot was still learning the mechanics of human biology. The skeletal structure itself was difficult to master and the language was almost impossible.


Still, Pete Tidbot thought as he tossed his handful of beads into his wife’s lap and watched her body go into jerks and spasms, he was sure he’d be able to adapt in time to make the Easton Family Reunion.


He locked minds with the drooling entity of Sandy Tidbot and silently conversed with her regarding maneuvering the automobile. Silver beads rolled and shifted in and around their feet across the floor of the car and into its engine.


“D fer drife” Pete struggled to speak around a tongue that felt too big for his mouth.


“P-Pete wook” the Sandy thing pointed toward the black hole in the road.


A drooling black crow with a silver beak hobbled on shaky yellow legs across the road. It tried to fly, dropping into a heap several times before it finally soared away across the horizon.


Smiling crookedly at his drooling wife, Pete stuttered the car shift lever to drive and with ever decreasing starts and stops continued on his way to the Easton Family Reunion a few miles up the highway in Benton.
END


Family Reunion
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dragon Chronicles XXXI

XXXI The new Barque will go on voyages
Times go bad with bitter rages
It will be seized and plunged into the Vat
King outside, he will keep far from the scat






Kings - The Complete Series

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

#TuesdaySerial: Wrenge VI

Wrenge (6)
By
Louise Dragon

At ten-thirty, Brad Swistack left The Overton Lounge. He had no idea what had happened to Wayne, but he was a little worried when his friend didn't show. Wayne was soft -- weak.


For all Brad knew, he (Wayne) could be down at the station right now spilling his chicken-shit guts.


Brad shook his head. Wife-beaters were the worst. A bunch of simpering cowards, it seemed they couldn't live with their wives, but they couldn't live without them either.


Brad took his hands from the steering wheel, one at a time, and wiped his palms across the blue surge of his uniformed legs.


Why in the hell any man would want to tie himself to a whiny shrew of a woman by getting married, he simply could not understand. Growing up in a house full of women, Brad had spent his childhood watching his mother tear down his Dad at every given opportunity. The man finally keeled over with a stroke, more than fifteen years ago. Bradley Swistack, Senior, had been one of Memphis’ finest -- he'd probably still be out patrolling the streets and collaring thugs if his wife and daughters hadn't nagged him into an early grave.


Brad's three older sisters had managed to find husbands, and while Brad had attended each lavish wedding -- shaking hands and smiling broadly -- inside he was full of sympathy for the poor new husbands. Beverly (Brad's mom) had also remarried.


Dutifully Brad visited her in California each year. It didn't surprise him that his mother grew ever fat and content while her new husband aged and dwindled with each passing year.


Brad liked his life. Liked to come and go as he pleased. He moved between girl friends like a bee buzzing from flower to flower, never feeling any compulsion to settle down. Hell no, he'd seen what marriage had done to his father, to his stepfather, his fool brothers-in-law, and Wayne.


Wayne had finally snapped.


Elizabeth Turner had been a blonde beauty in high school, the shy, quiet type, too.


Brad shook his head again. What happened to women after they got married? Was there an unwritten rule that they needed to become complaining hags?


Reaching Mount Mariah, Brad's mind wandered back a week ago -- the last time he'd been called out to the Michaels' place.


Hadn't been the first time. Hell no. Probably once a month for the past year he'd gotten a call from Elizabeth because Wayne was acting up. Like any good cop, Brad'd drive out there and settled things down. What he had failed to do –-


(Was it so wrong?)


-- was to fill out and file reports on those calls.


After all, it was just Elizabeth assuming the bitch position on his good friend, Wayne.


Why ruin the name of the county's finest ranger by filing a damn report?


Brad had thought it odd last Saturday when the call came in from Wayne -- instead of Elizabeth. Wayne, sobbing and bawling like a woman.


Brad had checked it out. There was Elizabeth – looking much like a recent road kill -- sprawled by the front door. Brad had to kick it open to get in. Wayne, bawling at the top of the stairs: the buzzing phone still cradled in his arms.


What could Brad do? He wrote it up as an accidental death.


The report had said that Elizabeth tripped on the phone wire and took a header down the stairs.


Poor dear, broke her little neck.


There had been no investigation.


Brad, the good cop.


Admired by all.


Far as the precinct was concerned, Brad's word was golden.


Pulling up before the Michael's neat little house, Brad keyed off the motor and wiped his damp palms across his knees. A prickle of apprehension beaded his brow.


(I could just go home.)


Eleven p.m. and most of the homes on Dogwood Street were dark and quiet. A faint blue light shone from a downstairs window at the Michael's place.


(Guy probably just dozed off in front of the tube.)


Brad's footsteps clicked off as he approached the front door. Visions of Elizabeth's broken body flashed through his mind as he stood before the heavy front door and rang the bell.


Chimes sounded deep inside the house.


Nothing else.


Brad rapped his knuckles smartly against the oak door, then grasped the handle. It turned easily and the door creaked open.


"Hullo. You better have beer in the fridge, you sorry sack of sh . . ."


Brad's words choked off. Drawing his service revolver, he quickly backed to the nearest wall. He'd seen a lot during his ten years on the force, but nothing like this.


The room smelled like a slaughterhouse. Wayne Michaels, slumped back in his recliner, was speared through the chest with a grisly hunk of bone. Blood oozed from his ruined body. But the worst . . . the absolute worst sight at the whole grisly scene was the abysmal -- no it was more resigned -- expression on Wayne's pitiful face. A look of complete surrender as though any thoughts of hope had been torn from him along with his arm.


(Looks like I'll have to write a report this time, buddy-boy.)


Brad wiped his hands across his thighs and donned a pair of latex gloves. Careful not to disturb evidence, he checked out the house. It looked secure, but before he called the station for a homicide crew, he wanted to check something in the basement that had seemed wrong.


Feeling a little like a nosy woman, Brad retraced his movements to a shadowy corner in the unfinished basement. He was sure that the junk in this corner had been deliberately placed to look haphazard. Broken furniture, appliances and other bits of scrap had been carefully placed around a large tarp-covered object. At first glance, it appeared to be a small table or similar piece of furniture that was being refinished, but the smell was wrong. There was a familiar odor, but it wasn't turpentine or paint fumes. Brad was sure he had smelled this odor before . . . Someplace else . . .


The cemetery. Damn if this cellar didn't smell like his cemetery. Earthy, with a faint trace of mint. The same minty smell that drifts from the heavy green carpet of moss that stretches between the gravestones at the old Shelby Cemetery.


Brad was a frequent visitor there, since he liked to keep his father's marker clean and free from bird droppings and insects.


His father had been a great man, he deserved a flattering memorial.


Puzzled, Brad lifted the plastic tarp from the object squatting in the corner. Visions of old vampire caskets full of rich loam, crossed his mind. But the relic wasn't a coffin. It was an old, flat-topped, brassbound trunk: complete with a shiny new padlock!


Since Wayne and Elizabeth were both dead, he felt no hint of trespassing as he whopped on the small padlock a few times with a length of old pipe and broke its springs. Although the exterior of the trunk was grimy with dust, the interior was neat and organized: the earthy mint odor stronger.


Brad stared into the trunk for many minutes before he realized what he was seeing. Twisted lumps of black wax, knives, books, vials, and small tin boxes. "Practical Black Magic," "Satan, Revisited," and "Sacrificial Rites" were the titles of the first few books that Brad took from the neat stack. The vials looked like little test tubes and were corked. Some of them contained a red substance that looked like blood, while others contained clear liquids. After cracking open the first of the tin boxes and spilling out a mound of small bones, Brad became more cautious with the rest. He found one box filled with dirt: minty smelling dirt. Another box held drawings and symbols -- some etched on bits of leather, some scratched into metal shapes, and others drawn in red ink on crinkly, parchment-like pages.


Now Brad was truly perplexed. He couldn't imagine Wayne down here playing with old bones and dirt and reading this garbage. Wayne was weak, but he wasn't demented. That left Elizabeth.


Elizabeth, always so calm and quiet -- even after the beatings. Maybe she had been a little unhinged.


(One shot too many to the head.)


Brad knew a homicide crew would turn this place upside down looking for clues to the perp. It'd be extremely detrimental to his friend's good name to be connected with this garbage. Wayne was gone now. Better to let him rest in peace that to drag his good name through the mud.


(What are friends for?)


Without giving it another thought, Brad snatched up an empty cardboard box from the junk pile and filled it with the repugnant contents of the old trunk -- including the shiny broken padlock.


Thankful for the latex gloves, he rearranged the debris in that corner and stowed the carton in his trunk before he radioed in the call. Brad stayed outside by his car to wait for the crew.


He couldn't bear looking into the empty face of his former friend.
~~~
Continued . . .
 
Link to Wrenge (1)
 

Magic, White and Black, or the Science of Finite and Infinite Life, Containing Practical Hints for Students in Occultism
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Friday, June 11, 2010

#flashfriday: The Chance of a Lifetime

The Chance of a Lifetime
By Louise Dragon


“I’ll bring the kids, then and pick you up at your place, say . . . sevenish?” Monty’s rich, sweet voice oozed like caramel from the phone.


Suzanna hesitated, biting her lip. “Um.”


“Are you afraid of me, sweetheart?” Those soft rich tones – smooth in her left ear.


“A little, I guess,” Suzanna admitted. “All of my friends keep telling me -- Be Careful. They say that I haven’t known you long enough. They say I’m too naive. They say I could get hurt.”


“But what do YOU say?” the buttery voice asked.


Suzanna sighed. She took a huge breath. The fear of telling a complete stranger about her troubles was intoxicating somehow. Exhilarating! After all, she hadn’t divulged her address. She was still safe in her own little apartment connected merely by phone and Internet wires.


“I say . . .” she began, enjoying a man’s full attention for the first time in years. “I say -- I’m tired of being alone. I say -- it’s hard to raise two kids on my own. I say – it’s not wrong if two people with similar circumstances want to meet and talk.” Suzanna took another deep breath and fought to hold back tears.


“I just wish I knew more about you,” she said sadly.


Monty’s musical chuckle was like trilling lovebirds in Suzanna’s ear.


“There’s only one way to do that,” he whispered sweetly. “Meet with me. We’ll take the kids for ice cream. If you don’t like me, I’ll take a hike with no regrets. If you do like me, we’ll talk. Nothing wrong with talking is there? Honey, I’m lonely too. Somehow I get the feeling that our meeting in that chat room for single parents was fate. Pure fate; the chance of a lifetime.”


“244 Dove Hill Road, apartment 13,” Suzanna blurted and then clasped her hand over her mouth.


What have I done? Immediately came to mind.


Another silvery chuckle from the phone. “You won’t be sorry, sweetheart,” Monty crooned. “See you at seven.”


An icicle of fear trailed down Suzanna’s back and she shivered slightly.


“He’s right,” she said out loud to the empty room. “No harm in two lonely people just talking. This could be my chance of a lifetime.” She hugged herself briefly, looked at the clock, smiled shakily, and rushed off to get ready.


~~~


In a darkened apartment about twenty miles from Dove Hill Road, Monty flipped closed his cell phone and smiled.


A naked dead woman dangled from the ceiling beams before him like a slaughtered animal. Her raped body, just beginning to cool, bore the brutal marks of recent torture. Her swollen purple face above a bloody and knotted silk scarf gazed sightlessly at her killer with a sereneness that told him her death had been a blessing.


“Hope you enjoyed your chance of a lifetime,” Monty sobbed as he turned and briskly left the apartment by the back door.


He dodged children’s toys in the back yard, but did not what to think about those right now. He knew he was a monster and he was on his way to prove it yet again.
End



Dot.Kill
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Dragon Chronicles XXX.

XXX. Nalon is asylum for corrupt ones and dreamers
Quite otherwise will one interpret the schemers
The lady of the hot coals is no longer in sight
Blue heavens weep for the Androgyne at night






Two Spirits: A Story of Life With the Navajo

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

#TuesdaySerial: Wrenge V


Wrenge (5)
By

Louise Dragon



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 old sitcoms. Murphy Brown's escapades did little to lighten Wayne's mood. But, by the time Roseanne told her third one-liner, about the same time as the sun slid behind Mount Moriah, Wayne lay nodding in his recliner. Thirty minutes later, while his soft snores and rigorously grinding teeth punctuated the quick responses of Rescue 911, 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. Eery 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 ached – they were also 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 swelled with each cautious 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 worm holes and 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 this pain is awfully fierce, Wayne thought.


The cauliflower knob of bone on the end of the severed arm that Elizabeth clutched 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 her 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 through the indigo skies over Memphis.
~~~
Continued . . .

Link to Wrenge (1)
Link to Wrenge (2)

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Death: A Life
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Friday, June 4, 2010

#fridayflash: Love on the Fringe

Love on the Fringe
By Louise Dragon


The girl stepped out of the fog and began to make her way around the tombstones toward Pom.


Pom Lasiter glanced quickly behind him, but he was alone in the cemetery. Not even a bird chirped.


Beautiful, yet sweet features adorned the slim body of the dark-haired girl stepping daintily through dew-moistened grass on the fringes of Cullman Cemetery.


Pom, heart beating more and more rapidly with each approaching step, tried to think of something witty to say. Instead, this came out: “What’s a pretty girl like you doing in a scary place like this?”


The girl stopped short, looked Pom square in the face, and burst into tears. Great big droplets that rolled down alabaster white cheeks and dripped onto her green gauzy dress.


Oh, great, Pom’s voice inner voice proclaimed. Meet a beautiful sexy girl in the middle of nowhere and what do you do? Make her cry? Charming, simply charming!


“I’m Pomeroy Lasiter,” Pom spoke quietly trying to keep the quaver out of his voice. “I didn’t mean to scare you. Is there anything I can do?”


“Edda. Edda Brudie.” She held out a petite white hand. Which immediately disappeared into Pom’s large brown one.


“I’m lost,” she sobbed. “I’m so lost and cold and tired. I need your help.”


Pom reluctantly dropped Edda’s waxy cold hand.


“You’re freezing,” he said removing his blazer and draping it over the girl’s shoulders -- like they do in the movies. She gazed up at him with the largest and bluest eyes Pom had ever seen. His knees weakened and his mouth dried up. At that precise moment in his young life, Pom knew what the phrase “love at first sight,” meant. This girl equaled that phrase for him. He would gladly do anything she asked. He gulped trying to get words to come out of his arid mouth.


“What can I do?” he choked out


“We-we were in an accident,” the girl stammered. Her voice lilted, with an almost singsong quality.


“Our car hit a tree . . . somewhere out there. I’ve been wandering around for hours looking for help. Wait, what are you doing here at this time of day?” Edda backed away slightly, a frown furrowing her pretty face.


“My girlfriend died last month,” Pom gushed out the words. It was all he could think of to explain his presence. He didn’t want this girl to know that he was so desperately lonely that he had planned to take his own life last night. Down a bottle of pills and die right here on a grave – any grave. Pom didn’t have a girlfriend. Pom never had a girlfriend, but things were looking up.


Edda’s face softened. “How sweet,” she murmured, relief washing over her pretty face. She moved in closer and once again looked up at Pom’s face with those lipid pools of blue. “Come,” she said, “maybe we can still save Bruce.”


“Bruce?”


“My boyfriend,” the girl sobbed, “he was driving the car and I couldn’t get him out.”


Damnit, Pom’s inner self-proclaimed, a boyfriend, how charming!


Still, if the dude were dead, consoling Edda would then become Pom’s job. A tiny smile played over his lips as he followed the girl into the forest.


In a small clearing next to a huge oak tree lay the rusty remains of an old vehicle.


Little Edda paced back and forth before the wreck wringing her hands.


“Wha?” Pom began reaching for her.


She flung herself against Pom sobbing for all she was worth.


“Bruce was right here,” the girl wept scrubbing her face from side to side against his willing chest.


He hooked a finger under her chin forcing her to look up at him. That face, those eyes, crazy or not, he was going to kiss her.


She actually stopped struggling and accepted his kiss . . . melted into it, but there was a slimy little wriggling place on one lip that caused Pom to move away slightly, his breath coming in quick gasps.


Her mouth smelled foul like festering mushrooms.


A small yellow worm wriggled from a hole under Edda’s full lips and fell to the ground between them.


Pom backed away hitting the canted door of the rusted car wreck.


A greasy green sack fell out revealing old bones, rotting flesh, and plenty of maggots.


Pom looked into the wreck and saw another festering body behind the wheel. He spun back to face Edda.


“You . . .you’re dead,” he said flatly, hardly believing his misfortune. “How charming!”


Edda moved in to snuggle against him again but he backed away from her.


“Are you really dead?” he asked shaking his head with disbelief.


“Yes,” she said and pointed to spot on Pom’s wrist where a small yellow maggot inched out of his white shirtsleeve.


“But so are you.”
End



Stephen King's Graveyard Shift
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Dragon Chronicles XXIX

XXIX. The big mastiff will howl all night
Soon after Morgan, great change is made right
Plague extinguished, the world becomes smaller
Not far lies the epoch of the signal installer





Mastiff by Vero Shaw. CANVAS WITH BRUSHSTROKES with 3/4 inch bars. 9.91 inches width by 7.94 inches height. Highest Quality Art Poster Print
Mastiff by Vero Shaw. CANVAS WITH BRUSHSTROKES with 3/4 inch bars. 9.91 inches width by 7.94 inches height. Highest Quality Art Poster Print
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