Short Story: The Monster

Since I absolutely can’t think of anything to write today, I decided to just share another short story.

See my writing group has held quite a few short story competitions between group members, and I figured I’d share some of mine. They aren’t anything near publishable (all first drafts), but they were all fun to write, and hopefully fun to read. We allow a period of one week for the stories to be written, and it must be between 1 and 5 thousand words. Our competitions are based on a prompt given by another member, and the prompt for this one was:

Someone has been following me for a long time. Now I’m finally going to do something about it.

So, here is my take on that prompt.

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Bordeaux Glass Thoughts

Of all the hands to touch me throughout my life, his I remember best.

Always gentle, always confident; he filled me with comfort, and I knew that he would never let me fall, never break me. There was never a moment when I questioned whether what we had was right or wrong, even when he would forget about me for hours, days, or even weeks. It didn’t matter. Whenever his eyes sought me out again I was only too happy to obey. I was too lonely without the warmth of his touch, and only when he would fill me to the brim did I feel complete; whole again. I think I was in love with him.

I must have been.

Even know, in the hands of another, he’s all I think about. His lips—oh they were the lips of Adonis. He knew how to taste of me in a way I’ve never seen or felt matched before or since. Like a connoisseur, he’d press his lips to mine and drink deeply, pouring my very spirit into his. He could leave behind impressions that would last until dawn, so powerful I thought I could feel them even after they were washed away.

And oh the nights we would spend together.

His fingers could—and would—cradle me until completion, but often we would spent hours together doing nothing more than holding one another. He would gaze into the distance and dream, whispering his hopes and fears and wishes into my ear. I was just happy to be wrapped in his warm embrace. We would stay that way until dawn, lazy lovers as we kissed our way into a haze of happiness.

It was bliss.

It’s only as this other man holds me that I reflect upon those hands that I truly long for. Hands that knew how to hold me. Hands that cared. This new man is careless; clumsy fingers and all teeth. Worse than even that, he often leaves me naked and alone without a whisper of affection to sooth my aching soul. I fear for my sanity; for my life, but I don’t believe that I can survive on my own. The mere thought of being thrown out is unbearable, even though it hurts me when he tosses me from his embrace like something dirty and disposable. I am no longer treasured.

And so I miss him

He’d never treated me this way, but he’s gone now. My emptiness is all I have left to remind me of him. I still remember the last time he held me. It was a cold night, one I won’t ever forget. We’d spent hours together already, his lips and hands and trembling fingers touching me in the ways that only he could, touching me until I was exhausted and satisfied. Laying beside him then, he whispered, drowsy and heavy lidded, about decisions he would have to make soon, about things I couldn’t understand. Things I didn’t want to understand. I watched in silence as he spoke, stilled by my fears as he said his goodbyes. Only; I hadn’t known they were goodbyes then.

To this day I still don’t understand why he left me.

Hours, days, weeks, months later I still lived in that pained memory of his gentle farewell, my lips cold and my soul empty. His friends came. They spoke in hushed voices, afraid, I suppose, of telling me the truth. Of telling me how it had ended. It was in the hands of one of those friends that I found some small comfort again, however cheap and bitter the taste.

But still I miss him.

As the days pass and I grow more brittle with age, I keep my hope that he will walk back into my life again; kiss me again. Fill me again. Maybe he could rescue me before the loss of his care causes irreparable damage. I know that he won’t—that he can’t—but I also cannot give up the hope, not when I’m already chipped and so near to shattering.

Hope is all I have left.

So in these hands I find my temporary reprieve, but never will I forget him. He was bliss. He was love. He was the sweetest wine and the warmest touch. He was my everything. I could only hope to cradle his spirit each chance that I was able, but he—he managed to consume all of mine.

Switching to Sundays

In light of the fact that I work a full time job and all that, I think I’m going to move blog posting day to Sunday. I want to challenge myself to try and push out a short story every other week, and that’ll fit in perfectly with the “Short Story Sunday” tag I already have created. So with that change in mind, I’m keeping this post super short, and I’ll see you back here on Sundays!

Hint: it’s going to be a short story.

Adding Magical Realism, Plus NaNoWriMo Hopeful

I finally made my decision on whether or not to write a MG ghost story with magical realism or not, and I’m pleased to say that I am going forward with it. Ever since coming across the term I’ve been sort of enchanted by idea, and while I started out wanting to write a kid’s horror, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not very good at creating horror. I love reading it, and I love to watch it; however, when it comes to producing horror of my own I don’t seem to have any sense of what’s needed. I may have a passion for it, but I just don’t have a knack for writing it, at least not that I’ve seen so far. I might try again eventually (got a couple ideas floating around), but right now I’ll shelf them and move on.

SO…. with that finally off my chest, I’m pleased to say that now my efforts will be to write something vaguely reminiscent of Pan’s Labyrinth but for children, so obviously with far less horrifying moments and themes. I’m now rewinding a little to add in these new elements. What I’m really hoping for is to be finished with my planning and outlining before the end of October so that I can participate in National Novel Writing Month finally! I’ve never really been in a good position to join, so fingers crossed I get a chance to this year.

Will I be able to finish this been before the end of this year? Sweet Christmas do I hope so 🙂 I’ll keep the blog updated on my progress in the meantime.

In other news: I’ve been slacking a little on the Querying front… definitely need to remedy that soon…

IT

I have loved horror my entire life, all the way from the womb and up until today, and likely until the day I die. I say the womb, because apparently when my mother was pregnant with me that was all she watched, and I’d like to think that led to my life-long love of the genre. I think the only horror I don’t like is the stuff people call ‘torture porn,’ and I’m honestly inclined to agree with the term. I love watching (as god-awful as this sentence sounds) the suffering and terror of horror movie characters, but I don’t want to just see them get hurt as the focus as the film. I’ll take Nightmare on Elm Street over Hostel any day of the week.

That said, I’ve always been a fan of the old IT mini-series. Sure it was cheesy with all it’s wonderful Stephen King campiness, but that didn’t make it less enjoyable. Was it scary? Well… I mean not really. I absolutely adored Tim Curry as Pennywise, and the child actors were great, and I loved so many of the scenes that took place in their childhood years. And I think that the people who worked on the new remake movie really understood that those things were what most people liked about the original. The clown, the children, and the interaction between them.

My spoiler free review:

The movie is good. I only had two negative thoughts through the entire thing, and neither of them is at all a ‘deal breaker’ that detracts from the movie. My first ‘con’ to the movie is the length. It seemed just a little too long, and I think this might have been a pacing issue in the middle. I understand that they wanted to give every kid a unique experience with Pennywise, but after a while it was just scare after scare after scare and I thought at one point, “how many more times can these kinds be scared before they aren’t scared any more??” So yeah, just a little too long, but I really can’t think of what I’d cut either, because individually I really enjoyed all the scenes.

My second issue was really only one scene in particular, and not because it was bad in any way, but because it seemed to be the only ‘cheesy’ moment. It sort of took me out of the movie for a second because it just didn’t seem to work as well as the other Pennywise interactions.

Seriously though, go see it. While I still adore Tim Curry’s Pennywise, Bill Skarsgård did some an incredible job that I really have to give him some serious kudos. I think of the two Pennywise interpretations sort of like how different actors gave us different Jokers. Jack Nicholson’s Joker was to Tim Curry’s Pennywise what Heath Ledger’s Joke was to Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise. Two very different versions of the same character, but both equally for all their differences. Skarsgård was creepy as fuck, and I loved him every second of it.

I also can’t leave out what an incredible job those kids did! There wasn’t a single moment any of those children were on that I rolled my eyes or thought they weren’t believable. Their interactions and dialogue actually had me laughing out loud, and I can’t even begin to say how glad I am that this movie didn’t hold back, not on the language or the blood. Where the original was made for TV, this one was most definitely not.

So yeah. Go see this! It’s good, it’s great, and it’s well worth the admission cost.

Spoiler Review Below!!!

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Death

So I ended up skipping my entry last week, but not without reason.

A girl died last Sunday.

Well, thousands did all over the world, I’m sure, but the girl I’m referencing specifically was a daughter to one of my co-workers. I won’t give any details, but this girl was too young for anyone to ever say, “well at least she lived a long life,” and really it just isn’t fair. She didn’t deserve it, and my co-worker certainly didn’t deserve to endure it. So, out of respect, and quite frankly my distraction at the events, I decided to skip the entry altogether.

It’s been a week now, and while life has gone on for the rest of us here in the office, I can’t help but think of how my co-worker must be doing. I imagine that waking up each day must be the hardest part. To sleep and forget about it must be such a relief; then comes that single second of amnesia just after waking, only to have that followed by the most gut-wrenching punch of realization that it wasn’t just a bad dream. I’m not a parent, and I can’t fathom that level of heartbreak, but it does make me think about all the people in my life who I love.

Events like that really make people stop and consider what’s really important in life. It isn’t your job, it isn’t your possessions, your value or your debt. What’s important are those you love and the time you get to spend with them. As obvious as that statement seems, so many of us forget it anyway as we stress over work or bills or broken things. 

It’s easy to put death and loss in the background of your worries (and seriously, that isn’t a bad thing because thinking about it all the time would be unhealthy as hell), but just remember to tell everyone you love how you feel. Ask him/her out. Call the people you care about if you haven’t talked to them in a while. Go out for coffee. Go on a date. Send a text to remind them that you are thinking of them. Write a letter. Start a video chat. Go visit. Whatever you do, just do something.

Time is fleeting, so don’t waste it on shit that doesn’t matter.

Still going

Needless to say, PitchWars was a bust. Thankfully the world moves on, and I’ve begun to query again. I’m 6 rejections in, all of them basically saying the same thing: thanks for the query but no thanks. I think I might go up to 15 rejections before I sit down and maybe revisit the manuscript. I have some notes from my writer’s group and a potential prologue just sitting off to the side right now; once I hit 15 I think I’ll make some adjustments and then try some more.

Work on the current WIP continues. I’m right at the halfway mark, so that’s nice. Unlike so many of my other projects though, this one is far less wordy. So much so that I might actually have to go through and add more words. Insanity! I think though, that because I’ve chosen to try my hand at MG instead of adult, I’ve also been trying to avoid going too deep into the descriptive rabbit-holes I tend to get stuck in.

Also, the big question on my mind is how different I’d like to make this WIP once the rough draft is done, if at all. Currently it’s just a simple premise: children’s ghost story, but I keep asking myself if I should add something extra. Ghost story in space? Ghost story with magical realism? I think my biggest worry is the notion that perhaps a simple ghost story just isn’t enough. I should probably start scouting out the MG market to see what agents are looking for and what’s overly-saturated right now.

Ugh.

At any rate, work continues and the world moves on.

WIP Word Count: 19,424