Monday, October 31, 2011

Story-A-Day #354: All Hallow's Eve


ALL HALLOW'S EVE


Skeleton hands scratched at the window, trying to claw their way in.  Tommy pulled the blankets up closer around his neck, willing himself not to roll over in bed and face the ghastly ghoul that was trying to get into his room.  He swallowed hard, and squeezed his eyes shut tight, then tried to take a few deep breaths to calm down.  He focused on the nightlight, the superhero that radiated a soft yellow glow designed especially to dispel all things that went bump in the night.  With vengeance.  It wasn’t working.

The sound came again, a sinister scritch, scritch, scritch, at the window.  Tommy gulped and reminded himself that he was practically twelve now, too old to be scared by the creatures in the night.  He slowly rolled over, turning towards the window, as a wave of reluctant dread washed over him.  He knew that the Boogeyman was out there about to crash the window and drag his body out into the night.

Through the window, the moon grinned brightly from behind a veil of wispy black clouds; a gleaming white crescent that filled the upper right hand corner by the gently fluttering curtains.  There was nothing else out there but the moon, and the clouds, and the silhouetted shadow of the big maple tree in the front yard.  A flickering shadow drew Tommy’s wide-eyed and he almost leapt right out of his skin as his room filled with the familiar sound: scritch, scritch, scritch.

Tommy dropped his head back onto his pillow, a sigh of relief rushing from his tensely clenched chest.  It was just the tree branch rubbing up against his bedroom window in the light October breeze.  Not a skeleton, or a witch, or a vampire.  Just a tree.

He always got antsy at this time of the year, no surprise really, but it was understandable.  It was Halloween, All Hallow's Eve.  It was the one night of the year where monsters crossed over from the realm of the unreal and into the real world.
It was the best time of the year, and even though Tommy was scared, he wouldn't trade the feeling for anything.  It was a good feeling knowing that anything was possible.  Even the most horrible and ghoulish aspects of a twelve-year-old's imagination.

Halloween really was the best day of the year.  He would trade a sleepless night for a bit of terror any day of the year.  It made him feel alive.

He cast a quick glance at the glowing visage projected onto his bedroom wall by the grimacing jack-o-lantern that he had placed on his desk and smiled.  There really was no better day than Halloween.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Story-A-Day #353: Ghouls and Ghosts


GHOULS AND GHOSTS

She didn't realluy like this time of year.  It was to macadamia.  Or macabre, maybe, she always got the two words confused, but either way, the whole Halloween thing was just nuts.

Why would people rejoice in such horrible things.  Monsters and ghouls and ghosts?  It makes no sense whatsoever as to why someone would want to embrace those horrible fictions.

She was more of a Christmas person for sure: peace on earth, good will towards men.  Even Valentine's Day was better than this horrible excuse for a holiday.  Was she wrong to think that a day that centred around a celebration of love and desire was better than one that focussed on ghouls and ghosts?  Not a chance.  She would hedge her bets on a giant bunny delivering eggs before she would hedge those same bets on black cats and goblins and witches and ghosts.

Even the more innocent aspects of the holiday ritual seem despicable.  Stabbing a pumpkin and chopping into to pieces?  What is that about?

That is what she had always thought until this very day...

It wasn't at all like it was in the movies.  She didn't meet and instantly fall in love with a vampire who sparkled in the sunlight.  That series was as close as she got to watching a "horror" movie.  But really, it wasn't like that at all.  No, this was different.

She was sitting in the foyer of her deceased grandparents' house when there was a knock at the door.  At first, she figured it was someone collecting for Amnesty International, but when she answered the door, she realized that everything she had formerly believed was false.

Halloween was meant to be the time where the doorways between the land of the living and the land of the dead were at their most susceptible to crossing over.

All of a sudden, it seemed quite possible.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Story-A-Day #352: Innards



INNARDS

It's all part of the process.  And it looks digusting, but the rewards are worthwhile.  The stringy pulp is no good to anyone, but when you gut a huge pumpkin to carve it into a jack-o-lantern, remember to save some of the seeds.  Better still, save the bits you carve out; the negative space that becomes the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, or more intricate design you have selected.

Those extra pieces can become a great soup and are delicious baked with a bit of brown sugar.

The real gold mine though, is the seeds.  They are inconspicuous, even innocuous on their own, but once you have stripped them from the clinging innards of the pumpkin, they become the real treat.  It might seem gross, but that is what Halloween is supposed to be.  It is a day where we celebrate the ghoulish and the ghastly.

Digging through guts should be a pleasure.  Princesses and superheroes have no place in my Halloween.

My Halloween has always been about the scary side of things.  The things that go bump in the night.  Digging through a pile of gourd guts should be a revelation and a part of the greater celebration.  And again, the end result is always more than worthwhile.

Once you have extracted the seeds from the stringy guts of the gourd, you are ready for additional torment - you get to wait.

Let those seeds dry out, saeson them, and then bake then in your oven.  You will not regret the result.

Mostly, make sure that you relish the sensation as your fingers run through that slimy, stringy pile.  Each seed should be a small victory.  Digging through those innards is something you should carry with you from your youngest days and pass on to your youngest children.

It is all part of the process, and a part of the greatest day of the year.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Story-A-Day #351: Betsy


BETSY

Those were different times.  You probably wouldn't get it because your version of the '50s only exists in your mind based on what you have seen in the movies, but things really were different back then.   Sure they were simpler and more honest, but it was more than that.

When I was growing up, we had to work hard every day just to get by.  I'm not going to tell you that I had to walk ten miles through the snow to get to school every day and that it was uphill both ways, but things were definitely harder.

I remember saving up my money for years so that I could buy my first car.  Why did I want a car so badly?  Because of Rita Granger.  She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, a radiant redhead, and when I did get my car, I wanted to make sure it would be a worthy chariot for my belle.

I had a problem with my plan though.  The problem was that Rita had no idea that she was my belle.  In fact, she had already sidled up with Tommy Coughlin.  He was what you might call a greaser, which wasn't really a bad thing back then, but he had a great baby blue car that he had been driving since he was fourteen.  He called that car Betsy and he was the envy of every guy I went to school with because of that car, but for me, it was all because of the beautiful Rita who clung to his arm.

When he crashed his car on Route 7, it devastated the town, but no one more than me.  Rita had been with him at the time, and she was thrown from the car.  She did not survive.  Neither of them did.

I spent a lot of time out there on Route 7 trying to figure out how my life had all gone so wrong.  I know it sounds selfish, I was still alive after all, but on the inside, I did not feel like I was.  Something had died inside of me that day as well.

I wound up buying Tommy's wreck and told everyone I planned to fix it.  I never did though.  Instead I spent all my time out there on Route 7, wishing for a way to change what had already transpired.

I still go out there every year on October 28th.  On those cold autumn nights, I sit by that bend and wait, and every year, without fail, thesame thing happens.  Everything falls silent and then the roar of an engine fills the night.  I sit there patiently and wait.  the roar grows louder and then two dots of light appear.  It's Betsy.  She roars past the place where I sit and Rita waves delightedly as the race past my spot.

There is no crash this time though, she just disappears.  It's the damndest thing, but it gives me a sense of peace seeing her as she was back then, full of vibrant life and promise.

I'll be there again tonight, waiting for my fleeting glimpse of what could have been.  I'll sit there in the cold and wait for Tommy and Betsy to deliver me my last vision of what I lost all those years ago.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Story-A-Day #350: Full Moon


FULL MOON

I've waited too long.

It was such a nice day, especially for October, and I guess i thought I could make it last.  I thought I could drag this day out just a little longer, make this a day to remember for years to come.  It will be of course, just not for the reasons I would like.

You are my world.  I mean that.  I love every aspect of you with all of my being.  I wish that were enough.  As the sun slowly sinks into the rippling lake though, I realize that loving you is not enough.

It was a great day though.  We woke up next to each other, kissed, and made love.  Is there a better way to begin a day?

We eventually crawled out from the tangled nest of sheets and showered together.  I made you breakfast: bacon, eggs, french toast, and freshly squeezed orange juice.  You laughed as I picked the eggshells out of the french toast batter - because I have to do it every time.

We spent the afternoon wandering around town, stepping into shops and planning out future purchases that we would make.  It was a delightful morning and we followed it up with a delightful afternoon.

We went to a matinee at the old theatre and held hands in the dark while the old second run print flickered on the silver screen before us.  We had an early dinner after that and proclaimed our undying love for each other once again while we waited for the bill.  And then we wandered out into the dying afternoon and made our way to the beach where we dipped our toes into the cold autumnal waters.

It is always like this when we are together, a blissful passage of time and simple moments that feel like they are the most significant experiences one could have.

You look at me now, and proclaim your undying love once again, but this time I know it cannot be true.  I feel the itch at the back of my neck, the rising hackles of a dog.  I have waited to long, and unfortunately for you that means nothing good.

I am not like other men.  I can feel the full moon creeping up over the horizon, and when it does, I will not be a man at all.

I am sorry, my dear.  I did not mean for this to happen.  I love you with all of my of my being, but my being is fractured.  There is no way this could possibly end well.

I would tell you to run, to flee to safe place, but the full moon is almost upon us.  Unfortunately, we have run out of time...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Story-A-Day #349: Happening


HAPPENING

Do you remember this place?  It doesn't look like much now, but it used to be quite the happening location.  People would come from miles around to hang out at this very place.  they would have a meal or maybe a few drinks.  rthey would dance and celebrate and ebrace the small moments in life.

People were happy here and then it all burnt to the ground.  All those dreams, all that promise, all that happiness, engulfed in huge pillars of smoke that greyed out the sunny October skies.  It was a tragedy for sure.

The official report claims that it was a simple kitchen fire, but most people know better.  Most people know that there is more to th story than that.

It happened in the late eighties, a time when the subculture was slowly becoming the mainstream.  There were whispers in town that the real cause of the fire might have been a little more sinister.  You remember those rumblings?  They were everywhere because people were trying to assign context to the tragic loss of a happy place and the 8 lives that were contained within it.

The biggest murmurs attributed the blaze to a satanic cult.  Why not?  Those pesky satanists were all over the news at the time.  Hell, they even made it onto Geraldo.

You were young the, but you remember the exhileration and excitement that came with thinking there might be devil worshipers in your own backyard.  Of course now, 20 years later, you are able to accept that the very thought of that being the actual cause is nothing more than rediculous media fueled conjecture.

You know that a black robed cult was not responsible.

As you stand beneath the rickety arch, the monument to that place, you remember that day.  You remember striking the match that lit the barrel of rendered fats and fryer oil.  You remember stepping back into the trees and watching the flames explode theough the old wooden structure.  You remember the screams, and the agony, and the complete terror on the faces of the few who did make it out safely.

You remember that moment and you smile.  Not for Beelzebub, or Satan, or Lucifer, but for yourself.

Except that you weren't really there at the time were you?  You were probably snuggled up in bed playing with your My Little Ponies at the time.  You just like to think that is how it happened because it puts you in a moment that would define who you have become.

You know that you are not a good person and putting yourself into this vignette gives you a reason for the dark black knot that lingers in your core.  Putting yourself in that moment helps define your wayward missteps over the past decade.  It helps define the monster you feel within.

By affixing yourself to that tragic moment in time, you hope to alleve the sensation that it will all be happening again.  And it will, and it is...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Story-A-Day #348: Fun House



FUN HOUSE

You think you know what is coming, but you have no idea.  Really.  It shocks me how naive you can be when it comes down to what we are doing.  Sure, on the surface, it seems like we are just another transient distraction designed to pull you from your mundane daily existence, and yet here we are again - camped out in your town and happily ensconced in your favourite park.

Naturally, our little attraction is here to give you pleasure; to you and your entire community.  That's why we are here today, and for the next few days, to provide a distraction from the asinine mediocrity that you have grown accustomed to.

What you need to know now though, is that we are ready to decimate all that you have ever known.

Here is the thing, we don't care about you specifically.  We are not concerned about your needs and wants.  What we are interested in, is your soul.

What is your soul worth to you? How much would you give to maintain the essence of who you are?

Think hard about that.  It is not a trick question.

How far would you go to maintain the essence of who you are today?

However far you think, it is not far enough.

We are here for you today, and we will be there for you tomorrow.  That is our place in this world.  We are harbingers of a new era and in our wake, we leave burnt out towns full of apathetic human shells.  You can run, but you can never hide.

Welcome to the fun house...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Story-A-Day #347: Fear Itself





FEAR ITSELF

When you drift off to sleep, what is it that you fear most in your life?

Is it the darkness? Is it the things that go bump in the night?

Maybe you are afraid of losing all that you have worked so hard to become?

One day you might wake up only to learn that your entire life was a fragile illusion. Your friends and family, your career, no more than figments of an imagined reality. You might wake to discover that the past few years of your life have been wasted on the empty pursuit of a perfect ideal, only to realize that the ideal was far from what you had imagined in the long run.

You might wake up to discover that your world has been taken over by zombies, or werewolves, or vampires of the non-twinkling variety. You could in all likeliness, wake up in a post apocalyptic nightmare world overrun by cannibals and daemons.

Or maybe you will simply wake up into a world that offers more of what you have always known, without any chance for betterment.

It is easy to be afraid of what might come next because the fear of the unknown is the easiest one to embrace.

The unfortunate truth for most of us is that we don't realize the fact that our own greatest fear is the one that lives before us; the fear of fear itself.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone. Please excuse auto corrected errors!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Story-A-Day #346: Roadblock


ROADBLOCK

You don't know how lucky you are today.  Your lack of appreciation is a flaw in your species.  You have a tendency to live every day as though there will be another one that follows the one you are currently experiencing, and that the pattern of sleep-wake-sleep-wake will continue forever.

I find it charming.

You feel that you are invincible, that you will continue to live out your days in peaceful harmony.  That is what makes you weak.  That is what makes you the lesser beings that you are.  That is what makes you such easy prey for a being such as myself, and it is the base of my frustrations today.

I have had you in my mind for longer than I care to recall.  I have had you marked for such a special moment together, such a brilliant moment of retribution, and now it is all ruined because of your pagan rituals.  Your rituals that just so happen to predate my resurrection.

I once destroyed an entire civilization.  Atlantis.  You've heard of it?  That was me.  I wiped those scoffing imbeciles off the face of the planet because they strove too hard to become more than they were.

The ancient Druids caught on to my ways and instilled a sense of magic that could only exist within the right balance of white and black, good and evil.  Those brilliant bastards.

You can call me karma, but in your terms, I am merely the police.  With Atlantis, I witnessed an insurrection of intellect and prosperity that showed no bounds, and I snuffed it out in one simple cataclysm.   It was a bold move to be sure, and one that I have paid for ever since.  That one small reminder of who was in charge cost me more than I could ever imagine.

I was once the scourge of nations and now I am held at bay by your row of hollowed out gourds.

You can count yourself amongst the lucky tonight, but you should not rest easy.  My power will return, and when it does, I will seek out those who doubted me and I will snuff them out like a candle in a tornado.

Rest as ease tonight, but know that I am coming for you.  Enjoy your small victory...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Story-A-Day #345: Imprints


IMPRINTS

Most of us worry about the imprint we might leave on our world.  I used to.  I used to worry about the imprint I would leave on those around me.  Would I be viewed as an honest man?  As a warrior?  As a thief?  Would I be viewed as a clown who never had the capacity to take things seriously?  Would I be viewed as a man who took all things seriously - even those moments of levity that had no right to be considered within the realm of seriousness?

Those things used to concern me, and then they dropped the bomb.  I know, the bomb?  It's so nineteen eighties, and yet, that was the glory of the plan.  No one even knows who it was that initiated the attack.  There are rumours that the whole thing is a smokescreen to divert our attention from the state of the world and the rapidly collapsing global economy.

Seriously?

There must be a better way to prove a point, a better escape policy.  For them to just drop the bomb and assume that we would turn towards them for salvation and guidance as to what we should do next is both ridiculous and inhumane.  It is, right?

I've been living in an old cold war bunker for five months now and today, I decided I would venture out into the bright, wide world, and you know what?

I have not encountered any resurrected dinosaurs.  I have not encountered any demented tattooed and pierced pillagers of this dead earth.

The only thing I have encountered is the imprint of a dead leaf.  Death always leaves an imprint on us though, so I am confident in saying that this was not the message "they" aimed to deliver.  Their message was one of fear and chaos, and yet, if all that remains is a message of beauty imprinted onto this paving stone, then the message has not been delivered.

I used to want to be so many things, but I now realize I only want to be salvation for a global population that has spent far too long living in fear.

The bomb was a lie, and through that lie we can find our salvation.  Join me on the surface and reclaim what has always been ours - life, prosperity, and a better way of being.

This is the time for us to reclaim what has always been ours: Happiness.

Happiness has only ever been our salvation, and a communal, global sense of happiness will be our only salvation.

That is what I learned today in the wasteland.  The only waste we incur is the waste we cling to,

Friday, October 21, 2011

Story-A-Day #344: Seeds


SEEDS

I cut into the dome, driving the knife in with a little more aggression than I would have expected.  It almost feels like I am stabbing into the skull of someone who might once have wronged me.  I feel a little guilty associating this vulgar act of dessication with the memories we share.

Still, there is a great sense of satisfaction as I drive the knife in deeper and deeper and eventually expose the pulpy innards of the gourd.  Pulling the lid off the wrinkly orange dome provides great satisfaction, and for a moment - albeit a brief one, I almost feel as though I have exposed the root of the turmoil I have been made to suffer over the past few years.

I reach my hand into the opening and I can feel it all there, the tendrils of memory webbing around the seeds of all that we once were.  Each one of those seeds represents a moment that we shared, a moment in time that may have been forgotten, or that may have sprouted into something bigger and better than either one of us could recall.

The innards of this pumpkin represent the innards of our relationship.  It is a weird analogy, but if you actually think about it, it is an apt one.  Each one of those seeds represents a particular moment in time, a memory shared between the two of us, and as I gouge and into the gourd with my greedy fist, I can rip the asunder.

Each handful of seeds is another handful of memories torn from that enclosure.  Each strand of clinging filament, another obstacle for me to overcome.

I don't do this out of spite, I do it so that I can create a new face with which I can face the world.  I aim to create a grimace that will redefine my place in time, a hideous beast that will fend off the darker moments in this life.

And as I rip out those handfuls of seeds and the clinging tendrils that hold them together, I realize that the human mind is a great deal more complex then a pumpkin's innards.

Seeds can be torn asunder, but memories cling to the mind with a far greater voracity.  Such is human nature.

All things happen for a reason, for ill or gain.  The face we put forward is not susceptible to change, regardless of our best intentions.  Out actions and inactions become who we are, for better or for worse.

Our memories are who we are, and who we always will be.  For better or for worse...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Story-A-Day #343: Decorpse





DECORPSE

It is a time of year whose decorations are only ever eclipsed by the evergreen tinseled fairy lights of Christmas, and one infinitely more ghoulish.

Halloween is a day where we embrace the macabre and celebrate the grotesque.

This is a time where we willfully gut and de-brain pumpkins only to stab, gouge and carve a face-like countenance into its surface, then light it on fire from within. At Christmas, we erect trees and cover them in sparkling momentous.

At Halloween, we work hard to pillage our neighborhoods of treats, and deliver some unexpected tricks in return. At Christmas, we tear through a conveyor belt of easily obtained gifts.

At Halloween, we celebrate the things that go bump in the night and all things terrifying. At Christmas we turn a blind allegiance towards religion and peace on earth.

Which of the two celebrates the greater fictions?

Is a fat man with an elven workforce and flying reindeers any more likely than vampires, zombies, werewolves, and witches?

The peace an tranquility of Christmas will always be a wonderful time, but for me, the real joy if only ever hinted at, at lurking unknown that is half obscured in the shadows of All Hallow's Eve.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone. Please excuse auto corrected errors!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Story-A-Day #342: Decrepit





DECREPIT

I can barely remember the last time I was out here. I remember pouring all my efforts into this tree fort for three consecutive summers, hammering, sawing, and carefully framing each elevated floor. From the age of 11 to 13, that is how i spent my summers, but I do not remember the last time I was here.

I think I have blocked most of that night from my mind.

Seeing the decrepit shell of our old fort does bring back some memories. I remember the towering platforms that stretched up into the swaying tamaracs. I remember the nights spent camping out in the woods.

Unwillingly, I remember the night it all came crashing down to the ferocious screams of our unknown assailant. I remember the flashes of coarse black fur, the gleaming eyes, an the jagged yellow fangs.

The rest is still a merciful blur.

I lost more than my best friend during that savage attack; I lost my innocence and my ability to marvel at the beauty of nature.

To me, nature is nothing more than a destroyer.

It was nature that killed my friend, tearing him to pieces in the night while I fled towards the alarmed voices of my parents and the glowing security of shelter.

It was nature that pulled this fortress to the ground, that collapsed under the repressive weight of that night's memories.

It was nature that crippled my ability to feel at peace. Standing here today, surrounded by nature and the decrepit remains of my youth is one o the hardest things I have ever done.

Amongst the swampy aromas of this forest, I can still detect the pungent aroma of the beast. It is out there somewhere in those trees.

Perhaps it has been waiting for my return, to finish what it started all those years ago...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone. Please excuse auto corrected errors!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Story-A-Day #341: Tender





TENDER

In concept, our little club is a simple one, a combination of cooking and gastronomy. We do however, embrace one caveat - that of the unknown.

There are twelve of us, each with a month to wow the others with an entirely unique concoction that has never before been enjoyed by any of the others.

With October as the month I was assigned, I have a unique dish in mind, one I am sure no one will have ever tried. I am guaranteed success tonight, but I still have a great deal of preparation ahead of me.

The vegetables are chopped, and the potatoes ready. All that remains is the meat, the coup-de-grace if you will.

I walk down the back steps from my kitchen and into the gloomy basement. I can hear a shuffling from the back corner and a soft whimpering.

She is beautiful, a fine specimen marinated over the past two days in a pungent stew of terror and tears.

I smile at her across the basement enclosure and am greeted by a futile rattling of chains. She will be as delicious as she is beautiful...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone. Please excuse auto corrected errors!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Story-A-Day #340: Followed





FOLLOWED

Daytime is supposed to be a safe haven. The sun is meant to dispel the gloom and send the shadows scurrying like cockroaches into the darkness.

Today is not one of those days though. She has been plagued by a sense of unrest, haunted by the feeling that someone is following her.

She casts another glance over her shoulder and finds an empty street stretching off into the distance. There was no one there, no secret stalker following in her wake.

She continues along at a heightened pace, moving just a little bit faster than before.

It's an impossible feeling to shake, that sensation of eyes following your every move. She glances backward again and for just a moment, thinks she sees a shape stepping off the sidewalk and behind a tall hedgerow.

There is someone back there. She is sure of it now, someone following her and trying not to be seen.

She breaks into a run, desperate to get to the safety of her nearby home, to the safety that daylight cannot provide.

She knows he is back there. She knows she is being followed.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone. Please excuse auto corrected errors!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Story-A-Day #339: Voices


VOICES

It was a cool, crisp Sunday and I was making my home from a birthday party that had turned into a random overnight stay with a girl that I had just met.  We had shared her bed, and a few stories about each other, but that was it.  I thought things might end up going somewhere exciting, but the chaste evening of cuddles and comfort had been enough - I wasn't looking for anything more anyway.  Besides, I was pretty drunk, so it probably would have ended in embarrassment had things escalated any further.  I'm honest enough to be able to admit to that.

We bid a mostly comfortable farewell at her door, accompanied by an exchange of chaste cheek kisses, then I set out for home, the smell of the night before oozing from my pores despite the fresh breeze blowing through the morning.  It had been a good night, and I was confident that I would actually call, or at the very least send a text message to, the number I had just punched into my phone.  That could wait though.  For now, all I could think of was a nice warm shower to sluice off the remnants of the night before.

The cool breeze buffeted me as I made my way along the leaf-strewn street, whipping my heavily laden jacket pockets in every direction.  I could hear a half emptied tin of mints jangling hollowly with every gust.  Moments later, I could hear another sound, a hushed urgent chanting.  I paused, straining to hear above the blowing wind.

I could just make out the words, barely discernible over the breeze.  "We've been waiting for you.  We've been needing you," the voices murmured.  There was an oddly discordant tone to the voice, not quite masculine, not quite feminine.  It was almost an animalian voice, if animals were capable of speech.

I noticed the grate in the ground next to me.  I had passed a few of them on my way home, and it seemed, unlikely as it was, that the metal slats were the source for the sounds I had been hearing.  I stepped closer, bending down so I could peer into the gloomy depths, and the voices returned.

"He is perfect.  Just what we need."

I frowned, and was about to take a closer look when my phone vibrated.  I had a new text message.  "Thanks for a great night. hope to hear from you soon."

I was just typing in my response when the first tendril shot out of the grill and lashed around my neck.  The grating slid to the side and I found myself being dragged into the dark and along a narrow tunnel strewn with leaves.

"So happy to have you," the voices echoed.

The last thing I saw was my phone's screen, the service indicator whirling as the message I had been sending got lost in the dark.  She would never know how happy I was to have met her.

The screen winked to black.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Story-A-Day #338: Mugwump


MUGWUMP

My grandfather was an avid fisherman, more at home on the water than he was on dry land.  When I was young, I remember him swimming across the lake and back every morning as part of his daily ritual.  His broad, shoulders and powerful arms would cycle effortlessly, pulling his body through the often choppy water with ease.  He was a big bear of a man, but he definitely seemed at home in the water.  That's what makes his disappearance so suspect.

Lake Temiskaming is a deep one, cold and brutal when she wants to be.  She has claimed many lives over the years, just as she has claimed her stake in the glacier carved Canadian Shield of Northern Ontario.  She can be a fierce mistress, but she is one that my grandfather had undoubtedly tamed.

When they found his motorboat, abandoned and turning in a slow, endless circle, they assumed that he had fallen overboard, possibly bumped his head on the way into the cold autumn waters.  They never did find his body, but they chalked it up to an accidental death by drowning.

It's nonsense of course.  He was strong and fit.  I've watch him effortlessly pull in a 24-pound pike in a canoe, so nothing could have caused him to lose his footing, fall into the lake, and bang his head on the side of a fifteen-foot aluminum.  He was simply too much of a man to succumb to such a mundane death.

My grandfather was tough and rugged, but he was also a gifted storyteller.  He would concoct great fables about his escapades, and when he did, he would tell them with great conviction.  The only sign that he was telling one of his fables was the inevitable twinkle in his eye.  That twinkle was his tell.  Still, there was one story he would tell that was different, one that he would tell with equal conviction, but without the mischievous gleam in his eyes.

Legend has it that a great beast lives in the dark and murky depths of Lake Temiskaming, one that locals on both the Ontario and Quebec shores refer to as Mugwump.  The descriptions vary, but my grandfather's is the one I stand by because I am quite certain he had encountered Mugwump as a younger man.

He described the beast as a serpent, although broader than a typical snake, and far larger - at least 40-feet long by his recollections.  He told me a story about how he had been fishing early one morning, and was reeling in a great catch.  It was an epic battle of man versus nature, the great pike leaping from the waters as it fought to dislodge his hard planted hook.  On one of those leaps, an even greater prize erupted through the surface and caught the fish in mid-air.  the splash as Mugwump tumbled back into the waters almost tipped his boat.

He told me how he had leaned over the side of the boat and watched as the great beast passed beneath, it's cold black saucer sized eye staring at him as it passed below.  The monster, my grandfather had assured me, had issued a challenge; one in which there would only be one true victor.

It might sound crazy, but I am positive that Mugwump returned and that my grandfather failed that challenge.  I think Mugwump had her revenge.  As I stare out over these cool autumnal waters today, I can almost feel her presence, a forbidding challenge that rises up from the deeps.  I almost feel as though she is calling out for a new challenger, one who might do better than the man who tamed the untamable depths of this great prehistoric lake.

I am afraid that I am not that man, but I will try.  It's what my grandfather would have wanted...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Story-A-Day #337: A Good Man


A GOOD MAN

I know it probably doesn't look like it, but I'm a good man.  I know the beard is a little offsetting, and the dark cloak in particular, but I'm a good man and I look like this for a reason.  I have to look like this in order to be welcomed into the Brethren.

The Brethren are not good men.  They are a scourge of rapists, murderers, and victimizers who prey on the weaknesses of humanity.  They operate as a religious group, but their practices are obscure and outdated.  They are a misogynistic, self-important bunch who want nothing more than to revel in their own glory.  As far as I can tell, Christ plays no role in their religion.

I have joined them for a very simple reason, one that is almost as debased as their own motivations.  I have joined them because I want revenge.

This group of middle aged men has always operated under the auspices of freedom of religion, but I have grown to learn that there is no religion here.  They are a godless bunch who bow down to the alters of power, corruption, and subversion.  Their church is one founded on lies, deceit and destruction.

In order to make it as far as I have, I have had to do a number of things that have sickened me to my core.  There is nothing noble or honest about this religion of theirs, but I have done what I needed to do, and will continue to do so until the iron is hot and I can finally strike.

I have been welcomed into their cult of gloom and I will tear it asunder from within.  There is no place in this world for the evils they cultivate, no place for the utter lack of morality they display.

I will sodomize this monstrous entity from within, castrate it of its power and watch the perpetrators bleed out in a slow and agonizing fashion.  They deserve no better, and they will receive no less than the pain they have thrived on bestowing.

I am a good man, but I wasn't good enough to keep you safe.  That is the error of my ways, and it is one I am to rectify this very night.  With the full moon shining down from above, I will raze this church of hate and put an end to the misery they have bestowed onto me.  And I will do it for revenge, and I will do it for you.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Story-A-Day #336: Thursday The 13th






THURSDAY THE 13TH

Everyone knows that Friday the 13th is supposed to be an unlucky day.  Folklore, urban legends, and even Hollywood with its hockey masked killer and his mother, have helped propagate the legend of that one particular day.  What most don't seem to realize is that the "unlucky" actually is hinged to the number and not the day.

Take today for example; a beautiful October afternoon with the sun shining down and unseasonably warm temperatures.  It is a perfect day for a walk in the woods.  It is a perfect day for a nice stroll in the woods, to admire the fall foliage in its resplendent shades of yellow, orange, and red.

Look, here is a person now who has decided to take advantage of the day with just such an excursion.  She is young and vibrant, full of life.  Her dark hair cascades beautifully around her perfectly made up face.  Her tight yoga pants cling perfectly to the curves of her hips, buttocks, thighs, and calves.  You can see every rippling motion of her firm young musculature just beneath the surface of the clinging black fabric.  Her moderately sized breasts push out against her equally tight top, obvious even with the loose jacket she wears on top.

She is a picture of perfection, a healthy and happy young woman who is excited to be spending a languid afternoon on the trails.

She is probably thinking about the upcoming weekend, and the fun she will have with her friends.  Maybe she is even thinking about a guy from work and how she hopes he will bring her home this weekend for a bit of debauched non-committal copulation.  Then again, maybe she's not the type...

Either way, it doesn't matter because she won't live to see the weekend.  You see, today is her unlucky day because she is not alone on these secluded trails.  I am there with her, a few short strides behind, and I know that the bright sunshine, and warm weather is a mere misdirection.  Everything seems perfect, but in a reality, it is far from it.

Today is Thursday the 13th, and for this beautiful young specimen, it is definitely an unlucky day.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Story-A-Day #335: Ex Machina


EX MACHINA

The common theory has always been that it is viruses or bots that bring down our technology.  I thought so too.  Technology is a great tool, but it is fallible as well, so it makes perfect sense that a malicious string of code could affect our digital world.

In most instances, that would definitely be the case.  My former business partner certainly thought so and his diligence and hard work made us both very rich.  He was a genius with technology and when a virus did bring down a computer network, he was able to isolate and eradicate it within hours.  He was truly gifted in that sense.

He was also an exceedingly paranoid individual.  I used to make fun of him as he grumbled about the unseen forces who were out to get him, as he battled with online forces that he almost personified.  I should have listened to him.

His paranoia had been growing steadily worse over the past few months and he kept talking about the Deus Ex Machina of his work, an unseen force that was somehow enabling his abilities.  He talked about it as though this force was using him to do its bidding, and that it was slowly taking him over, "pirating" him.

It sounded like another eccentric rant from a man known for his eccentricities.  I should have listened.  Two weeks ago, I found him sitting at a computer terminal in our work room.  The room was bathed in the blue glow of start up screens, and he was hunched over his terminal.  I knew he was dead before I had crossed the room, but I needed to make sure.  The sight of his stiff body was shocking, but the contents of his screen were even more alarming.

The words Ex Machina were repeated hundreds of times in a blank Notepad document.  At the end, was a final notation:  It came for me.

I took a couple days off, but eventually I had to return to work and face the inevitable challenges of carrying on without the real brains of our operation to do the hard work.  When I got into my office, there was an email waiting for me.  It was dated that day, and it was from my partner.  I clicked it open and was great with two simple words in an overcompensating 40-point Arial font:  "You're next".

At first, I chalked it up as a prank, but since that email, I have seen those words everywhere: on debit machine screens, in banner ads on websites, in the evening news ticker tapes.  It seems impossible, but I am starting to wonder if there might have been some truth to his crazy ramblings, if maybe there is in fact some higher force that exists in the digital realm, and if there is, whether I might truly be next to suffer the fate of my partner.

Perhaps the line of work we chose had somehow offended this power and it was striking back.  It sounds crazy, I know, but I can't help but consider the possibilities.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Story-A-Day #334: Preparations


PREPARATIONS

It probably looks like I am a typical cat.  I certainly wouldn't blame you for thinking so.  Look at me, all curled up and cute in my little cardboard box.  I am a stereotype, granted, but my actions at the moment have been earned.

I need my rest now.  October is upon us and the nights are getting longer.  Once the sun goes down, I will remain vigilant.  I must do so in order to keep owner safe.  When the darkness comes creeping in and the foul winds of tonight's storm ripple through the trees, I will be hard at work.

This is a month of horror, and yet my owner remains completely unaware of the risk she faces.  They are out there in the night, devilish creatures who long for the souls of the humans who mock them  through ignorance.

They creep through the shadows, blending into the dark.  They are an unseen presence, that strange sensation of neck hairs standing on end.  They would strike at a moment's notice, just as sleep claims its stake, but they will not do so on my watch.

As night descends, I will make my exit.  I spend my nights prowling the yard ad seeking them out.  They have no names, for names are power, but what they do have is an aversion to my kind.  Three nights ago, I watched them slay a dog, a big, ferocious beast that fell like autumn leaves under their assault.

And yet, when I appeared, they stole away into the night, vanishing back into the embrace of shadows that fills this yard.  For now, I am a sleeping cat, but once darkness comes my claws and teeth will be the only thing keeping my owner alive.  She is lucky to be so ignorant to this threat.  She is lucky to have me looking out for her.

She is lucky that I am making these preparations, and that I have the cunning to enter the night and slay those who would harm her.  That is my mission.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Story-A-Day #333: Thanksgiving


THANKSGIVING

He stared at the jagged protrusion of bone where the turkeys head had been severed, and the vulvic folds of flesh that drooped below the opening.  It was actually pretty disgusting looking, the mottled flesh pimpled from plucked feathers, discoloured patches of blood smearing the surface.

With a sigh, he grabbed a handful of stale bread that he had mixed with celery, raisins, and onion, and lightly seasoned.  he then slid his hand into the rear end of the turkey and packed in the deposit.  He continued doing so until the bird was fully stuffed.

It was a weird thing to do, stuffing a carcass with bread and vegetables, but he knew the result would be worth it.  Still, who would have thought to do something like this?  Who would have been possessed to use the inner shell of a bird as a slow cooker?

It wasn't the pilgrims.  He was sure of that.

He placed the turkey in a roasting pan and slid it into the oven.  In six hours time, it would be eating time.  he looked at the pot of potatoes, sliced and ready on the stove.  He looked at the beans, carrots, and asparagus, also ready to go.  then he looked at his watch.  The second hand ticked slowly around the face, tick, tick, tick.

With time to kill, he grabbed a beer from the fridge and stepped out into the unseasonably warm afternoon.  Sitting in a lounge chair, he decided to take inventory of all the things he was thankful for this year.  He was thankful for his job, a challenge at times, and a pain in the ass at others, but one that was truly rewarding.  He was thankful for his friends, and while he didn't see any of them nearly enough, he knew that they were some of the best friends a person could have.  He was thankful for his creativity, a small token, but one that kept him sane and grounded.  He was thankful for his family as well, his parents and brother and sister who were supportive and loving and fantastic.

He realized, as he sipped on his cold beer, in the warm sun, that he was thankful for his life.  It wasn't always perfect, but it was pretty damn close.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Story-A-Day #332: Flashes


FLASHES

The voices had been calling to her for weeks, dark and sinister message of hate and pain.  She wasn't the type to experience such things.  She was a well-rounded 15-year-old who did well in school, had a broad circle of friends, and a loving and supportive family.  She did well in school, played on a number of teams, and didn't fall into the trappings of youth that some of her friends did in time.

She was a good girl, but over the past few weeks, she had started to change.  Her parents had expressed their concern, but she didn't know how to explain the voices.  They would think she was crazy.  Instead, she told them that she was under a lot of pressure at school, trying to get things done under some tight deadlines.  They seemed okay with that explanation.

What was she supposed to do, tell them that there were voices in her head urging her to kill, maim and destroy?  They were non-specific urges, and she didn't really understand most of what they were saying, but it seemed like that was the gist of it.  They were growing more consistent now too, like a constant hum, a chant of destruction.  They kept her awake at night, which made everything even harder to deal with.

She woke up crying most mornings, feeling as though she had only just fallen asleep, which was in fact the case on most mornings.  On a cool morning in October, she wandered down into the kitchen and poured a bowl of cereal.  As she set it on the counter to pour in the milk, she noticed a knife left over from dinner the night before.  She picked it up and shifted its weight in her hand.

It felt good, a natural extension of her arm.  She spun it around in her hand and peered into the cold steel blade.  For a moment, it looked like she could see a bright door reflected in the cold, grey steel of the blade.  An escape.

She raised the blade high over her head and heard her mother call out her name as she stepped into the kitchen.  she turned towards the door and smiled at her mum, then quickly drove the blade down into her own stomach, once, twice, a dozen times.  With each downward thrust, the blade flashed and the reflection of the doorway grew brighter.

She raised it once more, looking for a thirteenth stab, but the blade fell uselessly from her hand and clattered across the kitchen floor.  A moment later, she collapsed next to it.  The voices were gone now.  She lay on the cold ceramic tiles, and stared across the room at her mother as a pool of warm, red blood, slowly grew around her.

"I love you," she managed to mouth, a bubble of blood bursting outwards from her lips as she did.

The sound of her mother's screams filled the silence as the kitchen slowly faded to black.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Story-A-Day #331: How To Save A Life


HOW TO SAVE A LIFE

I had my earbuds in so I almost didn't notice her standing in the shadows.  In fact, there is no reason why I should have noticed her at all.  She called out to me, and somehow I heard her hushed voice over the music that filled my head.  Two simple words that froze me in my tracks.

"Help me."

I paused, pulling the buds from my ears and tucking them casually into the pocket on the chest of my shirt.  As I did, I scanned my surroundings, looking for where the voice might have come from.  the moon was ful in the sky above and it cast eerie shadows over the construction site to my right as it danced through the drifitng clouds.

"Hello?" I called out uncertainly into the night.  "Is there somebody there?"

It was then that I caught the flicker of white in one of the half finished houses.  At first I thought it might be a stray piece of plastic blowing in the breeze, but there was a fluidity to the movement that made it seem unlikely.

"Hello," I called out again.  "Is everything okay?"

I took a few tentative steps towards the house just as the voice repeated the same two words with a sense of hushed urgency.  "Help me."  It was almost like it was in my mind, and not actually a voice at all.

I quickly crossed the dirt yard and stepped into the house, pausing just inside the doorway.  I was about to head upstairs when I caught annother flash of white in the basement.  I slowly made my way down the stairs, calling out quietly as I did.  "Hello?"

"Have you come to help me?" the voice asked in the same sultry monotone.  I turned quickly and found myself face-to-face with a beautiful woman.  He emerald eyes seemed to glow in the darkness, and her alabaster skin gleamed, almost fading into the fabric of her shear white gown.

"What's the matter?" I asked, feeling surprisingly calm as she stepped towards me.

She placed her hands on my chest and I was surprised by how cold they were.  She leaned in close, her mouth right by my ear, and placed her cold ruby lips against my neck.  It was a little early for a reward, but I was powerless to object.  A moment later, I felt a sharp pinch on my neck, but I was immobilised, unable to step back or retreat.

As I stood there, powerless against her, I felt my knees grow week.  My vision started to blur around the edges and I gave in to the powerful feeling of dread, my final words echoing through my head.  "What's the matter..."

She replied, almost as though she could hear the pitiful mantra reverbrating through my head, through my blood.  Again, it was as though her voice was coming from within me.  "I was so hungry, but you have saved me."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Story-A-Day #330: Lanternalia






LANTERNALIA

Why do they carve jack-o-lanterns for Halloween?  Would you believe me if I told you that it was simple matter of warding off the evil spirits?  Look around this neighbourhood, son.  See the porches and decks of the people who live near us?  Pumpkins at every turn.  Am I right?

It's okay that you don't fully understand why, just know that those legumes, those gourds, are there for us.  They will become a deterrent to us, an omen of ill portent.  I know, right now they look no more intimidating than Mrs. Howarth down the street, but come our night, they will be different.  For now they are a dumpy insult on all that we are, and all that we represent, just like that tacky home maker Howarth and her horrendous wreaths.

Here's the thing son, the thing I have been trying to communicate to you for a while now.  You know that we are different.  You know that we are not like them, but we must do what we can to fit in.  We must do whatever we can to ingratiate ourselves unto them.

It is easy for us to be ignored, but we can be ignored no longer.  We are in the witching season no, which means that over the next few weeks, they will be hollowing out those gourds and carving hideous faces into them.  They will be creating their lanternalia once more and when they do, they will seek to cast us out.

I understand how difficult this is for you.  I've been trapped in this prison for far longer than you and I have learned that there are times when we must stalk the shadows, and times when we must make our presence felt.  This is one of those times.

Should we delay too long the lanterns will cast us back into the gloaming.  Are you with me?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Story-A-Day #329: Piles


PILES

They crop up everywhere, piles of leaves that weren't there the day before.  It's a natural part of the season, a scraping up of the summer leftovers, discarded remnants of a season just dying off.  The thing is, when it comes to death, seasons and people are no different.

Have you ever been around someone who is preparing, wittingly or not so much, to exit this mortal coil.  Things become different.  People become different.  All sins are forgotten, all grievances overlooked, and the beatification of the individual becomes the soul focus.  The sole soul focus.  Only the best of the individual reamins, as though all else was just a fleeting moment.

The same thing happens when a season gives up its tenure and passes the reigns on to the next in succession.  When autumn dies off, it is through a gradual burial under the white opprossion of winter.  When winter dies off, it is a slow and steady decrease in strength that eventual collapses under the heat of spring.  When spring dies off, it does so willingly, quite content to have blazed a trail for summer.

But when summer dies, it does so with great remorse.  Summer is the season people cling to.  It is a time of warmth and promise, and bright, long days.  As the rakes crawl across the fading longs and scrape up the magnificent fallen coats of the trees, summer clings hard.  Sometimes summer will reemerge in a late-season blast of heat and sunshine.  Sometimes summer will sulk of into hibernation.

Most years summer laments its own passing.  It revolts against the piled up leaves, the memories of warmer, sunnier days, with gusts of fierce wind.  The thing is, autumn holds dominion over all other seasons.

It holds the secrets to graceful transition beneath those piles of leaves.  Autumn knows better that all seasons, that the passage of time is transient.  Autumn knows best how to cut short the reign of its precursor, and cut short the tenure of its successor.

Beneath the piles of summer, autumn confines the secrets to transitions.  Autumn facilitates the passage from life to death and into rebirth.  Beneath those autumnal piles, new life begins, and old life passes onwards, carried away by a cold blown kiss.

Such is the nature of autumn, an omniscient and powerful force that dictattes the rules fo nature unlike any of its contemporaries.  That is why autumn commands so much power.  It can grace us with the best of summer late into the year, or hammer us with the worst of winter long before winter has any claim to its rightful dominion.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Story-A-Day #328: Tangles







TANGLES

The store was empty and they were just about ready to lock up. He looked over at Marci, who was staring vacantly at her watch.

"Why don't you head out?" he offered. "I can finish up here."

She shrugged indifferently and let herself out through the front doors. He watched her wander off across the parking lot, her bottom rolling ever so teasingly in her tight black pants.

She was a knockout for sure, but sometimes talking to her gave the impression that she was actually knocked out. There wasn't much happening upstairs, but she was okay.

As he turned back into the store to finish up the last of the closing duties, he heard the sound. He had been sure he had heard something earlier, but this time it was undeniable; a frantic scratching up in the ceiling tiles.

Mice maybe? Whatever it was up there, he needed to know. After a quick glance around, he climbed up onto the counter and after a brief moment of uncertainty, pulled of his phone and booted up his flashlight app.

When he was ready, he extended upward and pushed the ceiling tile up into the empty space above. The scratching noise stopped.

Using the bright LED glow from his phone, he surveyed the enclosure, a dark tangle of pipes, wires, and vents. He peered deep into the darkness, trying to make out any movement beyond the twisting of shadows.

There was nothing there.

He slid his phone back into his pocket and was just pulling the ceiling tile over when he heard the noise again. It was rushing towards him. He dropped down, suddenly filled with terror, and was about to roll down to the floor when the first muscular tendril wrapped itself around his neck. More shot out of the dark hole above clasping at his arms, legs, and torso. He felt himself being lifted upward, dragged into the darkness above by the leathery tentacles. He struggled against the binding force of the tangles, but it was useless, as he slowly disappeared into the ceiling, he saw the rows of gleaming teeth and angry red eyes that waited for him, drawing him closer inch, by inch, by inch.

As the snapping jaws drew close, a flurry of motion drew his eyes, a small grey mouse scurrying off into the dark.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone. Please excuse auto corrected errors!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Story-A-Day #327: Punchin' Judy


PUNCHIN' JUDY

Ever since Judy was a young girl, all the back as far as she could remember, she had not liked clowns.  She had been a meek child and assumed that it was the clown's propensity for grandeur that had soured her, but as a young woman, she realized the issue was much more deeply rooted.

Judy was a xenophobe, afraid of all things alien.  She was not agoraphobic; she had a job and friends that she would visit, but she definitely had a comfort zone that had its limitations.  She did not like trying new things; whether they were foods, routes to work, making new friends, or partaking in grander life experiences.  She knew what she liked and figured she would stick with those things that granted her pleasure.

It only made sense that clowns; with their makeup, and costumes, and rambunctious behaviour would set her on edge.  They were not natural.  They were alien to her pre-defined set of rules and regulations for the way things ought to be.

Still, they were oddly fascinating, which is no doubt what had convinced her to bring one home.  It was a Halloween decoration and therefore even more ghastly that then ones most were accustomed to, but she thought that if she were to display the effigy in a place of prominence within her apartment, then she might grow to understand her fear.

As her day drew to a close, she set about shutting off her appliances and making sure the doors were locked, then she walked into her bedroom and stared at the the clown that she had placed deliberately in the corner of the room.  It stared back at her with unblinking glassy, plastic eyes.

She climbed into her bed and flipped through a  few chapters of her book before shutting the lights off.  Something felt off.  She rolled over onto her other side.  This continued for an hour until finally, exasperated, she reached up and clicked on her bedside lamp.  She glanced towards the corner of the room, for no particular reason, and realized the clown was no longer hanging where she had left it.

She sat up to gain a better view of the floor in that corner of the room.  A sudden burst of colour and laughter swept in on her from the opposite direction and she just caught a glimpse of an ashen white face and bulbous red nose before the polka-dot gloved fist slammed into her temple.

The world faded to black, and as it did, she thought she could just make out a raspy laugh.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Story-A-Day #326: Sun Shower


SUN SHOWER

It was unseasonably warm for October.  The temperature was in the mid to high-twenties.  It was refreshing compared to past years when there would be frost on a daily basis and the trees would already be barren.

It was no surprise either though.  The weather had been growing odder for the past few years, with no signs of letting up.  This year was no different.  The days would often fluctuate from full bore sunshine, to tempestuous downpours, and back again within a half hour.

This day was different though.  There was no a cloud in sight, yet I watched as the sky grew ever darker, casting a shadow of gloom across my backyard.  I craned my head back and scanned the skies, but there was no cause for the sudden shift in lighting.

The sun filtered down through the ruby red leaves of an outstretched maple and as I stared upward, the first drop of rain pinged off my forehead.  I had watched it descend from nowhere, a silvery flicker illuminated in the soft glow of the mid afternoon sun.

It escalated from there, more and more drops filling my upward facing view, and yet still, there no sign of the clouds that would normally spill forth such a deluge.

I wiped a hand across my brow, hoping to make sense of the situation, and just as quickly as it had started, it stopped.

The grass around me glistened in the sunlight, and fat globules fell to earth from the nearby clothesline.

It had just been a sun shower, albeit one without clouds.  I would look into the phenomenon later, but for now I was quite content standing in the yard while the fallen rain evaporated like steam from my soggy shirt.  Some moments are only meant to be fleeting.  Some moments are not meant to be explained.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Story-A-Day #325: Ladybug


LADYBUG

She came out of nowhere, a brief flash of colour that eventually touched down on the fabric of my dull grey shirt.  I glanced downward as the flicker of red passed through my periphery, and there she was, a small red dome speckled in black.

I couldn't help but smile.

There was something innocent about ladybugs; something that managed to bring flashes back to the days of my youth.  It was just a bug, but it was the prettiest of bugs, which made a difference.

There was something innocuous and refreshing about a ladybug.  I had always liked bumblebees, but a wayward hand with the awkward yellow-black drifters could result in a sting.  Besides, the noble bumblebee was an industrious creature, always bobbing along with work on the mind.  It was a little too close to home for me these days.

No, the ladybug was where the real appeal lay.  She was a creature of easy virtue, a lady of leisure.  She loved to travel, was a frequent flyer in fact, but her destination remained consistently irrelevant.

I imagine she is influenced by her mood.

Sometimes, she is looking for a little aromatherapy.  On those days she touches down in a bed of flowers and fills her senses with the colours and scents, only leaving once she feels rejuvenated.

Sometimes, she is looking for a little rest on relaxation.  On those days she would drift over to a blade of fresh green black and creep out towards its tip where the gentle rocking stir of a breeze would lull her off to sleep.

And sometimes, on days like today, she is seeking companionship from a man.  There is obviously very little I can do for her but remain an accommodating host.  She will tire of me eventually, and when she does, she will soar off into the clear blue skies once more, in search of her next great fancy.

There is a simplicity to her routine, an easy interpretation to her every action.  That it could only be the same for all the ladies of the world.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Story-A-Day #324: October






OCTOBER

It is a season for both Harvests and Witches. It is a special month where they line between the living and the dead grows thin, a month of passages.

Boys pass into adulthood as they conquer their fears; crops pass into waste as the frost settles in; even the trees pass from their full regalia to a blanket of discarded dreams around their sad, skeletal frames.

It is a time for celebration and joy following the success of a bust harvest. It is a time for sadness and regret as the days grow shorter and winter announces it arrival. It is a time for fear and anticipation as the mysteries and fear of the unknown grow ever more prominent and things truly do go bump in the night.

October is the month where everything changes. Days fade to night, warm becomes cold, and all that is becomes what was. It is a month that is defined by transition.

Death permeates the month. Crispy leaves skid along empty streets, farmers fields are stripped barren.

It is a sad and lonely month, but one filled with promise and hope. It is the most magical of night's, and it has arrived.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone. Please excuse auto corrected errors!