Buried Treasure

I sat in my back-yard reading when a squirrel came hopping into the yard with two huge peanuts protruding from his mouth. He went to the base of the apple tree and proceeded to urgently dig a hole into which he dropped the first peanut and buried it. Then, he went about 10 feet across the yard and dug a second hole into which he put the second treasured nut.

Mind you, he didn’t just bury two nuts and scurry away. He checked the second burial with great care. Satisfied, he went back to the first hole he dug and carefully sniffed the area. He seemed to decide the burial was not up to snuff so he carefully rearranged the topsoil then, one at a time, he quickly lay pieces of mulch bark over the top.

Like a criminal in the night after finishing his work and scanning the area for enemies, he scampered across the yard and hopped onto Fence Highway and booked it to the next yard.
After he departed I went to the tree to see what he left behind. If I wasn’t aware that he buried a nut where he did, I would have never been able to tell. He had put all the bark back over the hole covering his tracks perfectly. The second hole was so well hidden I never did find it.

I now wait patiently for his return to reclaim his treasured nuts.

Squirrel Thief
This is the same fellow who stole my bird feeder bell this past winter.

Lacherymose

My middle name, if I had one, might be Glum, Morose, or Depressed. If I had my choice though, I’d make it Maudlin. It sounds more like a name rather than a state of mind. I could even change my entire name to something like, Dolorous Maudlin Lacherymose.

I told my psychiatrist that I wanted to change my name but she thought I would only be feeding into the monsters that lived in my head.

I like to feed the monsters. They are my only companions.

Jocund Ebullient Bright could have been my mother’s name. We aren’t sure what happened when she gave birth to me, but it was like night was born from day.

Mother is gone now. Father? I never knew. No sisters. No brothers. My cousins are too afraid of me to come around.

I like the room they gave me. White.

No. Beige trying to be white.

Crazy Cook likes to point the carving knife at us. I like to imagine it across my wrist.

My name is Dolorous Maudlin Lacherymose.

I”m never going home.

*** *** ***

This was my first attempt at this style of writing. The subject is a bit black but it fit the choppiness of what I was going for. I wouldn’t call it poetry. It’s not quite flash fiction nor a short story. What would you call it? Thoughts?


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Heratio Horrocrux

“Why, hello Horatio. Having some trouble?” I leaned against the door frame watching Horatio scramble to reach the blade I put in him. For the first time in a millennial, I am happy. What the heck, it felt good to drive it in to him. What a jerk he’d been all these years. I just wanted him back, but he tripped over himself on a daily basis.

I grabbed my hair. Out of habit I untied and retied the band that held it back. “How does it feel Harry? Do you recognize it?”

He turned on me, “Don’t call me Harry! You know how I feel about that.” Horatio went back to grabbing at his back trying, in vain, to get the knife out. “Am I supposed to know something about the knife? It is in my back. It does hurt. Let me tell you what else I know about you Greta. You’re jealous. You just want what you can’t have. You’ve been a step behind me trying to steal my mist. Every time you’re too slow, and you can’t stand that I’m there first.”

Laughter rippled up from my stomach. Heratio Horrocrux was an idiot. It’s safe to say I never really liked the guy, but like every feeder I did have a sympathetic side. His paranoia was pushing him further and further into the dark places that feeders end up. The deeper he went the further he fell from the tribe and it was time for him to find his way back. My job was to see he came back in the fold and yesterday I finally caught up to him.

“OK. I’ll give you my snarky name calling Horatio, but you need to focus. Stop thrashing around and tell me about the knife.” I moved closer to Horatio. “It was your’s at one time. Have you forgotten? You spoke the first enchantment, and captured the first feeder.”

Horatio froze. Something seemed to wash over him and I hoped it was recognition. He was the first chaser for the tribe, but after a thousand years of huffing the fumes from the humans he forgot his place. He lost his way. Addiction replaced responsibility.

Lunging at me he roared, “No! I won’t go back! I won’t do it!” He turned on his heel and slid through the window. The human stirred. Thank the Tribe he didn’t break the pane in his rush to leave. I followed him knowing he wouldn’t get far. The addict never did. Once the knife finished it’s job, and chemicals were out of his system we could work to bring him back. It took time, but I hoped he would recover. Maybe it would work this time. Maybe.

_________________

This ends Part 2 of the Greta Grimmward and Haratio Horrocrux series. Read Part 1 here.


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nspired by:

Greta Grimmward

Someone put a knife in my back yesterday and now I’m pissed. I had a list a mile long. Humans to feed on, fear and loathing to relish in, and death to ponder. Now, none of these things will get done. And worst of all? There’s a knife in my backside that I can’t get out.

What was yesterday? Yeah, now I remember – Monday. Mondays are a busy day for me. I relish the ooze that slithers in the ethereal stratum. Especially at first light. Humans hate Mondays. They drag from their beds with a luscious aura of dread. It is candy for me and I freely move from house to house, room to room, bed to bed, inhaling the raw bliss.

I remember most of yesterday with clarity, but toward the fifth or sixth house I felt a tickle. Or was it a niggle? Something was making the hair on my back ripple with static. I should have looked in the dark corners more closely, but this particular Monday was exceptional. My gorging distracted me. A floorboard creaked and a whisper of what I now know to be a blade being unsheathed.

The enchantment embedded in the blade was the crowning blow. The moment it pierced my flesh was the moment my ability to feed stopped. The abrupt cessation ripped through me with pain exploding along every nerve. I felt a raw surge of fire just before I blacked out.

I woke up just a bit ago with my face planted in a pile of dirty clothes. Normally I would have delighted in the sweet perfume that filth exuded, but not today. It was more like the vulgarity I usually felt with joy, happiness, or birth. All pleasures I felt yesterday were gone. I feel empty. Hollow.

Greta Gimmward’s name was all over this. She has been chasing me since…well, I’m not sure when. The first time we met humans they were barely scratching for survival. The fruits of their fear were less sweet than they are today. They existed back then without much regard for life or death.

We have competed for the same human feeding grounds, and I beat her to them nearly every time. At every village and hobble where humans gathered I was there feeding from the initial offgassing pouring off humans as they rise to face each day. It’s what we survive on. Greta Grimmward was always a step behind me. Always just a little too late, a little too distracted.

She warned me many times that she would catch up to me. “You’ll find a knife in your back one day. You’ll see.” I always waved her off like a speck of dust on my shirt sleeve. Then yesterday happened. I think I’m more mad at myself for letting my guard down rather than the fact that Greta managed to get an enchanted knife in my back.

Rubbing against the door frame proved futile in my attempt to remove the knife. It seemed to vanish whenever I tried to rub it off. Any attempts to reach to that one spot that, to all humanoid shaped creatures, impossible. Dancing in circles only made me howl at the sky. Like a scratch in the center of the back. Insanely impossible to reach.

“Why, hello Horatio. Having some trouble?”

________________

This concludes Part 1 of Greta Gimmward. Tune in next time when the story continues with Heratio Horrocrux.


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Beatrix Button’s Clock

Over the open window the lace drapes fluttered in the breeze like lazy waves caressing a sandy shore. Shadows waltzed across the oak floor boards finding their way up the side of a bed cradling a skeletal figure. Beatrix Button slept for days rarely stirred from her slumber while she kept company with her dreams.

On the wall, across from her bed, is a clock given to her as a wedding gift. Bea, as Beatrix was called by her friends, knew from the first moment she unwrapped the clock that it was special. Although her marriage lasted less than a few hours, the clock stayed with her all of her days.

The rich tick-tocks were healing after Frank died. He did everything he could to please Bea and when she needed her wrap from the car he was only too happy to fetch it for her. He made the mistake of only looking right and not left when he jaywalked across the road in front of the church. Their ten day cruise turned into ten hours praying for a miracle that never came.

Frank’s funeral came and went, and the days turned to months and months to years during which Beatrix spent listening to the gentle tick-tock, tick-tock. Although people found pendulum clocks a bother to wind and keep tuned, she found this one soothing. She guessed it might have been made sometime in the 19th century, but never bothered to find out just as she never discovered who gave her the clock.

Life for Bea was a series of joys wrapped in tragedy. She weathered each storm with the clock as her constant companion. It never wavered in keeping her on schedule to arrive at every celebration of life precisely on time. She said goodbye to her family one at a time as they each moved on to the next plan of existence. Until it was just her left to putter in her garden or dust the empty rooms that surrounded her.

Beatrix Button did not stir when her visitor came gliding across the floor as if riding on the shadows themselves. Impossibly tall with less substance than Beatrix herself, the figure leaned over her and whispered something only Beatrix could hear. Her eyes opened a tiny slit recognizing the stranger from her dreams. Like a ghost she raised her hand and touched the edge of the stranger’s cloak.

The visitor paused for a long heartbeat then stood and drifted toward the door. The clock seemed to wait by the door and it was lifted from its place on the wall the clock fell silent. Beatrix Button’s smile slipped from her lips as she sighed her last breath.


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Want to learn more about the A to Z Blogging Challenge? Here are the links: Twitter, Facebook, and A to Z website.

Short Stories

A to Z Blogging Challenge Theme Reveal

During the month of April I will be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I joined in on the fun last year and wrote all about the Isle of Man and The Manx. Today, I am revealing my theme for the month. But first, a little about what this is.

The premise is to start blogging beginning April First with a blog topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until the finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z. We skip every Sunday so we can all take a quick break and get ready for the next week.

My theme for this year will be little different from last year. I will take you A to Z with short stories. Recently, I became interested in writing short stories and have done a lot of research into the methods of writing them along with entering contests and making submissions. There is more to a short story than a quick read. My posts will cover everything from A, “All about a Short Story”, to Z, “Zebras Tell No Lies”, a short, short story.

During April you can expect to find a mix of stories along with posts on the research I have done. Readers will find the stories themselves to be the best part, so I will focus on those more than anything else.

Hang on to your virtual seats! It’s going to be a busy month.

———-

If you are a blogger, and are interested in joining us, just click on the link below for more information.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge

A to Z Blog Challenge

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge

Coming in April!! 

During the month of April I will be joining A to Z April Blog Challenge by publishing daily blog posts (except Sunday) through the month of April. Each post will cover everything A to Z about writing short stories, and some posts will be actual short stories. Keep an eye out for those! 

What is A to Z?

Are you a blogger and want to join in on the fun? Here’s how it works. Using the A to Z premise, you would start, beginning April first, with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until you finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.  It doesn’t even have to be a word–it can be a proper noun, the letter used as a symbol, or the letter itself.  The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.

Click on the A to Z logo above and join me! I’m excited to be participating again this year.

Plot Generator

This morning, I sat staring at my computer looking for inspiration. I noticed a bookmark that I saved ages ago. I left it in the nav bar so I could go back and check it out later. Instead, I proceeded to forget about it. Until now.

The book mark is to a plot generating website. It is similar to the game, Mad Libs.  With Plot Generator, you put in a bunch of words and it will write a full short story for you. With my need to have some inspiration I plugged in a bunch of words, moods, places, and descriptions then I indicated I wanted a short story. It took a matter of about 5 seconds and VIOLA I had a short story.

Now, mind you, I had no idea what to expect. The words I gave were pretty arbitrary and some did not match up to what they asked for. It was a hodge-podge of gobbely-gook. As a result…this short story is too, but it’s also really funny. It is worth noting that I did not edit, change, reword, or touch this in any way. This is raw and right off the press. So, without further delay, here is an amazing short story.

Two Steady Uncles Swimming to the Beat

A Short Story
by KJ Scrim (written by Plot generator)

Kaitlin Manning looked at the heavy cup in her hands and felt depressed.

She walked over to the window and reflected on her homey surroundings. She had always loved small Parker with its quirky, quarrelsome quaint. It was a place that encouraged her tendency to feel depressed.

Then she saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It was the figure of Sam Goodman. Sam was a smart giant with rugged eyes and robust feet.

Kaitlin gulped. She glanced at her own reflection. She was a nasty, moody, cocoa drinker with skinny eyes and large feet. Her friends saw her as a barbecued, bitter bread. Once, she had even helped a shiny puppy cross the road.

But not even a nasty person who had once helped a shiny puppy cross the road, was prepared for what Sam had in store today.

The snow teased like playing dog, making Kaitlin happy.

As Kaitlin stepped outside and Sam came closer, she could see the bitter smile on his face.

Sam gazed with the affection of 9,468 funny flaky fish. He said, in hushed tones, “I love you and I want equality.”

Kaitlin looked back, even more happy and still fingering the heavy cup. “Sam, Is that real leather,” she replied.

They looked at each other with satisfied feelings, like two clumsy, calm cats drinking at a very loyal party, which had rock music playing in the background and two steady uncles swimming to the beat.

Kaitlin regarded Sam’s rugged eyes and robust feet. “I feel the same way!” revealed Kaitlin with a delighted grin.

Sam looked curious, his emotions blushing like a fluffy, fluttering fork.

Then Sam came inside for a nice mug of cocoa.

THE END

Praise for Two Steady Uncles Swimming to the Beat

“I feel like I know Kaitlin Manning. In a way, it feels as though I’ve always known her.”- The Daily Tale

“About as enjoyable as being hailed on whilst taking in washing that has been targeted by seagulls with the squits.”
– Enid Kibbler

“Saying the snaw teased like playing dog is just the kind of literary device that makes this brilliant.”
– Hit the Spoof

“I could do better.”
– Zob Gloop

Leap

During the month of February I joined a group of writers in a writing challenge. The gist of it was to write everyday for the month of February with the end result being that good habits will continue through the rest of the year. Today is the final day of that challenge and for this last day I set a challenge for everyone to write a flash fiction or a short short story using the following 8 words:

  • Leap
  • Jump
  • Fly
  • Year
  • Day
  • Crazy
  • Fun
  • Write

Without further adieu…

Come to the Beach

The breeze off the ocean pulls my hair back out of my eyes. Trying to write on the beach is not always easy, but today I think it’s in my favor. My papers jump and, chased by the gust, I watch a leaf fly across the sand . This year has been much like the leaf. What was it like before? I try to recall. I think I was fun at one time, maybe even a little bit crazy, but those days are past.

I close my binder and take one last look before I leave. The salt fills my nose with a chill and my hair tangles on the buckle of my bag. It is happening again, I can feel it crawl up my spine. I’m going to change someone’s life today. I never know who, nor how, but whenever I get that itchy feeling I know it’s coming.

Once I gave my lottery numbers to someone and they won. I read about a mugging the next day. Another time I stopped to pet a cat along side a road, then it took a leap over the curb. One day I left my shoes at the top of the stairs. He never saw the bottom. Those are the ones that get me. Those are the ones that make this all so unbearable.

Today I will change someone’s life. I have been warned, and so have you. Tomorrow I’ll return to this spot to see the wind chase a new leaf across the sand. Would you like to join me?

Crossing the Yampa

Since November I have not written one word. It has been a dry spell to say the least. Then I received an email  from Chuck Wendig’s blog with a flash fiction challenge. Just the kick in the pants I needed to write something….anything.

Finding a subject was a simple matter of choosing two arbitrary numbers from 1 to 20 and use those two numbers to match to two subject lists then write a flash fiction piece of less than 2,000 words. So, from the two lists I got Extraterrestrial and Wild West.

____________________ Crossing the Yampa _________________

The wagon train had left her station hours ago. She had worked through the rest of the day cleaning the horse dung and the human stench from the walls. Once a month they came through, sometimes twice in a month, and Margo never got used to it. The humans had a smell about them that reminded her of the dead rats she found in the barn sometimes.

Satisfied, she went back upstairs then out the window to sit on the roof. This is where she spent most of her time staring into the sky wishing for home. In the years spent in the southern hemisphere she could see her home cluster in the night sky, but here in the north she could only see the local sun. Only ten more years and she could go back south. Ten more years of being in this dust bowl serving the wagon trains that kept pushing to the west carrying those petty humans into the frontier.

Stirring out of her own mind she turned to go back inside. Mid-stride Margo met the blunt end of a shotgun in the gut. “Hello Margo. Been a long time wouldn’t you say?”

“Kate. What in tarnation are you doing here? How did you find me?”

“You are a slippery one Margo. I’ve been hunting you for the past couple of centuries. I have to admit you found yourself one hell of a place to hide. How did you find this dump anyway?”

Pushing past her, Margo went back through the window. “Believe it or not, I crashed here. Been stranded for at least a couple hundred years.”

“Come on Margo. You can’t expect me to believe that you, our top pilot, crashed on this rock. You’ll need a better excuse than that.”

“You know me Kate. Weird shit happens.”

“Weird shit my ass. Is that your excuse for the string of dead bodies you left all over the home cluster? Is that your excuse for decimating Corkerelle? Give me a break.”

Margo couldn’t help but laugh a little bit. “You have no idea do you Kate? You have spent all this time looking for me and never stopped to wonder if it was really me? Wake up Kate. Look around you. What do you see?”

“What are you talking about Margo?”

“I’ve been here for eons watching these humans scrape across their globe. They drag their sorry souls over the land and darken every corner of it. Right now, they drive their wagon trains out west in a thirst for riches and in their wake; they leave only a stench and rot. Did you smell the trash heap on your way in? Did you see what they do? Doesn’t it look even a little familiar? How long ago did Corkerelle happen? Think about it Kate, could I, one solitary being really destroy an entire planet? Think back, Kate. Remember what it smelled like?”

The shotgun began to weigh more than Kate remembered when she first pointed it at Margo. “They came here, didn’t they? They came here to do it all over again didn’t they?”

“Oh, they’ll try alright, but there will be bloody hell to pay before they can cross the Yampa.”

*****

The humans had celebrated that night once they arrived at the edge of the Yampa. It had been a long trek across the eastern plains and everyone was ready for fresh water and time to dance. They had made it. Living to see the Yampa River was all they had prayed for and here they were. Couples clapped and danced to the fiddler’s tune late into the night.

The warmth of the rising sun pushed the gentle breeze through the camp. The air licked at the canvas capes that draped each wagon ruffling the bare threads. The horses had long left the area along with the cattle. A few stray dogs were all that remained behind. A breeze carried the echoes from the night’s celebration leaving silence in its place.

Iron from the wagons took the longest to disassemble, after the humans. It was in their coding to tend to the biomasses first then the iron and other non-living items brought by the humans. The bots did their job then marched back into the water and waited. The next wagon train was due in just a week. They needed time to recharge.