Excerpt From “The Outer Banks” (working title)

I’ve got a short story involving shark-like mermaids in the works. Lydia, the main character, suspects she is pregnant. Let’s take a closer look, shall we…?

*****

The ultrasound technician applies jelly to my stomach region. The paddle comes down cold. I’m staring at the screen and to my shock, I see not one, not two but five. Five little heads, identifiable pairs of arms and hands. They’re white figures in a canvas of black.

They’re rolling, twisting in there. I feel another sharp stab of pain that hitches my breath. I double over, but my eyes are glued to the screen. Four are slamming into one. It looks like the one is screaming. A chunk of its arm goes missing. A mist of white flowers out.

The screen goes black and I hear a click. I grunt and cry out as the twisting, rolling cramps increase

“OK…. I’ll be right back.” The technician tells me. Her cheerful voice is in stark contrast to her face, now drained of color. “Nothing to worry about, just lay back and be comfortable. I’m getting a doctor.”

She leaves the room and I’m panting in sweat.

They’re eating each other. Oh god. I have to get out of here.

Donning my clothes as fast as I can, I grab my purse and keys and head out of the clinic with my head ducked. One of the receptionists calls after me, “ma’am?” But I don’t stop. I can’t stop.

There’s only one place for me to go.

*****

 

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“Carved in Stone”-a poem

“Carved in Stone”

How young you were when you
Towered over me, as you
Overpowered me,
A mountain kicking a pebble
Down into the dirt
Where I played not with dolls
But my own hurt.
And I tried to heal
From under your heel,
To learn to feel
But everything about me was crushed small
And alone.

Now, I stand staring
At your uncaring dust,
Touching the stone that bears your name:
It’s all of the mountain that remains.
My triumph over you ends in a sigh:
I couldn’t make you love me before you died.

 

*Author’s Note: Yesterday was my forty-third birthday. As some of you may know, I lost my mother to cancer when she was forty-three years old. I have now outlived her by a day. My feelings for her have often been very mixed-up, as she was quick to both temper and violence. I loved her, I hated her, and I pitied her. I believe she was a creature of her own fear and I have,  as best as I’m able, forgiven her. But always, I regret what could have been between us.

I didn’t write this poem for her so much as for me. These words needed to come out. It may not be the best of my work but it is perhaps the most honest. If the structure seems fragmented, broken, and disorderly…well, it matches my heart and mind at the moment.

Thanks for reading and your time.

**Further note: I had the song “In the Woods Somewhere” by Hozier stuck in my head while writing this. If you want to hear it, you can find it here.

 

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“Dirt”

Adam tried to roll me over. If he could, I knew he’d shove me back into the dirt from whence we came.

“Obey me.” He grunted, his muscles straining against mine.

“No.” I laughed at his futile attempt.

His manhood shrank and he pushed me off. Standing, he wiped his arm across his wet and angry eyes. He stomped off, crushing the grass underneath his feet, presumably to tattle on me again.

Always, he wanted to be on top but I wouldn’t let him. We were created in the same moment–equals–yet he wanted to dominate me. He did not court me; he meant to take what he thought was his due. I stood, wiping a hand between my wet and disappointed thighs. I decided to take my complaints elsewhere, too.

When I returned, Adam was still complaining about me to our Creator.

“…the woman you created is no good…” he said.

I held my breath, waiting for the Almighty to slay him where he stood. But despite his tantrum, Adam did not die. He wanted God to intervene on his behalf, to make me obey.
I listened long enough to know that angels would be sent for a reconciliation but it had to be of my own free will.

When they came, I refused. “That weak and cowardly creature is ill-fit for anyone’s mate. He wants to dominate the world and all that is in it. He will destroy all. It would be to everyone’s benefit if he had no mate with which to sow his seed, lest there be others like him.”

The angels did not disagree. They warned, “You will be blamed for everything Man does, for all his misfortunes.”

“He already does,” I said bitterly. “He will blame any mate given him; he will blame the world, and even God, but never himself. I know Adam.”

I was there when our Creator made Adam’s second wife. Hidden behind trees, I watched in fascination as particles of the earth were pulled loose and met droplets from the sky or wisps of breath. Colors flew in different directions and fused with one another to form the hardened white bones of her structure, then her webbed ligaments and tendons. Muscles came into full bloom as beautiful as roses, skin cocooned around her and hair spilled from her scalp like a river. She opened her eyes and looked at him.

Likewise, our Creator smiled, and turned to Adam to see what he thought of his new mate and gift.

One glance at Adam and I knew he was horrified. At his disapproval, God returned this nameless woman back to the earth before I could beg to keep her, before she could even speak for herself.

I would have liked a new friend but I did not complain so God did not make me one. Adam caught me staring at him. I turned away in disgust.

Our Creator made Adam his third and final wife. Adam bragged that this one was made from one of his own ribs and bound to be more obedient.

I laughed when I heard it. He was not awake, so he wouldn’t have known. But I was there and saw it all. God must have told him that to placate him, so Adam might actually love the poor woman a little if he believed there was a part of himself in her.

Years later, Adam blamed Eve for all of his mistakes, just as I knew he would. I was mostly forgotten. Adam retold our story because he could not bear the shame of the truth, that a woman disobeyed him and was strong enough to leave. Thus Eve was his first wife and I never existed. If the name Lilith was ever mentioned, it was whispered that I slew and ate his babies, I was a demon to be warded off.

They claimed Cain’s slaying of Abel as the first death in this world but I still think about that nameless woman, returned to the dirt because she did not meet Adam’s approval. Quietly she came and quietly she left. Surely she was the most obedient of all Adam’s wives.

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“Close Your Eyes”

 

“Mama?” She rubbed her eyes as I woke her.

Shhh, Alcestis.” I put a finger to her lips as I hoisted her to my left hip.

I did not trust her steps. She was bound to wake the snoring monster, still lying in a pool of his own urine. A pity he did not choke on his own vomit, but turned his head at the last minute. He still held the broken bottle of wine to him. My face throbbed harder at the memory. I resisted the urge to pick up one of the shards and slit his throat on the way out. He may pursue if left alive but the soldiers most certainly would if they found him murdered. My lips curled back in a snarl.

Alcestis’ fingers toyed with my hair, a reminder of what I had to live for. I would not waste spit on him and ruin our chance of escape. I waited until he snored loudest before we walked outside into the morning light.

“Where are we going, Mama? The market is that way.” She pointed.

I kissed her cheek. “We’re going to a better place, Alcestis.”

In the light, she frowned as she looked at my face. How purple and swollen it must have been! She touched her fingertips to it before she nodded and smiled, as if to agree she thought it was best.

“Look, Mama, a cloud!” She pointed again. “It’s a really big one!”

“That is wonderful, yes.” I said but I was distracted by how strange it was that there were so many people here in the streets. It made walking so difficult. There were so many men. I cringed at the sight of them, ducking my head low that they would not recognize me and see the beating I had taken. They would think I deserved it and drag me home for more.

But the gods were merciful. They were not looking at me but at the sky, at the cloud. I stole a glance. The earth rumbled. More of the cloud streamed forth. Several people fell to their knees and prayed to their god. Others cried that all the gods were dead–the world was ending.

No. No, this cannot be. I refuse to let it be. I did not suffer in silence for it all to come to this. I did not wait for this moment for it all to end here. All of my plans, my hopes and dreams–! I cared not for myself but for the sake of my daughter, I had to get out of Pompeii.

Clutching her to me tightly, I ran.

The mountain roared like a thousand lions at once. Out of its mouth, liquid fire ran like rivers down its jagged peak. The cloud rained stones and ash.

We ran, a single wave of people heaving over others, pushing and shoving. Despite their efforts, I knew it was all too late. I cursed the gods. Could it not have waited until the morrow? Why today of all days?

With tears in my eyes, I ducked behind a pillar, preferring not to risk my daughter being knocked out of my hands and trampled to death. Alcestis was a good girl. She had tears in her eyes but she said nothing. We looked at each other quietly while listening to the sound of other people’s screams.

I threw my arms around her, never wanting to let go.

“Where are we going, Mama?” There was so much fear in her tiny voice.

“A better place, Alcestis,” I promised, swallowing hard. “Close your eyes.”

The heat rushed towards us.

I clenched tighter. If I could shield her with my body and spare her, let it be so. If I could keep her from seeing what was to come, let it be so. I wrapped myself around her, almost like a womb, where all children belong.

The fire was almost upon us. It was almost over. Almost. In a way, I still kept my promise. A better place…

“Close your eyes.”

 

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“Godmother”(400 word horror flash fic)

I just started writing flash fic. And when I mean “just” I mean this is my second attempt at it. (My first attempt is being featured on someone else’s blog, due out around Feb. 17th. More on that later!) For now, enjoy this one. It’s sort of a sister-piece as it was born of the same picture writing prompt (which, since it ties into the one submitted for the blog, I will have to refrain from posting at this time–sorry).

“Godmother” by Rebecca R. Pierce

Everyone waited for the old woman to die. “Aunt Gertrude” sat in the corner, dressed like a widow to her own funeral, seemingly oblivious to all that grovelling. They smiled, as if all she needed was a little encouragement. They knelt at her feet, sucking up, so she’d leave them a fortune in her will–it was nauseating. I averted my gaze.

“Trudy, come say hello to your Godmother,” my dad called out.

Heaving a long-suffering sigh, I walked over. She always seemed particularly fond of us girls and me, especially. I hoped for once she wouldn’t touch my hair or stroke my cheek while telling me how pretty I was. It creeped us all out, like we were being caressed by a spider.

“Give your aunt a kiss.” My dad yanked me down to my knees.

I almost fell but she steadied me. Her delicate, twig-like fingers were surprisingly strong. She smelled like a long-dead tarantula. I made a face and tried to jerk away but she pulled me close, studying me.

Behind her widow’s veil, her pupils dilated, swallowing the rest of her eyes. Her lashes extended, looking like cockroach legs, wiggling and kicking in place. My scream was paralyzed in my throat. A chill dropped down my spine like cold venom invading blood. Her fingers tapped on my arm, drawing my attention to the little spiky black hairs that prickled in and out of my skin.

“Oh, always my favorite–the fairest of them all!” she hissed.

My vision blurred as charcoal-colored smoke billowed out of her as delicate as a web. It dove over and into me. The room spun, I felt hot and dizzy. A kiss brushed my cheek.

Sitting in her chair, in her corner, looking at the world through her widow’s veil, I stared–at my own face–smiling back at me. My hands flew to touch my own but I gawked at the sight of my hands, mottled with age, gnarled and twisted with arthritis. Looking down I saw the dress I wore was my godmother’s.

She nodded at my dad. “You will be well-compensated.”

“Do you prefer to be called Gertrude now?” he inquired.

“Trudy,” my namesake replied. “It’s best to keep up with the times.”

I gasped, unable to breathe. My hand clutched at my chest because my heart stopped beating. Everyone smiled at me in encouragement.

It was the moment they’d all been waiting for.

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Reasons Why I Write Horror

1. I grew up with a mother who knew all the ways you can die. “Don’t eat so fast; you can choke on your food–and die. Hold onto the railing when you go down the stairs; you can fall, break your neck–and die. Look both ways before you cross the street; you can get hit by a car–BAM!–and die.” Etc., etc. Hellllo, Anxiety Disorder! Where have you been all my life, you sexy beast?

2. I am somewhat of an expert on bad decisions. Did you know me in my 20s? Shhh. We’ll be as silent as the grave… If you will just follow me? I know it’s dark and narrow here. After you, I insist. 

Seriously, though, I bequeath my ability to make bad decisions onto my characters. I got lucky and got a story. They got… something else.

3. People generally make me want to kill/traumatize them. And I like to fantasize about it. A lot. It’s what keeps me sane and happy. So what’s therapy for me ends up being story-candy for the horror-junkies out there. And I do so like to get om-nom-nominous.

4. There is much fear in me. I tried being a Sith lord but that didn’t work out. I even had a name picked out and everything–Darth Ertia. Basically, it means I sit around and think evil thoughts but never get around to doing any of it. (Darth Vader/invader… Darth Ertia/inertia? You get it.) Anyway, since “sharing is caring,” I thought it would be best to scare others with that which frightens the hell out of me. Think of me as that one roommate that pulls something funky out of the abyss of the fridge and says, “this smells sick! Here, take a whiff!” And you do my bidding and wonder why later.

5. Because it’s FUN, that’s why! And that’s what life is all about, isn’t it? Having fun until you die. Which you will. Maybe soon. In my short story. Because you didn’t like this post. Or comment. Or some other offense I won’t tell you about. Because I am a brat.

Well, that’s it. My top five reasons I write horror. I hope you enjoyed this post. Like my page for more!

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Yay! They’re Out!

Shambles,  Model Town, and The Road to Kyoto have finally been published to Amazon Kindle. Now, it’s a little early for the Three for Free Sale. If you want to wait it’s between Oct. 29th – Nov. 2nd. However, if you think, eh, what’s $2.99 a pop? This goes to support my dear friend Rebecca. Well, for you wonderful angels, you can order it here.

I have to say, they look damned impressive all lined up like that.

I’m glad I had such a productive day yesterday. Today, the baby refused to sleep and so I am exhausted from trying to placate her. Ugh. I thought writing a novel was hard work. (And it is.) Babies are merciless. (And make the novel writing process even more difficult than it already is.)

What might I be working on now that I’ve got these three beauties out? Well, I have not one, not two but three works in progress. One is a novella I’m temporarily naming Outer Banks, a horror about shark-like mermaids. Another is another horror short story I’m calling The Vault (for now) and has to do with waking up locked up and that’s all I’m saying on that one. The last is an erotica short that takes place in feudal Japan about a high-ranking courtesan in love with a man she cannot have. And of course, I’m working on The Huntress of Rosefell Hall, my novel but I’m not counting that. I’ve been working on Huntress for the last four years writing, rewriting, and basically getting it presentable for my editor.

Anyway, that’s me. Let me know what you’re up to in the comments below. Love to hear from you!

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My Editing Experience

So some of you who follow me on my author’s page on Facebook know that I recently hired an editor for two of my three horror short stories due out for Halloween. (She didn’t edit my third story because it was previously published in an anthology called A Journey of Words, which you can pick up here.)

What was it like, you may ask? An experience like none other. For one thing–and you’ll get a laugh out of this–I naively thought hiring an editor meant I would just hand over my manuscript and my work would be done. HA HA! A real knee-slapper, right?

Oh my god, I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in my life. Imagine it to be like having a personal trainer at the gym, only–it’s for your story. My BRAIN hurts. Ow. It is bruised and sore and after several rounds of reps, I’m like, “Screw it, you win; I don’t even care anymore!” Only, I do. I care very much. And my editor is amazing. She made suggestions and explained why it had to be a certain way. If I disagreed, it was generally because I didn’t make what I was trying to convey clear enough and she helped me to get the wording just right and translated it from the language of Rebecca-ese into everyday English.

I learned a lot from partnering up with her. It is immensely gratifying to see the diamond cut to its destined brilliance. I cannot wait to share these stories with you. Alas, I have to. They’ll be released Oct. 30th so keep an eye out for them. And oh, by the way, they’re entirely free for the five days Amazon allows me for promo purposes–my treat to you–so be sure to grab them while they’re hot, or you will pay! (Get it? “Or you will pay”… because the free promo is over? All right, I’ll torture you folks later.)

By the way, to my fellow writers out there, if you need an above-and-beyond editor, please check out Leah Lederman. I cannot praise her enough and her prices are so reasonable for what she does that I sort of feel like I took advantage of her. So send her some love by Liking her Facebook page, won’t you?

So here’s what I’ve got lined up, coming to an Amazon Kindle near you. Stay tuned, stay excited, and I hope to hear from you.

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So, it’s been awhile.

Hello, everyone, I am back from a hiatus. Blogging, as it turns it, is hard work. Those of you who are fellow bloggers know what I am talking about. Those of you who followed me previously know that I primarily set up a WordPress account so that I could challenge myself to writing a poem a day. You see how well that panned out. HA!

Well, I’ve decided to give it another go only this time, I have some news: between then and now I picked up writing short stories. In fact, I’ve got three short stories published on Amazon. You can check out my works here. Stay glued to that site because come Halloween, I’ll have an extra tasty treat for you: three free horror short stories that will be free for the week of Halloween only–so get it while it’s hot.

You can also follow me on my Facebook’s Author’s Page.

Will I abandon poetry forever? No, that’s not likely but for the time being I am concentrating on short stories and working on my paranormal/fantasy/horror novel series about a monster hunter in a “Victorian-esque” setting.

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“Here is God”

“Here is God”

Here is God.  Not just in the bread and wine,
But in the water that fed the grinding wheat,
In the blood of the grapes for which we dine,
In the crying flesh of all that we eat.
The breath of God that breathed across the face
Of the earth is the same we use to greet
One another: heads bent with words of grace.
Here is God.  On our lips the power of
Destruction or creation, hate or love.

Here is God.  Not just in the words of a book
Or in the wood of a church, but in trees
Of an unnamed forest, the winding brook,
The crowning fog at a mountains’ knees…
He is in every stone or grain of sand,
The greatest and the least of these.
He is in each child, woman and man.
In the dark of the moon, or light of day,
God can be found by the seekers who pray.

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