so my life has been insane. how fitting, since i am too. or at least that’s what they say.
has been? is. currently and always. in some ways and in many.
i have an urge to pour out an intensely personal blog post, but i’m too exhausted or afraid. i live far too much in my own mind, and although typing makes it easier to get it all out, lately it’s hard for me to talk about anything.
but hey, remember how i’ve mentioned that i was working on another short horror story for an indie anthology? finished and submitted. we’ll see what happens.
speaking of anthologies, i’m going to be receiving my physical copy of “the mountain pass”, the other indie anthology i wrote ‘across lots’ for sometime soon. it’s available, along with the sample, on the publishers website and on amazon kindle. my story is actually the first one in the book, so you can read most of it in the sample on their website, but if you want to read the entire thing (my story, not the whole book), go to the sample on amazon. 😉 there’s a little bit of the second story in there as well from another writer. i can’t wait to read all the other stories in it.
i’ll be working on my own novel, which i will painstakingly attempt to publish at a bigger house, and self-publishing my poetry book onward. any poem i write for the book will be put on my blog or at sudden denouement anyway. the book isn’t intended to be all original work.
maybe i’ll put together a few other stories for indie places if i have time.
i still need to smash the remaining entries of the horseman into one post… soon.
without further ado, here’s an excerpt of what i’ve sent to an anthology call asking for stories taking place on halloween, in the same city (salem) in different decades. i chose 1973. a few years after the manson murders.
let’s kill her
They stand there looking like black poles piercing up out of the bleak, spreading colors of a grey horizon. The morning is cold enough to numb and redden the tips of their noses and chap their lips.
They stand there far off enough to be indistinguishable to the coffee-cranked drivers whirring past on the highway trying to make it to work on time. Like wispy-faint statues they stand motionless for several moments in a shared state of shock, silently deliberating what they’d done among them as if the very act of what they had done had given them an unusually empathetic bond; perhaps now they could read each others minds.
The masks are slid up from their young, hollow gazes and onto their filthy hair specked with leaves and other decorations of soil and earth, and clinging to the bottom of their chins by a thin white elastic string that once held the plastic animal characters onto their faces. They’ve become bold in their actions—nothing can catch them, no one can beat them—and they look like wavy outlines of perhaps just imagination appearing as people. Going without their cheap disguises wasn’t originally part of the master plan, but neither was the murder. They just wanted to hurt her and leave, but she’d died instead. Now that they’d killed her, they could do anything they wanted. And the numb, corpselike way that people shamble on about their days, never fully noticing what stranger things go on around them, works out in any modern criminals favor.
The trio of them is in what could be dark suits, one in a dark dress—a ghost-girl with her sickly brothers—early for a funeral or tardy from a wrong turn from French fries long after midnight. There’s the untroubled gaze of the pale girl, with her Parisian black bags under her high school eyes, whiskers of the cat mask in black and gold paint dark as her long hair, and just a smear of blood at the grinning corner of the masks mouth, an ugly, unnerving hint of what occurred.
There’s the two boys with wolf masks, no specific symbolism or plot to function as a reason for their broken unity, other than the Halloween store simply had only one smiling cat left and two big, bad wolves. Like most boys wouldn’t, they didn’t mind the idea of it.
They stand there looking utterly unrealistic against an autumnal backdrop of orange-red woodland and carcasses of abandoned houses. Three characters in search of an exit trapped inside of a bleary scene out of a dark movie. Any other time of the year and their costumes would hardly make sense—they’d easily draw attention to themselves—but they know that they have the advantage today. That was the plan, after all, to start early at midnight and have all day on Halloween to celebrate until midnight again when Halloween was over. Besides, the victory would certainly leave them sleepless.
They rove, seeming to glide in their fatigue, like specters across the road and toward the breakfast place they’d designated as their first meal after becoming murderers. People honk at them because they love their costumes; they even wave and shout compliments at them. A dirty blonde on the road for a while with Bowie’s latest blaring on the radio every ten minutes, emerald-city polyester suit, corduroy black vest with strangely ornate buttons and a pasted mustache passes slowly, ringlets like a baby in a bonnet framing a California tan. He likes their costume more than the others, so much so that he wishes them a happy, safe Halloween, with the biggest smile and straightest teeth they’ve ever seen.
The place isn’t far, and once they sit at the diner, the heavy scent of burnt coffee in their noses, sticky mug circles on the table underneath their hands, waiting on the waitress with their filthy napkins and spotty silverware, they howl with laughter. They view this place as the ultimate jurisdiction of their success. The boys howl, the girl meows, and they laugh until they weep, until everything hurts underneath their ribs. And then silence ensues, hot-cheeked, tired silence.
They make no motion to individually excuse each other and wash the guilty-dried earth and innocent blood from their spidery hands, nor do they rise to relieve themselves in the restrooms from a long night of misdeeds. They’d relieved themselves on the grave they’d left, one final way to mark her as theirs.
The place is nothing fancy, a place for pop and pancakes. Vines intrude up the wall like lines of green paint. The place is as old as they are. The parking lot is gravel. It’s the kind of establishment you find long, black hairs in your food and wonder who’s behind the counter, who’s behind the wall, over that open window you can’t see, swatting the bell when your order is up.
The waitress is a pudgy cartoon, wide in the hips and thighs, charmingly disheveled mid 30s with a spattering of freckles. She’s all smiles and maternal instincts, big red hair, looking down at the cat-girl with a coddling, half-hearted concern.
“You washing your hands before you eat, sweetheart?”
“I spent my whole life being clean. I’m going to be dirty today.”