Friday, January 29, 2016

Being A Zombie Isn't As Cool As You Would Think

A kids zombie story. What do you think?

You would think being a Zombie would be a pretty cool thing;
You don't have to take baths,
And can stay up as late as you want.
No more school, by order of the Principal,
And scaring your sister tops the list too.
But it's not all green skin and dangling Eyeballs, (so cool, right?)
There's a down side to being a zombie.
Your mom is over careful about hugs,
And you are banned from sitting on the couch.
You have some weird food cravings, but it's all in the presentation--I recommend fried brains, boiling just makes them soggy.
You find out the hard way who your friends really are, or aren't.
But the absolute worst part of being a zombie:
When your dog plays hide and seek with your arm,
And the cat has swiped your nose.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Weak Die

I wrote a 250 word story a few years back. I have revisited it and expanded. This is not a tale for children.

The Weak Die

I woke feeling that something was wrong. It was quiet. Not unusual in itself, I lived alone and there weren’t anyone around for miles. Hell, I might be the last breather, for all I knew. But there was something about the quiet. It seemed almost desperate, as though there had been a noise, something out of the ordinary, which had suddenly been hushed. I stood from my bed and crossed the room. There was movement outside. I checked my gun, which was leaning against the wall by the door, as it should be. I hadn’t actually used it for some time, but was well maintained.
I pulled back the curtain in my window. It looked to be noon, judging from the sun. Crossing the long dead field, a girl moved cautiously toward my garden. She was young, but strong. A bit skinny, but this was the apocalypse, everyone still living was skinny. I watched the girl as she drew closer to my home. I was curious, I didn’t see many people come this way. Those who had lived around here before The End, knew to stay away from Old Phillis, who had gone strange since her husband left. The children told tales of what would happen if they came too close. Most of it wasn’t true, mainly because I hadn’t wished for a visit from the Sheriff. Now they were all dead, or had left for parts unknown, including the nosey Sheriff. Those that had come after learned that I liked my solitude and the smart ones left me alone. The not so smart ones, well, they no longer bother me. This girl, I didn’t know which type of person she was, but either way she wouldn’t be much of a bother. She looked tough though. Had to be, if she was out there by herself. It wasn’t a kind world for a girl on her own … and one, judging from the bundle in her arms, she was protecting an even more precious commodity.
She looked toward my garden, obviously well-tended, and then toward my cabin. She was wondering if anyone was home, and if so, was this a safe haven. I would answer her question, soon enough. When she slipped into the shadows and made her move for the garden, I grabbed my gun and opened the door.
“This place is mine. That food is mine.”
     She froze. Her eyes were wild as she sized me up.  She was tryin’ to decide if she could take me.
I leveled my gun. “I wouldn’t try it. I’m old, but strong. You don’t survive in this world if you can’t fight. You know that. You also don’t survive if you don’t know when to run.” I cocked the hammer. “Go on. Git.”
     She stood firm and held out the bundle she was carrying. “If I die, he’ll be alone. I just want a little and you have so much.”
     Well, so I was right about her package. It was a baby. I hadn’t seen one of those since… well, before the world went to hell. The weak were the first to die and you didn’t get much weaker than a new born.
“I have so much because I protect what is mine. I can’t just give it away, and you don’t look to have anything to trade.”
    She held the baby out.  “Please then, if you won’t let me eat … can you take him? He needs a home, someplace safe.”
“And what would I do with a baby? It’s not like I have any milk around to feed it. And if I did, why would I?”
“Then let me stay and help tend your garden. There’s strength in numbers.”
“Is that why you’re alone?”
She lowered her eyes. I knew the truth. A young girl like her, she’d probably been passed around, used by men until she was no longer any use to them. They probably wanted to leave the baby and she wouldn’t. There was a fire in her eyes. I knew which type of human she was. She was a fighter, and not about to run. We stared at each other, and then I pulled the trigger.
     She flinched, but I have to give her credit, she didn’t scream. Behind her, the Rotter dropped. I fired again, hitting the second. She ran, shielding the child and taking up a position behind me.
     “Git inside.” I snarled.
I hadn’t seen any living for a while, it had been nearly as long since I’d seen any of the dead. When the living left, so did they. Those two must have been tracking her. Those two appeared to be alone, but chances were, there would be more. They were like cockroaches that way. The shots would attract them. I needed to prepare. I placed the bodies on my burn pile and lit them. For some reason the smell of burning zombie’s deterred the others. It was like they instinctively knew to steer clear. Then I waited for the few that would ignore the warning. Like humans, there were always a few.
     Later, I sat with the girl around the fire while she nursed the babe. She’d told me her name, but I didn’t want to know. Still, I watched, curious while I roasted potatoes and a few ears of corn. I’d never been blessed to have a child. Maybe nature had smelled something in me … knew to steer clear. My husband had ignored that warning. Kept insisting we try, even after I told him what I would do to the baby if I did conceive. I wouldn’t be a good mother. I knew that. Nature knew that. He wouldn’t leave me though. He should have. I think he’d even thought of it, but he had that damned pride. He’d taken a vow … til death do us part, so I killed him and buried him in the garden. I liked to be alone. And now here I sat with another mouth to feed. It just wouldn’t do. Food was scarce in the apocalypse.
     She wasn’t expecting it when I slit her throat. I had warned her. She shoulda got when the gitten was good.
     The babe stared at me. I smiled and said calming things. Maybe I could have been a good mother. It was too late now. I slit its throat too. You don’t survive in this world if you can’t fight, but even the weak serve a purpose and tonight, I’d be eatin’ well.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year, New Start

This story is not for kids. Dom and Loretta are characters that my husband and I used to write for an online contest. Each week, characters were killed off. Dom and Loretta didn't survive, and I can't find the original stories we wrote. I have decided though to revive the characters. This one revolves around New Years Resolutions and broken promises. 

New Year, New Start

Loretta winced as she opened her eyes, regretting the extra long island iced tea she’d drank the night before. Hell, who was she kidding, the last several she’d drank had contributed to the pain she was feeling this morning. Next to her, her husband Dom snored loudly. Dom did everything loud, and for the most part, Loretta didn’t mind. He was big and scared a lot of people, but deep down he was a teddy bear.
Slipping out of bed, she headed for the bathroom and then down the hall to check on the kids. Maria and Dom Jr. were still sleeping. She hoped to keep them that way for a while. She’d given Rosie the day off but unless she dreamt it, the place was a mess. She didn’t want to spend the morning cleaning, but she didn’t want to live in a rat hole either, like her sister. Speaking of which … her phone on the table was flashing, indicating she’d missed a call. Twenty calls. All from Gina. She was about to call her back when there was a loud pounding at the door.
“What the hell,” she said, opening the door and wincing as the sun pierced her eyes. Gina was outside, her eyes black from all the smeared mascara. She’d been crying.
“I want to talk to Tommy.”
“Tommy? He’s not here.”
“Well he never came home last night.”
Loretta stepped aside, letting inside before shutting the door and blocking the offending sun. “Well what are you banging down my door for? Maybe check with Irene. You said he was giving her eyes the other day.”
“Her husband’s home, he wouldn’t be there. When he left, he said Dom called and asked him to come over last night. Something about a job …”
“If he did, I don’t know anything about that. Tommy flaked on the last job Dom had for him. Caused us a lot of trouble. Mr. Peretti wanted to hold Dom responsible He had to do a lot of talking and make a lot of promises to get out of it.”
“I know, but that’s what Tommy told me, and we kind of need the money. We’ve missed a few rent payments.”
“Geeeze Louise, Gina. Didn’t Dom give you money last month for the rent?”
“I know. Tommy thought he could double it though …”
Mary, mother of Jesus … Gina! I’ll talk to Dom, see if he’ll front you some more, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. And it may be a good idea for Tommy to stay away for a while. Take this time and get yourself together. You don’t have any kids. Leave him. Come stay with me and Dom.”
“You’re kidding, right? Tommy may not be perfect, but he’s not a gangster. How could I sleep here knowing that someone named Ernie the Shoe might throw a Molotov Cocktail through my bedroom window?”
Loretta started laughing. “Ernie the Screw and he doesn’t have the balls to throw a Molotov Cocktail through any of Dom’s windows. Tony Two Shoes, maybe. If he could reach one of our windows, which I doubt.” Loretta pictured Tony jumping up and down, trying to reach one of the lower windows and giggled.
“Loretta, it’s not funny. I worry about you and the kids.”
“You didn’t seem too worried when your husband was taking his money. And at least Dom comes home to me every night.”
“Okay, okay, you’re right. I’m sorry. It’s just … I love him.”
“I know you do, but he’s no good for you. You know that, right? Look, I know what you need. Ice cream and cake. I think we have some left from last night.”
Loretta went to the kitchen and checked the freezer. There was a little ice cream, but not much. “Hold on, there should be some in the deep freezer.”
“It’s ok, Loretta, I don’t want you to go to any trouble. I feel foolish coming over here in the first place.”
“I’m you sister, it’s no trouble. Just sit down and try to relax. When Dom gets up, we’ll figure all this out.” Loretta patted Gina on the shoulder before leaving the kitchen through the garage door. She lifted the freezer lid. The mint chocolate chip ice cream she remembered being there sat nestled between Tommy’s hands. Her brother-in-law’s frozen eyes stared up at her.  Next to him was Irene. “Well, shit. I guess Frank’s going to be looking for you, too.” She shook her head, reached in, took out the ice cream and then shut the lid.
When she went back into the house, Maria and Little Dom were sitting at the kitchen table with Gina. Dom was pouring milk and talking about making scrambled eggs. He smiled sheepishly at Loretta when she held up the ice cream.
“Gina, could you dish some out for the kids? Dom and I need to talk for a moment.”
“I know what you are going to say, “Dom said when they were alone in the living room.
“Do you? Dom, you promised me just last night that you were going to cut back on the number of people you killed … New year, new start.”
“In all fairness, Tommy and Irene were already in the freezer.”
“And you said you wouldn’t kill any more family members. The kids are still asking about Uncle Louis …”
“Again, he was already in the freezer, so technically I haven’t broken any promises. Besides, look at Gina. She’s a mess. She was never going to leave him. Now she can move on.”
“And Frank?”
“He can move on to. Maybe with Gina. Those two would look cute together, don’t you think?”
“Dom … I don’t know what I’m going to do with you.” Loretta shook her head. He really was a big, romantic, teddy bear.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Boy, A Dragon, And An Ogre Save The World

 This is a story I am writing at the request of my son. It isn't finished, but I think I have a pretty good beginning. The picture is courtesy of Piotr Siedlecki, and

A Boy, A Dragon, And An Ogre Save The World

“Look, Mustard, he’s at it again.”

I pointed across the street at my neighbor’s house. Weird lights were flashing from an upstairs window. No one in the neighborhood paid any attention. They didn’t see the lights. Only I did. And Mustard. He didn’t count though. No one in the neighborhood could see him either.

My mom says she can see him, but I know she’s just pretending. Mother’s tend to scream when they see giant monsters … not that Mustard is a monster, or giant. Mustard is a dragon, and not a very large one. He fits into my room. Mostly. Sometimes I have to open a window, so he can hang his tail outside.

The reason no one can see Mustard, except for me, is he’s shy. Dragons are a lot like chameleons, they can disguise themselves to blend in with their surroundings. Makes sense, otherwise they’d probably have gone extinct when the Knights were hunting them. Mustard lets me see him, but my mom, well she intimidates him. Only my mom could intimidate a dragon, even a small one.

I pulled my journal out and recorded the time. 5:19 PM. It was just starting to get dark. 

My neighbor was a doctor, at least that’s what he told my mom when he moved in a month ago. Dr. Cullenshot. Thing is, he hardly ever leaves his house and no one ever comes to visit. When he does leave he’s never gone for long and he comes back with weird things. Wires and gadget type of things. Then the weird lights start up. 

It didn’t take me long to figure out that he wasn’t a doctor, at least not the kind that looks in your nose and then prescribes you some medicine. Dr. Cullenshot is a mad scientist and he’s doing something in the house across the street. I didn’t know what, but it isn’t good, and I didn’t know how, but I am going to stop him. I kind of have to. I’ve watched movies, I know what happens when mad scientists go unchecked. Monsters get created, or whole neighborhoods go missing. I didn’t want a monster in my neighborhood and I didn’t want to wake up to find my house floating on an asteroid.

“I wonder what he’s doing over there,” I whispered. Mustard snorted, and hid his head under my bed. The lights scared him. Mustard was sort of a scardy-dragon. “Seriously Mustard, you are a dragon. You could breathe fire on this guy, but instead you’re hiding from lights.” Mustard tucked his tail tightly against his side. I sighed and looked back out my window.

“Danny, you have company.” 

I turned toward my door. My mom knocked once and then came in. A boy with a baseball cap was standing behind her. 

“This is Michael,” she said. “He’s new in the neighborhood.”

The boy smiled at me, but he hesitated, side stepping Mustard’s tail on his way into the room. That caught my attention. If he could see Mustard, that could mean trouble.

“I’ll just leave you two to get to know each other.” My mom pulled the door shut, leaving me and the new kid alone. She meant well. She thought I spent too much time alone. Michael and I stared at each other. His eyes were black. That was weird.

“You aren’t human, are you?” I asked.

“You’re pretty observant. Is the um, dragon, safe?” 

I glanced at Mustard. He was staring at the strange creature. Then he licked his lips. I don’t think he was serious though, I think Mustard was having fun since most people couldn’t see him. Since whoever this guy was could, he clearly wasn’t most people.

“He hasn’t eaten you … yet.” I didn’t want this guy to know Mustard was more of a coward than a dragon. “So what are you? A gnome …?”

“No, Gnomes wear pointy hats and live in gardens. They also tend to break out into song at the most inopportune times. Clearly my hat is a baseball cap and I don’t like to sing. I do like gardens though, if they have cabbages growing in them. I am an Ogre.”

“That’s cool, I guess. I thought Ogres were bigger though. And mean.”

“Ouch, that hurt. Who’s the mean one, pointing out that I’m short?”

“I’m sorry,” I said quickly. Leave it to me to offend the first Ogre I met. I tried to think of some way to change the subject. “So, your name is Michael. Is that a common name for an Ogre?”

“No, my name is Mzlepot, but your mother misunderstood me. Most humans do.”

“Mistletoe?” I joked.

“No, Mzlepot.”

“Sounds like Mistletoe to me.”

“You can just call me Michael.”

“I think I like Mistletoe better.” 

Mustard chuckled. Mistletoe looked annoyed. 

“So what brings you to the neighborhood?” I asked.

“We need your help, Danny.”

Me? He needed my help? That was … wait …“We? Who is we?”

“Magical creatures, like me, who live in this world. Through there …” He pointed out my window toward the woods that were across the street, behind Dr. Cullenshot’s house. “We have seen you watching the fiend who is destroying us. He’s draining our magic. If he doesn’t stop, all magic, and all magical creatures, will disappear from this world.”

 “All magical creatures?” I asked. Then that means …”

Mustard whimpered and hid his head under my bed again.