Thursday, October 29, 2015

Whitesboro Writing Group accepted/compiled Halloween related stories from various authors and published them in an ebook, which released on Amazon 10/28. I have two stories in the book--"The Last Thorn" and "Dare" are the titles. I can't post a direct link to the stories due to contract rights, but here is a link to the book. I know it isn't "my" book and doesn't have my name on the front cover, but it's one step closer to the goal of having my own book completed and published. Exciting :) 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bunbury Magazine/The Last Petal

First Suspense Story Published
This is an extension of "Green Haze"

     The sable horizon reluctantly releases the magnificent harvest moon, and a mantle of darkness falls from a lone car as it creeps along an isolated road.  Shadows slip from the two silhouettes inside to reveal sun-kissed skin over young, beautiful bodies.  A subtle glow from the dash covers everything in green velvet.    
      The girl, high on Halloween candy and left over adrenaline, anticipates the rush of air, heavy with cotton and warm dirt, as she leans toward the open window.  The boy settles deeper into his seat and lowers the wheel, tapping out a rhythm as he watches her arm ride the night air.  She sings her own lyrics to the song, cutting her eyes over to see if he approves. The boy laughs at her through a haze of green darkness, warm air, and music. 

The rest of the world sleeps.
      “Where are we going?” she mutters, barely audible above the music.
He only looks at her and laughs, a low, growling sound that blends with the grinding bass melody of the song. She closes her eyes, seemingly unaware that she’s received no answer. 

So trusting. 

He clenches the steering wheel tighter and glances over at the girl. He has allowed himself to get too close to this one.  Her blond hair, stiff with hairspray and already tangled, whips back and forth in the wind.  As the car slows to a near stop, the hair settles across her face, leaving only her lips exposed.  With one eye on the dark road ahead, the boy leans over until he can feel warm air escape the small opening of her lips.  It smells sweet, yet stale, like the last petal that clings to a rose. So vulnerable.  He feels himself stir with excitement then retreats.  His usual anticipation is cloaked in dread, and his mind scrambles to make sense of the deception.    

She is no different than the others.  

      He pulls into a nearly invisible gap in the trees just moments after the landscape changes from open cotton fields to thick woods.  The girl sits up suddenly, a bit confused yet excited for a new adventure.

      “What are we doing here?”  She pulls her hair back and secures it with a band from her wrist.  “Eww, is it another haunted house?  I don’t know—that last one was too real.”

      “Be patient,” the boy replies, reaching over and pushing a loose strand of hair behind her ear.  They pass an opening in the thick cover of trees, and his heart quickens at the sight of a small mound of loose dirt in the otherwise flat ground of the enclosure.  New grass has begun to cover it, but he still catches a glimpse of faded red petals beneath the new sprigs.  He glances down at a single rose on the seat between them, and a fresh wave of courage and excitement wells up.  He leans in to whisper, “I promise you will love this.”  Soft, tender petals brush the tips of his fingers just as a single thorn pierces the palm of his hand.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Regret--Published at Estuary Magazine


    It was only a small gap in the trees that separated us from the open field on the other side.  A halo of light hung inches above the top of the tree line, undulating to the irregular beat of music blasting from every direction and ricocheting before finally clashing somewhere in the middle.  Warm, sweet air brushed past me, propelled by something just behind the trees.  The soft earth surrendered underneath my feet and wrapped around my new shoes, the hay put out to control it already trampled and buried beneath the thick sludge.  As we neared the entrance,  I thought about the regret I’d felt the last time I passed through the opening in the trees, headed back to the car with an oversized pink elephant stuffed under my arm and a cheap KISS mirror in my back pocket.  Neither one was able to serve as a ransom for the one thing I didn’t have-the satisfaction of knowing I'd conquered my fear.
I won’t chicken out this year.
   I felt like Alice in Wonderland as I stepped through the gap in the trees-teetering between excitement and fear. 
   “Watch where you’re stepping,” Mama’s voice shot past me a moment too late as I tripped over one of the many black cables spread out on the ground, running from large trucks where generators roared, drowning out the music and screams as we passed. I scanned the crowd through gaps in the lines and between rides as they spun and jerked around me, but I couldn’t find what I was searching for.  Tired workers beckoned to the crowd with promises of cheap toys and even cheaper compliments.  Teenagers walked arm in arm with new love, pretending their parents weren’t keeping a close eye on them from the other side of the crowd.  Mobile food booths plastered with bright, weathered signs advertising funnel cakes and corn dogs ran through the middle of the rides and games.  Lines ran from each of them like spokes on a wheel.  I reached up and pulled on Daddy’s shirt.
   “Daddy, can I ride on your shoulders?”
   “No, Sherri, why can’t you just walk with your sisters?” he replied. 
I only stared at him, knowing that was all it would take for him to cave.  In one swift movement, he grabbed me from behind and raised me above his head, settling me onto his shoulders.  Almost instinctively, I hooked my feet behind his back and grabbed the top of his head to steady myself.  That’s when I saw it-right past the rainbow colored tent covering rows of fish bowls. Bonnie, a girl from my class, saw me and held up an arm.  Dangling from her clinched fist was a plastic bag full of water.  Inside, an unfortunate gold fish slammed against the sides of the bag as she waved.  I waved back as I looked over her head-just in time to see the circle of brightly colored horses, each suspended from its own golden pole, come to a stop.
   My arms relaxed and, while my hands began to move to Daddy’s shoulders, my feet slid apart to hang loosely at his sides.  Sensing my shift in position, Daddy reached underneath my arms and once again raised me above his head-this time to plant my feet on the ground.  Fear enticed me to stay, but regret begged me to go.  My nails cut into the palms of my hands as I clenched my fists tightly and ran-leaving both fear and regret behind.  I could feel Daddy chasing after me but couldn’t hear him calling.  I heard nothing but my own voice repeating the same three words over and over to the rhythm of the haunting pipe organ music as I ran toward it. 
It is time.
It is time.

It is time.