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Archive for the tag “Deelylah Mullin”

Promptly Penned: Traitor

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Prompt: They say I’m a traitor. Maybe I am. All I know is that I did what I had to do.

 

“Hi, I’m Roxanne,” I said when she answered the door. “We spoke on the phone earlier.”

“I’m Alicia.” We shook hands, and warily, she invited me inside, leading me to her dining room table. I carefully moved some macaroni artwork off the chair before I sat.

She smiled, but she kept shifting in her chair as if she were considering running away. “I’m a little nervous. Can you tell me a little more about how this works? I mean how did you even get into this…business?”

I studied the woman across from me. Her hair was falling out of her messy bun. It wasn’t a cute Instagram messy bun. It was a straight up mess, complete with what looked like crusted baby food in there. Squash, if I remembered my pureed vegetables correctly.

I looked like her not too many years ago. Exhausted, frantic, inside out shirt, and a leaking nursing bra. Though, my kids prefered to slime me with peas.

“To be honest, I didn’t even intend to make it a business, but my brother-in-law left me no choice.” I sighed. “I don’t want to sound cold. I’m actually pretty fond of him, but when his kids were little and his wife was out of town, he’d drive for five hours, show up on our doorstep with his infant and toddler, and basically move in until his wife was back from her business trips.”

“He did not.” She looked furious on my behalf. I liked her already.

“Oh, he did. And he and my husband would sit around and play video games and I was stuck with five kids under the age of four. But my favorite was when my husband was at work, and my brother-in-law decided that that meant it was naptime for him.”

She leaned forward. “I have to know. Did you kill them? I think I would have killed them.”

“Honestly? I came far closer than I’m comfortable with. That’s when I started studying the occult.”

Alicia got up. “Keep talking, I’m going to get us some coffee. You want creamer?”

“And sugar, please.”

“Okay, so tell me more about how the occult figures into all this.”

I shifted in my seat. I was pretty sure I was going to stick to it when I stood up. “Well, I didn’t go full bore. I started out looking for protection spells and binding rituals. And while I was researching, I discovered sigils.”

Alicia placed a huge cup of steaming coffee in front of me. “I wanted to make a mocha, but all I had was Hershey’s syrup.”

I took a sip. “You know what? This is great. Trust me, I’ve made much worse. And I drank it anyway. Because caffeine.”  I took another sip then shook off the memory. “Where was I?”

“Sigils.”

“Right, sigils. These things are so incredibly versatile. You can use them for protection, hexing, attraction, but as far as I’m concerned, their best use is warding. It was getting so bad, that my brother-in-law was coming up two or three times a month and staying for three to five days at a time. I snapped. I couldn’t take it any more.”

“What did you do?”

“Dude is a pig. Seriously, doesn’t pick up after himself at all. So, I took a pair of his dirty underwear he’d left wadded behind the door and hair from the shower,” I shuddered, “various herbs and oils, and boiled it together under the light of a full moon. Then, the next time he called to tell use he was coming, I took a small brush and painted warding sigils on every side of the house, the garage and the cars. And I waited.”

Alicia had slid forward in her chair, her eyes wide. “What happened?”

I tried not to smile, but it was almost impossible. “He called a few times. Said he was lost. My husband thought he was pranking us, but nope. He turned around and drove the five hours back home.”

“No.”

I nodded. “Couldn’t find the place at all.”

“That’s brilliant!”

“When my husband pisses me off, I do it to him, too.”

She laughed and clapped her hands.

“These days, I let my brother-in-law visit every two to three months. And now that I’m not stuck at home with nursing babies, I leave, and let my husband and his brother parent all the kids.”

Alicia shook her head. “I’m impressed. Seriously impressed.”

I shrugged. Some people would say I’m a traitor to family togetherness.” I shrugged. “Maybe I am. All I know is that I did what I had to do.”

“You absolutely did. And,” she added, “you didn’t go to jail for murder.”

“Exactly.”

I pulled my spellbook out of my purse. Technically, it was one of those planners with all the stickers for things like doctor’s appointments and soccer practice, but it doubled and a mighty fine spellbook. And hey, I’m a busy mom, makes sense to combine the weekly menu with my side gig.

“Now,” I said, clicking my pen. “Who are we warding against? Tell me everything.”

That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories, too.

Kris * Jess * Siobhan * Deelylah

Writing Hopes and Aspirations

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So, my writing hopes and aspirations are pretty simple. I’m not looking to hit lists or become a millionaire, I’d just like to:

  • To make enough to support myself by writing full-time–not that I don’t genuinely love my other jobs, but…this is the dream, people.
  • To write stories that provide people with an enjoyable escape from reality for a bit.
  • To write stories that I love and am proud of.

I’m actually feeling confident about number three. Really need to work on number one.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ writing hopes and aspirations.

Jess * Deelylah * Torrance * Kris

The Most Rebellious Thing I Did While Growing Up

I feel as though this blog post is going to be an overwhelming disappointment. Of the five of us kids, I was really the least rebellious.

For instance, I  wasn’t the sibling who relandscaped a neighbor’s lawn with my car and relocated their patio furniture (also with my car) into their inground pool. That wasn’t me. That was my brother who’s two years younger than me.

I also wasn’t the sibling who ended up on Cops (and virtually every news station in the U.S.) because we got pulled over and my girlfriend stole the cop’s car and ran multiple barricades and had to have the tires shot out. That was my brother who’s thirteen years younger than me.

Nor was I the sibling who staged a fake hit and run accident that alarmed the old lady down the road who then called the cops. That was my brother who’s fifteen years younger than me.

Lastly, I wasn’t the sibling who cut off a huge chunk of below-the-ass length hair from the top of my soon to be sister-in-law’s head. That was my sister who’s eighteen years younger than me.

Most of my rebellious transgressions were the civil disobedience kind. And interestingly enough, most of my rebellious acts featured the same person…

  • Protesting and pushing the limits of the flagrantly sexist dress code at the Catholic high school I attended. (I spent a bit of time in detention for that.)
  • Protesting the preferential treatment the football players received at said Catholic high school by staging a walkout of my religion class with my forever friend, Alex Kourvo.  (More detention.)

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    These weren’t our detention outfits. This was just us being cute af.

  • Starting a literary magazine, with Alex and some other friends, and getting shut the fuck down by the administration. Yes, that happened. We put together a chapbook type collection of original fiction and poetry. We all contributed, someone’s dad bought us paper for printing and cardstock for the cover, and we distributed it to students at the school. And we all got in trouble. We were called into the office and reamed out. There was nothing offensive. Nothing problematic. But there were six or seven kids who dared to be creative, and that was a transgression that wouldn’t be tolerated.

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    Recently found a copy of contraband literary journal.

  • A final bit of rebellion was the garage band I was a member of–again, with my girl, Alex and several of our other friends. Our name? Rebell and the Ions. (If you put it together, it spells, Rebellion – get it?)
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    For some reason, the grouper fish was our mascot.

    You may have noticed a bit of a theme here. We’re still amazing forever friends, we’re both still writing, and we’re both still rebelling.

    Also? Neither one of us has been on Cops.

Be sure to check out Jess, Jessica, and Deelylah’s post and see what kind of shit they got up to.

Flash Fiction #64 – Ghost

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This month’s song fic was inspired by Ghost by Halsey. If you’d like, you can read the lyrics here and/or watch the video here. 

“What are we even doing?”

Ryan sighed. “We’re trying to get some sleep because we have an early flight.”

A car drove slowly down the street, its headlights bouncing around the perimeter of the bedroom, and I shifted against the pillow I had propped up against the headboard. In the temporary illumination, I stared down at the man in my bed. My husband, I supposed.

It was weird. Like I was looking at him from a distance despite the fact that if I shifted, I could feel him next to me. But it was still as if I were looking at him through inches-thick plexiglass. Trick of the light or trick of my broken heart? The car fully passed, plunging the room into darkness again.

He wasn’t the same man I’d married. Though, to be fair, I wasn’t the same woman I was ten years ago, either. I knew why I’d changed. If you spend long enough kissing someone whose mouth is always full of lies, it poisons you. Changes your perception of everything around you–even yourself.

I missed the guy I’d fallen in love with, but more and more lately, I was wondered if he ever existed. The soul I’d loved had vanished, and in its place was an empty shell I didn’t recognize. And even more important, I didn’t like him.

His breathing had deepened and evened out as another car passed, illuminating the room again. The white fabric of his t-shirt seemed to glow. He was a ghost sleeping next to me.

But I was done trying to sleep. And I was done swallowing lies.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories. Hopefully, they’re a little more upbeat.

Jess * Kris * Siobhan * Kayleigh * Gwen * Deelylah

Top 10: Character Traits I Like Writing

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I actually like all of these traits equally, but since I numbered all the other posts, I prefer to stick with the pattern.

10.) Bookish – I like writing characters that are at home in a classroom or library and value learning…which is why I guess I’ve written a number of teachers and professors.

9.) Funny – I like characters with a good sense of humor. Actually, I feel that way about most people–real or imagined.

8.) Curious – I suppose this is where some of my own personality comes into play–I tend to end up down a lot of rabbit holes thanks to curiosity, and so do my characters.

7.) Artistic – I’m drawn to creative people–artists, musicians, writers, photographers, woodworkers, etc. I love delving into the minds of people who create art.

6.) Loyal – Loyalty is one of those double-edged sword traits that’s fun to explore. It can be an incredibly noble trait, but it can also be harmful when characters are loyal to people or ideas they’ve outgrown or aren’t who and what the characters thought they were.

5.) Quirky – I love characters who are a bit odd or unconventional. I feel they’re more true to life–at least, truer to the people in my life, I guess. I find them more interesting, more engaging.

4.) Awkward – Awkward can be fun or it can painful, but I think it’s almost always relatable and it can reveal a lot about a character.

3.) Unpretentious – I prefer people who are down to earth and comfortable in their own skin. I think that for the most part, my main characters are kind of WYSIWYG.

2.) Empathetic – Empathy is so important. Even if a character doesn’t start out with empathy, it’s a trait I want them to develop by the time their story ends. I’m not sure it’s possibly to truly love another without the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes.

1.) Resilient – Like real life, characters tend to go through a lot of shit. Even if that shit knocks them down, I think that the struggle to rise again is fascinating to write. Everyone’s journey to getting the fuck back up again is different, and it’s enjoyable to explore the different ways that trust and strength and perseverance factor into resilience.

What are some of your favorite traits to read and/or write? And be sure to check out the other bloggers’ list of favorite traits to write. Jess, Gwen, Deelylah, and Kris.

Flash Fiction #61 – Dude in Cave

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This story is a continuation of one that started with another flash fiction, but it should be able to be read as a stand alone. But if you’d like to read the whole thing, here are parts one, two, and three.

At Eoin’s whispered curse, Hollis slowly turned, and her breath stalled in her throat. Of all the things she expected to find beyond the elaborately carved gothic door, a cavernous, underground tunnel — or maybe it was a cave — hadn’t been on her short list. Which, when she thought about it was kind of dumb. After all, they had been in the underground vault of the university’s library prior to going through the door.

Reaching behind Eoin, she felt for the doorknob and gasped.

“What’s wrong?” he whispered almost soundlessly against her ear.

“The knob is gone.” As near as she could tell in the gloom, the door was still the same. She could feel the raised carvings, except, as she moved her hand over the surface, they were quickly becoming stone. “Fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck.”

At Eoin’s inquiring murmur, she grabbed his hand and placed it on what remained of the wood and watched his face as he registered what was happening. His eyes widened, and he turned and looked at her, seeming unsure for the first time tonight.

“Now what?” he asked.

She shrugged, her shoulders brushing his chest as she realized how close they were still standing. “Can’t go back. So…I guess we go through.”

“I don’t suppose you had the foresight to bring a torch, did you?”

She reached into her jacket pocket and withdrew the small flashlight. “I’ve got the one on my phone, too, but I don’t want to kill the battery.

He nodded. “Same.”

She pushed the button, and a narrow beam of light revealed more of their surroundings. Rough walls, ceiling and floor — naturally formed — from the looks of it, extended for what seemed like forever. She suddenly felt very small. She wondered if Eoin did, too, because he reached out and grasped her free hand, lacing his fingers through hers. The comfort was immediate. And despite her earlier annoyance at his threat of blackmail, she couldn’t help but be glad that he was with her right now.

Hollis scanned the floor again. It looked solid enough. There weren’t any gaping fissures or bottomless underground pools that she could see. Though, she was slowly becoming aware of the sound of rushing water. There must be a subterranean river down here somewhere.

She took a cautious step forward, and he followed. “Where do you suppose we’ll end up?”

“Faery.” His muttered response sounded more like an epithet than an answer.

She snorted. “Right.”

“Where do you think we are, love?”

She shivered as they walked forward, telling herself it was a chill from the surrounding dankness as opposed to his casual endearment or the way his accent seemed to roughly caress his words.

“In a cavern under the library.”

“With a doorknob that disappears and wood that magically turns to stone?”

He had a point. She shivered again, but this time it had nothing to do with him or the chill in the air. She fished her cell phone from her back pocket. There was no signal. Not that she’d really expected one in a cave or whatever this was, but she’d hoped.

She watched as he checked his phone, shaking his head before powering off the device and pocketing it.

They walked for hours — it felt like it, anyway. The path ahead was getting lighter — bright enough that they’d notice any potential deathtraps, so she switched off her flashlight. As they rounded a bend, they both squinted as mouth of the cave suddenly opened up before them.

The world beyond the cave’s mouth was bathed in an eerie golden glow, and as the details slowly came into focus, her breath caught. There was a man standing there. She couldn’t quite tell if he was facing them or looking the other way.  Either way, he looked imposing.

He turned with a movement as fluid as a dancer, and Eoin’s hand tightened around hers. “Fuck me swinging.”

That’s it for me this week, but I will be continuing this at some point. Be sure to check out Deelylah’s story, too.

Halfway Through the Year—2017 Goals Check-In

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So…it’s come to this. The halfway through the year goals check-in. Things aren’t…going as well as I’d like.

These were my goals at the beginning of the year:

Get a handle on the negativity that’s seems to be plaguing me.

Do what I can to affect positive change in the world–even if they’re only small things.

Write day and night like I’m running out of time.

However…this is how I’m currently feeling.

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Because everything is chaotic and scary and I’d like that shit to stop now. So…I’m looking for volunteers for this:

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I’m desperately hoping that my end of the year check-in is a hell of a lot better. And I’m also hoping Deelylah, Torrance, and Jess are having a better time of it.

Flash Fiction #60 – Ghosts That We Knew

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Today’s flash fiction was inspired by one of my favorite Mumford and Sons songs, Ghosts That We Knew. Here’s the song if you want to have a listen, and here are the lyrics.

The late evening sun sank lower, barely peering through the treeline as I sat next to the pile of recently overturned earth, careful not to fall into the carefully dug hole. Eventually, some likely underpaid caretaker would replace the sod that had been cut away and plant grass seed when the sod didn’t grow uniformly, but it was too early for that. It was too early for a headstone, too.

I froze slightly as I heard the scuffling of feet behind me and then relaxed as I recognized the shuffling, limping gait. “You should be resting,” I murmured as he sat down beside me.

“And you shouldn’t?”

I glanced at him, his cuts and bruises looking more pronounced, more ominous in the twilight blanketing the cemetery. Though, I was sure I didn’t look any better. That thought was confirmed as he reached out to touch my face then let his hand fall away.

“Your mom made supper,” he said, as if trying to bridge the growing distance between us.

“I’m not hungry.”

“When’s the last time you ate anything?”

I shrugged and stared into the darkening hole.

He reached for me. “Cass–”

“No!” I stumbled to my feet. “Don’t! They’re putting our baby in a hole tomorrow. This hole. I don’t fucking care about food. I don’t care about any one of the well-meaning lasagnas stuffed into the freezer by our well-meaning friends. I don’t care if I starve because at least I won’t be here without her.”

His battered face crumpled and he sagged as if someone had opened a valve and let all of the air out of him. “I’m so sorry. I tried to get us out of the way. I tried,” he murmured. I wasn’t sure if he was talking to himself or me. But then he looked up at me, utterly stricken. “I tried to take the impact on my side of the car, but I couldn’t get it to turn in time.  I couldn’t get it to turn.”

My heart pounded, practically thrashing its way out of my chest as the sounds of crunching metal and breaking glass filled my head, replacing the harsh gasping breaths of my husband, and over it all, I heard the tiny gurgle of sound that would be the last noise our little girl would ever make.

I sank down into the cool grass behind him and wrapped my arms around him and gave in to the sobs building in my throat.

“I promised I’d always be there to protect her.”

I tightened my grip around him despite the pain I knew we were both feeling, and he covered my hands with his. He’d done the best he could. I knew he had.

“I know I failed you both, but please don’t let go. I can’t lose you, too.”

I shook my head, unable to form words as the growing darkness swallowed us. I’d hold on to him. I’d hold on forever.

That’s it for me, today. Here are the other stories. Kris,  Siobhan,  Deelylah, and Jess.

Promptly Penned: Nancy Drew Shenanigans

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Prompt:  “Just call the police. No one has time for your Nancy Drew shenanigans.”

It was only day one of an entire month with my Uncle Joe, Aunt Tami. Hell, I hadn’t even seen my cousins, Joey and Tiffany yet, and I already wanted to scream. I understood that my mom wanted me to have the same kind of close relationship she’d had with her cousins growing up. In theory, it was a great idea. However, reality left much to be desired.

Maybe her aunts and uncles had made better choices than my mom’s only brother had. Even seeing my Aunt Tami for the occasional family dinner made me want to grind my teeth, but an entire month? I hoped my mom was prepared for the dental bills. Or to pay bail money when Aunt Tami had me arrested for throat punching her obnoxious children. I wondered if I’d still be allowed to start tenth grade if I had a record.

We pulled into the drive of their summer home. It was nice enough. And big enough that I had my own room when I was here. And I did like being on the lake. Though, I’d like it better if I didn’t have to constantly babysit Tiffany. She was awfully whiny for an 11-year-old.

We got out of the car and I followed Tami and Tiffany into the house, stopping short when my aunt gasped. It was trashed. There was broken glass and red plastic cups everywhere. Not to mention puke and the occasional candy wrapper and passed out teenager. In fact, Joey was lying on the couch, clutching a mostly empty bottle of booze.

“We’ve been robbed!”

I looked at Aunt Tami, and my mouth hung open for a second or two. “I don’t think so.”

“There’s broken glass everywhere and the whole place has been ransacked!”

I glanced around the room. “There’s empty bottles and puke everywhere. It looks like Joey had a party.”

She glared at me. “He would never!”

Shrugging, I said, “The red plastic cups and and the fact that he’s sleeping with a bottle of whiskey would suggest otherwise.”

“If he’s drunk, it’s because the robbers made him drink it.”

“I don’t–”

“Just call the police. No one has time for your Nancy Drew shenanigans.”

I pulled out my phone and stifled a smile. No cop in their right mind would believe the house had been robbed and Joey was a victim. This month of forced family togetherness just got a lot more interesting.

Okay, that’s it for me. Be sure to see what Deelylah, Jess, and Kris wrote!

Top 10: Ways I Procrastinate

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How do I procrastinate…let me count the ways.

10.) Clean. If I need to do something I really don’t want to do, cleaning is a great procrastination technique. Granted, I’m just exchanging one hated thing for another, but that’s usually when my house ends up being the cleanest.

9.) Surfing stock art sites. I’m embarrassed to admit how much time I actually spend looking for future character models for cover art.

8.) Menu planning. It’s a necessary evil because it makes our life run smoother, but it takes forever to do (because I loathe cooking  and shopping) but sometimes I use it as an avoidance technique.

7.) Twitter surfing. I use Twitter like a normal person, and then sometimes I fall into the hole of no return–especially during heavy news days. But then, aren’t they all heavy news days lately?

6.) Tumblr. Dear god…I love Tumblr, but I know that whenever  I get on, I’m not getting off anytime soon.

5.) Facebook. Pinterest. Instagram. Please see above.

4.) Reading. I love stories. All kinds of stories and diving into a particularly good book is a fab way to avoid doing other stuff.  I like to call it market research.

3.) Words with Friends. Despite my children actively lobbying for me to join them in the land of video games, I’ve resisted…except for Words with Friends, though, they’ve informed me this doesn’t count as a video game. But I still probably spend too much time playing it.

2.) Netflix. Though, to be fair, I usually only watch it while I’m doing something else–usually something crafty because I’m incapable of just sitting and watching something. Like it’s a biological impossibility. I just can’t do it. I’m annoying as fuck to go to the movies with, because I’m a foot jiggler. I  jiggle my foot because apparently movie theaters frown on people using their phone for a flashlight to check their stitches while watching movies. Whatever.

1.) All the crafting ever. Sewing, knitting, cross stitching, pottery–I love being crafty, and if there’s something I’m looking to avoid, getting my craft on is the way to do it. I’m not actively trying to avoid anything at the moment, but I am making a wedding dress and a flower girl dress. For a July 1st wedding. Because I’m stupid.

You know…sometimes it’s hard to know whether it’s procrastination or just poor time management skills…

What are you favorite forms of procrastination? And be sure to check out Jess, Kris and Deelylah’s lists, too.

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