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Archive for the tag “Kris Norris”

Flash Fiction #68 – Call Me Crazy

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This month’s flash fiction song is one I’d never heard before this challenge. It’s called “Call Me Crazy” by Travis Collins. The video is here and the lyrics are here if you’d like to give a listen/read.

Content warning: some violence and allusions to abuse. 

The dirt was clay. She fucking hated digging into clay. It was wet and cold and almost slimy. It sucked at her shovel, stuck into the treads of her too-big, borrowed boots, and made it difficult to get any real power behind the tool, but she’d manage.

Despite the damp chill of the October evening, she was starting to break a bit of a sweat, but that’s what digging a three foot deep hole would do to a person. Dusk settled like an old musty blanket, muting the changing leaves, and dulling the sky. Soon, the only light would be the running lights on his truck.

He’d be pissed if he knew she was letting it run with the doors open so she could hear the music while she worked. Of course, it was so old, it didn’t even have a cassette deck. And it was stuck on that fucking country music station. But, it was better than the eerie near-silence of the rapidly approaching winter–nothing but small animals rustling through the dried grasses and the honking geese up and leaving this desolate place, flying to warmer climes. She’d always wished she could do the same. But, maybe now, she wouldn’t need to.

She straightened as she surveyed the hole. It was finally deep enough. A shiver snaked down her spine as the chorus of one of his favorite songs drifted to her from tinny-sounding speakers. An audio ghost haunting her from a lifetime past. She pushed through the chill. Maybe it was appropriate this song was playing tonight. Though, it was more of a eulogy than he deserved.

Planting the shovel in the mounded clay, she walked to the back of the truck and dropped the pickup’s gate. Thankfully, the tarp-wrapped body hadn’t moved much on the drive out here. Rolling it to the edge, she dragged the deadweight over her shoulder, and hoisted it in a fireman’s carry. Bastard was heavier than she would have thought, but she’d gotten him this far, she could move him a few more yards.

A muffled groan startled her, and she nearly dropped him, but she kept going until she could fling him into the hole. There was a sickening crack as he hit the bottom, then nothing but the tail end of his favorite song and her harsh breath. She filled in the hole then drove over it, repeatedly, for good measure before shifting the fallen tree to cover the signs of disturbed earth. The same one she’d moved to dig the hole in the first place.

Sure, someone might find him someday. If they cared enough to look. But they’d also find the evidence of everything he’d ever done to her–every photograph, every video tape–all sitting in the middle of his kitchen table. Along with his muddy boots on the mat by the door and his truck parked in the driveway.

And she’d be gone. Long gone where the ghosts of the past had been laid to rest.

Okay, that’s it for me this week. Be sure you check out the other stories by clicking on each blogger’s name. 

Jess * Siobhan * Gwen * Kris * Deelylah

Promptly Penned: Glass Balls

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Prompt: While cleaning the attic, he/she finds a box of glass balls with names on them. One drops and as it shatters, a person appears.

 

Fuck my life. 

Emily looked around at the mountains of boxes, trunks and bags in the attic. This was not how she’d envisioned her mid-term break. When she’d agreed to stay on campus to assist the chair of the anthropology department, she never imagined it would involve cleaning out what was apparently a hoarder’s paradise in the woman’s attic. Yet, here she was…not only cleaning a hoarder’s paradise, but organizing and cataloging it, too.

To be fair, she’d accomplished a lot in the last four days. She’d collected all the random piles of books laying around and boxed and labeled them by subject. She’d organized a collection of tribal masks and another of elaborate early 20th century hats, She was still adding to the pile of medieval-looking weapons she’d leaned against the wall in the far corner of the room, and all the loose papers were just getting tossed in a box. Someone else could deal with that nightmare. But there was actually a decent amount of floor space now.

Setting aside a stack of crumbling newspapers, she found an old hatbox. Lifting it to place it near the other headwear, she heard clinking inside. Setting the box on one of the many tables in the attic, she lifted the lid. Inside, were tinted glass balls in a variety of colors. As she peered closer, she realized there was lettering etched on each one.

The green one read: Bruce Banner. A rose-colored orb was inscribed with the name, Elizabeth Bennet. The red with Hannibal Lecter. And the purple with Willy Wonka.

What the actual hell was this?

She carefully moved aside the ones she’d read to see what inscribed on the others. Éponine Garrod encircled a rust-colored ball, and Sherlock Holmes, the blue. Bella Swan was written on a clear one and Diana Prince on the gold.

Emily pulled out the gray ball and snorted as she turned it over. Christian Grey.

The clanging sound of metal hitting wood startled her, and she dropped the orb, the glass shattering at her feet. Heart in her throat, she whirled toward the clanging noise. One of the swords had fallen from where she’d propped it against the wall.

She turned back to what was left of the orb in time to see gray fog swirling and coalescing into the figure of a man wearing what she guessed was a pricy suit with a gray tie.

“Miss Anastasia Steele, I presume?”

She took a step back. What the fuck was even happening here? “I’m sorry, what?”

“You are Miss Anastasia Steele, are you not?”

“The fuck I am.”

“Language, Miss Steele. I don’t tolerate such coarse behavior from my bed partners. Now, fetch some decent clothing. Borrow something from that dreadful roommate of yours if you must.”

Emily stared at him wondering if an excess amount of dust could produce visual and auditory hallucinations. It was the only explanation.

“I’m not Anastasia Steele.”

He stared at him. “You’re  a college student. You’re clumsy. Who else would you be?”

Staring at him, her mouth fell open. How was any of this even possible? Maybe that clanging sound was her falling and hitting her head. Maybe she was unconscious and her brain was short-circuiting with this bizarre scenario.

“Time is money, and you’re wasting both. I’m a very important man Miss Steele. I have a helicopter and everything.”

Emily burst out laughing. She couldn’t help it.

“We’ll be taking Charlie Tango to your doctor’s appointment. You need birth control.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you, douchebag.”

Out of nowhere, a crop materialized in his hand, and he started toward her. This could not be real. But his very real hand closed around her upper arm and yanked her toward him. She tried to lurch away from him, but he held fast.

“I’m going to enjoy punishing you,” he murmured in her ear as he tried to drag her toward the door.

She look around for anything to use as a weapon. She was too far away from any of the actual weapons she’d put in the corner. Her eyes fell on the glass balls. She grabbed hold of the gold on and smashed it on the floor, hoping for the best. A swirling gold fog took the form of Diana Prince–Wonder Woman–shield and sword in hand.

Slowly she lifted her head, and her dark eyes fell on Emily then Christian. “You.” She leveled her blade at him. “Release her.”

“I will not. She signed a contract.”

“No I didn’t!”

Diana moved closer until the metal point rested on his neck. “I said, release her.”

Christian let go of Emily’s arm, and she scrambled away from him as Diana stepped behind him, keeping the edge of her blade across his neck.

“Are you all right?” Diana asked?

Emily nodded. “Thanks.” She gestured toward Grey. “Now what?”

Diana smiled. “Now, I take him somewhere he can learn respect.” In a swirl of gold and gray mist, they were gone.

And Emily immediately began looking for bubble wrap.

That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check and see what the other blogger’s did with the prompt.

Jess * Kris * Gwen

Flash Fiction #66 – Criminals

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This month’s song fic is inspired by Criminals by Ms Mr. Here are the lyrics and video if you want to give it a go.

 

Doug looked around the conference table, not letting his gaze settle anywhere for too long–not even on Vanessa. How in the hell had they ended up here? Christ, he wasn’t even sure if he meant the two of them or the nation as a whole.

“Look,” Tony said. “I’m just saying, it’s hurricane season. There’s probably not a better time to roll this out.”

Vanessa nodded. “And it’s the start of the school year. According to our our studies, anxiety for both parents and students–not to mention teachers–is at an all time high.”

Doug’s skin crawled, and he shifted uneasily in his chair. That uneasiness grew when the guy from marketing, whose name he could never remember piped up.

“With all of the on-campus protests and demonstrations, not to mention the rise in shootings, we’re golden.”

“Don’t forget all the marches held by the general public,” Katy said. Ticking them off on her fingers, she added, “Trans rights, women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, healthcare, LGBT rights, marches for and against white supremacy. Eddie’s right, we’re golden.”

Eddie. That was his name.

“And there’s always the threat of nuclear war,” Tony said. “I don’t know anyone who isn’t worried about that. ”

At least eight people frantically scratched notes on pads of paper or typed rapid-fire on their laptops, others nodded thoughtfully.

Someone Doug didn’t recognize added, “We may have to work with the media to amplify the coverage some of these, but there’s really no better time to roll this out.”

Murmured agreement flew around the table.

Vanessa leaned forward and smiled at Doug, then addressed the room at large. “I’d like to introduce you all to Doug Freeman, one of our top scientists and developers here at PharmaCaresNational. He’s going to explain how the drug affects brain chemistry and neurotransmission.”

How was his wife–the love of his fucking life–sitting here, completely at ease in this meeting? How was he still in his seat, let alone in this company?

Tony gestured toward the wall. “We’ve got a whiteboard here, if you need it Doug.”  Turning to the others, he said, “Pay close attention everyone. If you have questions for Doug, save them until the end. And remember, if you’ve got an idea for marrying the effects of this drug with any of these specific fears, jot them down. There’s a lot of money to be made here, people.”

Doug’s stomach lurched violently, and his hands began to sweat. Jesus-fucking-Christ. They were all criminals.

_________

No…I’m not feeling cynical, this morning. Why would you even ask that? Anyway, be sure you check out Kris and Siobhan’s stories, too.

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

Flash Fiction #65 – VW Bug

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17241577 - color shot of a vintage car in a forest

I pulled the giant handknit sweater over my head. It was way too big for me, but I didn’t care. It was warm and cozy and something about it made me feel safe. It wasn’t even my sweater. My mom had knitted it for my brother, Kevin–hence the giant-ness–but he’d left it at my apartment a few years ago, and I’d never managed to remember to get it back to him.

I scooped up my keys and phone from the table and headed toward the door.

“Cat? Where are you going?” Jesse called from the other room.

“Just out for a bit.”

“Will you pick up milk while you’re out? The other jug went bad, and I want cereal.”

You could always get off your ass and get it yourself.

I didn’t answer, just pulled the door shut behind me and jogged down the stairs, eager to get out of the stifling heat of the apartment. Jesse constantly complained that he was cold, hated to have the windows open, and turned on the furnace at the first sign of an changing leaf.

The cool crisp air swirled around me as soon as I stepped outside, and my hair immediately blew in my face, catching on my balm-slathered lips. Tucking the strands behind my ears, I squinted into the weird autumn light. There’s no other time of year when the entire sky can look like the inside of a dull pewter bowl but the leaves glow as if they’ve been lit from within, because somehow the sunlight is still managing to get to them even though, there’s no sign of the actual sun. It’s surreally beautiful, but eerie and unsettling, nonetheless.

There was something about September… Maybe it was the start of the school year and that anticipation that pervaded the neighborhood whether you were in school or not. Maybe it was the swiftly turning leaves or the weather that grew chillier by the day. It could be the scent of woodsmoke in the air. Or the pumpkins ripening in the field. Whatever it was, it made me restless.

Too restless to walk down to the party store to get Jesse’s milk. Too restless to walk to the park. I wanted to go farther than that. I needed to go farther than my feet could comfortably carry me. I wasn’t even sure where, but I needed to go.

My phone’s text tone chimed, and I glanced at the screen. Will you get Poptarts, too?

I tossed my phone in the passenger seat of my ancient VW Bug. Well, like the giant sweater, it was Kevin’s, too. But he was gone to god knew where. On September 26th, it would be three years.  No one knew where he’d gone. No one had heard from him. Not even our mom.

I started the car and put it in drive. Maybe he’d been restless, too.

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

Jess * Siobhan * Kris

Writing Hopes and Aspirations

Old black vintage typewriter

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

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

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Where I Live

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It’s another edition of Wordless Wednesday, and as usual, mine will probably have words.

There are some things that piss me right off about Michigan, but the landscape isn’t one of them. No matter the season, it’s almost always freaking gorgeous. Here are what some of my favorite spots look like in summer.

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Northern shore of Lake Michigan. We had so much fun swimming in the waves.

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Lake Superior in Gay, Michigan

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Lake Superior in Eagle Harbor, Michigan

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Lake Superior in Gay, Michigan

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Lake Superior in Munising, Michigan

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Lake Superior at Whitefish Point, Michigan

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Sunset on South Manistique Lake in Curtis, Michigan

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Floatie parking on South Manistique Lake in Curtis, Michigan

As you may have guessed, I really like being by (and in) the water. I try to spend as much time by the water as possible in the summer–as long as I have my SPF Vampire handy, that is.

Be sure to check out the other blogger’s posts to see what summer is like where they live.

Jess * Gwen * Kris * Paige * Jessica

Promptly Penned: One Last Time

promptlypenned

Prompt: S/he gripped the rim of the porcelain sink and tried to steady her/his hands.
“One last time,” s/he whispered to her/himself. “One. Last. Time.”

(I owe anyone who reads this an apology. I couldn’t think of anything until my husband made a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad suggestion. And of course, my brain decided to run with it. I’m so, so, SO sorry, you guys.)

 

Michael gripped the rim of the porcelain sink and tried to steady his hands. “One last time,” he whispered to himself as he dipped his fingers into the thick, white goop. Cringing, he began to smear it over his face and neck, covering every inch of visible skin with a slick layer of greasepaint.

He would have rather have used white foundation, but the greasepaint had a particular scent. One that would hopefully linger, long after he’d finished the job. At least, his employer insisted that would be the case.

Next came the red and black paint. He applied it to his face, trying to make himself look as much like the faded, ragged polaroid as possible.

“More red.”

Michael stiffened and looked in the mirror, toward the corner where the voice had come from. It was too dark to see much, but he knew Bill was there. Bill was always fucking there.

“Got it, Boss,” he muttered, dipping his brush into the red paint pot and adding a wider layer around his mouth.

“Don’t forget to outline it. Looks creepier that way.”

Michael nodded that he’d heard, and continued applying the paint. When he was finished, he dragged the motheaten wig onto his head, tucking in any hair that peeked out. He adjusted the stained ruffle around his neck and pulled on the gloves that hadn’t been white in years.

He glanced at his reflection and then toward the darkened corner. “One. Last. Time,” he reminded himself and Bill. Turning toward his boss, he picked up the recently sharpened carving knife and walked toward the back of the room and his employer. “Tonight’s the last one, Boss. After this, I’m out.”

The dummy’s eyes glinted, and his mouth opened, the splintered wood clacking as its jaw moved. “Last one, Mikey. Now, get moving. The show must go on.”

This is more than enough from me this week. Please read Jess and Kris‘ stories to wash away this awfulness. And again, I apologize for the fucking clown and dummy. I deserve whatever nightmares I’m plagued with tonight…

Cover Reveal: Rewritten

You guys! You guys! Look! Look what Norris made me!

Looooooooooooooooook!

LOOK AT IT!

It’s my precious…

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My next installment in my and Jess Jarman’s Bound series will be out this fall!

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