Sacrifices to the Monster

Happy Canada Day everyone! I’m sorry I’ve been away so much in the last few weeks and this week isn’t any better. I’ll be gone for most of the remainder of the week, totally beyond the range of Internet access. However, I’ll try to read as many as I can when I get back.

copyright Jean L. Hays

copyright Jean L. Hays

Sacrifices to the Monster

A few feeble cries still came from the sweltering trunks of the half-buried wrecks. As the sun set, the cars descended on a platform into the earth, moving silently on well-oiled gears.

When it stopped, an old man approached and unlocked the trunks. He pulled out the sacrifice victims, all young men and women as he had demanded.

He gave them food and water.

“They said you were a monster,” one croaked. “That you would eat us.”

“They are barbarians,” the man said. “Live down here with me until we have enough. Then we will ascend and retake our land.”

 


Shades in the Dark

As you may know, I am an English teacher. This last month, our university was host to a group of students and professional from Mexico, as part of the Proyecta 100,000 program. They are gone back home now, I am very sad to say, but while they were here, I was their writing teacher. Among the projects we did were short stories. I asked if I could post them on my blog and they agreed. So here is the first one, Shades in the Dark, written by Frank Soria and Jorge Montesinos.

Shades in the Dark

by Frank Soria and Jorge Montesinos

It was an October night full of stars, and the moon shone in the high clear sky. There was nobody but the wind blowing outside. Deserted streets seemed to be aware that something unexpected was coming up. Everything was quiet, warm, and cozy. Emily and Kevin had just gotten to their grandpa’s home. He was an old fashioned man, rough of character, but lovely deep in his heart.

The first days passed harmoniously, soft, and warm. One night after having dinner, Kevin heard a slight creaking noise coming from the corridor. Without notice he stood up and went through it to realize no one was there. He felt how the temperature in the room dropped drastically. His legs trembled as he walked away. He was almost voiceless, nobody seemed to be there, but the whisper of a strange entity surrounded his little body, taking him to his deepest scary feelings. The lamp in the corridor flickered, announcing the inevitable encounter with the paranormal event. His heart beat as fast as a horse in the wild field. Suddenly, he felt a hand grabbing his shoulder. His breath stopped for a moment. He turned around to realize that it was his grandpa looking at him. He told his grandpa about the noise, but he said nothing about it.

The following day his sister teased him about the ghost story, laughing at him. Kevin cried for her madness. Night came back. A storm was announced in the papers. The lights went off. It was windy and cold outside. Grandpa took some candles from an old drawer and met the boys for dinner. Kevin was afraid and asked grandpa to take him to bed. Emily stayed for a while in the kitchen. Suddenly, she heard somebody coming to her. She turned around. No one was there, but an empty room in the shadows. She never had felt so lonely and frightened. A gust of wind opened the window blowing the candle out, pulling everything in its path towards Kevin’s room. She ran to rescue her little brother, but she couldn’t open the door. She yelled at him desperately. There was no answer. Lightning lit her frightened face when her grandpa hugged her and calmed her down. They heard a horrible roar coming from the inside of the room, but the door remained sealed. After a few minutes they could open it and Kevin was not there. The room smelled like a rare fragrance. They had a terrible feeling, but they could do nothing.

The little boy had disappeared. Not a single roar, strange sound or shadow was seen from that day on. No one mentioned a word about that event. Emily grew up there with her grandfather and sometimes she woke up thinking that was a weird nightmare and looked for Kevin but he had gone.


Misnomer

To say this installment of Friday Fictioneers is late is somewhat of an understatement. It’s so late, it’s almost early for next week. I will apologize for being busy, but next week is not much better, since I leave for a 4-day trip on Wednesday afternoon. Thanks to those who continue to read my work when I post it. I appreciate you all.

copyright Kent Bonham

copyright Kent Bonham

Misnomer

Kent sat silently, surrounded by racks of string bikinis, more air than there. Outside, the snow lay slathered over the landscape like sunscreen applied liberally by an inexpert hand. It even mockingly covered the TRAK Beachware: Yellowknife Branch sign. The red “A” still glowed optimistically pink through the snow.

He was going to be a pioneer, but it was June 15 and he had taken a snowmobile to work. He morosely picked up the reply to his angry letter to Environment Canada.

“Actually, Mr. Bonham, we prefer the term climate change these days. Global warming is somewhat of a misnomer.”


Piety by Proximity – Friday Fictioneers

copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Piety by Proximity

My dad believed in piety by proximity. His nightstand was a stack of Bibles. My desk lamp was holy, he told me.

“It’ll keep you safe from demons,” he said.

“What’s a demon?”

“It’s like a cross between a deer and a lemon, I think.”

One day, I went on a field trip to the cathedral and saw a row of lamps like mine, one missing.

“Did you steal my lamp?” I asked him later.

“They have five more,” he protested.

“What about the eighth commandment?”

“I didn’t covet it; I just took it.”

I suggested he read his nightstand.


Clock Tower Jill

I wrote this originally for Sunday Photo Fiction, which is a story challenge based on a picture. The stories are supposed to be around 200 words. I try to stay close to that but this week it’s a bit longer, just as forewarning.

Clock Tower Jill

I called her Clock Tower Jill, even back when I was still trying to eat her. I didn’t know her real name because we never talked, of course. She was a quirky one, Clock Tower Jill.

It was July and the hot, muzzy air was hanging like a lead blanket in the forest when I first saw those long legs stepping towards me through the undergrowth. I wasn’t starving but I roared and readied myself to pounce. She picked up a stick and swung it like a bat, right into my snout. That stunned me and before I could recover, she sprinted away. It was too hot for me to run far and by the time I found her, she had reached the ruined town. I saw her at the top of the clock tower, sticking her tongue out at me.

I kept her treed up there for days, out of spite for my hurt snout. Then I realized she would eventually starve to death and I would not get to eat her anyway. So I brought her some food. It was accepted imperiously, without even a thank you. I named her Jill. She was like my pet.

After a month of living up in the tower, she came down and called to me. “You, creature. I want to go down to the lake to swim.”

I had long given up trying to eat her and I stood by to let her go.

“I want to ride you,” she said. I bristled at that, but gave in eventually, since she was my pet.

She sat on my back and held my mane while I trotted down to the lake. I stood guard while she swam and then I brought her back. She was a good pet.

“Good boy,” she said, patting my head before she went back up into her tower. “Bring me something good tonight, okay?” That rankled but I did it for her anyway since I liked having her around. And after all, she was pretty quirky, my Clock Tower Jill.


Looking for a Deal-Breaker

copyright Raina Na

copyright Raina Ng

Looking for a Deal-Breaker

“Here’s the kitchen, where Mrs. Hernandez hacked up her husband,” I said.

The oohs and ahhs sounded disturbingly enthusiastic. The family crowded around the spot. I needed to change tactics.

“The toaster is possessed. If it catches you—”

“You’re toast?” the mother said. They all laughed. The father snapped a picture.

I started to panic. If they passed on this house, the boss said I could buy it.

“It’s part of a homeowner association!” I blurted out.

I expected horror but they just smiled creepily. “It’s okay, we like HOAs,” the father said.

I let them have the house.

My apologies to anyone who likes their homeowners association. Here are some reasons why I’ll never be part of one though.


Solitaire-y

Solitaire-y

“And finally, here’s something to keep you sane,” the freight captain said, pointing to the complex 3D matrix of wires and spheres bolted to the table. He said “sane” as if he meant the opposite.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Solitaire.”

And then we shook hands and he sealed me into the echoing metal coffin that would deliver a hundred million tons of ore back to Earth, five years from now.

I spent a week doing basic maintenance and chores before I even looked at the game. It took me a week to read and understand the rules. The first game took a month, with constant references to the rulebook.

The second game took even longer.

The fifth game took four years.

I realized it wasn’t a game. Not really.

Each of the 72 spheres was like a planet.

I named each one.

I knew the inhabitants.

I agonized over every move. Every one affected everything else.

I cried when I eliminated one, thinking of its inhabitants, snuffed out suddenly and completely.

I heard some noises but I ignored them.

I felt a hand on my shoulder and jumped. “Who are you?” I asked.

“Atmosphere Enforcement,” he said. “You weren’t responding to radio calls. We had to break in.”

“Where am I?”

“Earth. Your journey’s over.”

I turned back, trying to block out his voice. I needed to concentrate on what was important.


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