Tag Archives: Short Story

My Short Form Fiction In Response to Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

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Her father had resolved the matter that night by nailing the window shut. He had no explanation why it was coming open when it was even difficult for him to move. He had walked around the house to make sure there wasn’t anyone messing with the girls. Finding no sign of anyone and no ladders, he went for his nail belt and called the problem solved. Unfortunately, none of the girls felt any better, and now their father knew something was not right under their roof. He recalled the real estate woman with her hand shoved through her sunroof window and waving goodbye “By the way,” she had hollered as she headed down the drive “the place is haunted!” Thank god the girls were out of earshot. He chuckled a bit when he’d heard it but now he wondered. Real estate agents were required to give full disclosure. She would be liable for any unpaid fees and rents on the house had she not told them.

***

Regardless of what Penelope had seen in the toy room, she wouldn’t be kept from playing there. With the house full of morning noise she felt better about braving the two large glass doors and the icy cold room. What her mother had said about the dead being unable to hurt the living helped. She guessed it was the idea that it was all so out of her control and unfamiliar that made it scary.

She glanced around the room and ignored the sense of unease that came upon her. She played with the dollhouse and listened to her sisters arguing over the tv, this seemed normal enough that she got comfortable with her surroundings.

The phooka stared out her from the large pile of toys where it had been forced to hide. Escaping through the portal at this point might only get him lost forever, so better to wait her out. At least these people weren’t prone to letting their animal roam this part of the house, but it was one of the worst, icy cold and making his nose want to run. He hadn’t been able to approach the young girl the day before because she had been frightened so badly by what he could only assume had been a ghost. He watched the terrified girl back her way out of the room feeling behind her for obstacles. When she reached the opposite side of the living room her skin had gone completely ashen, and she slid herself sideways down the wall into the kitchen where he lost sight of her. Yes, she was the one he needed to be talking to, the one he had been told would be here to help him.

He watched her play because he had no other option, he would wait a day or so until the right moment arose to bring her into his confidence.

***

The day went on fairly uneventful. Penelope spied on the boy across the lane while she wondered about the property and he actually came and introduced himself  – but only to be invited into their barns to play in the hay. He was a little younger than her and a bit of a smart alec, not someone she would readily choose to hang around with. He was kind of snobbish, like a know-it-all.

In any case, they had some fun jumping from the upper landing of the big barn into an old pile of dry hay that lay heaped on the floor. It made her nose tickle and her skin itch, but it was worth it. The boy stayed and played until Penelope’s mother called her in for dinner and he left for home not bothering to say goodbye. She decided she didn’t much care for him at all.

Dinner was a bottom round roast and the steam from it permeated the air with the smell of melted butter, roasted onions, garlic, oregano, and basil. There were medium sized red potatoes that were broiled with the roast, their skin just starting to peel and too hot to open just yet and butter. There was broiled celery which was the best smell of all. It was good to have a dinner like this after being so hard at play and the meal made her groggy.

The sisters headed straight upstairs when they finished, knowing they still had another hour to kill before they were expected to be in their beds. Penelope sat on her bed coloring in her notebook while Lorraine sat on her bed writing something. It was better to keep to themselves than risk the possibility of an evening squabble. They always fought and they always got yelled at – and they always tried to be good.

Victoria suddenly burst into the room clutching the doorknob with eyes wide “You guys have to see this!”

Penelope and Lorainne rolled their eyes in unison and padded across the rough boards to their sister’s room.

Victoria had entered first and motioned them quickly toward her bureau. “Can you believe it!” she whispered loudly “They did it all by themselves!”

On the top of the bureau was a plain piece of paper where a pile of crayons lay. The strange thing her sister was pointing out was the way they had melted and swirled altogether kind-of beautiful on the paper.

“You shouldn’t be playing with lighters like that!” Lorraine scolded.

Victoria looked perplexed and then angry “No duh Lori, I didn’t! I told you they did it on their own!” She grabbed the paper, peeling it from the wood and shoved it towards them. “There’s a ghost in my room, it melted these crayons just like it was opening the stupid window the other night!”

From the far corners of Victoria’s room, the shadows leaned in, stretching their long, tentacle-like arms out to embrace her. They writhed about in hunger, devouring Victoria’s fear and anger. She could feel the chill of them as their long reach wrapped about her. The color began to drain from her face “I’m telling you there is something in here!”

Penelope could feel the hairs on her arms begin to stand and the room went cold. She scanned the room quickly, her eyes darting over the dark mist in the corners behind her oldest sister. They were all but invisible, their presence managing to suck the life straight from the air they were breathing. Her head started swimming with the lack of oxygen.

Lorraine was almost yelling at Victoria, claiming it was her fault the crayons had melted that way and that she was just trying to scare them. But she wasn’t, Penelope grabbed at Lorraine’s sleave, shaking her head in disagreement.

“Get out!” Victoria hissed at her sister’s “I don’t know why I bother telling you anything!” she had moved towards them, the weight of her body backing them out of the room. Slam!, went her door and it bounced back off the latch.

Penelope could swear that, just then, she saw a dark mass swirl behind Victoria and the slightest sound of a sinister giggle echoed in her ears. There was definitely something in that room. She knocked on the door with no success. Victoria was hurt that they seemed not to believe her. The tentacles squeezed tighter and she began to sob. “I’m sorry!”

Penelope’s faint voice traveled into the room but was lost before Victoria heard it. She was shaking and could only make out her own sobbing. Penelope turned on her heal and retreated back into her own room. The dizziness left her before she had cleared three strides toward her bed. These events were exhausting and had them all pressed tightly to the edge of their comfort zone.

She settled back into coloring in her notebook for the better part of an hour before Lorraine killed the light without warning. “Thanks!” she muttered under her breath.
She dropped her notebook to the floor and placed her pens on top of it. She hated when the lights went out and the dark came creeping in. The place seemed to fill with an uneasiness and she would always feel like there were eyes cast down upon her. It made her spine tickle and shiver. She pulled her blankets up tight to her chin. She could still sense the presence in Victoria’s room, it was like a despair that reached through the hallway and settled upon her. She prayed she would fall to sleep quickly.

The floorboards creaked and snapped as the old house settled, adding to her unease. And then came a feeling she couldn’t describe. There was a quickening of her heart and a cool rush of air on her face, her brow began to bead with cold sweat. Panic was upon her and her eyes darted about the darkness of the large room. Every crevice seemed to swirl in a deeper darkness. She began to count in her head, ninety-nine, and backward. It was a trick she had recently learned that helped to calm her nerves before bedtime. But she was struggling to focus on the numbers and instead peered frantically out into the empty space before her. Something was there just outside of her vision, she could feel it. Her skin went to gooseflesh and her ears began to ring as the old farmer stepped out from the closet grinning.

His frame would have been seen as a stitch taller than the doorframe. A black mass that pulled in the darkness around him, he leered at the girl, happy he frightened her. He hated her, hated them all. He spun the handle of his ax in his hand and stepped toward her, the floorboards creaked feeling the empty weight of him. His mouth went dry with a bloodthirst, he wanted to kill them. A slight breeze caught up his mass and he swirled apart, vanishing.

Penelope was frozen in a fetal position, terrified to move. A slight breeze brushed her cheek and she startled, sitting up straight, still gripping tightly to her blankets. Lorraine was already asleep when she whispered loudly to get her attention. She was alone with this thing and she could feel it close to her. She peered over the edge of the mattress to the space between it and the floor, she sensed it was hiding. She looked to her sister’s bed and it seemed like miles from her in the shadows. She wanted to jump to the safety she felt was there in the moonlight that spilled through the window. But she just sat there for what seemed like forever.

There was a pounding of her racing blood in her ears and she shifted uncomfortably on the bed. She peered down toward the floor again and could make out the shape of a large weathered hand as the farmer reached for her. The air was sucked from her lungs and the ringing raged even louder. She stood up straight in her bed in a flash and kicked off from the wall. She was too terrified to think but she landed squarely on her sister’s bed. She couldn’t hear her sister grumble in complaint.

Penelope’s eyes were fixated to that spot between her mattress and the floor. Her mouth went sticky and dry and her throat hurt liked she had swallowed a softball. She was freezing and numb. She climbed clumsily over her sister and sat with her back to the wall, shaking. the moonlight catching her face and arm.

She felt sick in her stomach… she had seen him.

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Untitled-1 copyPublished by M.R. Goodhew

Michelle Rene has been involved in the publishing industry for over twenty years as an author, copywriter, illustrator, and designer. She is an Indie Author Advocate who volunteers her time to give back to the Indie Author Community and is also a writing consultant.

As an author of non-fiction, Michelle Rene writes books to help independent authors develop their platforms, discover their brand, and create the right look that will draw readers to them. She discusses how to navigate social media and addresses marketing tactics.

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For the author who sets up their web presence independently and does not wish to hire a designer, her books offer a wealth of start-up information, graphic design templates, video tutorials, and give crucial insight to the designers thought process – which assists in the creation and design of the author’s platform.

Michelle Rene also writes fiction which falls under several genres. She is currently working on a book that involves conspiracy theories…you’ll be hooked…

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COMING SOON!

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Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

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Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dare go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours. You are a story-teller so this should be a breeze.

Maybe you could use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing. Maybe you could start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog. A picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered.

The Rules

There aren’t really many rules, just enough to get your blog some attention and get new people interested in your writing or the current book you have to offer.

  • Write in any genre you like – poetry too
  • Tag this post in your post (share this post to your WordPress blog as a new post) so I can find you (it will ping back to this post), then I can check out your work, and promote you on my social sites.
  • If you want, when you’re done, Check which famous writer you write like with a statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers. Just paste your completed work at  I Write Like – You will be given a badge that says which famous author you write like and you can paste the html into the end of your Wednesday Visual Writer’s Prompt, if you like, to show us all your badge! AWESOME!
  • You have until the following Tuesday to complete this writer’s prompt, then I will be posting a new one on the following day, next Wednesday.

If you have any suggestions for future Wednesday Visual Writing Prompts, please let me know in the comments:-)

I look forward to reading your writing.

(if you post past the deadline I will do my best to read your work and share it on my social networks as time permits).

Have Fun!

Short Form Tale In Response To: Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

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The neighbor boy called and she left the house in a hurry to ride bikes around the neighborhood. She felt a nagging in the back of her mind the instant she saw his face that this would be the last time she spent time with him. She shook her head when the idea came to her, thinking she was weird. She peddled hard and raced him to the end of the lane and passing an elegant but rundown place that almost looked like a plantation house. She immediately sensed something dark lurking there and turned away. It was all she could seem to conjure in her mind since she saw the hand the night before. This place was taking a toll on her imagination and she hated the creeps it gave her.

She was certain after only a short part of the day had passed that she really didn’t like the boy much. At her age she was equipped enough to know a little about character and make a fairly clear judgement on his. He was demanding and rude, wanting everything his way. Penelope was clever and could turn most of their disagreements in her favor. It made him slightly short-tempered and he would decide he wanted to do something else almost immediately. But she remained friendly toward him despite his behavior because of the dull nagging.

They stopped into his house for lunch made by his mother. It was a nice gesture on her part and Penelope could tell that she spoiled him. They ate in his room where her suspicion of spoiling was confirmed. He must have had all the latest toys, she surmised, as she scanned the room. He even had an old Weeble Wobble, something you punched in the face and it would pop back up from the floor to punch again because of the way it was balanced on a round bottom. He had already gotten upset about something and stomped out of the room before they had finished their lunch. She could hear him complaining to his mother.

Like a child he ran to his mother , she didn’t really even know what had made him upset until she heard his whiny voice complaining about his sandwich. She was about thoroughly disgusted with him at this point. But the nagging was there, reminding her to play nice, like she owed it to him. She was starting to wonder if she was going crazy, the world was just turning upside down with all of the recent events and the ideas that were running through her mind just weren’t normal. She had to actually try to come off as a regular girl, not that it mattered to this spoiled boy she was somehow compelled to be around today.

When he stomped back into the room he was short of breath. It was then that she decided she would just let him win because she strangely believed that today was his last and final day. This made her feel bad for him, whether it was true or not, it had set her mood. She sensed that he somehow saw his coming demise and decided that his attitude stemmed from the knowing, it made it easier for her to put up with him. They played video games for the rest of the afternoon and it surprised her that she had managed to stay around him that long. She noticed his anxiety creeping in toward the end of the day and wondered if he was tuned in to what she was feeling and thinking. Whatever the case she felt it was her responsibility to be with him today, up until he no longer allowed it she had decided.

His name was Adam, and it was bouncing from side to side in her mind now that she thought of it, leaving a trailing echo as it went. She noticed how his mouth twisted a little when he dropped to the beanbag chair and grabbed for his game controller. She wondered what he thought about right now in this moment, if he knew that it was precious time he was wasting. If today truly was to be his last day, what were to be the last of his thoughts. Considering him this way, just as a boy, a regular boy, pulled her into a sad and sympathetic place. She didn’t really know him, know what he liked, what caused him pain, what brought him joy. She felt like a heel for her earlier thoughts and held on to this communion she now found herself in.

She felt so awkward. Why was she here and thinking these things? Why did she have to start getting weird all of a sudden? Why was she seeing ghosts and what was this new-found fascination with death? None of it made any sense to her and none of the experiences she was having were pleasant. She wished hard for these things to go away, but the universe had a gift to give and she doubted she could stop it. It felt mostly bad, except for right now, hanging out with Adam.

Even though he was not someone she could easily get along with, she felt closer to him than any other friend she had ever made, whether she liked him or not. It was because she felt like she had crawled inside him, she was occupying that space and was becoming privy to his thoughts and feelings. She was getting to know him better than she had known anyone before and it was sincerity that she felt for him through this connection, tinged with hope for what he would find after death took hold of him. It was strange to say the least, but that was all just crazy thinking, she surely had to be making it all up. She had spent her day and couldn’t escape the grip of where her thoughts had led her, and were leading her still.

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Published by: M.R. Goodhew

Michelle Rene has been involved in the publishing industry for over twenty years as an author, designer, and illustrator. She is an Indie Author Advocate who volunteers her time to give back to the Indie Author Community by offering her design services four times a year, free of charge.

As an author of nonfiction, Michelle Rene writes books that serve to assist the independent author in developing their platform, discovering their brand, and creating the right look that will draw readers to them. She discusses how to navigate social media and addresses marketing tactics. For the author who sets up their web presence independently and does not wish to hire a designer, her books offer a wealth of start-up information, graphic design templates, and give crucial insight to the designers thought process which assists in the creation and design of the author’s platform.

Michelle Rene also writes fiction which falls under several genres, including: Fantasy, Drama, Young-Adult Fiction, Mystery, and Thriller. She is currently working on a series of novels whose main theme involves the mysteries of death and the afterlife.

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My Short Form Fiction In Response To: Wednesday’s Visual Writing Prompt

The foliage hung there, wet and rancid, rotting the log it clung to. Nothing could outlast the grip of the swamp, it would devour everything it touched sooner or later. Anne Alice admired the darkness that concealed small places and the water that would wet her shoes everywhere she walked about. The swamp smelled of moss and decay that suited her morbid personality. She was a courageous eight year old who was rare to fright. She never mourned for the sun, on summer days it showed itself at the brink of morning and she avoided the added heat it brought at all costs.

The swamp was her dreary playground where she dreamed up monsters and played out stories she’d stolen from her mother’s book shelf. A murderous plot made for a fun afternoon when the snails where the enemy and her bare feet were the victims. She’d often wander out to the bogs or to the shack across the stream to visit with her uncle Greg. He was fond of ghosts and had endless tales to tell her. She fantasized what it would be like to come upon a ghost in the dimly lit swamp. How amazed and curious she would be in the fading light, she thought she would be sure to chase it down and force it to answer a barrage of ridiculous questions.

The property where she lived was deep within the murky swamp. She could imagine ghosts out on the bogs, especially with reports over the years of all the people who’d gone missing. She let her thoughts drift to the stories of the lost and looked about for a place that would easily conceal a dead body, and there were many.

Dinner was not far off and her stomach reminded her with a deep growl. They ate chili with cornbread which wasn’t one of her favorites. The chili was bland and the cornbread was dry, but she devoured it thankfully. Her parents largely ignored her presence and each-others as well. It was a typical evening and she was used to the silence. She did her chores with little enthusiasm but tried to remember that helping others and giving were what her father called “two of the best darn traits a person could practice”.

Nights in the swamp seemed to drag on forever since Anne Alice’s parents had restricted her from video games, something about them rotting her mind. So she made the time pass by sneaking books from her mothers bookshelf. It was exciting because her mother had forbidden her to take books from the top shelf, and it was always the top shelf she chose from. She was reading a book called Frankenstein and couldn’t take her eyes from its pages. She fell asleep with her flashlight still lit and the story still playing out in her mind. The night was eerily quiet and the flashlight shone dimly into the corner of her room, blocked out for just a moment by a darkness that crossed the beam. She slept soundly, unaware of who’d come calling.

The shadow moved in silence, creeping close to where Anne Alice slept. It drifted eerily from side to side creating a chill where it lingered. The ray of the flashlight bobbed steadily up and down to Anne Alice’s breathing, almost touching the patch of darkness that had worked its way to the front of the bed. She wriggled under the blankets, her face scrunched in discomfort, she rolled to her other side. The shadow drew nearer still, bending over her tiny body in a smothering fashion.

There was no telling what it came for or what it had in mind for Anne Alice. The creature clung so close as if to consume her very breath. She shivered slightly against the cold and brought the blankets up close to her face. There was a clicking and turn of the door and the air rushed back out of the room into the hallway. The shadow was sucked toward the door with a force and made quickly for escape. Anne Alice’s mother entered the room and found her breath stole away. The feeling lasted only a moment when a movement from across the room had caught her eye. She shrugged it off to her tired mind playing tricks on her and so the shadow was away without much notice.

Across the swamp toward the not-so-far-off bogs it retreated. The mist didn’t stir in its passing but clung low to the watery ground. The moon shone down lighting up the low-lying fog and gave the swamp an unnerving look of gloom. The shadow soaked in the uncomfortable night and grew even darker. It clung closely to the long overgrown path that led to its dreadful residence within the bogs. The air was thick with melancholy and it slowed its forward momentum to a crawl. Weaving slowly in and out of the trees, making for a blackened stretch peat that smelled strongly of lingering decay. Into its murky depths the shadow stopped to stare. In this lonely isolated patch of the bog, within the darkness of the standing water it lay sheltered by the rotting peat. The shadow gazed upon the tiny mummified face of the little girl it once had been. A deep consuming sorrow enveloped the shadow as it looked upon the small body of her six-year-old self. The body shone, reflecting the glances of the full moon between the layers of the clinging mist. Almost aglow in the depths of the water, she resembled a long forgotten doll. If she had the means to cry, her tears would shed for the tragic truth of her fate and might never stop flowing.

In the purgatory of this place her spirit had wandered for years. The man who had abducted her was long since gone. There would be no reckoning for the evils he’d put upon her. What she longed for most was her family who had once kept her safe and warm. And by the grace of all that was good, she might have finally found someone who would acknowledge her existence and get her back where she belonged. Back in the room she had found the young girl, the sleeping Anne Alice, a girl who might hear her plea and take up the quest to find her remains. It was this curious girl who might finally return her weary spirit home. So now she would haunt her without rest in hopes of her rescue.

Again Anne Alice stirred in her bed, dreaming of a little girl who’d come to play with her in the swamp. She smiled in her sleep, she somehow knew she would not adventure alone in the days to come.


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MichelleRene004Published by: M.R. Goodhew

Michelle Rene has been involved in the publishing industry for over twenty years as an author, designer, and illustrator. She is an Indie Author Advocate who volunteers her time to give back to the Indie Author Community by offering her design services four times a year, free of charge.

As an author of nonfiction, Michelle Rene writes books that serve to assist the independent author in developing their platform, discovering their brand, and creating the right look that will draw readers to them. She discusses how to navigate social media and addresses marketing tactics. For the author who sets up their web presence independently and does not wish to hire a designer, her books offer a wealth of start-up information, graphic design templates, and give crucial insight to the designers thought process which assists in the creation and design of the author’s platform.

Michelle Rene also writes fiction which falls under several genres, including: Fantasy, Drama, Young-Adult Fiction, Mystery, and Thriller. She is currently working on a series of novels whose main theme involves the mysteries of death and the afterlife.


 

Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

images (3)Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dare go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours. You are a story-teller so this should be a breeze.

Maybe you could use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing. Maybe you could start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog. A picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered.

The Rules

There aren’t really many rules, just enough to get your blog some attention and get new people interested in your writing or the current book you have to offer.

  • Write in any genre you like – poetry too
  • Tag this post in your post (share this post to your WordPress blog as a new post) so I can find you (it will ping back to this post), then I can check out your work, and promote you on my social sites.
  • If you want, when you’re done, Check which famous writer you write like with a statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers. Just paste your completed work at  I Write Like – You will be given a badge that says which famous author you write like and you can paste the html into the end of your Wednesday Visual Writers Prompt, if you like, to show us all your badge! AWESOME!
  • You have until the following Tuesday to complete this writers prompt, then I will be posting a new one on the following day, next Wednesday.

If you have any suggestions for future Wednesday Visual Writing Prompts, please let me know in the comments 🙂

I look forward to reading your writing.

(if you post past the deadline I will do my best to read your work and share it on my social networks as time permits).

Have Fun!