JSW Writing Response 6-5-2017

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“Really? Way back?”

He smirked.

“Like… you were born on the same day, time, space, and such brings such a deep connection…. Or, what? Maybe you met in Kindergarten and became fast friends for life?”

“No need to be snide.”

“I’d say there is definitely a need to be snide.”

He shrugged. “Suit yourself. Stay behind or come with, your choice.”

“But wait!  It’s a demon!”

“So? He’s a normal guy like all the others. Wants a house, family, two and a half children. Decent meal on the table.”

“Yeah, it’s the meal I’m worried about.”

Laughing, he headed down the hall. “You’re far too stringy and tough to have any worries. Trust me.”

At the door at the end of the hall, he knocked.  “Got to be polite.”


The door cracked open. An eye peeked out. The door opened to show a small, wrinkled demon, barely four feet tall.

“Come in, come in.” He warbled and wheezed, motioning with one claw. “I’ve just built a gingerbread house. Would you like a nibble?”

Daily Post One Word Prompt – Recognize 2-8-2017 (Gone, Pt 4)


Gone, Part 4

It hadn’t meant anything. She’d done her job. At least, they’d told her she had done a good job and making them happy was the fricking point of her entire existence. Or, so it felt. Regardless, she’d snared the bait and walked away. She done it so many time before, she could have been blindfolded.

Sometimes, she dreamed of an almost forgotten past; before the hurt and the pain, before the murder, before those men stepped in and saved her. Going from her family’s protection to protection by the government in what? An hour? More? It had been too confusing; all the screaming and gunfire, her father racked with bullets, his last gift falling dead over her body. Because she’d been under him, unable to move, the Cartel had assumed she was dead as well. She lay there until Conner found her.

She’s only been nine. How was she supposed to know one devil from another?

Different names, different hair colors, different lives. No where felt like home. She had nothing but the men who’d saved her, hidden her in the forgotten nooks and crannies of the world. And then, she found out what they wanted. They wanted her; they owned her. She’d never had a choice.

She lured men, and women, seduced them away from their families, from their lives, into a world in which they no longer existed. For all their families knew, they’d left for another woman or another man, never to be heard from again. The families would never find out different. They used the Bait until it died, or was so broken as to be useless.

Sometimes, she dreamed of the families left behind. Women’s faces. Men’s faces. Empty houses. Long dark nights and tears. Anger. Sometimes hate. Sometimes gunshots. Pills. Broken dreams. Broken lives.

For a long time, she’d believed they were right. Her life had been broken, destroyed, her parents, sibling, killed in front of her; a never-ending nightmare. What gave anybody the right to an unbroken life when she had nothing?

She’s come to realize, however, that no matter her broken life, she didn’t have the right to cause others the same pain. To abandon them to a fate more devastating than death.

The last one, he’d cried the night they took him away. Begged.

No right. No right whatsoever.

Clutching her bag, she strode towards Departure Gate B. They wouldn’t be looking for her yet, but as soon as they realized she’d fled, they would. She wanted as much distance and time between them as possible. She needed every minute to disappear.

“You coming, Miss?” asked the attendant as the last of the passengers were cleared for boarding.

Run. Run. As fast and as far as possible. So they won’t catch you.  You’ll be free.

She couldn’t. She didn’t. Instead, she turned back, exchanged her ticket, and while waiting, pulled out her phone. Texted a number not yet deleted from her memory.

Gone, Part 1

Gone, Part 2

Gone, Part 3


Daily Post One Word Daily Prompts – Liminal 11-26-2016


Liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold” between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes.


The Neighbors, Part 6

There are those among us who live false lives. Nasty men. Vicious women. Forgotten children. You will never see them. They pretend normalcy; friends and neighbors and co-workers. Inside they are monsters.

Am I one? Some things are best discovered on your own.

Sometimes the screams wake me, desperate cries ringing in the dark. I never help. I can’t. I won’t. There is only so much pain a child can endure. That, of course, is where I’ve lived my life since, inside the bloody hollow place where last I was a boy, long before I became the man I am now. I never saw the change coming, never even knew a living death was possible but it is…. gods help me, it is.

I was awake. Really awake. Cold. Dark. Deep. Trapped.

Somewhere a dog  barked frantically.

Damned dog. Rising, I pulled on slacks and a pullover from the day, treading bare-foot down cool stairs. The barking got louder. I unlocked the door to the basement and a thing of fur burst past, knocking me against the far wall.

Damned dog.

It rushed to the front door, barking, claws scraping wood. Lying in blood-stains, the only sound water on tiles and a dog in the distance. It couldn’t come in. There was nothing inside me to come into.

As soon as I opened the door, it sprang down the steps and around the fence, towards the neighbors. Good riddance.

I listened for a moment, waiting for silence, but it didn’t come.  The dog barked more and more frantic, sound turning into howls of despair.

Pressing hands hard against my face as if to stop the things inside from rushing out, I closed the door behind me. The grass was chilled, cold from overnight rain. The dog dug frantic at their front door. When he saw me, he started running to me and then back to the door, back and forth, forth and back. Barking.

I would have killed for quiet. I should have killed him the moment I saw him.

The door opened at my touch. He pushed in and I followed. I didn’t want involvement. Solitude was the only salvation I ever found.

The house was a wreak, eerily silent now the dog had stopped his uproar. I smelled it. Not a cut on the finger blood but much, much more. It was a smell I knew deep down in my bones.

Leave now. This isn’t your problem. Pack a bag and go away, find another corner in which to hide. Only I couldn’t. A shard of glass cut my foot. The room – floor, ceiling, furniture – were soaked in blood.

And the smell! The taste in my mouth. The squish of carpet beneath my feet. I heard somebody, somewhere, breathing heavily. The iron taste of madness hung suspended in the air.

I found Jane in the kitchen, no longer a pretty woman. She had been stabbed  until her chest was a bloody mass, head almost severed from her body. Nobody was pretty after that kind of death.

The breathing continued and so did I, making my way into the hall. The bathroom was empty of blood as was the first bedroom. I continued to the final room, cold fear spiking in my chest.

James slumped on the bed, hands between his knees, covered in blood.

I was in the shower. Hearing cries, screams, pain tangible in the air. If I helped, he would hurt me. Again. Again. I feared the hatred in his eyes. He wasn’t my father. He couldn’t be. I tried to be good. I tried.

Pumpkin stood guard in front of the closet, fur bristling, growling low and dangerous.

It hurt,” he whispered. “Hurt.”

There was little blood in the room not on James. You knew and you left me there.”

Crying. Begging. Screaming. Blood swirling round me, down the drain. Dripping down the walls.

“You died,” I croaked.

He shook his head.  “The minute you abandoned me, you died. I knew, knew, you were somewhere, hiding, pretending to be normal. Pretending.”

I drew in a careful breath. “Where is Janice?”

“She’s dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Like you should have been. Like you will be.”

I backed up as he rose, my hand knocking something hard. He raised the knife and I cracked the lamp on his head. He fell, knife laying where it had fallen.

I buried the blade into his back over and over. I’d been wrong to run, to leave him, but what did children know of monsters?

Gone. Finished. Done.

Pumpkin sidled over to me, head down, tail tucked between his legs. His cold nose nudged my face.


He whimpered, slinking beside me as I crawled to the closet.


Pumpkin barked.

I clawed the door open. She hurled herself into me, wrapped her tiny body around mine. Her heart beat a thousand thunders.

I carried her out of the room,  past the body of her mother, into the cool night beyond. “It will be all right,” I whispered, “I won’t let anybody hurt you”. Pumpkin trotted beside me.

“It will be all right.”

And it was.


Read Parts 1-5 here.

Daily Post One Word Prompt – Breath

His breath came in gasps, raw against his throat, body weakening, sheened in sweat. Night hung thick with heat, pushing him relentless towards sleep.

He couldn’t sleep. Couldn’t. Sleep equaled death. And death equaled something worse, something much, much, worse.

It hurt to breathe. Hurt. Where had the gods gone?

No matter how hard he’d tried, how much he’d wanted to do right, wrong had always been easier, better, sooner.

Breath was pain. Squeezing out from his body like blood.

The distant howl of night hounds sent shivers up his spine. He staggered one more step then another and another. There were no gods but angry gods.

Somewhere -how -when, he went down, spread-eagle, ground sweat-soaked beneath him, branching horns of the Huntsman velvet dark against the moon-lit sky. Stars blinked malicious.

In. Out. Pain. God. Pain.

There were no gods left, not for him.


Daily Post One Word Prompt -Superstition 4-8-2016


“You don’t want black candles,” he told me.

“I do want black candles,” I replied, ignoring his sounds of disapproval as I continued to count out the candles needed for the party.

“Why?” I could hear the anger in his voice.

Why? “Because you can’t have a spooky party with pink and yellow candles!”

He growled. “Superstition.”

I just rolled my eyes, gathering up my purchases to head to the cashier. I hated his superior voice. “It’s not superstition. That would be believing in a lucky rabbit’s foot or that a crow caw means bad luck.” I glanced at him. “Black candles are just black candles.”

“I won’t come if you are doing demonic… things.”

I laughed, much to his irritation. “Demonic… things?  Like demonic line-dancing?  Or maybe Demonic tiddlywinks? Oh…. Demonic Risk, now there’s a rocking game.”

“Listen, Ro….”

“No, you listen.  I don’t mind you being a curmudgeon boyfriend, but really, this is too much.” I turned to him between rows of Halloween costumes. Squared off. “Either shut up or don’t come.”

Our eyes locked for a long  moment before I turned on my heels and continued to the smiling cashier. Dumping my armload on the counter, I pulled out my Debit card.

“Looks like you are going to have a great party,” she smiled, starting to ring up my purchases.

“Yes,” I agreed with a smile,  raising my voice to add, “And that Ouija Board is going to be a blast!”

The store’s door slammed.


Putting him out of mind. I hurried home to begin decorationing.

Michael watched her drive away from the cab of his truck, eyes dark as night. He’d save her… he’d darn well save her… even if she didn’t want to be saved.

Daily Post One Word Response 4-5-2016


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
To read more posts, click here Street


The street lay deserted, residents knowing instinctively to remain inside, behind locked doors. To be out was to sell one’s life cheap. Damn cheap.

The only movements were the scuffing of trash in an unusually chilly wind, a dog or raccoon sniffing at garbage cans, too small to attract notice. In the distance, where darkness met light, the flicking of a lone street lamp teased promises of safety.

A door cracked, low light spilling across puddled pavement, tense face peering out, searching. The wind died, trash still, animals instinctively gone. He shouldn’t go out. He knew he shouldn’t go out; nothing was worst than stepping into those shadows.

But he stepped out anyway, need clawing his belly stronger than fear. A quick trip to the end of the street, score a fix to quiet the fire in his veins and back home. Free, for a few hours, from the cravings inside his body.

Staying to the side of the street, as far off the pavement as possible, he moved quickly, eyes fixed on the distant light. When the ground first rumbled beneath his feet, he started run. At first, it was nothing but a gentle rise and fall, growing louder, stronger, rocking him like a ship in a storm. The street bucked, tossing him to melting asphalt. Scrambling to unsteady feet, he tried to run anywhere out of the darkness. Anywhere.

The street reared, splitting open, hot breath spewing out past ragged black teeth. He screamed, heat sweeping his veins,darkest fix he’d ever experienced, burning away his need. The pavement rose higher, gaping, melting flesh, creeping over the man like mystical fog.

Gone. He was gone.

For a few moments, the street remained melting and bucking, then it stilled. A huge burp echoed off dark houses as the street sank back down, melding seamlessly.

The street lay deserted, residents knowing instinctively to remain inside, behind locked doors. To be out was to sell one’s life cheap. Damn cheap.

The only movements were the scuffing of trash in an unusually chilly wind, a dog or raccoon sniffing at garbage cans, too small to attract notice. In the distance where darkness met light, the flicking of a lone street lamp teased promises of safety.






JSW Prompt Response– April 2, 2016

Another of my Just Start Writing prompts.  Feel free to write your own story/poem or whatever and post the link to the comment or leave a pingback.  I’ll post your story on my blog.



He just stared for a moment, total confusion on his face. Finally, he managed, “I didn’t mean that…. like seriously.”

“Oh,” I said in surprise. “I apologize then, but I still can’t go to hell so you’ll have to defeat me and kill me or…..” I paused, wondering out loud, “If you do kill me does that mean I automatically go to heaven?”

“You?” he coughed, pretending he hadn’t spoken at all.

“You are right, I suppose,” I continued, folding my arms across my  chest, pistol tucked between my right arm and side. “I might be stuck in some otherworldly, middleworldy, type of place.”

He sighed, pistol on hip, resigned impatience in his voice. “Do we really need to do this now?”

“Well… yes.  If you plan to kill me,  which I assume you do….?”

“You insulted my honor.”

“Humph, what honor you have,” I replied, not giving him time to jump in before I continued my previous chain of thought. “That fact makes the circumstances of my death rather…. important. Shall I go to heaven or some middle world?”

“You ought to go to hell,” he growled.

“Well, regardless of that opinion, with which, theoretically,  I might agree, Satan refuses to allow me in.” I rolled my eyes. “You’d think he would have forgotten about the incident by now…. Tsk.”

Now he was rolling his eyes. “Can we just get on with this?”

I started to speak, then shook my head. “I’m afraid not. You see, the question of where I go is of great import to my soul so I think I should really speak first with a priest.”

“For God’s sake….”

“Well, yes, or at least for the sake of my soul. Perhaps we could suspend this until tomorrow?”

He looked at his second, then back at me, grumbled something under his breath. “I suppose it can wait until then. If it must.”

“Thank you, kind sir. Shall we say tomorrow, same time, same place?”

Handing his pistol to his second, he turned away, still grumbling. Some folks have no sense of the important in life.

I pulling a cloth from my belt to wipe the barrel of my pistol, startled as it went off with a bang. For a moment, we stood in silence, looking at the dying body on the ground. I spoke first.

“Goodness, I apologize. My pistol…. I was wiping it off… sweat you know… and it… just… went off.”

The second stared at me, but what could he do but collect his dead master and leave?

Singer stepped to my side. “You did that on purpose didn’t you?”

“Me? Why do you think Satan won’t let me back in?”