Retro Thursday 5-6-2021


How Do you Kill a Monster without Becoming One….


It ain’t easy.  That much is for sure.  Been a long time since I killed anything but back in the day….. yeah…. back in the day…..

It came for me when I was 15.  Thought I was tough then, I did.  Big swagger as I walked down the street.   Tough words.  Angry words.  Ugly words.  Funny how when you’re young you think those things make you tough.  Don’t take me wrong.  I was a scrapper.  I’d been in any number of street fights.  All my life.  Thought that made me tough, too.  How little I knew.

It came on a Monday.  I was home.  Had to be.  My little sister was there.  Didn’t like to leave her alone at night.  Not if I could help it.  We had day-old hot dogs for dinner.  A dented can of baked beans.  Marshmellow fluff. 

Lived in a series of rooms. Used to be offices when the building was a warehouse. One central room with a hotplate, couple broke-back chairs. A table. A radio. Another room with two mattresses on the floor. A bathroom that worked. Barely. But enough for water to clean and cook. I’d installed locks on the doors. Kept us safe so far. Then again, I wasn’t asleep yet.

Been years now. Too many. Never did find my little sister. I looked for her sometimes. All the times. That face in the crowd. A voice across a street. A dream of before I’d become a monster. But now… now I am old. Haven’t killed in years.

Weren’t killing that’d made me a monster. No. Abandoning her did. Ran when the Government people finally tracked us down. Gonna take us into the system. Foster homes. Schools. The ‘right’ life. Couldn’t take that. And so I ran.

She screamed. Begged. Tears. Never did forget that. Never did forget the sound of tears. Sound rang in my ears the rest of my days. Still there now. But it’s gonna be gone soon.

Soon. Another breath. Two. Another tear. I’ll no longer be a monster.

Response – JSW 3-15-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

“What’s this?” he asked, peering beyond the board which had broken under the weight of his painting. Not that he believed the board had broken due to painting – he wasn’t that heavy a hand – but he wasn’t sure what else to attribute the breakage to.

“Looks like a hole we now have to patch,” replied Julie angrily. She’d agreed to this fix-her-up project only because Josh had promised it wouldn’t entail more than fixing a little plumbing and painting. So far he’d been wrong on all accounts.

“No, look,” he said, pulling at the board. It came off in his hands. “There is something behind there.”

“It better be a million dollars,” she huffed, tossing down her paint brush. She stormed out.

He almost called after her, but didn’t. If this was just a bigger hole she’d only be angrier.

Instead, he grabbed a flashlight and squeezed himself through the wall and into the narrow opening beyond. Once inside, he saw the space wasn’t a small opening like he’d thought, but the start of a corridor heading off into the darkness. Curious, he followed, stepping over refuse and shining his flashlight all around. The corridor was narrow, just wide enough for his lanky frame, just tall enough for his to walk upright.

What could be at the end? Had this house been used in the Underground Railway? Just then a spider’s web hit him in the face and he sneezed.

A long way away, somewhere in the distance, he heard a returning sneeze.

He froze. Had it been an echo? Or had he just been hearing things? Forcing himself to move, he continued on, trying to be quiet, The corridor started to descend, gradually at first, then steeper as he went along, until he was clinging to the wall studs to keep his feet.

Should he turn around? He’d always thought of himself as brave but if he turned around now…..

He kept going, slipping and sliding over the floor as it changed from wooden planks to dirt and then to stone. Just then the floor ended and he fell down about five feet, landing awkwardly in front of a barred door. Hands shaking, he unbarred the door and pushed it over a crack.

Beyond lay a huge cave. In the distance, he heard a thunder-sneeze and had to grab onto the door to keep from behind blow backwards. Heard sound like rocks thudding onto the floor. As the sounds got louder, he managed to peek out the door again, realizing what had looked like a wooden pillar was actually the leg of a table looming high over his head. He caught a whiff of tobacco.

“Fi Fi FO Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman.” Boomed so loud above him, he could barely make out the words.

Slamming the door, he fumbled at the bar and scrambled back up out of the hole, scrambling and climbing back up the corridor as fast as possible. As he reached where the floor slanted upwards at a gentler slope, the voice behind him had faded away even as the words echoed in his brain.

Reaching the narrow opening behind the room, he slid through, grabbed the board and shoved it into the hole, nailing it firmly into the wall.

“Honey! Honey!” he shouted, stumbling out of the room. “Honey….. you’re right…..”

Reena’s Exploration Challenge 12-6-2017

Take any one belief of yours that has ruled your life, and examine it from the following aspects.
1 Is it true?
2 Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3 How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4 Who would you be without that thought?

This challenge was posted by fellow blogger, Reena. Thanks, Reena, for, once again, making me think deeply about my life.

This challenge has been sitting in my draft box for quite some time. I am fascinated by the challenge and, at the same time, scared silly of following where it might lead. Self-examination is scary, at best. This has the touch of terror.

When I try to single out one belief about my life – that I haven’t beaten to death already on my blog – I draw a blank. Mostly because I don’t want to delve any deeper into me, much as I need to do so.

So what belief has ruled my life? That I’d never find the true me. (Done to death). That I wasn’t, or was, meant to be a writer. (Also done to death).  That I would never find happiness. (Ditto.) That I’d fail the test of life. (Yeah.) Fail the test of… fill in the blank.

So, how do I begin to dig deeper, find the beliefs influencing my whole existence, but that still remain hidden? Lions in the long grass. Waiting for the ambush.

The deepest belief which has ruled my life, is that I am not a good person. I don’t deserve to be a writer. Find the true me. Find happiness. Pass any test of life. This belief left me feeling helpless and alone, adrift in a universe which I could never understand. Why would anything good happen in my life?

I’m betting many of you know the feeling.

Is this belief true?

No way, even if it still feels true sometimes.

Scary, huh?

Many of these feelings came from having Asperger’s and Bi-Polar, but at the same time, I have to take my part of the blame. I let myself be defeated without even attempting to raise a cry.

When I started this blog, my inspiration was a sign which read, “Begin.” The sign made me really think about the meaning of the word and what it meant in my life. Now when I feel lost and alone, when I feel like a failure, I remind myself to begin to believe what I know is truth even when the Bi-Polar is telling me it isn’t.

So who am I?

I am me, good, bad and indifferent. Sometimes I love myself, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I fail and sometimes I don’t. You get the drift.

In the end, regardless of all these trials and tribulations, it all comes down to that one word.


What belief do you need to examine in order to begin living the life of your dreams?

If you’d like to read my post, Begin, you can go here.

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers 4-26-2017


Guide for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

1. A prompt photo will be provided each Tuesday to be used as a base to your story. Please include photo prompt with your story.

2. Linking for this challenge begins on Tuesday and runs to the following Monday evening.

3. Please credit photo to photographer.

4. The story word limit is 100 – 150 words (+ – 25 words). Please try to stay within this limit.


This week’s photo prompt is provided by Dawn Miller. 

Tom swirled their number between thumb and forefinger, eyes counting and re-counting the flowers on the tablecloth.

Jason rubbed a hand over his eyes. “I know you wanted to go, but it just isn’t going to work.”


“Because you’re not…..”


“I’m tired of being nice.”


“You’re not…. friendly enough.  Forceful.  Basically you’re a wimp.”

Jason stood. Walked away.

Tom’s head rose slowly. Watching. Black hair skimming his eyes.

Not friendly? Wimp?

Flames flicked in his eyes.

Sunday Photo Fiction 4-16-2017

Each week a photo is used, donated by one of the participants of Sunday Photo Fiction, and the idea is to write a story with the photo as a prompt in around 200 words.



If he couldn’t lower his wings and shut his mouth soon, he was going to pass out. Really. Truly. Right atop the clock, on-the-hour bongs shaking him to his toes. Claws? Whatever.

When darkness fell, he sagged in relief, working the ache out of wings and jaw.

“Long day,” Peatry remarked from his right, skillfully pointing out the obvious.

There was a grumble at the far end of the hall, but he couldn’t tell if it was Dowser or Downer; they looked so alike. Gargoyles. Couldn’t live with them, couldn’t smash them.

Stretching and gossiping, they flocked to the table from all sides, to the leftovers from the day’s flurry of sights and scent. To the tossed crust of bread, the forgotten french fry. A potato chip if luck was with them.

Before dawn, they returned to their places, full and ready for the coming day.

The time, he made sure his mouth was closed and his wings folded before the first streaks of dawn froze him solid.



JSW Prompt April 10, 2017

Feel free to jump in and tackle the prompt yourself. Please keep your posts under 300 words. If you link back to this post, I will re-blog your post to my site.


I’ve always wondered how one’s life can flash before one’s eyes in six minutes, but it can. Doesn’t seem possible but I was there. I knew.

Six minutes. Did that mean my life hadn’t been worth more than six minutes? Or is that just the time angels give you to make amends, get your name upgraded from hell to heaven? Or downgraded.

It’s like there is a suspension of belief, those six minutes when you can’t accept that, yes, you are going to die. That all the pain and suffering of your life is almost over. No one can hurt you any more. You’ve got hurt enough to last six minutes and longer, but all you have is six minutes.

Still, you have time to regret those things you did wrong, and those you did right. I like to think I did more for the right than the wrong, but I know better. I’d killed people, people I didn’t even know. People with sons and daughters; wife and parents and friends.

Killed them for no reason except the man in power told me so. Ship out and kill some of those bastards. Kill as many as I could, truth be told.

Now, I know better. Killing doesn’t make things right. Not for the winners or the losers. Whoever said war solved problems didn’t know shit about war. You can’t solve your problems with fighting. It just makes more fighting. More death.

I’m about gone now. The pain is gone completely and I can feel my body going, death rolling up my frame like ocean waves.

The ocean. I used to love to go to the ocean. Swim. Play on the sa…..

Word Of The Day 4-3-2017


tar·an·tism \ˈta-rən-ˌti-zəm\
Popularity: Bottom 20% of words


a mania characterized by an uncontrollable impulse to dance,especially as prevalent in southern Italy from the 15th to the 17th century, popularly attributed to the bite of the tarantula.


One of the best known of these diseases is ‘tarantism,’ or the frenzy produced by the bite of the Tarantula, Italy.  –Shakespeare and Music. Edward W. Naylor.

The tarantism so common in Italy from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century is another example of epidemic hysteria.   -Essays In Pastoral Medicine. Austin Malley

Historians would draw parallels between her recurring Voices and the ‘tarantism’ of the Middle Ages.  -Essays in Rebellion. Henry W. Nevinson

Did You Know?

Between the 15th and 17th centuries, Taranto, Italy, was hit by a dance craze unlike any other. The town was afflicted by a malady that would come to be known as tarantism and was characterized by a hysterical impulse to dance. Some people claimed tarantism was caused by the bite of the European wolf spider, which is also known as the tarantula (and is also named after Taranto); such folks declared that dancing off the venom was the only cure. Musicians supposedly traveled to the region to help cure the epidemic, and some believe that the Italian folk dance called the tarantella resulted from the craze (though it is also possible that the name of that dance derived independently from Taranto and has no connection with tarantism).


New Latin tarantismus, from Taranto, Italy

First Known Use: circa 1656