Once Upon an Island

 

The thing hid behind trees and watched as fresh meat disembarked the yacht.  It had been weeks since the last shipment, so the creature could barely contain the blood lust raging within its decomposing body.  The thing growled and pulled against the chains holding him in place.  Its brain could no longer reason.  It only understood his ravenous need for human flesh.  The drive was constant, even after it had feasted, it still hungered. It was never fully satisfied.  It lunged its body again and reached a skeletal hand toward leaves, wafting in the warm tropical breeze.  Only a lone finger-bone  escaped the cover of foliage.  If the “fresh meat” had looked in the direction, at that precise moment, they would have seen the bony finger with its sagging, putrid skin.  Perhaps it would have been their salvation, but perhaps not… as the trees were quite some distance from the yacht.

Four teenagers laughed as they balanced the plank resting upon a weathered pier.  It wasn’t as stable as Kimmie would have liked, so she held tightly to Ted’s hand.  Ted, sensing her fright, gallantly turned his body to welcome his girlfriend safely into his arms.  Kimmie, much smaller than Ted’s athletic frame, felt engulfed within his embrace and she liked the feeling.

Carol, quite the opposite of Kimmie, jumped from the rickety plank and practically landed on Kimmie and Ted.  All three fell together to land in a heap upon the graying boards; luckily, each one had managed to avoid a plethora of jagged splinters.  The wood was old and so the pier quaked from their sudden weight.

A raucous laughter emanated from the heap,savage glow while Mark stood alone on the plank, holding all four backpacks.   Mark, feeling excluded, couldn’t help but wish, Carol, to be more like Kimmie.  What he would give to have her fall into his arms…

Like that would ever happen… thought Mark angrily.

Carol, boisterously called to him, “Hey pretty boy…get down here, already!”

Mark, shrugged off his anger, slowly smiled, and headed toward the laughing heap.  Offering Carol his hand he winked and said, “Yes, I am a pretty boy…and don’t you forget it!”

 

 

…to be continued…

[The preceding has been my  participation in the Sketch-a-Day event and also the  Weekly Horror Tales challenge, of which I host.  If you’re a fan of horror, please join me in this frightful challenge.  Believe me, it would totally make my day!]  [PS- The present horror prompt is as follows:  Write a story about a group of party-goers that sets sail on a yacht for what they believe to be a pleasure cruise. Except the captain was paid to scuttle the ship off an island populated by cannibalistic natives.] 

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The Book

The following is my participation in Weekly Horror Tales & Dark Side Thursday

0707ephr9_600x5461 Tuesday began as any other boring day in the life of Annie Smith.  The alarm clock rang at exactly 6:45 am which gave Annie at least two wacks at the snooze button before she had to be up promptly at 7 am in order to make it to her job at the Martin County Public Library.  As usual, she stumbled to the shower for a quick body rinse to begin the awaking process which ended after her second cup of coffee.  Coffee, toast and one boiled egg and she was out the door of her small apartment, down the three flights of stairs, to slide into the torn seats of car 52-A of Carolina Cab Company.

Sure enough the drab Library was just where she left it the night before.  Annie inserted her skeleton key and thus began her lonely 8 hour shift.  Annie had always been an introvert, so this job suited her personality; however, as of late, she’d been experiencing a feeling…something akin to loneliness.  As much as she tried to shake the alien feeling, it clung to her and periodically invaded her thoughts throughout her 8 hours as librarian. The feeling, like an intrusive grain of sand in her shoe, pestered her ever so softly, just enough for her to know it there.

Yesterday, while at work, Annie had been so irritated by the feeling that she found herself in the romance section scanning the books on the shelves.    She noticed one particular book was jutted out a fraction more than the others.  Annie reached for that book and whispered the title  aloud in the empty library… “I Have Come for You”  She had opened the book’s worn cover and read the first sentence of chapter one: “Annie, oblivious to the precipice before her, fell head long into a seduction that would forever alter her lonely life.”   Shaken by such a personal application, her hands that held the book quivered until the book fell to the floor.  She stared at the open book, lying on the floor, for what seemed like hours.  Finally, she bent down to retrieve the book and saw that the left page of the book was blank but the right page contained the heading for chapter two which read… “There is no escape…I will have you.”  Annie had laughed nervously, and then shook her head in unbelief, as she put the book back into its place upon the shelf.

Today, as Annie passed from one computer to the next, making sure each green light was lit, the whole scenario from yesterday seemed ridiculous to Annie .  What an absurd idea that the book had been personally speaking to her.  She giggled loudly with the thought.  Startled from the sound that had escaped her lips, she quickly put her hand to cover her mouth.  She looked around to see if anyone had slipped in through the front door.  No, the tiny library was as empty as when she had walked inside a half an hour ago.  For some reason Annie was frightened by the sound of her own laughter.  She couldn’t help but think that the shrill cackle had come from the lips of someone going mad.   No one else was here, so it had to have been her laughter.  Surely, she was not mad.  The thought rested uneasy within her psyche.

“Oh Annie…don’t be so stupid…,” she nervously berated herself and walked rather jerky to toward the comfort of her plush office chair.  The chair was one thing she had insisted upon when she took this job.  It was soft and firm where it needed to be to conform perfectly to her slightly overweight form.   Annie placed the palms of her hands on the desk and began to sit, but before she completed the final descent into the beloved chair she noticed something out of place.  There, lying atop the keyboard of he computer, lay a book.  Her faced blanched white because she knew it was “the book.”

“What the fuck?”  Annie never cursed but the word had come from her mouth as if she had been saying it all her life.  Her exclamation was loud but she didn’t care.  She didn’t care if someone was there to hear her profanity because nothing mattered to her except the book lying on her desk.  Slowly she picked it up and instantly felt compelled to turn it’s pages to chapter three.  She did.  Glaring at her from page 117 were the words… “Don’t look behind you…” Annie’s heart quickened in her chest.  She desperately wanted to turn around, just to prove that they were only words on a page, but she dare not. Her heat began to beat even faster and once again the cackle of laughter filled the library. Annie heard it but was unaware it belonged to her.  Her mind raced with fear and wonder as to what the book would say next.  Slowly she turned the pages of the book until she came to chapter four.

Annie closed her eyes, too afraid to look.  She squeezed her lids so tight it was painful. She wouldn’t look…she couldn’t look…NO, she told herself…but alas she was overcome with curiosity and so she opened her hurting eyes to see a blur scribbled across the page.   Her heart beat wildly as she waited for her eyes to focus.  Finally her vision cleared and she read the sentence, “Annie…can you feel my breath upon your neck?”  The words brought on chills that crawled all over her body.  Tiny beads of sweat covered her already clammy skin.  She could feel a rhythmic draft of air upon her neck.  It touched her and then it was gone…touched her and then it was gone… Each time it came back to her it was warmer.

Something inside, perhaps sanity, told Annie to burn the book.  It pleaded for her to “…take it outside now, strike a match and burn the fucking thing before it was too late!”   But the breath kept touching her. It slid down her neck to caress her breasts.  Her nipples hardened and her heart beat even faster.  Again the voice inside pleaded with her to burn the book, but Annie turned a deaf ear.  The breath was too warm, too erotic.

There were two more chapters left in the book and Annie knew she was destined to turn to each one.  Desiring more of the feelings that hugged her body, she turned to chapter five with fervency, wondering where the breath would take her next.  Under the heading of chapter five she read,  “Annie…feel my hands touching you…”  Annie gasped as the breath upon her body became hands wooing her to ecstasy.  Deep inside her she heard the remnants of a distant voice saying something…something she barely recognized as…matches…or…fire?  Annie didn’t care. She only cared about the hands stroking and begging her to turn to the last chapter.  When the thought of…yes I will…formed in her head, the book fell open to the last chapter of it’s own accord.

Annie’s eyes were closed but this time she didn’t need to read the words on the page.  The words of the book became sound and spoke to her in a man’s voice.

“I’m here for you.”

His voice was smooth as honey.  His hands, still warm upon her body, slowly turned turned her around.

“Open your eyes.”

And so, Annie obeyed.  She opened her eyes to stare into a hooded black hole.  The hole, shrouded by the hood, was so dark that she thought it to be empty, but then it smiled.   The white of its teeth broke the darkness and slowly morphed into a “Cheshire” grin of jagged fangs.  Her desire instantly turned to terror.  The thing gnashed its teeth, taunting her.  Annie screamed into the shrouded hole and her heart burst red with blood.  Her last thought was, …the book…I should’ve burned the book.  

One month later:

“Yeah, they said it was’a heart attack”  Roger scratched his head and added, “…hmmm…but I ain’t so sure.”

Katherine, the new librarian,  looked at the janitor,  “What do you mean, you’re not so sure?”

“Well, I ain’t never seen a face of death quite like that one…sum’ing just wasn’t right.  It was like she’d seen…” he paused a second to shake his head slowly, then spoke in a hushed tone,”…it was…it was like she had seen sum’ing that scared the life right out’a her.”

Katherine smiled kindly at the janitors whispered words, and tried her best to quell his fears, “Don’t you worry, Mr Roger, I’m sure there’s nothing at all to be afraid of in here.” She let her eyes scan the mundane emptiness of the library and added, “nothing at all, except maybe, boredom.”

“Yes, ma’am, you right about that…this place can get kind’a lonesome.”

Katherine watched as Roger shuffled out the front door leaving her alone in the library.  She wasn’t afraid of being alone.  On the contrary, the introvert inside her welcomed the solitude…just more time for reading, she thought.

Katherine stretched within her comfortable chair and stifled a yawn.  Wondering what the thermostat was set on she got up to check but stubbed her toe on something beneath the counter.  She looked down to see what it was but nothing was there.  Figuring her toe had shoved whatever it was further under the counter she got on her hands and knees to  see.  Sure enough lying in the dusty darkness was a book.  Katherine seized the book and rather clumsily stood to get a better look.  Turning the tattered book in her hands she read its title, “I’m Here for You.”

“My goodness!  How long have you been hiding under there?”

Forgetting about the thermostat, Katherine sat back down into the plush chair and blew the dust from the book’s cover.  As she stared at the book she felt something akin to loneliness.  Quietly she whispered, “What the hell,” and opened the book to chapter one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amy’s Freedom Part 3

(The following is my latest submission to Dark Side Thursday.  It’s the continuing story of a woman within the clutches of a serial killer.  Parts 1 & 2 can be found under the category:  Amy’s Freedom.)

Amy’s Freedom (Part 3)

The Root Cellar
The Root Cellar

He pictured Amy, hanging in the root cellar.  He knew of her excruciating pain.  He had once endured the same from the hands of his father.

He would never ask Amy to endure anything that he himself had not experienced first.  No, he loved her way too much for that.

The aroma in the tiny kitchen tantalized all of his senses.  Yes, of course he could smell the perfectly charred flesh, anyone could do that, but he actually saw, tasted, heard and touched the aroma as he stood with his eyes closed.  All of his senses were heightened to the point of combustion.

He had always been that way, even as a child.  At first the strong sensations frightened him but as time passed he realized he was special and was indeed unlike any other.  He kept this secret and told no one, not his weak pathetic mother and certainly not his self-righteous father.  This  revelation of himself created an euphoria that often erupted from his mouth in mad laughter.  He tried to contain it as much as possible because he knew others would think him “crazy”.

Being different made him lonely.  He craved someone as extraordinary as himself and so he began “the search”.  There had been so many “disappointments” through the years but he was confident that Amy would be different.  He smiled.   He knew “the search” was finally over.

He lifted the fillets from the grill and carefully plated them upon delicate bone china.  He then poured the Quinta Do Crasto, Vintage Port, 1997 into crystal goblets.  This particular wine, crafted from Portugal’s indigenous grapes, was thick and juicy and pared well fillet mignon.  The steaks were resting and the wine poured; the only thing missing was Amy.

He opened the cabin door to an autumn forest.  The aged root cellar was visible from the porch.  He stood for a moment, surveying the crumbling stone and then took a step into the fading sunlight.

******  

Amy hung limp from a splintered plank that ran the length of the underground hole.  The cellar was old.  It had been built by Scotch-Irish immigrants during the early 1800’s.  The hole was barely six feet high, so Amy’s hair fell into blood, tears and a dank soil that reeked of mold and decaying vegetables.

Amy shivered.  She closed her eyes to the dark and began to picture the two loves of her life, Rudy and Sky.  Her heart ached as she pictured Sky’s smile and Rudy’s wagging tail.  She determined, there in the darkness, she would live to see them again.  Her focus upon them would be her survival.

The screeching sound of rusting hinges caused her to open her eyes once again to the blackness around her.  She held her breath and listened intently.  There was a brief silence and then a faint creaking of wooden stairs.

Amy realized she was no longer alone.  She heard footsteps, slow and methodical…

One…two…three, and then a pause…

four…five…six …another pause…

seven…eight…nine…and then breathing…slow rhythmic breaths…in and out…

Amy’s heart seized with fear and she wanted to scream, but then, with the strike of a match, her face was bathed with golden light.  She squinted from its shock and tried to focus. The flickering light threatened to die, but a dank breeze quickened the flame, and she found herself staring into the bluest of eyes, inches from her face.

He smiled when he saw her eyes widen with recognition.  Slowly he pulled the tape from her mouth, freeing her question of…

“Why…”?

Easier To Navigate!

Categorizing-Social-Media-Conversations

Redhead Reflections is now easier to navigate!

It has taken a while, but I have categorized all articles!  The listing can be found at the top right hand corner, adjacent to the title line of each page.  Simply click the arrow beside the words “select category” and a drop down menu will appear.

Below is a listing of the categories and a brief description of what you can expect to find in each:

Amy’s Freedom:  The continuing saga of Amy and a crazed serial killer.  (Not for the  faint of heart)

Dark Side Thursday:  Dark stories for the writing group, “Dark Side Thursday”(For now it is a collection of “Amy’s Freedom,” however once this story is complete there will be other dark adventures) (Not for the faint of heart)

Faith:  My faith is very important to me and so here you will find a collection of articles revealing my spiritual insight.

Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers:  These articles are my submissions to the writing group “Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers”. Each week members are given a photo in which they are to weave a story around within 175 words or less.  (Not a lot of words to write a complete story so this is quite challenging) (Not genre specific)

Horror and Suspense:  Definitely one of my favorite genres.  Most stories within this category are not for the faint of heart.

Literary Lion:   A collection of my submissions to the writing group “Literary         Lion”.  Each week members are given one word and are expected to weave a tale around the word in 400 words or less.  (Not genre specific.)

Half Marathon
Half Marathon

Personal Stories:  A collection of articles about myself and my life.

Photo:  A collection of photos I have taken.

Recipes:  A collection of recipes.

(Future Category:  Flavor Of The Month)

Amy’s Freedom (Part 2)

Below you will find my submission to the DARK SIDE THURSDAY event.  The idea is to write something dark and scary using 500 words or less.  This is part 2 of Amy’s story.  I hope you will check back next week for it’s continuation.  Enjoy part 2 of Amy’s Freedom.  (Part 1 can be found in July Archives…7/24 to be exact)

Part 2

2 Rusty ShackleAmy floated in and out of consciousness as she hung in an old root cellar. Exhaustion and pain, from gravity, and her own, body weight, made even shallow breathing near to impossible. The vessels in her brain bulged heavy with blood, so no matter how hard she willed herself to stay awake, she eventually could do nothing but surrender to the pain.

In those short waking moments, she tried to remember what had happened to bring her to this place of hell. Memory came and went in flashes, and the very moment she thought she understood, darkness clouded her mind and once again she fell into unconsciousness.  At first this was frustrating, but then, in a sick sort of way, it became a game of cat and mouse.  Amy conditioned herself to capture, hold, and tuck away every memory from each awakening moment.

Conscious once again, Amy began to sort the snippets of memory she had collected…a cabin…a phone call…Rudy… barking and growling…utter fear and confusion…  Slowly, ever so slowly, the pieces fell into place and Amy was able to remember the sequence of events that had led her here…

******

She and Rudy had finally arrived.  The thunder-boomer had made the crooked roads difficult to maneuver, so the two hour trip had turned into three.   Rudy, eager to escape the confines of the truck, scratched at the closed window.  Poor baby, he had been cooped up for hours, so it was no surprise to Amy, when he jumped out and rolled vigorously in the fresh rained upon grass.

 Smiling, happy to see him so excited, she chuckled and began to gather her suitcase, satchel and easel.  Carrying all three, Amy opened the front door of the log cabin, she and Sky had built together.  

The musty air, that had been trapped all winter, assaulted her nose causing her to pause for a moment, but Rudy nonchalantly padded past her and went inside.  He busied himself sniffing here and there as Amy opened windows.  A cool mountain breeze rushed in and Amy breathed it deep into her lungs.  Looking at the rustic walls, Amy felt a peace that she hadn’t known for months.  She now, secretly, thanked Sky for insisting that she take this week to rest and relax.

The cabin, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, sat in the middle of a “dead-zone” with no signal reception, therefore, a land-line phone had been a necessity.   The old black rotary, hanging on the wall, began to ring. Simultaneously, Rudy, who had sniffed or heard something of interest outside, began to bark. 

Amy picked up the phone with the intent to say, hello, but was interrupted by the voice on the other end,

“Amy…Oh my God I’m so glad you answered…lock…”    

Sky’s voice could not be heard over Rudy’s barking and vigorous scratching at the screen door, so Amy couldn’t hear to remainder of the sentence,

“…lock the door…he’s there…Oh my God, Amy he’s there…”  

Oblivious to Sky’s warning, Amy laid the phone down and went to let out the frantic dog.   Rudy rushed outside.  Amy turned to pick up the phone but stopped when she heard a deep and low guttural growl.

 Rudy, a happy-go-lucky Golden Retriever, rarely growled, so a wave of fear urged Amy to go inside; but love for her dog wooed her to make sure he was okay.  Love winning, she turned to go outside.  Stepping out the door, Amy became face to face with Rudy, who crouched low and snarled at her with bared teeth.     Amy, shocked and confused to see her loving Golden transformed into something  so vicious, began to coax her dog,

  “Rudy…Rudy…what is it…”  

The word boy never left her lips because Rudy lunged forward and all she saw was golden hair and gnashing teeth.  After that came the darkness.

******

Amy cried alone in the darkness as she thought of Rudy.  Confused and cold she  hung naked from the rusty shackles around her ankles.  Awaiting her captor…

Amy’s Freedom

Below you will find my submission to the DARK SIDE THURSDAY event.  The idea is to write something dark and scary using 500 words or less.  This is the beginning of Amy’s story.  I hope you will check back next week for it’s continuation.  Enjoy the beginning of Amy’s Freedom.

IMG_1715 (2)Amy opened her eyes to nothing, and she was confused.  She tried to bring her hands to her eyes thinking she could rub away the dark, but her hands were bound behind her back.  A wave of panic surged through her body.  She tried to scream but  could only mew like a kitten.  Her mouth was sealed with a sticky substance she knew to be duct tape.   Her breathing came hard and ragged in and out of her nose.  The sudden loss of carbon dioxide brought her to the brink of hyperventilation.  

Cold fear tightened around her neck and suffocation like the grim reaper threatened her life.  Knowing death was eminent, she tried to concentrate on slowing her breathing.  Again she tried to move but to no avail except for a slight sway back and forth.  To Amy’s horror she realized she was hanging upside down.  Warm liquid ran down her legs from her shackled ankles.  The shackles that bit into her skin had been tightened by a man three times her size.  The pain was almost unbearable and Amy did the only thing she could. Silent tears dripped to mix with the blood and cold earth below.  

Amy hung helpless like a piece of meat waiting for the butcher’s saw.

******

He was confident she wouldn’t be able to escape.  The shackles he used were old but solid, and he had added a bit more force when clasping them to her ankles.  There was no way she could get out of them.  He hadn’t wanted to leave her but he had worked up an incredible appetite and he became grumpy when he was hungry.  He smiled at the thought, and looked at the spinach he sauteed and saw that it had reached perfection.   No, he didn’t like being grumpy and besides it was most important to display his good side to his guest.

Yes, he had already decided to play the perfect gentlemen.  He would be ever so kind and gentle as he cared for her wounds and afterward he would present a dinner cooked to perfection in honor of their first night together.   He reached for the steaks that had been marinating overnight.  The hot grill sizzled when both fillets kissed the iron.  God it smelled good.  He smiled knowing that Amy would enjoy them.

He thought of Amy.  God she was beautiful.  Beautiful but not glamorous, and he liked it that way.  The first time he saw her in class he thought of Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island.  Her innocence had captivated him so much that he found it hard to concentrate on the lesson she taught.  After a while he got past her smile…she was always smiling, and settled in upon the content of her lesson.  Not only was she a “looker” but the lady could teach.  She taught through example so the technique developed right before your eyes.  It was almost as if they were the only two in the room, instead of the twenty five other students.

******