The Face Behind A Broken Window

So, I continue my quest to combine two prompts, one from WordPress (WP), and the other from The Writer’s Block (WB).  The intent is to create an interesting challenge that will entertain the minds of my readers.

This is the equation of today’s combination:

 

[WP = Brilliant] + [WB = Write a story about the images on a roll of film] =

The Face Behind a Broken Window

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Photo from Grim Stitch Factory. Handmade and hand-painted by Cameron Scholes.

 

Amy’s heart beat loud against her chest, and her hands trembled as she handed the clerk a twenty dollar bill.  The clerk noticed, and looked questioningly at Amy, but said nothing during the exchange.

Mindlessly, Amy thanked the clerk, and grabbed the envelope which contained the photos developed from the roll of 35 mm film, she had submitted earlier.  Automatic doors opened, and she stepped into the howling of winter’s wind.  She was oblivious to the cold, for her mind could think of nothing but what she held within her hand.

Amy opened the door of of car, and slid into the driver’s seat.  Not willing to wait until she got home, she ripped open the envelope and begin to rifle through the photos.  There were many pictures of Sky and Rudy, and on any other day, she would have paused to gush over the images of the two loves of her life; however, today was different…

Today she searched for the face of her stalker.

Finally, she came to the photos of the old abandoned farm house and barn.  Amy, an artist at heart, had taken these with the intent of putting them to canvas.

She had been alone the day she took the pictures.  With Sky at work, and Rudy at the groomers, she had, had time to kill, so, she grabbed her camera, and drove deep into the loneliness of rural Virginia.

She had spent over half an hour snapping shots, of the abandoned structure.    Wondering what it had been like in it’s heyday,  Amy felt nostalgic, and her hand itched to hold a paintbrush.

Later that night her phone rang.  She picked it up and put it to her ear.

Amy listened to the silence from the other side of the connection.  Finally, she heard her stalker’s breath waxing and waning in an almost poetic rhythm.

Amy felt her knees buckle, and she reached for the counter to keep from falling to the floor.   Abruptly, the breathing from the other side stopped, and after a long pause a raspy voice whispered…

“…I watched you today.  Paint for me…paint for me, Amy…”  He held her name for a long while, and then the line went dead.

Now, as she sat in her car, she searched the photos of the dilapidated barn, and could find nothing out of the ordinary, until she rested her eyes on the small broken window, surrounded by planks of rotted wood.

From the window a face stared back at her.

She quickly put on her glasses, hoping for a better view, but the exposure of the photograph was too dark.  She looked at the next photo, to find it bathed with brilliant rays of sun, that had escaped the grays of the clouds overhead.

There was just enough light to capture a perfect image of the face looking at her.

The face was cloaked in burlap, and could pass for any scarecrow strung up to frighten birds of the field.  The mask was stitched with what looked like leather twine, and its cutout eyes were black.

Amy stared at the face behind the broken window, and her blood ran cold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Please Help Me Decide

dilemma

I have a dilemma and I need your help!

 I love Jesus but I also love horror.

The dilemma:  Should I create a new blog for my horror writings or should I continue to compile the two genres within Redhead Reflections?

My faith is very important to me.  I enjoy writing daily devotions of inspiration.  I’m learning so much from my series Walk Through Psalms, and I want to continue the journey.

I’ve been busy writing a short story called  Zombie Island.  I truly thought it would be finished by now but the thing just keeps growing…almost as if, it has taken a life of its own.  I’m currently at 5000 words and still going strong.

I enjoy learning and writing about the paranormal. I’ve always had a keen interest in it  as far back as I can remember.  I have so many ideas rolling around in my head about future horror projects…just to name a few:

  • Ghosts, hauntings and witches from the Bible.  What kind monsters live within our sacred scriptures?  What stories have been handed down generation after generation from ancient times?
  • True horror stories of the Shenandoah.  In this series I will actually visit and photo the site as well as write the stories.
  •  Write horror short stories using random writing prompts.
  • View and analyze creepy art…even my own.
  • Current horror and paranormal happenings
  • Much…much more…

 

Please help me decide.  

Should I have two separate blogs or Should I keep it all together as is?

 

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MeditationWithGodInMind

 

 

 

 

 

Together or Separate?

 

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.] 

Daily Sketch/Zombie Abstract

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This rendering is my participation in the challenge called  Sketch-A-Day.  Also, it is to promote my new blog challenge:  Weekly Horror Tales   This challenge invites the writer (hopefully you) to weave a spine tingling tale with a prompt that is posted every Sunday.

The rules to this challenge are near to none, as I don’t want to hinder your creative inspirations.  So make it as long or as short as you like and post it by Sunday at midnight.

My first story in this series is called The Book.  It’s a creepy tale about a lonely librarian, who’s looking for love in all the wrong places.  To read it click on the category entitled Weekly Horror Tales, or just scroll down a little.

Please come and join me on this “horrific” challenge.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mark of the Beast

Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers…each week we are given a photo and allotted only 175 words to construct a story.  Below is my response to this week’s “Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers” 

 

The Mark Of The Beast

She watched him from her place of containment.  Sure enough, he had “the mark” and so she fled her confines to mingle amongst the merry crowd.

She felt his stare.  Knowing this to be her cue, she covered the ten steps, separating them and asked with a timid voice, “Care to dance, handsome?”

As usual, the stranger’s eyes filled with suspicion, but once he saw her shy smile, he tossed doubt away, and  accepted her soft hand.  In an instant their bodies melded and he was consumed with unquenchable lust.  He wanted her, but the intense craving terrified him. Sensing his resolve, she crushed him closer and huskily growled, “My poor…poor beast..not used to being controlled…”

Slowly she pulled away…but only enough for him to look into her black eyes.  In them, he saw the innocents he had raped and they were coming for him. Terror squeezed his heart until it burst.

She dropped the corpse and then faded into the picture hanging on the wall.  The caption underneath read, “Angel of Death”

(Word count 175)

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Photo by Etol Bagam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Predators, Entities and Witches…My Novel Grows

(Below is part two of my novel writing adventure.  Which story idea do you like best?  Thanks for walking with me on this journey.)

blog photyoGood novels are created from good ideas.  Sometimes the thought of conjuring up a good idea can be quite intimidating.  How many times have I sat down to write, only to stare at a blank page, waiting for the perfect idea to magically pop into my head.  The minutes pass and with every tic of the clock my frustration mounts; and on and on it goes until a pen or two is tossed across the room.

Lucky for me, module two of “The Novel Class” is all about developing good ideas and strong plots.  Ideas are all around us; sort of hidden in plain sight.  The key to scoping them out is to notice…notice…notice.  Keep your writer’s instinct sharpened, play the “what if” scenario 24/7, and always remember “Life is stranger than fiction.”  According to “The Novel Class,” drop dead plots and murderous ideas are just waiting to be captured from our everyday and presumably boring lives.

The class encourages the writer (me) to adopt a “god-like complex” in which you tease the reader with hints and you control your characters by making them bend to your every whim.  I’ve never been a control freak, but damn, I have say, I really like the way that sounds!  The very power of appointing myself the god of my own make-believe world propels me head first into the throes of intoxication.  This very concept changes the whole appeal of fiction writing.  It makes me want to release an evil laugh and whisper, “…let me at’em…”

(Module two of “The Novel Writing Class” assigns me to:  Task 1:  Create three story ideas that you feel may have potential for a novel.  Also Task 2:  Consider sub-stories that could be included in all three of your ideas.)  (I have chosen to keep my sub plots secret.  I hope you enjoy!)    

1st Story Idea:  I Want To Live

9074221Amy, artist/writer/teacher, accepts a position teaching Medieval Art History at a small community college located just outside of Washington DC.  Unbeknownst to her, one of her students is a serial killer who has stalked, captured and killed eight women.  Amy becomes his next fixation.

Like Amy, all of his victims were in their mid to late twenties, well educated, and enjoyed very successful careers.  All eight bodies were found mutilated and floating dead within stagnant ponds across the state of Virginia.

Amy soon awakens to find herself suspended in darkness, hanging like a piece meat in an old root cellar, located in the back-country of the Shenandoah National Forest.

Amy wants to live and vows to do whatever necessary to escape the horrific nightmare.

 

2nd Story Idea:  The Cabin’s Rule

donner-part-starvation-campNewlyweds, Sam and Candy, are young, practically homeless and poor as Job’s turkey. They are in love and refuse to let present circumstances dampen the happiness they feel at  becoming husband and wife.

Sam’s an hourly employee at Gibbons Hardware Store and works 6 long days a week.   Sam is surprised when “old man Gibbons,” the owner and boss, offers the use his lake cabin for their honeymoon.  Sam and Candy, not wanting to spend their wedding night, in the spare bedroom at Candy’s mother’s house, gratefully accept.

Sam’s old pickup sputters angrily cursing the dirt path beneath it’s tires.  Upon arrival they are, at first,  disheartened with the cabin’s appearance of disarray and abandonment; however, still “high on love” the two quickly push up their sleeves and by nightfall the cabin becomes a quint honeymoon haven, complete with cracking fire and stone hearth.

Their night of bliss begins and in their abandonment they fail to notice the little hints and nuances suggesting something strange about the cabin.  Soon they discover something ancient living within the walls of the cabin and  become crippled with fear when they realize what “it” wants.

The horror within the cabin pits one against the other as they struggle for survival.

It seems old man Gibbons forget to share the cabin’s rule:  Two may enter but only one may leave.

3rd Story Idea:  The Witch Hunt Of Lilly

download (1)Lilly lived in the forest with her mother outside of the village.  The village folk came one by one to their stone house seeking healing from Lilly’s mother.  Lilly inherited the ability of healing and so after the unexpected death of her mother, it was only natural that she follow in her footsteps.

At the age of eighteen, Lilly lives alone in her beloved woods and  gladly welcomes anyone who knocks at her door. Most of those knocks belong to people seeking healing or future telling; however, on occasion young girls caught in the “motherly way” seek her help for quick and private resolution.  Lilly, with her kind heart, never turns them away.  As she bonds with the young women they begin to share their stories of rape, incest and oppression that lay behind the walls of the village.

The puritan village tolerates Lilly and her strange ways…for even  some of the clergy find themselves at her door in the darkness of night.  This continues until one of town’s children disappear and it’s proven that Lilly was the last one to see the child alive.

All eyes turn to Lilly and the witch hunt begins!

 

 

 

Possession

Writing 101 Day 5:  Write a response to the following tweet.

(Buckle your seat belts for this is going to be a horror ride!)

Possession

Ghost ChildI was quite the unusual child.  No one dared speak it out loud, but none-the-less, I knew it ate upon their brains like a canker sore.

“Different…,” they’d say.  “Just a wee-bit queer…for my like’n.”  Then they’d catch me looking at them and the old timer’s faces would blanch white as the cotton they were picking.

I enjoy making them uncomfortable.  I enjoy hearing the rhythm of their heartbeat quicken.  It makes me alive within this skin.

It’s a funny thing to feel so alive when scaring others to death.  I almost get giddy with the pleasure.  Once I almost smiled but  I never let them see me smile.

One day I’ll leave this backwater country, but not until I’m finished with them.  I never leave a job undone.  I stay until the end…and sometimes it takes oh so long for the end.

The end makes me sad.  After the end there is no fear and that’s what I miss most…the fear.  And so I stretch the means to defer the end.

I linger long, but alas the end is always inevitable.  So when the job is done I lay them to hell and spill dirt to cover the faces…and then I smile.

I wonder the woods, for beyond yonder hill, my new family awaits.  The cabin is bright and I knock at the door.  When it opens they invite me in and then my job begins again.

Over the centuries families come and families go and yet I’m here…still the same girl of seven.  This one thing remains I’m never alone for this body I possess is always my home.

The Passing

The following is my submission to Literary Lion.

5171605261_8fbbd343d1_bMaggie arose to begin her night’s work.  It had become routine and so she proceeded with little thought.

Looking at her surroundings, Maggie noticed the moss ridden tombstones, and grass, that had been trampled by deer, who frequented the garden, seeking solitude from redneck hunters and their barking dogs.  She looked at the flower that had died in its vase years ago.  Maggie sighed.  No one came around anymore, not even the grounds keeper.

This state of affair saddened Maggie, but what could she do?  No one heard her anymore because there was no one to listen.  She knew it was her fault, but she had grown tired of the kids and their silly candles.  It had been entertaining, for a while, but with the passage of time, their frightened eyes and shrill screams bored her. And so she kept her silence and turned a deaf ear to their begging.  After a while the kids stopped coming.  So now it was only her, and Maggie was lonely.

Each evening, upon the sun’s decent, Maggie walked among the headstones and whispered the names chiseled in gray.  This was the only thing that gave her a sense of peace.  She reasoned, within herself, it was her way of honoring the dead.

Night after night she made her rounds.  She no longer needed to look at the names.  She knew them all and so she drifted from one to next until each name, had been spoken in the dark.  When her mission was accomplished she went back to her place to take her rest.

Her place was just as ram-shackled as others, but on this particular night, Maggie studied her abode.  Once again her eyes fell to the dead flower within its vase.  It had been there for as long as she could remember.  The flower was wrapped within a cloak death, that was dry and crumbling.  She studied the brown decay and realized, for the first time, there was none other like it, within the garden.  Someone, God knows when, had left it there and had left it for her.  Slowly Maggie drifted to the flower and reached to touch it with her wispy hand.

The moment her essence touched the decay, the flower dropped its cloak of death and DoubleKnockOutRosebloomed into a beautiful rose.  Maggie felt herself bathed within a golden light.  She looked to its source and saw a man she knew to be her husband; and in that moment she remembered her earthly life. Her love stood with his hand outstretched and she heard his baritone voice say, “My darling…what took you so long…”

Maggie, filled with joy, flew into his arms and passed to the other side.

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…”?