The Girl and the Bush, Part II

The first installment of this story can be found here.

Carolin didn’t say much on the walk to Mitch’s pickup, and neither did he. Carolin was used to being alone by now, and she could tell he was too. Carolin hadn’t seen another person besides Daniel in months, and he was dead now. How long had it been since Mitch had seen another person?

At the truck, Mitch climbed out of the bush costume. He opened the hatch of the cap and tossed it in the bed. Then he opened the tailgate and climbed in after it. “I just need to remember what pack I put it in…” he twanged to himself as he unzipped and rezipped tan and camo bags.

Carolin glanced at the small space created by the cap and the truck bed. Mitch had made himself quite the little home in there. The bags were packed against the sides of the bed, leaving room in the middle for a twin-sized mattress. The wall of the cap had all manner of things taped to them: maps, pages from books, and pictures.

“There!” Mitch’s southern accent boomed triumphantly. Carolin refocused her attention on him to see another bush-like suit in his hands—a ghillie suit, as he had called it. “It’ll be a bit big on you, but it will help if you hide from them rotters out there if you have to go away from the truck.”

Carolin reached into the bed towards the suit, but before her fingers could grip into the cloth leaves, Mitch yanked it away. “Now you understand that you only get the privileges of this suit if you agree to come along with me, right?”

Carolin hesitated, withdrawing her hand. “How do I know I can trust you?”

“You don’t,” he said with a sly grin. “But isn’t that where the fun comes from?”

Just then, Carolin heard a snap in the woods to her. She turned to see a zombie meandering past the truck, about 10 yards to the right. As soon as she set her eyes on the thing, it turned and looked at her, its own eyes weeping puss.

“So, what’ll it be?” asked Mitch knowingly.

A scoff was all he received from Carolin as she threw a leg up on the tailgate and rolled into the bed. Getting into a stranger’s vehicle was just the way things were now.

***

            “This was not a great plan,” Carolin said. She was sitting cross-legged on the mattress, listening to the small horde that had gathered outside the truck. The two of them were safe in the shelter of the cap, but it was still unnerving to see the faces of hungry, rotting corpses smearing across the glass of the hatch.

“We ain’t stuck in here, if that’s what you mean,” smirked Mitch from the other end of the mattress where he was clicking bullets into clips. “I just needed to reload.”

“You can’t possibly be thinking that we are going to be able to get around to the front of this thing by shooting out the back,” remarked Carolin. “The zombies clearly have the upper hand in this situation. It just isn’t worth it!”

“Nah, little lady.” Mitch’s foreign voice made the double t’s in “little” sound a lot more like d’s. “This baby is practically brand new. We got sliding windows!”

Carolin watched with a quizzical expression as Mitch scooted behind her. She turned just in time to see him slide open a window that led into the back seat of the truck. Did all trucks come with little windows like that? She had been an SUV driver in the good days. The thought of her old explorer with puppy stickers peeling off the back of the passenger seat brought a smile to her face, and then it was gone.

Mitch slid through the window. It was a good thing he was one of the long and lanky southerners, like in the old cowboy films her mum had watched, and not one of the short and fat ones like in the comedies her father loved. “Come on now, girl.” He laughed, poking his head out the small window. “You ain’t gonna want to be back there once I get this baby rolling!”

Carolin placed her hands along the bottom of the window, ready to hoist herself through. She paused for just a second. One of the pictures had caught her attention. it was a little boy holding a baseball in two hands, offering it towards the camera like a cat would offer its owner a dead bird.

She shook her head from the momentary daze. With a swift tug, she slid through the window and into the cab.


Hello, my favorite reader!

That’s right, I’m talking to you!

I did not get much quality writing done this week (unless you want to count the twisted mess of failed comedy I wrote for one of my classes—pretty sure I bombed that assignment because it was so not funny), so I decided to treat you to my experiment with a follow-up story. Let me know how you liked it!

I literally just realized that I only have four more Saturdays for blog posts, and that’s only if I actually manage my time well enough.

I have a ton of homework between now and the due date for my last assignment ever for this degree (It just so happens to be a 15-20 page paper on sound as an expression of rebellion in the punk rock genre as exhibited in Green Day’s new album, Revolution Radio). Between now and Thursday December 15, I will be slowly drowning in projects and papers galore.

Wish me luck!

The Girl and the Bush

So much for an empty house, thought Carolin as she ran down the stairs. She had been so careful to avoid the monsters, but her luck had run out and she had stumbled into an entire nest of them while making sure the abandoned house was safe. Now, her only hope was to make it outside before the small horde got to her. She only had five bullets, and there were way more zombies than that.

There were more of the decaying creatures waiting at the bottom of the stairs, so she placed one hand on the railing and launched herself sideways over it. She cleared all but one of the bodies and made sure to put a sizable hole through the chin of the one still in her way. There were only four bullets left in the clip.

She ran around the corner at the end of the hall only to skid to stop when she saw where the rest of the zombies had come from. She had forgotten to close the door behind her, and now there were even more monsters shambling through. A string of curse words slithered through her adrenaline-fueled mind. If Daniel had still been alive, he would be making a comment about how her forgetful nature was going to be the death of him. If Daniel had still been alive, he would have shut the door for her.

But Daniel was not alive, and Carolin was alone. She was going to die alone. The zombies were closing in, and the gaps she could potentially escape from were getting smaller with every second of hesitation. Four bullets. Two for the two grotesque females along the left wall, one in case a rotting hand grabbed her, and one in case she couldn’t get away. It was time to move.

Just as Carolin took aim at the first female zombie, a loud BANG shattered the monotonous moaning and shuffling of the bodies and causing her target’s head to explode. She still had four bullets. Someone else had fired a different gun. Carolin whirled around to see where the projectile had come from, and saw, on the other side of the mass of rotting flesh, a figure garbed in what appeared to be a bush.

“Get down!” yelled the bush man. Carolin dropped to her knees just in time to avoid being peppered with 30-cal bullets. Heavy bodies fell on top of her, but they all remained motionless.

When silence had settled and the sound of gunshots had finished pummeling her eardrums, Carolin rose, shoving zombies off with her shoulders and wiping blood from her face. The bush man had moved closer to shoot around the corner Carolin had run from. All the zombies were dead. “Thanks,” she said. No one questioned strangers anymore, especially if they helped you somehow. That’s just the way things worked now.

“No problem” he replied. “The name’s Mitch. And you are?”

“Carolin.”

“Pleased to meet you.” Mitch had a southern accent, and his voice sounded like a lazy country song, not shaky at all. You wouldn’t know he had just wiped out twenty zombies. “Where are you heading all alone? Don’t you know it ain’t safe to be out in these parts with no one to have you six?”

“I wasn’t alone until a month ago. You’re the first person I’ve seen since,” she said, telling the truth. There hadn’t been any other living person since Daniel died.

“Well, you’d better come with me. I got an extra ghillie suit back in my car. You need a better gun, too.” Caroline followed without much complaint. It wasn’t like she had the ammo or strength to take on Mitch, and she didn’t much feel like being caught in a horde again. She’d just have to trust him.


Hey everyone! Sorry for being MIA the past few weeks. I’ve either been busy with something that arguably resembles a social life or homework. Since I just plain spaced on doing my post this past weekend, I’m making up for it with this special edition Monday post!

There’s actually nothing special about it—just this pitiful apology for my negligence.

Thanks for reading!

Two Sentence Tales from the Dark Side

I decided to have some fun with two sentence horror stories. Here are five I came up with.

**Content may be distressing for some readers**


 

I woke up to find my hand asleep. I moved that same hand to scratch my nose, and felt only a drop of warm liquid land on my neck.

***

            Janice instantly regretted her decision to copy that star symbol from the big black book she found in the attic as a smokey shape appeared at the center of the Sharpie lines. It solidified, and the last thing she ever saw before the form ripped her stomach out was the mutilated face of her dead baby brother sprouting atop ink black tentacles.

***

            Billy watched the big man go into Mommy’s bedroom, and he listened to her screaming “No! No! Please! No!” before the bang made her be quiet. He had told Mommy that monsters were real, but she never believed him, and now he was alone.

***

            Her Tinder date had gone better than she intended, and he was even drawing a hot bath for her! He sat on the toilet, watching as she slid into the tub and released an animalistic scream as the acid burned away her flesh.

***

            “I’ll go get the baby,” he said after being home for 20 minutes, enjoying the scent of roasted garlic wafting through the kitchen, and not hearing a peep from his son.

“We haven’t got a baby, but we have got dinner,” she said with a warm smile, pulling a pan from the oven with a body on it that most definitely did not belong to a chicken.


 

Let me know in the comments what some of your favorite two-sentence horror stories are, or try writing your own!

 

Mutual Sadness

The old door creaked open and the glow of the porch light filtered into the dark kitchen, only to disappear when Cyrus closed the door. His dad always left the light on so Cyrus could see to make it up the stairs when he got home after work. It was the one thing his dad could be counted on to do, no matter how drunk he was. It had been this way ever since Cyrus had picked up a night shift at the local diner to help pay the bills and cover the cost of things he needed for school. Between what he made, the money from the state, and the small fees his dad would collect when he managed to get out of the house and find someone who needed an engine rebuilt cheap, they had managed to keep the power on and food on the table.

Cyrus pulled a cord and the light above the sink flickered to life. He dropped his backpack on a chair and grabbed a half-eaten bag of chips from the counter. Predictably, they were stale, but he ate them anyway. There would be nothing besides that and frozen dinners until the weekend when he had time to drive his father to the grocery store. Cyrus glanced into the living room as he slipped a handful of chips into his mouth. Sure enough, he saw his father’s face illuminated by the TV. His hair was a couple months past due for a trim, and it hung over his blank face like scrawny fingers, clawing towards his lips.

The beer cans were spilling over the top of the trashcan that sat just within arm’s reach of the stained recliner his dad inhabited. Cyrus sighed and tossed the now-empty bag of chips into the garbage. Without a word, he approached the trashcan and began pulling the bag out and stuffing the runaway cans back in. his dad didn’t even flinch at the noise; he just kept his glassy stare glued to the old westerns that always moved across the screen.

However, unlike every night for the past seven years, it wasn’t cowboys, guns, and Indians on TV. Cyrus froze, his eyes fastened just as tightly to the screen as his father’s. He watched as a white dress billowed into the frame, its occupant dragging a stick-figure of a man as it moved. “That’s right, Carl,” yelled a voice from somewhere off-screen. “Your woman wants to dance!” Whoops, jibes, and girly giggles echoed around the sad room where Cyrus stood near his father. The voices and music were like a syringe, trying to force joy into the atmosphere. It couldn’t penetrate the darkness filling both men’s hearts.

The difference between the bony man dancing with the joyous woman on TV and the beer-bellied sad man sitting in front of the TV was unbelievable. That boy was obviously a nervous dancer, but he was still so full of happiness. The man in front of the TV was empty.

“Dad…” Cyrus started to say.

“We would have been married twenty years today.” The dry words fell from his dad’s mouth like stale chips from a bag. “We always said that we would renew our vows for our twentieth anniversary.”

Cyrus had nothing to say. This was the first time since his mother had died seven years ago that there had been something besides reruns of westerns playing on that old screen. Cyrus nudged some cans away with his worn sneaker and sat on the sticky floor beside his father.

They sat together for an hour that night, one reeking of warm beer and the other reeking of fried food. They stared at the grainy film, watching the woman who had taken their lives with her when she had taken her own.


Thanks for reading once again!

This post was queued last week because I am in New York visiting one of my best friend Dawn. I drove here with two of my other best friends, the engaged duo made up of Judy and Billy. I’m not sure what I’m actually doing write now because I am writing this a week in advance!

Anyway, I need to give some credit to my friend Alex for helping me brainstorm this idea. I almost turned in complete garbage as homework, but he helped me generate some awesome ideas and I ended up with this not-so-bad piece.

I hope you enjoyed!

Franklin Mason-Mahoney

Franklin Mason-Mahoney stood by the door to his basement apartment, hands folded in front of his denim-clad waist and feet square, shoulder-width apart. The white walls of the apartment were as pure and spotless as the day they had been painted. There was almost no color in the space, excluding the tacky sage patterns on the love seat and chair, the dark plastic of the old TV, and the pale wood of the kitchen cabinets. Everything else, from the carpet to the ceiling, was white. The art on the walls framed with cheap gold-colored metal (purchased with coupons from the local Michael’s) was the only thing that kept the apartment from resembling a typical hotel room. The frames bordered white paper. The paper, however, was not as pure as the walls. Across the smooth surfaces were smears of a darker substance. The crusty brown had been speared on the different sheets in a variety of ways. Some were as simple as a child’s finger paintings, with monochromatic rainbows and piles of abstract shapes. Others, still just as singular in color, were more intricate, clearly having been created by the collection of brushes Franklin Mason-Mahoney always carried, rolled up neatly in a worn artist’s bag. These detailed paintings depicted mountains with streams, a doe and her fawn, an old water wheel with no liquid to move it, and many other things one might encounter on an old Bob Ross rerun. Every wall in the apartment was covered with these paintings. Well, every wall except those that formed the back bedroom. Those walls were covered with dark brown tarps and silver duct tape. In the middle of that room was a table with what would have been a partial sketch of a decaying barn had the cup of red liquid been spilled across the paper. There was a thin trail of the same liquid dripped across the floor and out into the living room, where the bright red dots lead straight to the door. Franklin Mason-Mahoney knew what the trail meant. He knew that, with the preteen free, there was no point in running. Franklin Mason-Mahoney stood calmly waiting.


Hey all,

Sorry again for missing a blog post. I haven’t been sleeping hardly at all during the week while I am at school, so my weekends at home have become super lazy. However, I managed to get this piece up tonight! I’m even going to queue a piece for next week!

I promise to try and be a better blogger!

I hope you enjoyed!

Muddy Sneakers

            “Where were you last night?!”

I tried to peel my lids back from my dry eyes. There was no way I had gotten more than a couple hours of sleep after finally rolling into my bed just as the first glow of the sun was peaking over the mountains in the distance. Apparently, Mum had noticed my absence in the night.

“I asked where you were last night.”

The covers were yanked off of me, and the cool morning air from the open window finally jolted my eyes open. I saw my mother standing over me with a glare colder than Dippin’ Dots. Then she saw my shoes.

“Maria! What the hell are those muddy shoes doing in your bed?!”

Shit. I had forgotten to take them off. Mum had just washed my sheets two days ago, and seeing the pale green fabric covered in mud (I really hoped it was just mud), set her off.

I can’t even bring myself to repeat the things she says when she reaches this particular level of anger. In all honesty, I can’t even understand it most of the time. The only way I can describe it is that she sounds like a stereotypical angry Spanish mother and a demon fresh from the depths of Hell had copulated into the terrifying monster that was gripping the floral print of my quilt in white-knuckled fists, shaking with rage.

Long story short, I eventually calmed her down enough to explain that I had snuck out to go to a party. The fact that I had walked past the house hosting the party and been catcalled by some college drop-outs standing on the lawn was irrelevant. As long as she believed I had been somewhere the average teenager would spend her nights, then everything would be okay. And as an added bonus to selling my lie, I only got screamed at for twenty minutes instead of the hour I had expected.

I know it’s bad to lie to your parents, but if my mother ever found out where I had really been, my punishment might be worse than just being grounded for a month or two. It could be way worse. Like, locked up behind bars worse.

She even made me throw out my sneakers after banging off the dried clay-and-dirt mix and soaking them in soapy water failed to get the stains out of the teal fabric. I gleefully threw them into the trash bag, knotted the top, and tossed the whole package into the can next to our mailbox. I wouldn’t have been able to keep them anyway since Mum might have noticed that the ruddy brown stain was too dark to have come from the clay I had stepped in on the edge of the lake. Thankfully, that clay had covered and dried over something much less easy to explain than dirt.

I’m not sure if I could have come up with a legal excuse as to why there was blood on my shoes.


Hello my favorite readers!

This little short was written this past week as a response to a writing prompt for one of my classes. The only requirement was that it had to start with the phrase “Where were you last night?”

I hope you enjoyed!

The Most Awkward Short Story of My Youth

Well, another week has passed, and I am continuing my terrible blogger’s block. It’s been a busy week, and this morning was the first time I thought about what I should write about. Predictably, I came up with nothing during the course of my busy day. I was starting to feel discouraged about my ability to keep this weekly posting up for a year, so I decided to look to my old writing from high school as a means of inspiration. I found many story ideas and intros that were turned down by the friends I had critique them, though now I believe I had some very good ideas, and I may one day pick them up again.

However, this post has nothing to do with the greatest ideas of my youth. Rather, I would love to introduce you to one story I have never shown anyone. I was too ashamed of my creativity and awkwardness, and I did not trust the world to receive my blunders with grace. Mind you, this was four years ago when I was a high school junior with no literary courage. Now, at a time of night when all shames have faded to a mass of giggling courage (aka: 11-something pm), I present you with…

 

Merpeople vs. Velocichickens

“General Bubbles, we have received dire news from the front lines,” said the Merman messenger. “The Velocichickens appear to be mobilizing along the coast. They have scores of mangoes already harvested.”

The battle-hardened general shuddered at the mention of the feared fruit. “Tell General Flippers that my platoon will be joining him for this confrontation,” he said.

“Will so, sir,” the messenger said as he turned his seahorse mount towards the front line.

General Bubbles ran his eyes over his platoon. Young Merpeople, fresh from the training water, gathered in nervous groups of around the older warriors to hear tales of the previous wars with the Velocichickens. The Mermen and maids who had seen battle with the fierce prehistoric chickens had many a scar from the teeth and claws of the beasts, as well as stories of the power of mangoes, to share with the gathered youths.

With a slow spin of his tail-fin, the general turned from the sight of his warriors and retreated to the maps in his tent made of giant clam shells to study the sea and land that would soon see yet another battle of the Merpeople and the Velocichickens.

As our mighty mangoes fly,

The Merfolk blood spurts high!

Oh, to laugh away your breath;

To laugh yourself to death!

We’ll watch those Merfolk giggle

As our claws begin to wiggle.

Our teeth will soon shine red

And the Merfolk will be dead!”

The high-pitches voices of the Velocichickens as they prepared for battle caused a smile to lift the skin at the edges of Captain Thorn’s beak. The preparations for the final battle with the Merfolk were almost complete. The log boats had been ready weeks ago, and the mangoes were just coming into season. The Velocichickens in charge of sharpening teeth and claws had done their job well; every Velocichicken in the military was now equipped with the sharpest weapons they had ever known. The ones responsible for gathering the mangoes were almost done harvesting the fruit. Yes, thought the captain t himself, this would definitely be the last time the Merpeople ever dared contradict the word of the Velocichicken Empire.

Suddenly, a screech rose from the beast by the end of the beach. The ear-splitting call was taken up by the rest of the Velocichickens in and around the encampment. The army was ready to sail. Captain Thorn raised his voice in the highest pitch of all as he stepped into his log boat, extended his long neck, and flapped his green iridescent wings so the sun glinted off the feathers and sent inspiration coursing through the Velocichicken ranks.

“The Velocichickens have set sail!” yelled the Mermaid as she sped into the camp from her look-out position atop Fishhorn’s Rock. Her cry sent chills down the spines and tails of the other Merfolk.

“Do not panic!” boomed a voice. General Flippers emerged from the large tent at the center of the camp. “Are we going to let some over-grown chickens scare us? No! we are Merpeople, for the love of Triton! We have brought fear to the hearts of human sailors for hundreds of years! What are a few big piles of feathers compared to the harpoons we faced while defending out milk whales? Nothing!”

“But they have mangoes!” called out a scared voice belonging to one of the newest recruits.

“So?” asked the fierce general. “We laugh harder at the jokes we tell around the dinner table!”

Hesitantly, a group of veterans broke into cheers. Soon, the entire camp was alive with war cries. Even the most timid of warriors raised their weapons, hungry for victory.

Suddenly, a strong currant swept through the camp, knocking over tents and setting the seahorses into a fury. Once the water calmed, the finned creatures under General Flippers command were delighted to welcome General Bubbles’ platoon to their ranks.

“Ah, General Bubbles,” greeted General Flippers. “You have arrived just in time. We will be setting off soon to confront the Velocichickens.”

The two generals quickly finalized the plan of attack on the Velocichickens as the rest of the Merpeople prepared to meet them in the most horrific battle either race had ever known.

 

A calm sea. A perfectly calm and peaceful expanse of ocean spread out as far as the eye could see. Blissfully undisturbed and incredibly mesmerizing.

Perhaps, if the young Velocichicken perched on the scouting boat had been looking beneath the water, instead of at the glassy surface, she would have been able to counter the vicious attack from the Merman who suddenly landed on the boat, flopping and throwing drops of water everywhere.

The Velocichicken found herself splashing wildly in the water as she frantically tried to get into a position both to float and reach the mangoes strapped to her back with her sharp beak.

But before she could spear a mango, the Merman had dove from the boat and was attacking her with a clam-shell dagger. The sea churned and turned red around the struggling Velocichicken as she squawked loudly in pain. Only when the feathered beast sank below the surface of the water did the Merman withdraw his attack.

The scout on the nearest boat watched the gruesome scene unfold. A bellow of warning escaped from his beak only as a pale lavender fin flashed just a mere ten yards from his boat. “Help! Help!” he called. “The Merpeople are attacking! They…” his cries were ceased as he was knocked from his boat and dragged beneath the surface.

The call of warning spread quickly through the rest of the scouting boats and back to the main body of warriors. Within moments of hearing the news, every Velocichicken held a mango in his or her beak; pierced and dripping sticky juices. A tentative voice started up a war song that soon flooded the ranks.

“Never will ocean-bound being wni,

For we are wing and they are fin!

Never will our freedom fall,

For we stand not for one, but all!

Those Merfolk, they will die

As we raise our mangoes high!

‘Tis time for the Velocichicken reign

And for fishy cries of pain!”

 

General Bubbles watched from his mount as the battle raged just a short distance from the headquarters which had been set up in the sheltered area behind a coral reef. He watches as Merpeople dove under water in a frantic attempt to avoid the mango juice. Most of these warriors suffed the spasms of suffocating laughter before sinking to the sea floor as the life left their bodies, only a few managed to return to the surface and continue fighting.

“How are we fairing?” asked General Flippers as he steered his seahorse next to General Bubbles’.

“Not well, I’m afraid,” was the response. “The Velocichickens seem to have developed new weapons to spread the mango juice farther and faster than ever before. We are taking heavy hits.”

“I see…” said General Flippers said as he turned to look at his fellow Merman General. “Well, my friend, I believe it is time for us to join this battle.”

“And so it is, comrade. The best of luck to you, and may we meet again,” said General Bubbles as he flicked his deep green tail against his stead’s side and sped towards the swirling waters of the battle.

“May we meet again,” General Flippers echoed as he watches the other Merman charge into battle. Without another thought to the odds of the fight working out in their favor, he followed his friend into what might be the last battle of their lives.

“A general! I see a general!” the excited cry came from a young and battle-hungry Velocichicken. Suddenly, a dozen feathered raptors were leaping off their boats and swimming towards the green-tailed Merman who wore the emblem of a general across his chest. The Merperson lifted his shell-sword and prepared for a fight to the death.

A low note from a foreign instrument made the Velocichickens pause just before they launched their mangoes and dug their claws into the general. Around them, all the battle stopped as Merpeople and Velocichickens alike looked towards the horizon and the spot of land that separated the water and sky, where the horn had sounded from.

The General, whom moments before had been bravely facing inevitable death, now gasped out a single sentence before diving below the surface in terror. “The Cupids are coming.”

The few moments it took for the other fighting beings to comprehend what was happening were a few moments too long. Before any other could follow the path of General Bubbles, the Cupids were on them with poisoned arrows flying.

The heart-shaped tips of the naked, winged babies pierced both the flesh of Velocichicken and Merperson with the same horrifying effects. As one creature was shot, another poisoned being looked towards him or her… and the seed of love was planted.

Well, that explains where flying fish came from.

flying fish