What happens when the thoughts run out?

This is a constant questions that I am always running into, what am I supposed to do when I am out of ideas? Are they ever coming back?

I tried short stories, some of them were good, writing coach…who after reading my work said, “This is out of my hands, you may want to check with this company.” Wait…what? I tried hiring an editor, (this was a bad idea since my book wasn’t complete) I was frustrated with the results of their edits because they completely killed one of my character’s cocky attitudes…I rage quit writing for a while. Didn’t know that was possible did you?

While on my rage quit I tried going back to school for computer game design, since I am mathematically incompetent that ended in in a smoldering pile by the wayside….

Then I found what worked for my head…I got a writing partner, who is quiet but challenges me. While going through this mental block I had an idea…not just any idea but their kind of story idea. What does that mean? I can’t tell you that, it would give the book away, but what I can tell you is every time we have done an idea run, I have no problems knocking the dust off of my keyboard!

Whether this is a writing that will carry on through the ages like Stephen King or it turns out to be a hobby that has been freaking amazing, I am grateful to my friend for writing with me…..

 

Happy Writing!

Veiled By: Jeremy E. Cherry

“HEY BRAYDEN, OLD MAN WHEELER IS GOING TO GET YOU IF TOU DON’T STOP CUTTING THROUGH THAT CREEPY OLD CEMETARY!”  A girl yells from outside the gates.

Brayden nervously looks from the group of girls to the dilapidated house at the other edge of the cemetery.

“Brayden is the weirdest kid in eighth grade… well maybe all of junior high.”  One of the other girls says loud enough for the boy to hear.

The girls then giggle as they turn away from the over grown graveyard.

“Dumb girls, and their dumb boy band back packs,” Brayden mutters.

He walks down the same row of gravestones that he walks through every day on his way home from school.  There are dates on the tombstones, however, there are not any names on any of them.  The boy looks at the rows behind and finds the same.  Brayden stops at one in particular and looks at a little lamb carved into stone, indicating that it must belong to an infant.  He pauses, staring at the lamb through the overgrown grass and fallen leaves.

“HEY BOY, GET OUT OF THERE!”

Brayden looks towards the rickety, front porch of the run down house.

“Crap, its old man Wheeler.”  He mumbles, seeing the old man on the porch with his cane.

He looks towards the gates and then back at the porch, “Where’d he go?”  Brayden mumbles as the old man has disappeared.

“For a crippled, old man he moves fast,” Brayden thinks to himself as he feels his heart beat faster.

He pans around the cemetery, frantically.

“Boy, do you not understand English?”

“Yes… yes… Sir… I do…” Brayden stutters.

“Then why are you still here?”  The old man questions.

Brayden looks towards the gate; he then turns back towards the tombstone with the lamb.  He pauses and then looks at the old man as he stands there, glaring at him with his cane in hand.

“Sir…… why don’t any of these gravestones have names?”

“Leave it alone kid!”  The man grunts.

“Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about it?”

The old man takes a seat on one of the weathered gravestones and sighs.  He looks up towards the trees and focusses on what the boy can guess is the birds fluttering around in the peaceful space above them.

“Mr. Wheeler… Sir, what happened?”

“Call me William.  You’re not going to leave me alone until I tell you are you?”

Brayden nods with a smirk.

“Follow me.”

The old man pushes himself up off of the stone, steading himself with his cane.  Brayden watches as the man carefully makes his way around the stones overgrown with weeds and grass.  A slight intermittent breeze rustles the leaves high above.

“William… how come nobody takes care of this graveyard?”

The old man reaches for a small iron gate with his cane and pushes it open with it.  “Kid…” He sighs, “You ask way too many questions.”

The old man carefully makes his way across his yard and up the stairs to where the boy finds two dirty, wicker chairs and a small whicker table in between them.

“Wait here.”  William orders as he opens the tattered screen door to the house.  He appears a few moments later caring two glasses.

“You want some tea?”

Brayden nervously nods in an attempt to act older than he is.  He looks towards the glass vessel with the tea bags suspended in the water and rests on the top rail of the porch.

“Sit.”  William points to a chair.

Brayden watches as the man pours a glass for him, the tea sloshes over the sides.  William shakes as he reaches out towards Brayden with the glass.  Brayden grasps the glass and sets it down on the table.  William then pours himself one and hobbles backwards towards the other chair and with what appears to be a controlled fall, lands into the seat.

“What’s your name, kid?”

“Brayden… Sir.”

“Your Scott and Anne’s boy aren’t you?

Brayden nods.

“What is your fascination with that cemetery?  I watch you cut through there every day.”

“No one ever talks about what happened, why?”  The boy answers.

William leans forward in his chair and looks down his nose at the boy.

“Most people don’t know, while others…… well… they don’t believe it, but I was there.  I know what happened.”

Brayden’s jaw subtly opens in disbelief to the old man’s words.  His mouth opens wider as William begins to speak.

“Demons… demons that came down into town.  Everyone that they came into contact with turned to ash.  They didn’t have a conscious, old… young… men… woman… children… it didn’t matter.  You would hear the agonizing screams and cries coming from all over town.  My parents hid me in the basement of this house and when morning came my parents were gone.   Almost everyone was gone.”

“Sir, if you were little who took care of you?’  Brayden interrupts.

“The few people left in town sent me to live with my grandparents.  I lived with them until they passed away.  When I was seventeen, I moved back home, here.”

William takes a drink of his tea.  Brayden does the same in an attempt to fit in.  The old man chuckles as the boy’s face puckers to the pungent flavor of the drink.

“You’ve never had tea before, have you son?”  William states.

Brayden wipes his mouth as he shakes his head embarrassed.  William slowly gets out of his chair while leaning on it.  He hobbles back to the screen door and reappears shortly with a glass of water.

Brayden takes a drink while the old man returns to his seat.

“How did the….”  Brayden pauses.

“Demons, son.  Call them what they are.”

“How did the demons get here?”  Brayden questions.

“The clouds made a straight line across the top of the mountains, and the demons came in the cover of the cloud as it settled into this valley.”

“What did they look like?”  The boy asks eagerly.

The old man shrugs, “No one seen them, some say they were invisible.”

“Where did they come from?”

William raises his hand to point, his mouth drops open in disbelief as he looks towards Paradise canyon.  The old man knocks over the drinking glasses on the table as he desperately struggles to get up.

“Boy get home, run and don’t look back.  Don’t come out until the sun does.”

Brayden looks at the canyon to see the clouds beginning to funnel down.  The top of the cloud rolling like a wave crashing on a reef.  He jumps from his chair; utter terror is the only emotion on the boy’s face.  He looks towards the mountains and then back towards William.  Terrorized, he nods and then runs down the stairs, skipping several in a leap.  He runs without looking back.

“RUN… RUN BOY RUN!”

#

The sound of screeching tires pierces his ears before; a solid shove throws Brayden off balance.  He goes down to the asphalt.  The pain is sharp as he rolls across the road.

“HEY KID, ARE YOU ALRIGHT?”  Several bystanders ask in unison.

He rubs his head where it had slammed onto the road.  Dazed, he looks up at the people and then back at the canyon.  He jumps to his feet, then grabs his elbows that burn with pain.  He feels a warm dampness, along with the chunks of flesh that had been torn from them.  He looks at the car bumper and then again at the canyon.   He begins running towards home.

“WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU KID?”

Brayden turns to see the driver shaking his fists and yelling at him.  He looks back down the street and begins to run even faster.  He looks off to his left every few moments at the clouds moving down the canyon walls.  He turns down one of the side streets, never losing stride.  Cars in the streets honk at the boy and swerve from his path.

His home is directly in front of him.  His mother, Anne, is hanging laundry in the front yard to dry.  The sun illuminates her golden, blond hair.  Brayden now glances over his left shoulder, behind him.  His heart pounds in his ears.  His muscles burn.

“Come on just a little further.”  He mumbles to himself.

His mother turns to hang some wet sheets and obviously sees her son.  At first she greats him with a smile and then her face turns to fear.

“BRAYDEN WHATS WRONG?”  She screams.

He runs into her arms; she pulls her hands back revealing the blood.  He begins to cry.

“Mom, we need to get inside.” He pleads as he tugs on her arm.

With much concern, she wastes little time obliging her son.

“Settle down.  Come on, let’s get you cleaned up.  They climb the front porch steps where both of them pause.  What sounds like thousands of horses is heard.  The terror resumes in Brayden, his mother gasps when she sees the expression on his face.

“Where’s Dad?”  He asks.

“He should be on his way home from work, why?”  She answers.

The defining sound of galloping horse subsides, anguished screams follow. Their strides quicken at the disturbing sounds.

They quickly make it through the door; Anne forcefully pushes the door shut.  Brayden quickly turns and opens the door and pulls the screen door closed and sets the hook to lock it.  The churning wall of dark grey clouds slowly, but steadily approach where the house rests.  The agonizing screams are getting closer.  Both stand staring through the screen door and listen.  Brayden terrified, slams the door and locks both the deadbolt and door handle.  The fluttering of the curtains catches his attention.

“MOM, CLOSE THE WINDOWS!”  He yells.

One by one, the click of the locks catching is heard in the commotion.  Brayden runs to the opposite side of the house to lock the back door.  While Anne peers through the curtains towards the darkness that is quickly approaching.

“What the hell is going on?”  She asks herself out loud.

“MOM DON’T! GET AWAY FROM THE WINDOW!”

Brayden looks around the room, his glances become more frantic, “WHERES HUGO?”

“He’s out side.  Brayden you need to calm down.”

He runs to the back door and swings it open.

“HERE HUGO… HERE KITTY, KITTY!”  He frantically yells.

He looks down to see a flash of white fur brush his leg then slams the door shut, forcefully locking it behind him.

The lights grow brighter; the television turns on.  The phone on the wall begins to ring, but no one answers when they pick it up.  The microwave starts without warning.  Every electronic device in the house grows brighter as if the electricity is being forced into them.  The volume on the many devices grows louder and louder.  The two look around frightened at what is transpiring.  The deafening sounds drone out the anguished screams from outside.  The lightbulbs begin to pop, sending shards of glass in all directions.  The mother and son scream in terror as they duck and cover their heads with their arms.  The microwave then explodes, followed by the television and the screen of his mother’s cell phone grows dark.  The rest of the electronics cease as well.  The only sound that can be heard is Hugo, with his back arched letting out a blood curdling yowl in the direction of the front door.

The two creep, slowly towards the front door.  Brayden’s mother turns to him with her finger pressed against her lips, “Shhhhhh,” she signals him.

Brayden goes to the door, stands on his tippy toes and peers through the peep hole.  His mother gently pushes back the curtains on the windows.  Through the denseness of the cloud they see the headlights of a car.  It stops haphazardly in front of the house on the street.  It is his fathers.  The two watch within the house as the door opens and without haste his father steps out of the car and begins to run towards the house then pauses.

“What is he stopping for?”  His mother asks panicked.

Still looking through the peep hole he begins to reach for the dead bolt.  Both watch as their loved one’s facial expression turns to sheer terror.  The two watch as a figure in the midst of the cloud walks towards the man.  This figure is invisible; however, the vapor moves around this figure revealing its form with an outstretched hand.  It is tall with long thin extremities; its fingers narrow to sharp points.  The head is bold with what appears to be two long braids or perhaps even horns.  Brayden begins to turn the deadbolt as his father looks back at the house, appearing to scared to move.

“NOOOOOOOO!” Brayden yells as he turns the deadbolt the rest of the way, he watches his dad turn to ash with an ominous glow before their eyes.

His mother screams as she jolts away from the window and moves towards the door flipping the deadbolt back to the lock position.  Her eyes are filled with tears as she wraps her arms around her son, covering his mouth from screaming.  She begins to drag Brayden towards the bathroom.

“Come on sweetie let’s get you cleaned up before you get an infection.”  She says in a bawling voice as she attempts to find somewhere safer for them.

Brayden looks up at his mother, her eyes swollen with tears, he knows she is attempting to stay strong for him.  He too sobs more as the shock resides inside him.  The families cat stands hissing towards the front door.  He struggles to get free from his mother’s firm grasp.  He wriggles and squirms.  His mother wraps her arms around him, desperate to hold on as he breaks free.  He runs back towards the front door.

“BRAYDEN STOP! HE’S GONE WE BOTH SAW IT!”

He looks back at his mom with tearful eyes, “I’m getting Hugo.”

He stands back up with the cat wrapped in his arms.  This time, it is the cat that fights to get free.  Brayden tightens his hold on the cat and then freezes.  Something begins to scratch vigorously at the front door.

His mother lets out a horrifying scream.  She stands there still screaming, but without a sound.  He turns back to the sound of the scratching and of the door handle jiggling.  Dashing for where his mother stands, he grabs the woman frozen with fear and begins to tug at her arm.  Startled, she turns towards the bathroom.  The two along with the cat run for the bathroom.  The sound of the thin glass from the lightbulbs crunches beneath their feet.  Brayden and the cat are the first inside.  Anne slams the door behind her.  Hastily she begins to pull towels from a cupboard and stuffs them in the void beneath the door.  She fumbles through the rest if the cupboard searching for the emergency candles and matches.  She sets the candles on the cabinet and lights them, illuminating the room.

She grabs Brayden and sits him down on top of the toilet lid.  She takes out a washcloth from beneath the sink and turns on the faucet getting it wet.

“Sweetie, this will sting a little.”

He grits his teeth and she begins to wipe the blood from his elbows and forearms.  The washcloth turns from a soft purple to a dark red as she wipes.  They struggle to divert their attention from the scratching at the door, however the god awful sound coming from the cat reminds them.  His mother then pulls some antiseptic cream out and gently applies it to the scrapes on his body.

The sound at the door subsides as time goes on, Brayden’s mother begins to cry again.

“They must have moved on.”  Anne states.

She reaches for the door knob; Brayden’s heart begins to race.

“Mom…. just stay in here… please.  We have to stay in here until the sun comes out.”

She looks at him confused, “How… why do you know so much about what is going on?…… What have you done?” She asks as she angrily grabs him by the shoulders.

“I didn’t do anything….”

He takes a deep breath and sighs, “I’ve been going through the cemetery with no names on my way home.”

Her face furrows with displeasure as he speaks, curious she sits down with her back against the door.  He begins to recount how he had been taking a short cut through the overgrown graveyard.  The look of disappointment and concern overpowers her curiosity.  He continues as he reminisces the conversation with “Old Man Wheeler.

“You know better than to talk to strangers.”  She reminds him as she puts her hands on his knees.

“But mom, he told me to run home when he seen the cloud coming down from the mountain.

She puts her head between her knees and begins to cry, “I wish your father was here.”

Brayden gets up off the toilet lid and plops down next to his mother.  He then leans into her resting his head on her shoulder.  The two begin to recall how their loved one they had been taken from them right in front of their eyes.  The conversation goes on for several hours reminiscing of the past.  The cat who has calmed down, rubs up against Anne’s leg and finds his way onto her lap.

With the cat now calm, she sets it on the towels piled on the floor and stands up, startling the boy.  She reaches for the door handle.

“Mom no!”

She points to the cat who is peacefully at rests on the floor, “I’ll go out first to make sure everything is safe.”

He violently shakes his head and pushes his back harder against the door in an effort to keep the door closed.

“Please stop, it’ll be fine.” She reassures him.

Reluctantly, he moves away from the door.  The turning of the locking mechanism seems so loud as she unlocks the door.  Opening it only a crack, she peeks out.  Brayden now on his feet, stands poised to slam it closed again at the faintest sign of fear from her.

“It’s so quiet.” She says as she pushes the door open more.

The cat bolts from the tiny room.  In a failed attempt, Brayden reaches to catch him.  Slowly, his mother opens the door wide enough to leave the room.  She creeps out into the darkness that has settled throughout the house.  Brayden sees her motioning for him to follow.  The two walk out into the living room, still within the reach of the light of the candle.  Once again the shards of glass crunch under their shoes.  Brayden’s mother jumps as the white cat rubs up against her leg.

“Stupid, damn cat.”  She mutters as she bends down to pick Hugo up.

“THUD……. THUD…………. THUD …. THUD, THUD… THUD, THUD, THUD”

“Mom what was that?”  Brayden mutters as they look towards the ceiling to the paralyzing sound.

What sounds like claws clicking on the roof begins to move above them.  The same sounds begin in different areas of the roof.   Now, with all the movement, it sounds as if hail is hitting the tin roof.  Brayden grabs two handfuls of his mother’s shirt and begins to move backwards towards the bathroom.  The two freeze in their tracks as the cat begins to hiss in the direction of the front door, once again.

The clawing at the front door resumes.  This time, strips of wood can be heard cracking from the door.

“Run.” His mother orders him in a whisper as she turns to face the bathroom.

The sound of the wood being peeled from the front door, along with the claws scratching at the roof sends chills down their spine.  Both of them look over their shoulder as they crest the door frame to the bathroom.  Remembering his beloved cat, he runs to where he stands with his back arched.  He freezes as he scoops him up.

“Brayden…. Brayden what are you doing?  Come on!”  She forcefully whispers.

Brayden is drawn out of his trance, and turns with the same look that his father had when he was turned to ash.  He then looks at the door where the crisp sound of the wood being peeled away can be heard.  Brayden begins to run for the bathroom door.  His mother slams it closed.  He crashes into the wall on the opposite side of the small room.  He turns, letting his back hit the wall first, so that to protect his cat.  The sound of the air being knocked out of him echoes in the tiled room.

His mom kicks the towels back under the door, takes her child up in her arms and slides down the opposite wall until reaching the floor.  Brayden lays his head in his mother’s lap.  She begins to stroke his hair.  He feels her chilled tears fall near his ear.

“Mom, we aren’t going to make it, are we?”  He turns to look up at his mother.

She begins to weep burying her head in his back.  Feeling the sorrow from her, he begins to tear up soaking his mother’s pants.  The cat grows silent; Brayden perks his head up to see why.  The cat stands with its back still arched and tail fluffed out in anger.  It looks back and forth in the direction of the back and the front door.  The sound on the roof dissipates to silence.  Then the scratching at the back door starts.

“Mom… they are trying to get in the back door.” He anxiously states.

Through the candle light he looks up to see his mother nod.  The scratching at the back door quickly turns to the sound of wood being peeled off.  The cat then looks back towards the front door.  The cat continues to look back and forth between the doors.  The clicking sound on the tin roof resumes, this time getting louder and more prominent above their heads.

The two sit painfully listening to the sound.  The sound at both doors suddenly stops.  Brayden and his mother look back and forth from the door and then back at each other.  Brayden sits up, he feels his mother begin to shake.

“I love you, always know that I love you with all of my heart!”  She says as she wraps her arms around him.

He begins to tear up, “I love you too!”  He answers as he wraps his arms around her.

The doors at opposite ends of the house explodes with the sound of wood breaking.  Their embrace becomes tighter as they listen to the same sound they had heard on the roof now echoes off of the hard wood floors in the house.  A low growl is heard every so often.  The sound of the creatures can be heard roaming the house.  They both shake as they silently await their demise.  The silent clank of something brushing the door handle rattles the two.  They cling to each other shaking immensely.

“What are they waiting for?  Just get it over with.” Anne mumbles.

They sit huddled in silence for what seems like an eternity, listening to the demons roam their home.

“Clank” the door handle is bumped again, and then again.  It then begins to wiggle as if someone was trying to turn it.

Brayden holds his mother so tight that his hands begin to grow numb.  The sound of scraping the door then fills the air.  Then the sound of chunks of wood being peeled from it makes the two shutter.  This continues for about an hour when the inside core begins to bulge and crack.  Through the candle light they watch as the wood mysteriously is pulled, piece by piece.  Still the creature remains unseen.  Brayden and his mother wait to be turned to ash.

The sound of what can only be perceived as the creature’s claws on the wood floor are heard running towards the exterior doors.  The two sit in each other’s arms, the cat begins to brush up against them.  Slowly they release their grip.  Both stop to listen, it is quiet.  His mother stands up and Brayden grasp her by the ankle.  She looks down at him, still on the floor and presses her finger against her lips to quiet him.  She leans over, he watches as the candles flicker sharply and go out.  The room is in total darkness now.

The sound of something running back to the bathroom door fills the house.  A finale scratch pierces their ears.  Whatever it is dashes towards the front door in a rush.  She returns to the floor where she sits holding her son.  They sob, until they are interrupted by the cat scratching at the door.  To Brayden’s surprise, there is light flooding the room through the hole the creature had made in the door.

“Mom, look the suns up…… we can leave.”  He says as he stands up.

Anne grabs his leg; he flinches in pain from being hit by the car.

He looks down at her, “Mom… its ok, old man Wheeler said to stay put until the sun came up.”

He then pulls away from her to unlock the door.  He opens it to momentarily blinding them.  The two walk out to find the living room in shambles.  The curtains have been torn from the walls, pieces of the door are strewn about the room.

Brayden moves to the rear of the house to find the same scene in the kitchen.  He then walks back into the living room; having more faith in their safety then his mother.  They both watch as Hugo runs out into the yard as if nothing had happened.  The two pause to listen, the only sound that can be heard is the birds up above.

His mother goes to the front door.  He watches as she peeks around what is left of the door frame and pauses.  She begins to vocally cry; he walks up to join her when he sees what she had been looking at.  Where his father had last been seen is a pile of what appears to be ash.  His briefcase lays in the grass aside the walk.

“We made it, Mom.”  Brayden says with tears in his eyes.

She puts her arm around him and sniffles, then wipes her nose, “Not all of us, but your right we did.”

She walks back to the kitchen and rummages around under the sink.  He watches as she reappears with a flower vase.  She takes his hand and leads him out to the walk.  She collapses to her knees and begins to cry.  With the vase laying on its side next to the ash on walk and begins to scrape the ash into the container.  She stops and then gently pulls out two cylindrical items out of the middle.  It had been his father’s cuff links.  She hands them to him and continues to scrape the remainder of the ash into the makeshift urn.

With his father’s remains safely in the glass container, the two begin to walk into town in the same direction that Brayden had come from the day before.  The two note the small piles of ash on the sidewalk.  Brayden points out the two boy band backpacks next to two of the piles.  He then shows his mom the car that had hit them and right outside the still open door is the small pile that must have been the driver.

“Mom, I need to check on Mr. Wheeler.”

She nods and they begin to walk towards the old man’s house on the edge of the cemetery.  Slowly a handful of people emerge stumbling around the city that appears to have frozen in time.  The mother and son make it to the old man’s house and climb the stairs.

“Look…… Mom,” Brayden points to the pile of ash on the chair and what had spilled over the front of it.  “He didn’t put up a fight, that is where he was when I left him.”

She covers her mouth with her hands and gasps sorrowfully.  She pulls them away and looks deeply in her son’s eyes.

“Brayden, come on… let’s get home and pack our things……  We are going to get out of here.”

 

 

Story Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/island-surrounded-by-white-clouds-132806/

Grace By: Sarah Oliverson

Grace stood in the shadows, afraid to move. The thing staring at her from the end of the hall was grotesque. Hunched over on all fours it appeared to have a female body, but there was no hair. Every time Grace would shift, the thing would tilt its head, as if it could hear her. Thud, thud, thud, her heart beat increased the longer she stood there terrified to move. As she stood there the more it seemed it was intrigued with what she was doing.

The hallway was wide, papers and blood strewn everywhere. A man’s screams erupted down the hallway, drawing the things attention. Grace’s heartbeat shot through her throat as she watched the thing turn away from her, only to turn back and start slowly moving down the hall towards her.

Toenails scratched the floor as the thing stalked towards Grace. Head down, shoulders hunched in preparation of the pounce. Thud, thud, thud, was all that Grace heard as her heart crawled from her throat, into her ears.

The thing stopped right in front of Grace, breathing like a derby horse after the race. Sweat pooling on her face Grace dare not move.

Just down the hallways you could hear footsteps, “HEY UGLY, I’M OVER HERE!” screamed Rider.

It turned its head immediately screaming, it pounded both sides of the wall that Grace had firmly embedded herself in.

“DON’T MOVE GRACE! DON’T TALK, IT HEARS EVERY MOVE, EVERY HEARTBEAT.”

Just as the words left Rider’s mouth, the thing screamed for one more time while Grace looked it in the skin covered eye sockets. Just as it finished it engulfed Grace’s throat, showering itself and the brick walls around them with her blood. It then turned its sights on Ryder, listening to his drumming heart. The heart beat was like music to her ears as it thrummed away to the terror that she had caused when ripping his girlfriend’s throat out in front of him.The air creating bubbles in the blood that pooled from her neck.

The man stood in the hallway with the beast a corpse and his wild heartbeat. There wasn’t much left to do now that his heart lay bleeding out on the floor.

His dark hair disheveled, jacket and shirt torn with blood soaked jeans, Ryder was a sight to be seen. Sinking to his knees he watched as the thing bat around Grace. Slowly he began melting into the ground from his knees, without his Grace, everything they had worked to live for meant nothing.

He closed his eyes, even though he knew the thing was taking it’s time tenderizing its dinner, he imagined it standing over him licking its pale grey lips, preparing to turn him into the next rag doll.

The slow darkness took over, he closed his eyes waiting for the thing to come for him.

There was a rough jolt, almost like someone was running into walls in a hurry. A feeling of hovering over the ground, but the sound that came from it was more like dragging.

“Nicholas, do you think he’s going to make it? He’s lost a lot of blood?” the female voice said.

“That’s a great question, I can’t believe that it just left him there after ripping her throat out, this isn’t normal behavior from them.” He replied stoically. “Sometimes they pull through, and sometimes they turn into the things that our nightmares are made of.”

The woman nodded in the dark, Nicholas didn’t need to look at her to know, the two had been traveling together since the beginning when she had found him on Fort Bragg. He had been working together with his former commander to find all his missing guys, because no soldier gets left behind was their motto. What they hadn’t known was what the fallen soldiers had turned into. They continued to drag Ryder to safety. Well at least what they called safe. Since the outbreak there truly wasn’t a safe place to sleep. What would it be like to close your eyes again for more than a half hour? A hot shower would be amazing right now.

Alexa moved the cover off the door, and opened it for Nicholas to drag the man in. In the medium sized room, Ryder was set down so they could secure the doors, or what the door was made of. Months of conditioning like this in a hurry had made Alexa and Nicholas quite defined. They may be skinny, but they were made of pure determination and muscle.

Pulling the boards into place, Alexa stepped out of the way so Nicholas could shove the fridge in front of it. The battered thing had seen as much wear and tear as the two had and was keeping what was left of the door closed. It had taken them a while to hollow out the floor in the collapsed building that they were residing in, but they made it work.

As soon as the door was secured they pushed a couch out of the way reveling a door that was below it. This had been the find of a lifetime. There wasn’t food or water, they still had to leave to find that, but below this door was a concrete room.

There was soft talking around his head as he lay in a fog of unconsciousness. When he was conscious he was delirious, when he was unconscious he was fighting for his love, Grace. The scenarios were played over in slow motion over and over in an insanity induced nightmare.

Pain, sharp, stabbing. The flutter of light, more pain associated with the light. Muffled voices in the distance, Ryder turned his head towards the sound. Nicholas and Alexa stopped their conversation for a moment looking at their patient. Alexa scooted next to him.

“Can I get you some water?” she asked.

Nicholas piped in, “If you give him water, just wet his mouth until we know if he’s going to throw up or not.”

She nodded taking the cleanest rag she had, dipping it in the cup. Dabbing Ryder’s lips caused him to open his mouth, whistling to try and talk.

Alexa leaned into listen to him, the sound of air passing through his dry mouth and lips was sickening.

“Nicholas, I have no idea what he’s trying to say.” She said frustrated.

Nicholas leaned into the man, “Save your breath, you were in rough shape when we found you. Your friend didn’t make it.”

A tear slid down the man’s face.

“Is that what you were asking about?” Alexa asked.

With slight movement in his head, Nicholas looked at his friend. “Yeah, he was asking about her.”

“We moved her somewhere safe and covered her since we didn’t have the time to bury her with you bleeding so much. I know that she was important, but we had to take your life into consideration. There aren’t many of us left.” She said looking at her hands in her lap.

Ryder closed his eyes.

Nicholas pat his companion on the shoulder, “He needs rest and time.”

Alexa nodded.

They moved to give him more space, then the sounds of sleep filled the small area.

“We’re going to have to go back out for water and food again.” He said looking at the dirty female. “Especially with another mouth here, we will have to stock up.”

She nodded, reaching for the dim light, “I hope we make it back this time.”

He nodded looking at the sleeping man as he closed his eyes. Alexa smothered the light.

 

The two stood talking in low tones. The conversation sounded began to get heated in a whispered manner. “I could give a damn what you say.” She said.

“Shhh!” hushed the male voice.

Alexa rolled her eyes. “We need supplies Nicholas, I am going out. I promise that I will be careful.”

“I understand that we need supplies, but why are you the one going?”

The conversation got quiet again.

Ryder blinked, shaking his head as much as he could, began to moan. Alexa looked at him.

“Do you need more water?” she asked.

Tears streamed down his cheek as he tried to shake his head through the pain again.

“If I were a smart person, and sometimes I’m not, I would say that he doesn’t want you to go back out there.” Nicholas guessed looking the other male in the eye.

“No one wants to go back out there.” She said rubbing her hands on her face, “But we don’t have a choice if we’re going to live.”

“You call this living huh?” Nicholas replied shortly.

Alexa shook her head and walked to the ladder that was now their reality.

“Someone needs to stay here, and it’s my turn to go out there. That makes it obvious what needs to happen. They usually sleep during the day anyways.”

Shaking his head, Nicholas knew that her logic was right. Since they had brought Ryder in a couple of days ago, they had been taking turns getting water. Now Alexa needed to get food for them all.

photo downloaded from https://www.pexels.com/photo/grayscale-photo-of-human-eye-120271/

So You Gave Him Candy?

It started with a pencil in my fish tank, as I walked in the door,

Do I smell smoke in the air, are my drapes smoldering in a pile on the floor?

Hot wheels line the floor like a zombie apocalypse, oh gosh! He painted my walls with applesauce and napkins!

As I walk through the living room, “What the hell is that in my chair?”

Seriously is the dog hog tied, her ears poking out of his underwear?

I only stepped out for a moment, that’s all it took for him to take control of it?

What happed to the babysitter? Where is my husband at?

Just wait until I find this kid, what the hell is that thumping noise?

I walk into my room and look in my bed, what the hell is that mess in the middle of it?

Holy shit! Is that my son with mud from his toes to his head? I think he’s sleeping bare butt naked in my bed!

For a moment I thought of selling him to the neighbors.

Hold on a second, wasn’t there a babysitter here somewhere?

Isn’t my husband supposed to be in here over there?

That was his office, who is that passed out in his chair?

It looks like they fell a sleep pulling out their hair!

You know, there seems to be some sort of likeness, Is that my husband, my love, oh man that’s you that is pulling your hair!!

Why are there feet sticking out from over there? They’re shivering, shaking, “Hey honey wake up! It’s the babysitter quaking!”

“What in the hell happened here?”

” I see what you’re saying, that’s all fine and dandy, but who’s bright idea was it to give him the candy?”

“No, no, don’t you worry. I’m not selling him to the neighbors. You see, this happens every time he gets some candy.

This kid runs around screaming and hollering like a wild banshee”

It’s time to tuck his little bum to bed, with his sugar rush all gone.

Don’t worry my friend we’ll toss a torch on it in the morn.

Interview with the Author of Dust: Beaux Cooper

Having the great ability to work with Beaux Cooper, I was asked by her if I would like to do a book review on Dust.

If you read my reviews, you know I am a fantasy, science fiction, paranormal horror lover. This put me out of my league for a moment while reading this book. If you are looking for how well of an author Beaux Cooper is, I want you to put your normal genre down for just a moment

And pretend it isn’t there, pick up this book and read the first page. What am I driving at here? If you honestly love books this is going to be a score to remember for your library.



DustbyBeauxCooper-200

Q: I absolutely enjoyed reading Dust, while reading this book; you can honestly tell that you not only put the research into this book. These characters are so much fun to get lost with, you can tell that there is a part of your heart in this book. To get outstanding entertainment like this, how long did it take you to research and write, find a publisher, and cover art for this book?

A: I started writing Dust quite by accident a few years ago when I was driving through California with my husband. Within a few miles I had drawn up the entire outline to the novel and written up a few paragraphs of dialogue. Before the trip was over I had the main character figured out and a general idea of where I wanted to go next. But then we stalled for a while. I still lived in Oregon and to write about a state you know nothing about, Wyoming in my case, made things rather difficult. So when my husband had the opportunity to take a job in Wyoming we jumped at it! It took me roughly eight months to write up the official first draft, a week to edit, and another three weeks or so to sporadically submit the manuscript electronically to publishers. At the time I had pigeonholed Dust in the western category only to find out it was more contemporary fiction instead, so my submission window was rather small – That was in May of 2015. By August 2015 I had a response from a publishing house that included a contract deal. I had had a few “No thank you’s” and a few scams which wanted me to pay them to publish my work in the meantime so I wasn’t 100% their contract was the real deal. But it was! Editing and cover art happened over the course of a few months and then we had to wait in the publisher’s lineup for Dust’s chance to be released which brings us to today. In all, from the start of serious work, it took 19 months of work to get us to today.

Q: Out of all the characters that you created, which of the characters was your favorite to create and why?

A: He doesn’t appear very often, but my favorite character is Ward, the ranch owner. He is an honest man who is utterly devoted to his wife even after 60 years of marriage. His presence is subtle throughout the book, but he has a lasting impact on my main character, Austen.

 

Q: When writing this book, what was your favorite part of writing this book?

A: I loved the excuse to drive out into unknown places in Wyoming to listen to the state’s heartbeat. The way the elements play out here is something I’ve never experienced before and had I not lived here I could never have written about it and come close to the wonder, beauty, and danger that lurks here.

Q: With this book, are you planning a sequel? Do you see this book taking you farther into writing novels as a career?

A: My original goal is to create two more follow up books making this the Wildcat Trilogy. Austen has a few more lessons to learn in book two and Ward plays a larger role in book three.

Q: How many more days until Dust comes out?

A: Today!!! Dust is available to read and purchase today on Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, and Apple!

Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads!

 


 

What an amazing day for an amazing book! If you have pre-ordered this book, you do not need to wait to download it! Thank you so much for taking the time to give us an insight into your book Beaux, I wish you the best of luck with this book.

If you have questions for Beaux or would like to follow her please take a look on Highlighting the Mind or her personal website. Thank you for reading. Go get a copy and a cup of coffee, this book is worth it.

Dust By: Beaux Cooper

DustbyBeauxCooper-200

Goodreads for Beaux Cooper and Dust? If I could do a 10 out of 5… I would, since that isn’t possible I give it a 5 out of 5….just know that it well exceeds my expectations for getting sucked into books.

If you know me, you know I don’t go for romance or sappy stories. If it has it in there already and it’s written well, please continue with it. I usually read, write and live in Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy. It’s really refreshing to lose yourself in someone else’s mind for a while. Let’s be real that is exactly what you get when you pick up a book. A peek into someone else’s mind.

I’m not going to lie, I was a little hesitant when Beaux emailed me and asked me if I wanted to do a review on her book. I didn’t want to be out of my league when it came to reviewing her book. I am so glad that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and took a ride to Wyoming with Austen. This is a modern western that kicks the city out the door and allows you to get lost in hard work and fresh air. My suggestion is to grab a copy, get a cup of coffee or hot cocoa, a blanket and get lost in this book.

When Austen comes to mix with the cowboys this is exactly what she needs. At the beginning she has to figure out where she fits in, when she shows how hard working she is it gives life to how much she truly belongs on the ranch. There is so much to find in this book, along with yourself. This was exactly what I needed to read. Please take the time and pre-order your copy. This is a book that soothing to the soul.

 

If you love Beaux Cooper’s writing please come back for her interview about Dust, this was such an awesome book, I had to know where did this idea come from? If you would like to know, please come back and see for yourself.

This One’s for you Ladies!!

I’m not usually into chick power, I have to be honest with you I grew up with a roll model that shunned the idea. Until recently. I have started to find ladies that have the same humor as I do. There is a reason why I say this too. I’m an anti-social grump ass that has finally found an online magazine that fits the bill for being made by chicks for chicks.

http://knotsosubtle.com/

I found this magazine perusing the classified adds for an online job where I could be closer to my family. I’m not saying that they don’t drive me crazy and that occasionally I need to put myself in time out on a daily basis too. I think that’s every mom, wife, spouse, daughter…..I’m stopping the list here because you get the point. This magazine has what I need to get a great giggle . The authors are witty, comical and have a great way of adding facts and real-life situations to their articles.

If you’re a snarky bat with a vag like me and you need a great laugh from great authors this is the place to be. Get over there check it out and get away from yourself for a minute with a good laugh and some great articles!

Thanks for reading!!

Happy Reading, Writing, and Poetry Folks!!

Photo was downloaded off http://favim.com/image/79167/

My Crash Course as a Parent

These are my beautiful, annoying, grumpy, silly, sad, and happy munchkins. When I was a teenager the one thing I did not want was to be a parent. Yup, kids were cool, you could get them all sugared up,IMG_2113

then send them home to crash for

mom and dad.

Let’s not lie we’ve all

done that to our siblings . I didn’t start out as a mom, I didn’t want to be a mom. In fact I was told at one point in my life I couldn’t be a mom by my doctor. I was perfectly fine with that. I wanted to be the carefree, pain in the ass, wonderer that traveled the globe looking for nothing but myself.

About the time that I decided to do that my sister came home and told us that she was pregnant. Hey! Right on! That’s awesome that you’re going to be a mom and I’m going to be an aunt. Let’s keep it that way, then I can still send it home to you at the end of the day! I was eighteen years old bitter that I had to work and couldn’t be drunk all the time. That was my life, I liked to party. Who doesn’t like to have a good time?

This was when I had hit the point that I hated everyone except for my immediate family. Didn’t you know I had it all figured out? This was when my niece Katie came. My mom, who was harder headed than I was, drug me into the delivery room to see everything that no one should share. I was absolutely grossed out, that is, until my sister was holding this beautiful tiny baby girl that we had been waiting nine months to welcome into the world. I was envious. I had been told that I couldn’t have children, so there I went being bitter again. I had completely wore my body out and they were going to throw me in the hospital for a week with a kidney infection that I had started to have enough. I was visiting my sister who had turned into an amazing mother. I had enough of being bitter and decided that if I couldn’t have my own children that I would adopt when the time was right.

I quit drinking (funny notion I know) and from there I worked to put my life where I thought I needed it to be. Met my first husband, had a miscarriage and got depressed and took it out on him. A year later we were divorced and I was living with my grandparents again for a short time. I started dating my husband now and went through a bunch of different careers trying to figure out who I wanted to be.

Recruiting

I decided I was going to try and be successful as a civilian recruiter for The United States Army. In this picture I was six weeks pregnant with my beautiful daughter Vivian who I was told I couldn’t have.

(We didn’t know we were having her at this point either!)

If you’re wondering…..nope we weren’t married at the time. I know I’m going straight to hell, and that’s okay. Just save me a seat in the front row, okay?

So there I was at ARC (Army Recruiting Course), thinking that I had the flu that was going around when you get a bunch of people together for any type of training. A week later it didn’t go away, it should have. I was still sick as a dog, threatened with being thrown out of the course etc. etc……I was a civilian at that time I didn’t know the rules, I should have never been there, but I was.

I went to the store very skeptical about the results of what I was looking for. A pregnancy test…..that’s right, the one thing I couldn’t have on my own and I was testing for them. It was a good thing that I got the one that had more than one in it because I was not expecting the positive results that I received!

After the positive results were determined, that I figured I needed to reach down and suck it up, even though that is not what I did. My mind else where, barely making it through recruiting school. I got home, started my new job. Loved the green suites that I worked with! They were absolutely hilarious, this was my style. They made it easier to get up and work fourteen hours and then go home and crash.

Finally after strep, kidney infections, preterm labor, two weeks overdue, puppps syndrome (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy), my OB said, “Hey, let’s stick a cath in your cervix so we can get the party started!”

I was for it! There was only one cool thing about having a baby, that was the baby!

At midnight that night, I started having really good contractions. My husband (now, yeah we tied the knot) woke his dad up who we were staying with since it was closer, threw me in the car and hauled ass for Labor and Delivery.

We got there, they took us right up to labor and delivery. When they asked how far I was and I told them that we were two weeks over due with no results on my cervix and no more contractions and the type of help I needed from my OB, they had no problems putting me in a delivery room with an IV of Pitocin. This was the problem, it didn’t work. The contractions had stopped after they put in my epidural. (After my preterm contractions there was no way in hell I was going without one!) That was the step that saved my daughter’s life. There were no issues after twelve hours of contractions with no results and a ruptured water. My OB walked into the room and said, “Who’s ready to have a baby?”

They took me straight into emergency cesarean surgery. Everything was good, I got to see my very blue little girl whom had the cord wrapped around her neck three times and was trying to play yo-yo with herself, but she was okay. She was going to make it just fine.

My OB started to get my body put back together.(yes when they say they pull your guts out on your belly, they really do) Here came the problems. They told my husband to go with our daughter because the anesthesiologist had let the pain medication run out of my epidural and I had started to feel everything. The anesthesiologist started to play it off until I started to cry and scream. That was when the lights went out. When I woke up there was no stopping me from screaming, it was the most pain I had ever felt in my life. It should have been because lets not lie, when they cut you open and pull your child and your guts out of your body it’s going to hurt like hell.

My husband was still with my daughter who was coming out much better then I was. My mom and my sister were trying to calm me down from the pain. They had put the morphine pump in my hand, not that I would be able to do much with it since I could push the button multiple times but it wouldn’t dispense until the timer let it. My mom having heard enough of me crying and was ready to ring someone’s neck when she sent my sister to get my dad. Every little girl needs their daddy when they couldn’t control things. This pain was uncontrollable, for all I knew my husband was AWOL, my baby was not in my arms and I was in agonizing pain. My mind was in business for itself. Viviana

Then my father walked in and with his calm demeanor started talking quietly to me to help me get myself under control. The pain was still there but he told me that I was in the pre-operating room for cesareans. How could I not feel empathy for some of these girls listening to me scream uncontrollably in pain while they were getting ready to go into the room that I had just came out of.

It wasn’t much longer while I was still sobbing (silently at this time) that my mother told me that they were going to bring in Nick and Viviana. I was told I could hold her, but if I was to excited she was going to get excited too. I needed to be calm for my little girl who had just went through her own experience so early in life. Remember the part when I said that I just wanted to be selfish for most of my life? That went out the window the moment this beautiful little girl was placed in my arms. The thought of it just being me was no longer there, it was me and this kid and by god we were going to make it out of that hospital together in almost one piece!

This was my first true experience as a brand new mother, it was horrible but we’re tough and that’s how we do it!

Deciding that one child was enough for me. I was terrified after everything was healed to get intimate with my husband for fear that my birth control wasn’t going to work and we were going to have another baby. I didn’t want to feel that kind of pain again…….EVER. Well almost five years later and a ton of weight gain from the birth control I decided that I was going to come off of it and that we were just going to use spermicide and condoms to make sure we didn’t have another baby. I couldn’t live my life in fear anymore.

Here was the thing, it was bound to happen, he had his own plans. Before we even knew we were going to have another baby, my daughter was telling all of my friends that we were pregnant. She was four, almost five, and she was right. Nick had just gotten orders for deployment. This was when the fear set in. I was going to be alone, with my daughter for ten to twelve months. Horror movies had nothing on my imagination at that point.

I told my husband that I was moving in with my parents while he was gone. That was a relief off his shoulders and mine. I had my rock solid foundation there for me……..right? This was how I became more than just a parent. This was where I put on my super cape and powered through my husbands deployment with a child that didn’t want a sibling. A mother who had lost herself somewhere in herself. My dad and I were stuck together with a four year old and a spouse who couldn’t help because they were falling apart. Somehow we made it. I don’t know when it happened but my dad and I truly became buddies.

Then it hit the point where I was just done, done with the emotional baggage, done with the pregnancy, done with my husband being gone, I was tired of being strong for everyone and everything. I broke down and I told my awesome OB I was ready come hell or high water. She said you know what, let’s see if we can send out a request. I know that they can’t always be here for the birth, if not we can skype it like we did your ultrasounds. Somewhere I think God knew that I needed my husband to be by my side for this. I needed him to see that I wasn’t crazy, that things really had gotten bad, that half of my rock solid foundation was gone and I deliveryneeded him. We don’t always get along. I’m not always nice to him and sometimes he is a downright jerk to me but this was one time that wasn’t to be allowed. This was one time my prayers were answered and my husband got to come home for a very, very short period of time.

This was where I started to hyperventilate……here came the caesarian…… I was terrified. My anesthesiologist was awesome, my OB read between the lines and put me right out after I had freaked out. I didn’t feel any pain when I woke up and things were not as traumatic as they were when I had Vivian. I had a beautiful little girl and a very handsome little boy.

The boy

Some how things seemed to be right. This isn’t a happily ever after, this is a things aren’t perfect and we’re going to throw stuff together family.

Sometimes this is truly is what my house looks like, and sometimes I want to rip my hair out. That is every parent I think, but I would never give my children back. There is never a day where I say that I can’t do this. I have days where I say, “Hey I’m crazy and I need help.” There is a reason why I take Prozac, but I don’t ever give up. These kids saved my life, my sanity, and my humanity. I am nothing without them and I have finally claimed my official job title………….a mother.

The kids

Thank you for reading! Remember there is a difference between positive criticism and being an ass! If this post doesn’t appeal to you please keep going.

Happy Reading, Writing, and Poetry Folks!

Dear Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block

411 Road To Knowhere

Gaylordsville, CT 06755

(123) 456-7890

no_reply@gmailcom

26th October 2015

Sarah Oliverson

333 Thanks For Helping Me

Frankenstein, MI 65016

(123)456-7890

originalideas4u@gmail.com

Dear Writer’s Block,

It’s been three days since you have started your shenanigans. I must tell you that you are being evicted. You have thirty days to vacate the premises.

Please remember to leave things the way that you found them. I know that this might be expensive but that is what happens when you trash a place that you do not own. Also please replace the blinds to the eyes, and replace the carpet on the tongue. Also remember to polish the teeth, the silver ones are very expensive. I will be through in two weeks to do a walk through with you. If you have not complied with stated request there will be a need to call the police of WBC County. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Please remember to take your pink flamingos and lawn gnomes with you, they don’t live here anymore.

Sincerely,

Sarah Oliverson

Image credit:http://graphicleftovers.com/blog/funny-fortune-cookies-facebook-timeline/

Hello Again!

Hello Again Jerk Face, you know the one that got away.

I haven’t stop to miss you.

I’ve been to busy trying to get through my days.

Those are some nice flowers, are they for your girl?

You know the one that slammed my face in the door?

I guess she won’t mind if I just crop dust her at this pace.

I couldn’t help but notice the chocolate behind your back,

did you know that’s what will make her fat?

Let’s not lie that teddy bear,

well it looks like it’s been through some wear and tear.

I’m sorry, I think I missed what you said.

Did you just say you missed my big head?

If I remember right you wished I was dead!

Excuse me while I go throw up, this is Valentine’s Day.

You know the one where we broke up as you threw

a glass of wine in my face,

told me to get out of your place.

Did you just say those are for me?

Hey dude, you better get down on your knees.

Ask  for forgiveness in a nice way,

Otherwise get out of the way.

Let’s not forget that I don’t miss you.

Don’t let the door hit you, where the good Lord split you!

For my Kat, I love your face!

Photo Credit: Ivan Vukelic

Downloaded on: fineartamerica.com