Tag Archives: short story

Letting Go – A Very Short Story






Letting Go~

“I’m gonna let go, but I don’t know where I’m gonna fall to?” asked the dirty faced little boy who hung limply from a clothesline in the pitch blackness over a deserted alley some four stories high.

“That’s right Michael,” said the other much older boy who hung out the window with one hand in a tight knuckled grip on the window sill and the other on the clothesline from which Michael hung.

“You gotta drop straight down and let us see what you’re made of.  We’ve all had to do it, you won’t be the first,” the boy said, in a matter fact tone.

Michael looked up from where he hung at the older boy who had spoken to him, his face and body were hidden in the myriad of shadows the surrounding buildings cast upon him. It seemed to Michael that the shadows spoke to him, the voice didn’t belong to anyone at all just a disembodied entity wanting him to fall to his doom. Michael looked up higher to the stars overhead, his only source of light. He gazed at the nighttime sky, the dancing twinkling night.  He had never noticed the stars twinkle as much as he did this night. It made him ponder, it made him think. It made him come to a decision.

He took one last look, time to see what he was made of he thought. He gave the shadowy boy a nod and let go. Just like that.

He fell for an eternity. His long hair was pulled upward as he heard the rush of air flow past his ears.  The beat of his heart was the only other intrusion upon his senses as he fell. The stars above were lost in a deep blackness that couldn’t be pierced, like falling down a well at night.


He had landed and he was alive. Somehow he was alive.  Michael got up and stood amidst the cheering, hooting and hollering of the other boys that had waited down below. Then he simply turned from them and walked away and never looked back. He did look up though at the twinkling stars.

The End



by Philip Wardlow 2015

I appreciate my Followers


Just wanted to let my followers know  I appreciate you hanging on and your support .  I am writing writing writing  as always…thanks for your likes and your occasional comments!

New Short story to come on here and as always working on  FIRST novel that I am so TRYING to get finished for this year and ready for submission to Publishers.

So keep following, more great things to come…:)

The Incident – A 100 Word Flash Fiction Story


The Incident –  Toogli hung from the tree high over head, hidden, looking down through the thick foliage. She had told him to run and not to look back.  He was a good son, so he had listened and ran like the wind through the trees. His friends often said he was the fastest. No one could touch him when he was one with the trees. Branch to branch, his soul knew the woods like no other. His mother had taught him well. She would win the day. She would get away. The two legs would be disappointed today.
“Crack!”   It rang out clear to his ear straight to his heart.
He had turned back then to the place they had been, just in time to see them dump the limp body of his mother inside the canvas bag and pull the drawstring tight.

The End

Note:  Thank you to Josh Mosey for the 100 word Writing Prompt

The Place Down Under – My very first story at the age of 16

Well I scrounged through some of my very old stuff…and I mean old stuff looking for something I could revive and breathe life back into again. One thing you should know about me is that I keep almost everything I have ever written…..poems,  journals,  writing assignments, grocery lists,  etcs…..

In my pot of gold of stuff I found  theeeeeee very first story I ever wrote for an writing assignment in  my 10th grade English class. Its one of those assignments where the teacher gives you a list of ten vocabulary words your learning for the week and you have to use them in a story. You are only given the class time to complete the story so you have to be quick.

The title of the story scribbled in blue ink on the top of my paper was “The Place Down Under” .   On the top of the paper in red ink above the title was my letter grade of an “A”. Don’t let that fool you. I believe we were just getting graded on us knowing the vocabulary and not really for story content or grammar.

I will let you be the judge whether it was a good story for a sixteen old to write or not. After that I will reveal what the teacher wrote and said to me later regarding this very story which affected me greatly…so here goes…enjoy this little story.  MY FIRST EVER!  (also I will italicize the vocab words for you I had to know just for fun)

“The Place Down Under”

There once was a man named Henry Pym, who believed that he was the perfect human. He had a good job and a nice family; he was healthy and expected to live a long happy life, but suddenly his life was snuffed out  by a man, who was more or less a little crazy that stabbed him in the bathroom of an exquisite restaurant in the heart of  New York City.

Well we find Henry Pym dead, walking down a never-ending hallway. The decorum was little less than conventional; blood-red portraits hung on the walls of the hallway, dead bodies littered the floor causing  Henry to trip over them  occasionally.

Henry Pym must have guessed that this was hell because he called for Satan himself.

“Oh Satan! O Satan!” Henry called.

Suddenly his surroundings changed and he found himself in a darkly lit cavernous room in which sat a man on a throne of bloody bones. Henry was very optimistic that he had found Satan or perhaps Satan had found him. Just to make sure he asked the man on the throne if he was indeed truly Satan.

“Would you be perhaps be the unholiest of holys my dear sir. The foulest of fiends that ever existed? ” Henry tried not to sound rude to the man but how do you ask such a question and not.

The man threw back his head and just laughed at him.

“No, you little egotist. I’m the Tidy Bowl man come to clean your toilet. “

“You must think I’m pretty gullible to believe a lie like that?” Henry replied

“No, I don’t think your gullible I just think your pretty stupid.”  the man on the throne replied.

Henry ignored the reply and asked Satan; for he was pretty sure now that this was Satan, why he had ended up in hell. Satan produced a clipboard from thin air  and started thumbing through it and flipping pages  and scanning down some list Henry could not see.

“Hmmm…it seems your soul took a wrong turn somewhere ..or perhaps God made a mistake on purpose and sent you to me.  He does that on occasion you know; maybe he doesn’t like you either.”

Henry stomped his foot and told Satan to send him to heaven or he would do something to harm him.  Satan laughed again and stood up from his throne of bones. Which Henry thought idly, didn’t look very comfortable to sit on.

“This is my domain. I rule here! You cannot give me an ultimatum ordering me to do anything! Besides, God and I are not on the best of terms. We have very incompatible natures you might say…we don’t see eye to eye on certain subjects. He has this crazy obsession with goodness and well-being and things like compassion…blah blah blah…which I can’t stand. Oh I must stop talking. It’s starting to make my head hurt bringing up all those horrible things.

Satan sat back on his throne and put his head down. To Henry Pym he almost looked depressed. Then a small trickle of a tear fell from Satan’s left eye and his body shuddered and he started to cry full on into his lap.

Henry thought it would be indiscreet to say anything more. Henry had never been very good at consoling crying people,  let alone the Devil, so he left in a very versatile manner out of the cavernous room through a small dark tunnel.

Henry could still hear Satan’s loud sniffling and bawling carrying to his ear as he crawled down the tunnel far away from him.  Henry soon forgot about him and wondered where the exit door was hiding to get him the hell out of hell…


Conclusion forthcoming soon as I get another

assignment to write a another  story or until Superman stops wearing

my long underwear.

I hoped you found that entertaining. I know the story wasn’t riveting but hey I was sixteen. Needless to say I never did a get a chance to write the sequel to this and get Henry Pym out of hell. He has unfortunately been wondering there for quite some time.

Well my teacher wrote at the very bottom of this story on the last page in red ink this phrase.  “What an imagination!” 

She later came to me and recommended that I switch from regular English to Honors English because she thought my time was being wasted here in her class.  Her recommendation propelled me into various books I never would have read at an early age and an appreciation for literature that excites me and guides me to this day in my reading and writing…and for that I want to thank her very much.

Than you Ms. Sikkema wherever you are. Did I mention she was a lesbian…before it was cool to be a lesbian and that she had told us story of her stealing a school bus when she was younger..she was so cool…I guess that’s why I have such a fondness for lesbians now…(sorry that last part I was thinking out loud). Thanks for listening.

Update on My Writing Work…and how I found out what’s really important.

Hello one and all…first I want to thank all my followers  basically for still following me…:).

For the ones I follow I have loved reading your blogposts as well.  You might have noticed that I’m sure when I comment on  a blogpost that peaks my interests.  I’m usually one of the first ones to chime in on something you might have said if it catches my eye.

I have had a pretty sluggish month for posting to my blog.  My writing in general for my short stories for this month has been  sub-par you might say.  I will be wrapping up two short stories to display on here soon that I hope to send off to some publishers as well.  I wanted to also write a few personal anectdoal stories on here as well when time permits along with some Blogger award stuff I’ve been meaning to get to.

The main reason for my lack of posting is that my wife had to have a pretty major surgery which will have a long recovery time of about 6-8 weeks before she’s back to her normal self. ( When she gets back to full health she’ll be hitting me in no time….she likes to abuse me…:)

Anyways, I just thought I should let you know that. I don’t feel I owe an explanation to the souls in cyberspace I just felt like telling you for no particular reason other than that your all a small part of my life.

I also wanted to  express that I do have to thank my wife though for opening my eyes.

Often I stressed out when I felt I wasn’t  being productive enough in my writing. I felt less than if I didn’t meet the personal challenges I set forth for myself in my writing.

As I sat by my wife’s hospital bed  after her long 6hr  ordeal of a surgery I realized that I felt at peace. At peace because this is where I needed to be, where I wanted to be.  The proximity of her and knowing she was alive and starting to heal as she slept was all that I wanted in that moment. I didnt’t feel a compulsion for anything except for her to get better.

She’s home now and slowly getting better. I’m  taking care of her and everything else in life (like writing) seems insignificant.

My writing is important to me but I realized it will never be what she is to me, for you see, she is my muse in everything that I call this life and you have to take care of your muse …especially if your a writer  …right…:).

Thanks again!


Roadkill – My Novella Published to Amazon as an Ebook

There are things that lurk in our world unseen, dark creatures lost in a time and a world so ancient as to be forgotten by the same humans who made dark dealings with them so very long ago.

Now per happenstance, on a dark shrouded road these worlds will collide briefly again….

What would you do if you hit and killed something on the road in a raging blizzard in the middle of the night and that something you killed had a companion which meant to force you to make amends for your actions?

Adrian is the thirty-something already troubled family man who suddenly finds himself in that world.  Adrian soon discovers it doesn’t want him. It wants the thing he holds most dear to his heart. Whom will the thing choose as the price to be paid, Adrian’s lovely wife Elisa, or his young eight year old daughter Sylvia?

Following the ancient laws set forth, a balance must be kept, and Adrian the good family man, must pay the price whether he likes it or not. Will Adrian have it in him to fight to keep his family whole or will he give into his fears and past traumas that have haunted him for years and lose the ones he loves along with perhaps his own life in the process?


Roadkill Book above now published on Amazon as an Ebook for the Kindle and sells for $2.99…OR if you are an Amazon Prime Member you can borrow the book for free with no due date until you want something new to read by me or anyone else who sells in the Select Collection series which contain literally thousands of titles.


The KDP Select Program through Amazon I think personally is a great idea…it basically sets up a fund or bank if you will to allow self publishers like myself to get exposure and perhaps little mula if the whenever the eBook gets read.  Notice I said read..not bought . Sure some can buy the book but some members can just borrow it for awhile at no cost. The more my book is borrowed compared to what’s in the Fund and what other member’s books in the program are borrowed directly affect what I may receive as a stipend you might say at the end of that monthly period. It’s possible if you have good book to get to more readers and make more money promoting it this way than simply selling it out right. It pays to give it away to some extent you might say….Speaking of giving it away, I do believe I will have five free days made available to me to offer it to anyone as an Ebook  whether your a Prime member or not. I will let you know when that happens. (or you could always buy it before that…hint hint..:) …)

As always I am submitting my work to publishers, and entering contests. I am now just trying to attack this thing I call a dream of mine on another front to get my work out there.(less to make money but that doesn’t hurt either)  Hopefully for those who have or might read my work and found it to your liking. Please pass my name along  to  your friends and family who also might be interested in a good read.


Two Pennies – A Short Story

Two Pennies

by Philip Wardlow

Pip was the greatest friend I ever had or ever would have for the rest of my life. I’ll never forget him.  I first met Pip in Mrs. Grainger’s sixth grade class. We had just finished up on a spelling test that I was sure to get a D+ on, I didn’t care either way. Mrs. Grainger walked around the class collecting tests.  I stared out the window and lost myself in thought as I often liked to do while she did.  I saw out of the corner of my eyes many of the other kids sitting around me all turn their heads in unison towards the opened door to our classroom. I turned my head as well. What caught their attention had been a boy our age. He held a paper in his hand and just stood there in the open doorway to the classroom. He looked around the room taking everyone in as he quietly turned his head.

Mrs. Grainger hadn’t notice him yet as she continued to pick up the tests. The kids just gawked at him as he stood in there; as kids are going to do when they see something new, like a new kid standing in their class, especially this kid. I have to admit I gawked as well. He stood a head taller than any girl or boy we had in our grade, especially me. I’m as short as they come for my age. He wore these dingy blue overalls which hung over a thin, but wiry frame. He wore a white long sleeve shirt which buttoned at the neck and these big paint speckled black leather shoes which seemed to stick out too far from the cuffs of his pants. He was a sight I tell ya.

The boy ran his hands through his short blond hair as he waited patiently for Mrs. Grainger to notice him in the doorway.  He was cool, no doubt about it. Even in that get up, you could tell he knew exactly what he looked like standing there, he was comfortable with who he was.  He didn’t care, not in the slightest. It was almost as if he was challenging someone to say something about the way he looked, but then again as I think back on it all now, maybe it wasn’t a challenging look, maybe it was just a look of, I don’t give a damned if people don’t like what they see, I’m not changing for anybody.

Brandon Fenster, the resident a- -hole in my class, who sat behind me and loved to slap me on the back of the neck when the teacher wasn’t looking, decided to meet the challenge.

“Hey, Mrs. Grainger, there’s a farm boy at the door trying to sell a bushel of apples!”   Brandon’s voice boomed across the entire sixth grade room.

The class erupted in laughter. Everyone joined in on the merriment, but he just stared ahead, waiting patiently, seemingly unaware of Brandon’s stupid remark. I could swear I saw the new boy’s mouth give a slight twinge upward, almost as if he was trying not to smile. Smile, could that be?  Not after what Brandon had just said.  What a jerk that Brandon is, I thought to myself.

“Oh, I was wondering when you might show up,” said Mrs. Grainger as she finally got a clue as to what was going on.  I hated the way she always ignored the things Brandon and his friends sometimes said and did to the other kids in the class, all because their parents owned half  of the damn town or sat on some committee she was part of as an underling kissing the ground they walked on thinking it would do her some good for her own sake.  Nobody else counted in her class, especially me; my family was the biggest bunch of nobodies you ever saw.  Her attitude pissed me off, immensely. In case you’re wondering what immensely means, it means a lot.

The teacher walked over to him and grabbed the paper from the boy’s hand and looked it over like it was the most important piece of paper in the whole world. In her annoyingly scratchy tone Mrs. Grainger introduced him, “Class, this is Jonathan Pipkin he will be-“The boy interrupted her at this point.

“Sorry ma’am, but I’d like to be called by my last name, Pipkin, Pip for short actually. If you don’t mind that is.” Pip looked at her innocently with big saucer blue eyes while the rest of the class kinda held their breath waiting to see what would happen next. Would she explode? Go epileptic on us?

No one ever interrupted the teacher, at least not if they could help it, and woe be to you if you did.  She smoothed her wrinkly white hands down the front of her long rough black dress and leveled her gaze down through her round spectacles directly at him.

“Now see here Sir-first we do not interrupt the teacher when she is talking, that is just rude and unmannerly, and second we do not call people in this class by their surname unless prefixed with a Mr. or a Miss and we certainly do not give a shortened version of it. Would you like to call me Mrs. Grain or, better yet, how about, Grain; that would do nicely hmmmm…?”  She almost seemed like she was going to hiss like a cat at the end. She always seemed very proud of dressing down kids in front everyone else.

“Mrs. Grainger,  I’m sorry that I interrupted  you but I thought you should  know  up front that  seeing  as how it’s been my God-given name for almost twelve  full years,  and my family’s name for who knows how long, that you could call me Pip.  I not only bear the name Pip for myself, but to honor my poor grandfather’s memory who passed away just this past spring who had nicknamed me Pip from the time that I was born. “   Again he looked at her with those same innocent eyes but this time with a hint of a challenge, it seemed.

I don’t think she knew what to make of Pip after that. I really don’t. But what he said must have struck something in her, because from then on she always called him Pip.

“Please find a seat… Pip, and find it quickly” she said

He walked to the back of the classroom through stares and open mouths of the other kids including my own; even Fenster seemed to be at a loss for words.

“Hello?” Pip said “Hello?” he said again as I realized he was talking to me.

“Is this seat taken?” He said pointing to the empty chair beside me at my table.

For some reason I broke into a grin; he almost seemed to infect me with the same energy that I saw dancing behind his eyes.

“N,n,n, no no” I stammered to him and my grin faded.

My damn stutter, I hated it. More than anything else in life, I hated the sound of my voice ever since I could remember.

Then Fenster found his voice again. He leaned in close to me from behind his desk table and whispered so as not attract the teacher’s attention as she waddled back towards the front of the room with the spelling tests clutched tightly to her.

“Can’t carry a conversation with Jeremy here, farm boy, he can’t ta.. ta… talk straight.”   Fenster gave me playful slap on the back of my neck and leaned back into his seat while his lips spread into a Grinch like grin across his face.

God, I wanted to murder him then.  I was small but stocky. I know I could’ve snapped the scrawny Fenster like the toothpick he was.  I’m not sure why I didn’t. Something always held me back. I wasn’t really scared of him. I couldn’t explain it.  I just couldn’t bring myself to pop him one. So I just took it, day after day, the comments, the slapping.  Every day at school always ended up a pleasant experience.

Then Pip, who was now sitting next to me at my table, turned around in his chair and whispered to Fenster, “You what my Dad used to tell me?”  Pip asked him

“How the hell do I know, he’s not my Dad.” Fenster said smartly but to smartly on account of Pip could’ve stomped him into the ground lengthwise if he wanted.

“That wise men talk because they have something to say fools, because they have to say something. Which one are you?”  I remember Pip just looked at Fenster as if he expected an answer. Pip yawned theatrically, waiting. No answer came.  Fenster just sat there. You could tell his brain was gonna start to smoke trying to figure out what Pip had just said to him. He could be a real dullard at times.

Then the bell for lunch rang with its intermittent shrill, which probably saved Fenster from his head exploding.  He popped up from his desk and scampered away like a hyena not being able to steal a scrap of meat off a lion’s kill.

The class began to file out of the room but I hung back to talk to Pip.

“I just wa wa wan t.t.t..to thank you.” I stammered helplessly.

“For what? He’s a Neanderthal. Jerks like him need to be put in their place early or else they just get worse as time goes by.  Hey would you mind if I sat with you at lunch? I hate eating alone.”

“Sur Sure” was all I said to him in a calm voice. Inside I was a mess.  No one had sat with me at lunch since I was in 2nd grade, the grade before kids really start labeling you as an outcast. I didn’t know how to handle it. My palms began to sweat as we walked out of the classroom door and took a right towards the cafeteria which was barely fifty feet down the hall past Mr. Harvey’s fifth grade class. My heart was pounding like a race horse in the Kentucky Derby. It was awful, Mrs. Grainger stood like a sentry at her post at the front entrance to the cafeteria as we marched in under her straight eyed robot stare.

Pip and I both got in the hot lunch line. I noticed he had a hot lunch card ready to be punched out in his hand just like me. Must be as poor as me I thought. Nobody willingly ate this shit if they could help it.  Pip gave me a nod to indicate an open table off near the exit doors leading to the playground. I thought my tray would slip out of my hands on account of all the sweat pouring out of them, it was terrible.

To make things worse, the kids we walked by just stared at us, like we were aliens or some weird freak show come to visit from a traveling carnival. Meet the amazing Big Boy and his pint-sized sidekick Tiny. Oh lovely, for some reason I gave a glance over at Pip and he was grinning to himself.  It made me wonder if he was thinking the same thing.

“Knowledge is the food of the soul Jeremy, but it doesn’t quite taste like food to the belly. Does it Jeremy?” Pip said as we finally sat down together.

“Are you you quo quo ting somebody. It sa sa sounds that way anyway, whe whe when you ta ta ta talk.”  I said.

“Clever Jeremy, you’re right I was quoting someone else, Plato to be exact. My father and mother teach me a lot. They are both professors over at the University.” Pip opened up his milk and took a gulp while he rolled up some of the spaghetti from his lunch onto his fork.

“I thought you w w were AA fa fa farmer, or some something else? I asked.  I felt my anxiety melting away with every question I asked. It was wonderful, pure delight, even with my stutter.

“Oh that,”  Pip leaned in close and spoke in a whisper  “I like to dress like that for the first couple of days; it helps weed out some of  the kids who might  wanna be your friend for the wrong reasons. You know you’re the only one who didn’t smile or laugh when I walked in the door. I notice things like that, people’s first reaction. It tells a lot sometimes, not always but sometimes.”

Pip and I talked liked that the whole lunch time. He didn’t finish my sentences when I talked. I hated when people did that when I talked. He was different, he was patient. I have never known anyone to be as patient with me as he was when we talked, not even my mom. I found out that his grandfather was alive and well living in a retirement community in central Florida. He also told me that he had nicknamed himself when he was eight because he thought that the name fit who he was. I came to believe that it did.

He then did a curious thing. He put down his fork and looked me straight in the eye with a real serious expression on his face “Define yourself, lest others define you first, Jeremy.”  Pip seemed to be quoting someone else again. So I asked, and he told me.

“Myself.”  He said

I told him he was odd, and he said that was the pot calling the kettle black and then playfully punched me in the shoulder.

We both broke out laughing. I can’t explain it. Right then and there in that little moment, all seemed right with the world.  Then the school day was over too soon and I found myself waving goodbye to Pip as I climbed on my bike and rode towards home.

I heard him yelling even before I pulled up in my driveway on my bike. My step-father or my step-asshole as I liked to call him,  would get home at about 2:30 from his job everyday at the slaughterhouse and then bitch at my mom and drink himself stupid (or more stupid) as he sat his fat ass in front of the television the whole night scratching and itching places I don’t want to mention.

His yelling had stopped by the time I had reached the back door to the kitchen. My mom was leaning over the sink doing the dishes as I came in, she hadn’t noticed me come in because of the noise of the running water still filling the sink. She looked tired. Her shoulders were slumped as she stood there cleaning the dishes. Her face looked flushed and moist like she had just stopped crying. I curled and uncurled my fist as I stood there watching her. I could hear the television on in the next room. I’m sure he had a can of beer in hand with not a care in the world, the fat bastard.

My mom turned and noticed me standing there. I saw her try to look away.  But I saw it; a bright red bruise on her right cheek. A look passed between us, a look I knew well. That’s all it took. I ran past my mom towards the sound of the television and the bastard sitting there, I was going to beat the hell out of him.

“No!” my mom half whispered half yelled at me.

I was yanked backed violently by my arm just as I had run past her. My mom held me with a death grip. I could feel her fingernails digging into my flesh through my fall jacket.

“Let me go.” I yelled at her

“Stop Jeremy, please stop what have I told you before, please. It won’t do you or me any good to see you hurt. Please don’t get him started up. He’s just settling down again. Please.”  She dug into me harder.  She pleaded with me with her eyes. She loved me. I loved her. How could I say no?

“Okay mom.”  I tore out of her grip. I was mad at her for putting up with it, mad at him for doing it, and mad at myself for being as weak as she was. I ran past him laid out in his chair with the television shouting out a commercial to buy tires. Big surprise; he was a sleep. He had the Lazy Boy fully reclined with a beer nestled in his crotch, dead to the world. It would have been so easy just then to take a baseball bat and bash his brains in, but I didn’t, instead I vaulted up the steps two at a time as I climbed the stairway up to my room and slammed the door behind me.

Silence, somewhat anyway; I could hear the muffled noise of the television penetrating into my room. I loved my room, it was my haven. No one could enter. I made sure of it with a dead bolt lock I had installed myself one day while they were away.

This was my haven, my home away from hell. I didn’t have to stammer at anyone, didn’t have to deal with the likes of Fenster, my mom or step-asshole. I could just pull down the shades, put on some music, lie back in bed and stare up at the ceiling for hours in my cocoon of solitude letting the music wash over me.

Sometimes I cried as I lie in bed, letting it out for no one else to see but me. Today I didn’t cry, instead I contemplated death, my death. Would I be missed if I died tomorrow? Would anyone really care? To be simply gone from the face of the earth, nonexistent.

No, came the voice from within my head as I lie staring up at the many cracks radiating through my ceiling above me.

Not at all, it finished up, as I continued to stare at nothing.

Later, around dinner time, my mom knocked timidly on my door, interrupting my thoughts on death.

“You coming down to eat, honey?” she said through the door.

“No I’m not, just leave me something.” I said to the door.

“Are you sure? I made you spaghetti, your favorite. It doesn’t taste that good reheated you know?” she said

I jumped up. I knew what she was trying to do. What did she think this was a “Leave it to Beaver” family? Ward Cleaver slaps the wifey around and everything’s just swell in Pleasantville after a nice sit down dinner together with the Beave.

I drew back the dead bolt and opened the door. I saw my mom take a step back into the hallway as she stared at me with the question still in her dead brown eyes. I wanted to yell at her, cuss at her, tell her to go to hell and get a backbone. But instead I went and hugged her; hugged her fiercely. Whether more for me or her I’m not sure.

“I’ll bring you something up. Okay?  She tousled my hair a little as she turned to go back downstairs.

“Margaret!” I heard my step-father bellow for my mom from downstairs.

“Coming Randy!” she yelled down to him as she put one foot on the step leading to the downstairs. She turned back to me with her eyes darting from me to the stairway and spoke in a whisper. “Don’t worry about me – okay Jeremy? All that’s important is that you’re all right. You know he can’t help himself. He really loves us you know. We just have to watch not to upset him, that’s all.”

I saw her raise her hand and lightly touch her cheek where Randy had struck her and her eyes go distant.  “Margaret! Get your ass down here! What the hell are you doing? I’m hungry!” he spouted up at her with his fat ass probably still in the chair.

“I’ll tell him you’re not feeling well tonight if he asks.” she said in another whisper as she turned and crept down the stairs to him. I turned slowly back into my room, locked my door, and fell back into my cocoon.

The next day at school was like any other day. It was there. I showed Pip the “D” I had just received on my spelling tests. He realized I didn’t care if it had been an “A” or and “E”. Pip and I talked at lunch, but not like the first time. We didn’t joke together. I didn’t ask him any questions. He did most of the talking. I just added a few “uh huhs” and “ohs” at the right moments. This went on for a week with Pip and me before he finally got fed up with it all one day after school and asked me what my problem was.

“Nnn  Nothing.”  I told him as I reached down to unlock my bike from the rack.

Pip just eyed me with those eyes of his chewing some gum he had, with his hands resting on his hips. I felt like a frog with my innards laid out under a microscope when he looked at me like that. He was really trying hard to figure me out.  Then his blue eyes brightened. I swear you could almost see a light bulb go off over his head with the expression that was on his face. He was so excited I thought he might choke on his gum.

“You got time for me to show you something cool before you head home?” he moved in close and stood over me next to my bike. Like I had a choice I thought to myself.

“Sure wha wha what do you ga ga got to sh sh show me? I said with my stammer worse than ever.

“Come on, we haven’t got much time,” he turned and ran off.

I threw my lock into my book bag, untangled the front wheel of my bike from the rack and jumped on just as I saw Pip running hard and disappearing around the corner of the school; not seeming to realize I wasn’t there.

I pedaled as fast as I could and banged my left shin when my foot slipped off the pedal. Oh the pain.  He was already halfway up Rochester, the two lane street that ran adjacent to the school, when I had rounded the corner of the school on my bike. I saw Pip give a glance over his shoulder as he continued to run down passed the winter stripped trees that lined the lane towards the outskirts of town.  Where was he going, and in such a hurry I thought as I rubbed my throbbing shin while I coasted.

I caught up to Pip on my bike just as he came to an abrupt stop at the train tracks crossing Rochester just at the edge of town.  Not even breathing hard or breaking into a sweat, Pip turned and smiled at me “You got change?”

“Ch Ch  Change?” I asked, wondering what the hell he was talking about as I leaned heavily on my bike to catch my breath.

“Yes like a few pennies, that’s all I need.”  He looked at me more seriously then, his smile fading with his lips compressed together in seeming patience.

Under that look I felt compelled to dig into my pants pockets and rummage through my book bag for some change. I came up with three bits of pocket lint, a broken Goofey key chain, two pennies, and a very dirty nickel.

“Excellent.” He said as he scooped up the two pennies from my hand and ran down the edge of the tracks away from me.

“Hey! Wa.wai wait up!” I yelled. I thought was beginning to act stranger than he usually did

I caught up to him just sitting on the ground waiting it looked like, for something.

“What’s a mat mat mat matter, gotta  prob problem? I asked.

“No, I just wanted to show you something, that’s all.” He held up the two pennies which he had taken from me earlier and placed them on the track rails about six inches apart from each other with a piece of the gum he had been chewing stuck to the bottom of each one.  “You ever see a penny after it’s been flattened by a fifty ton box car going by at about forty miles an hour. It’s beautiful. It stretches the skin of the penny so much that all distinguishable marks that were once there are totally gone. What you’re left with is a smooth flat shiny piece of elliptical shaped copper looking nothing like the original. You wanna try it?” He asked with a gleam in his eyes.

“You ha ha have fl fl flipped.” I stared at him, “Is th this why you ra ran?  I’ve g g g got better things t to do with m m my time.”  I went to get back on my bike.

“No.” he said.  I heard the distant shrill of the whistle off around the bend behind the forest of trees.  “We have to talk, Jeremy.”

“N No we don’t.” I finally realized why he had dragged me out here. It wasn’t about the stupid pennies at all.  “I’m outta here.”  I said as I mounted my bike.

“Not until you deal with this.” He said.  Pip stepped upon the tracks between the rails.

“Wh what the hell are y you doing?” I yelled at him. Again I heard the train whistle pierce through the trees as it made it’s steady but speedy progress closer to us.

“Seeing what you care about.”  Pip calmly stated as he continued to stand there like a statue waiting for a pigeon to land on him.

“Wh what do you wa want from me?” I said getting fed up with his bullshit.  The ground started to vibrate as I saw the train peek out from behind the bend and come into full view with its one shining eye turning to look at us.

“For you to save me, of course. I’m not moving from this spot unless you come over here and move me yourself” he said simply.

“St stop bullshitting” I yelled louder at him. The train suddenly seemed a lot bigger as I snatched a look at it again. It couldn’t have been more than a hundred yards away. He couldn’t be serious I thought. Pip’s face was set with purpose and what looked like a grim determination to see it through. God! He was gonna do it. He really was waiting for me. He was crazy! What the hell did I care? I barely knew him anyway. I’ll just turn around, ride home and find out how it turned out on the evening news. I didn’t know I was kidding myself until  the point  where I saw myself throw  the bike to the ground, and  run towards Pip. The train was barely fifty yards away and I was ten but it was faster than me. Everything slowed; just like in the movies. I half dove, half leaped at Pip, snatching his jacket with both my hands and yanking him off the tracks to the other side. The train roared by not seeming to notice the two ants they had almost crushed to death beneath their steel feet.

“So you do care!” Pip yelled over the din of the train as it sped past us as he lie there next to me looking up at the sky with my hands still clutching his jacket.

“Of course I saved you, you stupid bastard, what the hell were you thinking? We both could have been killed!” I was filled with such anger that it didn’t seem possible to contain it all.

“I’m thinking you don’t stutter when you’re really mad about something” he said casually as he dislodged my hands from his jacket, got up and dusted himself off.

That’s when I jumped up and hit him full in the face with my fist.  I saw Pip stagger back from the hit and rub his jaw and just give me a look. I stood there stunned, not believing what I had just done.  The dull throb of my right hand told me the truth.

I had hit someone and I couldn’t take it back.

The last train car passed and the silence of the forest engulfed us both.

“Well what are we gonna do now?”  Pip asked as he continued to rub his jaw.

“Tell me wha wha why?” my stutter had returned. I guess Pip was right; my anger was gone, all sucked up.

“I wanted my friend back. The one I had six days ago, the one who gave a shit about something!” he said advancing towards me a little.

“I didn’t g g give a sh shit then either”  I said rather calmly to him.

“Something happened after that first day I met you. What?” he asked

“What always hap hap happens; I go home.” I said reluctantly as I studied the dirt beneath my feet.

“What’s at home?” Pip said cautiously to me.

“M My My asshole stepfather who thinks he’s a m man just because he can beat up my m m mom anytime he f f feels like it or knock m me around for a ch ch change of pace when he’s feeling b b bored.”  It all spilled out of me. All about my  real father dying in a car crash when I was only two, my  mom shacking up with Randy a year after, me being thrown through a screen door window at the age of four all because I had accidentally spilled milk on the living room floor. I told him about all the beatings my mom had taken in defense of me and how I had wished night after night for death to come claim him, or me, I didn’t really care which.

I found myself crying and kneeling on the ground with Pip next to me, waiting.

I pushed him away from me. “I d d don’t want or n n need or your he help.” I told him. Pip didn’t say a word. He walked over to the train tracks, bent down, and picked something up from the bed of stone gravel around the railroad ties.

He walked over next to me still kneeling there on the ground. He made an under hand throw at me and two flattened pennies just as he had described shined up at me in the dim afternoon light.

“You might not need my help, but you do need to make a decision.” Pip said quietly.

“Yeah” was all I said.

“The decision to be a person with something to call his own, with something to care about in his life, a purpose for being, or you can go through life never knowing the sheer joy of finding the one thing that makes it all worthwhile; to be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming is the only end in life. Do you want to be like those pennies there; devoid of character and for, lost forever in nothingness, a little trinket thrown in drawer, forgotten under all the other junk?” With that, Pip turned and started to walk back the way we had come.

“You, you are an odd one” I said to his back with a smile.

Pip turned around and gave me a grin. “Well that’s the pot calling the kettle black” he laughed as he turned and walked back to me.

I picked myself up and walked over to meet him.  “So wh what now?” I asked serious again.

“That’s up to you, Jeremy. It’s your call.”  Pip stared at me intensely waiting for me to make a decision, any decision.

“You sur sure don’t ma make it easy do you?” I asked not really wanting an answer.

“There’s no such thing as easy.  That’s what they invented the word ‘hard’ for.” He smiled at me.

“Let’s g go.” I told Pip.


“My home.” I said firmly

I wasn’t sure what my decision was yet as we traveled to my house. I just knew I wanted it all to end and end as soon as possible. My innards tightened as I saw my step-father’s red pickup parked out front in the street. You knew he’d be home I thought to myself. Let’s get this over with. I jumped off my bike and strode towards the kitchen door.

“You have a plan or something?” Pip asked me as he stopped me right before we entered.

“Carpe Diem. Pip. Carpe Diem.”  I babbled to him a little lost in my own thoughts.  I opened the back door to the kitchen. “Mom!” I yelled to the empty room. The clock over the stove read almost 4 o’clock. She should be getting ready for dinner soon I thought. “Mom!” I yelled again.  The only thing I heard was the television from the other room.

“Is that you Jeremy, boy?” I heard my stepfather yell over the television set.

“Where the hell have you been? You’re late getting home! Your mothers been out looking for you, worrying her ass off over you. Come in here!”

Pip and I gave each other a what-the-hell-do-we-do-now look as we stood there in the kitchen waiting. I stuck my hand in my pocket and rubbed the pennies Pip had given me. It calmed me. The knots loosened in my gut and the tension eased. I walked into the living room where he was; a dim lamp on the far wall glowed along with the familiar blue and white flash of the television set as the only source of light in an otherwise dark room which always had the thick shades drawn over ever window. I didn’t look at him; I just marched straight to the television and turned it off.  The absence of the noise sounded like a cannon going off in the room. It seemed the room had never known quiet before.

“What the fuck!” my step father yelled as he struggled to get up from his chair. Pathetic, I thought to myself as I looked at him being careful not to spill a drop of his beer as he finally pushed himself to a standing position to tower over me with his full weight bearing him down like a  bloated whale trapped on beach. He just stood there in his striped boxer shorts and his beer stained muscle shirt which didn’t quite cover his massive low hanging gut.

“Pathetic.” I said to him

“What did you call me?” he said as he gingerly put his beer down on the end table next to the Lazy Boy.

“You heard me!” I yelled at him this time, for some reason feeling more confident about my situation than I really was. His eyes went wide with surprise and bulged in their sockets as he reached for me with his fat thick hands. I easily dodged his feeble grab for me as Pip stepped out of the way onto the landing of the stairway to watch the show. Pip knew I wanted to handle this by myself and for that I thanked him.

“You’re a fat feeble minded fool who doesn’t deserve to live on this earth much less be married to my mom!” I danced around the room like a monkey in a circus trying to avoid him.  He was infuriated. His face was flushed and red with exhaustion and rage as he chased me around the living room. Up over the sofa, back over the sofa, a hop over the Lazy Boy, repeating the chase over and over. All the while I taunted him.

“My mom must have been blind, deaf and dumb to marry someone like you.

Your almost as fat as the fattest person on earth, oh wait, you are the fattest person on earth. You oughta be in the Guinness books” It went on like that for ten minutes. I was apart from everything, disconnected. It was wonderful. I hadn’t noticed that I didn’t stutter once.

“Stand still you little shit.” He said, as he took a moment to catch his breath. I saw that his chest was heaving with exertion and his forehead was damp with sweat. I was really giving him a workout.

“I want you to stop hitting me and mom. Can you do that?” I asked him seriously as I watched him shift his pudgy feet on the floor.

He grinned at me coldly, a lot like Fenster did at school, “Yeah, I’ll stop hitting you right after todays over. Heh heh.” He laughed to himself like he had made the funniest joke ever.

“That’s what I thought.” I said simply. I stepped in closer to him and he grabbed me by my shirt collar and hauled me over the sofa to him,

“Now you’re mine, you little piss ant.” He slobbered in my face and I could smell his rancid meaty breath reach out and make me wanna vomit.

Then my step-father did a funny thing. He gasped and dropped me as he put his hand to his chest. I heard a strange gurgling sound escape from his throat and then he dropped straight to the floor.

“What happened?” I jumped back from him.

He just lie there not breathing, not moving at all.

“I think his body gave out on him.” Pip said as he came down from the stairs to join me.

“Did I kill him?” I said stunned.

Pip bent and sunk two fingers deep into the thick rolls of fat around his neck. “No pulse. Looks like his heart couldn’t take it. I’m not a doctor, but I hardly doubt he would have lasted much longer, it was just a matter of time I’m sure. I wouldn’t feel bad about it. If you do that is. Do you know CPR?”  He asked

“No. You?” I said

“Well as far as you know, I don’t.” Pip said looking at him hard in the eye. I just nodded my head in understanding.

We called the ambulance and told them my step-father had suffered some sort of heart attack. They arrived just as my mother came home from searching for me. She was stunned and upset. More stunned I thought than anything. We hugged for awhile while the paramedics covered Randy’s lifeless body and carried him away.  I never told my mom what really happened that day. No reason to. It was over.

Pip and I were the best of friends that school year. Fenster received a fat lip for another try at slapping me on the back of my neck. I got detention for it but I was smiling from ear to ear the whole time. My grades improved, somewhat. I even started to make a couple new friends as well that year, but nothing’s perfect as perfect goes. Pip had to leave at the end of the school year because his parents changed jobs with another University about two hundred miles away. I was sorry to see Pip leave and sorry to lose my best friend. I knew deep down that we would always be friends through the years. I knew I had met him for a reason and that reason I’m sure had saved my life.

  The END

I got PUBLISHED! ……And a update on up an coming stories going into submission

Wanted to mention this earlier last week but it slipped my mind…I got Published!

I want to keep this in perspective however. The publication is a small fledgling non-paying online Magazine called Quail Bell Magazine who saw my Flash Fiction story, Flight through the Forest  and wanted to showcase it in one of their sections of the magazine entitled  The Unreal“.

The Ast. Editor over there emailed me and asked my permission to put into their online magazine and  said it was just what they were looking for! She also said to keep them in mind for anything else I would care to to share with there publication because my stories seem to be a good fit for their magazine!   Cool Huh!

Well to say the least it is an encouraging turn of events. It is always nice to be noticed and appreciated for your work.

Speaking of my work… I have just finished the final draft of a 8,000 word  Light Sci-Fi Dark Fantasy story I am also hard at working trying to finish a 5000-8000 word short story which will be a dark Urban Fantasy/Horror Story set in Chicago.

Hope to showcase both  stories or excerpts from those stories here  on my blog at the same time submitting them to some publishers and maybe a contest or two.

I am trying to maintain a pace of at least two new stories a quarter while at the same time starting my first NOVEL to hopefully be finished in its rough draft form by Dec 2012 of this year. The working title is called “The Thing under the Bridge”  but the title may change in time I’m sure. I have outlined the Novel barebones wise but I am looking to fill in some details  as I progress.  I have written the first 4,000 words with it and so far I am satsified with my progress.  I hope to write  a  book measuring 50-80k words that I can be proud of for my first Novel.  Looking to popping the champagne when the first draft is done.  Wish me luck!

Special Note:  As always I am re-submitting my other finished work that has been rejected by publishers numerous times already such as:  The Devils in the Details a Speculative Dark Fantasy Story of 3,300 Words,  or my Novella Roadkill”  a Dark Urban Fantasy Horror Story  at 23,000 Words, and “Flight through the Forest” the Heroic Flash Fantasy story  of only 1800 words.

If anyone knows of any Publishers Accepting Open Submissions for these types of stories and lengths please comment on here  or email me direct. Thanks!

Devils in the Details – Short Story – Hope you Enjoy!

Below you will see a short little story perhaps meant to be go on in serial form or as a full length novel perhaps . This might be what you call an origin story somewhat. Let me know what you think. It has been rejected a few times by publishers. I will be submitting it to other  publishers soon, until then I just wanted some opinions of what others think of it. I will give you my thoughts on it after a few people  have read it so as not to interject my opinion of the story  into your thinking of it. I think I know what a good story is so  I try to be objective with my work but it’s hard to be after editing, and revisions and reading it over twenty times.  Honest constructive criticism is ALWAYS wanted and valued. Thanks!


Devils in the Details

He saw the old woman enter the library, a silver haired little lady, the real grandmotherly type, the kind that spoils the grandchildren when they come to visit.  She didn’t look to weigh much over a hundred pounds, string bean and lean at five foot-four inches tall or so. He could picture her sitting in her creaky rocking chair, doing her knitting or cross-stitching and humming a forgotten tune from years gone by while her cat laid next her.  He had been following her for quite some time now, waiting for his chance.  Time to pay the piper milady; you are going to break like a cheap piece of lumber, he thought with no pleasure behind it.

His name was Willie, a slim but well-built wiry young man with dusty blonde hair, a young man with a future; or so he had been told by much older, wiser men who said they knew the score in life.


The score to him was beaten into him at a much younger age by his father and a few of his father’s perpetually drunk friends he had hung around with on occasion.  His father and his friends found it entertaining to see how far they could push a kid around before he snapped.  It hadn’t taken Willie too long to snap but not in the way they had intended.  Willie was a survivor to the core and he knew he couldn’t just go crazy on them one night as they started to wail on him because they would have just kicked his ass more than they already had. So he did the clever thing. He broke into a liquor store one night and made off with as much alcohol as he could stuff into his school backpack. The next day, on a Saturday night, with his dad and all his buddies sitting around playing poker out in their garage at the card table he presented them with his little gift bag of ‘time to get wasted’.  They thanked him and sent him on his way and drank well into the night. Willie found it easy pickings when he finally ventured out into the garage, asleep like babies they had been, even after he had kicked a few in the ribs as hard as he could for payback for all the beatings he took from them. That night they all had contributed to the Willie get the hell out of town fund. His dad’s little bank under his mattress had made the biggest contribution to that fund. So at the not so tender age of fourteen, Willie had taken a cab to downtown Grand Rapids and jumped on a Greyhound straight out of Dodge and never looked back.

He wandered a couple of years through life not knowing what job or town he would wind up in next after the money had run out.  A man by the name of Jacob Ward took all his worries away when he had caught Willie hitchhiking in the dead of night along a lonely stretch of road.  Ward had asked him almost nonchalantly if he’d liked to make a few bucks by doing a little a job for him. Willie remembered Ward hanging out the side of his car with one hand holding  a lit cigarette like he could care less if Willie helped him or not.

“Just thought you might need some extra money by the looks of you.” he had said to Willie.

He had looked harmless enough to Jake at the time. Willie’s radar for trouble had served him well the last couple of years on the road, probably saving his ass from a handful of pedophiles and thieves looking to take advantage. It wasn’t pinging inside his head as he looked at Ward. He had always been good at sizing up people just by looking at them.  It was the eyes, it didn’t matter whatever else they said or did, it was always the eyes that told the story. Ignore all the rest of the bullshit.

So Willie had said rather enthusiastically, “Sure, what the hell,” and jumped into his car.

Had Willie known that the job would have entailed help in burying a dead body that just happened to have ended up in the trunk of Jake’s car, he probably would have ran quicker than a Jake rabbit and never looked back. They had driven for awhile when Jake had come to a dirt road overgrown with weeds to his right; he turned the wheel sharply and drove on until the road had ended abruptly at a field of sparsely populated grass and sand. He beckoned Willie out of the car towards the back where the trunk was.

“It’s in here,” was all Ward had said at first. What’s in there, was Willie’s first thought.

“Take a good look at death boy, and see how pretty it can be,” Jake said as he turned the key to open the latch on the trunk, revealing his gruesome cargo.

Willie reluctantly approached the vehicle and fearfully peered into the trunk to check out the contents.  The body had been wrapped in a big clear plastic bag tied with a neat bow of rope much like a present would be under the Christmas tree. Willie couldn’t see the face or much of the body due to the fact that the blood from the person was smeared everywhere, only an opaque likeness of the person could be imaged through it all. He knew it was a young woman due to the long dark hair and shoeless feet covered with tan silk stockings.  The body seemed to be cut up into many pieces. A detached leg lay over the woman’s head blocking her face from view. When the full horror of what he had seen finally reached his brain, he felt like he was going to vomit.

Willie had fallen to his knees.  “Oh God,” he had exclaimed in a cracked voice that had not yet fully changed. “I think I’m gonna be sick!” waves of nausea ran through him as he fought to control the twisting his stomach was taking.

Suddenly Jake had slapped him hard across the face and sent him reeling across the ground. Jake had then picked up Willie like a sack of nothing in his hands, and dug deep into him with his fingernails as he gripped Willie’s upper arms like a vise with his own. Willie let out a loud yelp filled with pain and fear, not knowing if he’d also be another body wrapped in a plastic bag buried somewhere in a field of weeds.  Never had he felt so afraid in his whole life; not even when his own father had beaten him had he felt such terror as Jacob Ward instilled in him.

“Don’t cry for the likes of her, she ain’t even human. You might think she is by the look of her but you’d be wrong.  So boy, yur gonna dig this hole and bury this damn body and yur not gonna say one damn word while yur doing it, and when yur done, yur gonna git the hell out of here and forget this ever happened.

“Git it?” He said this all with an insane scowl spread across his face as he held Willie close to him with his foul dead breath washing over him making Willie’s nausea even worse.

Willie helped dig the hole, and Willie helped bury the body, but Willie never did forget what happened and he never did leave Jacob Ward


For some reason all this had been running through Willie’s head as he had followed the old lady into the library. He guessed it was one of his usual pangs of guilt that he got every time he did a job. What a nice way to put it, he thought, a job, like he put on a suit and tie and went off to the office every morning. He had often wondered what life would have been like if he had walked down a different road those many years ago.  What’s done is done, can’t change the past, he was the stupid shit that got messed up in it all anyway.  Willie shrugged it all off like he usually did and concentrated on what he was here for; to kill a person. No not a person, something else.  He was told this several times by Jake and a few others in the business not much higher up than himself. It always left him confused and wondering what the hell they meant. He was always told he wasn’t ready to know just yet.

The old woman, whose name he knew was Madelyn from the contract he was given last week, had just pushed the button on the elevator. He approached her from behind and came to stand two feet to her right. She turned and gave him a quick soft smile and a glance through her spectacles which were perched on her face. She looked back towards the elevator and adjusted the blue shawl draped over her thin bony shoulders and continued to wait for the elevator’s arrival.

She looked harmless enough, but he had not caught her eyes when she looked at him. Every contract he had done always had that same look. She would be no different he was sure.  Still, it was small consolation. Who would want to put a hit on a grandmother, he thought almost bitterly to himself. He didn’t know, he never knew, he was just directed to do a job and do it right. That was it. Put it out of your mind, Willie kept telling himself, she’s probably as wicked as the rest of the world is, probably more as Jake always said.

He heard the audible ding of the elevator, the doors of the elevator open and the old lady enter.  This was his chance, just me and her.  I’ll take her down hard and easy like I was taught.


“Wrong, wrong you idiot, you jab with the right but you deliver a cross with the left. They hardly ever see it coming. How many times am I gonna haf’ta tell ya til ya git it right? Jesus, sometimes I wonder why I ever took you on with me in the first place,” Jake said as he circled Willie to keep him off balance. Jake smiled at him and Willie eyed him warily. He always did when he smiled like that.

“I’m trying Jake, I’m trying,” Willie breathed in deeply from the exertion Jake was putting him. Willie’s eyes warily followed Jake as he circled him in the backyard.

                “Well try harder, boy. You wanna be rich and famous someday don’t cha? Jake snorted and threw another punch at him.

Jake had been in Special Forces with the marines back in the eighties, real hush hush as Jake always told him. Things you couldn’t tell your momma else you’d have to kill her. Willie was never sure if that was just a figure of speech or if Jake really meant it. Willie never asked.

Willie had stayed on with Jake after the incident because in the end he discovered Jake wasn’t crazy, at least not certifiable and was hooked up with a big organization in some far off place that paid him well, very well to take on certain contracts. Why had they picked Jake, who seemed a buck shy of a dollar? Well to hear Jake tell it you would think he walked on water with the people who did the hiring.

“They love me man. They know what I see. They need me man. There’re so many of them out there man they can’t keep up.  It was either kill me or hire me and so here I am doing the lord’s work.”

Willie always asked him what he meant when he would say those things but he never explained it much beyond that.

That’s the way it had been with him and Jake, and Willie guessed it would have probably remained that way forever if he hadn’t killed him just two weeks ago, just another job.  Funny thing is Willie had liked Jake, even for all his gruffness and being rough around the edges, he had liked him more than he had his own father by a far margin. Willie might be a killer but he had an integrity that his father never did.

They had given him Jake’s name though and he had done his job. Besides, Jake had started to change as of late and not for the better, like something dark had dug into him deep and wouldn’t let go. Jake had never been a picnic to work with but in the past few months he had been a different person, colder, more distant, dark was the last word that came to mind, and his eyes had changed.


He noticed he had been lost in thought, because he had to practically leap into the elevator before the doors closed on him. Not very professional, he thought. He saw the old woman give him a flat stare.

“Same floor?” the old woman asked him looking over at him, as the doors to the elevator went to close again.

“Yeah sure,” he half mumbled to her, not wanting to talk anymore than he had to. Not wanting to hear her voice. Not wanting to hear the voices in his head when he went to bed tonight. The voices which always asked him why….why? He didn’t have an answer to give them. The voices knew why, but he was the one afraid to ask the question. Sometimes he saw shadows dance on his bedroom walls as he tried to sleep and it scared him. In his dreams they taunted him with the question. The answer to the question hid from him, wanting to be seen, but not wanting to be caught.

His mind returned from the dark place that it was in, back to the situation he had to take care of now.  So why was he hesitating, why did he feel immobilized?  He had to do it; she was nothing to him. He tensed his muscles in anticipation and breathed in deeply through his nose as he relaxed and prepared to do what he had come here to do.

The old lady did a strange thing just then, she flipped the stop button on the panel and the elevator came to an abrupt halt somewhere between the second and third floor.

“I wasn’t sure if you were the one until you had entered, your smell is ever so slight” The old woman said not looking over at him but still staring straight ahead. A small quiver of a smile crept into her mouth. The old woman adjusted her shawl again.

“Now in this enclosed space you reek of death. Do you enjoy killing?” This time the old lady did look over at him when she asked the question.

Willie turned to look at her and was taken aback as he looked her in the eyes. She was alien to him, just like Jacob had been, cold and distant.

“Aah, I see you recognize me. You must be getting the sight; not many do, especially as young as you. What color do you see? By your perplexed look no color as of yet. Well I assure you, mine are green but that means nothing to you, does it? It will become stronger in time and then we will be everywhere to your eyes. You will be very valuable to them in time. Maybe more than they even know.  I asked you a question, answer quickly before my patience wears. I have no love for your kind and what you do.” She almost spat the last part as she said it.

Willie was numb, lost. He knew he should kill her, but he couldn’t.  Not yet anyway, he had to know the truth.  “No, it sickens me” was all he said to her.

“Hmmm….one with a conscience, that is a first.”  The old woman’s eyes relaxed then and became less distant, less cold it seemed, but still alien.

“This body killed three hundred twenty four before we took hold of it. Some were honorable kills but most were off contract and some were children too young to know themselves in the light. She took pleasure in what she did.  No matter if it was right or wrong there should never be pleasure in it. It disgusts me to inhabit it but I must. It is a duty which holds high honor for one so foul. It is lucky the red eyed ones did not find her first.”

“I don’t understand.”  Willie muttered. He reached slowly into the pocket of his coat and gripped the knife within.

“Understanding only goes so far, but know my death serves no purpose today. Tell your betters

Tristol has taken command and they will understand.”

Willie moved like lighting in a bottle pinning the old woman into a corner of the elevator with the blade pressed deeply into her neck almost drawing blood.

“You don’t give me orders you simply die. I have a contract simple as that. No more bullshit. You’re like all the rest I’ve killed, cold, distant, ev….” Willie couldn’t finish the last.

“Evil you were about to say.”  The old woman, who named herself Tristol, moved faster than a humming birds wings as she grabbed Willie’s hand holding the knife against her neck and turned it on him, shoving him back across the elevator floor towards the opposite wall until his back slammed hard against it sending stabs of pain into his shoulder blades.  How can she be so strong, none of the others were like this, he thought.

“I see the turmoil in your heart. Do not worry you do a good thing young one. One day you will understand this, but some things must be even hidden from ourselves for a time.  I will say this much, there are such things as demons in this world but the trick is knowing the right ones to let live and the wrong ones to kill. Choose wisely.”  The old woman looked at him deeply as his pulse raced not six inches from his face with the blade held against his own neck. Willie thought his heart would explode in his chest. Was this how he was finally going to die? He looked into the old woman’s eyes deeply as she held him there tight against the wall. Suddenly the dark shade of brown of her eyes swirled around her black pupils and faded to be slowly replaced with bright flecks of green that swirled in the opposite direction around her pupils. When the swirling finally stopped her eyes were a bright neon green color.

“Now you see young one as many do not.  Continue to see.” She disengaged from him and stepped back.  She started up the elevator by flipping the switch to its previous position.

The elevator dinged and the doors opened. The old woman exited but Willie didn’t follow.  He just stood there in the elevator. She turned around and looked at him over her glasses.

“Wrong floor Maam, I need the fourth, not the third. Have a good day.” Willie said.

“Thank you dear, you have a good day as well” she said almost motherly as he found himself nodding to her just as the elevator doors came to a close.

Willie walked through the double glass doors of the library to a sunlit street speckled with gold and orange fallen leaves.  He gave himself a little smile and decided to go for a long walk to see what he could see.

The End…..or to be continued?

My Endless Climb over an ever Growing Mountain of Rejections

I said I would keep you abreast of my progress in the world of writing regarding my submission for my stories/poetry  to various publishers so here goes.

I have been racking up a lot of rejection letters lately for my writing of my stories and poems.

I received my first rejection letter for my 23,00 word  Novella, “Roadkill“.  that I submitted approximately 60 days ago. One good thing I guess is I got it back early so now I can submit it to other publishers for consideration. Always gotta look on the bright side. The only things that bugs me is all they said was “We have finished reviewing Roadkill for publication and have decided to pass.  Thanks for submitting to us and best wishes.”  I know there probably  busy but they  could they have least  thrown me a bone. Like,  feel free to try submitting again with another story when you are ready. Something like that maybe. Just a little encouragement would be nice.Cmon!

Trouble is I’m realizing that Novella length stories are hard to push to most publishers. They either want short stories from 1,000 words to  15,000 words with the average being accepted being about 8-10,000. There a few out there who to take them but only a very few I’m learning want the Novella Length. They want full length Novels in the 90,000 + Word Count or Short stories period.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not sitting on my hands waiting for rejections on one story. Hell no! I’ve  still been writing new stories and submitting & waiting on rejections for those as well…ha ha. I have  recently sent in a much shorter story at about 3,300 words called “Devils in the Details” to various  publishers. Two have since rejected it. I have just sent it to another publisher just the other day so we will see about that one.

I did already find another publisher  to submit “Roadkill” to so I will be sending that one in again soon; and the countdown begins all over again.

I have submitted some of my darker poetry into various publications with no luck yet as well. One called “Into the Deep Woods”, I think is really good. I am waiting on one online magazine response so we will comes of that.

I am also just finishing up another  story in the  7000 to 8000 Words range that  I will try to be turning into a publisher soon as well.

I am pretty pragmatic about my writing. I know its a long shot careerwise. I do know that all this writing is shaping me into the writer I am supposed to be one day.  I am really trying to work on my prose by fine tuning character development, plotting and scenes along with conflicts that insue in all that goes with it. If anything these short stories help me with that greatly, and besides to create a character and building a new world, for me is a satsifying thing. I want to know what happens to that man who is cast out into a boat in the middle of stormy night on an open  dark ocean. You wanna see what happens to him.

Wish me luck in my endeavors and I wish you luck in yours as well