May 24th, 2018

Journal confession time. I have been harboring a lot of guilt about a goal that I set and actually went the opposite direction. I wanted to lose at least 20lbs at the same time I quit smoking. I haven’t had a cigarette since January 12th but need to lose a LOT more weight. I’ve tried keto (didn’t satisfy) tried smaller portions (already do because of the gastric bypass) and a lot of other gimmick stuff. I realized that I’m happy with my ability to find time to paint and write but need to focus on my weight.

I took a walk this morning before work and writing and felt really bad about how I looked while doing it. How can I exercise when I feel anxious about people watching me and possibly secretly judging me. That’s the anxiety working in me and shaking hands with the depressive state that I fall in with. I could’ve easily gone home but reminded myself that it was still dark out and people are heading to work and are probably late. I walked fasted just to get home before the sun came all the way up. My daughter turned 16 today and I thought if I keep going the way I’m going I’m not going to be healthy enough to enjoy my kids anymore like I was before. So, part of getting healthy this year was to quit smoking and I think I nailed it. Now, it’s time to control and manage my eating and weight. This entails me going to the store after work, purchasing a weight scale, and possible leggings to walk-in.

I researched many options and due to my family’s strict budget I made the first step and signed up for Weight Watcher’s Freestyle program. Fingers crossed I’m able to figure out meals with what I have and will get what I need (portion size for one because my family eats regular foods without a care in the world) on my next grocery shopping trip. Speaking of grocery shopping with my C-PTSD and anxiety I learned that I can shop through Wal-Marts grocery app which will also help me from going through the aisles and shopping with, ‘Oh that would taste awesome’ mentality.

After joining (still needing to feel out a few profile fields), I saw where I can track what I eat. Banana, coffee with chocolate caramel creamer, a babybel cheese, salad with greek dressing and croutons all added up-QUICKLY. It was clear about my food choices and guilt turned to shame. I synched my Fitbit app to my Weight Watcher’s app, opted for water instead of V8 and only had 1/2 cup of spicy ranch popcorn. I will research tonight more recipes and things that I can change and do differently.

I feel better fessing up to my guilt and shame and I guess I’ll take my readers along with me. I’m still going to write, paint, and doodle just now I’ll do it hungry. Kidding, not hungry but mindful of what I put in my body.

Assuming Parents

I started writing this early this morning at work and with being slammed with work and then having multiple things go wrong here at home I’m finally finished. It was a fun piece to write in response to Discover’s prompt. There is adult content so readers be warned. Also, it’s longer than I intended. so sit back and read a spell. It felt good to be writing again…or getting back to it.

When I was a young girl I remember seeing my parents watch a 10th Anniversary airing on the news about an infant missing and mother murdered and father still claiming innocence. They didn’t look worried or concerned but held each other and smiled enjoying each other’s company. They were always a very loving couple and set the standards to which I held every one of my relationships too. My father and mother owned a small grocery store in our small town of Assumption, Minnesota. I remember when it was big news that they were adding a deli/butcher counter. The entire town of a little over 500 people was ecstatic now that they don’t have to drive over an hour out of their way to purchase fresh meat.

Even though my parents worked tirelessly at the store they made time for me. If I had a recital or wanted to go to the movies, or had a bake sale, they were there. I didn’t go without either and thought myself to be a very lucky child. The 15th Anniversary airing was on the news and again my parents didn’t seem bothered just enjoyed sitting next to each other. I was 15 at the time and was heading out the door when I stopped and stared at the TV. The mother of the poor infant was red headed and green eyed like me although my hair wasn’t curly. My mom looked over her shoulder and asked what time I would be home breaking me out of the trance. I politely replied 10:30pm and out the door, I went.

I got to Annie’s house and she and her family were all sitting around watching the news. Annie looked at me strangely and I knew what she was thinking but we didn’t say anything. The news report stated that the crime happened in Wisconsin and that the father still claimed his innocence and is begging for someone to come forward with any information. Even as he sits in jail he was still searching for his wife’s killer and baby girl. The anniversary airing was interrupted by a special report. A woman has been missing for the past 48 hours and if anyone knows of her whereabouts or has seen her to contact their local law enforcement agency. She was described as having red hair, green eyes, 156 lbs, and 8 months pregnant. I thought my mom was about 8 months along too. My father and she were so excited to add to the family. Annie and I hung out for a bit as there wasn’t really anything to do in Assumption but hang out. We talked about the missing woman and the dance next week and who was taking us. We talked about hair, makeup, and the essay due. During all the talking we pigged out on pizza that her mom made with the fresh pepperoni from my father’s deli. I got home and assumed my parents were already in bed as they weren’t on the couch. I quietly went to my room and fell asleep.

It must have been late morning when I woke up to the phone ringing, nonstop. I wobbled out of bed and downstairs to the kitchen where there was no breakfast and no mom and dad. I picked up the phone but it went dead. I guess the caller gave up. I looked and there wasn’t a note on the fridge but thought maybe mom and dad let me sleep in and they went to open the market. I was sitting down to a glass of OJ and reading the paper when someone knocked on the door. So hard, in fact, it startled me and dripped juice down the front of my shirt. Wiping my chin I opened the door while looking down trying to wipe away the wet spot from my shirt,
‘Lacey? Are you Lacey Dupree?’
I looked up to see two men standing in front of me both with serious looks on their faces.
‘Who’s asking?’ I said suspiciously.
‘I’m Detective Winslow and this is my partner Detective Cummings.’ Explained the taller gentleman showing badges. Are you Lacey?
‘Am I in trouble?’
‘No, but we need you to come into the station for questioning.’
I nodded and asked if I could change clothes and do something with my mop of hair. Annoyed, they obliged and then the next thing I know I’m sitting in the police station with a cup of hot chocolate that was probably there since the office was built and everyone staring at me.

The detectives returned and were asking me basic whereabout questions and about my parents. I told them everything that I did that night, where i went, who I was with, and what time I got home. They asked about my parents and I told them that they were already in bed when I got home. After a few more questions we were interrupted by my mom storming through the station with her red hair flying behind her.

‘Lacey, are you ok?’ She had my face in her hands looking into my eyes then over me like a mother does. You! You had NO right asking my daughter anything without parental consent. And before you say you couldn’t get a hold of us I would like my husband released NOW!
‘Mrs. Dupree your husband is being detained for the suspicion of kidnapping Lana McWhirter.’  I gasped remembering seeing the pregnant woman on the news. ‘Daddy wouldn’t do that!’ I yelled.
‘Mr. Dupree has legal counsel on the way so the questioning stops now!’
My mother demanded to see my father and took me by the hand as we were being escorted to see him. I realized then that she was a force to be reckoned with. The door opened to my father, sitting there calmly in a white painted masonry block room with a buzzing light overhead.  

‘Katey, Lacey, what are you doing here?’
‘We’re here to take you home.’ My mother said approaching him to offer comfort.
‘I assume you called Charles?’
‘He’s on his way,’ my mother reassured my dad. He patted her lovingly on her pregnant belly and reached over and gave me a huge bear hug and asked if I was questioned.
‘Up until mom came barging in. You should’ve seen her dad. No mercy was shown and I think she even scared them a little.’ He chuckled and we went home.

Walking out of the station was a huge relief and mom and dad held hands smiling as if nothing had ever happened. We got home and dad made a few phone calls and told mom that he had to run to the store for a few hours. She nodded and asked him to bring back some mustard. Mom and I worked on dinner in the kitchen and by the time it was done dad pulled in the driveway. I set the table and mom pulled the casserole out of the oven.

‘Dinner smells amazing girls. My girls. I’m so proud of the family we have and soon we will have a new addition.’ Dad sat at the table and mom started making plates and passing food around. We talked about the rest of the day and what Annie and I had done the night before. Mom said that the doctor said to be prepared that the baby could come at any time. Then we discussed what needed to happen for the baby’s arrival. It was like dad was never accused of kidnapping. Dad put the mustard on the table, ‘You started putting mustard on everything before Lacey arrived.’ dad told mom and she grinned at him.

The next few days were as normal as always. Work at the store, family breakfasts, and dinners, homework, hang out with Annie, the occasional minor tweaks on the baby’s room and one more mustard run even though the first bottle hadn’t been opened. It was as if the entire police station scenario was just a bad dream. Not even the community noticed what had happened. The nightly news reported that there weren’t any new leads about the missing woman and a reward was posted. Dad sat on the couch next to my mom with his hand resting on her now bigger belly. We said our goodnights and everyone headed to bed.

The next morning I woke up to an empty house but found a note on the fridge this time.
‘Mom went into labor last night. I will call you with any news. Love Dad’
I was super excited and pissed at them for not waking me so I could go to the hospital too but thought about getting ready for school and how they probably didn’t want to interrupt my day. I ate my breakfast, got dressed and packed my school bag. I thought, ‘I’ll have a new baby brother or sister when I get home from school,’ locking the door behind me as I left. The trash cans weren’t at the curb for pickup and grabbed them on my way to the sidewalk when I noticed that there was a box of red hair dye in the bin. ‘Mom must be trying to cover her few silver strands of hair. I couldn’t sit still during class and told Annie that mom went into labor last night. We talked about if it was a girl how we would dress her up and make her look like a little doll.

When I got home I could hear my dad and mom in the living room cooing over the baby. Home already? I thought. My mom was sitting in her rocking chair with a tiny white bundle in her arms. Mom looked like an angel and dad as proud as ever.
‘Come meet your little sister, Hailey.’ mom quietly said. I walked over to see the tiny pink little girl with the reddest hair I’ve ever seen. We both must get it from our mom.
‘Oh she’s so tiny,’ I sang at her reaching to hold her. Mom stood and had me sit down and placed my little sister in my arms.
‘Is it ok for you two to be home already? She looks so small.’ I asked with concern.
‘Yes, dear. She came so quick I didn’t have time for medication or doctors. We left right before you got up and she arrived right there in the car. Your father got to deliver her. We stopped at the hospital and they checked both of us over and said we were both ok and sent us home. I just need to take it easy and little Hailey just needs to eat. Would you like to feed her?’ Mom asked as she handed me the bottle. I was in love with this little girl and couldn’t wait to dress her up and teach her how to play Barbie and tea party.

Dad had a sale at the deli counter on fresh ground meat and ribs in celebration of my little sister arriving. People congratulated him and even sent home gifts for Hailey. I helped out more at the store so mom could rest. I just closed the store for the evening and started home when Detective Cummings asked if I needed a ride home. I kindly declined and headed home. It was there that mom had dinner ready and dad just laid Hailey down. We just sat down for dinner when there was a knock on the door. Dad answered and the next thing I know he’s asking mom to set another place and that Detective Cummings would be joining us for dinner.
‘Where’s your partner, Winslow?’ My father asked cutting into his meatloaf.
Shoveling a pile of my mother’s mashed potatoes in his mouth and speaking with his mouth full, ‘Winslow is executing a search warrant on your store Mr. Dupree.’
‘I haven’t given consent, does my legal counsel know? I haven’t seen any paperwork.’ My father said and that’s when I noticed that my mom was white and my dad was glaring at her. He never looked at her like that. My mom was up and on the phone, ‘Charles, this is….’
Mom was calling the lawyer and my dad was reading papers that Winslow slid to him as he continued to eat our dinner.
‘God! Can you stop eating our food!?’ I said getting up from the table. Mom and dad didn’t seem to care about my rudeness. I walked into Hailey’s room and she was there staring up at her mobile. I picked her up and rocked with her in the chair annoyingly waiting for the dinner hoovering menace in the kitchen to leave.

Everything happened so fast. There were sirens and mom and dad were cuffed then placed in cars. Hailey was taken out of my arms by a strange woman with a badge and I was told to leave with her and Hailey. I’m now sitting in a hospital having my cheek swabbed and blood drawn. I was interrogated about my mom and dad and then asked if I knew who they really were.
‘I assume they are my mom and dad since they raised me from birth. They are grocery store owners. They are in love and just had another baby.’ I said crossing my arms confident in my answers.
‘I hate to tell you this but they aren’t who you think they are and that isn’t your baby sister.’

Months passed and I have met my biological father a couple of time but not ready to live with him yet. He was released from prison when mom and dad were convicted of my biological mother’s murder. I learned that my mom and dad were actually serial killers and used the deli and butcher counter as a front to sell the evidence of their crime to our town’s people. Mustard was a code word for it’s time to finish the crime and kill the victim. Lana McWhirter was my mom and dad’s last victim. Mom and dad wanted another child but since my father was sterile and didn’t want to wait for adoption approval they hunted the poor woman for slaughter and to take that precious baby. I also learned that there had been 19 victims in total, all of which the town consumed. Assumption assumed that I was in on the crimes but luckily my father and mother or the people that I assumed were my parents backed my claims up. I now live in a foster home until I’m ready to either live with my real father or live one my own. Hailey or rather Rose is with her real father and will grow up knowing that her mother loved her very much.

I still visit mom and dad. I need answers to questions only they know. Did they love me? Did they eat my mom? The answer is yes they loved me and we never cooked human meat. How can I still love these monsters? How do I move on from my family history? Will Rose hate me when she learns the truth about her mom and my parents? Do I continue to assume the role of their daughter? Some answers are easier to come by than others.

‘We will always love you and be here when you need us.’



Cypress’ Forest

‘Shh….listen to the rustling.’ I whispered to my brother. He knew that I firmly believed in the legend of Cypress. The story goes something like, ‘Cypress was a woman that was possessed by demons and her body was found in this forest. Now she haunts them looking for a new body to possess.’ The thicket of woods that we were trespassing through to cut our walking time in half belonged to Cypress. But damned if he didn’t want to take the shortcut to get to the movies.

‘The rustling is just the wind through the leaves. The wind blows in no specific direction, you moron. You’re being paranoid over nothing,’ He said waving me off. Did he not hear the silence of the leaves when he was talking or feel like something was watching and eavesdropping on us? I walked faster to catch up to him. My feet felt like lead but I was shaky all over from fear and excitement. We kicked ground debris around making it out of the woods. When I turned to look back it seems that the branches were reaching for me and wanting me to come back.

The movie was great although my brother thought himself to be a badass said, ‘That was for babies. Next time let’s go see Halloween.’ I just rolled my eyes. It was dusk out now and he wanted to cut back through the Cypress’ woods. I pleaded for us to take the road but called me a baby and said, It’s all a story the adults tell the kids to keep them from having fun out here.’ I started walking a little closer to him. The wind felt like it was following us. The leaves were just blowing where we were at not anywhere else.

‘OUCH! Quit it, ‘ my brother said harshly rubbing the back of his head.’
‘I..I didn’t do anything Thomas. I was walking right beside you.’ I stuttered. I could feel my facial expression of fear becoming somewhat permanent. My eyes widened thinking it would help me see whatever could be coming for us.
‘Well, Cliff-ord, who else slapped me in the back of the head? What did you use a switch or the whole damn limb?’ I was stunned. He kept walking and I ran to catch up to him.
‘Keep it up Clifford, I’ll leave you here for Cypress.’ Thomas warned. I put my hands in my pockets knowing he could see that I wasn’t reaching for anything. I was in tears from fear and feeling helpless.

I could finally see the streetlights through the thicket of trees and almost broke out into a sprint. I was way ahead of my brother and would have made it out before him but I froze in sheer panic. ‘Shh…can’t you hear me?’ was whispered in my ear. The cold breeze of breath on my neck stopped me dead in my tracks. Thomas ran right into the back of me almost knocking us both down.
‘Cliff, what the hell?’ Thomas shoved me forward but like a stubborn mule, I wasn’t moving. The leaves cycloned around me, ‘The stories are wrong.’ came the voice. It sounded like a young girl. ‘Cypress?’ I asked.
‘Yes, tell my parents to come here. I miss them and the witch made it to where I can’t leave these woods but I can fly through the leaves.’
‘Your just a little girl aren’t you?’ I said reaching out to one of the leaves. ‘What happened to you?’ I asked as a little red leaf skimmed my fingertips. It was Cypress’ way of having human contact. Who knows how long it has been.
‘The witch asked if I wanted to see something magical. She lied. There is nothing magical about her taking my soul in these woods. Tell my parents that Aunt Rebecca did it. She has the yellow ribbons that I wore in my hair that day. On those ribbons is the bloody proof of her crime. My mom’s sister is the witch.’ and just like that the cyclonic ease of leaves encompassing me stopped.

‘CLIFFORD! Are you ok?’ Thomas yelled at me. It looked like he had seen a ghost. ‘Yeah, I’m fine. Why?’ I asked grinning.
‘You were in a tornado of leaves and I was yelling at you to get out and each time I tried to grab you I was whipped with a skinny stick.’ Thomas blurted the words out so fast I could barely understand.
‘So, you didn’t hear anything did you?’ I asked suspiciously.
‘All I heard was wind and leaves crinkling together. You were just standing there. Not moving. You were really freaking me out. Not even cool!’ he grabbed my hand and we marched home. I thought it better to not tell him what happened. It was more for me to get back at him and not listening to me. It worked because now he listens when I speak up about not having a good feeling. I also decided that I would write a letter to Cypress’ parents.

Two weeks later my mom was in the kitchen listening to the radio when her vocal rendition of ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ was interrupted. ‘Cypress Walker’s killer has been apprehended thanks to an anonymous tip. Early this morning a search warrant for Rebecca Putnam’s residence was executed…’ I walked out of the kitchen with my glass of milk when I smiled looking out the window. In the yard danced a small cyclone of leaves and flower petals. Cypress was free from her forest.

I got a little carried away with this. After the drama that just unfolded here at work, I thought it would be best if I put myself in time out. The fight or flight moment almost became a fight moment where assault charger could’ve been filed. Writing this calmed me enough that I’m going to write a lengthy, professionally worded email about the situation. Yes, it’s long but I fell in love with my characters. Thank you for the prompt Discover.

Rapid Beat

I started this the last 15 minutes of my work day and now I’m finishing it up while frying chicken. I am kind of enjoying writing sci-fi in response to Discover’s prompt,  even though it’s out of my comfort zone.

Breathing and mantras even medicine is used to slow our heartbeats. Anything can trigger a rapid rate from a good scare, exercise, the smell of food, a sound, or a natural born causes. What if I told you a slow rate was a must to stay alive. What if it’s not the wear and tear on your heart through the years that will end your life? Once upon a time, keeping a steady rate was a way of life or a dark hole in the ground was your future. Who would have thought a primitive life would save us with natural currents of electricity.

We lost everything during the war with the extraterrestrial invaders several winters ago including all of our weapons. We came to learn a lot about these creatures and ourselves as a society. They won the war and the ability to inhabit the planet by tracking our heart rates. A heart rate over 150 BPMs to them meant you were doing something that could harm them or plan something that could not only harm them but the planet. If a soldier was aiming a gun his heart would accelerate making it easy for the aliens to hone in and vaporize them. There was no ash to send back home to families, not even their tags. These creatures wanted to ensure the regrowth of our planet’s natural resources throwing us back into the stone age almost. Everything was all-natural right down to the energy that was used to make it. If we wanted to eat, we grew our own food, if we wanted electricity you were smart enough, in the beginning, to get your hands on solar panels. We even collected rainwater for drinking. It was a very primitive way of life.

At first, doctor’s started prescribing ‘life saving’ pills to help the population maintain a low steady rate. Soon after the medicinal supply ran out, pacemakers were no longer being manufactured so more people were dying just because of a high heart rate. That’s when yoga instructors, reiki gurus, hell even voodoo priestesses were in high demand to help us learn to lower our heart rates. Over time, we all learned how to control the rapid beating and able to do most anything. The earth replenished itself to a grandeur that we have never experienced before. The aliens pretty much stayed out of our way and us there’s. They looked like everyone else except for how they all walked. It was with a limp that seemed to start from their rib cage. As if there was a leg in there trying to make the first step but couldn’t because it was amputated. They also smelled of cattails and cypress. You could never mistake these creatures living off the land just as we did.

While the military was seemingly out of order a small group of scientists was able to study a creature without the others knowledge. They learned that they also needed to maintain a low heart rate. Not for battle reasons but biological reasons. They would have an alien version of a heart attack that was located in their brain stems when their heart rates were high. Their rates are controlled by microscopic pacemakers. One scientist concluded that when the aliens were born a pacemaker was put in place. He just couldn’t figure out their science behind it and what took place for their species to realize what was needed. In learning this our new militia was forming ideas on how to throw their contraptions off and induce heart failures. Many attempts were made using solar power weapons that would charge a piece of metal and would be launched into their backs and shock them but it failed many times over. The militia was always capable of maintaining a low rate and these creatures couldn’t put two and two together. They weren’t smart in the blatantly obvious.

The one thing the creatures could not control was mother nature. Our plan was a primitive as the living conditions that were enforced. Metal rods were set up all over the planet. And slowly but surely after every electrical storm, the alien’s numbers dwindled. Pretty soon it was just small alien societies here and there. Life began to achieve a sense of normalcy and the few creatures that were left finally accepted their fate of being the minority. We lived a more simple way of life, less stress, less noise, less pollution because we understood that our planet and ourselves needed it.



Mother’s Dealing Love

I haven’t written a short piece of fiction in a while and was inspired by a movie that I watched this weekend and Discover’s prompt. Can you guess which one (psst…also great mother’s day story)?


My mother never flaunted my true identity. She wanted me to grow up with a normal childhood and be able to experience everything that a child my age would. My father and she came to a mutual understanding and an agreement of sorts. Since he chose her to be my mother that resulted in an upheaval of her life that she should be granted a restitution and a continuing allowance of gratitude. This is how my mother ensured that I would have the ideal childhood, the best of both worlds at my disposal. She loves me fiercely and that is something not even the devil banked on happening.

It was tough in the beginning but I was granted the image of the most beautiful baby and then the most beautiful young boy that made it easier for others to accept me. My mother’s husband mysteriously died after I was born. She demanded it from my biological father and he agreed surprised that she was that vengeful. She explained that she was only used, and bartered with for his gain of fame and fortune. She explained all of that is fine and well but seeing him every day and could hinder her love for me. She expressed her concern that her husband could possibly get jealous of my presence and hurt me. He died and from what the coroner’s report said was an ‘unnatural cause of death’. My mother wasn’t investigated and why should she be? He deserved it and the fact that I never met him, neither of us mourned him.

The coven that set the whole thing up was another circumstance that warranted a deal with my father. They planned everything with my mother’s husband for her to conceive me not for my well-being but for their own greedy and selfish wants. It’s unspeakable how they treated her during her recovery from my birth. As if she was only my wet nurse and not my mother. Not once did anyone tell her the truth about me. She had to find out on her own. The members went missing one by one. The only positive gain from the members being gone is that my father and she get along great and do so well co-parenting.

She is now the sole caretaker and decision maker as any mother should be. I attend a lovely private school and we still live in the same apartment but only we own the entire floor. We have a cook and a maid but my mother refused a nanny. She said that if she was going to be my mother there is no need for one. We both understand my lot in life and in the future but right now I’m enjoying my friends, parties, school and all sorts of activities. Most of all, I’m enjoying my mother’s love, affection, and teaching me right from wrong. My mother, Rosemary, calls me Andy, but my father calls me Adrien.


Searching for Light

This morning walk to work was supposed to be mundane. I knew the route by heart. I was looking down at my phone with earbuds in walking to work when I was abruptly stopped by someone grabbing my shoulder. I jerked my head up only to see the chaos that he had observed. I should’ve been paying attention. I was afraid to take out the noise canceling buds. Did I want to hear the screams and panic in people’s voices? No, but I needed to. I needed to hear any information about what was going on around us.

The stranger kept his hand on my shoulder as if to tell me not to move. What did he see that I didn’t? What did he know that no one else knew or having the painful experience of learning on their own? Or it sounded painful. There wasn’t any smoke or mechanical sounds so it wasn’t an army of strangers rolling through, setting buildings on fire in their wake. There wasn’t any snow, rain, or dark clouds for that matter which allowed me to conclude that it wasn’t an act of mother nature.

I finally looked at the stranger and he held his index finger up to his lips tell me to ‘shh’ without making a sound. He pointed above his head for me to look up and that’s when I saw a beam, like a laser light used to play with cats. Only this light was blue and I watched it lurk bending around objects. It could bend? The strangers motioned for me to follow him where he led me to stand underneath a neon sign.

‘What is going on?’ is all I could manage at the time.
‘As long as you are near a light it won’t melt your brain stem.’
He said it so matter-of-factly that it made me uncomfortable to be near him. How would he know what it does? I started to look for the nearest light path to take to get to the subway. The lights were bright and always on because it’s dark. I could ride the sub out of town.
‘How do you know what the light does?’
‘Because I created it. It was actually supposed to be used to seek and destroy cancer cells but instead, the military had other plans for it. They reprogrammed it to hone in on human voices, specifically certain dialects, and gently put them down. The beam has been manufactured to be the ultimate weapon. Imagine, no soldiers on the field, in the air, or at sea. Just a program launched and shuts off when it has completed a task.’
‘Can’t you shut it off?’ I asked in surprise. How come has he not logged on or whatever, and shut down the program?
‘It has now been programmed to terminate, well me. Until I can get to my lab’s computer it is attacking everyone with an English dialect. Unfortunately, when they programmed it to try and hone in on me the military didn’t have my voice pattern and with a few wrong letters and symbols the beam now kills everyone that can speak English.’
‘How did you know about hiding in lights?’ I asked.
‘I created the program to have a hidden safety feature.’
‘What about the subway? It’s always lit up because the tunnels are dark and we can travel to the closest station to your lab. From there we’ll have to figure something out.’
He grinned. ‘We can take the sub to the Upper East Side, wait until dark, and travel to the botanical garden at night. It’s beautifully lit at night. I can see it from my office window.’ We had a plan in motion.

Now to get to the subway’s entrance, 50 feet away.


Protective Barrier

‘Sleeve’ can mean many different things and can even be manipulated to hold a different definition.

Protective Barrier

How can I have my own protective shield?
A barrier that conforms to my need
during different moments?
One that just slips over me?
Sturdy enough to keep me from bending,
from breaking?
It can keep away negative light and
only let in the good.
I can hide in the safety of its darkness only
to be viewed by the most worthy.
Can it include all the warnings with symbols so
people can understand?
I have a sleeve but it’s not as strong as the one requested?
The product may be slightly damaged but still functions.
Is there a way I can upgrade my sleeve?

Dark Startling Truth

A place rests that we do not dare speak of. The part of us that we do not wish anyone to know and will go to great lengths to protect our forbidden realm. It’s our secret hiding place, right in the aphotic corner of our minds. You visit in dreams and pondering states to have a taste of the absolute mortifying atrocities and taboos considered by society. The only thing that separates us from our own heinous evil selves; self-control.

Even though you can taste, touch, feel, hear, see and even enjoy your prohibited visions, you become astonished when someone else has. Seen publicly displayed, you are both disgusted and jealous. Dismissing your own vileness. We dare not speak only visit our own personal darkness recognizing only the truly wicked free individuals succumb to their horrific desires. Self-control, practice and guard it for you will need its protection from yourself.

Elaborating View

I know that there are many writers that have quoted Hemingway,

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.”

Let me elaborate my feelings about this quote. The truth is, the time that I’m truly lonely is when I can’t write. If I’m sitting here at work (like I am now but I’m protesting something as I write) and I’m forced to regurgitate an old idea in a new color (basically) my mind will wander to writing and building characters and stories in my head or which short stories should I build on and publish. Then I get lonely. I could be standing in a room full of people but without my characters and my ideas being written out I’m alone.

My writing area is in an office area that overlooks the living room and the kitchen. I can look out all the windows and see everything. The T.V. is going and the kids are asking 20 questions and even though I’m distracted as I write, I’m not lonely. If I’m sitting there watching T.V. with everyone or preparing dinner, I have company but somewhere inside I’m lonely. I need my writing and characters just as much as I need air. It helps with my C-PTSD, it helps with the depression and anxiety, it helps me communicate with others. It’s my therapy.

So, me facing eternity, or lack thereof in each day, is not being able to write.

Practicing Poetry: Vague

I’ve been worrying and working so much on my A to Z blogging challenge I haven’t done much of anything else. The emails and awards I’m hoping to catch up on this weekend. I cannot write Haikus to save my life but here goes nothing and yes, I survived this. These are in response to Discover’s Prompt for the day. Oh, but I came across a tool that I’m sure a lot of my poetry posters know of but for the ones that don’t check out this link. It was super fun to work with and helped me so much. I was amazed at how many times I had to edit and reword lines. And since I’m a glutton for punishment and couldn’t help myself I decided to write an Acrostic poem. I had no idea what in the hell that was until I looked it up. I did those in elementary school!

Love’s Confession

Obscure by default,
I’ll confess in my own time.
Love isn’t vague just protected.





Why so Vague?

Being obtuse is at times, my safe haVen
Shyness is one of my Absolute rules.
My heart decides when a person Gains insight of me.
Genuine Understanding is what I need, not want.
I’m learning not to pardon my Emotions.


A Radiant Thought

Is it the power of perception that allows us to truly see the inner beauty of someone’s soul? Or is it how we judge others based on appearance and actions and how we see them?

Have you ever watched a stranger and wonder about their radiance that they are not showing? Do they have any light to offer?

Truth is, everyone has a light that can help someone else through their personal darkness.

Just a radiant thought for today’s Discover prompt.

Warning Turn

‘Do you have everything you need? Clean clothes, emergency kit, extra cash, map?’ ‘Yes mom, I have everything except the map. People don’t use maps, we have phones with turn by turn directions.’ My mom rolled her eyes at me and gave me a hug. ‘Be safe and call at every stop. Only park in well-lit areas, be aware of your surroundings and make sure the safety is off of your gun.’ ‘Mom, it’s going to be ok. Grandma’s house is only 12 hours away. I won’t even have to stop and sleep.’ I kissed my mother on the forehead and closed the door.

This trip was what a girl of 19 needed before going to college. Plus, my grandmother cooked everything from scratch. We already planned on going over photos, letters, and visiting the gambling boats. I set the route on my phone and I was off. The gas stops were mapped and my arrival time was in 11 hrs and 29 minutes. The audio on my phone broke through the monotony of the pavement under us and kept me right on track. I called my mom when I stopped to stretch my legs and to get a bite to eat. ‘Hi, mom. Yup, I’m ok. I’ll call from my next stop. Love you.’ I wanted to keep the conversation short and sweet because I couldn’t handle another safety lecture.

Back on the road, ‘Exit coming up, turn left and merge back on to the highway. Head north.’ I scrunched my face at those directions. Why did the GPS route me back home? I ignored the turn warning and kept going south. The GPS showed the original route and I didn’t give it another thought. ‘Exit coming up, turn left and merge back on to the highway. Head north. It’s not too late. If you stay on course you will not live to see college.’ ‘What in the hell?’ I asked out loud expecting an answer but nothing. I kept going comforted by the fact that I had the gun under my seat.

It was a long trip but I was now 5 minutes away from my grandmother’s house. ‘Make U-turn now. She is not home but her killer is.’ My GPS informed me with a monotone computer voice. I immediately picked up the phone to call my grandmother. My visit was going to be a surprise but I thought this warranted a call. ‘Hi grandma I’m going to be pulling into the driveway,’ I was quickly interrupted. ‘Oh dear, I’m getting my hair done but go ahead and go in. You know the code to the alarm. I’ll be home in an hour.’ ‘Ok, love you.’ I was relieved. I had completely forgotten about the alarm system.

I pulled into the driveway and my phone warned, ‘Get back in the vehicle and turn around. You will have the same fate as I do.’ I must be tired from the trip. Ignoring the advice I walked into the house and turned the alarm off. I turned on the light when everything went black. It was rather quick and painless. I would like to say that I didn’t suffer the same fate but now, I’m warning other people of danger through their devices.

This is obviously a fictional story responding to Discover’s Prompt Word: Warning. I wanted something different.

Broken Betrayal

A clanging crash sounded from upstairs.  I knew what it was when it hit the ground. All I could imagine was the last memento of my grandmother hitting the wood floor. I could see all the little pieces moving to an unrehearsed dance behind my closed eyes. I’m never going to find all the pieces to the delicate china doll, let alone put them together. And then the tears started to stream down my face.

‘Just ignore it and the behavior will stop. Do not reply to the actions with anger, that’ll only encourage more,’ was the advice I heard in my head playing in a loop. My tears turned into frustration and rage as I went storming up the stairs. I looked down at the ground to find the doll shattered beyond any hope of repair. ‘We had a deal!’ I screamed. ‘I promised I wouldn’t make you leave if you would stop destroying my memories and keepsakes! I can barely remember what our grandmother looked like and now you have taken the last thing that was hers! You’ve got to go!’

I rushed downstairs and called the only person I knew that could do anything. ‘Father, can you come to the house?’ ‘Yes, I can. Did something happen? You know, I’ll head over now. I’m glad you’re ready to help her move forward.’ We both hung up the phone. I spun around on my heels, ‘Oh you’re going to get it now! I warned you.’ I could see the sadness creeping over her but enough was enough.  I didn’t care for her feelings any more than she cared about mine. Her whole attitude has changed since the accident. Like it was my fault that everything happened. The only betrayal I did was not going that night and her’s was going. My sister has been dead for 7 years now.

I wrote this out of nervousness to Discover’s Prompt: Betrayal. I agreed to have coffee today with someone that betrayed me. Writing this really helped.

Pine Advice

‘Daddy they’re going to fall on us! They’re falling!’ I was frantic to get off his shoulders clawing and screaming my way down his back. I was surprised he didn’t just let me fall because I know I pulled on his beard and long hair. The gentle giant of a man allowed me to become frantic. I felt the sensation of emotions of the impending life learning lesson I was about received without knowing. He was able to catch me before I went running off into the woods and calmed me down.

You see, it was a treat to go the park with my dad. He was always gone working in oil fields and on offshore rigs so our time was precious. On this particular day, he asked if I wanted to walk on the trail through the woods. I agreed with childish enthusiasm to go into what I believed to be magical where dwarves could be dwelling and fairies playing. I was on his shoulders and we entered the woods.

He showed me sparkling creeks, red clay mud, and wild honeysuckles like we have growing in our backyard. The path was worn but I knew that my father wouldn’t get lost. I could see everything from my top of the world-view and felt so safe and powerful until I looked up. The towering Loblolly Pines were swaying but I didn’t feel any wind. From my little point of view, it looked like they were going to snap and land right on top of us.

When I was done scaling down my dad and in his arms for comfort he told me, ‘Oh my little Jo. Hush now. Those trees have been around since before I was born. Their roots hold strong. They may be pushed around by the wind from time to time but they are strong enough to make it through any storm. They are grounded in the earth by their roots. They can’t hide when they’re scared or run from something that could happen again. Jo, look up.’ I sniffled letting my hands loosen up just enough to look past him to the sky and could see the trees slowly swaying. ‘Jo, take the silent advice from these pines. When you’re faced with something that’s scary or new keep calm and think. Don’t give up or give in. Your roots will keep you grounded to make the right decisions.’

I still try to be like those pines that once scared me. His advice has gotten me through so much in my life. Even when it was time to spread my father’s ashes on a lake with pines above us, I heard his words. Having C-PTSD, I first thought of myself as weak not being able to calm down or ground myself. The fact that I reached out for help is still following my father’s advice.

I can still remember the feeling of tugging on his beard like a rope to get down. This is a response to Discover’s Prompt Frantic.

Warning Quartet

I should have known or at least picked up on the warnings quicker. I guess that’s why I’m now hiding in my basement. It was a breezy summer night. The kind that you open the windows of the house and sit on the porch so the air kisses everything with freshness. I was sitting on the porch when the cicadas stopped singing in the trees. Unfortunately, I was so enthralled with my book to notice. But that would be the first warning if I had to guess.

Then the crickets stopped chirping but remembering back, it wasn’t in one area, it was all over. As if the whole county of crickets was spooked at once. This I noticed but didn’t think anything of it. I excused it away thinking that there may be a storm coming in. I went into the kitchen to fix myself a glass of Dr. Pepper and back to my rocking chair and book. I reckon any observant person would have at least turned on the news but not me. That’s why I’m now in hiding in the basement with the doors locked.

The lightning bugs were gone when I looked up. As a child, we would smear their glowing substance on us as children and play tag. Not seeing them echo light signals to each other made me stand up and walk off the porch. There weren’t any clouds in the sky or nature sounds anywhere. That’s when I couldn’t feel the breeze anymore. Not around my feet or through my hair. The darkness of the night even seemed to be more dangerous. That’s why I’m hiding in my basement with the doors locked and listening to the news through headphones of my radio.

I left my book and my drink on the porch and headed inside allowing the screen door to bang behind me. That’s when I felt a rumble through the floor. I peeked out the window and didn’t see anything but a cloud of dust getting closer and closer. How could a cloud of dust be moving without wind? Then I heard the screams. It was the screaming from neighbors and people that were trying to escape the dust cloud. There was the sound of crunching metal and wood in the cloud but something else. Was it bones crushing or trees? Or both? That’s why I searched for matches and candles to light in the darkness.

All I could remember seeing was the dust slowly blowing in my yard. After seeing body limbs and parts raining down from the cloud of dust, I took off in a terror to the safest place I could think of while carrying my dog. The news said not to go near the dust cloud and to hide from the darkness. If I had paid attention, could I have helped my neighbors? Could I have had time to drive away from whatever the danger is? I regret the quartet of warnings I missed. Now, I’m hiding in my locked basement listening to the news with my dog by my side, and sitting in a circle of candles and oil lanterns.

I’m already having a horrible day at work and decided that writing a short story might help. I had to try something with Discover’s prompt. It seemed boring until I was inspired by something that happened at work. It involved a young kid that was hired to do the custodial duties. He wasn’t good at it and barely showed up to work. I had to dust my computer area and clean the floors. It can be something so weird that gives you an idea. Would this be considered horror genre or thriller? I don’t know but I think this has potential but not on my top 5 list. Still had fun writing and feeling a little less anxious.

Swallow Hope

Legend has it that swallows were a sailor’s land omen, or at least that’s how my grandmother’s story went. I would ask my grandmother, ‘Tell me how you and pawpaw met again,’ and she would tuck me in and sit in the rocker beside my bed. ‘Swallows let sailors know if they are close to land. They are the messages they look for when they need to find land or carry messages of hope.’

She continued, ‘I was just a young girl when I became interested in the boats that came in from the sea bringing foods, goods, father, and husbands. I would help my dad unload the fish and my mom set up at the market. My father had hired a young boy that he found orphaned on the streets. My dad would invite him to stay with us sometimes but he would barely speak a word. He would quietly eat dinner, get cleaned up, and sleep in the stables. Even when he did that he was out there tending to the horses. I always thought it was to show gratitude.

The more he spent time with our family the more he would open up. I learned that he couldn’t read or write and I was now the proud teacher to my only student. In return, he taught me folklore of the sea. I was fascinated by mermaids, sirens, large man-eating sharks and the effects of the moon. He taught me about the constellations and I taught him, French. A bond and loved formed between us. I loved that man so much then and more now. As the years passed your grandpa saved enough for his own fishing boat. He asked my father for my hand in marriage. Your great-grandfather agreed on the condition that he provides a house and a lifestyle better than he could give his only daughter.

Because of this, your grandfather was rarely home. He was always fishing and saving his money. I would receive love letters mailed from different ports from around the world. Until one month they just stopped. July, August, and September passed without a word. I would sit at the docks in the mornings watching the swallows in the distance praying for one of them to carry on their wings a wish of hope that my love would soon return. It was now November and we were sitting down for a meal when there was a faint tapping at the door. There your grandfather was, on one knee. He asked me to marry him but without a ring. Instead in the golden box was a key embossed with swallows.

I gasped, said yes and embraced him before my dad could react. My father invited him in for dinner like when he was a little boy. I sat a place next to my plate and sat down next to my future husband. ‘Son, where have you been? You stopped all communication with my daughter. Why should I believe you won’t abandon her again after you’re married?’ My fiance looked down at his plate and said, ‘Sir, I was out fishing. I have seen beautiful mornings and starry nights. I earned enough money to purchase the mansion on the hill. I also purchased four other charter boats so I can stay home with your daughter more and earn a living off my newly built company.’

‘The reason why it took so long for me to get home is that I got lost.’ My father rolled his eyes but the young man continued, ‘I have never seen such giant waves or heard roaring winds. I got turned around several times and almost capsized twice. I held tight and the crew doubted every decision I made but obeyed. I was even doubting myself trying to make it home. The next morning’s sunrise was like looking at angels. I realized I was lost and had no idea where we were. Then a lone swallow landed on the rail and hopped from side to side and take off. As if the bird was trying to tell me something. I know they don’t fly far from land and headed in the direction of the swallow. I planned on sending word to your daughter but seen it was our home port. I purchased the house, set up credit so she can purchase whatever she likes for the home, and purchased foods and goods. So with your permission and with the help of your wife, can I marry your daughter and help us plan a wedding fit for a princess?’

Speechless my mother gripped my sleeve and looked towards my father with hope in her eyes. He grinned, ‘Martin, you may marry my daughter. Let’s eat and see the fine life you will give my baby bird.’ My grandmother finished the story with a mist in her eye and a smile on her face, ‘And that’s how you were given the name Terney, my sea swallow. Sleep well baby bird.’

Ok, writing love stories isn’t my forte so this gives me a starting point to build from. But Discover’s Daily Prompt gave me a push. I happen to have two swallows tattooed on my shoulder. I also learned from a little research before naming characters is that Martin is a bank swallow and Tern (the granddaughter’s name is Terney) is a sea swallow.

Please Don’t

Please don’t look at me,
I only want to walk into the store.

Please don’t watch me,
I only want to get what my family needs.

Please don’t talk to me,
I will stumble over my words trying to reply.

Please don’t stand to close,
I feel uncomfortable and want to run.

Please don’t make eye contact,
I feel obligated to look away.

Please don’t snicker,
I tried to say my coffee order that I rehearsed.

Please don’t shake your head,
I only want to order something to eat.

Please don’t acknowledge me,
I only want to be invisible.

I wanted to attempt a poem for the Daily Post Prompt: Invisible that captures some of my social anxieties. I remember a time when I was a social butterfly and then I was isolated. Now I’m left with the aftermath of my CPTSD. Some days are harder than others.

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