‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 Entry Part 7) By Mae Clair @MaeClair1 #IARTG #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction #WritingPrompts

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 7)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #21

Today I’m featuring the contribution by Mae Clair.

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt and Mae Clair’s Contribution.

Old abandoned, boarded up two-story home in autumn woods at sunset

I’ve Got a Plan

“You really bought this?”  Mason shook his head as he surveyed the derelict property. In its day, the house had probably been grand. Now, it was nothing more than a weathered, ivy-encrusted shell. Gilded by the last rays of the setting sun, the old two-story appeared part of the barren woodland surrounding it. “I hope you can get your money back.”

“It was dirt cheap.” Jeremy’s face glowed with pride. “Besides…I’ve got a plan.”

There was always a plan with Jeremy—another fanciful idea or dragon tail. It had been that way since he was a kid. “Okay, I’ll bite. What’s the plan?”

“A Halloween Haunt. Picture it.” Jeremy spread his hands, framing the house. “It won’t take a lot of money. Just enough to shore things up and make certain they’re sound. We add a few fog machines, cheap vintage furniture, and I’m telling you, Dad, it can’t fail.”

“You’ll need actors.”

“I’ve got that covered. We add to the existing atmosphere and play up grim and creepy.”

Business would be limited to a few months in the fall, but that wasn’t entirely problematic. Plus, it would be good experience if the kid pulled it off. At twenty-eight, it was time he managed something. 

“Maybe.” Mason wasn’t ready to commit. “Let’s see inside.”

~ooOOoo~

Isabelle rolled her eyes at the agonized creak of the front door. It had started screeching like that somewhere during the last century. “Dearest, we have company.”

Liam flipped a page in his book. “Two men. I saw them standing out front.”

“Don’t you think you should go downstairs and see what they’re about?” She lowered her embroidery hoop to her lap, the soft folds of her saffron gown, a color match for the flames in the hearth. As cozy as their sitting room was, she understood why Liam was reluctant to leave but one of them had to address the situation. “You’ve already read Moby Dick numerous times.”

“But I never tire of it. We could send Chloe.”

“That strumpet?” Isabelle clucked her tongue. “I think not. I don’t even know why the fool girl insists on lingering.”

“She did love me.” Liam set his book aside. “Probably still does.”

He was a distinguished man with a smattering of gray in his hair, his eyes the dark blue of midnight skies. Isabelle was sometimes overcome by her devotion to him. She couldn’t term the affection love—not any longer—but her emotion ran strong. She’d been naïve when they’d wed, but after a decade discerned his wandering eye. Especially after Chloe came to live with them, lending a hand with domestic chores.

“Her love is irrelevant. I do not share.”

“As you proved.”

Isabelle flashed an innocent smile. “You always enjoyed my tea in the past.”

“Minus the poison.”

“At least I followed you to the grave by drinking it myself.”

“Not quite the grave.” He motioned to the room at large.

“Which brings us back to the problem downstairs.”

“Very well.” Liam heaved a breath. “I’ll scare them off like the others.”

~ooOOoo~

“It has potential.” After exploring the main level, Mason was almost ready to commit. It would take an outlay of cash, but nothing he couldn’t raise. Maybe this time Jeremy would finally turn one of his pipedreams into gold. “We should look upstairs.”

He started toward the staircase, halting abruptly when he spied a figure at the top. “What the—” 

The man’s face appeared chiseled from granite. Dressed in outdated clothing, he looked much like a Dicken’s character, wearing a short waistcoat, silken cravat, and high-topped boots. 

He speared a finger in their direction. “Trespassers! You do not belong here!” The walls shook at the boom of his voice. The floor heaved and cracked. Behind him, lightning exploded from the ceiling, filling the air with ozone. “Leave while you can.”

“Holy shit!” Mason stumbled backward, colliding with his son.

Jeremy caught him by the shoulders. “Don’t mind him, Dad. That’s just Mr. O’Conner.” He hustled past, climbing the steps two at a time. “Hiya, Mr. O’Conner.” He flipped a wave to the stunned apparition. “Chloe told me all about you and your wife. You’re going to fit right in. Aren’t they, Dad?” Jeremy glanced over his shoulder. “Dad?”

Mason stood rooted to the landing, knees quavering, heart thundering. “J-J-Jeremey…” He couldn’t seem to find his voice. “Th-that’s a ghost.”

“Yeah, I know.” The idiot kid grinned ear-to-ear. “Didn’t I tell you we wouldn’t need actors?”

~~~~~

Mae Clair can be reached here …

Twitter:

Amazon Author Page:

Mystery, Suspense & Urban Legends | BookBub | Newsletter Sign-Up

Website & Blog | Goodreads

~~~~~~~

Thank you so much for stopping by. I’ll be featuring other posts as they are received.

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 Entry Part 6) by Gwen Plano @gmplano #IARTG #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction #WritingPrompts

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 6)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #21.

Today I’m featuring a contribution by  Gwen Plano.

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here’s the image prompt and the contribution by Gwen Plano.

For my response, I’ve chosen to write a short dialogue and have included a Tanka poem (syllables 5-7-5-7-7) as part of my story.
House, Mystical, Villa, Secret, Fantasy
FOREVER.​

“Grandma, why are we here? This old house is boarded up!”

“I’m not visiting the house, Charlie. There’s something I want to show you in the back.”

“Did you used to live here, Grandma?”

“No. My friend, Johnny, did.”

“Who’s Johnny?”

“Someone I knew. He died in WWII.”

She let her head fall and with it the years.

“Grandma?”

“He was my sunshine. I called him that. No matter how bad I felt, he’d make me laugh.”

He darts her a glance and takes her hand. 

She inhales deeply, “He was my first love.”

Now behind the house, Charlie pauses to look around.

“Grandma, there’s nothing here.”

“I’ll show you. Let’s walk to that big oak tree over there.”

“Okay, now what?”

“Do you see a heart engraved on it?”

Charlie walks around the tree and shakes his head. “Are you sure this is the tree?”

“I’m positive.”

Charlie stares at the trunk and runs his hands over the rough bark, then looks up and spots something. Stepping back, he reads, “JS + MT — is this what you were talking about?”

“Yes. I told you this was the tree. Now I want you to dig right here, below the heart.” She points with her cane.

Charlie grabs a thick stick and begins digging. After a few minutes he hits metal. He turns to Grandma.

“Pull it out, Charlie. It holds something I need to give to you.”

A few tugs and Charlie hands her a tin box.

“Can you open it for me please?”

He works on the lid until it pops open. Inside there’s a folded paper and a ring. The message reads, Yesterday, today, and tomorrow — through all eternity. Charlie looks back at Grandma. She appears lost in thought.

“The ring, Grandma, what about this ring?”

She looks up and smiles, “It was my engagement ring. We made our promises at this tree. Soon you will be making yours, and I want you to have my ring. It will bring you laughter, you’ll see what I mean. And when it does, you’ll think of me.”​

Picture

 
 
Gwen Plano can be reached here …

Thank you so much for stopping by. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I’ll be posting further entries as I receive them.

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 Entry Part 4) By D L Finn @dlfinnauthor #IARTG #WRITINGPROMPTS #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Part 4)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #21.
Today I’m featuring a contribution from entry 4)By D L Finn
Last week I set the following Challenge:
Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt and Haibun from D L Finn.

House, Mystical, Villa, Secret, Fantasy

A Haibun Poem combines a prose poem (the paragraph) and a Haiku/Senryu.

THE TRUTH

Wood slats replace the glass in my childhood home. Rocks and years have stripped away its beauty. Long ago, this empty house was full of life. People traveled great distances to attend the lavish parties. Our family was admired and respected until I disappeared. They hung my beloved husband for a crime he didn’t commit. Only I knew that, though, and no one heard my ghostly protests. Someday we’ll be reunited, but only after people finally learn the truth.

The house isn’t haunted

I only want to be found

My murderer died with me.

~~~

D.L.Finn can be reached here …

Blog site:

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:

On TWITTER:

On FACEBOOK:

Thanks so much for stopping by! I look forward to reading your comments.I’ll be featuring each entry as I receive them.

I can be reached here …

My author page on AMAZON.

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 Entry Part 3) By T L Reeve #IARTG #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Part 3)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #21.
Today I’m featuring a contribution from entry 3)By T L Reeve
Last week I set the following Challenge:
Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt.

House, Mystical, Villa, Secret, Fantasy

Worthington Estates

This… Is it? This is the house you bought with your inheritance?” Marcus, my best friend, said taking in the property. “This place.”

I shrugged. “I mean, it needs a couple of coats of paint.”

“It needs to be bulldozed. Into oblivion.” Marcus scrubbed his brow as he began to pace. “What—What are you going to do with this place, Miranda?”

“Hide the bodies?”

“The… Bodies?” In slow motion, he lifted his face, so our gazes collided. “What bodies, Miranda?”

“The ones in my basement?” I scrunched up my face. “Duh.”

“The ones… Where?” The exasperation in his voice perplexed me. He opened his mouth to say something, then turned away. “This little game of yours is becoming a bit grating.”

“If you don’t believe me, check out behind the house.” I’d already planted some of the remains before bringing Marcus out here.

“What happened to you, Miranda?”

I stared at him. What happened to me? What happened to him? He’d been my partner in crime. My ride or die, bitch. We did everything together. Even our first murders. Now he wants to know what happened to me? Nothing. I was fulfilling the prophecy while he became some straight-laced lawyer. “Look, we’re almost finished. Who would think to look out in this dump for a body? No one, that’s who.”

“I shouldn’t be here. I won’t jeopardize my position or the new life I am building,” he hissed. “You shouldn’t be here—and for fuck’s sake, what bodies?”

“We made a pact, you and me. I’m finishing it.”

“You’re insane.” He stomped away. The dry, dead leaves crunched under his feet as he went. “Criminally Insane.”

I tilted my head. “It’s a shame you’ll have to die now too. You’ve seen too much. You know my plan.”

He stopped dead in his tracks. “Miranda, now you’re scaring me. Don’t do anything you’ll regret.”

I started for him, my pace slow and deliberate so as not to give him any reason to run. I snorted, I already had, hadn’t I? “Regret? I have no regrets, Marcus.” I pinned him to the tree behind him and laughed. The pulse at his neck fluttered and the scent of his fear was tantalizing. I struck then like a rabid dog about to gorge themselves on what might be their final meal.

I jolted awake.

Marcus’ shrill scream rang in my ears along with my phone’s ringtone. I picked it up and glanced at the screen. Sun Valley Trust. My bank. I slid the toggle on the screen and answered while pushing my wild, disheveled curls from my face. “Hello?”

“Good morning, Ms. Cartwright, this is Mr. Foster from the bank. I just wanted you to know the sale went through a few moments ago. Congratulations, you’re a homeowner.”

I found a cute little house in the middle of the woods that would be perfect for me. “Uh, wow, thanks, I suppose.” I rubbed my face trying to wake myself up a bit more from that nightmare. “What happens next?”

“Escrow takes about thirty days then you’ll receive the keys to your home,” Mr. Foster replied. “If you want to swing by, I have a copy of all your paperwork waiting.”

“Sure.” I glanced at the clock. “I’ll be there in twenty.”

“I’ll see you then. Congratulations.”

I sat there for a moment staring at the screen, still trying to shake the remnants of my dream. Who buys a dilapidated abandoned house to bury bodies at, let alone eat her best friend? I seriously need to stop watching American Horror Story before bed.

I should call Marcus. His phone rang three times, then went straight to voicemail. “Bitch, it’s me. I bought a house, we should celebrate.”

Meanwhile at the “house…”

The call came in at seven, hunters found the body while putting out corn. A man had been mutilated at the old Worthington Estates. The house had been in disrepair for years, until recently.

The vibration from a phone caught my attention, and I rolled the body, finding it in the victims back pocket. The name Miranda was on the screen. When the prompt for a voicemail showed up, I did what I had to. I listened.

“Bitch, it’s me. I bought a house, we should celebrate.”

I glanced at the victim. Unfortunately, there’d be no celebrating for Mr. Marcus Hampton. “Someone get a cover over what’s left of the body. Don’t need the evidence tainted… Add his phone too.”

~~~

T L Reeve can be reached here authortlreeve@hotmail.com

Thanks so much for joining me here today. I look forward to seeing your comments. I will as always be featuring each new contribution as I receive them.

I may be reached here …

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 Entry Part 2) by Anita Dawes @jaydawes2 #IARTG #WRITINGCOMMUNITY #WritingPrompts

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Entry PART 2) for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #21.

Today I’m featuring a contribution from entry 2) by Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie.

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt and the contribution.

Beauty disguised as decay
Gothic windows, painted by time
Kissed by autumns warm orange
Trees stripped of their summer leaves
Above the balcony
Behind dirty windows
Shadows linger, layers of time live together
Unaware of each other
Objects move by unseen hand
No one owns up to having touched
Late at night, whispered words of
are we haunted, touch the interior
Do ghosts live here?

©anitadawes 2020

Contact Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie Here .

Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie BLOG

The Author on AMAZON

on TWITTER

Thanks so much for stopping by. I will post further entry’s as they are received.

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #21 Entry Part 1) by John Howell @HowellWave and Suzanne Burke @pursoot #WritingCommunity #IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingPrompts

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Part 1)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #21.
Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 1)By John Howell and Entry 2) My own contribution.
Last week I set the following Challenge:
Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt.

House, Mystical, Villa, Secret, Fantasy

One Line Contribution By John Howell.

“I think this Sherwin Williams Paint color of the month is a little too rustic for me, Ambrose.”

John Howell can be reached here …

Visit at Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

 Twitter:

Author Blog Fiction Favorites:

My own Contribution

House, Mystical, Villa, Secret, Fantasy

RAVEN’S PEAK

“We’ll be there soon, hon.” Holly gently patted her husband Daniel’s hand.

“Can’t get there soon enough for my liking. This storm wasn’t forecast. I don’t like driving among all these damned trees when there’s lightning around.”

A shattering clap of thunder shook the car windows. Holly squealed as a bolt of blinding lightning struck a tree just behind them, throwing the burning wood across the road. “Damn it. I hope the realtor is already waiting for us. That tree’s blocking the only access back down to the highway.”

Daniel took a long slow curve and stopped the car suddenly as they reached a clearing. “That’s weird! Firstly, we were told this was a vacant block of land. So, what’s with the old building? And it’s not raining or even wet here. No sign of the storm.”

“I’ve seen it rain on one side of the road but not on the other before. That old house looks amazing.”

“Yeah, I guess.” He took her hand and they walked slowly up to the property.

“Oh my God! It’s really something, isn’t it? You can just feel the history pulsating around you.” Holly let go of his hand and walked up to the shuttered and abandoned mansion. She touched the barricaded door gently. “I want to go inside.”

“We can’t do that, hon. Besides, we don’t want the expense of demolishing a house. Just wait till I speak to that realtor! What a waste of time. His car’s not here yet. I’ll give him a call.” Daniel flipped open his cell, “There’s no damned reception!”

Holly shrugged, “I’m going inside. It’s cold out here.”

“We shouldn’t. That’s trespassing.”

“Who’s gonna say anything? Don’t be such a baby.”

“I’m not. Just don’t like the feel of it is all.”

“You shouldn’t let the fact that it’s Halloween spook you. Where’s your sense of adventure? I’m gonna find a way in.”

Daniel watched Holly walk around to the side of the building. She found a door that wasn’t nailed shut, fiddled with the lock and the door swung open. He followed her inside.

The door slammed shut behind them and they were plunged into darkness. The only light came through the cracks and breaks in the shutters. It was colder in here than outside.

Holly moved across to the base of a stairway that curved its way to the second story balcony.

She ran her hands lovingly along the dusty mahogany of the banister, suddenly letting out a yelp of pain. The splinter of wood had gone deep. She gritted her teeth and pulled it out, watching as a few droplets of blood spilled to the wooden floor.

“Did you hurt yourself, hon?” Daniel placed a hand on her shoulder. Holly smiled, “Just a splinter. Come on, let’s take a look around up here.”

Daniel followed for a few paces. “What the hell is that noise?”

“Noise? I don’t hear anything.”

“Listen! There it is again, it’s like the sound of a baby’s heart beating. You know like on one of those ultrasound things?”

Holly shrugged, moved ahead, and walked into another room. Daniel was only three steps behind her, but when he reached the spot where she’d entered … the doorway had vanished. All he found was the solid concrete wall.

“Holly? Holly can you hear me? HOLLY?” He pounded on the wall. “Holly answer me! Where are you?”

A scream came from inside the wall.  “Daniel help me! I can’t breathe in here! The door’s gone and there’s no windows! It’s getting hotter!  Get me out!”

The man frantically pounded on the wall, “It’s no use. I’m gonna see if there’s another way in. Hold on.”

Smoke oozed through the walls and Holly stopped screaming soon after.

***

Daniel ran toward the ridge line for another hour and was gasping for air and afraid. His cell-phone reception finally registered a few bars and he punched in 911 and was connected to The Raven’s Peak Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Leanne Hollister took the call and turned to the chief. “Got a guy name of Daniel Spencer on the line, he’s not making much sense. Say’s his wife’s gone missing. Inside some house!”

The chief stood and grabbed his hat, “What’s his location?”

The deputy repeated the address she’d been given. She watched in surprise as the chief snorted loudly, replaced his hat on the hook and sat back behind his desk.

“I keep forgettin’ that you’re only new to the area, Deputy. Somebody’s havin’ some Halloween fun with ya, is all. That ol’ mansion was gutted by fire on Halloween forty-years-back. We lost a few local residents in the blaze. The relatives had what little remained of the house demolished. There’s nothin’ but a concrete slab at that location.”

***

November 1st.

“Chief, you need to take this call!”

“Why? Who is it?”

“That call we ignored last night. Turns out Daniel Spencer is a Senator’s son. The boy and his wife were meant to have dinner with the family for Halloween. The car’s been found burned out at the location he gave us. They found his phone around a mile from there. It showed this was the last number he called. The US Marshall’s Office is on the phone.”

“Oh, hell.”

~~~~~~

I wish you all Happy Halloween my friends! 😈

Thanks so much for joining me here today. I look forward to seeing your comments. I will as always featuring each new contribution as I receive them.

I may be reached here …

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 NEW Image Prompt! Join in the fun! #IARTG #WritingCommunity #flashfiction #writingprompts @pursoot

Hello everyone and welcome to my weekly “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!”  WEEK #21.  Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by DEADLINE: 4pm EDT on Thursday, October 22nd, Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

 I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here AS I RECEIVE THEM.  Thanks to everyone for the amazing support.

Here is the week #21 Image Prompt.

House, Mystical, Villa, Secret, Fantasy

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

I hope the image inspires you! Come and join in the fun.

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A #Paranormal Short story to celebrate #Halloween “The Sceptic” #RRBC #WritingCommunity @IARTG

 

Halloween scary for post!

Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining me as I share this little sojourn into the realms of the Paranormal. Have a marvelous Halloween, my friends. 🎃

 

The Sceptic.

By

Suzanne Burke 2019.

The set was frantic with activity as always when only two hours out from a live broadcast. The host of the popular documentary series ‘The Sceptic” sat looking over the script that had been meticulously vetted by the station’s army of lawyers. The station could afford the cost of a defamation suit, but not the resultant publicity. One defamation suit had given them a huge ratings boost, but more than that could do the exact opposite.  Show host Harrison Taylor was warned again to stick with the script as much a possible in a live interview situation.

Director Cindy Rasmussen wasn’t looking forward to the discussion she needed to have with the star of the show. She approached him just as the makeup artist finished readying him for the telecast.

Cindy Rasmussen gave the girl a smile and walked into his dressing-room. “Harrison, we need to talk.”

“Can’t it wait till after the broadcast, Cindy? You know I like to prepare myself quietly before we go on air.”

“No. It can’t wait, and you must have been expecting this conversation. You’ve seen the current ratings. You know the network will cancel the show if those ratings don’t improve significantly. This live to air program needs to be riveting! Your future here depends on it.”

“How the fuck can it be riveting when I’m restricted in what I can say?”

“Screw the lawyers! By the time any defamation suit comes to trial, the show will be back on top again.”

“So, are you saying that I can stop pussyfooting around and let this charlatan take his chances with me uncensored?”

The director laughed, “Go for it, but watch the language. No x rated stuff, are you good with that?”

“I’ll keep it in mind.”

“Good.” The woman checked her iPhone. “We need to head out soon.”

“I’m ready.”

***

The cameras were ready to roll, and forty-nine-year-old Harrison Taylor straightened his tie and turned on his blazing smile, giving his huge audience exactly what they expected of the popular host of the must-watch Documentary series; The Sceptic. Harrison Taylor was purported to have debunked more charlatans than anyone now living. Or so said all his press-releases.

He watched and waited and timed his entrance perfectly as always. The cameras focused on his face.

“Good evening, Ladies and Gentleman. In celebration of Halloween and in the spirit of finding and debunking yet another fraud playing on the misery of others, I’m bringing you something special, tonight. I’m going on air live with self-proclaimed Psychic Medium, Sheldon Cain. I’ll introduce you in a moment. Mr. Cain has given his consent to have his premises checked thoroughly for any devices known to assist alleged Psychic mediums with the myriad of deceptions they use to dupe others. That has been done to my satisfaction. Now let’s join the man. I have never met or interacted with Mr. Cain previously.”

The camera panned to a closeup of Sheldon Cain. He had a face the camera loved, chiseled features, good looking and unexpected. He extended his hand,  “Please, Mr. Taylor be seated. May I call you Harrison?”

“Go right ahead.”

Harrison took a long slow look at the room, it was a little shabby and lined with overflowing bookcases. There were two easy chairs separated by a wooden coffee table. Sheldon Cain watched him and then asked, “ I’m having a drink would you care for one?”

“Drink?”

“Hmm, I believe I’ll have bourbon. And you’ll have Scotch, ‘Glenfiddich 12-year-old single-malt, yes?”

“Yes. So, you’ve mastered google, congratulations. No ice, thanks.”

The man gave him a small smile as he handed him the glass and seated himself comfortably opposite.

He reached over and picked up a packet of cigarettes from the coffee table, extracted one for himself and held the packet of Marlboro across to the interviewer. He smiled at the look on his guest’s face. “Did I get the brand right?”

“I was a smoker. But, I gave up years ago.”

The man inhaled deeply and sniffed as he responded and leaned toward the show host, “Realy? Forgive me if I’m blunt. I only smoke very occasionally, and you Harrison, you appear to still smoke heavily. Heavy smokers carry an odor that smells like overfull ashtrays.”

Harrison was visibly offended and tried to mask it, without success, much to the delight of the show’s Director. “I find that comment offensive, Mr. Cain.” He finished his scotch and waited for an apology.

But the man merely gave a small shrug. “I could lie of course if that’s what you would prefer. Do you want me to lie?”

Those watching on drew a deep breath and waited for Harrison to explode. He barely kept a lid on it and responded coldly, “I prefer the truth, no matter what the situation.”

“Ah, perfect. No matter what works for me. Shall we continue? I’ll simply sit here in silence for a while to gain a feeling, a pathway to find your connections to another place at another time if such a pathway has intersected with yours.”

“And then?”

“Relax, Harrison. Help yourself to another whiskey if you’d care to. I’ll speak to you in a few moments.”

Harrison poured a double measure of the good scotch and finished it as he watched Sheldon Cain’s face compose and his features relax and hoped like hell the camera was getting that look. The man seemed to be in some sort of trance, but his blue eyes remained open.

One minute passed and then another and the television host was growing impatient. He needed a ratings winner, and this was moving too damned slow. He poured another shot of whiskey.

The man spoke suddenly. “How did you earn the nickname of Abe?”

Harrison hoped like hell he’d masked his surprise as he responded, “What? I, that is, um, it was my Grandfather’s name and apparently I look just like him. So, the family called me young Abe, or Abel for a while”

“Indeed. Does the name Mike Morgan sound familiar to you?

“Yes.”

“You ran a feature on him for your show. The man was brutalized on every media outlet because of your attack on his credibility. You did that expose based on supposition only. Nothing could be proven against this man. He lost his career, his income, his home and finally his family and his sanity. His attempt at a defamation suit was poorly represented, and the Lawyers from your Network had it quashed inside two days. Mike Morgan took his own life seven weeks later. How did that make you feel?”

“I sent the family my condolences.”

“No, I asked how did that make you feel?

“Feel? The man made his own choices.”

“So, no regret?”

“None.”

“I see. It’s odd, but I can find no spiritual connection to another living human being in the energy you’re transmitting.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Why do you believe that your mother betrayed you?”

“What? How could you kn …?” He felt himself shudder, “Jesus.”

“Tell me about her betrayal. Your mother’s name was Elizabeth. A pretty name for a pretty woman.”

Harrison felt sick, “How could you know that? Those records aren’t available.”

“How indeed? Now, about her betrayal. Tell me about that.”

Harrison hadn’t intended to answer the question, he was ready to deny it. He heard his own voice respond, “She left us. I was ten years old. It was a couple of days out from Halloween and my mom ran off with some guy. She promised she’d be back for me and my brother, but she never came back. She never made contact with me or my kid brother again. My dad never got over it.”

Sheldon Cain fell silent for a long drawn out moment, “She didn’t betray you.  She died. She and the man she left the house with were killed in a car wreck. The vehicle exploded on impact with the rocks below when they hurtled off a cliff face in San Francisco. The two people in the vehicle were incinerated. They were unable to be identified. They are still listed as John and Jane Doe. You need to have the San Francisco police check their records for 11.58 p.m. on October 31st, 1980.”

“Oh, my God. How? Tell me, how can you possibly know these things?”

“Tell me again why you are here?”

“I intend to expose you as a fraud.”

“Go right ahead.”

“I’m not sure how you did this. How could you possibly know that my mother is dead?”

“Are you not grateful to know you weren’t betrayed.”

“Grateful? She still would be alive if she hadn’t run off like that!”

“Your bitterness clothes your life in dark shadows, Harrison. What would you say to her if you could see her?”

“I’d tell her I hate her!”

“Do you want to see her again? Do you want the chance to say that to her face to face?”

“Yes.”

“I can arrange it.”

“What? How? When?” His words tumbled over themselves in fear and a latent excitement.

“You need to tell me something first.”

“Ask me.”

“Why did you take all that money from the people who really do make a huge living from this profession? It runs into many hundreds of thousands of dollars that you keep in a numbered account in Switzerland. Was it on the proviso that you never attempted to debunk them on your show? You guaranteed it would never happen. Are you a fraud, Harrison?”

Harrison stood suddenly, and screamed, “Jesus Christ! Cut the live feed! Do it now!”

The Director held up her hand and spoke into her mouthpiece, “Keep the fucking cameras rolling. This is dynamite!”

A message came back into Harrison’s earpiece a moment later. “Sorry, Harrison. It went out live to air.”

The frantic man stood and looked down at his tormentor, “You’ve just ruined me! You’ve wrecked my career.”

Sheldon Cain stood and smiled at his guest. “I enjoyed every moment of it.”

The camera finally stopped recording the events, and the crew turned away unwilling to face the star of the show. The director was already on the telephone with the head of the network and Harrison heard her delighted response to the call. “Thanks so much! Of course I’m delighted. The response should be enormous.”

A large ornate wall clock ticked over, to 11.50 p.m.

The television host staggered a little as he stormed from the premises, regretting the heavy intake of Scotch as he sat behind the steering wheel of his car. His fury awakened anew and he revved the engine and sped out of the street. He drove like a man possessed with a need to escape, for five minutes. He fumbled in his suit coat for his hidden cigarettes and lit one. He dropped the lit smoke and on reflex bent down to retrieve it from the floor, and the vehicle continued at speed. As the clock hit 11.56 p. m he sped through a red light and was hit head-on by a garbage disposal truck. His vehicle exploded and he was incinerated at precisely 11.58 p.m.

As midnight rang out he and his mother were reunited after thirty-nine years apart. He could spend eternity telling her just how much he hated her.

***

 The tall good looking man gazed around him well satisfied with his night’s work.

He walked outside into the cool air of the early November morning and breathed it in deeply, savoring the taste. He’d store it in memory to play over with pleasure until Halloween dawned again next year. The air where he existed except for one brief sojourn back here once a year was always hellishly hot.

Abel was dead once again. Cain’s deep laughter echoed through the morning. Smoking had finally killed the man. Cain loved Halloween.

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“Art.” A #Paranormal short story for Halloween #RRBC @pursoot #IARTG #Romance

RED HEAD FOR ART SHORT STORY

Hi again and thanks so much for stopping by! Here’s another Paranormal short story to help celebrate Halloween. I do hope you enjoy it.

“Art”

by

Suzanne Burke

The mood on the boardwalk screamed summer.  Laughing, flirting teens and hand-holding couples walked in the early morning sunlight, the waves in their perpetual season of change pounded the golden sand along the shoreline.  It was easy to believe that this had once been my lifestyle, to pretend for a short while that I could still be in that life.

Summer was a blessing; I had no need to remain behind closed doors.  I was free to enjoy the warmth and fresh salt in the air.  It was of my own doing, the isolation.  I chose to separate myself from the proximity of human company. I no longer had a tolerance for it.  I remained closeted away, watching from a distance.  It felt safer that way.  No sense trying, I had never belonged.  The edge of a group was as close as I got.  The need to belong with them simply did not exist.

Why the summer beckoned me was a mystery I had no wish to solve.  My life and the pattern I created within it remained stagnant in the colder months when the wind roared across the ocean with its icy tentacles seeking to hide me away.  Now the warm wind lifted my waist-length mass of red hair, and played with it much as a child would.

The art galleries were opening for the summer season.  Tourists would flock to this seaside town.  I had already sold much of the work I had done in my hibernation. It afforded me the satisfaction of knowing that I would survive another year at least with the money already earned.

I browsed as always, seeking what?  My mind floundered in a vain attempt to identify the thought.  Connection perhaps?  I smiled as always when romantic notions made me aware of their presence.

I was becoming more aware of my fragility with each passing season.
People were gathered around a painting, they showed a good deal of interest, and many opinions were forthcoming on what it represented.

It appeared to attract comment from many and understanding from few; that alone made it worth my viewing.

I looked, and looked deeper.  It was not the sort of thing I normally spared more than a glance.  Yet it drew me.  I stood at the back of the small crowd attempting to analyze why it had pulled my attention.

I have never looked for hidden meaning in artwork … art for me is simply what an artist does.

This artist had depicted isolation, at least to my eye.  A dead tree alone on the edge of a body of water… a murky distance and an object floating in the brackish depths of the pond.  The object is what was being discussed.  I was silently amused at the descriptions various viewers gave it. “Space junk,” mused one.  “A ball into the future,” was another offering.

Admittedly, it wasn’t an object recognizable to me, yet it did not feel alien.  The surroundings it was in however felt … somehow wrong.

Stark and empty, they caused me to shiver, not fearful … merely alone.  The object spoke to me of comfort and vibrancy.  It was a strange sensation.  It was different, and as such intrigued me.  An opaque ball with tinges of green at its center was fixed upon a conveyance of sorts.  Three disks black in color, encircled a metal antenna at the end of a stem.

The object appeared to lie on its side, the one splash of color amidst desolation.

I wanted to touch the painting.  I needed to feel the roughened oils under my fingertips.

A gallery employee approached and a few people queried the price.  “Sorry, folks, this one’s for display only. It’s not for sale.”  She apologized.

A few people showed disappointment and moved on.  I stood mesmerized, unable to tear myself from it.

“What do you see?” A male voice startled me.

“See?  I see a painting,”  I replied.

“What else?”  The voice persisted.

“Sadness.”  My answer surprised me; at that point, I hadn’t even clearly defined it to myself.  Yet that was indeed what I felt.  An almost overwhelming sadness.

“It belongs to you then,”  he said.

I turned to see who he was. There was no one there.  Odd?  I laughed quietly to myself.  No … not odd, not really, my months of isolation often played tricks with my mind when I first ventured out into the world again.

I shrugged.  Imagination.  Great when painting.  Not socially acceptable in company.

I was surprised when the gallery owner approached me.  “Care for a coffee?”  It was the same voice.

“No, no thank you.”

“Afraid?”

“What?”

“You heard me, Katya.”

“How did you kn …?  Of course, you know it, how foolish of me; after all, you sell my work.  But, no … wait.  How …?  I never use that name!”

“I’ve been waiting.  I knew you would come.”  His reply should have shocked me, made me afraid; it did not.

“How long?”

“More than a lifetime.  I have waited.  It is time.  You know that.  Yes, Katya?”

“Yes … yes, I know.  I don’t understand, not yet.  Yet, I know.”

“It’s time.”  He repeated taking my hand.

“Now?”

“You are ready.  No fear?”

“No.” And there was none. I felt joy such as I had never experienced.  I allowed him to pull me gently into his arms.

***

It was summer, the small art galleries were opened in the seaside resort.  One painting attracted a great deal of attention.  People grouped around it exchanging opinions; with much disagreement.

The painting depicted a landscape rich and lush.  A solitary tree in full bloom stood on the edge of a pristine pond.  A man and a woman sat in clear view, their happiness etched on their faces.  Her long red hair seemed alive in a breeze.

The discussions centered on an object floating in the sparkling water, it shimmered in a myriad of colors, radiating life.  The colors seemed to flicker and grow brighter as they gazed.

A young woman approached the group, her red hair caught in a ribbon at the nape of her neck.

The group asked many questions to which she simply replied, “This painting is not for sale; it is only for display.”

“What is it called,” asked one of the group.

“Reunited.” She whispered and walked quietly from view.

#

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Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke

Welcome to “Club 666.” An #Adult Halloween Short-story to entertain you. @pursoot #RRBC #IARTG 🎃🕸😈

Club 666 Halloween

Hello! Thanks for stopping by! This is a little #paranormal #Short Story I came up with. Just for the ‘hell’ of it.😈

Welcome to “Club 666”

By

S. Burke

I watch you as you dress hurriedly.  Where did you go?  What happened to the man who hated to leave me after the passion was spent?

Now I lay unsatisfied and aching with the longing for what was.  I crave the heat.  I need the devouring flames as our flesh merged into one.  Where did you go?   Life is shortening with every passing hour.  I need more.  Much more.

“Jason?  Jason … look at me.”

“What?”

“It’s over with us.  I know it and so do you.  Let’s not drag this out till we hate each other.”

“I … I’m sorry.”  I watch your shoulders slump.  I hear the relief in your voice.  I have already moved on in my soul.  Goodbye is merely a technicality. It always is.

“My key … I’d like it back.”

“Fuck, babe … that’s cold.”

“Cold appears to be the flavor of the day.  Doesn’t it?  Leave the key on the bureau by the door on your way out.”

“My things?”  Your concern has already switched to the practical.

“I’ll pack what little there is and drop them at your sister’s place.”

“It was good?  Wasn’t it?”  Insecure now, seeking reassurance, you look at me perhaps for the first time in months; really look at me I mean.  I see the hesitation in your eyes.  I recognize the why in the way you mouth droops at the corners.

I will not pander to the ego.  “It was good.  Not great.  Goodbye, Jason.”

“Jesus … I don’t know you at all do I?”

“Goodbye, Jason.  Don’t forget the key.”

I watch you leave and drag my dissatisfaction into the shower, scrubbing the last remnants of you from my skin.  Tonight I would search.  My need for the passion supersedes all else.  I have long recognized and accepted that. Jason was just another one to be added to a list of others whose names I could never recall.  It didn’t matter at all.  None of them did. It was all about the hunt.

I dress carefully, luxuriating in the feel of the silk as it brushes my skin.  The dress is low cut, not too exposed, yet hinting at the hidden pleasures within.  My hair is soft, worn long, and loose.  A light spray of ‘My-Sin’ and a deft hand with the mascara and I slip the spiked heels on my perfectly pedicured feet.  I am ready.

Club 666 is busy.  The warm depth of the burgundy interior and plush fixtures ensure the ambience spells lust loud and clear.

The dance floor is almost full.  Entwined bodies copulating by proxy as they move against each other.

My gaze travels, lightly touching on the height and breadth of the males in the club.  Partnered or not, that is not my concern.

Predators have no conscience.  I see … I want … I take.  Simple. Devastation of relationships already in decline happens often…I merely assist in the process at times.

The hair on the nape of my neck stands up.  I feel the penetration of a heated glance and enjoy the warmth.  I turn.  Ah!  Yes.  There you stand.  Tall and narrow hipped.  I cannot see your eyes, but the stance is self-assured.  The body language whispers to me.  Yes, yes, I am the one.

I stand completely still, waiting.  I never, ever, make the first move.

You tilt your head to one side in an unspoken question.  I give no answer.  You must approach.  Make me want you.

Unusual.  You make no move.  You simply stand a few feet away.  Staring … yet not blatantly so. Intrigued, I move to step closer.  Then stop.  No, this is not my way.  I turn my back and wait.

I feel the heat of a body behind me and turn slowly, you stand inches away.  I wait for the dialogue.  There is none.  You lift a long-fingered hand and trace the outline of my mouth.  I quiver in anticipation.  This is different, new, and fresh.  Exciting.

Your hand moves slowly; very slowly, down my neck and continues its hot trail to the outline of my breasts.  It lingers softly gently tracing contours and my nipples stiffen in response.  Your other hand circles in under my fall of hair, gentle pressure moves my head forward and you flick you moist tongue against the edges of my mouth.

I grow wet.  The moisture and sensation a welcome friend long since visited.  I want you, badly.  I feel the urgent pulse in my groin, the aching emptiness that needs filling to satisfy that ache.

You step back, away from me.  I want to move back into those hands.  The urge almost wins.  I hold back.  You must come to me.

Your hand snakes out so fast I miss the movement.  You close those long strong fingers around my wrist and pull me willingly to the exit.

I’m pushed against a wall and you pin me there, in the semi-darkness.  My hands imprisoned behind me in the hard pressure of yours.  You switch, and one hand trails the length of my body.  Soft, assured, and achingly slow.

My breathing increases rapidly as you trace beneath my dress to the inner contours of my thighs.  Closer and closer to the empty place.  I am writhing, attempting to force those exploring fingers to go further.  I am beyond reason, the pleasure is all there is.  I want more, much more.  You stand and spin me around, lifting my dress and pulling my underwear down.  I’m trapped.  Hot, captured and aching.  You plunge into me with no warning, I moan.  “Please…please … harder.”  You comply with brutal hard thrusts.  Then, without slowing, you withdraw.  I hear a laugh rumble deep in your chest.

You speak for the first time, “Your turn.”

I sink to my knees hungry to comply. Yet again, you do the unexpected.  Withdrawing fast.  I’m still on my knees.  I hear you laugh once more, a dominant satisfied sound.

I stand, unsure what to do.  Confused, this is different.  Deprived of the length of you I suck on my fingers, wanting to insert them inside myself to quell the ache.  You take my hand and pull me further into the darkness of the alley.  Again, you turn me away from you, forcing me to bend, holding me captive with one strong arm as you take me from behind.  Thrusting harder and harder until I scream with the pleasure of my orgasm.  I am shaking so hard I can barely stand.

Realization hits me, you have yet to climax. Your tongue enters my mouth sucking and plunging.  I am mindless now.  All there is is you…the smell of my cum and your own sweet scent.

You growl biting into my neck as you climax, holding me hard down against you as you moan.  Shaking with the mixed reaction of pleasure and release, I smile.  This is what I had waited for for so long.  I am joyous, delighted, happy…expectant.

I laugh.  Then stop, as I sense something else.  The body is not all that is withdrawn.  “That was so primal.”  I attempt conversation.

“Hmm”

“You were wonderful.”  I offer.

“Yes.  I know.”

I laugh at the confidence, enjoying it and needing more.  Why is he moving away?

“We didn’t even exchange names.”

“No … we didn’t.  Did we?”

“My name is Rowena.”

“I know.”

“Oh … but how?  Doesn’t matter though.  “

“That’s right … it doesn’t.”  Why does he sound so, so … distant.  Didn’t we just share the most amazing sex?  I am still aching with the pleasure of it.  I want and need more.  I reach out a hand; he shrugs it off as if it were an annoying insect.  My stomach knots, I feel vulnerable.  I am not accustomed to this feeling.  I do not like it.

“Well,” I laugh nervously, “What do we do now, a drink perhaps?”

“No … not for me.”

He begins to walk away.  What the fuck?

“Hey!  I don’t even know your name”

He turns and smiles at me.  I return the smile, feeling relieved.

“I didn’t get your name,”  I repeat feeling foolish.

His eyes flash red in the darkness and the face alters as it strictures into a soulless smile, I cower at the evil coldness of the laughter.  “My name is Retribution,”  he said as he vanished in a spiraling, choking, hiss of mist.

#

Like I said … just for the hell of it.😀