Turning Tales Week 10: Parody

Welcome to the tenth week of Turning Tales!

This week’s writing topic: Parody :performing_arts::


Parody is a declaration of love.

Do you write romance? Crime? Fantasy or horror? Are you working on one of tomorrow’s high literature classics? You know your genre’s stereotypes inside out.

Write a scene from a novel in your favorite genre and use all the tropes and clichés you usually avoid. Celebrate them. And make a piece of art.

Ah yes, a bug-eyed monster. Who’d have thought.


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Death Stalks the Gothic Novel Heroine

I inched backward, hoping to find something – a wall, a pillar, anything – to lean against, to hide behind. The peculiar odor was still wafting up from the ragged, black hole in the rotted wood floor that covered the cellar of the old smokehouse. I wanted desperately to go forward, to escape through the door and run free, but I could not: he was there, the bulk of his lithe body filling the doorway, and he was not going to move.

I stilled myself, struggling to present a calm face to this man who, just hours before, I was sure was in love with me. What had I done, what had I discovered, to turn this gentle lover into the stranger whose cold-steel eyes glared at me with an intensity that made me catch my breath?

Had he followed me here, into the old smokehouse? Why? I wanted to ask, I needed to have the answers, but some small voice inside my head warned against it. Don’t challenge him, the voice whispered. Don’t anger him.

I took another step backward, and felt the floor under my feet shift menacingly. The rotted boards, I realized, were going to give under my weight.

In the corner, deep in the shadows, the dog began to whimper.


Christmas morning, December 2020.
A decades worth of disasters have sent the world into turmoil. It started with the bushfires in Australia, an imminent war on the horizon in February, murder hornets, declassified UFO information and a global pandemic. No one thought that this year could get any worse. That was until I watched my son open his presents.

Money was tight, especially after the second wave of the virus hit. I’d promised Nathaniel a new notebook, so he could write his stories in, after filling his old one fairly recently. It wasn’t anything fancy, just your standard note book, faint blue lines, a relatively thin margin on the side and two holes punched into the edge for keeping in a folder. I’d told him that the elves up at the North Pole had created the notebook specifically for him. He was just young enough to still believe, or at least to still want to believe.

I watched the smile spread across his chocolate stained cheeks as he tore the wrapping paper free, tossing it towards the black bin liner nearby. He looked up at me and beamed with joy, “Thanks, Dad! I can’t wait to use it.”

He began to flip through the pages, taking in the new book smell. His little smile faded almost as quickly as it had appeared.
“What’s up, Buddy? I asked softly.
“Did you write a note in here?” He came back with, slightly confused.
“What note?”

He passed me the notebook, opened on the page with some odd combination of letters, numbers and punctuation. It looked like complete gibberish, no sign of any actual words or phrases. I passed it off as a printing error, before inspecting it a little closer. It wasn’t printed, but handwritten. The jumble of letters was only contained within the margin lines, failing to bleed over onto the main portion of blank space.

I passed the book over to my wife, who instantly recognised the writing.
“It’s Base64. A kind of encrypted text. It’s used by computers to convert binary code into something readable.”
It didn’t phase me in the slightest that she knew this, as an IT manager she would know.
“Gimme a sec,” she said, pulling her phone out and scanning the text. “If I put this through an OCR reader, it will convert it to digital text and I can pop it into a decoding website to see what it says.”

I watched as my wife’s fingers tapped away at her screen. “Here we go—“
Her voice trailed off. Her blushed cheeks drained of colour and turned ghostly pale.
“What does it say?” I blurted.
My wife shook her head, trying not to draw attention from Nathaniel, hurriedly unwrapping another present. I mouthed the words, ‘Text me’ towards my wife, hoping she could lip read well enough to understand. Of course she could. Barely a few seconds later, my phone vibrated. I opened the message app and was met by the string of text from the notepad.



Following that was a link the translation site she had used. I’ll leave it here for you to see for yourself.


As if the world couldn’t get any worse. Now I have to explain to my son why there won’t be a Christmas next year.

괴물 “Goemul”

Do-yun stood in the gas station, looking at the limited selection of ramen. If he could, he’d get more food somewhere else- anywhere else, but this town only had one diner and the food looked like toxic waste dumped in grease.

He loved American food, but in this town, he wouldn’t even trust the plate the food landed on to be clean. He grabbed the large bowl of beef flavor and filled it with hot water, then sat at a table by the windows to wait for the noodles to cook. Beyond the pumps was a bright desert with jagged mountains in the background. It looked dry and depressing, but somehow the postcards made it look beautiful.

As he sat, his mind slowed. The world slowly began to fade into white lights, and somewhere in the distance he could hear a steady sound. Blip. Blip. It sounded familiar, but he couldn’t put his finger on it at the moment.

His Galaxy Z Fold rang, breaking his daydream. The annoying blipping stopped, and the desert painted itself in bright colors against the blue sky again.

“Can you hear me, hoonbae?” a female voice cut through static.

“Yes, I can hear.”

Hoonbae, can you hear me?”

“I said, I can hear you, okay?”

“I’m texting the coordinates now. Meet me in 20.”

Do-yun hung up and left, leaving his uneaten ramen behind. He climbed into the large Ford, wrinkling his nose at the smell of dust and sweat, as opposed to the new leather he was used to. But at least it would make it through the mud! That counted for something.

The landscape amazed Do-yun. No matter how fast he was going, the mountains never seemed any closer as he drove toward them. He felt he could drive forever, but still never reach them.

The thought of meeting Anne made him smile. She always greeted him with a smile and American affection. It took him a while to get used to it, but the more he got to know her, the more he looked forward to it.

He pulled up next to her black CTS-V and playfully pouted as he got out. She grinned, wagging the keys. “One day, but not today.”

Thunder rolled in the distance, reminding them why they were there. “There’s been a sighting. Something came through the rift, and I should probably mention now that it’s not thunderclouds.” Anne handed Do-yun a pair of binoculars, though by how fast the booms were approaching, he wouldn’t need them much longer.

그래 , 벌레 눈의 괴물 . 누가 생각이나 했겠 어, he thought to himself.

“Well, Area 51 probably would have thought about it,” Anne replied. “But we didn’t consult with them first. They prefer aliens, but this “bug-eyed” monster, “goemul” if you prefer, actually came from below the mountains - like a troll.”

He shivered. He forgot that she could read his mind and understand it. Did she hear him when he thought about her? Embarrassment flooded his cheeks.

She continued talking, but what she was saying was being drowned out by more blips. They were getting faster and louder, and white lights began to fill his vision again.

Hoonbae.” Anne repeated a few times as she loaded guns. She had seen some of his episodes, so she waited a few seconds for him to clear his head again. “Do-yun!” When he didn’t respond, Anne started to shake his arm, hoping he’d come back to her before the monster reached their zone.

But he wasn’t coming out of it. The blips ran together into one continuous line of sound. Do-yun fell forward, and…


He woke up in a cardio-surgery room at NYU Langone Health. The heart monitor flicked back to a rhythmic beeping.

The surgeon peered over into Do-Yun’s eyes. “Welcome back, Park Do—yun. I thought we lost you. Can you hear me?” Do-yun tried to speak, but words would not form. Who was this woman? Was this Anne? Her eyes were the same, but she wore a green mask over her face.

He tried again.


The Barbie with brains

„He is extremly good looking, more than you would believe!“, she whispered into the phone. Her voice trembled from excitement. Her friend Jaden tried to calm he over the phone.
„And you´ll see him again?“ she asked.
Jaden was Karen´s constant backing for small and large problems. She had been elected for this position already years ago. Jaden knew, that Karen had chosen her deliberately, so she didn´t know why. She was sort of ugly and of course she knew her nickname “Smashed potatoe”. Therefore she tried to walk through life kind of invisible. Just the contrary to Karen, who declared everyday to be the best one in her life and lived up to that. Jaden felt devoted to Karen and she was proud, that this wonderful girl was seeking her company. This gentle and kind Karen, everybody would like to have as a friend. Karen, with her outstanding beauty. Shining blonde hair was framing a prefect baby-doll face with a scenery of sweet apricot cheeks, blooming lips and crystal blue eyes under lashes thick and dark like a handwoven carpet. Karen was the star in the sophomores year. And not only because of her beauty, but she was kind to everybody. Every second weekend she drove home to look after her ill mother. Besides that she always finished the term with remarkable results even in sports. She had been the best cheerleader from the beginning on and her position was without question. Karen was the ultimate Barbie with brains and a Florence Nightingale heart.

Karen moaned into the telephone.
“Karen, what´s up?”, Jaden asked anxiously, prepared to put on hat and shoes to run to Karen wherever she was. “Why do you moan?”
“He’s coming back”, Karen whispered.
“Coming back?”, asked Jaden amazed.
“The doctor who mended my broken leg, Jaden. The good looking doctor. He just told me, that he has lost his wife in a tragical accident. He was so tender with me and so emphatic. It was love at first sight with us and it will be love forever, i know it!”
Karen moaned again and hung up.

Jaden started dreaming of her bridesmaid dress.

A new gun

"Good god, man, don't you realise that gun is loaded? Kindly hand it over, or I will have to get dangerous." James nonchalantly removed the calfskin glove of his right hand and held it in his left hand. 
"Well, what are you going to do?"  Edward  pushed a loose wisp of hair that had fallen out of place and replaced the glove to his hand. 
"Right, old chap, have you decided what you're going to do with the gun." 
"You pompous arse, I'm here to get what's due to me. Half of those diamonds belong to me. Where are they? You. You." Edward smiled as he stared into Jimmies bloodshot eyes.
"Okay, Jimmy boy, Just hand over the gun, and we can discuss the diamond situation sensibly." Edward leaned forward and gently removed the gun from Jimmies hand.
" Where did you get the gun from,  Jimmy, old son? An evil grin replaced his smile.  
"It looks new. Have you fired it yet?"

Jimmy snarled and spat out his reply.
“You pratt, you would be the victim of the first bullet if you didn’t tell me where the diamonds are.”
“No, Jimmy, old boy, you are wrong. You are going to be the first victim.” The gun felt comfortable in Edwards’s hand as he turned and pointed at Jimmies head. The bullet entered between his eyes in perfect symmetry.
I’m afraid old chap. The diamonds are ALL MINE."

Being a Horror Fan

So, I don’t know where to start, but I guess I should start somewhere at the beginning. My sister and her friend decided that they wanted to do this like sleepover thing at our family cabin in the woods, maybe you can see where this is going. My parents said it was fine as long as I went why I had to go I don’t know I didn’t want to it reeked of the perfect horror movie setting.

“No, I’m not going out there alone, Ashley”

“Daniel, you’re not going to be alone” my sister said to me, and I looked at her with that big brother look of I know what you’re up to.

“I know you’re not planning on following the rules” I said, and she rolled her eyes at me.

“Fine, the boys are going to meet us there” I shook my head vigorously as the many horror movies that I sat and watched over the years came to my mind. Ashley had stomped off to our parents who were no sooner upstairs in my doorway.

“Daniel, you are going to the cabin this weekend” my father said his voice was stern as my sister and mom stood next to him.

“Why? Ashley is old enough, isn’t she?” I asked, trying every way to get out of going to the cabin where no one was going to be at this time of the year and knowing that she was going to have more than just her best friend Amber there.

“No, you’re going that’s it no more arguments” my mother said before my dad could say anything and I hung my head in defeat. I was going on this stupid trip and all I could think about was how this was all going to end up.

The morning that I was taking my sister and Amber up to the cabin. My parents made sure we had enough food for the weekend, and I still wasn’t happy about having to go up to the cabin. The service up there sucked and the only way to get reception for cellphones was in town after that cellphones were practically useless. We said our goodbyes and I pulled out of the driveway and began driving towards the cabin when Ashley told me to stop by Amber’s house.

“Why?” I asked looking into the rearview mirror. She looked at Amber and they both giggled as they looked back at me.

“We have a surprise for you” Amber said, and I felt my stomach turn into a huge knot. I did what was asked and turned down a road and stopped at Amber’s house and waiting outside was her sister Laura who came up to the car with a packed bag and a smile as she looked at me.

“Is it okay if I tag along?” Laura asked, seeing my surprise. “Amber said it was fine” she added which settled my confusion of how she even knew about us going to the cabin.

“Y-yeah you can put your stuff in the back” I responded stupidly. When she went to the back I turned and looked at both Ashley and Amber.

“What are you guys doing?”

“Honestly Daniel, you need to loosen up a bit your head is stuck in those horror movies just like my sister and plus we both know you’re crushing on her and just FYI she’s single” Amber said as Laura got in the front passenger seat. I gave a weak smile, and she smiled back as I refocused on the road and again headed to the cabin where I knew that Ashley’s other friends were waiting.

We finally arrived just as the sun started to lower behind the horizon in the driveway there was already a blue chevy Malibu parked and Laura looked at me then at the girls when she realized what was going on.

“You are letting them have a party!” Laura exclaimed and I looked at the two in the back who obviously left out the biggest detail and that they were the masterminds of planning this thing.

“No, my parents basically don’t know, and they won’t believe me” I said with a sigh of frustration yet know that Laura was thinking the same thing as I was when this whole thing began.

“Whose car is that then?” Laura asked finally as she looked at Amber.

“Probably James’s” Amber replied.

“Well, where are they then” I asked looking at Ashley with the look of I told you this was going to happen.

“I don’t know probably being stupid” Ashely replied ignoring my look and getting out of the car so we could get everything in the car in the cabin. I glanced at Laura who looked just as uncomfortable as myself. We both finally got out of the car, and I grabbed her bag and my own and she closed the trunk for me as I walked towards the cabin when we both heard the snapping of a branch.

“Did you hear that?” I asked, looking at Laura who too looked around.

“Let’s just get inside it’s getting dark” she said when suddenly two guys jumped out from around the garage grabbing her and I immediately pulled her back nearly making one fall over. The commotion caused both Ashley and Amber came rushing out of the house. Laura was holding onto me for her life as the two guys who had jumped out were laughing.

“You should have seen your faces” James’s voice said between gasps of breath from laughing.

“You guys are assholes” Amber said as she grabbed the bags that I had dropped and helped Laura into the house and into a room. We had left Ashley to deal with her friends since they didn’t seem to care about anyone else’s feelings. Amber looked at me as she placed the bags on the bed, and I sat Laura down.

“James is a jerk I’m sorry” Amber said, and Laura looked up at her sister with a look that could kill if they could.

“He grabbed me and tried pulling me away Amber”

“I know and I’m sorry” Amber said to her sister, and I slowly made my way out of the room to let them figure it out. I made my way to the kitchen to make sure everything was put away and found Ashley and the two guys on the couch watching movies. Ashley looked up at me and nudged James who I had assumed was her boyfriend. James had stood up from his seat to face me which was a surprise since I didn’t even know the guy.

“Look man I’m sorry we were just having some fun okay” James said, and I looked at him then to Ashley who was still sitting watching the movie with her arms crossed.

“It’s fine but I’d apologize to Laura if I were you. They’re already arguing with each other” I replied, and Ashley gave an audible frustrated sigh before getting up and going to the room. James hung his head and looked at his friend, who put his hands up because this was his prank.

“Sorry man I’m Jason” Jason had introduced himself and I looked at him cautiously. “I promise I’m no seral murder” he added, and I shook his hand. I went back to the room after a few minutes of watching a scene from none other than The Last House on the Left. I was tired and completely over the day when I got back Laura was still sitting on the bed in obvious frustration with her sister. When I entered the room, she looked up and wiped her face.

“Are you okay?” I asked, not sure how to approach her.

“Yeah, I’m fine you probably think I’m crazy” she replied with a chuckle feeling stupid.

“No not at all” she looked up at me as if she wasn’t sure she had heard me right.

“Really, like I just freaked out that some crazed mass murder had me”

“Yeah, it’s something I thought when you screamed, if I’m being honest”

My heart beat in my chest like a jackhammer. Could he feel it?
He put his mouth near my ear. “Your heart is beating in your chest like a jackhammer,” he whispered softly.
How had I given in so easily? My first date in years and I was folding like a map. A big paper map like we used to have to read in the front seat of the car to help navigate, and then you couldn’t fold it up again so the front was at the front. God only knew where my front was right now.
As I had dressed that morning I knew I was looking good. The extra weight was gone and although I was hardly a sexy dresser, I knew I was proud of the way I looked. The last thing I put on before I went out the door was a spritz of my Alfred Sung, not something I ever wore to the office.
I had wanted Steven to ask me out for months, and finally he had.
“Lunch, 12:00, don’t be late” he said under his breath while bending over my desk… SO irresistible.
We only had an hour so I certainly wasn’t expecting more than lunch, but then he had done the one thing I cannot resist. He took off his jacket at lunch and slowly, he unbuttoned his cuffs and rolled his shirt sleeves up twice, stopping below the elbow.
It was then I knew that I was easy.
When he took my hand I was sure mine must have been hot. His blue eyes burned into my myopic hazel gaze and he said the words women have waited centuries to hear. “Would you like to make out in my car? It has a big back seat.” Romantic words if I had ever heard them.
I excused myself. “I will only be a minute,” I said. I hoped I sounded sexy. The fact was my eyeballs were floating. I was a light weight when it came to wine. A true cheap date. I could feel his eyes on me as I tottered off on my new high (for me) heels.
I banged open the bathroom door. It was loose on it’s frame and the door sounded like gunfire when it hit the wall. I was in luck. There was an empty stall at the end.
It took five hot seconds for me to realize why it was empty. It wouldn’t lock, which meant the door floated open when I wasn’t holding it closed. I could do this! I had not been born and raised to be a sissy. Holding the door closed with one elbow, I tried to detach the elastic of my waist band from the skin around my waist. It wouldn’t budge. Two hands were needed, so I held the door closed with one knee and did the age old dance of the ages. It had been done in stalls just like this over and over. The “pull snap twist” was involved to say the least, but I had done it before. I had to pull out on both sides of the elastic at once and then while rotated my hips, pull down my slacks, my “shaper”, my pantyhose and my thong all at the same time. The thong was new. Good lord I only hoped it came down without snapping.
All this was done while rotating the hips in a circle which was not easy with one knee holding the door closed. I finally got my finery down far enough to stay below my ample bottom and switched out my knee for an elbow in a move that would have impressed Anna Pavlova on her best day. I changed out my elbow for a foot when I sat down and finally felt the incredible release, along with the satisfaction of knowing I had made it in time.
I reversed the process when I had finished and was still doing the “where the hell is the thong” shimmy as I walked over to the sink. I washed my hands, brushed my hair and put on some lipstick after wiping the sweat off my upper lip, and gathering all of my pride I made the long walk back to my man. Had he missed me? Was he dreaming of the back seat? I had to be honest that after the bathroom stall, the back seat seemed a little intimidating.
The table came in to view and…that was all. He was gone. My lover, my main squeeze was no longer there. The waiter came over and handed me a note. With the small amount of pride I had left I read:
We had an hour. Just because I asked you to lunch doesn’t mean you can take more time. I saw Judy from the cubicle next to yours walk in so I walked her on out. He had signed the note “S”. Steven? Self Satisfied Sadist? Superprick?
I took one more big breath thinking of those forearms that would never be mine, tucked the note in my bra and tottered out.
It was just as well I didn’t realize the lost thong was hanging out the waistband of my pants until the cabbie started laughing as I exited the cab at the office. I pulled them out and they snapped back against my waist. I left them where they rested and pulled my sweater down over them.
Lust had turned to embarrassment, romance to dust.
I threw my head back and with my take on high dungeon, went back to work.

Dream Journal: Entry 117

Today is July 5th, 2021 6:59 a.m.

Last nights dreams were very eerie. I am certain that it’s a dream I’ve had before. It seemed so real, and I almost felt like it played out like an old movie reel. The way I was walking, how the scenery moved by; I think he was there…
There was faint music playing, almost sounded like creepy Ragtime. I opened my eyes and found myself standing at a crossroads. I wasn’t sure if I should keep moving forward or turn right. The road ahead looked somewhat familiar, but it also kind of scared me. I was aware that it was just a dream, but still, it seemed so real. The vibrant colors, the mist that hung just over the green grass. I just wanted to choose the way that would wake me. In the distance, I could see someone, or something walking towards me, or were they floating? I decided to go down the road to the right. The road was unfamiliar but brought me peace. The colors were bright and warm. I looked back just to be sure the floating figure wasn’t following me and was relieved to see that there wasn’t anything but beautiful purple flowers and bright yellow butterflies. I remember turning back around and found myself sitting up in bed holding my phone in one hand, and my flashlight in the other. My trusty flashlight that was guaranteed to always, ‘light the way.’ It was 3:15 a.m. and I remember being so thirsty. I drank some water and went back to bed. Just like every other night.

A horrible dream
As his mind began to clear, Scott found himself in a situation he did not anticipate. Opening his eyes, he stared straight up into inky blackness. “Oh my head” he thought. “What happened?” Rolling over onto his left side he found he was staring at what appeared to be white sand like you would find on some beach somewhere and beyond that, inky blackness. “What on Earth?” he said aloud and sat up to discover he was completely naked. That wasn’t the worst of it. He looked around to find that he was completely alone. “Alone?” he said. “What the hell is going on?” he asked no one. He did not get a reply. “This doesn’t make any sense at all.” he thought and stood up. examining himself, he found nothing out of the ordinary. Everything seemed to be intact. “Where the hell am I?” he yelled. The sound did not carry and was as if it was completely muffled as it came out of his mouth.

Looking around this place, he saw a a few small bushes and a the same number of rocks scattered across the sand. He started to walk across the sand and immediately ran into something. It was some sort of barrier. he felt along the invisible barrier and found it split the area he was in perfectly in half and while he was at it discovered he was a prisoner in one half of some sort of domed structure.

He picked up some sand and tossed it at the barrier. The sand seemed to go right through but he could not, no matter how hard he tried. There was one thing on the opposite side of this invisible barrier that was not on his side that appeared to be some sort of reddish blob. Whatever it was, it did not move and that didn’t make any sense either. He decided to see if he could affect the thing and so grabbed a handful of sand and threw it at the blob. The sand broke apart as it went through the air and the barrier and gently rained down on the blob. There was no reaction on the part of the blob.

Sitting down on the sand he puzzled over this situation and after a short time thought that perhaps this was somehow weirdly familiar. Then it hit him. It was familiar. He had read it in a book a long time ago. What was the name of the book he thought and then he remembered. It wasn’t a book, it was a short story by Fredric Brown called ‘Arena’ published in 1944. “Oh my god!” he thought. “I’m having a dream!” It dawned on him that he was in the middle of a lucid dream. “This cant be real, it’s 2167 and I’m dreaming.” he chuckled. Laying down on his back in the sand, he made a sand angel and then closed his eyes.

He was tired after all and it didn’t take long for him to drift off into a deep sleep. When he awoke, he found himself in a darkened room. Everything seemed normal except for one thing, he felt as though he was being smothered. Taking a deep breath, he found there wasn’t any and he reached up to his face out of panic. His hands met with something smooth and almost slippery and suddenly his hands were restrained by what felt like sticky ropes.

He couldn’t get up. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t breathe. He started to struggle wildly but the more he did the more he ran out of energy to do so. “Oh god” he thought. “It wasn’t a dream!” It didn’t take long and it was all over. Scott was dead. The blob slid off his enemy and he once again found himself inside his ship at the controls. It was as if he had never left. His mind said otherwise. A voice crackled through the communicator; “It’s all over.” it said. “We fired one salvo and their entire fleet suddenly vaporized itself. We now have complete access to all that water on that planet they called earth.”

“Good god, man, don’t you realise that gun is loaded? Kindly hand it over, or I will have to get dangerous.” James nonchalantly removed the calfskin glove of his right hand and held it in his left hand.
“Well, what are you going to do?” Edward pushed a loose wisp of hair that had fallen out of place and replaced the glove to his hand.
“Right, old chap, have you decided what you’re going to do with the gun.”
“You pompous arse, I’m here to get what’s due to me. Half of those diamonds belong to me. Where are they? You. You.” Edward smiled as he stared into Jimmies bloodshot eyes.
“Okay, Jimmy boy, Just hand over the gun, and we can discuss the diamond situation sensibly.” Edward leaned forward and gently removed the gun from Jimmies hand.
" Where did you get the gun from, Jimmy, old son? An evil grin replaced his smile.
“It looks new. Have you fired it yet?”
Jimmy snarled and spat out his reply.
“You pratt, you would be the victim of the first bullet if you didn’t tell me where the diamonds are.”
“No, Jimmy, old boy, you are wrong. You are going to be the first victim.” The gun felt comfortable in Edwards’s hand as he turned and pointed at Jimmies head. The bullet entered between his eyes in perfect symmetry.
I’m afraid old chap. The diamonds are ALL MINE."

Always Alliterate.

Silently seething, Sylvia sat surveying several slovenly suspects. Suddenly, she screamed.

John jumped.

Fiona fainted.

Lydia laughed.

Sylvia simply smiled.

Death and transfiguration

She was dead again, at least, she thought she was. Normally, she would resurrect after a few minutes, finding herself in the white room before being sent back into the game. She checked her status. “Limbo? Where the &% is Limbo?”
“You have exceeded your allotted lives quota”. The voice sounded inside her head. “Do you want to buy more lives?” Yes, of course she did, she enjoyed the game, even though she’d been killed off three times this week and it was only Tuesday.
“How much?”
“Not money,” said the voice, "“you haven’t any left.”
“I had three gold!” she replied indignantly.
“You lost it as a penalty for dying, again, and you lost all your possessions, too”.
“OK, I’ll just leave your game and re-roll as someone else.” she huffed.
“Sorry, Dava, You can’t do that.”
“What do you want, then?”
“A favour of my choice, the time and place to be determined.”
“Screw you!” she shouted and logged out.
The system laughed <she’ll be back>.
Davia, angry, went to the first ATM she found and put in her card. She needed a drink after all that stress. NOT FOUND, said the ATM. Storming into the bank, she shouted at the cashier, demanding money. “Sorry, Madam, we have no record of you holding an account here”.
“Give me my money or I’ll come round and get it!” The scream attracted everyone’s attention and several people backed away as the cashier pressed the panic button.
After several hours in the police station, with enquiries showing that she didn’t have an account at any of the major banks and that the address she gave was up for rent, with evidence on the estate agent’s computer that the apartment had been empty for renovations for the past year, shock set in.
“I’ve been killed here too.” she thought. What the hell do I do now? A snigger resounded through her brain <Log in, Dava, log in.">

The Project
You’d think being next in line for a business would help a guy with the ladies. Except in my case it hasn’t. I’m Adrian Knight. Next in line for Knight and Son carpentry. Still single years after my High School ex broke my heart. Some say it’s because I don’t take things seriously. That I’m a Casanova and a ladies man. Sure I only go for one night stands and hookups. That’s all most girls are good for.
I’d just hit the midterm project partner jackpot. My partner was Catherine Williams. She was one of the smartest students in the business program here at Aspire University. Plus, Cat was nice, cool and sweet. Not to mention drop dead gorgeous. She was also the closest thing I’d had to an actual crush in years.
There was just one small problem. Cat was ‘taken’. If you even call having a months long fling with the best Jazz and Swing dancer in the city and my home town being taken.
Ed Marsh wasn’t just any dancer either. He was my ride or die bro. I had it bad for my best friend’s girl. His Angel as Ed called her.
This project was my chance. To possibly get between them before Ed and Cat had the chance to actually make it official. As well as getting back at Ed for everything that happened in High School. He’d been paired with the most beautiful girl in town back then. Beth had liked me better than him. I’d known her better. Thanks to their partner ship and how encouraging he was everyone had expected them to end up together. Beth had broken my heart twice to follow her dream. Once was when she’d nixed our first official date for an audition. The second time was when we were an actual couple between High School and College. Beth rejected my reasonable offer of going long distance because she was going to college out of state and broke up with me after only a few months.
I convinced Cat to let us use my future business as the model for our project instead of her future start up. Business is still a man’s world. No matter what dreamers like her say. Cat’s little jewelry line would never really take off. Especially not when she also wanted to make it as an actress.
The day we got paired up Cat kept trying to get me to do more of the work on the project. Claimed it was my fair share. That since we were using my dad’s business and my future business it was my chance to start taking the lead on projects. I stood firm. Talked her into doing most of the work on it. Using the remainder of my course load and wanting time with other friends to my advantage. I plan on treating her as an assistant or secretary for a few weeks. Practice for after graduation when she’d likely be working for me anyway. So would Ed. As an accountant.
With the project keeping Cat busy guess who wont’ be seeing as much of her. She was going to learn that doing what ‘the boss’ says is more important than a fling. With any luck Ed might give up on her for good. If he doesn’t and those two actually make it official I have another plan. The best revenge possible for what Ed put me through.

A Cliche to Remember

In my novel Turf and Surf, a woman named Ophelia is searching for two elderly men, former mobsters, who have wandered away from their assisted living home. She encounters a lady who she never wants to become. Unfortunately, her path is leading her in that same direction. The entire novel is a parody of life at at beach resort.

Ophelia waited for a family to pile into their van and back out of a forty-five-degree parking spot conveniently located on Ocean Boulevard. Behind her, drivers shouted and honked their horns urging her to move. The taunting parade of vacationers in rented Jeeps, Vettes and scooters were anxious to continue their ‘destinationless’ promenade. Or perhaps, the harassment was meant to deter her from getting the parking place just like the one they wanted.
Ophelia raised her hand high honoring their impatience with her best-backhanded middle finger salute. She didn’t even bother turning around, she knew the face of those behind her; seen one drunk, ‘my first night on vacation’ tourist, and you’ve seen them all.
She pulled in, parked and started to cruise the busy central boardwalk and arcade. Ophelia stopped at a couple of open-air food counters to see if Frank and Marvin had stopped in for coffee or a hot dog. She asked one elderly lady sitting at an open-air, worn-out, Formica lunch counter, smoking and drinking her endless cup of thirty-five-cent coffee.
The old lady was not new to this seat; her tenure was betrayed by an ashtray piled high with lipstick covered Salem menthols, all smoked to the edge of the filter. She had a grinding voice, rough as a buzz saw. “No darlin’, ain’t seen em, lookin’ for somethin’ a tad younger myself.” She smiled and stared back at the beach and a vivid distant memory on the night-darkened surf.
Ophelia walked on searching for the two men, but she could not shake the vision of the old lady. The lady was sitting, dreaming, remembering a better time, waiting for her perfect mate, all the while grasping for pleasures from what she had, extracting solace from things that were not so discriminating about whom consumed their satisfaction; caffeine, nicotine and an ocean breeze.
Much like the cigarette and the coffee, Ophelia had given out simple delights to others without discrimination, as long as they had the price to pay. She didn’t want to end up a discarded ash in a tray, a stain in the bottom of a dirty cup, or worn out and lonely on a barstool staring at a memory in the night.