So, like every other time in the past that my mind has run wild, I take a deep breath and try to bring under control the activity in my mind that is threatening to break through the defensive wall that I have constructed for my protection. I stare up at the ceiling of my very small home and concentrate on the sounds that surround me. Unconsciously, like all the other times in the past when I have concentrated on the night sounds, my mind takes me back to a better place, a safer place.
I hear the jingle of Lucky’s collar as he walks through my family’s home late one night, doing a family dog’s job of making sure that all this world’s dangers are kept out, when, in reality, I am hearing a ring of keys that are hanging from a guard’s belt, bumping against his leg as he patrols the corridors, keeping danger in, not out. I am comforted by the familiar sound of my father’s snoring coming from my parents’ room when, in reality, I am blocking out the sound of fifty different snores in order to focus on one. Fifty other’s snoring so loudly that it would seem impossible that they could sleep through their own noise. Speakers in their sleep, caught up in a nightmare continuing from the day before, are substituted with the innocent rambling of my brother who is sleeping fitfully in the bed right next to my own.
Richard rated it it was amazing
Brilliant and brutal!
This short story is written by a very special writer with the ability to transport the reader inside the lead character and I couldn't put it down.
I just wish it was longer; the best story I have read for many years. Everyone should read this.
ByJim Blackon October 1, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As someone whose former job it was to go into the prisons and county detention centers across my state, I've heard the "first day" and "first week" stories of the inmates. The character, Michael's sentiments expressed in the last few pages of the story are ones I've heard from inmates several times. This is a well-written story that gives good insight to one man's living, and surviving in prison. The message at the end rings true.
Bycdwolf3on March 1, 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well written, touching, powerful story. It's insight into what happens to the soul when being locked up, so tragic. An intriguing story of a young man's transformation. This is a page turner.
ByKayla P Dugason September 17, 2016
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Such a powerful story. The author's words created such a clear picture, I could have been there. I didn't want it to end, and still don't. Please write a follow up story to this!
Other books in this genre:
Twenty yards ahead a lamppost illuminated a solitary man. At this distance there was no mistaking Ulysses Lundetto, current chancellor of Zone 11, a heavyweight in every sense. Next in line to be World President, he was a politician of golden reputation. Not so much as a tinge of corruption had ever been proved against him, yet the inner circle knew. Lundetto was as crooked as a donkey's hind leg tied up in knots, then twisted before being spun.
Bardolf took the moment to flick his special zollar coin, not that he believed in augury. Spinning this favoured silver piece was merely a habit, and he cultivated habits like other people might nurture children. He glanced as it landed in his palm. Decision made, he moved on.
‘What were you doing back there?’ Lundetto barked as Bardolf covered the last few yards – not that he paused for an answer. ‘You’re late. Bad mistake keeping me waiting.’ He sniffed and tugged up his coat collar.
‘Chancellor Lundetto,’ Bardolf stated unapologetically, dark eyes unwavering.
As Lundetto glowered, Bardolf set aside Gorg’s advice to check round for treachery. He saw no need. Obviously Lundetto had something important to say, otherwise he’d never have left his palatial quarters and travelled a quarter of the way around the globe.
‘Makes no difference if you are. I’ve technology that knocks out any device.’
‘Chancellor,’ Bardolf parried, ‘you’re one of the most influential men on the World Council of Zone Councils, I assume you have a reason for summoning me to this late evening chat in the rain.’
Lundetto took a deep breath, his small eyes lifting as if to deliver a keynote speech to the WCZC. When he spoke it was with enforceable menace. ‘I have you dead to rights, Bardolf. It’ll cost you everything.’
Bardolf arched an eyebrow, another habit. ‘I’m just a businessman.’
‘Save it. Your scam’s taken millions out of the Exchequer and I can trace it all back to you.’ He ran a podgy hand over his forehead like a preening mantis. ‘You’re off to jail and you can rot there for all I care.’
Bardolf didn’t react.
Lundetto twisted the knife. ‘I’ll have you targeted by all the lowlife scum.’
Still Bardolf didn’t react.
‘Are you stupid?’ Lundetto demanded tersely.
‘Since we’re here, Chancellor, you’ve obviously something else in mind, so let’s hear it.’
A sharp pain jabbed Rebecca Kincaid’s side, and she sucked in a breath. Her hand fell to the hard swell of her belly, rubbing gently. Round ligament pain, she figured, just one of the many joys of being pregnant.
“Chillax, kiddo,” she said to the baby dancing inside her as the pain subsided.
Smiling to herself, she glanced around to see if anyone else was close enough to hear. Some people called you crazy for talking to yourself in public. She caught the eye of a redhead standing beside a stack of Diaper Genies. Dressed in blue jeans and a red flannel coat, the woman smiled. She looked to be in her mid-twenties, older than Becky, but not as old as some of the women in her prenatal classes. The woman’s gaze strayed to the strained buttons around Becky’s baby bump.
“When are you due?”
“Two more weeks and counting.” She grimaced. Being this big, nothing was comfortable. Her back ached, her hips hurt, and even sleeping was hard.
The woman smiled sympathetically. “I know, right? I felt the same way when I was pregnant, like I was Sigourney Weaver in that Alien movie with a little monster just dying to get out.”
“I know what you mean,” Becky said, breaking eye contact.
Truthfully, she hated that movie. Violent and gory. Comparing a baby to a bloodthirsty alien tearing its way out of its mother’s womb, well, that was kind of sick. She was much more of a romantic-comedy kind of girl.
“I have a toddler at home,” the woman said. “Seems like just yesterday I was in maternity clothes, though.”
Becky faked a laugh and turned down an aisle, away from the stranger.
There's trouble in Arizona.
Jenna Cieres is a struggling young college student on the verge of graduating. She hasn't had a social life since enrollment into law school, but she has her best friend and loyal dog, Benji, by her side. She's full of fight and has the potential to be a successful lawyer – if she lives long enough.
When Jenna begins to receive strange emails and frightening phone calls, she does the logical thing and informs the local police. Disheartened by their inability to help, the young woman tries to ignore the sensation that someone is watching everything she does.
Just as Jenna is reaching her breaking point, FBI agent Terry Miles becomes involved when he discovers a stark correlation between her case and a series of macabre murders strewn about the state. Even Terry feels the fear inflicted by the killer, who threatens everything he stands for.
When she no longer feels safe in her own home, Jenna turns to ex boyfriend, Will Thompson. He appears to be the perfect person to comfort her, but it seems as if Will has some secrets of his own – and uncovering them could lead to her death.
'Scream For Me' tangles lives and twists secrets around everyone involved in this dark thriller. Increasing troubles and dangerous passion will leave the reader wondering just how deeply everything is connected, and just how far obsession can stretch. Jenna's life is in the hands of a terrifying killer, unless she can use her quick wits to save herself.
The heavy gate groaned shut. He pulled the backpack out of his Jeep and slung it over his shoulder. He walked a quarter of a mile along the fence line and stopped. Then he pulled a “No Trespassing” sign from the pack and propped it against the fence. With a few strokes of a hammer, he nailed it to the post. The dull blows echoed in the quiet woods.
Branches and fallen leaves popped and crackled beneath his feet as he worked his way methodically along the ridge, checking the barbed wire fence for gaps. The cinnamon smell of the turning leaves was a sure sign that hunting season would soon begin, and he couldn’t afford to have strangers stumbling onto his property.
He nailed the last sign to the post.
He turned and started down the rugged trail carved into the steep hillside. A couple of hundred feet below, the valley floor glimmered like an emerald in the late-day sun. Three cabins stood in the clearing beside the river. The place had been a youth camp once, before the drowning of a teenage girl had destroyed its reputation. Afterward the camp had closed and the cabins had fallen into disrepair.
Dappled sunlight shone through the thick canopy of branches overhead. He loved days like this. Alone in the woods, he felt at peace with the world.
A scream rent the air, shattering the stillness of the afternoon.
It was shrill. Human.
Crows fled the safety of the trees, a torrent of black wings flooding the blue sky. Heart racing, he started to run. The uneven ground slid beneath his boots. Branches slapped at his face, and he ran faster, driven on by her panicked cries.
Another scream. Louder.
It was coming from the cabin farthest from the water’s edge.
When Chari goes on the lam with Dom, she tries to discover who turned her mother into a vampire. Dom learns his true connection to Chari. The Vypers are seeking revenge and Florin's West Coast horseman, Duke Mathias, is out for blood. Treaties have been broken, blood has been spilled, and chaos in Ransom, California will not go quietly unnoticed.
Sally Braddock’s serene lifestyle atop a mountain in Vail, Colorado, changes drastically each year when her three spoiled children and their spouses visit her – and her money – for Christmas. They live off their trust funds, which are disappearing quickly, and spend most of the holidays bickering and hitting up their mother for money.
This year, Sally makes an announcement that sends her children into a tizzy, an announcement so extreme that it pushes someone in the house to murder. The storm inside the house is matched by a raging blizzard outside, and the family finds themselves snowbound with a killer.
The Russian state of Sverdlosk was the Soviet Union’s center of fringe military research during the cold war. There, terrifying biological weapons, capable of inflicting unspeakable horror, were intensively researched and developed. Every single medium and long range armament in the Soviet arsenal was repurposed to deliver these lethal agents to anywhere on the globe. The cold war eventually ended. The research did not.
Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.
Sun Tzu – "THE ART OF WAR"
If Mark Wilkerson had to listen to any more of that morbid organ music, he was going to throw up. A migraine beat against his temples and tears rolled down his cheeks as he stood propped against his crutches, his dislocated shoulder aching. Through bleary eyes, he viewed the three closed coffins at the front of the viewing parlor. Gold glitter on white satin ribbons across the caskets read, “Devoted Father,” “Loving Mother,” and “Baby Sister – Sabrina.” She was only six.
Ornate floral arrangements surrounded the closed caskets, their florist shop fragrance adding to Mark’s migraine. He ran his hand across the smooth surface of his mother’s coffin; fingered the satin ribbon. She was in there, at least what was left of her, but he would never see her again. Never again would he feel the warm touch of her lips on his cheek when she kissed him good night.
His weepy eyes abruptly gushed with tears. What happened? He still wondered, shaking his head. Even though he’d somehow survived the accident, he still didn’t know anything about it. All he knew was what the County Sheriff’s deputy and the doctor at the hospital had told him; that he and his family had been in a tragic, fiery accident on the Carquinez Bridge on Christmas Eve.
The doctor also told him his memory would probably return, but it could take some time. He’d called it “dissociative amnesia," whatever that was. He said it was often caused by severe emotional trauma.
Mark’s grandmother, Emily Wilkerson, told him he’d performed with the family at a rest home earlier that night, but he couldn’t remember that either. He felt, more than remembered his father had been angry about something. Then there was Amanda Bonfili. What happened on their date? Or did they have a date? He just couldn’t remember.
Mark moved to his father’s casket. How could he live without him? His dad had been his greatest inspiration, his best friend. He looked down at the casket as his tears rolled. How could he live with the guilt of knowing their last words may have been spoken in anger? He’d never even had a chance to say I’m sorry, if he’d done something wrong or even good-bye. Somehow, he felt he might have been at least partly responsible for the accident. “Forgive me, dad.” His cries escaped his lips in a whisper, “for whatever I did. I’m sorry.” Tears stung his eyes and he wiped them on his sports jacket sleeve.
He wished he could see his family just one last time, but the undertaker had told him their bodies were too charred. The thought horrified him and Mark agreed it would be better to remember them as he’d last seen them alive.
At least his sister, Amy, was being spared the funeral ordeal. But she was still in a coma and her condition was serious. The doctors said she could have brain damage if she survived. That sounded worse than his amnesia.
The accident had only been three days ago and tomorrow, after the funeral, the coffins would be lowered into the cold ground. Is that all there is to life? Mark wondered, To live your life then be discarded like some trash. Hanging his head, he wished he could have died in their place, or at least with them. How Amy and he had survived was a mystery.
Moving to Sabrina’s casket, he laid his forehead against her tiny coffin. “Dear God! Please make this go away. Make them come back.” But even as he prayed, he knew God couldn’t make that happen, assuming He was even real. After all, why would an all-powerful, loving God take away the people he loved most; his parents and his six-year-old sister who had so much to live for, the family Amy and he needed?
Why? The question kept repeating over in his mind, as he wiped his eyes again. Why did his parents have to die and of all people little Sabrina?
SABRINA! Mark wanted to shout, as if it would bring her back.
He missed his baby sister every bit as much as he missed his mother and father.
“Sabrina,” he whispered.
He would never see her again. Tears rolled down his cheeks as Mark thought of her charred little body inside the tiny coffin and the pain she must have endured in the fire. She didn’t deserve to die.
Mark felt a warm hand on his shoulder. Straightening with his crutches, he leaned into his grandmother’s arms. “Go ahead and cry,” she said. “It’s good to let it out.”
Mark leaned down and laid his cheek in the hollow of her neck. He could smell her sweet, old ladies perfume. “Why?” he asked. “Why didn’t God protect them? Why did He let Sabrina die and not me? She didn’t even get a chance to live her life.” He turned away and tightened his fists on the crutch’s handgrip.
He felt his grandmother’s warm fingers turn his chin. “Mark, I know this is hard for you. It’s hard for me too and it will be hard on Amy when she comes home.” His grandmother choked on her words then blotted her eyes with her hankie, “if she does. Son, we don’t always understand why He allows things like this to happen, but my mother always told me, ‘what we see today as a tragedy, we may look back at tomorrow as a blessing.’” Emily hugged him tighter and stroked his hair.
“A blessing? How can losing almost my entire family ever be a blessing?” Mark huffed and pulled away. His head throbbed even more. Then looking back at his grandmother, he said, “If I ever find out who caused the accident, I swear… I’ll… I’ll kill him…. I promise that.”
“No, Mark. Don’t think like that. It was just that, an accident. You need to forgive them.”
“I can’t, Grandma. I just can’t.”
“One night in February 1932, they saw a boy leaving the shop late after the other workers had left. They had noticed that the lights in the shop had not been turned off by the last man they saw leave before the boy came out, and had decided to keep watch on the place. When they spotted the boy with a box, the boy saw them, and ducked behind a corner of the street. When they fired a warning shot to stop him, the boy ran through an alleyway and they gave chase. They lost sight of him for a while and then one of the men saw the boy with the box under his arm. The moon silhouetted him crouching by a corner beam on a first story platform in a building site. They moved to a position that would afford them a shot at the boy and fired several shots. They all saw the boy fall with the box.”
“As they ran to the lot where the boy fell, they saw people were already coming out of some of the neighboring buildings to see what the noise was.
The man with the rifle hid it and the rest of the men split up to search the dark lot. They found the boy but, before they could take the box, the neighborhood men were coming into the building site. They pulled the boy’s body out of view to a dirt berm built up around a hole dug by a support beam.
One of the men grabbed the box from the boy’s grasp. A policeman approached them, the beam of his flashlight moving back and forth scanning the lot. The leader of the killers quickly moved toward the cop to distract him. He stepped around the cop to make him turn away from the other men. Hidden from the cop’s view the other men dropped the box and pushed it along with the body into the hole. One of the men kicked dirt from the pile around the hole to cover the body. The policeman asked what they were doing. The leader of the men said, in a thick German accent, that they had heard shots and were looking to see what was going on.
The policeman turned and ran the beam of his flashlight over the other men. He wanted to know why the man was kicking the dirt. The leader replied that one of the men had just taken a leak there. The policeman walked over and looked at the men, glanced at the dark hole and then told them to go home. He said he would do the investigating.
When they cautiously returned to the site the next night, they discovered the whole area around where they had left the boy, covered in concrete. A policeman also stood guard at the entrance gate.”
“It seems that not only justice is blind.”
The hot water felt good on her skin. She closed her eyes and imagined what she and Tim had just been doing. It made her tingle a bit as she could still feel his hands on her. She looked around as though to be sure no one was watching as she continued lathering her body. As she did, the lights suddenly flickered off and on and then off again. Suzy looked around and then up at the darkened light. “Oh crap!, just what I need” she muttered. She wasn't looking forward to a power failure right in the middle of her shower. She turned and reached for her shampoo on the ledge of the shower stall. As she did she seemed to see an unmistakable shadow on the wall of the next shower over. At first she felt a little frightened as she called out “Who’s there?”
Then her fear melted away and a wry smile came across her face as she called out quietly, “Tim? Is that you? Come on in, the waters fine” She waited for a moment for him to respond. When he didn’t, she smiled and figured he probably wanted to slip in beside her after turning off the lights and surprise her.
“Come on over Tim, you and I can make this water even hotter eh?” she cooed. She looked up as the shadowy figure moved towards the front of the adjacent shower stall. Suzy felt a little shiver of excitement come over her, as she thought about the two of them in the shower together....
Chat with Authors
When I was a child my dad used to tell me made-up fantasy stories all the time and really think that sparked a desire in...
My stories are inspired by real-life experiences. I have a background in early childhood education and many years of experience working with children in the...
I have always loved reading; even as a small child I would always be found with my nose in a book. There is such pleasure...
I've always written, ever since I can remember. My first job was as a reporter with the Liverpool Daily Post (in UK) - and I...
Hop on Lenka's List Bandwagon
Tastes Like Murder (Cookies & Chance Mystery #1) by Catherine Bruns Narrator: Karen Rose Ritcher Series: Cookies & Chance Mystery #1 Published by Gemma Halliday