Restless

Three-quarter moon looks

surprised, eaten by blue sky

while snow gets dirty.

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Short Poems for Halloween

 

Poem for Little One’s First Halloween

Warm, fleecy unicorn

watches trick-or-treaters

and her silver horn

in the dark window.

Playing with Papa,

admiring Grammy’s light-up earrings,

waiting for her cousins.

Next year, she’ll walk with them,

taller, faster, in a new guise.

*

Haiku for an Empty Candy Bowl on the Porch upon Returning Home

We were not home, but

left candy out, knowing that

one child might take all.

*

Haiku from my Dog on Halloween Night

Too loud, too many–woof!

Or let me out to play–woof!

I’ll run wild, like you!

“Continuation” – Flash Fiction for Friday Fictioneers

This flash fiction piece was written for Friday Fictioneers.  Rochelle gives us a photo prompt, and we have 100 words to tell a story in response.  To read more stories or to add your own, click on the blue frog below.

vijaya

copyright Vijaya Sundaram

Continuation

(97 words)

At the end of the world, the sky was very dark.  It reflected the general mood.

People handled the apocalypse differently.  Some tried to continue normally, dressing in tattered suits and marching off to a workplace that had been blown up long ago.  Some barely moved, disintegrating where they sat, becoming part of the death of Earth.

Maura was young when the world was dying.  She skipped rocks across the lake of sludge.  Those who saw her smiled, hearts quickening.   It was hard to believe the world could end, watching her selecting flat stones with vigorous solemnity.

“Pieces” – Flash Fiction for Friday Fictioneers

This flash fiction story is for Friday Fictioneers, the weekly prompt Rochelle Wisoff-Fields gives us on her blog, Addicted to Purple.  We get a photo and no more than 100 words to tell a story.  This week’s photo is from John Nixon.  If you’d like to read more responses to this prompt, or if you’d like to add your own, click on the blue frog below.

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Image – Copyright John Nixon

Pieces

(100 words)

It was supposed to be funny, but seeing clown legs kicking out cacophonous chords on the piano made me anxious.  Where was the rest of the body?

I shuddered.

“You too?” The man beside me smiled sympathetically.

I shrugged.  I’d seen many things that shouldn’t exist: pieces separated, mixed and combined.  My dog had a clear plastic abdomen where goldfish swam.  My uncle considered himself a Dr. Frankenstein.  He was talented, but learned no lessons from his predecessor.

I was one of his hybrids.  This man smiling at me would be surprised if he saw me without these baggy clothes.

“Back” – Flash Fiction for Friday Fictioneers

This flash fiction story was written for Friday Fictioneers, the weekly prompt provided by Rochelle on her blog, Addicted to Purple.  We get a photo for inspiration and no more than 100 words to tell a story.  Be sure to visit Rochelle’s blog to take a worthwhile look into her world!  Also, if you’d like to read more responses to this prompt, or if you’d like to add your own, click on the blue frog below.

grey-day-with-pigeons-roger-bultot

Photo Prompt – copyright Roger Bultot

Back

(98 words)

That morning, I saw the birds on the wire and knew they’d seen what I’d missed: my father’s disappearance.

I used to imagine someone kidnapped him, and he’d escape and return…or I’d rescue him.  Now, I know he must’ve willingly walked into the foggy ether.  Did he look back?  Probably.  Most people would.  But it doesn’t count unless you go back.

He’s in the waiting room now, to interview for a job.  Will he recognize me?

In the end, I hire him.  He thanks me.

I’m a masochist.  Or a sadomasochist.  We’ll both pay for what we’ve done.

Evening: A Poem

Pot roast cooks while the

TV drones; my jaw clenches.

A fly, somehow, got

 

in, and it buzzes

and lands on the lamp, walking

its silent feet up

 

the shade and you have

asked me a question about

visiting down Maine

 

while our baby sleeps,

but suddenly stirs, her brow

furrowed, voice plaintive

 

until the nightmare

passes—she clutches my shirt

and releases it.

“Spring Spirit,” part 3 (The End!)

Here is the conclusion to my short story, “Spring Spirit.”  If you missed parts 1 and 2, you can read them here:

Part 1

Part 2

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copyright Emily Livingstone 2016

Spring Spirit, part 3

When Dahlia returned to her home, Laura was just bidding farewell to another gentleman caller.  He was still a bit drunk, and was protesting that he’d like to stay until morning, but Laura was insistent.  Dahlia rolled her eyes as she watched the man stumble into the dark.  And then she had an idea.

Before she could think too much about it, she went inside, careful to remain invisible.  She’d noticed that now, as it got closer to spring, if she really concentrated her energy, she could appear to Laura.  She’d done this a few times for fun, appearing in the mirror behind Laura and that sort of thing to give her a start.

Now, she had something different in mind.

She followed Laura up the stairs.  Laura seemed to sense something.  She tilted her head back for a moment as if listening, pausing, but then she continued.  Just as she reached the top step, Dahlia grabbed her ankle and pulled hard, using all her energy and will.  Laura tumbled down the stairs hard, and landed on her neck.

There was a moment of sickening nausea for Dahlia, looking at Laura as the life drained out of her, thinking of what she had done.  But the moment passed.

It wasn’t too long before Laura’s breath ceased to come and her pulse stopped.  Then, a familiar ghostly form rose from the crumpled corpse.

“You idiot!” Laura shrieked.  “Now we’re both ghosts.  Well done.  Did you think you would get your life back this way?”

“No,” Dahlia said.  “I didn’t.  I would never do what you did.  I’m not going to kill someone who doesn’t deserve it.”

“So high and mighty,” Laura said. “Still a murderer, though, whatever you may tell yourself.”

“I can live with that—or, I suppose, I can exist with it.  Looks like we’re going to be roommates.”

Laura glared at her.

It took some time for the body to be discovered. Eventually, the house sold cheaply to a young couple just starting their lives together.

Laura did all she could to disrupt their lives, and Dahlia was there to thwart her at every turn.  It drove Laura crazy that Dahlia could, at any time, choose to try to coax someone into performing the ritual, and could get her body back.  Dahlia was certain she never would, but though she didn’t admit it to Laura, she did take satisfaction from the fact that she could, one day—especially if she found someone who deserved the consequences.

THE END

“Spring Spirit,” part 2

Here is the second installment of “Spring Spirit,” a short story about a ghost, a curse, and a misguided desire to help others.  Click here to read part one.  There is a link to the conclusion at the end of part 2.

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copyright Emily Livingstone, 2016

Spring Spirit, part 2

Dahlia watched as the gray woman took to her stolen life with gusto—sold Dahlia’s possessions, bought new clothes, took men home to Dahlia’s upstairs bedroom.  She seemed to be thoroughly enjoying herself, but Dahlia got few hints about who she might have been before or what had gotten her into this situation.  With little ability to affect the physical realm, Dahlia started to explore outside her home, searching for the key to her escape.

There was an old cemetery a block away from her house.  The house itself dated from the Victorian period, and Dahlia thought the gray woman might have come from then.  Her dress had been torn, but had the structured corset of that time.

She did see spirits wandering here and there among the stones and trees.  A few looked at her curiously, but most seemed lost in their own thoughts.

When she found a section of the graveyard with graves from the right time, she started looking around.  A woman in a purple Victorian gown caught her eye and made a beeline for her.

“Here for a visit?” she asked, taking in Dahlia’s modern attire.  “I’m certain I don’t know you.”

Dahlia sighed.  “I’m hoping you can help me.  I’m in trouble.  You don’t know me, but I’m hoping you might know the woman who got me into this mess.”

“I’m Isabella,” the woman said, gesturing gracefully to the tombstone in front of them with the assurance of a well-practiced hostess: Isabella Walters, Beloved Wife and Mother, 1832-1881.

Dahlia told her story and Isabella listened.

“And where is the house?” she asked, narrowing her eyes.  She started nodding as Dahlia described it.

“Laura Hutchinson,” she said.  “Thought she was better than everyone else.  Invited Henry and me over just to put on airs.  She tortured that husband of hers—always nagging at him and bringing down his confidence.  She was a tyrant to every servant in the house.”  Isabella leaned in confidentially.  “And that’s what did her in, in the end.  The maid had been studying witchcraft, people said, and cursed her.  Laura was out in the garden—that was the one thing she seemed to genuinely enjoy, they say—always brightened a little when the crocuses came up in Spring—and she pricked her finger on a thorn.  Shouldn’t have caused any trouble, but she falls ill, and can’t be cured.  Later—when it was too late, you understand, they found strange symbols drawn on the wall in the maid’s room and books no respectable woman would read.”

Dahlia frowned.  “This must be the same woman, but how do I reverse the curse?  How do I get my life back?”

Isabella shrugged.  “No one really knew what the curse was exactly.  No one was going to read those blasphemous books.  I’m not sure you can undo the curse.”

Dahlia clutched the woman’s wrist, and the woman looked alarmed.  “So you’re saying I’m stuck like this?  And she gets to just keep on living my life?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying.”  The woman leaned in again with a whisper.  “I’ve been wandering around here for some time, as you might suppose.  I’ve learned a few things—general things about the way these things work.  I’ve no idea how to undo the specific curse, but I think I know how you get back in the flesh.”

“How?”

“Get someone else to do what you so foolishly did.  Then that person will take your place, and you can go back to the world of the living.”

“But I don’t see how Laura would do it—she’d know it was a trick.”

“Oh, not Laura, dear.  I agree that would be quite impossible.  You’ll have to find someone gullible and well-intentioned, like yourself.  I’m sorry, dear—but you must see you’ve been rather stupid.”

Dahlia sat down and leaned against the tombstone.  Tears came to her ghostly cheeks.

“I can’t do this to someone else.”

“Then I suspect you’re stuck, dear.  Give Laura my regards.  Perhaps she’ll come see my stone—hers is rather shabby in comparison.  I think her husband took pleasure in its plainness.”

Dahlia thanked her and left the cemetery.  She had a lot to think about.

***

Click here to read part 3.