Wednesday, August 15, 2018

WEP - A Change of Heart - Discovery

OUTPOST STATION NO. 6

Free Use Image-HS




A CHANGE OF HEART - DISCOVERY

In the last segment of this story, Odiwa, the station manager, told Noot and Mondero to scout the lower levels to determine if a 'radio' message about a raid was an actual threat. 

***


Noot and Mondero walked to a deserted part of Level 8, down through a maintenance corridor and stopped at an elevator. It didn't appear to be operational. No lights. No noise. Entry screen dark.


"What's this? Is it working?" Mondero asked.

"See that sign, it says Freight Only. That means I need a key, which I have, and I control which floor we stop on. Odiwa told me about this elevator a few months ago. Not many know it works. We can block certain floors if needed."

"You're a cagey one, Noot. I like that. So what's the plan?"

"Plan? I don't need a plan. We're scouting out the area. No one has been down to these levels for a couple of years now."

"That's reassuring. . ."

The mid levels contained much of the still operating machinery which powered the station air, the water and waste systems and a few isolated areas which had been designated as restricted. An empty holding area composed of individual cells was kept for the criminal elements.

"How do we know what's on all these levels below the main, Noot?"

"Exploration was a necessity when we first came here. Odiwa found an old map in what used to be the administration centre on this station and we went out in small groups. The first ten is where the existing population including us lives, the second ten is maintenance and holding cells. After those, we have made a buffer zone of ten more levels. No one should be in those levels, but there could be things like  radio transmitters, which could have been used by the controllers."

"Controllers? Who or what is that?"

"Nothing ominous.  The workers who guided the ships onto a beam for docking were called that. And below that buffer zone, we aren't sure what, who or how many may be living there. The air supply and other systems for water are still working. That's about it."

"It's just a matter of time before someone is going to get curious if the other levels are working. Do we take prisoners or talk to the perps?"

"Neither one. We are here to see what is going on. And that's all we're going to do this time, Mondero. Odiwa said to look, get as much info as possible and get back to him when we returned."

"That's fine with me. You lead when we get there, I don't know my way around. And Noot, if anything does occur, you can count on me to have your back."

"You do that."

Mondero kept silent as they left the elevator and Noot locked the control board.


***

With weapons drawn, the two men stayed together and began surreptitiously checking corridors to be sure they were empty. Noot put up a hand and signalled to the pilot to be quiet and listen. Some faint footsteps could be heard. They crept back into an indented doorway and waited.

CLICK. . .the two men heard just before a couple and a small figure came into the hallway. They were armed, but one was carrying a small child.

"Hold your fire, we mean no harm," Noot said before he stepped out in front of the man holding an old style laser gun.

"Who are you?" the man asked. "You're not a renegade, are you?"

"You'd be dead if we were. We're looking for those renegades you mentioned."

"Oh. You're from the upper levels?"

"That's right. How did you get that museum gun?"

"We found it, but it's got very little ammo in it. We're living in a hiding spot on this floor, and we keep moving about if we hear something we can't identify. I thought I heard some strange sound."

"The freight elevator made that, most likely. How did you get here?"

"We were with the 'Lost Ones', the colonists that left Terra during the final stages of evacuation, looking for a place to live. We had no luck but kept searching until our starship floundered. It was  taken over by renegades and we and others were brought here to be used as slaves."

The little boy, not more than four years, walked up to Noot. "Are you my grandpa?"

For a moment, Noot felt unsteady, a flash of deja vu enveloped him. Then, he stooped over to ask the child his name. It brought back memories of his own son. . .

"Me? I am Moby," said the child as he fixed his large eyes on Noot.

Noot felt a change of heart when he saw the small child, a little boy. He had a family, long ago, before he became a wanderer. Before his wife died, his world caved in and he went searching for the kidnapper of his son. He never found his son.

"My name is Mondero and this is Noot," the pilot said. "We're looking for raiders, someone we heard over an old radio receiver."

"We can give you information, as much as we have. I'm Dev and this is my partner, Jio," said the man.

"Good, but save it for the captain of the station. Is it safe for us to check without more people?"

"I wouldn't recommend it. The men we have observed don't look too accommodating, and they would likely shoot on sight."

"Fair enough. We will take you with us, under protective custody, and Odiwa can determine what we can do for you. I'd like a larger group before we proceed further."

"I don't know, Noot," said Mondero, "are you sure Odiwa will be okay with that?"

"Nope. But we will deal with that if we need to. I'm trusting you two know what will happen to you if you're lying to us?"

"We tell the truth. We want your help."

Returning to the upper levels Noot reports to Odiwa and turned the couple over to the captain for debriefing. A council meeting of the working crew was called. On this outstation there were no police, just experienced ex-military who acted as a reserve group.

***

This story series continues. . .is this couple legit? What type of armed group can they muster? Come back next time to discover tales of outpost life in the outer reaches.

***

How would you like going into a unknown area, not knowing what you might find on an abandoned outpost station? 

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for stopping by to read my entry.

***





WEP Write, Edit, Publish, a flash challenge



It's time for another WEP challenge - with the support team of Nilanjana Bose and Olga Godim adding their imaginings and creativity. Thanks to Denise for being the host. We also want to wish Yolanda a swift recovery.

***

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

WEP - Unraveled Yarn - The Lower Levels

The Lower Levels of Outpost Station #6



Free Use Image


Somewhere out there in the vast darkness and bright stars at the edges of civilized space, the only law is what you can enforce. An abandoned space station can be like an old west town, where the yarn is always unraveling. . .

***
(Continued from The Outer Reaches, the first Outpost story )

Noot had just sat down with a  coffee (at least that's what they called it) when he heard a knock on the door. Slowly he got up, putting down the reader he had found from decades prior. A fella can't sit down for a few minutes, oh no. . .

Opening the door, he was surprised to see the pilot that he had found on the lower levels. He appeared slightly agitated. 


"Can I come in?"

"Sure, sure. Why not? You need something?"

"Just talk right now. I was listening to an old short wave radio I found and I heard some talk about raiding this old abandoned station. It didn't seem to be coming from a distance, but closer if not on the station. It seemed to me that they were trying to contact someone here."

"You sure about this? I can't go to the Boss with some cockamamie story."

"Why would I make it up? You can come and listen for yourself, Noot."

"Right. But first, sit down and tell me more. Where is this radio? You sure this isn't some kind of set-up? You show up here, and shortly after, you hear about a raid on this derelict old station. Nobody usually bothers us, most don't even know we are here, and that's the way we like it."

"I swear, Noot, I wouldn't do such a thing. Do you know if there are people on some the lowest levels? I'll do my best to defend any kind of trouble on this place. I was a pilot and I did serve time in the fleet before all my stupid mistakes."

"Hmmm. You were in the fleet, eh? That gives you a bit more credibility. As for the information you heard, we don't honestly know too much about the lowest levels. We are all fugitives from one thing or another and most of us scrounge for what we have."

"Maybe they want to strip the metals, I don't know. Does anyone know about those flyers you discovered, other than the the Boss (look for his name)?"

"A few of us, but all are trusted. This is bad news if it's true. We may have to rig some traps for these attackers, if they exist." He looked pointedly at the pilot. A raised eyebrow was all he got in return.

Noot finished his coffee, and grabbed a jacket. "Let's go, then. I want to hear that message if it comes again."

Noot followed Pilot Mondero down to his rooms. He watched as he connected the wires. The 'radio' as Mondero called it, looked like a bunch of toggles, switches and wires. Noot was intrigued, wondering where all these parts must have come from. 

Static burst out as Mondero fiddled with the tuning until all of a sudden they heard, "We have a team ready to breach the upper levels. Those upper levels won't be ..." static interrupted the rest of the message.

More static came back. . .then the voice continued.

"...Received. Time plan is set. Keep this talk to a minimum. See you at ......."(more static). 

Noot and Mondero looked at each other, both surprised and alarmed. An attack might be imminent. They tried but couldn't pick up the signal again.

"We have to notify Odiwa right away. He'll know what to do. Let's go, Mondero. Sorry for my earlier comments. You may have just saved us from a rude surprise."

(To be continued at another WEP moment.)

***



WEP Write, Edit, Publish, a flash challenge

It's time for another WEP challenge - with the support team of Nilanjana Bose and Olga Godim adding their imaginings and creativity. Thanks to Denise for being the host. We also want to wish Yolanda, the other host, a swift recovery.

The challenge:
Create an artistic entry using the given prompt: a poem, a flash fiction piece of 1000 words or less, a non-fiction piece detailing your personal experience or someone else's experience, write a script, draw your dreams, or post a photograph or a photo essay. The genre and the artistic choice are yours!


Be sure to check all the other entrants on the WEP participation list! 

***

Is an abandoned space station appealing to you? Or a little creepy? Do you think you could survive on one? Do you have scrounging or life skills which might help you?


Please leave a comment to let me know you were here. I'll respond. Thanks for stopping by.

***

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

WEP - The Road Less Traveled, An Outpost Story

Outpost Station #6 - The Far Reaches


A hermit doesn't seek or enjoy the company of others, unless circumstances require it





This bit of hermit wisdom described the wizened Old Man Noot. Not an ounce of fat on him, with long greying hair streaming from his beard and the top of his head. But when he looked at you, his bright blue eyes revealed a curious mind.

Noot, like many of the others who inhabited the abandoned space station at the edge of the Sirius system, was a space drifter looking for a place to stay off the grid, out of the mainstream and away from nosy authoritarians. He wasn't the first to show up at the station, where he had to sign an agreement before he was allowed a space in the eerie structure. This was a waystation for those who ran out of options, it provided shelter, access to supplies and was run by those who lived there. Working at odd jobs around the station was exchanged for a room and food supplies.

"Noot!" someone called out. The old man turned to see the station master, who was 'in charge'.

"Yes, Odiwa?"

"Got a job for you. It's down on level 15. I need someone to check the anti-grav equipment on that level. Someone reported hearing strange sounds coming from the room there. See if the equipment has been vandalized, or if it's a human problem."

"You think those new people may be filching stuff?"

"Possibly. Take your weapon and your wits, might need them."

"For the usual pay?"

"Depends on how much you have to do."

"All right, I'll do it, but I get to choose my options for the pay."

"Sure. If I don't hear back from you in a few hours, I'll send down a finder."

"Hmmph."

Noot didn't like the finders, all nose and no brains. He scrummaged in his equipment box for his spacesuit, the lightweight one, his tools, and a some extra ammunition. Never hurt to be prepared. He grabbed some emergency supplies and water. He was ready.

As he descended to the 15th floor, he wondered what he'd find this time. Last time he checked for noises he found a large family of rats. Rodents seemed to endure anywhere in an oxygen environment. Noot thought the rats hitchhiked on one of the early starships. 

All was quiet when Noot arrived on the 15th floor, so he let himself into the anti-grav room and cautiously entered. He didn't want to alert anyone or anything. He held his breath as he couldn't see further than 8 inches in front of himself. He activated his helmet light, just before he heard a noise in a far corner of the room. Grunts and mutterings reached his ears.  

Noot crept to within 10 feet of the corner and saw a human figure on a bedroll. He couldn't tell if the human was armed, so he gently told him, "Hello. My name is Noot, and I'm here to help. Identify yourself, please."

"Starship Pilot Mondero, recently on the trade ship Europa. Where am I?"

"You are on Outpost Station #6. We don't get drop-ins, Mondero, or encourage stowaways . How did you get here?"

"I'm a pilot, a starship pilot, who argued with his commanding officer. It didn't go well, so they deserted me here on this station, saying they would send someone to rescue me."

"Are you going to claim refugee status?"

"I don't know."

"What noise were you making? We got a call about the amount of noise in this apartment."

"I wasn't wrecking the equipment, if that's what you mean. . ."

"Never mind what I mean, get up and grab your gear. Have you got your identity docs?"

"Yes." 

***

Noot took Mondero to the station master, and advised him that the prisoner was a pilot of starships, who had some recent misfortunes. . 

"A pilot, eh? We can use a pilot, if you can fly our small starships."

"Let's see 'em."


Odiwa took Mondero deep into the underground storage. "There they are."

Mondero stared, interest showing in his eyes. "Wonderful. The small scale blackbirds of Stealth. Haven't seen those for years."

To be continued. . . 

***


WEP - Write, Edit, Publish, a flash challenge

It's time for another WEP challenge - with the support team of Nilanjana Bose and Olga Godim adding their imaginings and creativity. Thanks to Denise and Yolanda for being the hosts! 

The challenge:
Create an artistic entry using the given prompt: a poem, a flash fiction piece of 1000 words or less, a non-fiction piece detailing your personal experience or someone else's experience, write a script, draw your dreams, or post a photograph or a photo essay. The genre and the artistic choice are yours!


Be sure to check all the other entrants on the WEP participation list! 

***

Would you want to live in an abandoned space station? What would cause you to have no choice but to live in this structure?


Please leave a comment to let me know you were here. I'll respond. Thanks for stopping by.

***

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Gone! In Too Deep - WEP February Challenge


The sailing ship, Lucky Ladybobbed in the waters of Schooner Cove in old Key West. I sat in the bar nearby sipping a Mojito. Tonight, I would be on that tall-masted beauty.



Free Use Image* - Sailing Ship

IN TOO DEEP and GONE!

"Leave the city behind," my friends said, "go somewhere new. You need a change." 

It wasn't romance I was running from; nothing so simple as that. I had told my dark secret to no one, and without clues, the police had no reason to question me. A new identity, a new face, and no one will ever know what happened to me, that woman who fell overboard during the midnight astronomy cruise. 

I waited until all was quiet, the guests were in their bunks, and the captain was in his quarters. Slipping over the side of the sailing ship, I dropped silently into the warm water. The black wetsuit made me nearly invisible in the darkness. I glided toward the meeting spot where a fishing boat signalled with a small light. I paid well, so no questions were asked. 

The old fisherman in the boat had tackle for mullet fishing, in case we were stopped by the Coast Guard. I changed in his cabin packing the wetsuit in a bag to discard as soon as I could. I was brought to shore at a location a few miles from the airport and caught a cab nearby. I had a one-way ticket to London on British Airways. I would decide my final destination from there.

In London, I searched the news and found the article I was looking for:Woman Lost at Sea on Cruise in Key West. All the pieces were falling into place. The local police in Key West, Florida would be sending divers down to locate the body. It was possible, according to 'the experts', that no body would be found. There had been an increase in the local sharks known to occupy the Florida waters.

Being considered dead could benefit me in several ways. It's easier to be 'born again' with surgery, than to find a safe hiding place.

***

Here I sit now in my Paris apartment, wondering what my next move will be. I'm in too deep to change my mind. Freedom is a hell of a lot better than spending time in prison. I will be forever haunted by what I call an honourable act, some call revenge, and the law calls murder. I knew it came with a price.

I  closed my eyes, but I felt the memory coming back, and then I was there, back in that dimly lit hallway of an old apartment building. . .

. . .I'm walking down the corridor. . .I hear small noises like talking, I'm almost there, get ready, release the safety, secure grip, push door, throw in a smoke device. It lands between the man and his woman on the bed. This man killed my sister. They turn as one, I aim and fire, intent only on accuracy. Snick! Smoke is filling the room. No witnesses. Aim. Snick! Keep moving fast. . .  Focus. Remove silencer, empty chambers, get out of the building. Into the car and on the road.


**** 
I pulled myself out of the memory of that vivid moment that kept fermenting and washing over my thoughts without warning. It was a trigger for anxiety and paranoia. I took some pills to suppress the memory of my crime, before it drove me mad. This was the price I paid for the satisfaction of seeing my sister's murderer dead.

I sipped the wine in front of me and felt the coolness slip down my throat. Life on the run was the path before me. I would have to forget old friends, old lovers, and never go home again. I have to become someone totally different. I have to believe the lie myself.

The deed is done. Do I regret it?

No. It was necessary.

"More wine, s'il vous plait?"

"Oui, Madamoiselle."


WC = 672

******
What would you do if someone you loved was murdered and you knew who did it? Would you exact revenge? Do you think you could handle changing identities and your face?

Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by, and I'll respond. Thanks for visiting!

******
Write, Edit, Publish (WEP) - The Challenge





It's time for another year of WEP challenges - with the support team of Nilanjana Bose and Olga Godim adding their imaginings and creativity. Thanks to Denise and Yolanda for being the hosts! 

The challenge:
Create an artistic entry using the given prompt: a poem, a flash fiction piece of 1000 words or less, a non-fiction piece detailing your personal experience or someone else's experience, write a script, draw your dreams, or post a photograph or a photo essay. The genre and the artistic choice are yours!

Be sure to check all the other entrants on the WEP participation list! 

***
Note: this story is a compilation of bits and pieces re-purposed to create a new story. You may remember the gun scene from WEP - Changing Faces - What Now? 

Sailing Ship
Free Use Image: Pixabay

***

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The End is The Beginning - WEP December Challenge

Round and round the circle of life goes, from beginning to end and beginning again. The End is The Beginning of a new cycle, a new life, a new chance.




Looking down from the bridge I could see the swirling depths calling. Here lies peace. But how do I know if I cross that line to the other side that there will be peace. How do I know that I won't still be in limbo, watching all those that live as I do now. A horrid contemplation.

My world,Terra, is disintegrating slowly but surely. As the water levels rise, more bridges are built, then man-made islands to be used by those displaced with the flooding in low lying areas. There are so many bridges now that soon that will be all that's left. The warming of the climate and the melting ice which used to change very little, is now reclaiming land which man has occupied for millennia. Is the planet deeming us unfit and trying to reduce the numbers of humans? Perhaps.

The news and travel channels are blasting out advertisements for'colony ships' which will transport people to safer planets. Other adverts cajole us to be one of the founding colonists of the Moon, our nearest neighbour, but that entails living underground most of the year. Mars also has underground colonies with only the scientific study areas and weather watchers on the surface. Terrans are having to make harsh choices, seeking to fix the problems born in the old 20th Century and proliferating into the 21st. Now at the end of the 21st century, we reap the consequences. The scientists say it will take 10,000 years or more for Terra to be habitable again. They say we were warned.

I see my partner coming toward me.

"Meli, forgive me for being late. It couldn't be helped."

"No worries, Jala, did you get the info for Mars?"

"Of course, but it took an hour's standing in line. A lot of people want to leave this planet, even the scoffers have admitted the truth; we will have to make our decision in a short time. Will it be the Moon or Mars? It's a tough call, but those are our best bets."

"I like the idea of being close to the mother planet, but can I stand seeing it die slowly? Now we have starships that can take us at least as far as the outer solar system, maybe further. Going to the Moon is the easiest, but Mars is the most interesting. Both force the colonists to live below ground - but we'll get used to that."

"You've got to get signed up now to leave on the next flight outward, so we must decide in the next couple of days."

"What did you hear on the street?"

"A lot of panic. Solar flares are causing a delay in the launching of the carriers. Storms seem to follow one upon the other, especially in the equatorial regions. Some reports say geysers of gas have been exploding from the ground in some national parks."

"Warning signs. Strong ones. Let's go for Mars, it used to be a planet and it's got a few colonies now. I think we stand a better chance there."

"I'll call and pre-register for Mars. We'll have to show up tomorrow to confirm identification, pay fees, and pick up starship tickets."

"This could be the beginning of another life, a life as spacers. Terra will be brought to its knees, an end not befitting such a beautiful planet. I hope without humans here, the planet can begin to flourish and become stable again sometime in the future."

One month later, the loading began. Our last vision of Terra was from the windows of the starship. I felt tears slipping down my cheeks. Goodbye, Terra. May we one day be able to return.

WC = 844 *****************

Have you had instances where you had to start over? How did you feel? Adventurous? Sad? Which colony would you choose between the Moon and Mars?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll reply. Thanks for dropping by. 

MAY THE HOLIDAYS BE MERRY FOR YOU AND BEST WISHES FOR 2018!


*************
Write, Edit, Publish (WEP) - The Challenge






It's December and time for another WEP challenge - with the support team of Nilanjana Bose and Olga Godim adding their imaginings and creativity. Thanks to Denise and Yolanda for being the hosts! It's been a good year for great flash stories and these bloggers and the participants have kept us all interested.

Create an artistic entry: a poem, a flash fiction piece of 1000 words or less, a non-fiction piece detailing your personal experience or someone else's experience, write a script, draw your dreams, or post a photograph or a photo essay. The genre and the artistic choice are yours!

Be sure to check all the other entrants on the WEP participation list! This prompt could take us anywhere from the end to the beginning of something new. Hope you enjoy reading!

***

Monday, November 13, 2017

Heartbeat - My Life with Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady, A Review

A novel about Beat Legends Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady, told by Neal's wife Carolyn Cassady. The time period is the early to mid 1950s.


Heartbeat, by Carolyn Cassady



HEART BEAT
By Carolyn Cassady, wife of Neal Cassady


My Life with Jack and Neal, as the subtitle indicates, is written from the point of view of the wife of one of the most loved and discussed of the Beat legends, Neal Cassady.

One woman, and two men who are best friends, the "triangle" that never seems to work very well. When Neal settles into family life with Carolyn, he invites Jack to come and stay with them. Jack is on the healing end of a marriage split, and appreciates the offer and the company. He thinks he can hire on to the railway, and yearns to see different places.  Jack arrives and is given his own room to encourage him to write. He thrives on the family atmosphere, but Neal gradually becomes less keen on the sharing, especially when it affects his marriage. As the tension builds, Jack gets the signal that his welcome is wearing thin. It's time to hit the road again.

Jack describes the San Francisco he sees in the mid to late 1950s, and the trains where he tries to make a few dollars to help pay his way. Jack may covet what Neal has, it's hard to say. Neal may covet Jack's freedom to roam. But the idyllic setup comes to an end. What one imagines as ideal doesn't always seem that way in reality. Sad but true.

This is a small book, a novella, and easy to read. If you're a fan of the Beat Literary writers, then you might like reading this one, as I did. There are letters in the book which were written between Ginsberg, Kerouac and others. It's a resource for those learning about Jack and Neal. Recommended for fans of the Beats and for those wanting to learn more about the 1950s lifestyles of this generation.

***
Do you like to read about the Beat literary writers and their books? Have you read any of the books by Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, William Burroughs, or Allan Ginsberg? Do you like any of the Beat writers?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll reply. Thanks for stopping by!

***
More reviews to come on two mystery books (compilations) by Agatha Christie.

***

References:

Jack Kerouac (A to Z Blog Challenge 2016)
Contains several additional links to Jack Kerouac book review posts and information on the writer.

***

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

DARK Places, Dark Intentions - WEP Halloween

There's one big problem with dark places and portals to other planes of existence. Those entry points could be one-way portals.

Haunted houses, haunted mental institutions, abandoned buildings all experience some form of pain, torture, or grief which are reflected back into the world from whence they originated.. These are the places between where the discontented spirits vent their anger and try to capture those unsuspecting humans who 'say they don't believe'. One day that twilight plane of existence may send a visitor to your door, or closet or mirror.


Creative Commons, Free for commercial use
No attribution required


DARK PLACES; DARK INTENTIONS


I was awakened by my cell phone signalling an incoming message. I yawned. It's either bad news or a wrong number. . .URGENT flashed in the subject line. "Help. Come quick, I'm in danger. At old house, 666 Hades Crescent. Urgent.

The display showed my friend Manny's number. I hadn't seen her for years. Why would she call me now, on Halloween? Something doesn't feel quite right about this. Was it a trick? It's nearly midnight and I'm not sure I want to go to that area at night. My hair is standing up on my arms. My intuitions says No, stay away. But what if it's true and she's really in danger?

What am I scared of? It's just an old house. The few neighbours still living on this street say it's haunted by the last owner, a man who killed his wife and kids and buried them under the house. They say the ghosts of his family wander these halls looking for their killer. He's long gone now but those souls not released tend to vent their anger at whomever steps over into their territory. That territory is this house. My friend rented this place for a cheap price, since she said she doesn't believe in the paranormal.

But where is she? This place looks abandoned, no one has lived here for a while. I wander through the unlocked front door. It stays open.

"Hello, is anyone here? Manny?"

The door behind me creaks, then closes softly with a definite CLICK. OK, now I'm starting to worry. Looking upward, I see another level, but for some reason, I DO NOT want to go there.

 Creative Commons, CC0 Free for commercial use
No attribution required

The house wants me to go there. I can feel it. Was that a noise upstairs? What could have happened? This house looks like it's been abandoned. I thought it was in better shape when Manny rented it. Then I feel like someone is behind me.. I turn and see Manny's image in a mirror in the corner. She's not looking out but away at something. Horror is etched on her face. I can't move. I can't think. A cold breeze seems to move from nowhere with a smell like the weather before a storm.

Now what do I do? Manny has been missing for a year or more now. Has no one looked here?

I remember some weird things like don't touch the mirror, I might be drawn into that other world, and don't look too long in any other reflective surfaces, it's a way for some spirits to step into our world if we acknowledge them. This entire house could be under a spell.

Do I believe in spirits and spells? On All Hallows Eve, I do. At the moment I don't feel threatened, but I don't know how I can help Manny? How did she contact me? From the beyond? I've got my spotlight, so I'll look about a bit more before I go to the police. . .or may a psychic. . .

I walk through several more rooms, and find it odd that the lights come on when I flick the switches. If the house has been deserted, why do the lights still work? Never mind, don't get distracted. Some force is propelling me to walk to the next room, a deserted kitchen. Everything is covered in dust but I see footprints in the dust by the door which has been nailed shut.

Hmm that's not good. My hackles are rising. I wonder if that front door will open as easily 
when I leave. Perhaps I should find out now.
I turn back to the door in the front room, and try the knob. It's locked and won't turn. My stomach is getting jumpy now and I feel cold air. Then I hear what sounds like steps coming down the hallway above beyond the stairs.

As I peer upward,  Manny stands there gesturing for me to come upward, but not speaking at all. She's dressed strangely in an old outfit from Victorian times, a little raggedy around the edges.

"Manny?"

No answer, but the pale apparition looks directly at me and I see dark holes where her eyes should be. Oh,God, she's not alive. . .

At that point, I turn slowly and make my way to one of the windows, grab a chair and throw it through the window breaking it and making a lot of noise. I care not. My only intention is to get out of there as fast as I could. Once I jumped out the floor length window, I vaulted over the outside railing and ran down to my car. It was safe, no uninvited riders.

The house was dark as I looked back except for one light showing in the upper room on the 3rd floor. I turned on the ignition, it didn't catch. Oh hell, did I have to walk? I tried again trying not to shake so much. The motor caught, I backed up faster than I ever had before, turned as soon as I could and beat it down the driveway and out onto the road.

I never looked in the rear view mirror or anywhere but straight ahead until I got home. I checked the back seat and trunk again before I went into the house. I locked the car and the garage. I felt safer in the bright lights where I lived.

Once inside, I tried to make sense of it. Did I just imagine what happened?, Was I dreaming? I checked my cell phone and that call from Manny was missing. . .

Maybe I'll stay awake til dawn. Dark places hide dark secrets and dark intentions.

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1064 words approx.

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Have you had a scary experience in a 'haunted house' or elsewhere? Do Tell! Do you believe in spirits and the paranormal?

Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by to read my entry. I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by and be sure to read all the other entries at the Write, Edit, Publish site.

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WEP - Write, Edit, Publish - a fiction challenge: DARK PLACES




It's October and near Halloween, time for another WEP challenge - with the support team of Nilanjana Bose and Olga Godim adding their imaginings and creativity. Thanks to Denise and Yolanda for being the hosts!

Create an artistic entry: a poem, a flash fiction piece of 1000 words or less, a non-fiction piece detailing your personal experience or someone else's experience, write a script, draw your dreams, or post a photograph or a photo essay. The genre and the artistic choice are yours!

Be sure to check all the other entrants on the participation list! There's many a good tale told at Halloween.

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