My House

In the spirit of this spooktacular season, I’ve decided to do something daring today by sharing a short story I wrote recently- enjoy!

old house 2

They were in my house. Setting the floorboards creaking, going where they pleased. I could hear them, carelessly clattering about down there, redirecting the furniture, chattering about this or that. The sound penetrated the cosseted safety of my abode; their presence plucked on my nerves and sent them a-tingling.

It wasn’t right. The place was historic- Georgian I recalled- possibly listed. They should have known better- still that didn’t seem to stop folk moving whatever wasn’t nailed down. That didn’t stop them desecrating the decades-old dust with their footprints.

I could hear them laughing now. Marvelling at some feature or another, their delight gliding round the ballroom like a child at play. Oh I was well and truly woken from my slumber. Nothing could keep me abed.

Had they no respect? I wondered, taking two steps at a time, thundering on the stairs loud enough to wake the dead. Soon I was upon them.

They didn’t see me at first- they never do. But they heard the door slam and startled like little birds. I almost wanted to reassure them- almost. Instead I looked them up and down- trying to calculate their worth from their peculiarly tight clothes and sharp angled haircuts- assessing their tells with my weary gaze. I crooked my neck, trying to get a better view, my eyes half failing me: a man and a woman. One of them holding a bright rectangle of light in their hand like a torch. That was a new one, I mused. Beyond that they were murky smudges.

“Who are you?”

The male was the one to speak. His voice was shaky, a rust to the command, clearly from disuse.

I sighed. I could have asked them the same question. Indeed there was a time when I might have. Was it a realtor or a blustery wind that had brought them to my door? Did they think they were going to stay? There was a time when I thought I cared for such details- but that time was gone.

“Who are you?” the brave soul repeated.

That was a good question. I pondered how I might answer. I wondered how I appeared to them, in the white nightgown I never changed out of- not since that night…

A rush of feelings came over me, as it always did when I thought about it. Red hot and white cold all at once. Like being dunked in ice cold water and held under three seconds too long, as your legs kicked and lungs burned for breath. Like seeing someone you trust, naked with someone else. Like getting a glimpse of the traitorous blade that would end your life just before it did and knowing, knowing you could have prevented all this.

I funnelled that rage into my scream:

“What-are-you-doing-in-my-house-!”

It wasn’t a question and they knew it. Trembling before me like leaves in autumn, clinging to the tree of life, right before winter ripped them off and cast them to decay. They knew there was no escaping the storm I summoned. They had unwittingly stepped into the tornado’s path and heavens knew there was no place to shelter. I shook the very foundations of the house. The bright object fell from the man’s grasp, and smashed to the ground. We all fell into darkness. All that could be heard was a scream muffled through sweaty hands.

I heard that all too human sound and would have stopped- had it not been so long since I had made that sound myself. But my hatred had a will of its own. It tore the remaining paintings from the wall, it shook the chandeliers one screw looser, it flung the broken mirrors in the air. Shattered glass collided with flesh and my thoughts turned to redecorating as a crimson stain splattered onto the wall.

Damnation, I cursed, my calm returning as I witnessed the carnage around me. I would have to wait for the bodies to turn a little before attempting to move them- hopefully no one would come looking for them a while yet… It would so destroy my rather tranquil mood if they brought people sniffing out their rotting corpses- theirs or the others. Let’s hope no one took a peek down the dumbwaiter.

But I supposed this would be a problem for another day. I span on my heels and went back to bed.

*****

Somewhere in the distance the clock chimed again. No, not a clock chiming- a bell. Someone was ringing the bell. I tensed, drawing my linen closer, not knowing their next move, too scared to trail my bare feet out the sheets- until I knew for sure. Until the dull thud of that tricky front door opening gave them away. They were in my house…

Okay so short stories are not my usual forte- but I hope that was at least a little entertaining!

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Book Borrowing Horror Story!!!

Okay- that title implies quite a bit more drama than actually ensued, but I thought it would be fun considering my post the other day where I basically said that I find writing in books (for the most part) a-okay, to flip the conversation on its head and talk about why I’m hesitant to lend books and the perhaps surprising fact that if people mess with my bookish babies, they will have to deal with the full force of a monkey wielding a bunch of bananas…

form50027

I also have to add that this post was inspired by a wonderful post Emily @Embuhlee Liest did a while back where she shared a harrowing story of borrowing betrayal… You guys should check it out!!

twilightMy own story revolves around an unsuspecting series I’ve actually unhauled- so I shouldn’t actually have been as scarred by this as I was- and that book series was Twilight. I know, I know- this is the equivalent of my saying “I’m really upset by what happened to my reader’s digests I stored in my basement for years”. But whatever, let’s go back in time to my teenage years, when sparkly vampires were a thing (yes as much as we’d all like to forget it, it was in fact a thing) and this actually mattered to me. It was just before the films came out and only two of us in my 60-in-a-year girl’s school had read these books. So when someone I wasn’t too friendly with asked if she could borrow the first one from me, the resident bookworm, I said yes…

When she was done with it, she wanted to lend it to her friend, and then she wanted to lend it to her friend and before I knew it, my books had passed through every girl in my year! (Yes, yes, I blame myself for spreading this cancer to this day). Not only did it take me ages to track down where these books had ended up, but when I was finally reunited with my books, they were all torn and beat up- the *horror*!! And of course, everyone said “I got them like this”.

So because of all this I have some pretty darn strict rules for lending books:

  • I don’t lend books I expect to get back. If a book is special to me, it’s staying right where I can see it.
  • I only lend to people that reciprocate- partly cos it’s like a book hostage situation- “wanna see your book again… well then give me mine back!”
  • Mess up my books and expect the aforementioned banana pelting (and for the record- just cos I said writing in books is fine, don’t write in your friends books!)
  • Lastly if someone says “oh I lent it to someone else…” well let’s just say the person will be going on my lending blacklist- I don’t care if the person is your gf/bf, mother, aunt, best friend’s sister- don’t lend out books on my behalf! Not cool!!

That’s all for today! Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday! Do you have any rules for book borrowing? Let me know in the comments!

Exquisite Corpse Post – A Really Bizarre Version of Cinderella

Okay, so a few days ago I shared a post celebrating my 300 followers and asked you to respond to some prompts so we could create an exquisite corpse story. Thanks to all your amazing (and hilarious) responses, I’ve cobbled together the most bizarre version of Cinderella known to mankind. And once again, thanks to Elm whose post inspired me to do this in the first place. So without further ado, happy reading…

***Disclaimer: I used Perrault’s version as the basis for this- although not much remains of the original***

mirror-mirrorOnce upon a time there was a gentleman who took the haughtiest, proudest woman in the world for a second wife. And as a second wife, she had lots of things that all came in twos. Firstly, she had two ambitions, that she reflected upon alone after every birthday party, wondering if it was too late (ooh mysterious…). Secondly, she had two mirrors set up in front of her. One was dull and showed her reflection, the other a more twisted world. She reached out, feeling the cold surface give way at the touch of her hand- because she was  a dastardly villain…

“Mirror mirror on the wall,” she said- oh wait wrong fairytale- erm I guess she’ll be doing a crossover at some point- better get back to the story at hand for now…

orangeWhere was I? Oh yes, I was talking about what she had. Well, she had two melon sized oranges in her bag. Just the two.The only two. Oh and she had a couple of bulbous toads that she treated like daughters (but who cares about that- let’s talk more about oranges…). Her husband on the other hand had a daughter whose gentleness and goodness were without parallel. (What about those oranges, hmm?)

No sooner was the wedding over than the stepmother’s ill-humour revealed itself. She could not abide the girl so she turned her horse down a dusty sideroad to avoid her notice and was generally a prick to her (it probably had something to do with oranges). She also made her sleep by the fire, which was why she ended up being called Cinderella.

Now the king’s son decided to shave his right leg and lick his lizard because he was going to hold a sci-fi convention so that he could find a wife. When the two toads heard that they had been invited, they were in high spirits.

They called Cinderella, saying, “Wicked old bat- find me my hat! We are going to the sci-fi convention at the king’s castle.”

flower specialWhen the happy day arrived, they set of to see if Alexander at McDonald’s would give them a couple of free fountain drinks and then went to the mystical woods to find that special flower that they wanted. It was the kind that had all the colours of the rainbow. But when they found it, the flower was too big to bring back to the castle- which was where they were headed for the sci-fi convention.

Forgetting their random quest, they set off to the palace and left Cinderella behind. Cinderella began to cry once they were gone. Pumba from the Lion King dressed as Xena the Warrior Princess, who came upon her all in tears, asked what was troubling her.

“I should so like to go to the sci-fi convention!” Cinderella sighed.

“You shall go to the sci-fi convention Cinderella!” Pumba said. “Go into the garden and fetch me a pumpkin.”

Cinderella left immediately, gathering the finest pumpkin she could find. Pumba struck it with a wand and the pumpkin was changed into a one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater.

purple people eater

“Holy shit!” Cinderella cried.

“Don’t worry,” replied Pumba, “it’ll get you to the sci-fi convention just fine. So long as it doesn’t eat you.”

Pumba then tapped her with the wand and her rags turned into something else entirely. He then gave her a squashed banana. When she was thus attired, she climbed onto the one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater, while Pumba advised her not to stay past midnight, warning her that if she stayed too long, her one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater would become a pumpkin and her clothes would resume their old appearance. She promised to leave the sci-fi convention before midnight and left overcome with joy (and a little afraid she’d be eaten by the one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater).

When she arrived, everyone thought that she looked like Professor Trelawny from Harry Potter in a batgirl suit. The king’s son approached her and gave her a book and hugged her before telling her he got into Harvard University. She kicked him in the you know where- he regretted it instantly. But then she decided to give him a chance because he was a prince and he was *hot*. While she was chatting up this crazy hot person, Cinderella heard the clock strike a quarter to twelve. She immediately made a low curtsey and departed as quickly as she could.

The prince followed her but could not catch her. However, she (a little too conveniently) dropped her squashed banana, which the prince picked up. Cinderella reached home without all finery, in shabby clothes and without having been eaten.

banana peelA few days later the king’s son issued a proclamation that he was going to sell his apartment to live in a tree house and he was quitting his job. He was worn out with his boss’ loud mouth and his daily chaotic tasks. “It’s your turn to work now,” he said to his wife. And then he remembered that he didn’t have a wife- which was why he held a sci-fi convention- so he decided he would marry whoever’s foot exactly fit the squashed banana. (What? He’s talking to imaginary people- in comparison the squashed-banana-slipper plot is pretty sane).

Pretty terrified by the crazy ex-prince, his loyal servants began trying it on all the women in the court. However, it was all in vain. Soon it was taken to the two toads, who did their utmost to force one of their feet into the squashed banana, but they could not manage to do so.

Cinderella, who witnessed their efforts, said: “Blimey you sure got going fast! It’s not big enough for my supreme purposes”

toads laughingThe toads began to laugh and ridicule her. But the gentleman who had been entrusted to try the squashed banana saw that Cinderella was very beautiful, so he said it was the proper request and that he has been ordered to try the squashed banana on everyone without exception. He asked Cinderella to sit down and upon placing the squashed banana on her foot, he saw it fit perfectly.

The astonishment of the two toads was great, but it was even greater when Cinderella took another squashed banana out of her pocket and put it on the other foot. At that moment Pumba arrived dressed as Xena the Warrior Princess again and he gave a tap with his wand to Cinderella’s clothes, which became even more beautiful than the clothes she had previously worn. The two toads then recognised her as the bat girl impersonator they had seen at the sci-fi convention. They threw themselves at her feet begging her pardon for all the harsh treatment they had made her endure.

Cinderella said: “Don’t worry. I got your back. I’ll tie you to my car’s spoiler and drag you around. No one will know.”

(I’m assuming the toads ran away at this point) Anyway, dressed as she was, she married the prince and *dot dot dot*… Once it was all over she moved to her side of the bed and said “you can sleep in the wet patch”.

The End!

Yeesh- that got interesting! Cinderella’s horrified!

cinderella horrified

Thanks so much to all the contributors:

Sublime Reads

Lisa Maria Gardiner

SamFalston

Bibliophile

A novel glimpse

Cinderzena

J Bookish

rosemawrites

Donna

Life and Other Disasters

Michelle

Messy Mess

Happy Trails

Eve Messenger

I literally couldn’t have done it without you!!!

(I hope you’re all proud of yourselves for turning an innocent fairytale into… this :p )