Wednesday, November 05, 2014

IWSG First Wednesday!

Hello all, blog hopping is in full swing today with our own Ninja Captain in charge and his co-hosts who always help lighten his load. This month's co-hosts are LG Keltner, Donna Hole, me and SL Hennessy! Please visit their blogs and the others participating. I hope you find something that helps you in your time of need or gives you something to cheer about.
Okay, this year November is all about nerves. Yes, I’m putting together a marketing strategy, something I’ve never done before, and, there is entirely TMI (too much information) out there on the Internet to slog through to see what is real and who is just trying to scam me, poor schlep that I am in this game.
And just to make matters more nervy, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again!!! On that front I'm very happy, even though I’m nervous about making my deadlines throughout the month.
I am also happy, though nervous, that I’ve taken on extra blogging duties for the next year. I’m really looking forward to it (a challenge of the greatest fun!), but jittery about getting everything done that needs to be done (I don’t know what my “duties” are yet) and being there for others who are counting on me.
So, I guess this means I’m going to make a schedule for myself and stick to it. I know of no other way to “keep calm and succeed” in all I mean to do.
Okay, I’m done whining. Thank you for “listening” to me and for visiting. I’m not so great at responding to comments, but if you’ll please leave one, I’ll come by your blog and leave a comment for you!

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Was He, or Wasn't He? October Ghost Story

Please feel free to visit the other blogs on this blog hop and read their take on the custom of ghost stories in October. Just click on the link below the image...
The old wooden house looked ready to cave in on itself, yet it still stood, worn and weary, against the havoc of time. It still sheltered. Calling the house hard-headed would be appropriate since an age had passed from when it had been built. It called to me like a beacon through the forest surrounding it, or maybe it was the colors that did that, those of the folks that inhabited it now. I don’t know if they were of the family that built the place, but they inhabited it like a worn old shawl over the shoulders, comfortable in the thin shell that exuded age yet comfort.
Red was his name, hers was Violet. They had no children but it didn’t bother them. They had time, they said. I visited them only that once. I couldn’t go back. Not after… well, anyway. The minute I walked up to the place I felt different, like the air had shifted and I breathed someone else’s. Like time shifted and the oxygen was as old and parched as the house. A faint hint of Rosemary settled in with mint as its sidekick, like there was a garden somewhere close that I couldn’t see.
Out on the back porch that afternoon, after a tour of the tiny three room cabin, the main room—with a kitchen running along one side of it—a bedroom and newish indoor bathroom, I sat drinking iced tea with Violet and my mother, who was Violet’s friend and the reason we were there. Violet had asked Mother for a reading. Mother reads tarot cards, but not like most folks would. She doesn’t “see” the cards the same way one is taught to. She sees only what the person she reads for wants—or needs—her to see.
So Mother did the reading, with confusing results. Mother had seen what she thought was a split, a fork in Violet’s path, one shadowed the other bright; a decision Violet seemed to understand, but wouldn’t explain, as was her right. Mother had also seen a great change coming. Violet wouldn’t talk much about her understanding of that either, until later. The air I breathed still held the taint of rosemary and mint, and a hint of pumpkin? It mixed well with the iced tea but did nothing to alleviate the strange awareness I’d had since we’d arrived. “Do you have a garden, Violet?” I asked because I’d seen all sides of the house and found no garden.
“No, not yet. We’ve thought about putting one in over there,” she said, “just past that old tumbledown shed.” She pointed past a heap of dead boards.  That’s when I saw him.
I sat up and placed my glass of iced tea carefully on the table. I didn’t want to spill it or break the glass. A small boy, perhaps four or five, stood just past the deadwood pile looking down at his feet. He wore jean overalls with a faded red shirt under them and a blue sweater. He was blond, like Violet was. Same shade, same wave to his hair, which grew down to his shirt collar. I looked at the ground wondering what he was staring at with such intent. A small orange pumpkin lay at his feet. He stooped down and picked it up, tugging with resistance against the vine still attached. He glanced toward the house as if looking for help. “Do you see him?” My voice came breathless and low.
“Who? See who, darling?” Mother’s tone said she knew not to move. Violet didn’t move either, but she glanced toward the pile of wood.
“The little boy right past the deadwood.” No answer from either of them. “He’s trying to pick a pumpkin but it’s still on the vine.”
The little boy stopped pulling and looked at Violet, grinned as if he saw her, and then disappeared. No boy, no pumpkin, only the pile of grayed wood remained.
“Whoa, that was weird,” I said.
 Mother asked me to explain so I did. Violet started to cry.
“Perhaps it was someone who lived here before. A child that died or something.” I took a sip of tea. “Is that why you’re crying Violet? I don’t think he’ll hurt you. He didn’t seem malevolent.”
“No. I think he is my son.”
“What?” Mother and I asked at the same time.
“I’m pregnant, but haven’t told Red yet, because we’ve already lost two babies who never made it past the second month. I don’t want to hope, but I felt him when you saw him.”
“Hm,” Mother sounded thoughtful. “Well, the cards make a little more sense, still...”
She looked perplexed but smiled when Violet said, “Until this moment I feared to lose another child and so kept my heart on hold. Now I know he is here to stay.”
“Yes,” I said. “He was quite at home. You’re going to have to burn that pile.”
“We will, right away. Obviously that’s where the garden has to go.”
“You’d better tell Red.”
Violet smiled, really smiled and wiped her face. “No more indecision. No more forks in the road. I’ll tell him as soon as he gets home.” Mother and I left. I was happy thinking of Red and Violet and their new little son on his way. Mother still pondered some greater issue. Turns out she was right to ponder. I couldn’t go back with Mother when she returned, though I knew why she had to.
Because early on the morning after the reading, that ancient tinderbox of a house burnt to the ground. Red and Violet, their bodies burned beyond saving, were found together outside, on the other side of that deadwood pile, which lay untouched by even one spark. By all accounts, Violet held a small pumpkin in her arms.  A perfect, healthy unburned pumpkin.