Saturday, October 31, 2009

Paranormal Experiment: The Haunted Room

I admit that, although I’m very skeptical of experiments done by Canadian inventor John Hutchison, the idea of his supposed experiments has had my full attention. He apparently used Tesla’s innovations to create a set of conditions with machinery to reportedly levitate objects, fuse metals, and even make metal objects disappear. This was done reportedly through high electromagnetic fields. His experiment supposedly produced many of the same phenomena seen in haunted places.

What I like about this concept is the possibility of recreating the paranormal experience and find out whether its seat is in the mind or the environment or both. I do believe in the right elements for a haunting and if you’ve been following my blog you know my feelings about geology, construction, waterways, and history, but is it possible to actually make a haunting?

I just found this fantastic article which reports that scientists are trying such an experiment! These scientists in London are trying to design a room that would induce haunting effects. This has me so excited, I can barely stand still! According to the article, “they were inspired by earlier studies in which test subjects reported contact with the phantasmic when exposed to electromagnetic fields and waves of infrasound. This hasn’t just taken place in the laboratory. Odd EMF fields have been recorded at reputedly haunted castles. And geomagnetic flux caused by shifting tectonic plates reportedly produces surges in poltergeist sightings. Meanwhile, infrasound waves below the level of human hearing have been linked to visitation.”

Apparently, after constructing this room, scientists tested it out and almost three quarters of participants experienced ghostly encounters within an hour! What they discovered in the end was that, although certain areas of the room were focused for energy that would cause a haunted feeling, participants felt it even in parts of the room that weren’t focused. The results were confusing at best. They aren’t certain if the participants were highly attuned people who can pick up such energies or they were simply suggestible.

The concept is a great one and I truly believe that with the right conditions you can assure the same sensations of being haunted. At this point, I would compare the experiment with the one ongoing about out-of-body (near-death) experiences. Scientists could recreate some sensations, but not all the intricate detail and imagery. In this experiment, much like that one, people felt the sense of being watched someone being near them, dizziness, etc., much like sensations with high EMF nearby and also the same sensations when the temporal lobe is stimulated.

Perhaps what this experiment is lacking is the same thing that near-death experiments are lacking, the element that feeds the supernatural world, a sort of dark energy/ectoplasm for lack of better description. The pathway psychics also access, from which ghostly encounters are born, and near-death experiences sprout. That is the focus of my obsessive search for what sort of “highway” the paranormal travels upon.

Halloween Short: Samhain Clearing

(I'm sorry this got on kind of late. It was an insane and exhausting day and Trick-Or-Treaters are just starting to arrive. I can't wait to show you the pictures of the front of my house. If I were a kid--I'd be jumping up and down! This is the last of the Halloween shorts. I hope you enjoy it. Happy Halloween/Samhain!)

As if by magical design, the forest had turned a shimmering gold, so vibrant that the pale tree trunks went unnoticed, the deep blue sky above ignored, and the dark rich wet black earth neglected. The contrasts were so sharp and the air so clear on this Colorado day that it was nearly painful to view all at once. The leaves on the aspen trees shimmered, creating light sizzling sounds that filled the air like distant applause.

Teeth chattering, the young woman approached the line of trees, looking up at them as if trying to discern if she would be allowed in such a sacred place. A soaring hawk overhead cawed and swooped to the top of a tree to rest. Megan took the sharp-eyed bird as a sign of sight and entered the path.


The temperatures were dropping fast at this elevation and Megan came prepared, dressed in a thick coat and mittens, a hat, scarf, and fur-lined boots. She crept cautiously along the path lined with damp fallen leaves. It was slick and dark within the woods, the sweet smell of rotting groundcover filled her heart with nostalgia. She loved all the seasons, but autumn held her heart year-round.

Her family begged her not to come to this place, but there was no better time to do so than on the night when the veil between the living and dead was the thinnest. A time when it was appropriate to remember those who had passed on. She no longer felt sad about it, no longer angry or numb. In fact, when she thought of her brother and her father, she smiled to herself. The memories would last her forever and they would always remain young and vibrant, happy and playful.

She stopped and studied the area. It was hard to judge from the lodge just how much further she must go, but she did recall quite clearly the rock outcropping. The ledge had been the only thing burned into her mind. It had been where she was waiting when the rescue crew arrived. She had few memories of the whole event. She had been only eight years old and that was 10 years ago. She’d also been stunned and confused. Whole parts of the mountain rescue had been erased from her mind. Honestly, she was thankful for the anesthesia of it when she was younger. Now, however, she wanted to wake up from her emotional fugue state.

The altitude was making her feel out of shape. Megan pulled out her compass but just as she did, something between the slender white tree trunks caught her eye, a ledge of granite. She felt a determined knot in her stomach as she moved towards it on sure feet.

Her mother had taught her much about her pagan heritage. Megan was proud to be Irish and even more proud that her mother, who still held her gentle Irish dialect, had patiently taught her and her siblings about magic and mythical creatures, beautiful forested places, and Sabbats and Esbats and the meaning of the nature of seasons. Those ties to the Earth had saved her from despair.

You cannot do this, Meggy.” Her mother had chided. “It’s a bad idea. Very bad. Spend Samhain with us. Leave your offerings here like we do every year.” Her mother had wiped her hands on her apron and sighed as she studied her daughter.

Her mother never ordered her. She believed Megan had a steady head on her shoulders. But, there were times when her mother’s intuition feared for her and Megan had come to dislike her mother’s “third eye.” It was the same one that had her begging her father not to take her and Samuel to visit her grandparents, leaving her mother and the babies at home.

Had they not gone on the flight

Megan sighed and slipped the backpack from her shoulder and immediately began to gather dry twigs to start a bonfire on the stone outcropping. She got it built up and burning quickly and the warmth made the area seem less like a still scarred mark in the forest from a plane crashing into it and more like a natural clearing.

Admittedly, the sound of an owl followed by a pack of coyotes on a far away hillside calling to each other reminded her she wasn’t truly alone. Megan had grown up in the out-of-doors. She didn’t fear the creatures. At this point, she feared the place most of all. Perhaps her mother was right. This land was marked by death. Was it a good idea to come and perform her Samhain ceremony in such a place?

Her baby brother Derek filled her mind with stories of ghosts remaining in the place of their father and brother’s deaths. Could they still be there? Trapped? Was that why when she performed Samhain ceremony at home 50 miles away she had never felt their presence?

She shivered and pulled up her hood over her wool cap. The fire crackled, sending tiny little fairy lights into the air. At least, that’s how her mother always referred to campfires as the birthplace of fairies. Megan tried to see the fairies, but all she saw was fire. Flames turning her world upside down, unable to see which way was up, unable to breathe through the smoke. Calling for her father without a reply.

She stumbled back and turned, trying to steady her hands as she pulled the things from the backpack. The sooner she did this, the sooner she could forget it all.

How can I forget what I don’t remember?

She rolled out a table runner to create her altar upon the granite ledge. It wasn’t just a tapestry found at a store. No, this one was sewn by her own hands and out of her father’s dress shirt and her brother’s pajamas. She gently glided her hands over the smooth mix of fabrics and trims and smiled. Next, she laid out an abalone shell that her father gave her when they vacationed at the beach when she was six. Inside of it, she placed her brother’s favorite yo-yo, the design nearly worn off from his handling. She slipped a photo of her family together for the last time beside a crooked snowman. Lastly, she set with the shell a butterscotch candy, the kind her father sucked on while he worked in his home office. Lastly, she added her brother’s favorite thing, a fortune cookie.

A chilly breeze passed between her and the fire. Megan turned to watch the fairy sparks flying high into the air in the clearing. A shiver raced down her spine as if she were being watched. She tried to focus her attention on the candle, placing it inside a glass jar to keep it from blowing out. She went to the fire and lit a twig and used it to light the candle. With a sigh, she looked around her, the vibrant aspens standing sentinel around the bonfire like yellow-haired sentinels.

Megan had always been attuned to nature. Something in the clearing was coming to attention, awakening from a deep sleep. She studied the white-barked trees and peered past the shimmering golden leaves and into the pines deeper within. The ground felt strangely off kilter and she stumbled slightly. A flash of dizziness had her grasping the ledge.

“Daddy?” She called out, her voice sounding strangely childlike. “Samuel?”

Her eyes darted around the darkness beyond the clearing, sensing it. Something watching, waiting. It felt menacing, but then it also felt protective. Whether it was protective of her or its territory, she didn’t know. Megan decided to proceed with her altar. She would have done her usual routine of chants, but tonight she felt this was more than just a way to honor her father and brother, but perhaps a way for her to complete something.

“Samuel?” Megan called. “You were a very patient brother with me. You always explained things and were willing to play with me and walk with me to the bus stop. I always knew I’d be okay when you were with me.”

“Daddy?” She called out. “I don’t remember a lot of the flight. I don’t know why I can’t remember. I want to remember. I really do. I remember you, though. I remember you well.” She smiled as she studied the altar. “I wish I could just remember so I can let go.” She murmured.

A flutter of sound overhead had Megan turn and stare up at the bright branches of the trees. Along one bare branch, she saw a heavy owl perched, looking out over the trees with his amazingly keen vision.

An owl

Megan rushed through her memory of the animal symbols her mother had taught her. The owl was a guide to the netherworld and brought with it insights and knowledge.

The sound of a cry in the night startled her and Megan peered around the blotchy darkness outside of her bonfire. She squinted to try and adjust her vision.

Just then, a loud crashing sound sent her to her knees, hands over her head in protection.

Megan trembled as she heard the sounds of pleaded and crying, a baby wailing, a man nearby shouting into her ear. Her seat was apart from her brother and father. The flight had been crowded and she was forced to take an aisle seat in the middle of the plane while her father and brother were in the rear. She didn’t have time to brace herself or understand the impending peril. A woman across the aisle from her yelled for Megan to put her head in her lap. She trembled violently as she as the woman asked. The man beside her prayed loudly and tried to clasp her hand, but she withdrew it. There wasn’t time to understand what was happening when she heard the first splintering cracks and snaps. They came to a dead stop so fast that the plane snapped. Her first breath of the toxic smell of fuel made Megan cough violently.

With no understanding that they were on the ground, Megan pulled open her seat belt and rolled from her seat to the row of windows which was now on the ground. She climbed over someone who grabbed her ankle and it frightened her in the darkness, so Megan pulled hard and fell forward and out of an opening. She scrambled over the hard ground towards the ledge of granite where it smelled less awful. Her clothing was crusty and wet from the fuel and the odor made her wretch several times.

Studying the clearing and the bonfire, Megan was no longer in the present. She was reliving the sounds of cries and screaming, the crackling and exploding of leftover fuel-dowsed fuselage. Sitting there patiently until her father could find her, Megan trembled from the cold. Her mind couldn’t accept the devastation. She thought they came down before the runway maybe and as soon as everyone was out of the plane, they’d all walk to the airport.

Her father and Samuel were taking forever. A group rushed in to wrap her in a blanket and carry her from the scene through the fire-lit woods. She struggled and begged to wait for her father. They had a rule that if she got separated from him, to stop and wait for him to find her.

The hysteria rose in Megan’s throat and she vomited beside the bonfire, sobs welling hysterically from deep within her belly. She trembled as she remained on all four on the forest floor, sobbing and sobbing. Her mind hadn’t taken it in all those years ago. It was beyond her comprehension. Now, she realized just what she had gone through and she sobbed for her father and her brother and all of the others, but she cried for herself most of all…for having lived.

When she had no more energy in her body for another tear, Megan sat back on her heels and studied the clearing with a hiccup of exhaustion. It was then that the owl looked down at her and then opened his huge wings and flew away into the darkness.

When Megan turned and looked at her altar, she remembered the contents. Reaching for the fortune cookie, she snapped open the custom-made treat and took the paper out.

“Samuel, this is your fortune.” She set it inside the abalone shell with the yo-yo and the photograph. She dug a hole with a hand shovel from her backpack and gently put the contents into the hole. When she looked down before she put the dirt atop of it, she read the fortune one last time.

You are at peace. You are free.”

Tambourine Pirate: Arrrrgh!

I thought you might enjoy this. It's just a tiny clip of my son's movies from the party, but he just had to film the pirate man trying his hand at an open mic jam. He said later on he'd like to add in the part of the movie "The Jerk" where Navin is trying to learn how to tap his foot to music. When he does that, I'll definitely post it. My hubby is on the drums in this video footage. A lot of people came in and out to pick up an instrument and try their hand. My son filmed some really good jams earlier in the evening (this was late in the party). When he gets the films from the party up, I'll post those too. He walked a tour of the place beforehand, as well. I worry it might have ended up looking too dark, but we'll see. p.s. The camera is shaking so much because my son couldn't control his laughter.

Party Exhaustion

Well, I'm barely starting to skim over the pictures. Exhausted beyond belief and complete contentment. It was the best party I've ever been to and that says a lot because I've been to a huge variety. There were easily 50 people or more at any one time and it was total insanity but it flowed really nicely and the way I set it up just worked perfectly. I can't wait to see the video. My son decided to call it "Tamborine Pirate." I think the video and pictures will explain that.

One picture shows the prize winners. The prisoners won "best couple," the toxic waste dude won "most authentic to the party theme," the Fester-looking dude won "scariest costume," the woman in the black and red gown won "sexiest costume," and the pirate won "best overall costume."

You can see how the movie in the one picture goes onto the dolls and then a strip of it goes up the side if the house showing the outlines of the dolls. That was an enormous hit. People gathered around the bonfire to watch it.

The musicians went in and did an open jam which was hilarious. There were some that had been in bands with my hubby (drummer in a band/engineer at Fender Musical Instruments) and others who hadn't played in years. It was pretty funny. They did manage to crank out some good tunes and then they sort of dinked around for a while.

My neighbors were being very patient with the music, but they usually like when hubby's band practices. It is a specially sound-treated room but the doors were left open so we could watch and enjoy the show.

I got a picture of some of the crowd when the band was playing and the ones who wanted to watch the band were crowding around the drum room.

I love the picture of the toxic waste guy next to the black light.

My costume was a Celtic Druid, so I had opened up the sleeves and took a twisted autumn vine and wove it in and out of the open sleeves' edges. I had leaves on the hem of my gown and my pentacle around my neck. I had totally rigged the thing last minute and had no idea if it would work. What relief. It seemed to go over well. I felt very much myself as if I were at the party dressed as how I feel inside. I will have to get a picture up as soon as I get to those.

My son and his girlfriend are zombie cowboy and zombie bride. Wicked!

The picture of the two pirates and the rocker in between (the rocker is my hubby).

Everyone has been so supportive that I just had to post some pic's right away. I'll keep you updated as I acquire photos from other people. It was like the paparazzi last night. Everyone was taking tons and tons of pictures. They had fantastic time. It was so exciting to put on a party that's the kind people talk about for years and remember the best Halloween party they went to! I'll post more pic's of the weird costumes later.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Bathroom Decoration

The party is only hours away, but I have to admit that while I was putting my bathroom together, I had a great idea for a wonderful Halloween bathroom setup. Put crime scene tape around the door and when people enter and turn on the light, it's a black light. There would be splatters, blood handprints, and other clues to show the kind of crime and how it went down. I just love that idea. Wish I had thought of it sooner! Well, we have the party pretty much all set up now and I'm chilling out before the next group of people come to help with more prep. I finally get to put my feet up for a few minutes. I can't wait to photograph and film it! Weather is perfect and my tree even dropped leaves in a wind storm and I threw them around for a crunch pathway.

Halloween Short: The Hunted

(Tomorrow is my last Halloween Short devoted to Samhain. I hope you enjoy today's. It was a subject that's been on my mind a lot lately, and I think it needs expressing.)

Those moments when a person thinks, “this probably isn’t a good idea,” should be heeded.

Ray wasn’t a particularly uptight man, nor was he a loudly aggressive no-neck with a braggart tendency. Unfortunately, the latter is exactly what made up the Eastern West Virginia Ghost Chasing Team. This bunch of yahoo’s came complete with matching t-shirts, large beer guts, booming voices, and goatees that somehow were supposed to make up for the fact they shaved their balding middle-aged heads.

The team was thrilled to have him along. He’d certainly made a name for himself in Philly and had written several books that were well received, and more often than not was called up on for lectures and conventions to talk about ghost hunting. If he didn’t want so much to go to this untouched location, he would never have normally associated with these types.

“What are your usual methods?” Ray asked, perhaps too late as they whizzed past the countryside in one of their two vans owned by members.

“We rile `em up and then we get them pissed.” One of the older middle-aged men whooped.

“You instigate?” Ray cringed inwardly.

“Sure as hell!” Another added.

Jesus! Hunters that think they’re hunting big game, all brave and taunting, pumped up and thinking they’re hot shit.

This new breed of ghost hunters were irritating beyond belief. In the old days, there were spiritualists and mediums, possession and séances. Nowadays, there were men with equipment, too much time on their hands, and egos that wanted results at any price.

“I read your books.” The older man told him. “You get results?”

Ray nodded. He’d been in the field long enough to know the in’s and out’s. His number one priority was to find a place with a fairly rich geology, perhaps a building made of stone, it was helpful to have nearby waterways, as well. Those were the best physical qualities. The history had to include pain and death and mental anguish, but preferably not a one-time event. Places like Amityville were disinteresting. The victims were killed in a mass murder, but all were in their beds. There was in most likelihood not even trauma recognition. As for the timing of a ghost hunt, Ray had found that 100% of the times he had good evidence, it occurred on a night of a geomagnetic storm. He had some loose theories on why this was, but his statistics showed it was vital. Tonight was such a night. He never left timing to chance any longer. It wasted his time.

“This place has quite a history.” Ray probed.

“Hell ya!” The youngest one of perhaps 35 called out. “It was a TB clinic for 20 years and they say about 490 people died there.”

“From what I’ve seen of the photos, it’s not that big of a building.” Ray commented.

The Toby, the leader and driver of the van called out, “It was originally a mansion built for the wealthiest mine owner in West Virginia back around 1910. His wife and kids all passed on of the influenza in 1918. Then, he left the house and went on the road. The abandoned place was picked up in the 20s and used as a TB clinic. It ran until about 1950 when they found a relative who was the official owner, some descendant of the original owner. Well, it happens to be the brother-in-law of one of our members. So, he’s letting us have access. It’s going to be awesome. No one’s ever investigated it. He said that when the clinic abandoned it, they left everything. Tables, beds, cabinets, even the files.” He howled.

“Sweet!” The older man high-fived his younger buddy.

Ray remained quiet, trying to force his eyes to take in the beautiful autumn colors as they passed by a rustic farmhouse. How to manage his own investigation without it being corrupted by the Nascar team of ghost hunters was the dilemma.

As they pulled down a gravel road between neon-colored trees that scraped the side of the van, Ray decided to take his chance. The light was fading fast and he wanted to be assured that he got the first run before the bullies stirred things up.

“If you don’t mind, I’d like to set up my cameras and recorders and take a cursory walk through the place alone. I need to try the technique where I’m vulnerable and alone. See how that goes.”

“Hey, I like the way this guy thinks. We can send him in like bait.” The younger man snorted.

Toby put the car into park as they stopped before a slender three-story stone building with vines climbing up, yanking on the windows, appearing to try to turn the place inside out with its tug-of-war.

“How much time you think we should leave you in there?” Toby asked.

All night, please. Just turn and go home, boys!

“If you help me set up the equipment and then leave, I could use maybe two hours in there?” He considered their ability to sit still for two hours. He would have shot for three, but he knew that was pushing it. Perhaps he could throw them a bone.

“You can stay in the van and study the monitors.” He offered.

“We get to watch him in action, huh?” The younger man asked.

The men from the other van came forward. When Toby got them all up to date on the plan, they spread out with the equipment and followed general instructions pretty well. He was pleased for that much. Many of these guys had technical jobs already and this hobby just let them play with more equipment. At least, Ray tried to think kindly of those who didn’t have his point of view. He’d only come by his through study, experience, and lots of curiosity. Maybe some day these guys could mature a bit in the field, or hopefully just grow bored with it and move on to duck hunting. He often had to deal with the psychics and those who wanted to bless every house they entered. He could certainly handle some locals who needed an adrenalin rush.

Ray left them outside bragging about past expeditions while he clicked on the tiny flashlight mounted on a finger ring. The little halo of blue light did just enough to keep him from tripping as he studied the main hallway. The place was remarkably intact. Except for dust and one broken window letting autumn leaves scurry across the floor, there were still faded curtains and furnishings. The first few rooms were offices with desks, chairs, and even lamps. He flicked the switch to be certain the site had no electricity to interfere with his EMF meter.

The first walk through the three stories only provided a mild temperature change, but as it plunged into complete darkness, Ray sat on the top of the third story stairs. He looked down the stairwell and turned off his flashlight, turning on his digital recorder.

“My name is Ray. Is anyone here with me? Can you join me?” He called out.

A distant sound in the house caught his attention. He’d locked the inside of the front and back doors when he came in just to be certain the yahoo’s wouldn’t decide to see what was taking him so long. He could hear their muffled voices outside and that angered him. How could he possibly trust anything with them yakking? They didn’t seem to understand even the most basic etiquette for the hunt. Ray got up and leaned out the open window.

“Could you try and not talk?”

Toby aimed his flashlight into Ray’s face. “Sure.” He shrugged.

Ray closed the window and then walked down the stairs into the second story where most of the beds remained in the rooms, lined up in neat rows. He stopped in one room and set down his recorder and sat on the edge of a bed.

“Would you like some company?” He asked. He could tell by the stuffed animals lined up along a dresser and a changing table, that this was the children's room. He cleared his throat and softly began to sing a lullaby or two that had been around a very long time. His Irish mother had taught him a great deal of Celtic love songs and he tried his trembling voice in a few of those classics.

A sound at the end of the room made him stop. A few little whimpers like a child about to cry. He got up and wandered over there, setting his recorder on the bed there and stood there finishing his song. When he was done, he clicked off a few pictures and thanked the children for their company.

As he stepped into the hall, the door rushed closed behind him, nearly knocking him forward. Ray turned and clicked the sticking knob and shoved it open. The windows were all shut. He knew there was no air-conditioning or heating, as the building had no electricity. He had a camera in the room, so he held out hope. He called into the room that he’d close the door for them, and did so respectfully.

Finishing off each room in his quiet introspective style, Ray moved on to the offices downstairs. He sat behind one desk and pulled open the files, studying the names and the ultimate deaths of many of the TB patients. He set his recorder on the desk. “It must have been very hard to work here and not have the medicines to heal the people.” He commented. “I have the highest respect for what you did. You provided all the comfort you could.” He waited a moment. “You know, we now have a medicine that cures consumption. I hope you feel more comfort knowing that.” He offered.

The men outside pounded on the door and jiggled the knob. Ray sighed and got up, letting them in. When the trampling bunch of hunters rushed past him, he went out to the van and sat back to study the screens. This would, at least, be entertaining to watch.

The men went off on their own which completely corrupted the investigation. There was a man in nearly every room. The noise was ridiculous. They held up their recorders and spoke to the ceiling angrily, taunting the patients who had been sick and had died in the facility.

Ray cringed and climbed from the van for a stroll down the gravel drive. He just couldn’t stomach their invasive aggressive techniques. He took a deep relaxing breath, capturing the scent of sweet rotting autumn leaves, moist earth, and wild mushrooms in a heady forest floor scent that made him feel peaceful and content. He pivoted at the end of the drive and began his walk back to see the team's lights shining occasionally in the windows of the three-story building. The buffoons were ruining all the filming with their lights.

So much for big brave men not afraid of the dark.

Ray shook his head in disgust and sat down on a tree stump. He could hear their voices inside from where he sat. All of a sudden a flashlight banged against a window and Ray looked up to the second story to see the older man’s face, contorted in fear, the flashlight showing his pained expression. Ray jumped to his feet. The man seemed to be pressed against the window, but then he realized the man was trying to open it. Someone pounded loudly on the front door.

Ray walked over, puzzled that they were knocking from the inside. It locked inside, not outside. He grasped the doorknob. The man on the other side was hollering and coughing. He sounded like he was having an asthma attack as Ray struggled to help him open the door. Someone up above was banging on a window, as well. He heard the window finally give way and the man was coughing and choking.

A gas leak?

The front door rattled and he called out. “Try the back door.” He told the man.

Ray rushed around the building, stumbling over some bushes as he found the back door and tried the knob. It too felt locked. The man soon pounded wildly and coughed desperately.

“Unlock the door!” Ray screamed.

“It is.“ Followed by a paroxysm of barking coughs.

They wrestled from both sides when he heard more men enter the kitchen and try the door. They pounded wildly, more of them coughing. Ray grunted as the door swung into him and the men nearly trampled him to get out onto the grounds. The three of them that opened the door were bent over, coughing, and swaying on their legs. One of them sat down in the grass and put his hand on his chest as he coughed.

“Gas leak?” Ray asked.

The men were wheezing, unable to speak. They were bent over. The rest of the men found the open back door and stumbled weakly from the building and fell against the porch railing where they too where wheezing and coughing. They looked weak and ashen.

Ray stepped inside the kitchen cautiously and looked around. He sniffed. Natural gas should have given off the scent added to it so people could be warned of leaks. The nasty odor wasn’t present. Carbon Monoxide? He looked at the men. They were calming down now, still weak and wheezing, but the coughing had lessened.

“Don’t go in there man!” One of the men called out.

“I have to get my equipment. I’ll just open the windows and let the gas leak out.” He told them.

“That wasn’t a gas leak.” Toby wheezed.

“What was it?” Ray wondered.

“Damn patients.”


“One of the guys laid on a bed and coughed like a patient to see what would happen. I don’t know, all of a sudden we all went ice cold, weak as kittens, and were coughing out lungs up.” He shook his head and coughed a few more times. “The door to the room slammed shut and we were too weak to open it. Holy shit!" He wheezed.

Cautiously, Ray stepped inside and looked around. He went to the front office and unhooked his camera. He grabbed up the extension cord and wrapped it up, walking up the stairs to the second story. He felt fine so far. Just in case, he stopped on the second floor in the hallway and called out. “I’m sorry about those men. They’re gone now. We’re leaving. No one will bother you again, I promise. You can rest.”

As he gathered up the last camera and extension cord, Ray heard a very distinct sound of coughing at the end of the hall in one of the rooms. He listened to the troubled wheezing and the paroxysms. It was exactly like what the men had been doing.

He smiled to himself at the divine justice of the universe.

The hunters became the hunted. The taunters became the taunted.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Short: Drained

(Okay, ya’all, after today’s Halloween short story, there’ll be just one more and then Samhain’s promises to be one of my favorites. In fact, when this is all said and done, I’ll tell you my very favorite ones I wrote. Today’s was inspired by getting what you wish for. Oh, and beware—it’s EROTIC. I figured since I write erotic horror, it would be silly not to give you one of my shorts in my style. This traditional theme should suit that means well.)

He never ventured out after dark. It wasn’t that he feared it. No, Holger’s reasons were ever so practical; he had poor night vision. If he even tried to drive on the roads, headlights from oncoming cars looked like sunbursts, absolutely blinding and gigantic in size. He cringed when he recalled the last time he drove at night four years ago.

The things you do for love.

Accepting that he’d have to meet a woman in the daytime, but that was when he worked, he adopted a dog and called it quits. It wasn’t like Jenny Lee had just up and taken his heart with her when she exited his life, but she did leave a bad taste in his mouth. She seemed like a perfectly sweet and pleasant woman when they met and over the last year she became a demanding, angry, and resentful woman. The distortion of her once delicate features into a twisted rapidly aging face made him shudder.

Did I do that to her like she said?

Admittedly, he did tend to overwork. When he was stressed and tired, he didn’t want any more demands on his weary brain. He wasn’t raised in an affectionate family. In fact, his mother was from Holland and his father was from Germany, so it left him rather inaccessible to a passionate Irish woman. It was true he didn’t like kissing. It was a messy business and he had poor enough vision that she was a giant blur up close. So, maybe he could go for weeks without sex and be just fine with it. He was in his 40s now, his drive was waning. And giving compliments? It wasn’t in his makeup. If someone did well, they didn’t need their ego stroked more. Humility was always the best practice.

And how did that philosophy work for you, idiot? Well, it’s her fault too. She should have asked for what she needed, been direct. I’m too tired for games and mind-reading nonsense. The next woman in my life will be ballsy and assertive.

With a sigh, he petted his silky dog and strolled off to the bedroom to begin his methodical routine. First, turn down the bed, gather up his pajamas and socks, go to the bathroom where he would undress from his work clothing and lay out the pajamas while he took a shower for precisely 5 minutes, followed by socks first, underwear next, bottoms, and then top, brush his teeth for two and a half minutes, floss, cleanse his sinuses with a neti pot of warm saltwater rushed through his nostril and out the other. Clear his throat, blow his nose, and turn out the light.

When he lay down in bed in the very center of it, lying on his left side facing the doorway, Holger closed his eyes with a sigh. He was weary, well and truly spent, completely drained. It had been a long week with many demands, longer hours than he liked. In fact, this evening he barely made it out before it got dark now that the days were getting shorter. He sighed again.

A firm knock on his door startled Holger to life. He sat up, confused what to do in his social awkwardness. Admittedly, it was a Friday night and 10:00, but he was ready for bed. And inconsiderate person who was surely at the wrong door was making him put on his slippers and robe.

With a groan he swung the door open, not even caring at that moment if it were a knife-wielding predator. In fact, it might put him out of his bored routine to cut through his mental numbness.

He blinked against the porch light as it cast a glow on a tall slender woman with long shining black hair and crystal blue eyes. Her skin was pale and perfectly flawless, her lips full and red. He blinked again.

“I’m sorry to bother you. My car has a flat.” She pointed over her shoulder. “I don’t have a cell phone.”

“Me either.” He remarked awkwardly and then realized he should practice the social graces. “You need to use my phone?”

She nodded.

He opened the door and let her step inside. She glided in very gracefully, her rounded buttocks and long legs stunning in her dark jeans and high-heeled boots. Holger never considered himself an ass man, but hers was perfectly tear-drop shaped and he was a man who admired details, symmetry and balance. It was in his father’s German blood to look for flaws.

“Ah, it’s over there.” He gestured to the bar counter.

“Thank you so much. I’ll try not to be long.”

“It’s fine.” He admitted, then looked down at his plaid robe and old-man slippers. He ran a hand through his thick sandy hair and cleared his throat as the woman dumped the contents of her purse on the counter and scattered through them.

“I don’t know my car club’s number.” She explained as she examined each card on the counter. “Here we are.” She smiled beautifully.

He was glad he wasn’t needed for conversation because, honestly, he could replay this scene of her in his condo a million times over the next few months, imaging how close he was to having a living breathing woman and a gorgeous one, at that, in his very own home. He’d even be able to contribute to a conversation at work. Finally.

The beauty sighed as she set down the phone. “They said it’ll be 90 minutes. I guess Friday nights are really busy.” She studied him and he felt a flush of self-consciousness in his nerdish nighttime attire. He wasn’t a dresser. In fact, he wore the same things he’d seen his father wear to bed.

“Thank you for letting me us the phone.” She wandered towards the door in a trail of jasmine and sandalwood.

“It’s cold out there.” He told her.

Jesus, you don’t state it as a fact, idiot! You present it as a question. At least act like you have social graces.

“Do you have a place you’re going to wait?”

“My car.” She smiled.

“No.” He cleared his throat. “I mean, it’s too cold out there. Why don’t you wait here. You can see the tow truck pull up from my front window.” He nodded.

”I don’t want to impose.”

“You’re not. I was just…” He looked around. “Going to watch some TV.”

She tilted her head, the veil of black silky hair falling forward. “I don’t think so. I think you were going to sleep and I interrupted you.”

He shrugged. “I wasn’t asleep, just thinking of it.” He offered.

She yawned and stretched, her long arms rising above her head, her round breasts rising. He tried not to stare but her nipples were hard beneath her clinging sweater. Holger swallowed past a dry spot in his throat.

“I’m tired too. Don’t blame you.” She leaned down and undid her boots. Her breasts swayed inside the loose neckline of her cashmere sweater and he could see the apricot tips brushing against the lucky fuzzy cloth. “You don’t mind, do you?” She asked as she kicked the boots aside.

He shook his head mutely.

“I’m Kasha.”

”Kasha.” He said dumbly. “That’s a nice name.”

She wants your name, idiot!

“I’m Holger.”

She stepped up to him. “Holger.” She said thickly. “I like that name. It suits you.”

To his utter shock, she reached out and her fingers curled around the lapels of his robe.

“It’s chilly in here, you like it cold, Holger?” She purred.

Tell her you’re too cheap to put the heat above 67.

“I can turn it up.” He told her, his voice lowering strangely.

“No, I like it. It feels good.” She murmured as she played with the nape of his neck where the hair had been trimmed to try and squelch the natural waves. “What do we do for 90 minutes?” She raised a dark brow, her lips curled into a pretty little bow.

He licked his lips. “I-I”

She laughed throatily and dropped her hands. “You’re too fun to play with, Holger. You really don’t know how to play games, do you? Another man would have given me some godawful line and had me spread out on his coffee table.” She waved her hand in that direction.

Holger studied his Ikea coffee table that took three hours to assemble. Somehow, the imagery of her splayed out on the cheap laminate confused his practical mind. Instead of wondering if it could hold her weight without incident, he was imaging her rippling body undulating against the cool surface, a study in contrasts.

Where the hell did that come from?

“I like a no-nonsense man. I’m very frank about what I want.” She lowered her eyelids and studied the tie of his robe, reaching out and undoing it easily. “I’ll make it very clear to you so you’re not left to wonder about the intricacies. Holger, I’d like for you and I to go to your bedroom, remove our clothing, and lie down on the bed. You don’t have to do a thing, Holger. I’d really like to do it all. I don’t require any sort of…preparation or kind words or show of affection. I’m talking about just pure sexual gratification for the purpose of an orgasm. Are you in?” She peaked a brow.

He swallowed and nodded silently.

She took his hand with her warm one and guided him to the bedroom, peeking it to see the light on. Red, his dog, leapt from the dog bed in the corner and rushed from the room with a low growl.

“I’m sorry.” He remarked.

“I like pups. I guess she doesn’t want competition, hmm?”

She removed his robe and he trembled anxiously at the vulnerable exposure of his body for the first time with a new woman. She clicked off the light and made a quick task of removing the rest of his clothing. He could see her well in the fairly bright room. The back of his condo faced a street with bright lights and he used thin shades so when the sun rose, he wouldn’t sleep in. He hated laziness. Holger had never been so glad he didn’t get curtains like Jenny Lee always nagged him about.

Kasha removed her sweater over her head in one easy sweep, her round breasts swaying, nipples standing at attention. Her belly was smooth and pale like the rest of her skin. He saw a little ring at the rim of her bellybutton. Every muscle in his body poised.

“Go ahead, lay back, Holger.” She purred as she bent and worked her jeans off her hips. She slipped the panties down with them and he felt a tingle of anticipation. This was really happening to him. This long-legged creature with a throaty voice and long silky black hair is coming to…

Just what would a woman like her do with him? Her words had pumped his cock with pulsing heat when she said she simply wanted an orgasm and would do it all. He couldn’t possibly disappoint her if he just laid there and took what she was going to give.

He felt her weight upon the bed as she climbed atop of him. She stroked his coarsely hairy thighs as if she enjoyed his texture in contrast to her smoothness. He couldn’t see her well as she bent over him, the blanket of her black mane blocking his view as her hot tongue tickled a path along the crease in his groin. He sucked in his breath and trembled, fists clenching the sheet. He didn’t know if it was possible to hold back. He willed the orgasm away by imaging Jenny Lee watching them. She would, no doubt, criticize his lack of enthusiasm and inability to instigate lovemaking. But this woman…Ah, she was fine with his helplessness.

She purred lowly in her throat as her tongue swirled the tip of him and he bucked his hips involuntarily.

“It’s been a while, hmm?” She wasn’t waiting for an answer as she slid atop of him, straddling his hips with her soft thighs.

“Fast and hard, Holger? Soft and slow? Perhaps a combination?” She rubbed her heat and moisture along his shaft and his nostrils flared with the desire to grasp her hips and impale her with his wooden stake. That imagery made him smile darkly. After all, in a few short minutes she would be draining him. His own personal sexual vampire, Kasha.

I like the sound of that.

“Perhaps some pain, hmm?” She hummed.

“Pain?” He gritted his teeth as she eased herself onto him at a tortuously slow pace.

“You seem like a man who might like a little pain when he comes? A little spank? Slap? Bite?”

He moaned lowly in his throat as she thrust fully against his groin without warning. He arched up again and cried out at the feel of. She was unusual in every way and her body felt oddly different than Jenny Lee or any other woman he’d known in the past. Kasha was hot and slick, but she felt as if she were form fit to him and there were little spasms deep inside that tested his shaft like searing pulsing strokes. He closed his eyes and moaned again.

How does she do that?

“Holger, I can give you a little bit of pain. Just let me feel when you’re about to come.” Her voice turned raspy as she glided up and down him. He held her hips, but she pressed his hands back on the mattress. “No, no.” She smiled down at him, her eyes sparkling in the room’s faded light. “I’ll take care of you.” She bent forward, her breasts swaying against his chest. He panted lightly as his body began to rise to the need. He bucked his hips, grunting like a wild beast let out from its stall.

“Good, right now, Holger.” She promised as she licked the side of his neck, sucking gently at his pulsing vein. Just as she clamped around his shaft he screamed out loud, his first time ever with a climax, as her teeth cut into his neck and he stiffened up, too painfully sensitive to thrust again as he erupted within her blessed haven. Dizzy with pleasure and pain combining into an ecstasy that literally left him paralyzed, Holger’s head fell back on the pillow.

He sighed as she continued to suck at the stinging flesh of his neck. He had just experienced more animation than he had ever felt, more presence in his body and emotions, more personally satisfied, and yet so very weak and thoroughly…drained.

Kasha sat back and studied the man. He was different. She had scented it in him when she tested him in the doorway. Had he not suited, she would have said she had the wrong address, but instead she found a way to be invited inside. She climbed from his resting body and gathered up her clothing. She headed for the bathroom and turned on the shower.

Oh yes, she would keep this newest pet. He was much like her, uncomfortable and awkward with emotions and intimacy. He was a dream mate. In fact, never in all her hundreds of years had she found a man who was more like the undead in his mortal state than a vampire.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ghost Adventures Live Site: My Link

They put up the Ghost Adventures Live site and to the right you'll see they have a link to my short story winning entry. Yahoo! You can find mention of it on their Facebook page and Twitter too.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Short: Cave Dwellers

(Today's short was fun to write. I usually fall for my characters and the location first and then the suspense element comes to me. This one was inspired by the "alien baby" finds in Mexico and Chile. Enjoy!)

Two of the three backpackers entered the mouth of the cave and studied the thick walls and the dripping ceiling. The third remained back in the sliver of sunlight coming through the canopy of yellow and red leaves above.

“You want to check it out?” Elizabeth asked her sister.

Katie shook her head briskly. “I’ll wait here.”

Elizabeth’s boyfriend chuckled in that infuriating no-neck way that mocked everything around him as being weaker and easily dominated. He didn’t have the brain capacity to realize the cave’s mouth had been covered by a door of interwoven limbs for a reason. Nature didn’t just happen to braid limbs together and make a camouflage and place it smack dab in front of a cave. Someone obviously didn’t want them there.

Katie realized if it were a serious risk, like an unsafe mine shaft, they wouldn’t have used branches to cover it up, they would have boarded it up, perhaps hung a sign. Still, she didn’t like the blast of cool damp air that surrounded the mouth of the structure. She stepped further back into the full sunlight.

“Guys?” She called out, squinting into the black void.

Pacing back and forth, she considered her options should something happen. She had no cell phone. Her sister had it on her. She thought she could remember the way back to the camp, but not back to the car. That was a full day’s hike.

“Come on!” She screamed out, hating that her mind was racing with horrible possible conclusions.

“You gotta see this!” Elizabeth laughed breathlessly from the opening.

“No.” Katie insisted.

“Come on, you big pussy!” Dalton shouted.

“You know, Dalton, that particular name just doesn’t instigate a woman’s wrath like it does a man.”

“What?” He frowned in confusion.

She smiled. If she had to put up with the linebacker for some time with her half sister, she might as well have a little fun mocking him without him even understanding her.

He makes it so easy.

Inside the cave, she looked around. It was one giant chamber. It didn’t seem so threatening as she imagined.

“Back there.” Elizabeth pointed. “There’s a body.”

“A body?” Katie seriously doubted that. She was a fourth year anthropology major and these caves in Kentucky were certainly not a place known for burying bodies in caves in ancient times. She squinted into the corner where her sister was pointing.

“Dalton, make yourself useful and create a torch.” She waved off his huge shadow. She didn’t have the heart to tell Elizabeth that the reason Dalton asked her out in the first place was because he’d pursued Katie all last semester without success and thought that dating her sister would bring her around. He even approached her before they set up camp and asked if he could "do sisters." She cringed at the thought of him and her sister together, but Elizabeth and she were the same age. Their father had a warped sense of timing to get her mother, who was his wife, pregnant at the same time he’d gotten his lover, Elizabeth’s mom, pregnant. Somehow, the women over the years had edged out her father completely and became good friends, vowing to raise their children nearby and letting them split time between the homes. It had worked. It was unconventional, but the women were well and truly sisters.

Dalton somehow managed to make fire, which put him up a notch on the evolutionary scale from where he was only moments ago. He came at them with a stick wrapped in his shirt, smoke coiling up chokingly around them.

“Hold it up above us.” Katie insisted, trying not to look at him flexing his muscles and showing off his shirtless state. Her sister smiled adoringly up at him, still in her bliss at bagging a university football player with an opportunity at the big time. If he didn’t have that going for him, Katie would have badmouthed him, but Elizabeth was dead set on fame by association. She didn’t understand her sister’s superficiality, but she appreciated that not having a father figure or financial security growing up had made her vulnerable inside. At least Katie’s mother was an ER doctor and had remarried soon after the divorce to a wonderful man she called "father."

“You see this? Looks like femur, doesn’t it?” Elizabeth asked.

It certainly did, but it also looked as if it were the femur on a Barbie doll. It was unbelievably small and frail. Katie leaned forward and began to dig at the soft ground, her fingers hooking around a mandible that might have fit a raccoon.

“Is that a jawbone?” Dalton asked.

Katie nodded. “Is the rest of the skull in there?”

Elizabeth excitedly dug at the ground and produced two ribs and then the top of the skull.

“Look at that. Musta been a baby.” Dalton remarked.

“Looks like it.” Katie admitted. The skull was unusually tiny and definitely human-like, but the eye sockets and the shape of the head were grossly abnormal. It would have had to be a newborn perhaps with birth defects.

“Did you hear that?” Dalton swung the torch around anxiously.

“What?” Elizabeth stood up and peered into the corridor he was holding the torch up to.

“There’s something down there.” He whined nervously.

“Well, go check it out, Mr. Linebacker.” Katie gathered up the bones into her hands and nodded to her sister to leave. Elizabeth looked at Dalton’s frightened face and then shrugged and followed her out.

The sunlight blinded her as she spread the bones onto the ground and studied them. They were completely clean of any tissue, likely in there for a very long time.

“You think someone went in there and had a baby and just…left it. You know, like those babies people put in dumpsters?” Elizabeth whispered in fear.

“No. I don’t think that.”

“But someone went to the trouble of making that door thingie out of branches.”

Katie looked at the delicately woven young branches. They were green and thin little stems of saplings, woven densely, leaves still intact to fill in the spaces and make it appear like a mass of plant life. It wasn’t a bad bit of work. She put her fingers into it, imaging how she’d go back weaving something so dense.

“You could bounce a coin off that, couldn’t you.” Elizabeth shook her head. “Well, sis, you always liked puzzles. Puzzle this.” She nodded to the bones.

Katie frowned. Elizabeth’s story didn’t sound too farfetched. If someone had a baby in there and wanted to hide it, this might be the way, at least until the body was unidentifiable. She paced the ground and studied the shimmering autumn trees around her. She came to have some time outdoors, ended up with the meathead and a cave exploration that took her out of her much-adored sunlight.

“No.” She shook her head briskly.

“No what?” Elizabeth asked.

“Who could possibly hike this distance pregnant? And if she did for some reason have the baby in the cave, why not bury it? The ground there’s soft. She wouldn’t have to spend the entire day weaving that.” She waved at the thatched device.

Elizabeth nodded.

“Where’s meathead?”

Elizabeth giggled. “He is pretty stupid, isn’t he? Wasn’t that funny when you tried to explain how a compass works? He thought it should point automatically in the direction he wanted to go.” She snorted.

“Then what are you doing with him?” Katie asked.

Elizabeth shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s a fun ride. He gets into the great parties and clubs. Everyone treats him like a rock star. I kind of like it. It’s been boring since I broke up with Kenny and I just want to have fun. I’m not going to marry him, for god’s sake.” She laughed.

Katie sighed with relief.

“Oh, and a warning. He mentioned to me yesterday he wouldn’t mind doing us both tonight. If he gets drunk and obnoxious, don’t be surprised to hear him mention it again.”

Katie had a newfound appreciation for Elizabeth’s intelligence. Sometimes she acted stupid, but she had to remember Elizabeth had always been a real survivor and able to think her way out of anything.

“He has been in there a long time.” Elizabeth went back to the mouth of the cave. “Dalton?” She called out.

The faint voice calling from deeper in the cave echoed so much it was unintelligible.

“Be back in a few.” Elizabeth sighed.

Katie wanted to call her back. Every hair on her body stood on end as she studied the bones on the ground. It added up to a very tiny creature, but it wasn’t human. She turned back to stop her sister, but Elizabeth had disappeared into the darkness.

Within seconds, Elizabeth rushed screaming from the cave, Dalton followed soon after, screaming out like a cat whose tail got stepped upon. Elizabeth fluttered breathlessly around Dalton who pushed her away.

“Bats?” Katie assumed.

“Oh God!” Elizabeth cried out.

Katie felt her stomach flip flop. This wasn’t good. Did Dalton hit himself on the cave ceiling? There was blood dripping down his shirt.

”What happened?”

Dalton wouldn’t let either of them near him as he pressed his hand to his arm. “Something bit me.” He groaned.

“Bit you?” Katie frowned. Bats weren’t likely to bite. “Let me see it.”

He relented with a babyish whimper as she studied his wrist. She expected perhaps to find puncture wounds from a snake, but this wasn’t like that at all. There was a row of very small cut marks, curving tightly. Something was familiar about it, but she couldn’t fixate on what it was because Dalton kept trying to take his arm back.

Pour some of our water on it and wrap it up in your bandana. Katie offered. The two wandered off to their backpacks. Katie studied the cave and turned back to see what progress they were making. She couldn’t continue to do everything for them. Neither had the wits to take care of the bleeding, rushing around hysterically without purpose. She rolled her eyes.

“Did you see what it was?” Katie asked him as Elizabeth babied his injury.

From where he sat, Dalton looked up at her and for the first time since knowing him, his eyes looked serious and grave, not the usual lackadaisical “I don’t give a shit” look. It gave her immediate concern.

“It was little, but it was mean. I was reaching down to move some rocks out of the way so we could go deeper into the cave and this thing came up at me through the rocks and clamped down. It was little and pale. Looked like a skinless…”

“Skinless what?”


“A human?” Katie was highly skeptical of that.

“But tiny, real tiny. It stood up on two legs, put its little hands on my wrist and when its teeth clamped down, I had a helluva a time getting it off.” He groaned as Elizabeth tightened the scarf.

“Did it run away?” She asked.

He shook his head briskly, still trembling from the encounter. He stared off into the dark cave. “I hit it over the head with a rock to make it let me go. I’m sure I killed it.”

“Then, let’s see.” She offered.

“Hell no!” He barked.

“Katie, we’re not going back in there.” Elizabeth assured her.

Katie shrugged and dug through her backpack, picking out her flashlight.

“Don’t go!” Elizabeth called out.

She heard Dalton say something about her being stupid and deserving to get bitten, but she continued her search. There was nothing in the natural world she hadn’t heard of and much of it encountered. Perhaps it was a raccoon with mange causing it to be bald. The did have little hands and stood up on two legs.

Around the second bend in the cave, she found the stack of boulders. Katie studied it cautiously with the flashlight. There were drops of blood, but it could have been Dalton’s. The rock nearby had a spot of blood on it too. She looked down at the ground for footprints and saw a little trail of prints in the soft sandy soil heading further into the cracks between the boulders where a person could never fit. Leaning over and watching the footprints and the droplets of fresh blood, she noticed the prints. They looked to be bipedal and small with what looked like three toes.

She stood up and shook her head in confusion. Well, there would be no identifying it now that it had retreated. Katie smiled to herself when she realized Dalton would need rabies shots.

When she came back to the sight of Elizabeth fawning over Dalton, she bent to pick up her pack and saw the bones nearby. Gathering them up to take with her, she studied the mandible. The curve of the jaw was tight and V-shaped. The row of tiny teeth were fascinating.

“Dalton, take off your bandage.”

“Like hell I will.” He whined.

”Do it.” She insisted. That tone of voice always intimidated him.

When he bandage was removed she held up the mandible. The bite shape, tooth size, angle of the jaw were all a perfect match.

“You don’t think a baby bit him, do you?” Elizabeth asked. She often times spoke without thinking. In a minute, her stupid question would sink in. “Oh.” Elizabeth’s eyes grew round. “That’s not a baby, is it?”

Katie shook her head. “No, I knew it wasn’t human. I just don’t know what the hell it is.”

“Let’s get away from here.” Elizabeth shivered.

Katie couldn’t agree more. Once she had the bones neatly packed into her backpack’s pocket, they took off down the trail, but not before she turned back and studied the cave opening.

“I forgot something, go ahead.” She called to the couple and rushed back to the cave where she picked up the neatly meshed green saplings that made a protective door and shoved it back against the entrance. She gathered up some more twigs and leaves and stuffed them in the holes, allowing them their privacy once again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chilean Alien Baby

I admit I was thrilled when “Destination Truth” rushed to Chile to look at some mines that were supposedly inhabited by little alien creatures and the strange lights seen around the area. They did have some interesting occurrences involving lights and the possible finding of a chicken skeleton wrapped in cloth (sans its head) which was probably some kind of ritual offering to ward of bad things.

I’m interested in Chile because it has the largest copper mines in the world. It is also part of the world that has an enormous amount of UFO sightings. Whether mining and lights go hand-in-hand, I can’t prove, but I do think there is definitely a connection. I also can’t say if they’re UFO lights or they’re spooklights created by the awesome earth composition there.

In searching for what’s up with the supposed “Mexican alien baby” (much touted on “Monsterquests” episode about flying humanoids), I got diverted by the possibility of another “alien baby” in Chile in 2002.

The article on this site was utterly fascinating. Now, I’m about the last person to buy into online hooey or urban legends or any other kind of suspicious story, but I do enjoy conjecture and theories. Sometimes, when these sorts of stories end up being hoaxes, they do prove an important event.

How is that possible?

They make us stop and study something logically, rationally, critically, and then when we have moments of doubt, we consider what we would do if this thing truly was real.

I don’t mind that kind of mental exercise. It’s precisely why I study hauntings and the theories behind them. They keep my skills up because even when I’m debunking, I ask myself “if I can’t find out what caused this and I come to believe it’s truly unexplainable, what is it? What do I do with it?”

The story of this intriguing Chilean alien baby is that in 2002, a vacationing family came across this little creature that was just under 3” long. Apparently, a child found it under the bushes, wrapped it up in paper and it the thing lived for 8 days, sometimes opening its eyes. For now, the family keeps the little mummified “thing” in their own keeping. There’s talk of having it tested but it doesn’t seem like this is going anywhere.

What can we determine from this unusual case?

Well, for me, it’s that alien babies are way cool! I have to admit a fascination with the concept. I can’t quite figure out why this happens south of the border only, but I do hope to find out if such cases have occurred anywhere else in the world.

If this is a mental exercise in “what would I do if…” then, my logical mind says this is an earthly life form, perhaps a cave dwelling creature. Why am I doubtful this thing is a real alien from space? Jeez, about a thousand reasons, but the ultimate one would be basic commonsense.

Take humans for instance. We have opposable thumbs that make us able to create things with our hands. Our ability to walk upright makes us able to cover ground while holding a weapon in our hands. Our advanced cranial capacity gives us powers unlike any other creatures we come up against, the ability to reason and plot. Why would a creature so very tiny, frail, and delicate have developed advanced machinery to reach earth? That would, to me, show a propensity (like man) to manufacture. Manufacturing involves heavy work from ore to metal to construction. If you have a creature with a very high level of intelligence but not much physical strength, you’re more likely to find a creature that’s overly developed in telepathy and the spiritual realm, not the “I fly from here to there” realm. It's natural to work with what you have, and these little land-dwelling shrimps do not have brawn.

You know me, I enjoy conjecture. I just had to write this one up tonight when I found the article. It got my mind thinking and you know that’s a crazy pastime for me.

Halloween Short: Men in Black; The Drones

(I’d like to thank Jeff from Histories, Mysteries, and Strangeness who did a great post on the exciting news that one of our favorite shows “UFO Hunters” is coming back on for some special episodes including one on Men in Black. This phenomenon associated with UFO sightings gave me a great idea to do a short story based on one of my theories of Men in Black. Oh, and Jeff, I'm borrowing your first name. Hope you like your namesake.)

The eight people outside the diner in Midland, Texas studied the huge open sky above.

“I’m telling you, I saw something when I was drivin’ up.” Izzy Harkins pleaded.

“We’re not sayin’ we don’t believe you. It must be gone now.” The cook shrugged, his hands tucked into his pockets, his apron splattered with oil.

The waitresses and a couple of patrons came over and patted him on the back.

Just as they turned to go, the cook screamed out.

“Would ya look at that!”

They turned as one and studied the dark open sky. To the west a group of 5 lights moved slowly and steadily. They formed a triangular shape in the sky that was impressive in size. Each light was a bright white, but not glowing, more illuminated within as if not needed for viewing into the darkness. It was steady and smooth as it swept across the sky in a silent glide.

“Helicopters?” A waitress asked.

“There’s no noise.” The cook replied.

“Planes from the base in New Mexico?” Another asked.

“No noise.” The cook grumbled again.

“It’s one object.” Izzy noted. “Look at that.” He pointed. “It’s blocking out the stars.

As it came over the end of the street it was obviously one unit, each light bright but very condensed, the inner triangle shimmering slightly so that Jeff Mitchell could see glimmers of it coming in and out of his sight, as if it were somehow iridescent or slightly transparent.

“What the hell is it?” The cook backed up in fear as it moved steadily overhead now. The sense of something blocking out the starlight was very apparent. No one breathed or moved as they studied it, capturing in their memories every light, the speed, the height from the ground, the size of the structure.

That’s freakin’ enormous!

Jeff didn’t like this at all. He expected another slow Friday night, maybe his dinner break at the diner, hoping to capture Wendy’s attention as she waited his table with the same order he always got on Fridays. Instead, he was standing out on a chilly autumn night watching some freaky weird ass aircraft pass over his town. His town. At least, a cop liked to think it was his town when he invested his life, time, and patience protecting it.

“You wanna go check on that?” The cook snorted as it began to shrink into the distance, still taking a steady path.

As if coming to attention, Jeff rushed over to his car and jumped inside. He called in to the station about the object and its course and asked for someone to check with the bases about possible fly bys.

“I’ll get answers.” He assured the cook, but his eyes were on Wendy who was nibbling on her lip nervously as she studied him with large eyes. He wanted so much to comfort her, but the time for such things was later on. Right now, he needed to know what the hell that was and if it was coming back. Everything in his gut told him it wasn’t going to be answered easily.

There was no denying that was a UFO and those don’t get admitted to by the higher up’s in the government

Not getting answers from the office, he drove on down the highway heading east as if hoping to encounter it again, three hours after it had passed by. No one at the station saw it, but they did get a few stray calls. It seemed like only the lucky folks at the diner had caught a good lengthy glimpse at it.

And not a damned cell phone camera in the bunch of them.

He couldn’t blame them for freezing up their brains as it passed by. Admittedly, even though he was trained to react to threats, Jeff had just stared in stupefied awe and humbling respect as it glided silently overhead. It reminded him of his first time Trick-Or-Treating when the neighbor opened the door with a radiant smile and offered him free candy. He remembered feeling as if this wonder had been there all the time, but he hadn’t had the right conditions to witness it until he donned a costume on October 31st and knocked on a neighbor’s door.

He should have headed home after his shift, but he was too wired. Jeff cut down a back country road toward Odessa. He knew his grandfather would be up. The old man was a very early riser and always had been since his ranching days in New Mexico. Jeff sat in his car outside his grandfather’s home and wondered how to bring up the forbidden subject.

When he was growing up there was always a hush when anyone mentioned grandpa having ranched in New Mexico. He knew it had something to do with the Roswell incident, but he couldn’t brave asking him. He surmised by his mother diverting the conversation that they were all scared to ask him about it. Perhaps they were afraid of upsetting him or making him divulge something he swore to never tell, but even as a young child, Jeff sensed he was protecting grandpa by not speaking of the 1940s.

He had an experience he could share with the sharp old man and he was determined to do so. He might have been just turned 90, but the rascally man could drive his point across directly and with a good deal of wisdom. It was him that told Jeff to quit “pussy footing” around the waitress and “go for it.” He wryly reminded him he “wasn’t getting any younger” at 37.

Jeff forced himself to knock on the door and it swung open without warning.

“Well, boy!” His grandfather’s face lit up. He had a bowl in his hand and it perplexed Jeff to see if filled with cracked corn. “I’m heading out to the hen house, wanna come?” He chuckled, seeming to teeter on his tiptoes as he made his way across the hard packed ground.

Jeff had to admire the old man for refusing any assistance or any company out here halfway to Odessa. It was a lonely stretch, but that was how Grandpa liked it. He always said he was born on a ranch and would die on one. Although this ranch he’d worked since the 60s was now desolate, he still kept his chickens and a horse that he couldn’t ride.

“You’re here early. I’m assuming this isn’t about your mother fussing over my groceries and my meals and wantin’ you to poke around my pantry?”

That made Jeff chuckle. “No, Gramps. I wanted to talk to you about something I saw.” His grandpa leaned over, casting the seed to the hungry chickens as he began to spill the story.

“So, whatcha think it was?” The old man narrowed one milky blue eye at him.

“Well, sir, I don’t know.”

“And you think I would? I didn’t see it, boy.” He slapped him on the back and laughed into a coughing fit.

Jeff reached out wanting to help him walk, but then stopped himself. He’d hate that if his grandkid did that to him some day.

The elderly man stopped at the picnic table under the shade of a mesquite tree and sat down. “Well, I’m guessing you want to know about the 1940s and Roswell, huh? I knew one day someone’d get up the gumption to ask me about it. I didn’t think it’d be you cause you’re so practical.” He wheezed. “I thought it might be Betty. She was always all mystery and magic.” He smiled wistfully.

Yup, that was Jeff’s sister. She was 40 years old now but still filled with giggles and excitement about everything strange and unusual in the world, as if it still held mysteries. Jeff didn’t think it did. At least, not until last night.

“My ranch was, oh, I’d say 5 miles from the crash site. Louisa and I had just had the twins, your daddy and your Uncle Smitty.” He nodded. “I wouldn’t have even known about it, except some military boys came our way and started asking questions about what we saw and if they could check our spread for debris from a crashed plane, they called it.” He rolled his eyes.

While Jeff listened as the trained officer of the law that he was, his mind reeled with the details, the names, the places, and all the secrets his grandfather unfolded. He finally tore out his notebook from his breast pocket and began to take notes when his grandfather gave him permission assuring Jeff, “I’m much too old to intimidate.”

One week later, Jeff shifted in his seat, the question for him was, would this MUFON group find any merit in what a cop from the Texas panhandle had to contribute? He was past feeling embarrassed about admitting seeing a UFO. He was past admitting that he believed in men in black. It wasn’t a belief. It simply was…fact.

“…and so we’ll hear from Officer Jeff Mitchell.”

Hearing his own name startled Jeff, he came to attention and gathered his papers in his trembling hands at the table.

“Do I need to stand up?” He asked.

“No, you can stay seated.” The group leader smiled. The men at the round table were intently listening to him. Only in this field of investigation could a newbie be taken seriously. He appreciated that and suddenly he realized they were all swimming in the dark here trying to figure out what UFOs were and what they meant. He relaxed in his seat.

He cleared his throat. “My name is Jeff Mitchell.” He cleared his throat again. “I guess you know that.” He chuckled. The others smiled and he felt an immediate relief. Thank God he didn’t have to stand. He hated public speaking since those godawful oral reports in grade school.

“I’m from Midland Texas, Highway Patrol. On October 23, 2009, I and several other witnesses from Burt’s Diner on Side Street at 6:50 p.m. saw something moving in the sky from west to east at a steady and slow pace. I’d estimate about the speed of a hot air balloon.” He cleared his throat again and drank some water. He continued on his story of the sighting.

When he took another water break he broke into his explanation of his grandfather’s history and experience during Roswell and what he had learned from a lifelong friend who was part of the investigation into the alien spacecraft’s crash. His grandfather had remained friends with Mac McMahon since back in the Depression era when they were kids. They went their separate ways during WII, but stayed in touch. It wasn’t until the Roswell crash and military men coming to his ranch that soon after Mac came to his door and explained they would be pulling out. He seemed to probe his grandfather for someone he could trust and told him, “you can’t imagine the half of what’s going down. Nothing’ll ever be the same.” The man had said.

Decades later in the mid 60s, his grandfather came across Mac again when he was visiting family in New Mexico. It was over some beers at a local bar that he spilled his guts about what project he’d been involved with since that time. What he told Jeff’s grandfather was shocking and fascinating at the same time. Jeff admitted to the MUFON members that he was doubtful there was truth to it, that is, until he’d been visited by the infamous Men in Black himself.

“So, Mr. Mitchell, what is your take on these Men in Black? You say they came to your door and remained standing there writing down what you described?” One man read the form he’d filled out on the MUFON site.

He nodded briskly. “They were awkward and very generic. I’m trained to remember faces and they were so nondescript, I can’t tell you the color of their eyes or anything memorable about them. They wore standard black suits and dark shoes. They acted like twins, standing the same way, same tone of voice, same questions as if it were rehearsed. They were leaving when I asked if they had an email address I could contact them at. They just nodded and walked off. I got the feeling they had no idea what I was talking about.”

“What do you think these men black were?”

“You really want to know what I think?”

They nodded in unison.

“They’re drones.”

The group looked confused by his frank reply.

“How did you come to that conclusion?” One man asked.

“Well, it has to do with what Mac McMahon confessed. You see, his part in the cover up in the desert was minimal. He was there more as a figure for the younger soldiers to keep them adequately intimidated and pump them up with a sense of patriotism and greater purpose. When he was done there, he was stationed in Ohio. It was there in the 50s that his work began in earnest until the late 1960s when it was turned to overseers.”

“What was this job?”

“He was to train human facsimiles in the art of dressing, speaking, and managing their way in the world. These drones, as I like to call them, arrived as blank slates. They were taught to dress in suits and carry on a 1950s and 1960s professional appearance. This is something they still maintain today because, you see, they only do what they’re taught to do. They have no sense of image, appearance, superficiality, or the nuisances of human life. They can imitate, but only what their programmer has trained them for. They don’t learn from examples while in the world and amongst the people and the newer technologies. The reason they often times seem awkward and out of date, is because the program ceased in 1969 when Mac McMahon died. Without input from their programmed leader, they continued on and trained their own kind in methods that are vastly outdated with technology that is archaic by today’s standards. They can’t learn more. They have limited ability to do more than what they’ve had programmed in.”

One man cleared his throat. “If we’re to believe these men in black are actually some kind of robot…”

Jeff shook his head briskly. “No, not robots. They’re biologic. They’re simply guided by our DNA to appear like us but with a mind that’s programmed from the DNA of a trainable creature from another world. They have our bodies, they have the minds of an animal. They can only do what they can imitate and they only imitate from their leader. They’re drones.”

“And their purpose?”

Jeff leaned forward in his seat, arms resting on the table. All of this sounded insane coming from his mouth, but he had stepped into these waters and nothing he based his life on before could apply to this new man with new knowledge. He was beginning to understand the giddy realm of “born-again” Christians or new parents who realized the world was beyond them, something greater, something more purpose-driven.

“They’re here in cooperation with the alien race that crashed in Roswell. They were on the cusp of sending more ships and making landing parties to consider our purpose in the universe. We agreed to an alternative, a monitoring device of sorts. These drones were given to us, trained by us to blend into the population. Their purpose is to monitor humans’ reaction to UFO sightings. They rush to the site, question the people, record their responses, and report them back.”

“Why do you suppose they do this?”

“In preparation for eventual meeting with the alien race. Right now, they test our reactions, they monitor our responses, and they agree to the request of three major governments who had a hand in the pact.”

“What agreement?”

“To not make contact until man shows he’s ready, evolved enough, perhaps open-minded enough and less selfish and angry. It serves our world in that we have time to make adequate changes to prepare us for this eventuality and it serves the aliens in that they have the opportunity to observe mankind and his ability to adapt, perhaps his worthiness of survival. According to Mac McMahon in 1969, the last time he spoke to my grandfather, man was more like the creatures with whom the drones were given their thought processes. It will be a long time before there is contact, but the governments do what they can to try and form us into something more educated, more open-minded, and more diplomatic.”

The group went silent. “Well, Mr. Mitchell, that is an explanation that I never expected.”

“It has merit.” One man admitted.

The others began to speak in chattering excited voices as they contemplated the efficacy of his explanation.

Jeff listened to the men and women speaking about such things as interstellar travel, aliens, and men in black as all fact. He felt a pleasurable relief that he was no longer alone. These were the kind of people Mac McMahon spoke of, the ones who would change the world. The ones who would guide the way to make contact with a race that had no animosity, but also would not share their secrets with the fearful and those in denial.

Smiling, he listened to the animated conversations with pleasure. He’d started a storm all right. Perhaps it would spread beyond this regional meeting and on to other corners of the country and world because the time was coming…for contact.


I'm totally surprised and excited that I won the "Ghost Adventures" Travel Channel Short Story Contest! My entry was the short story "Evil Walks the Halls" on my October 19th posting. I'll keep you posted when they put it on their site. Thanks for your support in my writing. I have to admit, I've been hesitant to share my writing with family and friends, but having my peers review it has really boosted my confidence. Can't wait until I tell you about the publishing of my first horror novel--soon, I hope!

Halloween Short: The Wind Mountain Pass Goon

(My latest poll influenced the subject of this story. The majority of people said they feared driving in a bad part of town alone. This story takes it to a higher level. Enjoy!)

Dominick knew it was time to take the dreaded trip to see his father. They had almost nothing in common and with the man barely being involved in his childhood, it seemed insincere to suddenly take an interest in his only child. But, the man was reaching his 60th birthday and in critical condition following some sort of assault. One didn’t just overlook the deathbed request. Not even if there was anger and resentment intermixed with sincere regret.

His father somehow ended up back in West Virginia, only 50 miles away. It wasn’t a part of the state Dominick ever ventured into because he was so close to the border with Virginia that he spent his time in Roanoke and not up north. But, Dominick managed to find something good to come of it. He wanted to get some photographs of the changing colors and he figured during the weekend he could do that. He had a hotel room reserved for the night and if he was lucky, he’d be there by 11. He hated traveling the winding mountain roads at night, but there was no help for it. He had two meetings at the end of the work day. They had to talk to China and apparently the Chinese office couldn’t talk during their off hours. Just another frustration at the end of a Friday and the beginning of an uncomfortable weekend. He’d have to go back to work on Monday to enjoy a getaway.

Now, isn’t that just pathetic?

Stopping at the gas station, he unfolded the map in the neon light from the window. Squinting at the writing along the path he marked, Dominick read it. “Wind Mountain Pass.” He pulled off onto the nearby turnoff for the completely black mountain road. It began to make hairpin turns early on and as Dominick looked along the edge of the roadway, much of it had only some wooden posts to keep a person from going over. Of course, if he did by some strange quirk of fate go off the edge of the road, he’d be dangling in the treetops. Their bright leaves shimmered in the headlights around each turn like colorful circus clowns doing a dance. The more he imagined that, the more uncomfortable he became.

Focusing just on his own narrow path up the roadway, Dominick’s hands began to sweat. He wasn’t usually weirded out by such a trek, but doing it at night with no streetlights and no other cars on the road made him feel incredibly isolated. And one thing he knew about this stretch of the backwoods was there were no cell phone repeaters. He’d have no coverage there. If he broke down, it’d be like the old days, a long hike to a phone.

The incline became worse and with the complete darkness in the periphery, even with his high beams on and not knowing if someone was coming down from the other direction, Dominick barely crawled up the next hairpin turn to find a thankful stretch of nearly flat ground until the next curve. A blast of strong wind hit him and jolted his memory of the mountain pass’s name.

Great! Just what I need when I can’t see and I’m ascending.

Something in the bushes against the mountainside shook and all at once an enormous deer leapt out in his path. Dominick pumped on his brakes, heart racing as the deer started down the steep side off to his right in what he assumed was a near sheer Cliffside. He watched until the top of its fawn head was out of sight. Apparently, there was some kind of pathway the animals took.

He started back up and his car wouldn’t thrust forward. He pressed on the gas a bit harder, but nothing. It whined as if it wanted to go, but there was no shifting of gears. Studying the emergency brake and the gear shift, everything was as it should be. Desperately, he pressed again and the car rolled to a stop on the flat stretch.

“Dammit!” He cursed. He tried shifting it into park and then into drive again. He tried overdrive. Nothing was working. He was well and truly screwed. He knew a fair amount about cars to know it was the transmission, but the car was only 3 years old. It seemed rather soon to lose a transmission. He could hardly call the car club now, but he tried the cell anyways.

It’s like the fates knew this was the worst place for me to break down. Perhaps a sign I really shouldn’t be visiting my father.

Dominick rolled the car to the opposite side of the road, the wheels digging into the narrow shoulder as he put on the hazards, grabbed his bottled water and flashlight, put on his hazards, and locked up the little traitor.

Gusts of wind from both sides tossed him back and forth on the narrow roadway. Dominick didn’t want to get too close to the edge, but he was mildly curious about the deer’s fate. He flashed his light down a tiny little well worn path used by game. His eyes traveled further to a faint light below. He turned off his flashlight. It was definitely a fairly bright light. He tried to judge how far away it was. If he started down the animal path towards the light, he might find a shortcut to a phone. If he took the roadway, he would have a good six mile hike down and another two miles to the gas station. Surely where there was need for a light on a mountain such as this, there was life. Where there was life, there were phones.

Studying the roadway and then the path, a blast of icy wind hit him and Dominick stumbled forward on unsure footing. At least the pathway would offer protection from the fast dropping temperatures and unrelenting wind. Already, his eyes were watering profusely.

The footing was questionable, but with the bushes and trees beside him, Dominick felt fairly safe traversing it. Still, the flashlight bounced wildly over the bright red sumac, creating a vivid blood splattered effect on the scene as it unfolded. Forgetting the deer that had just traversed this path, he focused narrowly on the path and nothing more. The path hugged the granite walls of the mountain. He leaned into the rock as if it could somehow keep him from pitching into the brush that might not stop his fall down a he-didn’t-know-how-deep decline.

Coming around a sharp hairpin turn and back towards the light, Dominick was better able to discern it. It was a telephone pole with a light mounted to it. It appeared to be surrounded by hard pounded dirt.

Please, don’t let it be some road maintenance shack that’s unmanned

His gut clenched in reaction. He had the distinct feeling this led to an uninhabited place with nothing more than a token security light. He nearly stumbled the last 100 yards down the path into the small flat clearing. The first thing Dominick noticed was the trailer. His heart sank. That made it seem even more likely to be a maintenance building. There was no car anywhere in sight. No car, no person. No person, no phone.

He tried to stop his rising hysteria. The thought of hiking back up the path and then all the miles down the mountain, knowing not another car was braving this stupid mountain pass all night long was overwhelming his already exhausted body. Dominick had awakened at 6 am, did his workout, a much too long day at work, and a long drive. He took a calming breath and checked his watch. It was 11 already. He could hike back to his car and sleep in there until a car came along and saw his hazards. It was really the only option at this point. He’d never survive the walk down the mountain in his overtaxed state.

Knowing it would be foolish to not try the trailer, Dominick wandered across the dirt lot to a large shed building. He tried the door, but it didn’t budge. He went around the row of windows on the backside, but all of them were boarded up. When he came out the other side, he went over to the trailer and stepped up the metal stairs, knocking on the door quite firmly. There were no lights on in side. There was no insignia on the door. Just in case they left it unlocked and there might be a phone inside, he tried the knob. It opened!

Just then the light on the post turned off. He studied the darkened area, his eyes trying to adjust. Then he realized it was probably a motion activated light. It would make no sense to keep a light on in that remote area. The deer more than likely had triggered it. He hadn’t approached the post, so he hadn’t extended its run time. Dominick turned and went over to the post and the light blasted back on. Squinting, he went back to the trailer. At least for a while he’d have some light.

Feeling around the wall inside, he caught the switch, turning on a small lamp on a tiny dinette set nearby. He turned and surveyed the neat little trailer, not at all what he expected. It appeared someone used it and kept it clean. He squinted into the corner where a cubby built-in desk sat, banked by three monitors.

Intrigued, Dominick came by and flicked on the power strip switch. Suddenly, the room was awash in the light from the screens. He studied the scenes of roadway and trees. It appeared to be nightvision with the strange glow to it that showed like a negative of a photograph. He looked around for insignias for the department of highways or some other organization, but there was nothing. Even the drawers were empty. Why monitor the roads with cameras? It certainly hadn’t helped him.

Panning to the third camera’s view, Dominick saw a car. The back side of it was familiar, as were the blinking lights.

“My car?” He baffled. “What good does the damned camera do if no one’s here to monitor it?” He looked around the trailer for a phone. He paced the length of it from the tiny kitchen to the narrow cot at the other end.

Frustrated, he leaned over the keyboard and tried to see if he could send out a message on the computer, but it took a password.

“Son of a bitch!” He snapped.

He swung back around to study the cameras. It was then that he saw something moving near his car. A tall shape in a jacket with a baseball cap. He strolled across the roadway from the deer trail and approached the car cautiously with a crowbar. Dominick shook his head in horror as he saw the man swinging at the car window. He couldn’t tell what he did next, but in a few minutes’ time he’d rolled the car out into the roadway and climbed in. The last thing he saw, the car rolled down the mountain.

“You’ve gotta be fuckin’ kidding me!” He paced the floor like a caged animal. The bastard saw his car break down, strolled up the pathway, probably when Dominick was inspecting the shed, and was now rolling his car in neutral down the winding mountain paths. But, to where? If he was taking back to the trailer, there must have been a turnoff Dominick hadn’t seen in the dark. Any minute now the bastard could be rolling into the dirt lot, setting off the motion detector.

Desperately, he looked around for any kind of weapon. Even the kitchen had no knives, just microwavable containers of food.

Angrily, he yanked out the plugs on the computer and the screens. Then, he picked up the nearby chair and bashed it into the screens. When he was done with that little bit of rebellion, he decided it was safer to leave. After all, the thief had a tire iron and all Dominick had was his indignation.

He raced outside and looked around just as he heard the crunching roll of a dead car on a gravel road. The lights from the car illuminated between the colorful trees in the distance.

He looked around him hysterically and ducked behind the shed. Desperate, he kicked at the chain-locked door. A board came loose. He kicked another board and it became unhinged. Now able to slide them to the side, he crawled through and into the shed. The light from the post outside sent slivers of light into the long shed. The car rolled to a stop outside and he peered through the crack to see the man climb out of the car with Dominick’s suitcase in his hand.

Fists clenched he looked around him, eyes adjusting to the semi-darkness. He saw the very clear outline of several cars.

So, this is where he keeps his prizes? Oh shit! He’s going to go in there and know someone busted his equipment and know I was here

Dominick grasped for some idea of how to get out of the mountain without the man finding him.

Okay, this guy has to get in and out of here. There’s no car outside. There are cars in here…

He studied the slivers of gleaming metal from the slats in the wooden walls. If the man used a car from in here, it would have to be the one near the door and could easily come in and out of the shed. He crept around to the driver’s door and prayed it would open. He gently swung the door open as he heard the anguished screams of the man inside the trailer who had just found the mess. Sweat beading on his forehead and dripping into his eyes, Dominick felt around the steering column to feel the key.

“Cocky son-of-a-bitch, huh?” He chuckled with excitement as he turned the key and the car started up.

Flipping it into reverse and slamming on the gas pedal, the car bolted back fast against the flimsy doors, breaking them into splinters easily. Dominick turned the wheel to head out towards the gravel road when the huge man came rushing from the trailer and rushing the side of the car. Dominick grunted as he reached over to lock the passenger door. His eyes settled on the face of the thief in the motion detector light. His skin was gray and very pale with visible veins, his eyes nearly cataract-like with their pale color, and one long deep red scar carved into his left cheek to the corner of his mouth. He could hear the man screaming as he flicked on the high beams and started up the gravel road. At least he knew that the man didn’t have a way to chase him. His own Prius was out of commission.

A sense of relief washed over him as Dominick got to the main roadway of the mountain. Go up? Go down? He knew how far away the gas station was if he went back down, but he also knew on the map that the other side of the mountain had a small foothills town. He turned and made his way back up the mountain. Just as he pulled into the roadway, the high beams from a car coming off the gravel roadway filled his rear view mirror.

Dammit! The bastard must have had another working car in the shed

He tensed his fingers around the wheel, completely unable to consider an option to get out of this crazy chase. He really didn’t want to play this game on a mountainside. The mostly unprotected edge that overlooked the mountain’s edge taunted him. No one took this road. He learned that earlier in the evening. Although he’d spent his entire life doing all the right things to make up for his father’s wrong decisions and it maddened him to break a rule, Dominick moved his car onto the wrong side of the road that hugged the granite hillside. He went against his instincts once again by slowing down to allow the crook to pull up beside him.

Just as he did this maneuver, the man moved his car up beside Dominick’s and his grayed angry face snarled at him. Dominick gripped the wheel with sweaty fingers and took a deep breath, holding it for just one second while he tightened his gut to gather his courage and then cut his car into the man’s car. The look of shock and surprise on the ugly face distorted its features as the man struggled to keep his car on the roadway as Dominick’s bigger car guided him right off the edge of the road and into the darkness and foliage below.

Dominick willed his foot to hit the brake. He was shaking and trembling with the knowledge he’d just done such a heinous act. He wouldn’t rest to the next town until he knew the bastard was well and truly gone. He put the car into park and climbed out, rushing to the obvious damage along the foliage and peered down into the hillside where the faint glow of the car lights still shown a good 500 or more feet down. A flicker of fire licked the edges of the car and within seconds it burst into a roar of flames.

Turning back to his car, determined to stay mentally sober until he got help, Dominick climbed into the car and noticed the opened glove box. He pulled out a paper, wondering about the sap that also got his car broken down and stolen from the goon.

His fingers trembled violently as he read it in disbelief.

Dominick Spira.”

Dominick shook his head as he read his father’s name and address on the paper. He scrambled through his mind to remember what his mother said about his father’s condition. She explained that he’d been attacked and beaten badly and had walked many miles to help before collapsing on the roadway and was picked up by a citizen who took him to the hospital.

A moment of strange comprehension flooded Dominick. Where his father hadn’t survived the goon, Dominick had. The very lack of guidance as a kid that his father had influenced made Dominick a survivor. When it came down to the final match, his father had, in fact, taught him to make it where he himself could not.