Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Black Lighthouse

****If you comment on my story, I promise I'll return the favor! Thanks!

Here's another flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig's site. We had to pick one of the five titles (or use the words and mix them up to make a new title) and then make up a story based on the title we chose. I picked The Black Lighthouse and made a ghost story up, involving the Blackbeard the pirate. But get this, I actually did research on him! Okay, the whole two seconds on Wikipedia. But still, I researched! Anyway, enjoy the story...........

“Do you know why it’s called the Black Lighthouse?” Max asked his friends at lunch.

“Because it’s African American?” Keith drawled, playing with the gauges in his ears.

“Treasure!” Brittany exclaimed, bouncing in her seat and almost spilling her milk.

“No, Keith. And Brittany, you’re jumping ahead,” Max said impatiently.

“What does the Black Lighthouse have to do with treasure?” Keith asked, curious.

Max put up his hands to stop them from talking. “Okay, bad idea asking you both. I’ll just tell you. They say the Black Lighthouse doesn’t work anymore. That’s why it’s nicknamed, ‘Black.’ But its real name is Blackbeard Lighthouse. As in, the famous pirate.”

“I’m bored. Can we skip the history lesson, Mr. Max?” Keith snapped, biting into his greasy pizza.

“But, pirates have treasure!” Brittany protested. “That’s what he’s getting at!”

“He just said the lighthouse doesn’t work anymore, stupid.”

“Don’t call me stupid!”

“Shut up both of you!” Max yelled, exasperated. Keith crossed his arms defiantly and Brittany pouted, hurt.

“Holy shit, you two are impossible. Let me finish.” Max continued, “Blackbeard once raided along this coast here in South Carolina, so in later years, they called it Blackbeard Lighthouse.” Max held up his hand again before Keith could say anything. “But others say they call it Blackbeard Lighthouse because it shines a black light onto the water during the new moon at midnight. When it does, Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, appears to reveal where his treasure is.”

“What bunch of bullshit.” Keith rolled his eyes. “If it’s true, why hasn’t anyone found the treasure?”

“Because everyone thinks it’s bullshit,” Max shot back with a smile.

“Okay, so why are you all about this all of a sudden?” Keith asked while Brittany continued pouting over her peas.

“Because tonight is a new moon.”

Keith and Brittany both perked up.

“You’re not thinking about going out to the Black Lighthouse tonight, are you?” Brittany asked with wide eyes.

“Well, I want both of you to come, too,” Max replied hopefully.

“Why?” Brittany asked, slightly confused.

“Oh, so you don’t want treasure?” Max teased.

“How do we even know there is treasure?” Keith challenged.

“We won’t know unless we try.”

They decided to met up at eleven-thirty at the Black Lighthouse.

“This better be worth it,” Keith declared as he arrived. “I just got in a shit ton of trouble. I got caught sneaking out.”

“How did you get caught?” Brittany inquired as she parked her bike.

“I stepped on our cat’s tail. She screeched like a banshee and woke everyone up.”

“Your black cat?” Brittany asked nervously.

“It’s just a superstition, Brittany,” Max said, trying to calm her.

“Just like we’re here because of a ghost story?” Keith sarcastically asked.

Max glared at him.

“So, what are we suppose to do?” Brittany asked, peering into the darkness. “Do we have to go in the lighthouse?”

“No, we wait to see the ship,” Max said.

“I thought you said that it has to shine a black light over the water. How’s it going to do that without turning that on?”

Max tapped his chin, thinking. “Good point.”

“Okay, then,” Keith sighed. “So we need to get in.”
Keith found the aged wooden door leading into the lighthouse. He pulled at the handle. When nothing happened, he began frantically tugging at it for a few minutes before he gave up.

“It’s locked,” he panted.

Brittany stared at it for a moment and then gently gave it a push.

“What the fuck, Brittany? Do you really think that did anything?” Keith shouted but stopped when the door slowly opened with a sleepy groan.

Keith and Max both stared astonished at Brittany with open mouths.

She shrugged. “You were opening it the wrong way.”

Shaking their heads in disbelief, Max and Keith entered with Brittany at their heels.

“Hold on,” Max called in the darkness. He grabbed his phone and turned on his flashlight app. Instantly, the room was flooded with light. Everything was covered in dust and to their right, a stairway twisted up to the top. With Max leading with the flashlight, they all ascended to the top of the lighthouse.

The huge light in the center took up most of the room. They circled around it.

“How do you turn this thing on?” Keith asked, looking for a button.

Max moved his light around until he spotted a switch. He flipped it and waited.

“That didn’t do anything,” Keith stated pointlessly.

“Wait, you guys! I think I see something out in the water!” Brittany gasped.

“Is it a ship?” Max asked eagerly.

“I think!”

Max was already running down the stairs when he shouted, “Let’s go, then!”

They both hurried after him.

Once outside again, they peered out over the lake. A huge prow was emerging, poking a hole in the darkness as the whole ship gradually came into view. Its sails were flapping in an invisible wind as it shimmered a hazy white light. Closer and closer it came, until it banked on the shore.

Max, Keith, and Brittany watched breathlessly, captivated by what they were witnessing.

A plank came down and the ghost of Blackbeard himself appeared.

“I don’t believe it,” Keith whispered.

Blackbeard beckoned them to come aboard.

“I don’t know about this, guys,” Brittany whimpered.

“He’s going to show us the treasure,” Max said. “What is he going to do to us? He’s a ghost. He can’t hurt us!” And with that, Max walked up the plank. Keith and Brittany looked at each other.

“He’s got a point,” Keith shrugged and followed Max. Brittany could only watch as Keith joined Max.

Brittany wanted to go with her friends, but she couldn’t move. Her feet were rooted in place. So, there she stood as the ship drifted back into the night, and there she stayed until the sun’s rays spread across the sky and the water lapped at her feet.

She waited for her friends to return but they never did.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Joe's Diner

This is my story for this week's flash fiction challenge at Chuck Wendig's site. We had many options to choose from, but I finally settled on post-apocalyptic, heaven, and haunted by past. This story flowed from my thoughts to my hands easily and eagerly, so much so that it was hard to contain the story to exactly one thousand words. I would like to expand this story one day, but for now, here it is:


The sign for Joe’s Diner flickered so only the letters D, i, and e were lit.

I entered the diner through the shattered glass door, grunting as my shoes scraped against my heels.

“Coffee?” I groaned, leaning heavily on the grimy counter.

A wrinkled, puckered lipped woman stared back at me with red-rimmed eyes.

“There hasn’t been coffee since Day Zero,” she snapped.

“Tea?” I croaked. My shoes bit into my feet, begging me to sit down.

“None of that either.” Losing interest, she went back to wiping a cloudy glass with a dirty rag.

“Okay, what about a hard one, then?”

She glared at me again. “It’ll cost you, you know.”

“I know.” I slid a pack of cigarettes across the counter. She grabbed it and quickly tucked it in her stained apron, glancing around as she did so.

No one used money anymore. It was worthless, even as fuel for fire to keep warm. Currency was necessary and scarce items like bottled water, aspirin, toothpaste, cigarettes, and matches.

With a sigh, she set the cloudy glass on the counter with a clank and reached under the counter to get a bottle. She poured a dubious amber liquid in the glass and handed it to me with shriveled fingers.

“Thanks,” I breathed as I trudged over to an empty booth. A few people were scattered across the dingy diner, all staring blankly and in various stages of eating.

I grunted in pain as I finally took weight off my aching feet. Leaning back in the booth, I took a swig. The liquid burned all the way down my throat, leaving a fiery path in its wake. Surprisingly, this was good stuff. It was definitely worth the pack of cigarettes. Thinking of cigarettes, I felt my fingers twitch, wanting to grab at my second pack hidden in my torn windbreaker. No, I needed to save that for payment for a bed to sleep in tonight. Hopefully, it will be a bed without lice this time. Since Day Zero, I never stay in the same place or the same town.

Day Zero. I don’t know what happened that day. The sky torn apart and the earth shook. Millions of people died for what looked like no reason at all, just fell to the ground or slumped in their chairs. It was as if their souls flew away, abandoning the bodies. Millions died, leaving us behind, the last remaining. We don’t know how many of us are actually left. Communications are down, electricity comes in spurts, and all transportation has come to a screeching halt.

All I know about that day is that was the day I died. My heart may be pumping and my lungs may be taking in oxygen, but I am the living dead. Because on that day, Day Zero as it is coined, I made my choice to leave my family to go to a business meeting. I should have stayed at home with my wife and baby daughter. I don’t know if I could have saved them but coming back home and seeing their lifeless bodies slumped on the couch was more than I could bear.

The shoes that I wore to the meeting and the pair I walked in when I saw my dead family are the same ones I hobble in now. I could have changed shoes, probably should. Everyone walks since there is no more gasoline, at least, not easily acquired.

No, I have to walk in these shoes everyday, feeling the blisters, the sores, the scraping of shoes against my heels at every step. It is a constant reminder of that day when I could have been with my family, to have those last  precious moments together before they were gone forever. Who knows, maybe we could all be in heaven right now.

“Heaven is still in our reach! Repent now and save your souls!” A man shouted hoarsely, wearing a torn, aged robe that didn’t quite fit him around his midsection. He stood in the middle of the diner, proclaiming the Word of God as everyone around him stared like zombies.

“Goddammit,” I muttered as I took another gulp. These “reverends” come around and spread false hope wherever they go.

“We are not forgotten. God wants us to share in His everlasting glory and has given us a second chance for us to find Him,” the man continued, lies bursting out of his cracked lips into the desperate ears around him.

“Oh, shut the fuck up!” I sprung out of my seat. “We have been left to rot, cursed to live without life, existing in this Godforsaken hellhole. There is no heaven for us, only death and despair!” I shouted in such a furious rage that burned deeper and darker than the alcohol in my stomach.

In my fury, I punched him right in the jaw. He collapsed on the dusty floor, robe spilling out in folds.

“What did you do that for?” accused the puckered lipped waitress with a hand on her hip. “Hope is all we got left.”

“There is no hope.”

I choked down the last of my drink and slammed it down on the table. Everyone was quiet, watching me with dead eyes. No one rushed to check if the man was okay. It’s not like we could take him to a hospital.

I limped out of the diner, my feet waking up with pain.

This is my punishment for all those nights I stayed late at the office instead of being with my family for... I couldn’t think about all that right now. I shoved it out of my thoughts. Yes, I know why we were all here. We are the damned, the sinful, the ghosts that haunt the dead.

I walked with no place to go and no reason to live. I walked to feel the scraping of my shoes against my heels and the material biting into my feet.

I walked to my death.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Spit Your Game

Here's another flash fiction for Chuck Wendig's contest. This prompt was "A novice revenges the rhythm." We had to include that sentence in our story.

Spit your game, talk your shit, grab your gat,
Spit your game, talk your shit, grab your gat.

My feet hit the pavement in rhythm with the song. With my earbuds blasting, I looked ahead unseeing, only focusing on the music, the rhythm, the beat.

Today was just a normal day. I was heading toward the elementary school to pick up my little sister, Jasmine, but I was making a stop along the way. In the alley behind Drug Mart, some of my friends and others would hang out and chill after school. Nothing serious, we would just swap gossip about kids in our class or sling clever insults at each other. We always liked the hidden alley, not because we were doing something wrong but because adults expected us to be. Back there, we were away from prying eyes and could just be ourselves.

Getting closer, I saw Daquan and Avionna with a few others. Everyone had earbuds in ears and cell phones in hand. When they saw me, they shouted out, but I just gave a small nod in return. I didn’t change my pace, just walked up smooth and casual. Hurrying looked childish and not cool.

“Man, where’ve you been,” Daquan greeted me as we bumped fists. I shrugged in reply.

“Lil’ J got nothin’ to say today?” he teased. He knew I didn’t like that name.

“My rapper name is Big Jay,” I retorted. Biggie Smalls is my idol so I made my name as a shout out to him.

“You gotta be a rapper first.”

We both dream about being rappers. I know we are two out of millions who aspire to be the next big thing, but it’s the dream that keeps us moving, keeps us going, keeps us living. It’s the thought that at any moment, any of us could be plucked up out of our humdrum lives and live the high life of fancy cars and shiny things. I don’t even need to look around and see how we all immerse ourselves in the music. It’s our way of life, our way of coping, our way of being.  Music is our way of life and rapping is the means.

“You think you’re a rapper, huh?” this other guy asked, overhearing us.

“Yeah, what of it?” I bristled. I didn’t know who this guy was. He looked a few years older than me, at least.

“Ha, ha, that’s funny. You keep thinking that while I get my record deal,” he boosted.

“Recording yourself in your grandma’s basement doesn’t count,” I shot back.

“Oh, so you think you’re better than me? You don’t know shit.”

“Prove it,” I prodded. I wasn’t backing down with this guy, especially not in front of my friends.

“Okay, then. You and me right now. Rap battle,” he challenged.

Daquan chipped in, “I got the beats.” He looked at me and gave a nod. He knew I could do this.

The girls took interest now. “Oh, shit, it’s on,” they tittered.

Daquan started the rhythm. Bom, Chk, Bom, Bom, Chk. As he repeated the sounds with his mouth, everyone got quiet, breaths held. Everyone was watching and waiting. I couldn’t mess this up. My rep as a rapper was on the line. I fuck this up, and no one will let me live this down.

The other guy nodded with the rhythm, feeling the beat, preparing his words. Then, he began:

You think you got this,
But you’ll drink my piss,
For all the stuff you diss.
So get off my dick,
As I rhyme real slick.

The others guffawed, but I shook my head. That was weak.

Now, I’m up. I gotta make this good, make this clever, make it my own. I saw the words dancing in front of my eyes, moving with the rhythm, bouncing with the rhymes. The words began to spring from my mouth like a fountain, ready and bursting:

I fight battles with words and rhymes,
The clock is ticking and I ain’t got time,
To find my nickels and find my dimes,
So here’s my two cents, for your rhymes:
You’ve spent your rent; you’re past your prime.

I patted myself as I spoke, as if I was really looking for change and then spun it as advice. I was really proud of myself for that one, and I got sounds of approval from the others. I got this.

The other guy bit his tongue, just biding his time for his move, and as soon as I was done, he struck back:

You’re just a novice,
You don’t know this.
Rap has rhythm; rap has flow,
And your advice has no dough.
When you shit, it ain’t gold,
And when you spit, it’s just mold.

When he was done, he put his arms out to his sides, as if to say, “Whatcha got?” He knew he made a comeback.

I licked my lips. It all came down to this. I let the beat go for a moment, feeling it out, and then, I took a breath and started:

A novice revenges the rhythm,
Yeah, I tear it limb from limb.
With my flow, I fight the system,
And with my hoe, I come in Kim.
I hope you know, I won this row.
I sow my seed; I roll this weed,
I spit my game and claim my fame.

Cheers went up from the crowd. Pride welled up in me as the others congratulated me. It wasn’t just about beating the other person. You also had to win the crowd because they were the ones judging.

The other guy looked mad for a moment, but then he relented.

“You put that shit down, bro,” he said and held out his fist.

I bumped it. “Yeah, man, that was tight.”

My cell rang. It was Jasmine.

“Later, I gotta go get my sister,” I said to them.

I put my earbuds back in and turned up the music, immersing myself in its rhythm.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lucifer's Story

This is a short story for Chuck Wendig's contest. From the categories, I picked to include in the story:


“I’m  Beelzebub, Satan, Father of Lies, Devil, Prince of Darkness, Beast, Leviathan, Thief, Serpent of Old, Star, Angel of the Bottomless Pit, and let’s throw in Anointed Covering Cherub for fun. Yeah, I’m the bad guy,” said Lucifer.

“Please, I don’t want to be here!” a woman pleaded desperately, kneeling in front of him.

Lucifer harshly kicked the woman in the ribs and then quickly knelt down and got right in her face.

“You’re not listening!” he shouted in her ear. “When I’m speaking, you fucking listen!”

He pulled her up by her hair, yanking her back to her feet.

“Now, what did I just say?” he asked, eerily calm.

The woman whimpered, not sure what to say without setting him off again.

“You’re the bad guy?” she answered uncertainly, cringing.

“Damn right. I’m the bad guy. At least, that’s what everyone thinks.”

He let go of her and walked to his seat. It was a throne fitting the Ruler of Underworld, not golden and majestic but dark and terrifying, forged from the fires of Hell itself. The black metal throne glinted maliciously whenever it ensnared the light with its ridged teeth, while shredded claws of iron strained out from the legs and arms of the chair, desperate to seize anything within its reach.

The room was one of many rooms in Hell. This one was a dark and dank cellar with cinderblock walls lined with tortuous, blood-stained toys for Lucifer’s amusement. He picked one now, a long, thin and sharp knife, perfect for careful incisions.

“Please, God, save me!” she begged as she back away from him.

Lucifer threw back his head and laughed, full and rich laughter that came deep within his core.

“God? God save you?! Please, it’s because of God that I’m here.”

He grabbed her violently and dragged her to an operating table then strapped her in with leather cords. When he was done, he stopped and looked right into her fearful brown eyes.

“Will you be a good girl and listen now?”

She only stared back.

Then, he began his tale as he slowly started slicing the skin of her stomach with the knife, leaving a thin red line in its wake.

“In the beginning, there was God. Don’t ask me how He came to be, He just was, okay? Well, God didn’t begin by making Earth as you humans love to believe. He first made us angels. Yes, I said us, me included. He made us to worship Him and tremble at His mighty feet. As angels, we were in heaven and were made to be perfect creations of His. We were holy, therefore, we couldn’t murder, rape, steal, or even lie,” Lucifer explained calmly as he pulled back the skin, exposing the organs underneath.

“After awhile, God then decided to make Earth in six days and rested on the seventh. Yada, yada, you know the story. Well, in this time, He created the first two humans, Adam and Eve. When He did this, we angels were confused because He made us, why is He still making stuff? And we wondered about these humans He created. I mean, they were molded out of dirt - how filthy! At first, we mocked them from a distance. What a joke they were to us - these lowly, dirty humans compared to holy, pure angels of the Lord,” he continued, but the tension in his voice grew and his knife cuts became more jagged as he sawed the ribs. He ignored the screams, just background noise.

“But then, God started spending more time with them. They would go on walks around the Garden of Eden, naming shit. Soon, we barely saw God at all! He was abandoning us for those stupid humans! Well, I for one was furious and I talked to the other angels about it. We agreed to confront God about it and I would lead them. Not all the angels agreed with me, mind you, some were still goody-two-shoes who thought we shouldn’t question God. Anyway, we went up to Him and asked Him what was with these humans and why are they so special? God replied that He had created them in His image and had given them the freedom of choice,” he snarled. He threw the bloody, busted ribs aside with a clatter to reveal the frantically beating heart. In the suddenly silent room, the sound of the blood pumping through the heart made the whole room throb.

“So you see,” Lucifer whispered intensely over the throbbing sound, “He gave the humans freedom to chose whether they wanted to follow God or not, but I.... But when I question God, what happens?” Lucifer stopped and looked at her.

“Look at me!” He screamed at her. “LOOK AT ME!”

She forced herself to stare back at him through the pain. He wasn’t red like all the cartoons depicted. He was bald with odd piercings in his nose and ears. But that’s not what he wanted her to see. It was that he was covered in black markings that looked like tattoos. The markings were everywhere, on his eyelids to the tips of his fingers.

“These tattoos are the marks of evil that I got when God cast me out of heaven. He threw me out and sent me here to rot until time itself comes to an end. And I’m the bad guy?!” He raged.

He plucked her heart out of her chest. It was still beating, pumping away uselessly as blood dripped in long rivers down his arms.

“All I have now is torture and pain! All I have, all I do, is to torture the sinful,” Lucifer grasped the heart tightly in his hands.

“And I love it!”

He clenched the heart so tight that blood sprayed everywhere. He could feel the sticky warmth on his face, in his mouth, on his lips. It tasted so good.

“Yeah,” he said slowly, “I am the bad guy.”

Check out Chuck Wendig's site: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/09/14/flash-fiction-challenge-a-second-game-of-aspects/

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Character Description: Alexander

For the next few posts, I am going to set up who the characters are in my story and their descriptions.

Alexander, the Grim Reaper

His shaggy, black hair hangs in his face like thick curtains, shielding himself from the light. He is tall and lean with long, pale fingers tightly grasping his staff. Alexander is a man that appears to be in his thirties, not some elderly, decrepit person as some would envision a reaper of souls. However, his eyes show what his body does not. His eyes are ancient pools of water, dark and deep, without any way to peer in and see what is hidden, yet there is an overwhelming sense that time and death have taken a toll in this place.

He wears a long robe that hangs limply off his thin body. It was black at one time but that time has long been forgotten. Now, it is ashen gray, dirty and ragged, falling to his frayed sandals. His staff is just symbolic of his title; he does not actually reap souls, only brings them to the other side. The staff itself is cobbled together with yellowed and cracked bones strapped together. It is top off with a human skull, hollow and smiling toothily while cocked to one side, as if listening for the death knell.

His humor is dry and dark. For thousands of years, he has been the Grim Reaper, leader of all reapers. Death bores him and the newly-departed bother him even more.

Favorite Saying:
"Another one for the furnace."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Step One

This is my first step. I want this to mean something, not just to me but for anyone reading this blog. Right now, I am an artist without a brush, a poet without a muse, and a writer without a story. I am lost. My wish - a daydreamer's wish- is to write a trilogy and illustrate it myself. Can I do it? I don't know.

I have to take my first step.