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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Writer Wed for OCT 12

I had the best time today with Writer Wed on The Eclectic Artist Cave. The following people were read LIVE on the air. Their stories will be posted on http://theeclecticartistcave.blogspot.com today for those who were unable to attend the show.

Lindsey Gray -author of Redemption
Paul D. Dail -Horror Writer
Melissa Davis - Up coming writer
Kalifer Deil- Scifi writer-Tillian 5 - A New Beginning and Tillian 5 - Return to Earth.
Donald Riggio -Author of 7 Inch Vinyl: A Rock and Roll Novel
Blaze McRob-Owner of Angel Knight Publishing.


The stories they sent in were AMAZING!! Thank you ALL for participating. I'm sorry if I didn't have time to read yours. Please keep sending them in.

The theme for the next writer WED is: Headless Horseman. That doesn't mean that you have to copy the story. That means make one of your own up. Let me know what your headless horseman is. Send the entry to
theEAC1@yahoo.com
Please make sure you include the words Writer Wed and the date in the subject. Also the word count should be between 500 and 1000 words. I can't wait to see what you come up with!! 

The ones read LIVE on the air will be put on the blog the same day for all to enjoy.

The Round Box by Lindsey Gray

“How much?”
The large, round box was thrust on the counter in front of me. I rolled my eyes and sat the comic book that had held my attention for at least the past thirty minutes. I pulled the box in front of me to examine if it would be worth anything to me or my boss at the lovely pawn shop I was forced to work at.
“Come on, Daria. I don't have all night.”
I looked up to find one of regular pawners in front of me. Jesse's hands were shaking and filthy, likely going into withdrawal after searching through crap for something to sell and not taking his hourly dose of cheap whiskey.
“Let me take a look.” I gave the box a once over. A little polish and some clean up it could fetch a decent price. “Fifteen.”
“Come on. Give me at least twenty.”
“Fifteen and a cup of black coffee. Last offer.”
“Fine.” Jesse huffed as I got the cash from the drawer and filled out a ticket for him.
He was out the door seconds after the cash hit his palm.
“Hope he doesn't end up dead in a dumpster.” I murmured to myself as I took our newest item back to the store room.
As I sat it on the shelf where my uncle would find it the next morning, the box popped open. I lifted the lid to look inside and was met with a puff of air. The stench that filled my nostrils was worse than the burning sulfur in the depths of hell itself, or so I thought.
I ran to the nearest trashcan and expelled what once was my dinner. Hours later I still felt my stomach turning inside out. When my cousin, Jeff, found me hugging the toilet at dawn, he threw me a bottle of water and told me to get my ass home.
I drove down the highway towards my apartment. The sun had risen and the sky was clear. So the fact that I was seeing flashes of lightning ever few seconds had me extreamly confused. As I got out of my car and ran into my apartment, the lightning followed me in. My heart pounded furiously as I crawled onto my bed. I watched the walls as the flashes of light began peeling the fabric of reality around me. My world was melting around me. I curled myself into the fetal position and held the comforter tight around my body. The bed shook violently below me as screaming sobs poured from within me. Then... nothing.
Quite. Still. Stagnant. Then that smell filled me again. My instant reaction was to sit up and wretch, but when I opened my eyes I was met with a scene from my darkest nightmares.
The only illumination in the pitch black room was light pouring from behind a mirror. The scene had been the exactly the same in hundreds of nightmares in my life.
“This is no nightmare, Daria.” An eerie woman's voice echoed off the walls. “This is your reality now.”
I sat and thought for a moment and in my muddled brain there was only one thing that sprung forward. “If that was a dream, why the fuck was I working in a shitty pawn shop?”

 **********************************************************************************

I Spy, With My Little Eye

Anthony Monsano stood at the bar, staring at the round, wooden box on the counter. About the size of a hatbox, except Tony knew it was no hat inside this particular box. He would’ve smiled at this thought had a fire not taken the elasticity from his face just six months earlier.

But he was sure as hell smiling on the inside. Not even the fact that his oldest friend, Danny Blaylock, lay in a bloody crumpled mess on the floor next to Tony’s boots could take away the satisfaction at finally having found the box.

Besides, Danny was in good company. All the men who were either dead or dying in the bar (and even some of the women) had fought bravely. And Tony had to respect their conviction in the cause. They had all been willing to die for this prize. And with the exception of Tony and Esmeralda, that’s exactly what they had done.

Where was Esmi anyway? She was so damned quiet. Probably collecting mementos. She was a weird kid, but Tony knew he needed to keep her around.

He returned his attention to the round box on the bar, but still he didn’t touch it. Until today, he had only seen rough sketches of the box, the same sketches currently folded in his coat pocket. And while there had been inconsistencies, this was no doubt the item he had sought for years.

Most seekers agreed that the box dated back over two millennia. Some even speculated that it was carved out of the wood from the cross used to crucify Jesus, with any of the steel parts of the box forged from the spears used by the Roman soldiers. But Tony didn’t buy that. It just didn’t make sense. Especially considering what the box was supposed to contain.

The gargantuan man Tony killed just minutes earlier to get the box had a Norwegian accent, but the script carved into the wood looked closer to Arabic, the symbols closer to Egyptian. The old steel lock on the box was shaped like a skull, a skull that looked like it had taken a severe beating from various implements trying to break into the box over the centuries.

“My God,” he whispered, “the thousands of miles this box has traveled.” He held his fingers just above the box, tracing the air in the shape of the symbols. He longed to touch it. “If you’re done, you can come in now!” he shouted.

A young girl, maybe nine or ten years old, with dark skin and long black hair came through a door marked “Employees Only.” Her white dress was spotless, but her right arm was smeared red and she clutched something that Tony didn’t want to try and identify. She barely glanced at the bodies on the floor. “Did he have it?” Esmeralda asked.

“Of course,” Tony said. “So you can read this writing?”

She nodded, and Tony had to turn away when she slipped the bloody morsel into her mouth. Hopefully he wouldn’t need her around for much longer.

He pulled out the sketches of the box. The more fragile ones, drawn by ancient hands on tissue-thin parchment, had been left in a safe place, but he had copies. He spread them out over the bar. The greatest mystery for Tony had been the fact that each sketch had been missing some little detail, but looking at the box in front of him was like seeing the puzzle completely assembled. So why the inconsistencies? He would’ve furrowed his brow if it weren’t for the scar tissue.

Esmi stepped beside him. “It’s because something new is added to the box with each user,” she said, as if she had read his mind. Tony had long since stopped wondering how she did it.

“So what do we need to do?” he asked.

“You need to think about whether or not you want to do this.”

Not this again, Tony thought. “And after that?” he asked.

“Today, you need to think about it again.”

From the corner of the room, a man groaned. The groan turned to a raspy cough. Then there was silence again.

“Listen, kid,” Tony said. “I didn’t get you out of that South American death camp to get your opinion. You’re here to do a job.”

“If that’s what you want,” Esmi said. She climbed up onto a bar stool. In different circumstances, someone might’ve said it would’ve made a cute picture. She reached out and touched the box. A shiver went through her body, then she began to trace the symbols, leaving little streaks of blood which the wood of the box seemed to absorb. At the same time, she started to sing in a soft, wispy voice. But even with all of his studies, Tony didn’t recognize the words she sang. And yet in a way, he recognized all of them somehow, like it was a mix of every language he had studied.

But the song didn’t last long. Tony only saw her trace twelve of the marks, and then she was done. She stopped singing, took her hand from the box, and turned on the stool to face Tony.

“That’s it?” he asked. He had expected something a little more grandiose. But no sooner had he spoken the words than he heard a heavy click and the bottom of the skull lock swung open. “I can touch it now?”

The girl nodded.

Tony pulled the box over, unhinged the lock and lifted off the lid. He had to stand on the tips of his boots to see inside, but when he did, his face tightened around his lips. Whether it was a smile or a grimace was unclear, and the look in his eyes could’ve been elation or terror. Then he dropped to the floor next to his best friend. Less bloody, but just as dead.

Esmeralda hopped off the barstool, hefted the round box off the bar, and walked out.

***********************************************************************************

The Round Box
By Melissa Davis

He couldn’t believe this little box was all he had left from his father. There was no money, no house, nothing. It figured the old man would take everything else to his grave or leave it to someone else. All these years he had listened to the man rant and rave about every minute decision he had ever made.
“Why did you do that Thomas? You’re working there? Can’t you find a better job? I guess you don’t have the skills for a VP. Why are you marrying that girl? You’re mother was so much better.” All the while the old man would rub his finger across the small round mahogany box, as if every inch of this thing was so much more interesting than his own son.
Thomas pocketed the box in his jacket the lump was the only evidence that he carried it with him. Thomas left the funeral home and followed behind the hearse in the long black limousine. He couldn’t help how final this all felt. His father had been tough, but his gruffness had helped him become the man that he was today: strong, independent, confident, a hard worker above all else. He couldn’t help but put his hand in his pocket and touch the only thing he had left of the man.
A year after the funeral he was standing in his office rubbing the side of the box he had perched on his book shelf. He was curious about what the box held inside, but he had never dared open it. He had never once questioned why it was so important to his father or why this box seemed to hold his father’s attention any time they were in the same room. He wanted to, but he just could not open it. There was a dull hum of anticipation, like a sad boy staring in the window at a puppy he longed to have, but yet would never experience. He could not help it anymore. He pulled the box out of his jacket and heard it creak open as he lifted the lid.
Thomas took a deep breath as he peered inside its wooden walls. Tucked inside was every milestone of his life. There were pictures of his laughter, his smiles, his trophies, his diplomas, his wedding day, and finally his children. Thomas shook his head in disbelief. All those years while the old man had been so hard on him, all those times he thought he couldn’t do anything right and all the instances where he sought this man’s approval never reaching it and this is what the man kept company with? A tear puckered in the corner of his eye lid. He had told himself he would never cry, but the floodgates opened and his sobbed silently into his sleeve. His father had never told his son how much he cared. He had never shown any inkling that he even knew what he had accomplished. As far as Thomas knew, his father didn’t even know how to do anything but put him down. It was as if he were seeing his father for the first time, the man who cared deeply, but knew not how to show it.
Thomas shut the lid knowing that he had learned a lesson that day. He did not want to be like his father. He wanted his children to know how much he loved them every day of his life. He opened his phone and dialed his office. “Maggie? Please put me out of town for the next week. I have some vacation time saved up and I need to spend some quality time with my family.” He heard the shocked gasp on the other side before Maggie followed through with his order.
It was time to live. Time to slow down and enjoy the road he had worked hard to build. He would never forget how things had been with his father, but he knew now why he had been left this box. The best things in life are not the moments you keep inside. They are the moments you live with the ones you love and share with the world around you. He would learn from his father’s mistakes and become the father he knew his children deserved. It all started with an “I love you”. No matter what.





***********************************************************************************


The Object in the Round Box

My son Kyle's birthday is tomorrow and I want to get him something really unusual. Last year I gave him a petrified dinosaur egg from China. He said it was the best present ever in a million years. One hundred million years would have been closer to the truth. He was nine then but now he hits the double digits. How can I best last years present.
On the way to the train station I looked into the window of a curio shop and there it was, the perfect present, but what would his mother say. She wasn'tt too happy with the dino egg and thought I made it out of plaster. Then, when I convinced her it was authentic, she worried that Kyle would break it and that such rare artifacts should be kept in a museum. My ex also said that Kyle was starting to act like an unruly teen hating everybody and going goth.
I entered the shop and an elderly man with a whisper of a voice said, “It's not for sale.”
I was somewhat startled and blurted, “What's not for sale?”
“The pentagram puzzle is not for sale.” He forced his breath out to make it a bit louder.
“How do you know that I was interested in that piece?”
“It knows.” His voice was barely audible and I had to strain to hear. I was beginning to think the old man didn't have a full deck.
“Why isn't the pentagram puzzle for sale?” I ran my hand over the finely carved dark wood. I lifted it up out of its round box to feel its weight. “This is made of lignum vitae isn't it? The wood is black meaning it's quite old.”
“Too dangerous!”
“Well, it's heavy so I imagine one could smash their foot if they drop it. I see the pentagram engraved on the face and a bunch of symbols I don't recognize.” I was tilting it in the light to get a better look. The wood seemed to absorb almost all the light that fell on it making it hard to see the design and the symbols. “I can make out the pentagram but what's the puzzle?”
“The order in which you touch the symbols.”
“Maybe this is an ancient version of that early computer toy, Simon. Can't be anything too exciting; this is just a block of wood.” I put my finger on one of the symbols and it seemed to light up. Maybe it is the lighting here in the store. I pressed another symbol and I noticed it also faintly lit. I thought that was intriguing. “I would like to buy this. I see a price tag underneath.”
“If you insist. This is not a toy nor should it be toyed with!” His hoarse, brittle whisper was close to my ear demanding attention.
I ignored him anyway and continued to press the symbols. Finally I stood up and looked around. The store owner left and I was there alone. I put the correct amount on the counter and left with my prize. I worried a bit that someone might come and take the money but what could I do.
The next day I dropped by to give Kyle his present. My ex eyed me suspiciously and put her hand out. I slipper her the alimony envelope and went into Kyle's bedroom. He was there at the computer playing some violent game with others on the web. As his mother said, he was into goth with posters of fanged females dressed in black with blood dripping from their mouths. A giant stuffed tarantula was on a plaque hanging on the wall looking ready to jump.
I held out the present in its round box and he glanced in my direction but kept on playing. Finally he screamed out, “I killed the fucker! Die! Die! Die!” Then he turned toward me with an eerily satisfied look on his face and said “Hi.”
“Hi indeed, I've been here for a while.”
“Okay, pecker head, let's see what kind of lame present you've got me this time.”
“That's a terrible way to talk to me. I thought you liked the egg.”
“It was a rock!”
“You had a certificate of authenticity with it.”
“Yes, written in Chinese. It said, 'This is a genuine rock carved to look like a dino egg.' I was a laughing stock! You have no fucking idea!”
“I think this present will make up for it.”
Kyle, removing the lid, “It's just a damn piece of wood!”
“It's a very dangerous piece of wood. If you hold it just right you can see symbols on it. As you touch them they light up and if they spell out a message something dangerous will happen.” I exaggerated the old man's warning.
“I see the pentagram. Yeah, they do light up. I recognize these symbols, it's secret goth writing. See the arrow it means you, the person next to me.” He pressed the symbol. “The upside down U means 'doorway.' He pressed that symbol. “These spokes that join at a point means 'nowhere.' “
“Stop! Don't press that symbol!” I suddenly realized this was the last sequence I pressed when the curio shop owner disappeared. Kyle's eyes glowed with a new found power. He teased me by circling the symbol with his finger. Finally he pressed it with vengeance.
“Jesus, the damn thing works!”
Kyle's mother, alarmed at the commotion, came into his room and asked, “Where's your father?”
“Oh, he just disappeared!”
“Isn't that just like him,” she lamented.
“A couple of kids and a few teachers are going to disappear too.”
“Oh, are they moving?” she puzzled.
“Yeah, kinda.” Kyle narrowed his eyes and smiled

***********************************************************************************
From the critically acclaimed novel: Seven-Inch Vinyl: A Rock and Roll Novel : 



Chapter Eight:
Christmas”

The second week of December, 1954, Joseph took Janet to see the
Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Throngs of tourists and
native New Yorkers alike flocked to the midtown area to take in one
of the most famous seasonal attractions the city had to offer.
Big, wet flakes of snow flurried down between massive skyscrapers,
taking forever to reach the pavement, where they melted
on contact. Janet was bundled in a heavy, navy blue pea coat. Joseph
had on a black leather jacket with the collar turned up around his
face, his bare hands buried deep in both side pockets.
They entered Rockefeller Center through the public space between
the two buildings that made up the commercial complex. The
approach to a sunken plaza was lined with life-sized figures of angels
blowing trumpets, wooden soldiers, and gingerbread people.
Onlookers crowded along the perimeter railing of the plaza to peer
down on the ice skating rink, where dozens of skaters of all ages
moved in a slow, wide circles.
The couple squeezed their way into a space at the railing. Joseph
stood behind Janet, his arms wrapped around her waist.
Directly across the way, the spruce evergreen towered some sixty
feet high in front of the seventy-story RCA Building. The tree was
adorned with assorted colored lights, garland, and other decorations.
White clumps of freshly fallen snow gathered on the ends of the
branches. Though Janet craned her neck back as far as possible, she
couldn’t see to the top of the building where the uppermost floors
disappeared into low-lying clouds.
“Oh, Joseph isn’t it all so wonderful?” She wiggled free of his
embrace and turned to him, her arms reached around his neck. “What
kind of a tree can we have at the apartment?”
“We don’t put up a tree, honey,” Joseph said reluctantly, “Jews
don’t celebrate Christmas.” It was a detail she’d somehow forgotten.
I’m sorry sweetheart. You know if it were up to me, we’d have all
that stuff. But it’s my parents’ home and, well, we have to respect
that, right?”
Janet twisted her mouth into a comical frown that made Joseph
laugh. Then, her face brightened in that pixie-like way he’d come
to love. She scooped up a mitten full of loose snow from the railing
and tossed it into the air over their heads. Most of it came right back
in her face, but she didn’t mind a bit.
“Know what? It doesn’t matter.” She spun around and raised
both hands out in the direction of the giant spruce. “This can be our
Christmas tree! We can come back on Christmas morning and exchange
our gifts right here. We can exchange gifts with each other,
right?”
“Yes, silly, of course we can. But I already have the best gift any
man could get. I got you, babe.”
Sometimes her man said such wonderful things. She stood on
tiptoes to kiss him hard on the lips.

♫♫♫♫♫

Joseph and Janet followed through on their plans for Christmas
Day. They were up and out after a quick breakfast, taking the subway
to Rockefeller Center. They found the usually bustling city to
be quiet, the streets were almost deserted, and many of the stores
were closed. When they arrived at the plaza they sat on an empty
bench to exchange gifts.
She presented him with a gift box containing a pair of black
imitation leather gloves. Joseph appreciated the gift of something
that he needed. In turn, he gave Janet a small round box, neatly
wrapped. She felt certain he hadn’t done it himself. It excited her to
know her gift was something special. Janet removed the wrapping
paper and opened the box. She let out a gasp when she saw it contained
a white gold engagement ring with a small diamond in a simple
setting. Tears ran down her cheeks.
“This diamond ring is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
Joseph slipped the ring on her finger and kissed her for a long
time.


*********************************************************************************

Within The Box


     I look at the box sitting on the bed and know something is not right. On the surface, it appears like any other round box, but upon closer observation, there are marked differences: there are no seams, no overlap. It is too perfect.

     From where I stand, it is apparent that no wrinkles exist on the surface, either sides or top. The total smoothness makes no sense. It was delivered moments ago, the packaging showing not much care had been taken to insure its arrival in such pristine condition. And yet . . .

     There is no address of any kind on the wrapping: mine or a return address. How did it wind up here? I should have checked it closer before bringing it inside. Maybe it's a bomb. No, that makes no sense. I am just an average guy; there is no reason to single me out for attack.

     I put my ear as close as I dare to the strange box: roughly twelve inches in diameter and three inches high, it looks like it could contain a fruitcake-if fruitcakes came in cardboard boxes. There is a sound coming from it, and I back up a bit. Geesh, I'm six feet tall and two hundred pounds of mean and lean, and I'm afraid of a little box.

     Get a grip, man!

     Shit! The damned thing is glowing now! It's almost a fluorescent kind of light shining back at me, but more than that, the luminescence is spread evenly around the room, catching the front and back of everything, leaving no shadows. Damn! How can light diffuse like that? It's impossible!

     A stirring comes from within, creating a mixture of sounds, confusing me as to their origin. This must be a trick, someone went through a lot of work to scare me like this. I wonder if they're hiding somewhere, watching me freak out. Yeah, Captain Courageous is putting on quite a show!

     I look everywhere. I'm alone. No one else is here.

     This is pissing me off now! The box is taunting me, pulling me towards it, telling me I have to open it, to see what's inside. I need to know!

     I place my hands over the top and feel a little heat but nothing else. All appears safe. Closer and closer I get, my courage building, but yet at the same time I half expect something to jump out at me: a deformed Jack-In-The-Box ready to strike for my jugular.

     Mere seconds before my hands are on the box and ready to remove the lid, it shakes wildly, a powerful whirring sound filling the room. I stumble backwards, tripping over my slippers sitting on the carpet. As I watch in horror, the top lifts smoothly up from the rest of the box, the sound and light show intensifying.

     Still, from where I am, I can see nothing. Everything is contained within the box.

     Slowly, I advance towards the box, staying low until I am ready to peer over the edge of the precipice.

     I gasp at what I see, but I don't have time to react as I am sucked inside as the box expands, allowing me to fit within.

     One second I was another cog in the wheel of human mediocrity. Now, I am part of a thrilling, dynamic place with bright lights, miraculous ships of transport, and a peace and happiness that needs no explaining. It is merely there.

     The box is a gift: a supreme gift given only to the most fortunate. I smile as the lid closes back down. My new home wants me to explore its wonders. It is my pleasure and joy.

                                                *    *    *    *

     Sheila walks into the room looking for Fred. "Where the hell is he?" she mutters. "Hmmn, fancy this: a strange looking box. I wonder what's in it . . .


*********************************************************************************

2 comments:

pauldail.com said...

This is great. Thank you so much. I will be back to comment on some of the stories soon, but wanted to stop in quickly and say thanks. I had a great time with this one (even though I thought I would be able to get it under 500. But that often seems to be the case :)

Paul D. Dail
www.pauldail.com- A horror writer's not necessarily horrific blog

Joann Hamann-Buchanan said...

Thank you soooo much! I have a blast doing Writer WED. The stories are always sooo cool!!

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