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A working professional and part-time writer, full-time Mom and modern day Alice in Wonderland...

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Peace Not Forced

"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
DAY 1077, Feb. 20, 2017
Taking after 2/19/17 prompt...
Prompt: If you could write some advice for the entire humankind on a board or tablet where everyone could see, what would that advice be? It can be as short or as long as you wish.

If there has anything this last year has taught me, is that as humankind is largely opposed to taking advice, especially when it comes from an alternative viewpoint or opinion. If social media has shown us anything, it is that our opinions and positions on issues are not easily swayed by the testimony of others - regardless how impassioned or heartfelt it may be.

I have found myself at a bit of a loss at how divided I feel our nation has become and sadly I struggle to think of an universal piece of advice that would subvert the barriers and divisions. If I were to leave some word for my fellow masses, it would have be the words of people far more gifted and visionary than myself.

 My advice would be to heed the words of Albert Einstein:

"Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding."

or those of the Dalai Lama:

"World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not the absence of violence; peace is the manifestation of human compassion."

And, myself included, to try to remember that our human journey is far more precious and beautiful than can be experienced through a glowing smart phone screen. The human experience isn't isolated and relative, it is universal, barrier-less and boundless.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Josephine Purdy

*Rated 18+, this story may contain adult themes and language.

Twin beams of yellow light danced over the tops of the tombstones as the boys raced in tandem through the cemetery. They dodged and darted between the larger stones and mausoleums and hurtled over the toppled gravestones and smaller markers.

As the adrenaline coursed through him, Kyle felt it firing his limbs and he resisted the primal urge to howl. The empty cans of spray paint in his pockets rattled and bounced and he struggled not to lose them as he ran. His cousin Paul matched his pace, falling behind only to surge past him again and again. Kyle saw him now, coming up fast on his right side, his face a mask of tension. A few hundred yards off the cemetery gates loomed up in the darkness. He could not see their bikes beyond it but he knew they were there, waiting.

Admittedly this had been a bad idea. If they had been caught in the act of vandalizing a cemetery, it was big trouble for both of them. Kyle was still processing that thought when his foot caught on something and he went down hard. He landed on his chest, knocking the wind from his lungs. His flashlight hit the ground, the light and lens shattered with the impact. Kyle rolled onto his back, waiting for his breath and for the pain to subside. When it had, he sat up and looked around.

He had tripped over a fallen tombstone. It was lying almost parallel to the ground, the aged stone pockmarked and covered with black moss. Kyle crawled the short distance to it. It was out of place, set apart from the others. It should not have been there.
Paul was suddenly at his side, helping him to his feet.

“Dude, you took a serious digger!” the younger boy said, not bothering to harness the laughter that leaked out with the words.

“Yeah, I tripped over that, “ Kyle said, grabbing his cousin’s flashlight and directing the beam onto the gravestone.

The light illuminated a grave marker that was narrower and older looking than any other they’d seen that night. It was half sunken into earth,the writing so degenerated that it was illegible but for one word, “Purdy”.

Paul and Kyle exchanged a look. The name meant something to them as it would have to anyone from Brewster familiar with the town’s dark history.

“She wasn’t buried this close to the gates was she?” Paul asked.

Kyle looked over Paul’s shoulder and saw to his dismay that the gates where not as close as he thought they’d been. Indeed, their impressive outlines where no longer visible. How had they gotten turned around? Confusion and an ever increasing pain in his ankle infused Kyle with a new fear. They hadn’t been turned around, they had been running for those gates. He had seen them. Even in the darkness, Kyle had registered their outlines on the horizon.

Paul snatched his flashlight back from his cousin and slowly turned in a wide circle, casting the beam in a wide arch to survey their surroundings. Nothing looked familiar. The boys stood shoulder to shoulder, stunned and silent in the deepening night.
The toppled gravestone at their feet began to vibrate – they felt it through the soles of their sneakers. They backed up and away from it. The air was suddenly thick with the smell of rot, it pressed in past their teeth and filled their throats. Assaulted by the stretch, both boys began retching and spitting.

Kyle felt Paul’s hand suddenly gripe his arm. He followed his cousin’s frightened gaze and saw the figure advancing on them, a darker space in the blackness. Paul raised the flashlight beam and illuminated the night and the moving figure.

It was a woman in a white cotton shift. Long black hair trailed down her shoulders and her feet and legs were bare. As the beam moved up over body, the boys saw that she was naked under the shift, her dark mounds and full breasts clearly discernable through the thin material. She was older, perhaps Kyle’s mother’s age, with strong womanly features and large eyes. She drew within four of five feet of the boys and smiled, cutting her eyes from one boy to the other before stepping in close to Kyle. She paused and tugged the dress over her head and off with one practiced hand. She leaned forward, her long lashes brushing his cheek and she sniffed him. The woman placed both hands on his chest, gripped his sweatshirt in talon-like fists and dragged Kyle forward against her body.

She smelled bad, really bad. Kyle registered that fact as strongly as he did her lush, hard body. He felt his arousal mounting despite the smell of rot emanating from her and his own growing sense of terror. He felt Paul back away slowly, felt his cousin make the decision to bolt just before he did exactly that. Kyle tried to call out after him but the woman was looming close and her eyes were dark, oscillating pools that paralyzed him. Kyle stood on quaking legs while her fingers trailed down to his belt and below it, pressing against the obvious bulge in the front of his jeans.

The woman began keening, a horrendous sound that made Kyle mad with fear. She began caressing his arousal through the denim. When Kyle tried to pull away, she hissed wetly at him, sending thin ribbons of black spittle over his cheeks and chin. Her fingers gripped the buckle of his belt and tugged it free in a practiced motion. Kyle struggled backwards, tried to pry her hands away but she had already wrapped a hand around his erection and pulled him free. He was hard and pulsing in her cold grip.

The touch made him cry out in pain and in terror. The wrongness of his situation rushed over him like a tide and he began to twist violently away, sobbing and cursing at the abomination that had him in her demonic clutch. He felt her nails ripping ribbons of flesh from his buttocks, felt her teeth at his neck and saw her swollen, lolling tongue. He got his arms up between them, pressed his palms against her breasts and shoved as hard as he could. The woman stumbled back, her hand fell away and Kyle was suddenly free. He turned and ran blindly into the night.

He ran and ran, stumbling and falling, his pants slipping down over his hips. He dragged himself back to his feet, tugging them back up and breaking into another wild sprint. His heart was pounding and he was screaming, too loud to hear anything that chased him. He did not look back. He felt the spray cans drop from his pockets and fall away. He didn’t stop to retrieve them. His eyes darted across the cemetery as he ran, looking for anything familiar, desperately looking for the gates. Then, he saw them.

Kyle tapped into his last reserves and took off. The momentum sent him careening into the wrought iron frames, rattling them. Kyle tugged them open and slipped through. Paul and his bike were gone. He snatched his up from the ground. He hurriedly stuffed himself, limp and shriveled now back into his jeans. Kyle threw his leg over the bike and launched himself away as quickly as he could manage. He rode at a breakneck, hazard pace all the way home. He never looked back, just pedaled and rubbed the tears from his eyes.

The house was dark and quiet, as he had left it hours before. Kyle slipped out of his clothes and stepped into the hottest shower his tender skin could stand. He washed himself roughly, turning his skin red in the steam. He could still smell her decay on his body, still felt the horror of her assault and the tender places on his body that she had scratched, torn and bruised. He still saw the obscenity of her naked breasts and her exposed sex in his mind. Exhausted, Kyle fell into bed. In the relative safety of his room, he felt unhinged.

Josephine Purdy had been the town postmistress decades ago. She had been a dark beauty, a widow with very un-puritan appetites. She had seduced the pious town magistrate and his wife had accused her of being a witch. Josephine had been tried and hung. She had been buried in the outskirts of the cemetery to be forgotten. The creature that attacked and violated him tonight had most certainly been her. Tomorrow the police would find the vandalized graves, spray cans and subsequently their fingerprints. Kyle didn’t care. He wasn’t going back to get them, what waited there for him was far worse than punishment he could imagine.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Purple crocs and Practical Matters

"Blogging Circle of Friends "
DAY 1554 February 16, 2017
Let's turn on those creative juices and create something with these words: gray, smart, thaw, bow, jelly, window

The world outside the kitchen window was a stark gray landscape of two week old snow that refused to thaw. Theresa felt the familiar tug of another budding depression in her bones. She was not a winter person. Unlike her daughter, she did not rise with childish excitement to watch a new snowfall coat the world. She did not bound eagerly into the drifts or throw herself back first into the soft ground to make snow angels with pumping arms. Snow made her feel oppressed, especially when it lingered and turned slowly dirty and black with prolonged exposure to the urban grind.

Nattie was suddenly at her elbow.

"Mom, are you making my lunch?" she asked, dragging a toy brush through her messy blonde curls.

"That's not your brush Natalie Jean and what are you wearing?"

Her five year old daughter took at step back and twirled proudly showing off her latest ensemble. This morning her daughter had paired leopard print leggings with a zebra pink top and purple rubber crocs. It should have made Theresa giggle, but she was just so tired.

Theresa pointed to the winter boots by the front door and said, with as much authority as she could muster, "no crocs Nattie, it's winter."

Her daughter pulled a face and dramatically flipped the crocs off her feet, barely missing the dog's water bowl with one.

"Fine, then...better not give me peanut butter and jelly!"

Theresa looked down at the blob of jelly on the end of her knife. She felt the depression settle deeper in her joints.

The alarm on her phone suddenly chimed, a ten minute warning for them both that the bus would be there soon. Theresa fetched a real hairbrush and dragged it through her daughter's hair, doing her best to power through despite Natalie's diva-worthy screeching. In the end, she gave up. She pulled the unruly tangles into a ponytail and plopped on a pink bow to match the zebra top. She stepped back and looked at her pouting daughter, trying to gauge how much of a hot mess she actually was. Theresa decided Natalie's ensemble was passable for a spirited kindergartner.

Theresa helped Natalie into her winter coat and hat. She bent and brushed her face free of pop tart crumbs before planting a kiss on her pursed little lips and herding her out the door. Half way down the driveway, Natalie relented and slipped her gloved hand into Theresa's. They walked past the graying mounds of ice and snow. Theresa tried hard not to focus on the decaying snowman stripped of both his arms and carrot nose and battered by the elements.

As the school bus rounded the corner and bore down on them, Natalie quipped, "Mommy I hope it snows again tomorrow!"

Theresa bit back her knee jerk response, which would have been colorful and inappropriate at best. She waved to her daughter as the bus drove off. Alone now with herself, Theresa welcomed the wave of melancholy that broke over her like a tide. She slowly walked back to the house, momentarily indulging in a fantasy where she would hibernate until late Spring.

"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 1073 February 16, 2017
Prompt: "It's important that my products are beautiful but it matters that they are functional." How do you feel about this?

I was raised by a woman who was practical to a fault. My mother had the dark beauty to wear anything well and the opportunity to afford a full and generous closet. She was the young wife of a successful entrepreneur, in many ways, the quintessential corporate wife. She was beautiful, with her slender build, dark hair and blue eyes and she dutifully attended all the company functions on my father's arm. She cut a lovely figure in any room and her outfits were always eye-catching.

I remember shopping with her at a local place called the Tiage. She bought a lot of her party clothes there. They specialized in those one of a kind dresses that were elaborate, embellished with rich colors and layers of embroidered lace. These were all dresses and pantsuits cut to flatter and it seemed to me, every one she tried on was perfect for her. She would try on a lot but very often, almost always in fact, she would leave with just one.

My mother could have afforded ten of those dresses but she didn't think they were practical. Instead, she would buy one and then wear it different ways, dressed down with a blazer or worn with heavier jewelry for a night out. She shopped for the occasion or event, preferring to buy something she could disguise and re-wear to multiple functions. I remember watching her struggle to choose between two or three designs and I began echoing my grandmother's insistence that she just, "get them all!". If my mother could not assign a practical, specific use to a dress or an outfit, back into the rack it went no matter how flawless she had looked in it. I simultaneously envied her ability to wear those dresses and was frustrated by her frugal refusal to purchase them.

My mother had a one teal dress, short sleeved and silky. It had elaborate detailed cut-outs across the helm and at the base of the sleeves. The color and cut were absolutely perfect for her. She wore that a lot. She bought the same dress in a pale pink. There was another outfit, a cream colored pantsuit that could have been designed with her exact coloring and curvature in mind. She made so few extravagant purchases for herself that I can still recall the exceptionally beautiful ones with such clarity. The quote today reminded me so much of my mother...of that part of her that was both appreciative of beautiful things but always governed by practicality over them.