Friday, February 8, 2019

The Face-Stuffing, Running, Decaying, Ghost -Torturing Dead

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words were: autistic, you never know, stuffing, manual, heart, build. They were submitted by:

Okay so full disclosure: this isn't a 100% original idea. I saw a prompt of the general point of the thing and wanted to write it, so here we are. I sort of made the words fit instead of letting them fall naturally where they do like I have with a lot of other UYW posts, but I think it still turned out pretty good. 


The first sound Vanessa uttered in her afterlife was an exasperated yawn. See, she didn't quite realize yet that she was dead. To her, it was any other day she didn't want to get out of bed to face. Another day, another $1. Well, another $.25 if she wanted to be realistic.

The thought of money made her brain kick through the sleep fog and realize a couple things at once. The late afternoon lighting meant she was about to be late for her evening shift at work. Again. And she was *not* looking forward to getting her ass chewed out for it or the potential write up and suspension she might face.

And, two, she wasn't actually at home.

What in the wide world of fuck? She was in the middle of a cemetery.

The breeze she felt and the lighting is what really made her open her eyes and focus long enough to take in her surroundings. Tombstones, creepy angel statues, the cloying scent of too many dying flowers, shade trees every few plots as if the dead got hot in their little rectangular dirt prisons and needed some respite...definitely a cemetery.

The thing of it was, though, being in the cemetery was actually not as shocking as the fact that it was filled with ghosts. Like, actual translucent beings hovering inches off the ground. There but not there. Eerily familiar but not. Ghosts without a doubt.

"Holy fuckeroni! I have never seen an actual ghost before. I didn't think they were real! Huh, you never know with this life. You never know."

A tall drink of ethereal paleness in dr. martens and a flannel shirt floated in her direction, "uh, honey, do i have news for you then."

"What's that supposed to mean?!"

"Take a good look at yourself."

So Vanessa did. Her shock grew by miles as she took in her luminescent skin, the fact that she could see the ground through herself, the fact that she almost but not quite touched the ground. No being in the history of the universe had ever screamed as long and as loud as she did in the few moments following.

"Was that necessary?" the flanneled ghost with the slim build asked her.

"Maybe," she huffed while internally she cringed at how much she was checking out this ghost seconds after finding out she was dead. Always thinking with her heart not her brain. Okay, okay heart and vagina. Mostly vagina.

But in her defense, the girl ghost was definitely hot.

"I'm not a girl. They/them pronouns please."

"Whaaaaaat?! You read minds? And I apologize for assuming gender."

"No problem. But to answer your question, you're not human anymore, you know. What you are now was pretty much what your mind consisted of when you were alive. Your internals are all out here in the ether, so, like, everyone knows everything about everyone else until they're finally at rest."

"Okay.... creepy. Also, 3 questions real quick. 1) what the fucking fuck? 2) How do you know all this? 3) what do you mean 'finally at rest?'"

"In order: 1) it is what it is. 2) there's not a manual like in Beetlejuice. We figure it out along the way. 3) you know that cliche movie plot where ghosts exist because of unfinished business? Totally true."

"I don't have any unfinished business. I barely have finished business. All I do is work and watch Netflix. No great mystery there unless it's about finishing my 12th time watching Trailer Park Boys start to finish."

"Remember how you died?"

"Oh. No actually. Was I murdered or something?"

"How the hell would I know?"

Vanessa started to speak then stopped, one ghostly finger in mid-air while she paused before finally saying, "you're the one who said everyone knows everything about everyone!"

"Only if you know it. I mean, otherwise how would the info get to me? Just think back and see if you remember anything at all. Maybe it's a clue."

The last thing she remembered was calling in sick to work with a fever, cough, and stomach cramps. She'd been home in bed trying to relax with comfort tv, something to make her laugh but that she'd seen enough that she didn't really have to pay attention and how could she so loaded up on medication? A little weed, nyquil, Phenergan she had left over from the last time she was sick, and a vicodin for the cramps. No wonder she didn't remember much.

"You were sick, you say?"

"I didnt 'say' anything but yes why?"

"Shit. You're not going to like this."

"Well don't leave me hanging!"

The ghost drew closer and pulled her away from her spot. "It's almost time. If I'm right, you can see for yourself in a few moments then I'll explain."

"What if you're wrong?"

"Let's hope I am."

The two of them sat together quietly for awhile as the sunlight streaked in multicolored tendrils across the sky and began to fade. When the last of those tendrils started to pull away, she heard it--a faint scratching coming from the freshly covered dirt plot she woke up on. Her eyes grew 5x their normal size as she saw a hand shoot out of the ground like something out of a Romero movie. Not just any hand. Hers. She'd recognize that botched nail job she did herself the day before she got sick anywhere.

Never day drink on your day off and try to do your own acrylics.

The other hand followed then a muddy face growled and pushed its way out of the ground. She stared across at her own self in absolute terror. It *was* her, or, at least, it looked like her, but it was also eerily devoid of any sort of--well, for lack of a less cheesy word choice--life.

Her body pulled the rest of its way free from the dirt and made a shambling run for the gates.

"I was afraid that would happen."

"Well what the fuck happened? What is going on? Why did I just climb out the damn ground and make a run for it while ghost me is still here?!"

"That wasn't the real you. It was zombie you."

Vanessa's jaw dropped open a few inches leaving her utterly speechless which was all fine and well considering she heard growling and screams coming from the entrance. Apparently, someone had chosen the wrong time to visit their loved one's memory, and she, er, her body, or, uh, zombie her was taking advantage.

"Look at zombie you stuffing her face! She's really putting back that thigh meat."


"I mean, looked to me like zombie you just ripped the sucker right off and bit a huge chunk out, clothes and all."

"No, asshole, how did that...thing...happen? How am I... how is my body or whatever... fucking whatever. How does that zombie exist?"

"I guess seeing my lifeless body reanimated and tearing into the first warm body it could find would be a shock for me too so I'll forgive the 'asshole' comment. Just this once though. As for the zombies--yes there are more than just you. You aren't that special--there was a measles outbreak in the northwest then the northeast then it spread to the South and mutated. We could talk all day--or I could at least--about conspiracy theory culture, the legitimate fear Americans have over their own healthcare system, and the resulting need for research and self diagnosis, but regardless of the nuance and need for that conversation, this is different. *THIS* all started in an area with a bunch of crunchy moms who were terrified about vaccinations making their kids autistic despite all the evidence to the contrary. Oh no your kid works differently. The fucking horror, amirite? Either way somewhere during its travels across the country it mutated and became something else entirely. I don't quite know how it worked on a molecular level or why it affects humans the way it does, but that's why the stuff that made you who you are is here and the physical you is working its way through a 250 lb man like he's a candy bar."


"And my guess is the ectoplasmic you will exist until someone takes your body out however long that takes."


"Are you okay?"

"um. no?"

"Fair enough."

"What am I supposed to do?"

"Enjoy my company. Obviously. I mean, you do think I'm hot after all. wink, wink. We can follow your body around and make bets on how many humans you take out in a day and see how long it takes you to figure out my name, Van."

The familiarity of the nickname made her smile in both sadness and nostalgia. "I guess there are worse ways to spend eternity, but it would be lit if I didn't look like death."

Vanessa shrugged when she realized her unintentional pun, and the two set out after her physical self already arguing over who would win the night's bet as more zombies gathered around the closed cemetery gates trying to free themselves for a night of gluttony.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Wandering Web Designer

Cognitive Script

Southern Belle Charm

The Bergham Chronicles

On the Border

Part-time Working Hockey Mom 

Friday, February 1, 2019

GTG Deluxe

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 8 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Imagine yourself as a product people can buy. Tell us about yourself... Create an ad, to get people to buy you. What are the best parts of you?!

It was submitted by:

Ok, so admittedly I was a little intimidated by this prompt. I'm not good at talking myself up and I kinda felt awkward about the whole equating myself to a product thing, but I did my best with a little help from some friends. 


Is your life a little too colorful? Could you use a little darkness and mystery? Do you need a constant voice of sarcasm following your every move? Well, look no further. This Titty Goblin, deluxe goth version, can satisfy all your needs.

Titty goblins are known for adding a little weirdness to life, but with the new goth version you can amp up the weird to astronomical levels. Witchy paraphernalia, obscure subgenres of heavy metal, and a deep fascination with the occult and dead things are included with all goth titty goblins, but with the deluxe model expect a closet full of interchangeable black clothes, at least a dozen different matte sanguine lipsticks, and collections of geeky merchandise like Pop Vinyl figures, enamel pins, vinyl records, and Halloween décor. In fact, be prepared to embrace all things Halloween all year long.

This deluxe version of the goth titty goblin might have a chronic illness, but she can still make a mean cheesecake and makes the most of her energy and time. When she’s not absolutely rocking your world, you can find her taking care of animals, writing prisoners, or working on any number of crafty projects.

She’s a snack. A pumpkin shaped candy with a hard, sour outer shell and a soft, sweet gummy center. 

A goddess with purple hair in a bat print dress. 

A Tattooed Lady with a coffee addiction who still watches Scooby Doo. 

She might come with a little emotional baggage, a soul scarred and cobbled together like Frankenstein’s bride, but she’s done the work to at least make herself whole. Patched but whole. 

In other words, life might just be better with her than without.

But don’t just take our word for it. here are some friend testimonials!

“Best titty goblin on the market!” –Tessa

“Hardest working mom of 2 and 4 legged kids you could ever find!!” –Tom

“What more than ‘goth titty goblin’ do you need?” –Phil

“Jenniy is a highly satisfactory product! Self maintaining, efficient, and compassionate, Jenniy has excelled at self awareness, truth-seeking, and backing causes that help people without harming.” –Mel

“Jenniy is hilarious, compassionate, and really cool despite living in BFE Georgia. 13/10 would recommend!” --Amber

"Do you need to kill machismo in a single witty quip? Definitely use the Jenniy model of the GTG Deluxe!"--Brandon


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Wandering Web Designer

Cognitive Script

Southern Belle Charm

The Bergham Chronicles

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, January 11, 2019

Granny Candy part 4

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: cut, collaborate, call, compare, car

I love these characters. I think that each installment can kind of stand on its own, but if you haven't and would like to, you can find the first ones within the last couple of months on the blog. I may come back and add links when my internet isn't playing with my emotions. 

here's to a future Lizzy book series. i really think I want to give it a shot. 


About a week into The Job, Lizzy escorted a seemingly ancient, possibly older than time itself, grammar teacher to Hel, the Norse version of afterlife for those who didn’t die in battle. Odd but still not the weirdest escort of the week. The woman was short and slightly rotund. Her back was a little rounded from age and poor posture but not quite a hump. She swished down the hallways beside Lizzy in a navy blue woolen skirt and a pale blue cardigan that almost matched her hair. She had a floral hat on her head and the peachiest lipstick Lizzy had ever seen haphazardly swiped across her thin lips but none of that old lady shit made her seem less intimidating. Lizzy started to speak a hundred times but couldn’t find the courage until they were almost at the woman’s destination.

She took and a deep breath and in a rush, “howintheotherworldlyfuckdidyoubecomeNorsepaganma’am?”

The woman stopped in her tracks. The orangish lip color making her scowl look more garish and vulgar that it possibly could have on its own. “Young lady, I would suggest you modify both your language and manner of speaking so you do not sound like such an utter buffoon. Act according to your age and title, and learn to breathe. The spoken word should be elegant, sharp, and direct not some circus sideshow of vulgarities and strings of improper syntax formed from letters cut from smutty magazines.”

Lizzy hurried her to the door and nearly pushed her down trying to usher her through the threshold. She slammed it shut so hard the frame split at the knob a little and made a move for the elevator at the end of the hall. Inside, she, in her flustered frame of mind, accidentally hit the button for the basement, before correcting and hitting the 1. A little musak played through bat speakers that hung upside down in the back corners of the space while she descended down from nearly the top of the building (not the top where The Boss stayed, though).

Once at the bottom, the doors opened onto a space she wasn’t at all expecting. Part of the floor was obviously used as the mailroom. There were stacks upon stacks of letters, mail shoots, and workers in little white uniforms running all over the place in what was probably a bit of controlled chaos. To her left though, she could see a small kitchen and seating area surrounded by glass walls. There was a water cooler and a row of vending machines and tables full of...well, beings in the middle of what appeared to be a pretty intense argument. Before she could investigate further, the doors closed on her and sent her back up a floor.

Grimmy was there waiting. And not smiling. She couldn’t see his face, but his panicked disapproval left a bitter taste in the back of her throat that almost made her yak on her new work shoes (there were at least 372 Walmarts in the Christian Hell portion of eternity and between them at any given time only 13 checkouts open).

Why were you just in the basement of all places, Lizzy? She felt his cringy embarrassment, a hot blast of sticky humid swamp air and immediately wondered what the fuck was up. 90% of their time together he spent in irritated confusion or being disgusted by something she said. Embarrassment was a new one.

“Yeah, I had this old school marm on my ass about how I talk and hit the wrong button on the way down. Elevator closed before I could get a good look, but it definitely didn’t look like any basement I've seen. Why didn’t you tell me we have a breakroom and coworkers, dude???! I need to get my snack on."

Coworkers. Ha. These are not beings worth your time, dear child. That breakroom is full of interpersonal problems and nonstop fighting. I stay away and so should you.

“Interpersonal problems, you say? Oh shit, spill the tea, sis.”

I know you have some meaning to this, so I will refrain from offering you a mug of this new ginger chamomile tea I found in the atheist eternity, but I will say it is delicious.

“Grimmy, I explained tea to you last week. Tea means, like, gossip/dirt/trash talk. Spill it. Tell me. Who are these ‘beings’ and what’s up with the fighting?”

Chronos, Idun, Dionysus, Geb, and Minerva are regulars, but many of the deity iterations pop in and other supernatural beings.

“What about Paul Rudd?”

Who is this?

“How in Hades can you not know who Paul Rudd is?! Pretty sure he is immortal. Also, I would worship him, so there’s that.”

I do not know this being. Perhaps he only has longevity not immortality.

“You really do ruin all the fun, you know. Either way, can we go to the breakroom and check out the reality tv drama or nah?”

I would prefer nah.

“Ugh. Are you going to make me beg here? Come on, Grimmy. I can’t go alone. I need my partner there to give intros. And I need some trash in my life. I haven’t watched a cat fight in way too long.”

Why does others’ misery entertain you so?

“Because it ain’t mine?! I mean, I love seeing people happy and shit. Give me a video of a little kid getting their lost dog back, and I turn to mush, but there’s also this part of me that revels in the pettiness of seeing someone else being called out for being an asshole especially when I am not that asshole or dealing with that asshole. Ya dig?”

That is actually quite a bit more insightful than I would have expected coming from you.

“ I aim to please.”


“Does this mean you’ll go?”

I suppose the only way to get you to shut up about it is to give in, but once there, you absolutely will not be able to say I did not give you fair warning about how awful it could be.

“it’s your call.”

His irritation bloomed over her like nibbling teeth. I will never understand why you must have the last word even when it makes you look utterly ridiculous.

“Whatever. Can we go now?”

We need to wait until after the lunch rush. Traffic and terrible workdays always puts the newly dead in foul moods. No point making them wait.

Lizzy turned without a word then. Her eternity’s mission was to prove him wrong every possible opportunity.

After lunch, and he had been right unfortunately about the state of the newly dead, the two met at the elevator. He didn’t say much beyond an exasperated grumble and pressed the B. Lizzy was nearly vibrating with excitement which in turn made Grimmy bristle with even more annoyance. She loved it.

The car slid to a stop. She braced herself, fixed her posture, and held her head high in the moments before the door opened, but she was absolutely not ready for the scene that played out before her.

The vending machines were broken heaps thrown around the room. The mail that had been sorted into stacks and crates was strewn across the floor covered in drops of blood, splatters of food, and swipes of mud. Hopefully mud. She didn’t want to think about what else it could be. Objects were flying across the field of her vision too fast to discern exactly what they were. Voices were shrieking in tones too loud and garbled to be heard, but she caught a few words in the mix: sleazy, two-timing, corroborate, hag, can’t compare the two. It was easy enough to put together that someone’s partner had shown up and caught two of the beings that worked in the building, well, fornicating in whatever way such beings do. And the results were not pretty. She couldn't see anyone, but they were definitely waging a personal war that would make a Jerry Springer show look docile in comparison.

Grimmy had gleefully placed a foot to hold the elevator doors open. She could feel the vindication slinking off him like a drag queen’s favorite boa come to life. He was absolutely reveling in the chaos because it meant he was right and she was wrong. Again. And he would never let her live, uh, exist it down.

She was about to mention something about his pettiness when a web of lightning bolts crisscrossed the top of the building causing lights to flicker, screams from the mailroom workers to erupt, and sparks to fly. One of those sparks happened to catch the very tip of Grimmy’s robes and next thing she knew, he was ablaze halfway up his bony legs. He screeched loudly—the only real sound she had ever heard from him externally instead of in her head—and snapped a small fire extinguisher into existence to put out the flames.

She was still laughing when the doors closed, and he pressed the 1 amidst a cloud of agitated shame. 


Baking In A Tornado

Wandering Web Designer

Cognitive Script

Southern Belle Charm

The Bergham Chronicles

On the Border

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, January 4, 2019


Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 6 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My  “Secret Subject” is: You’re grocery shopping & run into your “first love”. What do you do? What do you say?

It was submitted by:


Here's the thing about relationships: I don't do them often.

 I am commitment phobic, independent to a fault, and I have high expectations in a partner. Not too many people understand that and can jive with it, and I can't stand most people, so my relationships have been few and far between. I don't have many exes at all, and those I do have I don't have some weird bad blood with. There is only one person from my early high school days with whom I will never speak again, but that had more to do with things he had done before we met over anything that happened between us while we "dated"...and I mean, does high school even count anyway? Either way, my first actual love came a few years after, but either way I just don't have a lot of hate or anger when it comes to the few people I tried the commitment thing with...

 Here's the thing about first loves: I don't think I was able to have one in the same way a lot of people do.

 Being sexually assaulted at 13 changed me forever. Even my first really serious relationship wasn't uncomplicated and without baggage. I held back, grew depressed, and was a large factor in why it ended. I absolutely couldn't be happy, and I couldn't be confident or feel safe. I had entirely too much anger and resentment, and I couldn't relinquish any little bit of control. A lot of that stemmed from trauma, and in so many ways everything from the moment that trauma occured has been shaped by this sliver of time in which every part of me was violated and rebuilt into someone wholly different. I died for someone's 2 minutes of pleasure and became someone who had REALLY BIG ISSUES to work through. Love was always and will always be a very complex topic that needs a lot of navigation for me, and since it happened so young, I didn't get a chance to explore love and relationships without that stain of trauma. 

Here's the thing about MY first love: A part of me still loves him. And always will.

 There's no anger or resentment that he couldn't handle me as a mess. I'm not angry that he, too, was a mess. He's probably still a mess to be honest. He was (is?) a beautiful, dorky soul. We didn't remain friends, and honestly, sometimes I miss that friendship. It got me through dark times in high school before we dated after graduating. We were friends first, dated for a bit, got our first apartment ever together. It was freeing but chaotic and stressful. Between always hurting for money and the messes we both were, we destroyed what we had. So what I ultimately mean is that there's no reason for it to be tense and weird because we dated. We made good memories and really loved one just wasnt the time and place in our lives for things to work.

 Here's the thing about social standards: fuck 'em.

 I know it's supposed to be weird and taboo to run into someone who saw you naked a bunch, but I just don't operate that way. I'm still friends with several people who have seen me in all kinds of states of nudity, who I have shared myself with just once or plenty of times. It's really not all that odd for me, and it wouldn't be a factor in how I reacted to seeing this person.

Finally, here's the thing about unexpected social interaction: I avoid it like my dog avoids me anytime she hears the word "tub."

 If I saw him anywhere, I might duck and run like I do when I see anyone I know because I hate social interaction, but if we happened to wind up in the same checkout line, I'd speak and treat him like anyone else I feel forced to socialize with--like I'm the most awkward human being in the world or perhaps an alien just getting used to posing as a human for the first time. I might respond to questions like "how've you been" with "thanks, you too" and turn 15 shades of red in a record .2 milliseconds. Rest assured, though, that's how I am with anyone not just someone i gave my battered heart to nearly a couple decades ago.

So. If I ran into my first'd be just another thing.


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado

Wandering Web Designer

Cognitive Script

Southern Belle Charm

The Bergham Chronicles

Part-time Working Hockey Mom       

Friday, December 14, 2018

A Krampy Holiday Part 2

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

I'm using: meaningful encounter, holly, creature, pod, clay, hidden treasure

They were submitted by:

I wasn't sure if I'd be writing a second part to this. I felt okay with leaving it as a standalone drop-in kind of story where we see a few moments and never get real "closure" or an ending, but I had a couple of asks about the rest and the words I had really lined up with a second part, so here we are. I like Estelle as a character. I'm glad I got to write her a little more. 


Estelle was a little rough around the edges and had a tendency of isolating herself. She hadn’t had the best life. Throughout life, whenever the chips were down, she had learned she was the only person she could count on…which, she also knew, was, at least partly, because she was terrible at asking for help. It was a tough cycle to break. But things had kind of changed when she became a Memaw. She had a different outlook on letting people in and not pushing them away. Things in her life had finally fallen in place, and when she’d looked on their little red faces in the hospital, she felt things she hadn’t even with her own kids.

She snuggled them a little harder thinking back on that moment. Lucy, half awake, sighed and demanded, “Memaw finish telling us about when you met…when you met that creature.”

“Child, you fall asleep every single time before I finish.”


“Oh yeah, then why were you sleeping just now, missy?”

“memaw, my name is Lucy not missy. And I was resting my eyes like you do after lunch.”

“You mean your name isn’t HOLLY? I thought it was Holly this whole time!”

“MEMAAAAW! WHAT?” Lucy giggled loudly making Leo stir a little, but he fell right back asleep with his finger up his nose like he was digging for buried treasure. These two, night and day, made her heart so full.

She took another sip of her cider, cleared her throat, and got ready to finally finish this story for at least one of these kids when she heard Lucy snoring lightly. She couldn’t help but chuckle. It was kind of tradition for her to not be able to finish the damned thing now.

She slid slowly out from between the two, lay them on either end of the couch, and tucked them in. She had a feeling that sleep would elude her like it often did lately. She wanted some coffee, one of the caramel vanilla pods she bought for the fancy Keurig her kids had sent for her birthday a couple months ago and headed for the kitchen.

She was a bit lost in thought about that day, the day she saw the Krampus. She’d really thought it was the end of the line for her when he jumped off that bus. He stood there pushing hot air through those flared nostrils staring her down. She was too terrified to scream, too terrified to move. She sat there in the snow, ball melting in her hands soaking her gloves while waiting to be eaten.

He hadn’t moved, hadn’t spoke. She had spent time taking in all his features, hyperfocused on him, memorizing every wrinkle. The lines in his goat-like face had been so deep she could have sworn he was carved out of clay. His ears had been pointed like an elf’s, and she could see the tips of sharp, serrated teeth through the small parting of his lips, lips that didn’t look much different than her own. His fur had been a deep brown with grayed streaks especially in the thicker mane that surrounded his face. His coat looked like the rough, wiry fur of the Bergmans’ dog that had lived down the street from her house. Toby was his name and petting Toby had kinda been like petting a dish scrubber, but he had been nice and had licked her face sometimes even though her mom hated that. The creature had no clothes, but like Toby, he was hairy enough, shaggy enough that his fur looked like pants hanging down over part of his hooves in the snow. She had been horrified even more when it had finally dawned on her that she was staring at the Krampus from that old story her mother had told her every year ‘round Christmas. Santa would bring her gifts if she behaved, but if she didn’t…the Krampus would come and take her away.

But she hadn’t been bad. She knew she hadn’t been bad. She hadn’t been spanked all year at school or my her mother. She did her chores and made good grades and never talked back even though it almost killed her, and the more she thought about it, the madder she got.


He turned his head to the side like an animal hearing an unfamiliar sound curiosity getting the better of him. “You have not?” His voice was deep and grumbly sounding both human and animal-like at once.

“I HAVE NOT. I’VE BEEN GOOD. VERY GOOD. SO NOW WHAT?” She’d felt braver than she ever had before in her life. She had cried all the way up to age 8 every time they saw Santa at the Christmas parade.

“Who said you have been good?”


“Well, I suppose bad grammar is no reason to have you for my dinner.”

“I’d probably taste bad anyway. My mother made asparagus last night, and it makes your pee smell funny. Maybe it does that to your blood, too, and taste funny.”

“I suppose you have a point there, Estelle Kalinda Sizemore.”

She shivered when she heard her name but held her gaze on him steadfastly. “Um, am I supposed to wish you a Merry Christmas or not?”

“Actually, I’m not quite sure. No one ever lives this long.”

“Well, it seems rude not to, so Merry Christmas, and thanks for not taking me.”


She had waved until he was out of sight, and of course, not a single one of her family had ever believed her no matter how much she had cried and swore she was being truthful.

Estelle had almost finished her cup of coffee by the time she snapped out of the memory. Reflecting back on that story always made her feel…like some kind of badass. She’d faced the Krampus and lived to tell about it even if it hadn’t really been a meaningful encounter. It didn’t change the course of history, but it did change her. She was certainly no scaredy cat after that. When she wanted something, she went for it. She stopped sleeping with a night light even.

As she washed her mug still reveling a bit in the memory of that day she thought she saw a little of herself in Lucy, that same sassy bravery and loudmouthed way of getting answers at least, and she smiled. One day they really would have to hear the rest of the story.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Part-Time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Krampy Holiday

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 8 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My prompt is: It was a cloudy cold day in December...

It was submitted by: 


Two pair of pattering feet hit the hallway floor seemingly going from 0 to 60 mph in the blink of an eye. The twins were up again. Of course. They never managed to stay in bed the entire night no matter how often they stayed with her, and they so rarely got to stay (at least in her opinion) that she couldn't help indulging their every whim.

"Memaw, can you tell us the story again?"

"What story???"

"Meeeemaaaaaaw," Lucy giggling, "you KNOW the story."

"I don't have the slightest idea, sweetheart. To which story are you referring?"

Leo rolled his eyes and sighed, "ME. MAW. You do know. You're just being starcastic. "

"I think the word you're looking for is 'sarcastic.'"

"That's what I said, starcastic."

Lucy nodded in agreement, her little curls bouncing with the movement. "Memaw, you know. We can't say his name."

The older woman, known as Estelle to pretty much everyone but these two, smiled to herself but feigned shock. "Oooooh you mean--she lowered her voice conspiratorially--you want the story of how I met Krampus."


"Hush now. I told you *I* can say his name since I saw him and lived to tell it, but you two cannot."

In unison, an exaggerated "oooooohhhhhh" caressed the air in that half whisper of relief. It was the same every time she told it like some sort of ritual. If they asked every time, maybe it would help keep him away.

Estelle gave them a moment to get settled, grab their respective blankets and snuggle in beside her while she sipped her hot cider.

"It was a cloudy, cold day in December..."

"How old were you then, Memaw?"

Lucy. That child was always full of questions.

"I told you I was not much older than you two. You're how old now? 34?"

A ruckus of giggles delighted her ears. "MEMAW! You know we're 7. Boths of us. We're twins!"

"Oh yes that's right! 7! I must have been 9 or 10 at the time. We lived in North Dakota then..."

"Is that near the North Pole?" Lucy again.

She smiled as she feigned a scolding, "do you want to hear the story or ask questions?"

"BOTHS!" she shouted in her little chipmunk squeak giggling all the while. No surprises there. No book could be read, song sung, or story told without Lucy asking her questions. Leo was the quiet one usually pondering over it all and never letting anyone know what was really on his mind until it was absolutely made up about things. The two of them could not be more different.

Estelle began her story again, "It was a snow day that day like the day before it. There had been a snowstorm, and we'd gotten a couple feet of snow overnight, but it was finally slowing down just after lunch, so my mother sent us out..."

"What's a snow day again?" Leo, this time actually.

"It's when it snows so much traveling to school is dangerous or when people are snowed in. You don't have those here in Florida really."

He nodded looking wise well above his years, so she continued. "We went out all bundled up with our sled to the middle school a few blocks from our house so we could take a few turns going down the hill behind it. It wasn't the biggest, but we still had fun and got to stay close to home to be back in time for dinner."

"Wait, you just go down a hill on snow? Do dogs pull you like in White Fang? How do you stop? What if you crash?"

"Whoa there! Are you practicing for your future career as a game show host, Luce? Are we in the lightning round?!"

"Memaw! It's not storming!!"

"One of these days you'll get my jokes, sweeties."

Leo, bless him, studied her for a moment all too seriously. "Jokes are supposed to be funny, Memaw."

"Touché, kiddo. Now, where were we? Yes, sledding means sliding down a hill on a sled, but it's different than a dog sled. There are no brakes on these kinds of sleds, so you have to pick a good spot, know what you're doing, and be very careful not to get hurt."

Two little chipmunk voices in unison, "WE WANT TO GO!"

"Of course you do. What about this story first?" They settled back in beside her snuggling in close. It was cool out for a December night in Florida. She didn't have much in the way of a heating system--just a couple of small space heaters. It never really got so cold she needed more, but on this particular night they were hardly keeping them comfortable. She might have to bring them all into the living room and sleep in here with the kids just to make sure they didn't get too cold.

"Pete, that's my brother, and I got tired of sledding pretty quickly. It being such a small hill really didn't give us the action we needed after being cooped up all day the day before, so we decided to have a snowball fight. Now, our mom was deadset against them. She just knew one of us would accidentally roll up a rock or worse and really nail the other one, so that element of taboo added to the fun..."


"Lucy, these questions! Heavens sake. No, no, no. 'Ta-Boo' not 'tat-Too." Taboo means something you're not supposed to do or someone you're not supposed to be around."

"So like how Mommy doesn't want us playing with James across the street?"

"Right. Sort of. But James is an asshole, so you not being allowed would not make it more fun to play at his house."


"My mom passed a long time ago, honey. But I will tell you like I told your mom when she was your age. Those words are not *bad.* They're just for adults. Adults know when to say them sorta like adults are better at driving."

"So you need a lishentz to say asshole?"

"LUCILLE KALINDA MORRISON. Watch yourself! And no you don't need a LICENSE. You need to be an adult. Let's get back to this story before I fall asleep telling it. Where were we?"

"Snowball fight, Memaw." Leo, the angel.

"Right. So we went to the two buses in the parking lot. They were a few spaces apart with small snow drifts all around, so it was a perfect spot to take cover and have plenty of ammunition. I hid behind my bus and started putting together my stack of snowballs. I'd made maybe 5 when I heard something on top of the bus, a clanging sound with weight. I thought it was Pete though I have no idea how he would have gotten on the bus, so I yelled out calling him a cheater. He yelled back from across the way right about the time the Krampus jumped from above and landed a few feet from where I sat. I took one look at him and was too scared to even scream. He had black hooves shining like leather boots, a furry body with goat legs, and two massive horns coming out of his head. He was dressed on a weird old coat that split in the back to make room for the weirdest tail I have ever seen in my life."

Estelle paused to take a sip of her cider and looked down. She had fully expected more questions by now. Both of them were passed out holding hands across her lap. She hadn't made it to the end once.


Here are the links to the rest of the entries!

Baking In A Tornado

The Lieber Family Blog

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Friday, November 16, 2018

Granny Candy Part 3

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
My words were: scenario, payoff, lynx, attitude, crucify. They were submitted by:

I really didn't expect to be writing a part 3. I know it's hard for bloggers who don't participate in these challenges regularly to keep up with a multipart story like this, so I was going to leave it with part 2, but these characters have been some of my favorites from any writing I've ever done (the demon story characters too), so when I got these words for the challenge, things just clicked, and here we are. Sorry not sorry.

You can find part 1 here: Granny Candy Part 1 and Part 2 here: Granny Candy Part 2


With that attitude of yours, you'll be lucky if my, our, employer does not crucify you. She will not call you Lizzy, for gods' sake, or be bribed with delectable sweets. You must be on your best behavior, answer all questions to the best of your ability, and thank her graciously for her consideration or she may be of a mind to stick you with Uncle Wayne.

"With... with him? That would be torture. I would rather die."

Lizzy. LIZZY. Have we not established you are already dead? Why else are we here?

"Oh. Well, yeah. Right. I'm dead. But can't I, like, blink out of existence? Or blink HIM out of existence?"

No, that is not how any of this works. His exasperation sent a foreboding dread over her skin like it lived and breathed. Can you not answer a few questions for a position you want without being so obstinate and cumbersome? Is it so hard?

"Honestly? Yes. But I'll give it my best shot."

Fine. Fine! Also, I must warn you...if she turns into a lynx, do not scream or run. Think of it as a test you MUST pass or the results will be less than favorable for your continued pain-free existence in this realm. And do NOT under any circumstances call her a pretty kitty and try to pet her.

"I was betting that's how I'd die, you know. Trying to pet a wild animal."

Yes, I lost money on that bet myself.


We do not have time for these questions. Follow me.

She did. Mostly out of curiosity. But also because she really didn't want to do anything but annoy Grimmy for all of eternity.

They exited the hotel offices, popped into the elevator, and Grimmy hit the button for the penthouse. The elevator itself was padded with a deep maroon crushed velvet that smelled...well...not quite bad but also a little like death. A little rancid. It wasn't pungent or overwhelming, but it was definitely there.

"Question. If this is a figment of my imagination, the hotel depot, why does it still look like a hotel and not its true form?"

It has no true form.

"Everything does. Doesn't it? It has to."

No, everything does not. I do not. This depot does not. The Boss does not. Also, you have not officially been accepted. This is not exactly protocol, child, so I am unsure if it will change form when you are and are no longer in need of an eternity or if we are now stuck in this licorice vomit garbage dump.

"Licorice vomit?! I would think you would love all this dark shit."

No. No, I do not love all this groaned. I do not care for the dark shit.

"Grimmy! Did you really just say 'shit?!'"

Hush, child. We are here.

The doors opened into an open floor with pink toned sunset light steaming in through giant windows that lined the opposite wall. Ethereal was the word that immediately came to mind as Lizzy scanned the room. There were filled, mahogany bookshelves lining the remaining windowless walls. The room smelled like old books, sandalwood, and a hint of blood orange. The carpet was cream and somehow glittering with strands of gold. Chaise lounges and deep velvet sofas in hues of red and purple made the room seem cozy while the large gold desk in front of the windows commanded respect.

As they approached, the large leather chair behind it turned to face them, and Lizzy finally caught a glimpse of the Boss.

She had richly umber skin and a crown of natural curls styled in an Afro blow out. Her eyes gleamed with the force of her smile, and every bit of her makeup, fierce and bold, was flawless--bronze eyeshadow, full brows, red lips, highlight that could blind if she stared straight on long enough, and eyeliner wings that could cut.  When her chair stopped it's slow spin to face them, she stood in her stark white, nearly sheer, gown. Everything about her made Lizzy's heart flutter...but when the Boss threw her head back and let loose a throaty, full body laugh, Lizzy's eyes inexplicably filled with tears, and she felt absolutely petrified.

It was then, still smiling, that the Boss did her lynx transformation.

Not in all of eternity did Lizzy think this scenario would actually play out in reality. She had been sure Grimmy was trying to put her on edge and make her look like ridiculous in front of the Boss like some weird, old being hazing ritual. But nope. She was not that lucky apparently.

The lynx, Keeper of Secrets that she was, stalked towards Lizzy, ears back and muscles flexing. She paced back and forth in front of her feet, growling.

Kneel, child. Kneel or it gets worse.

Lizzy did as he said, no lip. The Boss immediately stood face to face with her growling again and hissing to bare her fangs. Lizzy trembled, but she didn't move. No running, no fear reaction. She closed her eyes and stayed perfectly still, hoping for the best. Hoping, at least, not to get eaten or swiped into eternity or whatever might happen.

It felt like hours that Lizzy stayed kneeling in darkness before she heard that throaty, life-taking laugh again. She opened her eyes to find The Boss once again in human-esque form in front of her, still face to face. She stared deeply into those richly brown, gold-flecked eyes that seemed so full of answers and waited.

"So you want work, is that it?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Ma'am, eh? You don't seem half the little twerp Charon made you out to be when he asked for this interview. Perhaps he was being a bit melodramatic?"

"He has a tendency to do that.'am."

"You do want the job, though? And it was your idea?"

"Yes, ma'am. It was all me. Grimmy--uh--Charon seems like he will make a great supervisor."

The Boss threw her head back in laughter again. "Grimmy? Oh, this is rich. Give me your hand, child."

Lizzy gulped and looked at Grimmy, but he gave no indication what she should do. She looked at the Boss again whose eyes made demands her voice wasn't needed for and stuck out her hand.

When their skin connected, Lizzy felt its warmth and softness but nothing more. She had wondered if this was some kind of power-giving ceremony in the seconds before she made contact bracing herself for the ferocity of her touch. But it felt like any other hand.

For the Boss, though, it didn't seem like such an easy task. Her eyes rolled back until those all-knowing irises vanished, and her breathing was labored. She sucked in one long, ragged breath and nearly collapsed when it escaped her. Grimmy was at their side in an instant helping the Boss up and to her chair where she sat, back straight as an arrow waiting, Lizzy assumed, for her breath to return to something close to normal.

"I see you are a bit of a twerp, Elizabetha Madeline Forrester. But it does appear it's all in good fun. Your Grimmy here doesn't seem to mind even half as much as he made out. I have to admit, his reluctance to bring you on motivated my agreement to this request more than anything else as I do love to see him annoyed. I feel a bit played now." She laughed more playfully this time. It was light, genuine, and full of warmth more than the power Lizzy had felt from her before.

Lizzy felt a little bolder. "Is there some sort of salary involved?"

The Boss leaned forward no longer smiling and clasped her hands together on the desk primly but not without force. "The only payoff here is my letting you exist. Now if you want to remain on my good side, dearheart, get the fuck out of my office."

Grimmy ran. Lizzy could hardly believe it, but she was close on his heels. Neither of them spoke until the elevator doors closed them into relative safety.

You could not resist opening your big mouth, I see.

"Grimmy, babe, we have all eternity in front of us. Let's not dwell on the past."

They rode the rest of the elevator ride with Grimmy's annoyance surrounding them like a cocoon while Lizzy was doubled over in laughter.


here are the rest of this week's participants!

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Part Time Working Hockey Mom

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo