Posts by JessiS

Pen & Muse Haunt: The Barn & Illustration by Connie B. Dowell

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in PM Haunt: The Haunted House, Writing | 1 comment

Pen & Muse Haunt: The Barn & Illustration by Connie B. Dowell

Boys and Ghouls! Welcome to the Pen & Muse Haunt! The Haunted House looms before you, threatening to swallow you up. It’s larger up close, isn’t it? You know that you shouldn’t really be here. In fact, now that you’re here, you want to leave. But you chose to come inside. Even though you knew something felt a little off. All you can really do now is try…try to stay alive. You can see the live list of participants and their post dates on this link. Good luck. You’ll need it. Muahahahahaha!   The Barn by Connie B. Dowell   Now, I wasn’t stupid. When Miriam turned up in the woods behind my house carrying a large, lumpy sack, I could think of ten reasons this wasn’t anything I should get involved in, not least of which the fact that, according to the newspaper, Miriam had been arrested for burning down a catfish house. “Oh! You! It’s so good to see you! Art class, remember?” Miriam let her bag flop onto the ground. She stood with one hand on her hip and spoke in a high, reedy voice. She blushed like she didn’t remember my name but she was trying to not to let that show. I supposed I wasn’t the kind of girl people did remember, always sitting patiently, doing what I was told, but you couldn’t forget Miriam. My sophomore year, she had spent many an art period sculpting rude shapes in great detail and defending her work to the teacher as “a study of phallic symbols.” When that didn’t work, she tried turning the tables. “I’m just making an abstract shape. You’re the one seeing something dirty in it!” Yet, she didn’t just joke. When nobody was looking she whispered advice in my ear. “Just a little more blue there.” “That tree branch. Make it a little thinner. There you go!” “You graduated yet?” she asked. I shook my head. “Senior.” I guess Miriam noticed the confusion on my face. “I’m out on bail.” Her words came quickly. “The damn cops, always overreacting. It was electrical, I swear.” I nodded, wondering what it would be like to set a building on fire. Not that I really wanted to do it, but a small part of me envied Miriam her interesting life. My gaze drifted to the bag. “My boss’s stuff.” She explained with a shrug. “She’s still locked up. Wanted me to take it somewhere safe for her. It’s just her jewelry and stuff, I suppose. I didn’t look. She said take the bag in the shed, I think. I hope so because there was another one in the house. Anyway, I just took it, didn’t look inside. I would swear that in a court of law, but let’s just keep this our secret all the same.” Those lumps were pretty big. “All her stuff, she said! She lives in a rough neighborhood, you know, and folks might take advantage since she’s away.” Sure. “Listen…” Miriam pushed her sweaty hair out of her eyes. “I’m real glad I ran into you. You know that barn on the Andersons’ land? That’s where I’m taking the stuff. I figure nobody’ll go out there in a hurry. Only, the problem is…” She looked down at her feet. “Well… the thing is…” I knew what “the thing” was. Though I’d never seen anything wrong with that old barn, people around here said it was haunted by at least two different ghosts. One was a young farm hand who’d fallen from the hay loft and by some freak coincidence landed in such a way that he...

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Pen & Muse Haunt: Channel One by Bobby Salomons

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in PM Haunt: The Haunted House, Writing | 4 comments

Pen & Muse Haunt: Channel One by Bobby Salomons

  Boys and Ghouls! Welcome to the Pen & Muse Haunt! The Haunted House looms before you, threatening to swallow you up. It’s larger up close, isn’t it? You know that you shouldn’t really be here. In fact, now that you’re here, you want to leave. But you chose to come inside. Even though you knew something felt a little off. All you can really do now is try…try to stay alive. You can see the live list of participants and their post dates on this link. Good luck. You’ll need it. Muahahahahaha!   Channel One by Bobby Salomons Old houses smell; this particular one smelled extra bad, coming out of every nook and cranny. Still it was a stately house, what was left of it. Embodying the architecture of the nineteenth century, heavy bricks and wooden ornaments, large windows and grand stature. The yard turned into a wilderness of sorts.   “Is this place actually safe?” Matt asked and pulled open the van doors. “What do you mean?” His friend replied grabbing one of the metal cases. “What’s not to understand about that question? Is this place ‘safe’ or is it going to fucking collapse on us?” “I’m pretty sure it’s safe, Matt.” Danny mumbled. “Pretty sure it’s safe?” Said Sophie, forcing her foot sideways into her Converse. “Listen– This is our first real ‘gig’ as ghost hunters, okay? You guys want to be real ghost hunters or just amateurs?” “’Gig’? What are we? A garage band?” Sophie chuckled. “This has Danny written all over it.” Matt mumbled, rolling out the extension cords. “Fuck you, Matt. And fuck you too, Sophie. I got us this case, I have to edit the videos, I listen through hours of static noise to try and spot Electronic Voice Phenomena. I’m making the effort! Me! If we hit it big just realize that I’m letting you hitch this ride for free. Jerks.” “Fuck– You’re so anal about shit, Danny. It was just a joke, idiot.” Sophie replied and walked off with one of metal cases.   He kept quiet as his little sister strolled off towards the house. He sighed and ignored his friend. “Sowwy.” Matt said, a flashlight in his mouth. “Hmpfff.” He replied and picked up the computer equipment. “Lets just do this.” “This place is huge!” Sophie’s voice echoed from inside, followed by a hollow thud. “Shit.” “Please don’t tell me you dropped the cameras!” Danny yelled, almost tripping over the wooden steps leading to the front door. “No. Those were the lights.” She said picking up the case. “Guys! Some help!” Matt called, struggling with a foldable table. “Okay, lets make this our base camp.” Danny said and sat the table down. “Base camp…” Sophie mumbled, “Thinks he’s on Mount Everest.”   Her big brother ignored her and picked up the laptop. A gust of wind rolled down the flight of stairs directly in front of them. As if the house sighed at the sight of newcomers. “Okay, uh. Who wants to do the documentary cam?” Said Danny and grabbed a camera box. “Shit. I’ll do it. I always do.” Matt replied and opened the heavy, metal box. “There’s my girl!” “Battery’s fresh?” “Hell yeah the battery’s fresh!” Matt yelled and switched on the camera’s blinding light. “See?” His friends cringed from the bright rays. “Turn that off! Sophie, you do the personal cam?” “I guess.” She said and coughed, “I think I can taste the fungus in this place? Can you taste fungus? Cause I think I’m tasting it. Are we going to do one of those lame intros...

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Pen & Muse Haunt: House of Dreams by Kim Culpepper

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in PM Haunt: The Haunted House, Writing | 1 comment

Pen & Muse Haunt: House of Dreams by Kim Culpepper

Boys and Ghouls! Welcome to the Pen & Muse Haunt! The Haunted House looms before you, threatening to swallow you up. It’s larger up close, isn’t it? You know that you shouldn’t really be here. In fact, now that you’re here, you want to leave. But you chose to come inside. Even though you knew something felt a little off. All you can really do now is try…try to stay alive. You can see the live list of participants and their post dates on this link. Good luck. You’ll need it. Muahahahahaha!   House of Dreams by Kim Culpepper “Call me Ishmael.” Stuart Riddell read aloud just before slamming the book shut. Dust flew from its pages like a puff of smoke from a fire breathing dragon. The dust cloud caused him to cough violently. The coughing fit startled his mother not far from his temporary bed. He had forgotten what it felt like to have a room or own anything else other than a library card that his mother insisted he use to entertain himself. He missed having a television and all the comforts of home, he missed the warm comforting glow of the screen and the reassuring background noise it made. Silence from the night filled their small tent and the candle he had lit to guide his eyes across the pages of Moby Dick was begging for death. He granted its wish with a large puff of breath and the gloom of night filled their small dwelling. “Mom?” Stuart whimpered. His mother’s warm hands found the bottom of his legs and stayed there. Her gentle, soothing touch was all it took for him to fall asleep within minutes. Daylight found their small tent city, row upon row of scruffy ramshackle housing and improvised coverings acted as make shift homes for what seemed a daily ever growing population. Stuart’s mother Cindy was changing her clothes. To Stuart’s young eyes she always seemed to wear the same things. Stuart wished he could somehow wave a magic wand and change her appearance. Give her a magic Harry Potter like makeover, turn her into the Princess he knew she was. But life in the tented city was no place for a Princess. Stuart was a dreamer but even he knew a solid roof that didn’t leak was way more important than beautiful dresses or imperial finery. But he loved his mom with all his heart and longed for her to twirl around in a fine multi colored dress. Sometimes being eight sure had its disadvantages. “We are going to go look for a better place today Stewie my love,” Cindy said. Her once bright yellow t-shirt with the bright pretty red cherries had faded now to a mustard yellow but it still made her face seem brighter and this always made Stuart happy. “Will it have a real roof and can I have my own room again? Please mom can I?” “We won’t stop looking until we find the perfect spot. You will have a room fit for a Prince.” They quickly gathered their belongings. Stuart made sure Moby Dick was wedged firmly in his battered old backpack, and threw the rest of their bags carelessly over their shoulders. Their daily treks never strayed too far from the tent city that had formed and grew up since the recession had squeezed ever last cent out of the country. Cindy had lost her waitressing job because no one could afford to eat out and Stuart’s dad had cut out of his life before he was barely out of diapers. After walking...

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Pen & Muse Haunt: Daddy by Andy Grieser

Posted by on Oct 11, 2014 in PM Haunt: The Haunted House, Writing | 2 comments

Pen & Muse  Haunt: Daddy by Andy Grieser

Boys and Ghouls! Welcome to the Pen & Muse Haunt! The Haunted House looms before you, threatening to swallow you up. It’s larger up close, isn’t it? You know that you shouldn’t really be here. In fact, now that you’re here, you want to leave.   But you chose to come inside. Even though you knew something felt a little off. All you can really do now is try…try to stay alive. You can see the live list of participants and their post dates on this link. Good luck. You’ll need it. Muahahahahaha!   Daddy by Andy Greiser I woke to darkness, a rustling next to me. Twin spots of cold, then: I made a sort of yelping, snorting noise and came fully awake. “Hi, Daddy.” A soft voice. “I love you.” I groaned. “Buddy,” I said, pushing myself awkwardly from the twin bed, “you’ve got to sleep.” I tried to stretch my aching back while lying down. I’d fallen asleep. The kiddo hadn’t, of course. He sat and looked at me with big 3-year-old eyes. “I’m not tired,” he whispered. And that was it. The first shot fired. I knew how this war would go. I knew how they always went: a series of battles waged over the next hour or more, with the boy finally asleep but me hungry and without time to relax. “Sure you are, Bug,” I murmured in the dark. A quick kiss to his forehead, an adjustment of his little body, covering it with a blanket so green it fairly glowed. “I love you.” Noises of protest, but I blocked them out, turned and left, pulling the door to the boy’s bedroom just shy of closed. My stomach growled, but the haze of sleep still hung heavy, so I ignored it, walked through the kitchen into the living room and collapsed onto the couch. A quick glance at the windows; the sun had set while I was snuggling the boy. No wonder I was hungry and out of sorts. The house was quiet and dark, and for a moment I let it be just that, luxuriating in the peace that came with day’s end. “Daddy?” A little head poked around the threshold, followed by bright eyes and a tentative grin. “Hi, Bug.” Patience was key. Keep it low-key, I told myself, and he’ll drift off. I stood, wincing as my knees popped, then scooped the boy into my arms. He was light, underweight but tall. He wrapped one arm around my neck, grin in place until he realized we were walking back toward his bedroom. “No, Daddy,” he said as I pushed open the door. “I don’ wanna sleep in here.” “It’s your room,” I reminded him, lowering him onto the pillow. “Who will protect me?” That was a new one. I blinked for a moment, then: “Do you want the dogs to sleep in here with you?” “Yeah.” Where were the dogs? Upstairs, I frowned, already asleep on my own bed. “Okay. I’ll bring down Bit-Bit.” “I don’ –” The rest was lost as I left the room and swung the door almost shut. I could hear the boy’s voice escalate into a wail, and for a moment I cursed myself. If I took him to my bed, with its perceived safety, thick as it was with the warmth of dogs and man, he’d fall asleep almost immediately. That meant ignoring my own hunger, ignoring the partially read book on the end table, ignoring anything of myself other than fatherhood. Selfishly, I wasn’t willing to do that yet. Down the hall, then, through the kitchen to the...

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Pen & Muse Haunt: Night of the Hunter by Brian W. Taylor

Posted by on Oct 9, 2014 in PM Haunt: The Haunted House, Writing | 5 comments

Pen & Muse Haunt: Night of the Hunter by Brian W. Taylor

Boys and Ghouls! Welcome to the Pen & Muse Haunt! The Haunted House looms before you, threatening to swallow you up. It’s larger up close, isn’t it? You know that you shouldn’t really be here. In fact, now that you’re here, you want to leave. But you chose to come inside. Even though you knew something felt a little off. All you can really do now is try…try to stay alive. You can see the live list of participants and their post dates on this link. Good luck. You’ll need it. Muahahahahaha!    Night of the Hunter by Brian W. Taylor It was past midnight by the time Abagail DeJesus decided to head for home. She had just finished combing the woods around a lonely stretch of highway like she did every year. It was the anniversary of her cousin, Gwen’s, disappearance. She had left the Dark Carnival eight years ago and simply vanished. The police had no leads, no suspects. Even if the cops had given up, Abby wouldn’t. She knew Gwen would have done the same for her. They were that close. Working as a nurse left her little to no free time, but she made sure she took the same day off each year. Abby rubbed at the dull ache in her temples. Her body needed rest. Only a long five hour drive stood between her and her bed. She turned on the radio hoping to find something upbeat to lift her spirits. After flipping through the channels she turned it off again. Nothing but the same overplayed songs by the same sounding pop singers she’d heard a thousand times before. She preferred the silence. There weren’t too many other cars out, making the drive seem more lonesome than usual. Several people had been reported missing from the same stretch of highway over the years. Each case had somehow gone unsolved. Something had to have happened to all those people. Opening the window brought Abby a welcome chill. That’s when she heard the hum. It started out small, pulsing in intensity and frequency, like it was distant but close all at the same time. Abby listened intently, trying to place the sound. To her it sounded like an electrical transformer on top of those wooden poles. She felt strangely soothed by the sound. Soon, her head rolled and her eyes lowered. She dreamed of moving through a bright, blue light and figures crowding around her. Abby tried to sit up but her muscles turned to mush. Her eyes rolled back, refusing to open. She’d seen patients act the same way after receiving anesthesia before surgery. It was like she was really drunk and had no control over her own body. The only problem was she hadn’t had anything to drink. Abby jerked awake to find she was behind the wheel of her car, still on the same road, and still driving. She was wondering if she had been dreaming when she spotted something big lying in the road. Tires squealed as she slammed on the breaks. Her car skidded. She was going to run whatever it was over. Abby turned the steering wheel sharply, jumping a shallow ditch and plowing through a wooden post with a mailbox attached. She came to a stop in a cloud of dust on a dirt path leading away from the two lane highway. Why had she never noticed it before? If she had been going any faster she would have hit it—the person, she now saw. Her experience as a nurse kicked in and Abby hurried from her now steaming car after flicking on...

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