I had the pleasure of seeing Stephen King at a recent reading. I was accompanied on this field trip by my boon companions in crime (and devoted King fans) Joanna Volpe, Dan Krokos and Brooks Sherman. At the close of the reading we got copies of his new novel Dr. Sleep. Of course,
I am not going to read it!! TOO SCARY!!!
So, what better to do with it than offer it as the prize for writing contest! That it happens to be a signed copy all the better.
So, usual rules.
Write a story with 100 words or fewer. Post in the comments section of THIS blog post. If you need a mulligan (a do-over) delete the comment and post again. Only ONE comment per person will be considered.
Use the following words in the story:
Each word must appear in the story, but it can be part of a larger word, although it must appear intact within the word.
Contest opens at 10am Saturday 10/26. It closes at 10am Sunday, 10/27.
All decisions are entirely subjective.
Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Too Late! Contest is closed.
Acres of ancient oaks shielded the circle of cloaked strangers that drew closer together. Drawn to the center mist, each set of onyx eyes strained for a treasured first glimpse of their God's writhing tentacles shining in the light of the first full moon of Autumn. As the mists parted, the beautiful, glistening form emerged gliding forward. The circle moved as one, bowing their heads before lowering themselves to bended knee. Their chorus of voices echoed in the grove, "We await no longer. The new century welcomes H.P. Lovecraft once more."
To sleep, perchance...
'Tis all I ask
as I toil endlessly for my master.
Once deemed beautiful,
alas, no more.
My fingers now blistered,
my back contorted,
my mind frazzled and drained.
Await my prince in shining armor?
HA! 'Tis but a faded dream from another time.
I relinquished it all
to labor and sweat in this loveless life,
at a craft with no guarantees,
else the dread of a label far worse than 'dead':
He guided the craft across the glassy water toward the sounds of music and singing on the tiny island. His lover danced there, with the wrong man and a ring upon her finger. The moon alone saw him step onto shore, shining its light on the beautiful metal instruments he clutched. He crept into the shadows near the wedding party tent, awaiting the precise moment. When the band finished their song, he lurched into the entrance, and raised his long silver blades. The laughter inside the shelter turned to screams as he jammed a final number.
The creatures above stare down at me as I float up. Beautiful, yet terrible. Shining, yet dark against a pale blue sky. At a glance their expressions mirror one of love, but a double take shows something else. Hunger. Thirst. Lust. The scythes they hold glitter in the dying sun, for I am dying, too. The craftsmanship is remarkable. The blade is splattered with blood.
I am one with the clouds. Their faces are mere feet away.
They await me.
Like something from H.P. Lovecraft, it emerges from the cellar and writhes across the room towards me. Black shadows lash and flail like tentacles. My back pressed against the far wall, I observe its slimy, ashen skin shining under the dim light. The creature knocks over the beautiful silver frame with a photo of my beloved inside. My love who unwittingly pried open the door and let it out of its prison. Wet sucking sounds fill the air as its icy fingers wriggle along the skin of my cheek. Black tentacles envelope me. I await my death. All is darkness.
Query. Query. Came a knock at the door.
Once it was revealed there were no query police, anything was game. They'd found her, again. She eyed the locked bolt, held her breath, and waited for them to leave.
Query. Query. "It's beautiful, my craft," creaked the voice behind the door. "Shining. Lovely. Perfection awaits. Promise. Promise. Love. Kisses. Read please."
"Go away," she screamed, madness overtaking her.
"This is a trick. You're that crazy Land Shark hawking his memoir." She leaned towards the door.
Her dorsal fin softened, she turned the knob, and shark met shark.
"You're the guy?" the awaiting voice asked.
Riley shouldered past the skepticism, and put his hand out to feel the lock.
With a pick he'd crafted himself he set to work. He loved this part. Soft clicks and catches, careful turns and prods. He pictured the shining interior of the mechanism. The lock gave way beautifully.
"Whoa, he did it." Another voice in the night.
Riley shrugged. It made sense, he thought, that a blind man would make a good locksmith.
"Get out of the way."
He felt a shove and heard another sick click, recognized it immediately. A handgun.
Jessica fled the burning house. Outside she looked back at the soaring flames and waves of heat. All that he had built and crafted with care was disappearing into the air on a trail of smoke. Poor Allan.
She looked down at her scarred hands feeling a wash of beautiful sorrow. Tomorrow was a faint murky mess and she did not know what awaited her. Turning from the scattered ashes of burnt love she stepped away. She heard a distant cry as she looked to the sky shining bright from fire and a bristling breaking dawn. And she smiled.
"Next! Step into the light. "
I inch forward. This is unexpected, no harps, no halos, only a disembodied voice behind the shining orb.
His sigh scratches like wind at the door.
"Traditional or self-published?"
I steel myself for rejection.
"What's your schtick?"
"Oh, horror. "
"Lovely. We never get that here." Another sigh. "Here's the deal. Souls are a dime a dozen. We need bodies."
"Consider it research. You hone your craft, we hone ours. I'll throw in immortality."
"How about an agent?"
"Whatever. Destiny awaits."
Sarcasm smells like brimstone.
He finished my ears first. I heard his muttering and mumbling, the scrape of his tools as I awaited my beginning. I heard the susurrus of dust, the scratch of sandpaper as he crafted my body from a marble chrysalis. I heard him tell me I was beautiful.
When he finished shaping my last lash, I opened my eyes into his. I saw the love shining from him.
I smelled his fear when I took the chisel from his fragile fingers.
Like me, he felt everything.
On a beautiful autumn night, Sandra huffed her passion down a long empty beach. With the moon shining down, she lit a fire beneath acast iron caldron. "Who says witchcraft is dead?" She tossed a crab into the boiling water. "I love the look on my mother's face ..."
Sandra stirred the pot. "Why don't you get a real job?" She laid out a cutting board, butchering a lemon. "...date someone ..." She shaved salt off a big block. "...make some new friends ..."
Emptying the contents of the caldron onto her plate, Sandra toasted her mother, and the night.
I love how beautiful Bangor is this time of year. The shining days of autumn are short; awaiting darkness like an old woman awaits death. Come quick, she says, I am not afraid.
The autumn leaves crunch brown beneath my feet; I cannot take a single step without their rustle speaking of my movement. Dressed in black and drenched in blood I touch the fence of spider webs and gargoyles crafted in wrought iron. I stand before the home of the master.
The door opens, warm air presses against the night. I am afraid.
“Trick or treat Mr. King.”
He awaited this child with dread. A beautiful little thing - shining skin, rosy and plump, and tiny fingers like miniature sausages.
He loved his children and he crafted a plan. He turned on the oven to 350°F and set to work. The child began to cry. He cut the small apple he'd saved for his dead wife and placed it over the baby's mouth.
Butter, he needed butter. There was none; lard would have to do. The pair of eyes looked up at him and he turned away. Tonight, his seven starving children would eat. Tonight, there would be food.
Sara is forgetting. The beautiful way the sun comes shining through the crimson leaves at first light. The way the lake steadies and dies as it awaits the moon.
The clanging stopped two weeks ago. The scratching, four days ago. We have food enough for another day, only if Old Bill Wilcox passes tonight.
But I can’t let her forget. I grab the gloves from the rusted Craftsman toolbox and head down the tunnel. We don’t know what’s out there. Pete says there is no “out there”. Mrs. Trumble says death. Most say death. Me? I say nothing
A beautiful cold moon has long since risen.
The nearby river's gurgle and rush sounds like voices, voices talking about you, voices blaming you. You pull down the shades to shut out the shining night, turn up the thermostat and await the lovely, encompassing safety of heat.
You sit back down to your computer to finish crafting the epilogue. The low hiss of heated air soon begins to pour out of the ancient register beneath your desk, blowing out new cobwebs and old dust around your insecurity.
Then a shallow, breathless voice begins somewhere deep within the grate, “Janet...I'm.....here......here....why...why...did......you... do....it...."
'twas a beautiful night
that all-hallow's eve
with treats i awaited
my guests to receive
shining a smile
i opened the door
my heart hit the ceiling
my mouth hit the floor
standing before me
with evil intention
a hideous creature
of Lovecraft invention
with spectral speed
it gouged out my eye
cut off my arm
and left me to die
i leave you my story
to warn you from death
with the last of my blood
and the last
posting for a friend who is having technical difficulties this morning. This entry is from DKChildress
Possessing such a lovely countenance, she fools you. Her outward appearance, while beautiful to most, merely disguises a soul that is twisted and foul, black and lecherous. Banishing such a creature to bathe within the fiery pitch of Hell is insufficient by itself. But to watch her face as it happens while you carefully, painstakingly craft such a curse? I eagerly await the opportunity to set the shining light of righteousness upon her face. God save and preserve me, even if I damn myself, I will savor my revenge as the true understanding of her fate grows within her eyes.
His head is on the pillow. Underneath mine; a knife, handcrafted for the most particular of butchers. Outside, the paloverde whispers, the desert beyond awaiting fresh skin and beautiful bones. Skin to feed the coyotes. Bones to add layers of dust. Around my eye, a shadow of sunset purple. A little girl in the next room, broken. If I'm quick, she won't hear a thing.
I slide my hand under the pillow, fingers feeling only cool sheet. Nothing but his cackle and a shining flash of steel. A rough hand over my mouth. Still I scream. Hoping she will hear.
The town mortician was gracious with silver hair that could have lined the clouds. In her presence, grief was an afterthought and funerals like celebrations, until her own. They discovered her naked body in bed, covered in tattoos, but to their dismay none were her own. Over the years she developed a craft for removing inked flesh from the deceased and preserving their images. At night she arranged them like a collage of postcards on her body. Amongst them leathered butterflies, Veteran flags, and four words on her stomach, Shining Love Awaits Beautiful, which later marked her headstone.
The boat awaits him, a shadow on the turbid waters. He would love to stay but its time for the other shore. On other nights he might have thought the moon beautiful, but tonight it is shining on the ferryman and the empty seat.
He knows the old tale and its warning, but halfway across, the ferryman bends double at the waist and lets the rudder slip, he grabs that old stick before they're rudderless, then steers them to the shore. It's the ferryman who descends.
He turns the small craft around; there are other souls waiting to cross.
"It's beautiful" thought Lovecraft, he had been awaiting this moment for years. Through all the stories there was always a small shining hint of truth. In essence, the truth was that he believed. Cthulhu was more than a story in a character, more than a myth he had created. He was one of the Old Ones, and he had brought the word of Cthulu to millions. This was akin to worship, and worship brought power. The power to wake Cthulhu and remake the world.
"Keep me beautiful forever."
Jessica’s words, her plea, haunted Wayne. His heart ached when he thought of watching the woman he adored fading, her shining star waning, as she awaited the curtain to fall on Act III. If he could craft a different ending to the final script we all must read...
Wayne smiled. "How do you feel?"
"Who are you?" Jessica asked, the sedative wearing off.
"Someone who loves you."
"Where am I? What are you doing?"
"Your ad. The billboard. 'Keep me beautiful forever.' Soon, you will be," Wayne said as the formaldehyde began flowing into her vein.
I love to hang out at college campuses. Beautiful ladies await. A perfect place to hone my craft.
The sun shining down on their glistening bodies makes my dick hard.
I make up some ruse to get one of the lovelies to take me home. I invite them inside. Tell them my mom will want to say thanks. Maybe give them ten bucks. Or a cookie.
Shit, my mom hasn’t been home for two months.
That’s when I swoop in for the kill.
They never see me coming.
“Hey lady, would you help me with my bike?”
“Why am I here? Where are you, Esmeralda?”
He looks timidly through the bars. There’s constant yelling and screaming. Most are hidden in the back of their cells. The harsh light blinds them. The place reeks of chemicals, urine, and waste.
Time passes by so slowly… but the loneliness is the worst.
“Esmeralda! Where are you, love?”
He’s taken to an awaiting shining stainless steel table. As the injection closes down the beautiful tabby’s system; he cries;
“Esmeralda…what did I do?”
His last thought is of a crafty field mouse escaping under a porch… and into the darkness…he goes…alone.
I should not have been surprised to find Lovecraft's coordinates were correct. I knew by the electricity in the air, the complete quiet. The question is how he knew, locked scribbling, scrabbling in his garret. Perhaps it came to him in a dream, or nightmare. Perhaps—but no, it doesn't matter. What matters is the shining beacon in the depths, the great city hidden by grey brackish waves. What matters is the stars wheeling inevitably into the correct alignment, beautiful brands piercing the night in form of the sigils from the Madman's book. I await the stirring of my dreaming lord.
Ernest and beautiful, lovely Louisa were assassins. A shining success in their craft, await in the shadows, pop out, one held the victim, the other shoved into his ear, an ice pick.
The Shining One attends upon my crafting with shimmering moonlight eyes as beautiful as love. But I know too well the fishhook teeth behind her red red lips.
Atop the table, the man awaiting me groans. I lay an o! so gentle finger across the silver tape. "Be pretty for me," I murmur.
My observer writhes in desperate hunger.
"Soon, my beauty," I soothe.
In a glorious rush I thrust forward. The scalpel parts the skin. And I sense, too late, his hand worked free. His desperate grasp. The turning blade.
And the shuddering too-close chill of the Shining One.
Sarah’s eyes were no longer filled with disgust, but instead frozen in terror like a beautiful doll. She collected art, but hadn’t appreciated my craft that awaited her, so she joined my collection.
I sighed, stroking her hair. The sun pierced the cracked, dirty window, shining on my blood caked wedding ring. I’d have to clean that.
“I could’ve loved you.” I whispered into her torn ear. I thought she’d understand.
“Ethan, you’re sick.” She said. The last thing she’d ever say.
The ringing wasn’t in my head. “Hello? Work ran late, honey. I’ll be home for dinner.”
Gleaming body, beautiful face silver-limned by shining moon, she floated towards the bed. Naked, I shivered. Chittering insects nested in my guts.
Must be the drugs …
The game began.
“I await your pleasure,” I recited. House protocol.
“Love.” Dark syrupy voice. The insects shrilled.
“Does your Craft not demand pleasure?” Improvising.
She slithered onto the bed. Moon-bleached smile. Pointed teeth—sharp as her nipple piercings.
“Fuck the Craft!” She seized the obvious target.
The safety word: ‘Shark’. I screamed it.
Glimpsed dazzling razors embedded along her spine. Hands bloody ribbons, we wrestled. She bit.
The insects thundered.
She peered down the darkened corridor. Knowing the sound, steel on stone, panic ripped through her gut.
His black gaze burned in her mind, her lover’s madness. With feminine craft, she’d slipped through the shadows. Away.
A lantern’s flickering flame lit her hair into a shining beacon. Like the deer senses the tiger stalking unseen from the trees, she felt him, bone-deep. A flame guttered in a hiss of wind, pressing her gossamer gown to her body. Frozen, she awaited his hands on her skin, the 'beautiful death' he’d promised.
Closer. Much closer.
I have a beautiful wife.
Every night I come back home after a long day of practicing my craft and she awaits me in our bed, welcoming me with a shining smile.
I only wish she woke up and stopped rotting.
The pieces were a bit mismatched, but still achingly beautiful. Arms, legs, torso and head stitched with the largest needle the craft store carried.
The last time I tried to drag a lovely from the basement into the shining moonlight, the stitches tore and couldn’t be repaired by midnight.
This time, I used a wheelbarrow to haul the disembodied parts to the stone altar. The stitches weren’t as delicate without aid of electric lighting, but perfection wasn’t necessary. Life was.
For that, I’d have to await the coven. I could only hope they’d let me keep her this time.
Withering flesh crafted by years of pain and agony, awaiting love but always finding coagulated piles of leftovers. She stumbles through the liquor store following the sound of a man wallowing in a bottle, crying with reckless abandon and alive.
"You're beautiful," she leans in to kiss the back of his neck. The ragged scoundrel moans as she tears the muscles and ligaments from his shoulder, slurping and devouring the meaty spaghetti. The blood rushes through her rotted corpse and she catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror and admires the renewed shinning reflection.
“I was beautiful once.”
Her voice seeped through the waning fog of her tranquilizer witchcraft, my body, bump-bumping along the hard ground.
“Before you decided to drive drunk,” she said, her scars shining silver in the moonlight. We stopped. She kicked and I teetered before free-falling onto plywood. A box.
No, a coffin.
She raised a sack in her gloved fist and tossed it to my feet. The lid dropped. Utter darkness. The hollow slap of soil against wood.
My hand twitched. The sack twitched, claws and sharp teeth tearing through burlap, anxiously awaiting my flesh.
Horror writing is my craft. My mind is always full of monsters. People ask me, "How do you sleep at night?"
The answer is I don't, but it's not because of my creations. My fiction's not as frightening as the reality I live in.
Her voice is weak. Her sight is gone. I await the inevitable.
"Good day today?" she asks.
I take her hand. "The sun is shining. The sky is clear. It's absolutely beautiful, though not as beautiful as you."
Her smile cuts to my heart. "I love you, Daddy."
"I love you too." And I tremble.
Mary staggers through the craft fair, silver scissors shining in her hand. “Not this year, Edna,” she mumbles, pushing through the crowd, bumping into her good friend Agnes.
Agnes grabs Mary’s arm. “Where have you been? The judging is about to begin—oh! Oh no, your nose. You’re bleeding.” She dabs her friend’s upper lip with a beautiful lacy handkerchief. “Come on, love. You’re having another episode, we should get you out of here.”
Agnes releases her friend’s arm.
Tightening her grip on the scissors, Mary turns away from her friend and staggers towards the stage, where her victim unknowingly awaits with a smile and a wave.
Joey didn’t mean to knock over Daddy’s beautiful motorcycle. He just wanted to sit on it, because Daddy loved it. Now his elbow was raw and shining with blood.
Daddy had run to a craft store to buy some wood glue, he said, but Joey knew what that meant: the bad drink. He would have a whole bunch of them. Some inside his belly, and some in his rough hands.
Trouble awaited Joey, who sat in his room and waited for the rumble of Daddy’s van up the driveway.
Nothing is deadlier than love. I once believed in its beautiful, shining light, until the one I loved betrayed me. His new bride has sworn my mother caused fits and my father signed the Devil’s book. In three days my dear mother hangs, and today? Today I must watch as the villagers crush my innocent father with rocks because he will not confess. My trial is next, the outcome certain. No hangman’s noose will kill me. Unlike my parents, the craft is strong in me. I signed the Devil’s book and, in his name, I curse all Salem.
My once beautiful daughter opened her eyes, eyes that were grey and bloodshot, eyes that were no longer alive.
The virus had spread, shining forth like the hollow dark of my soul, devoid of love, devoid of mercy.
I stared at the knife in my hand, its fine craftsmanship unable to compel its use. A feral snarl showed hungry teeth. I raised her to my breast for the last time as the blade fell to the floor.
I held my breath, awaiting the redemption of pain as my flesh gave way to her bite, spilling my blood, sealing my fate.
“It’s… beautiful.” Wide, shining eyes stared back at him. Just as he’d imagined they would.
The bright stone set in sturdy silver flashed, smearing its red reflection across her cheek. The light caught a glimmer of unshed tears, all awaiting their moment to fall.
“It’s hand-crafted, made personally by me.” He ran a finger down the needle-thin blade fused to the stone’s silver back and smiled, watching her struggle. “Do you love it?”
“I’m only giving you what your profile asked for… someone who’d touch your heart.”
A lone tear plunged downward. So, too, did he.
He remembered the set of lead soldiers he’d once loved, the hours he’d spent sanding off seams left by the casting tray. He painted their uniforms a beautiful Prussian blue and crafted a horsehair brush to color their cockades, fringed epaulets and fierce expressions. The braided parlor rug became Wissembourg. His army encircled the French garrison for a week, awaiting certain victory, until his father came looking for the backgammon set and crushed the vanguard with his shining military boot.
“What a terrible place for a bivouac,” his father said as he surveyed the carnage. “The commander should be shot.”
I relished her tender kiss, awaiting me that first stolen dawn. Her plump, bloodless face, shining brighter than a pale moon. Such craft in her gentle words, her whispered promises. I love you, she said.
I fell into her embrace, and her kisses turned cold. A beautiful summer withered into fall, her promises curdling like cow’s milk. Then, a knife left on the kitchen table. A razor circling the drain. Starched shirts stained red.
Oh, mistress. Her face, plump with rage. Her eyes, flush with blood.
I love you, she said.
Such craft in her cruel, cruel words.
"You're beautiful," Bluff Mesa said,raising a glass of Pinot to his beloved.
Hazel eyes shining, Veronica Chesterton flushed with finally requited love. "Oh, Bluff, how long I've waited."
Bluff savored the grape. His piercing gaze - hazel eye quotient rivaling Veronica's - caressed the far shore. "I await the moment we can be together again, my love."
Confusion pummeled Veronica's hazelness. "But I'm right here."
Bluff couldn't speak, eyes shining with tears.
Her eyes tracked his. Dual power of the hazels nearly swamped the forty-foot yacht across the bay.
Then Veronica understood.
Bluff sailed his craft alone forever more.
“Where's my model? Stunning. Okay beautiful, see that shining light to the left? Well a nasty cord awaits. Avoid with a vengeance or it will take you down. It wouldn't be so bad if George Clooney was waiting with open arms, but he's not. Love it! OMG!”
“Vi?! What are you doing?”
“It's George Clooney! It's my chance. I'm going to attack that cord with a vengeance!”
“Why aren't the models moving?! Where's Vi?!”
“Down there. Working the craft.”
“Our love truly is beautiful,” Brad said, handing her the box.
Kendra opened it. Lace.
“Happy anniversary,” he said.
“Actually,” she replied, “our love is a craft.”
“Don’t get me wrong. It’s a beautiful piece of workmanship. A shining example, actually.” She reached under the cushion. It was there. Everything was following her plan. “I play the perfect woman, you fall madly in love, and, after I got the rest of my pieces in place, you finally would regret ever meeting Dana Kane.”
The awaited moment arrived. She grabbed it. Her eight-year plan was about to pay off.
Shining in the reflection of a raven’s eye is the soul of my beautiful boy. Desire made me do it, forced me to turn to the Dark Craft. A bargain struck. Love made me blind, believing I could outwit the future.
As the clock chimes the hour of his thirteenth year, my boy transforms into a tool for the Sorcerer’s pleasure, awaiting his Master’s arrival.
I watch what remains of him vanish into the ochre colour of a raven’s eye. With the last chime, what was mine, the child I was never destined to have…gone.
No tears, the sin mine.
He waits by a baggage cart loaded with overstuffed Samsonites and a slovenly dog chewing at the bars of its crate. A sleek aircraft taxies in. Beautiful, shining like the gold wings pinned to his chest. In the terminal, ninety passengers chew on fast food and await their flight.
The dog and the luggage will all be debris. The passengers will make the news, a tidy list of those deceased.
He glances at the plane, perfect and innocent. For a moment he feels sorry for it. The dog is frantic, chewing until his mouth bleeds. It knows.
The power goes out with a pop. Darkness descends hard, fast. Agnes stumbles from the shower. She wraps herself in a towel, awaits the return of light, of beautiful normalcy.
She squints through the rain-streaked window. Shadows shift in the night. Who’s out there now, in the rain?
Moonlight licks the window like a lover’s tongue. It is then Agnes realizes it’s not raining.
Saliva slicks the glass. Rotting fingers smear the shining trails like a child crafting a message in paints. A runny, egg yolk yellow eye blinks.
Behind her, the bathroom doorknob rattles.
Agnes lives alone.
She is spinning with love.
Beautiful silk she spins, as soft as a baby’s breath, as strong as steel, shining in the sun. She knows her craft.
She senses he is near, her long awaited love. Oh, she doesn’t see him, but she has finely tuned antennae, trembling, imagining the ecstasy of his coming. A feast for all her senses.
He stands before her now, long limbed, handsome, ready to pleasure her for the rest of his life.
The Black Widow strikes.
I craft my words with care. My beautiful love awaiting my return. Her knight in shining armor, only not. She waited for me for 24 months, 18 days, and 7 hours, though she told me she’d wait a lifetime for what we have—what we had. Only hours away from seeing each other again I broke my promise. I was late. Then fate and a faulty light took away my chance to apologize. So, I sit here trying to figure out how to write the words for a eulogy in place of the proposal.
Oh, hello, my dear. It’s a beautiful night, isn’t it?
See there, how the flickering streetlight is shining on the puddle at the alley’s mouth?
Have a care; you never know what crafty evil awaits in such places.
Bother. Why must the streetlight die as we pass it?
Here, take my arm. I see well in the night.
What’s that? The puddle didn’t smell like water? True.
My fingers are cold? And trembling?
Apologies, my love. They will stop in a moment.
Come, I beg. Come inside.
I see well in the night.
“Heaven awaits, my lovely,” Lord Calistus whispered to his victim as she laid spread eagle upon the rough stone table.
The moon was shining weakly as it peaked up over the purple misted midnight trees. The altar had been crafted there centuries before, its builders now whispers in the night. No living thing dared venture there now. The bloody ground had been stained black and thoroughly accursed.
Up above in the highest pinnacle of the spire a beautiful virgin lay naked, unconscious of the menace that hovered over her.
With malice and lust he struck, she screamed her last.
Carlos bowed before the Lovecraftian horror standing before us, awaiting its orders. The monster was a nightmare, a shadow that seemed to vacuum out our souls, just as it sucked the light from the forest. Carlos's eyes were shining bright as lanterns in the foggy night. In a way, it was a beautiful sight: the light, the horror, the night. I felt like I could watch it all my life, but the world needed saving and I had the tool for the job. I opened The Lantern, and prayed. A wash of light burst forth and they both disappeared, forever.
"Sailing my craft over the shining sea, where my beautiful Love lies awaitin’ me," Captain Elias sang. “Aren’t I a lucky bastard, cabinboy?”
I scrambled across the pitching deck. My guts churned like buttermilk. Elias strode toward me, flexing his horsewhip.
“Running’s no good,” he bellowed. “Face your punishment like a man.”
His whip whistled at my back, punctuating his words with blows. “One. Ladle. Per. Prisoner. Keep. the Irons. On. the Men.”
I crawled toward the open cargo hatch and prayed for the pain to end. In the ship’s belly below, a hundred dark eyes stared back at me.
The shining laser of moonlight cut the granite into gray and blackness.
It was as quiet as a tomb. For a reason.
He came here for a reason. There was always one. Especially on this night. This beautiful night when all good souls were snug in their fearful repose.
He didn’t await good souls. He didn’t understand, but the bad souls seemed crunchier somehow. There was always one. One without love.
The crunch of the gravel path was irregular. Dragging. Drunk.
It was over almost before it began. Ah! Crunchy. Nutty, with lingering oak. Excellent craft.
The gift of holding her daughter’s tiny form for the first time, of feeling her delicate limbs pressed against her chest, is a moment she will always treasure. Crafted from months of pregnancy, this fleeting being inspired nothing but the purest form of love. The warm flood of happiness that spread throughout her body, despite knowing it was also the last time she would hold her child, will never fade. She smiles and is reassured that one day she will walk into the shining light and once again meet the beautiful angel baby that awaits her on the other side.
I am a craftsman. Love is my product.
“But how?” you perhaps are thinking. “How can you possibly craft love?”
Foremost, with care. Love is a beautiful thing, not to be rushed, not to be clumsily formulated, lest your throbbing heart explode. Love is delicate. Also it is ruthless.
But I know that is not the answer you await. So here it is: love is crafted with ingredients.
“What ingredients?” you ask.
Tears, for one. Many tears, of joy, of sadness.
But above all there is one necessity. The active ingredient.
The shining warmth of alcohol.
He awaited the next drop. He could see them shining for a moment if he looked up, but he no longer looked. He thought of two things only: his beautiful children and when she would return. The drops were only marking time, although she had been crafty and they followed no pattern. He had wasted days trying to find a pattern. Now he just was, thinking of his love for his children and waiting. His mind would splash, too, or she would come back. He hoped he broke first.
The man I retained in San Juan promised to make me beautiful, even Marilyn-esque. "For you, I shall craft a face the entire world will fall in love with," he vowed.
I can still recall the scalpel shining on the instrument stand, the glare from the surgical lights, the beads of sweat on his brow as I sank into anesthetic oblivion. It wasn't until the long awaited day when I removed the bandages that I learned the horrible truth.
My ex-husband had hired him first.
The beautiful jungle tries to destroy Angel Harris during the day, but what she fears most comes at night. It’s not the creatures that await, or falling thirty feet from a hammock, the rain that won’t stop or the crafty men that are after her—one with a bizarre love shining from his evil eyes. What really scares her is lying in that mesh cocoon, muscles screaming, exhaustion on her like a wet quilt, not sure if she can make it another day. And knowing she’ll have to kill to get out. With the whole night to think about it.
Far from the shattered innocence of her youth, she remains a lost child always running from the fabled monster that hides beneath the bed. There’s no escape, no hope left in this world that has forgotten how to love. She crawls into the shadows beneath her bed and waits, giving herself over to her fears. It comes after dark, beautiful escape when the long fingers close around her leg and pull her through to the other side of nothingness. Peace awaits her at last, shining through the carefully crafted world of dreams, disguised as nightmares.
The quiet air was cold and still and his breath shallow as he put his face closer to the eyepiece. It seemed much as the environment his target awaited him in. There it was, sitting in the cold depths of space; a dimly lit nucleus blazing ahead of a beautiful tail of shining platinum. Golden sunlight turned by an icy trail of primordial dust left in the wake of a city sized lump. Whether for science or the love of his craft, he sketched the beast as he found it and then moved on - bound to return the next night.
Shining her flashlight into the hallway, Kate searched for the source of the sound that had unnerved her. She was sure what awaited her in the darkness was Charlie. She had not seen the cat since the power outage.
The light swept side to side locating the beautiful feline in the corner. Relief embraced her.
She heard the sound again, behind her now.
“Hello, Love.” A whisper, the familiar voice drove a wedge between her and the security she craved.
A muscular arm snaked around her. A single chance to alert neighbors; a low flying aircraft drowned out her scream.
Past midnight, Alice lay awake and listed what she’d rescue from the flames. Her phone. A doll. A shining dress.
Across the Bay the Oakland Hills were burning. She’d watched behind glass walls as fire writhed, consuming oxygen, houses; black smoke plumed steadily upward. Her father came behind her, clenched her neck. “That won’t happen here,” he said, believing this a comfort.
Now she awaited, listed: A craftbox of love-notes elaborately folded. A gold-plated locket—unbeautiful, worthless really—given by her mother whom no one had expected to die. When the list was right she stood, and struck the match.
I had tied off the watercraft I climbed to join the Priestess above the spring. The coven below paused in their dance around the spring and gazed at us with love. As we dove the bits of shining bioluminescence made the spring made it look like we were diving into the sky. The coven followed.
Timucan artifacts seemed to await attention but that was for the Priestess. She lifted a flint knife and started the dance. Each time she passed the water another drop of blood fell into it. The fifth drop caused the dweller to explode into the chamber.
“Steve, face it, the Shining sucked!” I jerked the knife out. “Even Lovecraft hated it.”
The portly man’s eyes dripped behind thick glasses. “But, he was dead before…”
“Shut up and die quietly!” I reinserted my beautiful blade into his kidney. “Death awaits bloviates.”
“Ah—ah—ah…” Blood gurgled in his throat. “What about Carrie? Or Christine?”
I twisted the knife and grinned. “They were whores, like Ann Arbor.”
“Who?” Steve’s face paled as blood leaked from the corner of his mouth.
“Never mind, forget the bitch.” I thumbed his eyelids back. “Remember, life’s a beach, nightmares are for real.”
We hide, awaiting their approach in the darkness. The think they’re smarter than us, but our hunger is stronger. A methodically crafted trap will prove them wrong. They follow the scent of cloves as their hunger forces their steps. Our senses awaken from the crunching leaves and the sweet smell of their flesh. They’re here, and we reveal ourselves. Their screams make us feel alive. We feed, and my first bite paints the trees a beautiful scarlet. It flows down the bark, shining in the moonlight. Now who’s smarter?
Her screen is shinning in the dimly lit room, causing her face to vacillate slightly between darkness and light, between her public facade and her private angst. Slowly, methodically, almost rhythmically, she applies her craft, reading through the entries, awaiting that distinctive voice that will trigger her darkest of fears. She suddenly wonders if I can see her right now. I love the way she pulls her sweater tighter, just to be certain. Fear is such a beautiful emotion. She feels my prying, hungry eyes and grasps the truth. My gift allows me to see when she reads my words....
“Well, Mr. Baggypants. Satan awaits your explanation.”
“Listen,” said the demonically possessed clown doll. “I love my craft. It’s just this family . . . they were un-hauntable.”
“Ridiculous. Did you switch places while they were out?”
“Of course. That’s demon-doll haunting 101. They didn’t notice! Bunch of slobs.”
“Did you write threats on walls? Destroy property?”
“They blamed their teenage sons.”
“Kill a pet?”
“Nobody liked Mr. Whiskers.”
“Still . . . that doesn’t explain-”
“-I just wanted some attention. Yes, I cleaned the boys’ rooms. Shining! Beautiful! Neat and tidy!”
“The mom screamed in shock. Finally!”
When I awoke, I did not know what fate awaited me. My cell was white, clinical, shining.
An apparatus descended towards my face with slow precision. A worm emerged. Dangled. Twisted towards the tasty morsel that was my eye.
I strained against my chair. I contorted until I bled, but the worm would not be denied. Its biotech burrs caught on my cheek. It breached my eye socket. I screamed.
I had heard of the twisted craft within the Agency. I thought I could endure.
I was wrong.
The chemicals began. Pain, then love. Beautiful, artificial, forever-docile love.
I stood outside, afraid to look in the window. I didn’t want her to see me if she was in the front room. I shouldn’t be hiding in the bushes, but I’d gotten a call, she’d been seen going inside.
She was always so beautiful, knowing the danger she was in, I began to obsess about what could happen to her.
She came into view. I caught a glimpse of the light shining off her hair.
He followed her without love and crafted her final breath.
I await the cops.
The empty container falls from my hand. It’s true what they say; life’s value is only realized once it’s too late. I lived a life of bitterness, no grain of love towards anything, or anyone.
What a life wasted that was…
I glance out the window. My wife’s German-crafted car pulls into our driveway, its waxed exterior shining beautifully against the fall sun. She doesn’t deserve what awaits her, but then again, I never deserved her.
My heart slows, my last breaths are heavy. If only there was an undo button I could pound.
I’m sorry, babe.
“I’m home, babe.”
I thrashed, my misery evident. "As I await eternal sleep, Doctor, what else must I do?"
"Rest, beautiful one, for dawn shall soon be shining. The potion I've crafted should ease the pain," he murmured.
"Love," he said, as the shuddering began, "once again has stolen death; and death, love."
And my soul released.
“You look beautiful,” she said, her face shining. She held my hand as we awaited the car, but as usual her love was followed by the proverbial rug being pulled out from under me.
“I wish you’d crafted something a little more...”appropriate” to wear, you know it’s an important day.” Right on schedule. The car turned the corner and she tugged at me to start down the stairs. Her foot tangled in my skirt and she tumbled headfirst into the road. Tires screeched, and then there was a thump.
What did she know? Black was appropriate, after all.
She was beautiful, of course. Bare shoulders shining in the streetlights, slick hair snaking down her back. But she couldn't help putting it right there on her little red car: "Love me, love my craft!"
Too arrogant, never dreamed someone might await her in the shadows when she returned with her pretty boy prey in tow. Too slow, when I sink the knife in before she can cast her curse.
Her idiot target screams and runs without a word of thanks. I move quickly, grabbing her keys, lifting her cooling body into her trunk...
...next to a bag of yarn. A pair of knitting needles sticks out the top.
Being second graders, Rick's hands were the same size as Ruthie's, but that didn't matter while he choked her in the dirt.
Every Monday morning recess, she would await his attack under the beautiful maple tree. She had to fight back or face her own weakness shinning in his conflicted glare.
She coughed and Rick loosened his grip. She would ask the question she’d taken hours to craft.
“Is it ‘cause you hate me?”
He touched where her arm bled after scraping against an exposed tree root.
“We hurt what we love, Ruthie. I do it so you stay away.”
Lisa loved Halloween. It was the most beautiful time of year, and she always impatiently awaited its arrival. Stories of witchcraft and poltergeists made her hair stand on end; changing leaves warmed her soul. This year was different. She had a secret.
She sat outside, shining her witch shoes, waiting for Markus.
“Markus!” She ran to her husband and grabbed his hand. “I have something to tell you.” She led him inside, motioning for him to sit.
“The leaves aren’t the only things changing.”
“We’re having a baby.”
And that year, Halloween really was the best day.
Desperation ain’t beautiful. But who don’t love a problem to fix?
She pounds on my door. Her boyfriend’s ten minutes behind, she says. There’s barely time for introductions before he shows, headlights shining through my window. I craft some bullshit to get rid of him.
Watch yourself, he says. You’ll become the next “boyfriend.” He turns and I see the blood.
No sooner he’s gone, she’s counting the cash from my bureau. Take it, I say.
Too easy, she says. Where’s the fun?
I wanted to help, I say.
Her cackle sends chills. She tells me my reward awaits me.
He's beautiful, like barbed wire twisted around a tree trunk. I whisper my secret to my pillow, and write my whisper on a note I stick in his locker. I hear what I want him to say.
We craft a future of trips to Europe, a boy named Aidan and a girl named Lilac. The camera's blinking red light means it's love.
The shining light of the monitor as I watch myself on the Internet. Whiskey pressed with water, I await the effects of the pills.
Tongues wagged as the newlyweds left the courthouse.
"That old fool. He must have thirty years on her."
"Forty. She's nineteen. Grew up in the County Home after the big fire."
"So beautiful. So much love shining in her eyes."
"Stacked to the rafters, and them legs go right on up to her neck."
"Damn, what a honeymoon awaits him. Bet he wants to get started."
They were wrong. The groom could wait. His exquisite bride was totally alone. Always meticulous about his craft, he would go slowly. The taxidermist had waited a lifetime for the perfect trophy wife.
Stuffed inside the crevice under the closet, the little boy strangled a sob and begged the universe to help him remember something beautiful.
“I love you,” he whispered as his younger sister’s reed-thin frame shuddered against his chest.
He shielded her eyes with a dirt-stained hand as if he could protect her from the shining light that cracked through the thin, wooden planks that held them prisoner.
“I’m done playing Minecraft,” the postman said in a whiny, expectant voice. “I await you, my loves.”
The boy dislodged the razor blade carefully hidden under his tongue and prepared for battle.
I couldn't delete my previous entry, but I'd rather you count this slightly revised version. Thanks.
“I await your command.”
I hear the words and the voice is mine but the words are not mine. My words scream “no” and “help” and “please.” My words die in silence.
“Your presence lights my path.”
His shining eyes come closer, and they shine like flames that burn without warmth and I run but I do not move and I cannot breathe.
“Your love will set me free.”
My fingers yearn to stroke his beautiful face, his bones and lips and brow, all crafted to beguile, and I am lost and I cannot cry.
He touches me
“She’s beautiful. Quintessential “Brides of Dracula.” But what happened to her wrists?”
“Suicide by box cutter.”
“Heightened realism. Love it. What’s the story with “An American Werewolf in London” over there?”
“And “The Shining” twins?”
“Drunk driving accident. Entire family annihilated.”
“Their dresses. Just like in the movie.”
“I sewed them myself.”
“Aren’t you the craftsman. Don’t you feel a little strange, though? Using real people.”
“I’m returning them first thing tomorrow morning. He’ll be none the wiser.”
“Being the son of a mortician has its perks after all. Especially on Halloween.”
“Hey, it’s time. Our customers await.”
Moonlight crept through the windows, illuminating the nightmarish yet beautiful creature as it fed from my father’s corpse.
I crouched in the corner, frozen.
As I awaited my turn, there was no fear, only acceptance.
I opened my eyes, with no memory of having closed them. I turned from lights shining down on me.
“It’s okay, love, you’re safe now.”
I tried to warn my rescuer but was unable to speak. I spotted the creature smiling at me, as blood dripped down its face.
“No, Miss Craftwell. Don’t!” the man shouted as I plunged the knife into my chest.
The craftsman of Shining Mountain awaited Beautiful’s return. Last night she chased a scent into the woods and never returned.
As the sun rose, his feet blistered from the miles he trudged; his parched lips now only capable of a whisper. “Beautiful, I tried. I’m going home to rest.”
Hours later, scratching lured him to the door. When he opened it, Beautiful was wagging her tail. A dead child lay beside her.
In the cellar, he dumped the body into a barrel of gin. “Cheers, Love,” he said, then shut the lid. Another child saved.
She’d been doing it for some time: Await her husband’s regular breathing as his head rest upon the pillow. Then prick the back of his neck with a needle.
Not hard, of course. Just…enough. Enough to make him stir. Enough to force his beautiful lips into a purse of pained surprise. Enough to make him notice her, even if subconsciously.
She spooned against him, palming the slim, shining blade she’d crafted with time, pressure, and wedding gift cookware. Tonight he’d finally know just how much she loved him.
Upper East Side apartments, after dark.
Lovely inky blackness down here, under stairs that lead from the building’s foyer down into an unlit courtyard. I await her now, a sharkly woman whose fate is mine. She’ll bring down her garbage, unaware of what’s coming. The beautiful bliss she’s had tormenting writers, how can I thank her?
Years spent crafting tonight’s assault, days spent plotting, hours waiting.
Footsteps on concrete like seconds ticking on a clock.
A knife-shaped query shining in my hand.
Her words have cut me deep. Bled me dry. Quid pro quo.
[This is the same story I submitted earlier, with a small correction. I've deleted my previous entry.]
- - -
The door was too beautiful. That was the first thing I noticed. Tall, exquisitely crafted, shining with false promises – hope, love, new dawns – as each of us awaited punishment. My turn soon.
A man in uniform holding a clipboard approached, pointed his pen at me, and said, “You.” I followed. But he halted beside the engraved silver door so abruptly that I plowed into him. Hard. Enough to knock him over, push him through, slam shut and turn the pretty carved handle.
I moved towards freedom. But the silver door had no handle anymore. Not from this side.
- - -
bonnieshaljean (a) hotmail . com
"It's beautiful." Sunlight shining on the water creates dazzling flashes. I shiver as we climb higher on the gridiron almost at the top. We plan to watch the bridge rise above us by jumping backwards, free falling into forever. Traffic is stopped, people are watching. The view from the top is amazing. You lean over and warm me with a last kiss to my cold lips. "I love you, never forget that." It's our last sacrifice to our craft. Even as you grab my hand and squeeze, I await your words, "On the count of three."
Sorry if this is a double post. It didn't look like my first comment took. If I see it twice I'll remove one.
Witchcraft is a beautiful thing, however awaiting the witching hour is often a labor of love; the interminable pause before you see the moon shining bright in the midnight sky.
I look up. The time is close at hand. A thin wisp of cloud obscures the disk hanging in the blackness. My gaze returns to the circle in front of me. Carefully gathered stones glimmer in intricate patterns.
Silver light floods the clearing. I cross the threshold, my white gown trailing over the rocks, an ancient dagger in each hand.
It's time. My blood will unleash eternal darkness.
Hey, love! How’s the conference? I miss you too. Hold on. Midnight’s outside yowling. I thought I put him downstairs.
So we’re discussing Craft’s account—beautiful. Now he’s doing that human-sounding yowl so you can’t ignore him. I don’t know. How does any cat get out?
So Carl’s shining his laser at the board—ugh. He’s getting louder. He’ll wake the Mortinelli’s baby. I’m awaiting that phone call eagerly. Holy smokes, it’s cold outside. Here, Midnight! Snaaaacks!
I don’t see him. He must be hiding. I gotta go get the beast. Be right back.
Hee-eere, Midnight! Here, kitty, kitty, kit--
It was like a dream, something I’d only fantasized about. All those lonely nights, awaiting the chance to tell her how I felt. And now here I was, her beautiful naked form arched beneath me. Before I could pinch myself, I smiled and guided my love craft into her harbor. And in that singular moment of bliss, she opened her mouth. Out came not moans of pleasure, but the roar of a honking truck. Her eyes were shining like headlights, blinding my world. More effective than a pinch, I awoke from my daydream and welcomed the crash. No brakes needed.
“What did you think this was?”
He looked away. “Love.”
She knew his eyes were shining with tears. She laughed; this was the moment she had crafted for years.
“You don’t remember me?”
He blinked and looked up, awaiting an explanation. He struggled against the handcuffs.
She pulled her shirt over her head, revealing her burnt and charred stomach branded with his mark.
His eyes bulged.
He couldn’t even find emotion to put in the word.
“You destroyed me. I used to be beautiful.”
“I’m sorr—“. The first blow shut him up. The next would forever.
He was reluctant. He loved her, of course. Would die for her, kill for her. But make their duo a trio? That song was uncertain.
Nights, he’d stare at the sky--a million shining questions--thinking.
Months passed. He crafted reasons. She, so beautiful, dispelled them.
Finally, he acquiesced. Watched her shape change. Watched the moon change shape, too.
Then, it was time. He held her. She screamed. And what followed was a silence so severe he trembled.
The long-awaited babe was here. She wasn’t.
Not a trio.
Him. And the boy.
Her pregnancy test proved negative once again, like all the others. Marcy had failed enough.
After recess, she awaited her shining first-graders. Their stubby fingers fumbled with animal crackers and glued noodle crafts. Nap time was coming up.
Several confused students helped her stack metal desks to barricade the door, and she locked the windows. Bless their little hearts. They loved their favorite teacher, but none were truly hers. And never could be.
At lights-off, Marcy opened her lunch thermos. She peppered the walls with gasoline, and hummed the class into a deep, beautiful slumber. Quiet as angels.
A light shining like a beautiful star had appeared, but faded into oddity. Left in a strange world of pillars and tiny creatures, she'd tried communication. Touching her relay to these beings didn't convey her compassion or love. They evaporated. Frail bodies.
Other creatures came, perhaps drawn by the sounds of these fleeing beings and loudly spitting painfully at her. Terrified, she tried to craft a connection with these. They too dissolved. Even more came.
If she couldn't communicate, she'd surrender and await mercy. A whistling turned her attention skyward. One creature had laid an egg mid-flight. How very odd.
She stands on the precipice, seduced by the roar of the ocean below.
“The sea awaits,” whispers the voice in her head. “Jump,” it says. “Jump now.”
Her toes curl into the jagged rock. She blinks against the shining sun. It glitters like diamonds on the chop. She falters, remembering.
She crafted the note, proclaimed her love. He answered with silence.
The waves crash, calling to her. “You are beautiful,” they say. “Come to us.”
She teeters, arms outstretched.
Finally, she leaps, soaring into the watery embrace of her lover below.
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