Category Archives: Paranormal

The Encounter By Cynthia B Ainsworthe

portrait of a beautiful brown-haired woman in a flower wreath sitting in the autumn forest close to the harp

John Drake drove down the dirt road, scarcely wide enough to allow for two passing cars. He slowed down at every sign, hoping he would find the name of the turn located on the tattered, coffee-stained road map. After stopping for the fourth time, he pulled over to what once was a rest stop for would-be campers.

His eye caught the glimpse of something fleeing not far in the woods. A young woman, twentyish, wearing a flowing gown, with a ring of flowers on her head, and a light blue ribbon tied around her neck. Her fingers grazed lazily over the autumn leaves on a nearby tree limb above her head. She stopped and looked at him. Her eyes grew intense and seemed to communicate a sad, beckoning message. John swallowed hard. He sat straighter, and ran his finger between his turtleneck collar and his throat.

Why is she staring at me? Is she lost? There are no spring flowers now. Why does she have flowers in her hair?

As compelling as the image was, he forced himself to check the map again. When he looked up in her direction, she was still there, only deeper into the forest.

His hand shook as he grabbed the keys and got out of the car. He stood a moment, watching her, and then walked around the car to the edge of the gravel, where it met an overgrown path. She didn’t move, but seemed to study his form for a few seconds, before she turned and darted into the forest. His steps grew faster and faster till he was at a slow run.

She disappeared out of sight behind a clump of thick-trunked trees.

John stopped and turned in a complete circle. There was no sight of her. Which way had she gone? It had to be that way. Instinct took over as he trudged through the growth of trees and fallen dead tree trunks hosting clusters of mushrooms crossing his path. Still, no sight of her.
Is she in danger? Does she want me to help her in some way?

A small clearing came into view with an old cabin standing in the center. As he drew closer, John saw it was missing some of the planks used to make the walls, and had no door. The hole that must have held a window revealed that the damaged roof allowed a stream of sunlight to fill its interior.

I wonder if she’s in there? Why is she hiding from me?

John hurried to the cabin, then slowed his pace, suddenly apprehensive. He toured the perimeter, careful where he stepped for fear of finding a hole, or some abandoned well. Coming back around to the front, he noticed a pale blue ribbon on the step to the rickety porch. He bent down, picked it up, and rubbed the satin fabric between his fingers. She is real. This ribbon proves it. He peered cautiously into the cabin. Empty. He looked around again, squinting to sharpen his focus. He could see no sign of this mysterious woman. He stashed the souvenir in his pocket. Her image haunted him. He returned to the car and continued to his destination, hoping to find the peace and quiet he sought for his weekend retreat. Dust kicked up as he picked up speed.

Crossroads came into view, with what appeared to be an old general store on one corner. An old brown pickup truck stood under the shade of an enormous oak tree. John pulled into the makeshift parking lot of packed dirt, and grabbed his map before getting out of the car. He stepped onto the old porch and noted a hand-honed wooden rocker. The sound of creaking wood under each footstep announced his arrival before he opened the door.

John stood a moment, searching for someone to assist him. He spotted an older woman behind a rough-hewn wood counter. He noticed a thin gold wedding band on her finger.

“Hi, Ma’am. I’m new in town and need some directions.” He laid the map on the counter, and pointed to his desired target.

The woman leaned over the counter and studied the map. “Nice to meet you,” she said with a slow drawl. “I’m Mabel. My husband, Henry, is in the back.” She pointed over her shoulder. She took a pencil from the gray bun at the back of her head and made an X on the map. “You are here. You go down this road till you get to a Y. Take the right fork, and the next left will take you to the campsite. You should be able to find your way from there. There’s a sign. You can’t miss it.”

A stooped man with a weathered face came from the back and stood next to her. “Don’t drive too fast in these parts. We don’t fancy road kill ‘round here. Critters got a right to live, and we only kill for what we eat. No huntin’ for city sport—not fair to the animals.”
John shifted his weight. He picked up the map. “No chance of that. I’m here for some rest. I only brought a sketch pad and pens.”

“You’re a painter?” the man whom he assumed was Henry, stroked his chin.

“Yes.” John smiled. “Though I only do that for fun. I’m an investment broker.”

Mabel’s jaw set. “One of them that makes money from others—skinnin’ them alive and they don’t feel it until they’re near dirt poor.”

They’re not very friendly here. I better get moving before it’s dark.

He paused at the doorway, and turned back to the older couple. “Do you know of a young woman in her twenties around here? I saw her in the woods—thought she might need help so I stopped the car and tried to find her, but she vanished.”

The couple exchanged knowing glances.

After a moment, Henry stiffened his posture. “Nope. Don’t know of any person like that. Sure you aren’t seein’ things from lack of sleep? Been drivin’ too long?”

“I know what I saw.”

Maybe he’s right. Stress at work and the long hours driving could’ve played tricks with my eyes.

* * *

The stranger left far quicker than he arrived.

Mabel looked up at Henry. “You think he’ll get to where he needs to be?”

“Don’t know. City slickers can be a bit disbelievin’ with all their book learnin’.” He started stocking the fresh shipment of canned green beans from the cardboard box onto the shelf behind them. “We might not see him again. Might end up like the rest.”

Her brow furrowed, accentuating the look of worry. “I hope not. All-in-all, he seemed like a nice young man.” She gazed out the window. “He might be back for some fixin’s. Might need some spray for all those bugs in the cabin.”

“Don’t go fussin’.” Henry tossed the empty box to the others in the corner. “What’s meant to be will be. Nothin’ no one can do. If we see him again, then we will. If not, it’s nobody’s business.”

“You’re right.” She patted his hand on the counter. “I fret too much over things that’s none of my concern.”

* * *

John hadn’t slept well. He tossed and turned and couldn’t make out if he slept with one dream blending into the next, of it he spent his entire night looking at the shadows and images formed by the moonlight. The vision of the girl in the woods tormented him.

I know she is real. Why can’t I stop thinking about her? Why did that couple at the store act so odd when I mentioned what I saw?

He slung his legs over the edge of the bed, stood up and gave an expansive stretch and yawn. A well-worn coffeemaker stood on the small dresser along with Styrofoam cups, packets of instant coffee, sugar, and powdered creamer. He filled the coffeepot with water from the bathroom sink then poured the contents into the reservoir. He pressed the “on” button to boil the water.

Nothing happened.

He checked the wall socket and re-plugged the appliance. Still nothing—not even the faint sound of gurgling water. Damn it! Now I have to go back to that store and find out where people eat around here. Maybe I can buy a new coffeemaker.

John dressed quickly. He checked his pocket and pulled out the ribbon with his keys. He looked at it briefly then stuffed it into his shirt pocket.

The morning sun nearly blinded him, and he grabbed his sunglasses from the glove compartment. The drive seemed much shorter than he recalled yesterday. He didn’t need a map this time. He drove back to the general store as if he had driven this road numerous times before. I was so lost yesterday. Why do I know these roads so well now? Am I still dreaming?

This is weird.

John pulled into the same parking area. He got out and checked the money in his wallet, and hoped he had enough. He wondered if the older couple would accept credit cards.

He opened the door and walked straight to the counter. Mabel swept off dust with an old rag that must have seen better days.

He cleared his throat. “Ma’am, I was here yesterday asking for directions.”

Mabel gave no indication that he was there, nor that she heard him.

Henry came from the back with a large barrel of pickles supported on a hand truck, and un-packed them toward the entry. “I haven’t seen that young broker man—the one askin’ for directions,” he said.

John stepped toward Henry. “Are you blind? I’m standing right here in front of you.”

“Yup,” Mabel replied. “Guess he’s gone for good. Hope he finds out where he’s supposed to be.”

She brushed away a lock of gray hair from her forehead and secured it with a bobby pin from her apron pocket. “Hate to think he’ll get lost.”

John turned to the woman. “Why are you ignoring me? I am here, right in front of you,” He almost yelled, panic rising in his throat.

“Henry, do you think he really saw her in the woods?” Mabel placed her hands on hips.

“Don’t know. Might have.” He chuckled. “It’s not like he had proof—a picture or somethin’.”

John reached into his pocket and retrieved the blue ribbon. He waved it in the air. “Yes, I do have proof! Here it is. Right in my hand.”

Mabel and Henry took no notice.

What is wrong with these people? Are they purposely being rude? I’m from the big city—that means I don’t exist?

In exasperation, John slammed the ribbon down on the counter. It was his only proof that he had seen her and that she was real, but he didn’t care. What he saw and experienced the day before fell back to second place. He felt a new urgency to be somewhere, but didn’t know where that place was located. He headed for his car.

At the door he paused at the sound of Mabel’s voice, and turned around.

“That man was here. Look, Henry. Here’s the ribbon.” She took it from the counter and handed it to her husband.

“I’ll take care of it. Put it with the others.” He shuffled to a box under the far end of the counter.

“I wonder what he thought when we didn’t say a word to him when he was here.”

“I didn’t know he was here—not until that ribbon. Didn’t even feel a breeze.” A small smile curled at her lips. “Guess he hasn’t learned that skill yet.” She watched Henry carefully place the ribbon in the container. “When do you think they’ll find the body?”

“All depends how well that girl hid it.”

John’s mouth gaped open. They are totally nuts. I’ve entered some kind of twilight zone.

His car was gone.

In its place was the young woman in a flowing nightgown with a blue satin ribbon around her neck. Her arm reached out to him.

© 2016 Cynthia B Ainsworthe

Cynthia has longed to be a writer. Life’s circumstances put her dream on hold for most of her life. In 2006, she ventured to write her first novel, Front Row Center, which won the prestigious IPPY Award (Independent Publisher), as well as garnering numerous 5-star reviews, one from known Midwest Book Review. Front Row Center is the first book in the Forbidden Series.

This novel is now being adapted to screen. A script is in development by her and notable Hollywood screenwriter, producer, and director, Scott C. Brown. Remember?, and Forbidden Footsteps are books two and three in the Forbidden Series. She also contributed to the award-winning anthology, The Speed of Dark, compiled by Clayton C. Bye, published by Chase Enterprises Publishing. Cynthia enjoys retirement in Florida caring for her husband and their five poodle-children.
https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-B.-Ainsworthe/e/B00KYRE1Q8
https://www.cynthiabainsworthe.com

Such A Loving Pair by Monica Brinkman

 

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The couple sat at the kitchen table. The red and white checkered curtains flailed away from the window, orchestrated by the cool breeze of the night.

He touched the small boned knuckles of her tiny hand, turned it over, drew the open palm to his face and brushed his lips against each smooth fingertip. It was still a thrill of pleasure after all these years, and his heart quickened as he felt the surge of love fill his body.

Annabelle coyly cast her eyes downward, a demure smile upon her face. Then she looked up into Gerard’s’ face. Their eyes locked as they experienced a moment of intense emotion, so much more than mere love, nothing less than consummate completion.

“You look ravishing tonight my darling.”

Her cheeks pinked with the blush of a much younger woman. “Thank you, and if not too bold of me, I say that you my husband appear quite striking yourself.”

Gerard’s’ face opened to a large grin. “Why woman, I would accept nothing less than the truth, be it bold or not.”

He noticed her eyebrow arch and a frown take over the smile.

“What is it Annabelle? Have I offended you in some way?”

She sighed softly, rose from her seat and walked to the window and pushed the curtain to one side, holding it against the wall.  “It is exceptionally beautiful, this night. The moon so near, brilliantly white and clear. I feel if I reached out my hand I could almost touch it. Silly of me acting so childishly.”

Annabelle turned toward Gerard. He knew that look upon her face, the sadness, the despair, the hopelessness. How he wished he could alter her situation and knew, no matter how much she sought escape, there would be none. Not from the house, not this night.

He walked to her side, took her hand in his and pulled her away from the window and the nights’ hypnotic trance. It drove him mad to see her in such pain, yet he knew he must do what was best for her well-being, her sanity.

“Shall we go to the terrace? You said the moon is very beautiful and the night air should be refreshing.”

Her eyes glowed with anticipation, excitement and joy. “Oh yes my dear husband, may we?”

Her steps quickened to a fast trot as they passed through the living room and approached the sliding door within the entertainment room. The bright blue walls displeased her, how garish and bold. She would have preferred a more subtle off-white or beige design yet realized her opinion on this matter was meaningless. As Gerard slowly slid open the door, taking precaution to remain as silent as possible, she cast one look backward at the despicable decor, now eager to feel the coolness of the night upon her body.

After exiting the room, with circumspection, he slid the door back into place, leaving a tiny gap between the lock and latch, assuring re-entrance would be safe and silent. Lord knows he did not need the others discovering their presence. He never knew how Annabelle would react to their interference. Though timid by nature, when confronted, she could become quite a handful and create havoc within the home. Gerard preferred to treat any intrusion into their life with understanding. After all, this was not their house; he and Annabelle were only residents.

“Look Darling.” Annabelle pointed to the nearby lake. The water bristled with activity from the wind’s caress. She held back a giggle as she watched the moonlight reveal a raft of ducks paddling toward land. The hen proudly led the ducklings who followed in quacking chorus.

He loved the delight upon Annabelle’s face. He wished he could actually lead her to the waters edge and together toss bits of oats or vegetables their way. Again, he realized the futility in this line of thought. Better to enjoy what was granted than to daydream on what would never be.

God, he loved this woman with his entire being. Their partnership was eternal, filled with adoration and youthful passion. He could not foresee a future without his beloved. Her welfare meant everything to him. He was her protector, her security.

Gerard neared her, bowed and extended his hand. Annabelle laughed softly, took his hand and they embraced in a dance, careful to be on tiptoe and not arouse discovery. Each glide across the terrace brought them freedom of space, the moonlight glistened upon the two silver clips which held her auburn tresses in place. All that mattered was the now, the moment, the experience. They danced and pranced. Time ceased to exist, each cast in the magical spell of love. Husband and wife. Partner and mate. Protector and protectee.

Annabelle halted her step, cocked her head, the frown returned to her face. In the silence of the early morning she thought she heard footsteps. Were they coming? The others? It wasn’t fair this life forced upon her. She wanted to scream, lash out and confront the vile family who had taken over her home. They now made the rules, they now called the shots, they now controlled her surroundings. How dare they?

He could see the anger and hatred rising within his dearest wife. Yes, they were prisoners, doomed to exist within the confinement of the home, the rules set by the others, never able to leave its door, to venture outside. They were forced to live in harmony beside the others and were regulated by the restraints of the residence.

They watched through the large pane of glass, knowing their presence would not be detected. They were safe, if silent.

The male child appeared and wiped his sleepy eyes before padding to the contraption the others called a TV. Gerard detested the noise it projected yet pondered how remarkable an object to have the ability to see a variety of people and hear their voices. It did seem rather cold and offensive for surely anyone would prefer the company of friends rather than watching them remotely.

The next other to enter was a blonde-haired young girl. She chatted with the male child and settled down beside him on the burnt-umber carpeted floor. Gerard glanced at Annabelle and saw the rage growing within her. He had to stop her before she allowed her rage to cause distress.

It was too late, she had slid the door open and entered the room. Annabelle walked behind the seated children and flicked their hair. She had to stifle a giggle when they reached up to shoo away the presence of her touch. Gerard looked on in disappointment. It was all a game to Annabelle. A game he wanted no part of, a game his beautiful wife embraced.

She became bolder and pushed the male child into the lap of the young girl.

Oh how she delighted when she heard, “Stop it stupid. Yuck. Get off of me.”

The male child seemed baffled and responded,  “Somebody pushed me, I didn’t do it on purpose.”

“Not that again Bobby. Nobody pushed you. Mom and Dad said it was just our imagination, remember?”

“Magination doesn’t push you Sabrina. I don’t care what they say. I was pushed.”

The young girl shook her head and went back to watching the TV program.

Gerard entered the room and arms crossed, stood next to Annabelle. “Okay, that’s enough. You’ve had your jollies for the day. Let’s go to our room.”

Annabelle turned to him, a broad smile on her face. He knew that mischievous smile well. Her eyes took on the glow of madness. She drew every ounce of energy from within the room into her body and walked silently to stand in front of the others. Her form appeared gradually, from a small orb to a bit of mist to a solid mass. Annabelle extended her hand and in a loud roaring voice said, “Hello children.”

It was hilarious. These others shrieked and screamed, simultaneously jumping to their feet and scurrying out of the room at lightening speed. Let them explain that to their parents.

Gerard shook his head in disapproval. Yet he couldn’t help but smile a bit when Annabelle brushed her hands against each other and shook her finger.

“How dare anyone take over my house, my home. Well there’s plenty more where that came from.”

The loving couple who’d existed since 1892 within the walls of the house they’d built, clasped hands and walked toward the attic door. Just another day within eternity.

 

Monica M Brinkman believes in ‘giving it forward.’ This is reflected by her writing and radio show. A firm believer that open communication is the most powerful tool to make positive change in the world; she expresses this in her book, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel and It Matters Radio.  Look for her book, The Wheel’s Final Turn, to be release in 2015.

Monica resides in the Midwest with her husband, two dogs and five cats.

Visit her web sites:

www.itmattersradio.com

http://theturnofthekarmicwheel.blogspot.com/

Owls, harbingers of death or symbols of wisdom? by Maggie Tideswell

 

Owl 1

I have written ghosts in the past, but they aren’t all I am interested in. Owls are another passion of mine and are repeatedly used in my novels. My owls always act in unusual ways, for instance they fly together in a swarm, which they never do in real life; they attack humans, which is highly unlikely; and they guard or protect a human being, which is also not in their nature. That is the fun part of being a novelist. To serve the purpose of my story, owls may behave in any way I want them to, although I mostly stick to the known facts.

We all knowBarn Owl the basics of owls. They are birds known for their distinctive call, they are nocturnal and their flight is silent, and deadly if you are a tiny creature. Owls are right up there with bats and spiders as the most popular creatures of Halloween.

Owls are classified into two categories: barn owls have a heart shaped face, and true owls have a round face. In each category there are of course several species; 16 Barn Owl species and 190 True Owl species, to be exact. Owls don’t build nests, but make their home using anything that is convenient, from a nest built in the ground by other birds or burrowing animals, to a nook in a tree, to old abandoned buildings.

 Owls are carnivorous and will eat rodents, small mammals, nocturnal insects, fish and even other birds. After digesting their food, owls regurgitate hard pellets of compressed bones, fur, teeth, feathers and other materials they couldn’t digest. A barn owl can eat up to 1,000 mice each year, and farmers try to attract barn owls to help control rodent populations in agricultural fields.

Most people will know that owls’ eyes are fixed in their sockets, so that they have to turn their whole head to find their prey. You might have heard the tall tale that, because of their fixed eyes, should you circle an owl, it will wring its own neck watching you. As the owl can only turn its head 260 degrees, this claim is impossible. Because their eyes are fixed, they have binocular vision, a necessity for hunting in the dark. An owl has three eyelids: one for blinking, one for sleeping and one for keeping the eye clean and lubricated.

Owls have asymmetrical ears that are different sizes and different heights on their heads. This gives the birds superior hearing and the ability to pinpoint where the prey is even before they can see it. The flattened facial disk of an owl funnels sound to the bird’s ears and magnifies it as much as ten times to help the bird hear noises humans can’t detect.

Some owhorned owll species have “ear” tufts on their heads but they aren’t ears at all. These tufts of feathers may indicate the bird’s mood and help keep it camouflaged.

Owls have zygodactyl feet, which means they have two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backward. This gives them a stronger, more powerful grip on their prey. Their feathers have been especially adapted to muffle the sounds of flying. Their broad wingspan and light bodies helps to make them nearly silent in flight. Handy for stalking prey.

For most owl species, females are larger, heavier and more aggressive than the males and she is also the most colorful.

Owls don’t only hoot, but are capable of a wide range of sounds, such as screeches, whistles, barks and hisses. During the nesting season, an owl’s calls can often be heard up to a mile away. And they sing duets with their breeding partner, whom they mate with for life.

Did you know that a group of owls is called a parliament?

Owls have been found in the fossil record up to 58 million years ago. The largest recorded owl fossil, Orinmegalonyx oteroi, stood about three feet tall. Owl images have been found in cave paintings in France, in Egyptian hieroglyphics and even in Mayan art. Most cultures focused on the dark aspect of the owl, mainly because of man’s inherent fear of the dark. Because the owl is nocturnal, and the medical fact that most deaths occur at night, the owl became associated with death.

The biggest modern threats to owls are habitat loss, pesticides that poison the birds and their food supplies, and human persecution because of negative superstitions.

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Unfortunately for the owl, they have been much maligned by folklore and superstition. In ancient Greek mythology, Athena, goddess of the Underworld and Wisdom, had a companion owl on her shoulder, which revealed unseen truths to her. The Japanese believe the owl warns them of impending danger. In Celtic folklore the owl was sacred and endowed with magical powers. To the Welsh, the owl symbolized death, renewal and wisdom. Today, owl superstitions still associate the birds with bad luck, death and stealing souls in many cultures.

In paganism, the owl is associated with the goddess, wisdom, Underworld deities and prophecy. Owl symbolism used in meditation and ritual can help you interpret dreams, unmask those who would deceive you and find hidden spiritual truths.

For me personally, hearing an owl hoot at night means something good is about to happen.

 

Bio: Maggie Tideswell’s specialty is supernatural romance. Her novels are set in her homeland of South Africa. learn more at  https://www.amazon.com/author/maggietideswell

Science Fiction /Paranormal Shorts by the Write Room Blog crew.

 Mickis story

 THE HOUSE

By Micki Peluso

 

On a balmy summer night something awoke Vera. The lighted digital clock read 4 AM. She jabbed her husband sharply in the ribs.

” Hank, do you hear that heavy breathing sound? Think it might be the black bear planning on a snack from the garbage cans?”

“No, he mumbled. It’s just the house breathing.”

“I don’t believe you just said that.”

“I’ve told you it’s an evil house. It often breathes during the night.” He rolled over and went back to sleep.

Their five kids, all teenagers, swore there were ghosts in the house, but Vera figured it was just poltergeist activity from raging teenage hormones. She felt so protected and peaceful in her lovely old home.

“The house wants Mom”, the kids insisted.

Nonsense, their mother told them. Vera did not notice that she rarely left the confines of the house, and was developing agoraphobia–fear of leaving the house. Hank’s new job in another state changed that, relieving the kids and breaking Vera’s heart.

On moving day, the house was emptied; truck loaded. Vera went back one last time to bid farewell and make sure everything was gone. She ventured up into the attic where most of the kids had slept. The attic door, which always stuck, swung shut, locking her in. Vera ran to the window to call out to Hank. There was no sign of her family; the countryside was set in another time or dimension. Vera stifled a scream. The old house breathed in deep contentment. It had waited centuries to get Vera back. No one would ever take her away again. Vera turned to see antiquated furniture surrounding her. She smiled; sat in an old rocking chair and rocked. The house breathed one last sigh . . . relieved. Vera was home at last.

BIO

Micki Peluso started writing as a response to grief. . . .AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG, which won the Nesta CBC silver award for writing that makes a change in the world, shares the story of her daughter’s death and the family’s movement towards recovery. Since then Micki has written humor, horror, and much more. Read more about her at (Add a URL)

 

 

  For Delinda's article

DECISION ON THE EVENGELINE

By Delinda McCann

 

Captain Hera opened a com-channel to A’Damirea.  “Hera, captain of the Evengeline to His Excellency Martar.  We achieved orbit, Sir.”  As she waited for a gravi-connection, she debated for the thousandth time should she follow orders or should she follow her own instincts?

Finally, a voice came over the gravi-com system.  Even distorted with static, she recognized Marta’s warm voice. “The prisoners, their condition is what?”

Captain Hera fought to keep contempt for her charges out of her words.  “The passengers are fit for transport to the surface.”

“Did you have any trouble?”

She refused to tell this gentle soul that the brutal rebels had kept the medic team busy repairing broken bones, split skulls and internal injuries until engineering devised a system for confining the prisoners to quarters.  “Nothing of significance, Sir.  The landing pods are prepared whenever you issue the command to commence transport.”

“Another option I wish we found, but peace is essential to continued existence.  Commence transport.”

Finally, the time came for Hera to decide.  Should she send the whole lot of murderous renegades down to form one colony per orders, or should she set them down in small groups separated by thousands of miles, or oceans, or mountains.  She knew in her gut that they faced a greater chance of survival where they couldn’t get at each other.

Captain Hera inspected each readied pod.  Procrastination ceased to be an option.  She took a deep breath and ordered, “Deploy the pods in a scattered pattern encompassing the whole planet.”

Before each pod launched, she offered her blessing by kissing her fingers and touching the code that identified the pod belonging to the A’Damirea system and the ship Evengeline–A’Dam-Eve.

BIO

Delinda McCann is a social psychologist with years of working with at risk individuals in the field.  She also runs a small flower farm and is an avid if inaccurate musician.  She started writing when she got her second cancer diagnosis.  Her work with at-risk populations has inspired her writing.  Currently she has published four books.  They can be found on her web site: http://delindalmccann.weebly.com/index.html

 

 

 

Sals photo

 LOOKING FOR PEACE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

By Sal Butacci

 

The question we spend our lives asking is “Who am I?” In our search we do our best to piece the puzzle together so the final answer –– if it can be learned at all –– will bring much needed peace in our lives.

Baptized when I was weeks young, I spent the better part of my years a nominal Christian, the kind who offers lip service to the church but in his heart lurk doubts or at least uncertainties. I not only wanted to know the deepest me, the individual beyond name and profession, but what would become of me at the end of my earthly tenure. In other words, would I lie in my grave, dead and forgotten, or would the soul I was taught lived inside me move on to a continuation of who I am?

Like many seekers who have lost loved ones, I wanted to reconnect with them, even for a few minutes, so that I could be reassured they still existed somewhere beyond the life from which they had so sadly departed.

I read whatever books and articles I could get my hands on that offered what their authors insisted was truth. Looking back now, I realize I ventured into dangerous territory because I summoned spirits and twice they came: a sinister old woman in black; a boy-faced dog growling at the foot of my bed. I believe Satan sent them to me.

My mother’s prayers brought me back to God. I began reading the Bible, relying solely on the promises of Christ. For certain there is another life after this, and if I live as Christ taught, the who I am will spend eternity with the angels and saints, praising Him there forever.

BIO

Salvatore Buttaci is a retired teacher and professor whose work has appeared in The Writer, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere here and abroad. He was the 2007 recipient of the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award.

Buttaci’s recent flash-fiction collection, 200 Shorts, published by All Things That Matter Press, is  available at  http://www.amazon.com/200-Shorts-ebook/dp/B004YWKI8O/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369920397&sr=1-2&keywords=200+Shorts

He lives with his loving wife Sharon in West Virginia.

www.twitter.com/sambpoet

FLASH BULLETIN: Today’ s the perfect day to order copies:

FLASHING MY SHORTS

200 SHORTS

A FAMILY OF SICILIANS…

IF ROOSTERS DON’T CROW…

 

 

 Bryan's photo

 THE DAY BEFORE

By Bryan Murphy

 

“I’m getting out of here for a day. Want to come?”

It was natural for Cardinal Healy to have struck up a friendship with Cardinal Varela. Not only were they by far the youngest at the Conclave, they were also both from the New World.

Cardinal Varela coughed, then answered, “I am with you. But how?”

“I know some hidden passages.” Healy’s eyes gleamed with more than the slight fever he had picked up.

“They will miss us, no?”

“No. There’s nothing on today. Just the Chamberlain droning on about procedure.”

And so they went.

However, the Chamberlain, Cardinal Grugliasco, did not drone on about procedure. He was brief and to the point.

“I am joyful to announce my conversion to the one true, true faith. Islam. For which I shall be a martyr. I have taken on a virus that will soon kill me. We are taking this rare opportunity to eliminate the foremost members of our main rival. Most of you already have the virus, and it will kill you, too. All of you. It dies with its host, so it will spread no further; we are not mass murderers. I urge you to convert, to turn your pointless deaths into meaningful martyrdoms. If you do, you will receive the martyrs’ rewards in Paradise.”

While the few Cardinals who still had the strength were slowly beating Grugliasco to death, Healy and Varela were tucking into rich Italian cuisine in a crowded Roman restaurant.

“Sure, it’s good to be alive at a time like this.”

“Indeed.” Varela reached for his handkerchief yet again. “Life is wonderful!”

Bio

Bryan Murphy is a man of Kent who lives in Italy. Since retiring from his most recent job, as a translator within the United Nations system, he has concentrated on his own words, publishing many poems and several e-books. He welcomes visitors at http://www.bryanmurphy.eu . You can find his books here: http://bit.ly/19vt7Ts .

 

 

 

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A MATTER OF LAW

By R.L. Cherry

 

Rik rested his cheek against the cold stock of his rifle, looking through the scope watching the predator warily edging through the trees in the glen below. It stopped and drank from the stream and Rik rested his finger on the trigger.

Kal shook his head.  He had been watching the animal of prey through his riflescope as well, but never put his finger on the trigger.  “You’re insane.  That’s an endangered species.  We’d be in a lot of trouble if you get caught, you know.”

“Caught?”  Rik let out a short laugh and glanced around before putting his eye back to the scope.  “We’re out in the middle of the Rockies in January.  No game warden is out here.  Besides, that whole ‘endangered species’ bit is insane, not me.  I’m saving the innocent animals it’ll kill.”

The crack of the .300 magnum rifle echoed like a sonic boom as the heavy gun bucked against Rik’s shoulder.  The bullet hit the beast of prey, the impact slamming it to the ground.

Rik sat up and rested the butt of his rifle on the granite.  “Damn thing moved just as I fired.”  He glanced at the sun, just descending behind a mountain.  “Too late to go after it now.”

“That was a gut shot.  You’re going to just let it bleed to death?  It could take hours.”  Kal stood.  “That’s even worse than shooting it.  We’ve got to go down and finish it off.”

“Is that another one of your laws?” Rik sneered.

“No, that’s the right thing to do.”

As Paul Harvey would stay, stay tuned for the Rest of the Story.  R.L. Cherry gives us the chilling ending to his story at http://www.rlcherry.com/brevity-is-the-soul-of-wit-short-stories/matter-law/

BIO

As a native Californian, R.L. Cherry spent most of his life in the Golden State. However, the five years he lived on the Isle of Man in the British Isles not only gave him many ideas for his writing, but also a less Americentric perspective. He now resides in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, Gold Rush country.

(Rhody’s in bloom)

He began writing fiction when he was in high school in the form of short stories. Most were of a futuristic/sci-fi theme. Although he never actively pursued having them published at the time, he has had several in ezines lately. Under his “Ron Cherry” byline, he has written a column on classic cars and hot rods for The Union newspaper in Grass Valley, CA, for over six years.

He has two books available, Christmas Crackerhttp://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Cracker-ebook/dp/B008LY2N8Y/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369503152&sr=1-2), which has SoCal P.I. Morg Mahoney solving a case of kidnapping and murder in Northern England, and Foul Shot (http://www.amazon.com/Foul-Shot-ebook/dp/B00CZ1PEZI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369503054&sr=1-1&keywords=foul+shot), the story of Chicago Police detective Vince Bonelli and the woman who rips through his life with passion and issues that threaten to destroy him and all he holds dear.

Read more about R.L. Cherry and his writing at www.rlcherry.co