The leaves crackle as they scrape across the asphalt on the dark, crisp morning.  Autumn is stalking me from the dark shadows of my deserted alley.  It makes my skin scrawl and sets my teeth on edge.  I hurry my steps to the presumed safety of my car, because like sheets as a child, the glass and door provide the illusion of safety.  I half expect a monster to pull free of the darkness and crash against my car, unleashing the fury it has to hold in check nine months of each year.  In my imagination it roars in gusts and scratches the glass in flutters of falling leaves.  I ignore the ghosts of my mind, start my car and pull free of my spot.  My headlights splash against the corners and send the monsters scurrying away.  My tires grind the leaves into the pavement.  Soon the sun will rise and the air will warm and then my mind will be free of its morning haunts.

which fight would you hope for?
Image Credit: Mr. Four Fingers


Teeth, large, rounded and shaped into a menacing smile, emerged from the darkness.  I saw them and paused to determine their source and their intention but they disappeared as quickly as they’d come forth.  The image of them, however, was burned in gleaming terror on the surface of my mind.

If I could trust my eyes, then my path was fraught with danger.  If I could not trust my eyes, then my mind had finally slipped free of the anchors that tethered it to what is real and true.  Either way, a fight was coming.  The type, external or internal, would be determined soon enough.

I was braced for the gnash of teeth on flesh and my hands were balled into fists at my sides.  If the beast flew at me from the darkness ahead I was ready to fight for the ground I had gained.  I was braced for additional visions of my mounting insanity and my eyes kept weary watch for anything beyond the truths of the world.  If my mind failed me I was ready to fight for whatever remained.

I stepped forward bravely.  Whatever waited in the shadows, beast or madness, made no move as I gained distance on the worn path.  I walked with purpose and pride.  We may get hints about the future, small glimpses stolen from the flashes along the periphery of our sight and thoughts, but nothing is ever certain except the present.  We can only ever control our here and now in the immediate, and I was determined to do so stoically.

What else could I do?

What would you do?

Have you ever seen something you knew wasn’t real?


winter morning battle

In the low pre-dawn light of the street lamps, it was the noise that caught my attention rather than the movement.  An unwanted early wind brought them to life and, crab-like, the sharp edges clacking and crackling, the dead leaves skittered across the chilled concrete.  My head snapped to the sound and it took a moment to find the culprit.  The tingle down my spine indicated my thoughts had drifted away from reality.

The breeze seemed too slight for animation, but then what could have sent the leaves stalking along my path?  There must have been a source, and my mind immediately saw the tiny devils hidden below the parched shells.  Their red eyes cut through the darkness and the distance and my pace quickened to get me safely away from their clutching gaze.  The wind thwarted my efforts and pushed my tormentors behind me in time to my steps.

I tracked their progress, despite the contorted pain of swiveling my head around, to ensure they did not catch me off guard.  They stayed at bay, but, regardless, I was still assaulted by the cold, dry, air that set my skin to crawling and ravished my hands in nips and bites.  I wrung them to fling the snapping demons from my exposed flesh, but nothing could shake them loose.  They had latched on completely, their fangs gnashing down to the bone.

A primal scream bubbled below the surface, and I longed to release it into the echoing alleyway and sprint wildly into the darkness.  I longed to free myself from the last tenuous hold of sanity and relinquish my thoughts and actions to the madness within.  The wind whispered urgencies to give in to my desire.  The shadows reached for me with welcoming embraces.  The stars laughed like always.

One truth kept me tethered, kept me from washing away to complete insanity, and allowed me to safely navigate the morning.  I have always abhorred the wind.  It is my greatest enemy, and I refused to let my nemesis win.  I let the dry demons feast on my hands and the devil leaves chase behind me and I strode forward refusing to deviate from my course.

time and space

He played all day in his room, from the moment he was excused from the breakfast table until he was called again for lunch, and then again in the afternoon until supper was placed on the table.  His parents worried about his antisocial tendencies but all attempts to get him to play with kids his age had ended poorly, with him in tears and the other children wondering what was wrong with him.  His mom had considered taking him to see a psychiatrist, but his father had convinced her that it was probably a phase he would grow out of if given the space and time to do so.

So, they had waited, and watched, and fretted, and years had passed and still he played with his toys and puzzles and cars and games, in his room, by himself.  His parents thought they had done something wrong, that they had somehow created a rift between him and normal society, that how he spent his days wasn’t really living at all.

It became a sad, personal, joke between them, that on the rare occasions when he was seen leaving his room on his own accord that there had been a ghost sighting.  “Did you see the ghost this afternoon?”  “Did you see that spirit sneaking food from the fridge?”  “Did you see that ethereal being wafting down the hallway?”  They were jokes, but neither of them ever laughed.

Their child was a ghost of the living, and it was all their fault.  They should have forced him to interact more.  They should have required him to spend more time outside, more time rumbling and tumbling with the neighbors, more time learning what it was to be a boy, to be alive.

Each time he asked to be excused and he pushed himself away from the table they hoped that would be the time he would ask if he could go outside and play.  And each time he dashed their hopes and disappeared into his room instead, they grew sadder and more distraught, distancing themselves from their own friends and lives until they too became ghosts.

The child had no understanding of his parents’ plight or sorrow.  He was happy as could be, building worlds, creating friends, running adventures, and allowing his rampant imagination the time and space to grow to its fullest potential.

Open Door Blue Sky



The curse of the introvert?  The gift of the creative?  Where others see a problem, there may not be something that needs to be solved at all…

This is in response to this week’s Inspiration Monday writing challenge:

Inspiration Monday logo

The Rules

There are none. Read the prompts, get inspired, write something. No word count minimum or maximum. You don’t have to include the exact prompt in your piece, and you can interpret the prompt(s) any way you like.


No really; I need rules!

Okay; write 200-500 words on the prompt of your choice. You may either use the prompt as the title of your piece or work it into the body of your piece. You must complete it before 6 pm CST on the Monday following this post.

The Prompts:






a short long mix-up

They were playing cops and robbers, again, and chasing each other around the sprawling backyard.  The sandbox was police headquarters.  The lawn was the the business district.  The trees were the alleys and hidden doorways.  Sirens blared and gunfire erupted sporadically as good attempted to assert itself over evil to maintain order, to maintain the peace of the land.

“Bang!  Bang!”  LeFors leveled his gun hand at the chest of his quarry after firing the warning shots, “Don’t move, bozo, or I’ll gun you down.”

Ringo smiled, charming, unafraid, as he let his right hand ease down and he looped the thumb in his gun belt.  The lawman had the drop on him, but the desire to pull leather and blaze away was nearly overpowering.  Experience alone stayed his hand.  He would play it cool and wait for his chance to strike or slip away, “Okay, Joe, you’ve got me.”

Expecting a trap, master lawman that he was, Joe LeFors didn’t budge an inch.  He knew Johnny Ringo to be a conniving, cowardly, conman, the worst kind, and refused to do anything to give up the advantage he currently had.  He set his jaw, and with steel resolve in his voice, he ordered the Cowboy to give up his weapon, “Slowly now, loose the buckle and let your gun belt fall away.”

“You know I can’t do that, Joe,” Ringo’s smiled broadened.  His eyes danced with mischief and burned with anger.

“You’ve got no out, no place to go, no chance to get away,” LeFors countered.  “Don’t be foolish.  Don’t give me the chance to use my short arm of the law.”

“Uh…”  John’s face scrunched into a look of confusion,  “What?”

Joe frowned, “The short arm of the law.”  A second later, completely breaking character, he added, “That’s a saying, right?”

John removed his hand from its resting place near the holstered toy gun and scratched his scalp near his temple as he tried to figure out what his young sibling actually wanted to say.  While he waited for the game to start up again, Joe grew bored and started digging at an exposed root with the toe of his shoe.

“Oh, no,” John said when he figured out the confusion, “you are mixing up a couple different sayings, I think.  The ‘long arm of the law’ refers to the lengths lawmen will go to pursue the criminals they are after.  They leave no stone unturned.  They have vast networks of informants and colleagues.  There is no place the bad guys can hide safely.  And, ‘long irons’ refer to the style of revolvers carried in the old west.  Though,” John paused for a second, confused again, “why did you say short arm?  You should have said, ‘Don’t give me the chance to use my long iron.'”

Joe looked down at the snub-nose cap gun still clutched in his small hand, shrugged, and replied, “It’s not very big.  Small seemed more appropriate.”


Tuesday?  Check.  Silliness?  Check.  Flash fiction?  Check.

It must be.  It could only be.  It is…  another Inspiration Monday writing challenge:

Inspiration Monday logo

The Rules

There are none. Read the prompts, get inspired, write something. No word count minimum or maximum. You don’t have to include the exact prompt in your piece, and you can interpret the prompt(s) any way you like.


No really; I need rules!

Okay; write 200-500 words on the prompt of your choice. You may either use the prompt as the title of your piece or work it into the body of your piece. You must complete it before 6 pm CST on the Monday following this post.

The Prompts:







I swear I didn’t even mean for these brothers to have names that started with the same letter.  I’d noticed I was doing that frequently in my more recent posts so I was going to avoid that… but, then I picked the two historical characters I wanted the brothers to be playing as and started writing.  It wasn’t until the end that I realized both their names started with “J.”  My mind is a silly place of happy coincidences.

Have you seen the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?”  How about “Tombstone?”  Do you like Westerns?

Did you have favorite games to play with your brothers/sisters growing up?