Back of the Drawer #WEPFF Challenge No. 4 featuring “He Knew It; I Knew It” #amwriting #flashfiction

Surprise, surprise, I waited to the last minute, but here it is. Hope you like it.

He Knew It; I Knew It

No one saw what happened, but I did.

He knows I saw, but he doesn’t care. He knows I have no voice and he knows about my spells. He knows no one would believe me even if they did take the time read my handwritten statement with is childlike lettering.

I can’t help being what I am. I was born this way. I can’t help that sleep doesn’t always come so easy for me. And I can’t help that I was out digging for worms to put in my tank the night Larry turned dangerous.

It had just stopped raining and the ground was soft and sponging. The perfect time to pluck out worms, causing them little harm, and the perfect time to drag a body around. One sweep of the garden hose and the evidence would disappear with all the other mud and leaves that the rain washed away.

I tried to hide myself as he passed by, huffing and straining against the heft of the body. He never would have seen me had I remained behind the bush, but something caught my eye and I could ignore it. I ran out and scooped it up. That’s when he grabbed me by my hair and pulled me to my feet.

Tears ran down my face and my fists clenched in agony. When looked into my eyes and saw my silent scream, he dared to chuckle, but quickly silenced himself. He dropped me to the ground. “No one can hear your scream, stupid mute girl. No one will come to your rescue if I end you right here.”

I curled in the fetal position and protected my jar of worms from the point of his boot. Vomit spewed from my mouth when the blow hit my stomach. He ran for the hose and sprayed the evidence away, dousing me just for fun.

He walked to put the hose away as I rocked in my cradle of protection, hoping this was the end of my pain. Hoping that he’d simply kill me or leave me there to pass out. When I heard birds chirping and sensed a brightness behind my lids, I knew he’d spared me.

I opened my eyes to let the sun burn away my sleepiness. I could hear the morning nurse, Samone, screaming for help as her heavy feet thudded toward me. “Oh Clara. Oh Clara, what are you doing out here? Are you hurt? You’ll catch your death.”

She tossed a blanket over me and rubbed my head. Soon Terence followed and scooped me up. “What happened Miss Samone?”

“I don’t know. Looks like she was collecting worms again.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t on duty last night.” Terence winked at me and slowed his pace as he turned a corner, so as not to bang my head. “I never would have let this happened if I had been.”

Samone was livid. “Don’t know if you could have stopped her. This one is stubborn. Seems the harder I try to keep her safe, the more harm she causes herself.”

Terence placed me down on a cot and two more nurses rushed in to tend to my cleaning and injuries. One of them called out, “Go get her note pad. See if she can tell us what happened.”

Terence began to step out of the room, but I kicked my feet and shook my head. I stared at him, willing him to look my way. He paused a moment, leaning his head as if baffled by my sudden outburst. Then he looked me in the eyes.

I blinked as fast as I could and extended the jar still wrapped in my arms. Terence smiled at me and stepped forward. “It’s okay Clara. I’ll put them in your room.” He slid the jar out of my hand and I exhaled. “Get better so you can take care of these little guys.”

After Terence left, a note pad was shoved into my hands as my soiled clothes were ripped away and warm soapy water washed across my skin. Samone grasped my hand, “Clara, tell us what happened.” Despite her strict rules and military-like marching about, Samone really did care about each and every one of her patients. I hated to see her so worried over me. I was happy to tell her exactly what had happened, but then he walked past the exam room.

He stood there, outside the window, with a broom in his hand pretending to clean the floors. I couldn’t stop myself from reacting. I flinched and kicked my feet again. Samone became agitated with not having the answers she sought. Leaving the other nurses to finish my clean up, she ran out the room and retuned shortly with a needle. It was time for me to calm down whether I want to or not.

After I was calm and fully treated, Samone asked me again what happened. Again he was there, outside the window of my room. Surely his shift was over. Did no one else wonder why the Larry, the night custodian was still hanging around? Under his scrutiny, I couldn’t tell the truth.

I wrote slowly, “I fell on the ground and hit a rock.”

Samone rubbed my head, clearly blinking to hold back tears. “You were collecting worms, weren’t you?”

I shook my head.

“Why, why do that alone in the middle of the night? What if you had an episode and suffocated in the mud?”

I nodded my head, “I couldn’t sleep. I’m sorry.”

After a while, Samone left me to attend to other patients. Larry walked by my room few more times that day before finally heading home. A week went by and Larry was starting to act smug, no doubt thinking no one would ever find out. None of the other nurses or staff could explain why Gail had stopped coming to work, but she was new and they all agreed that this wasn’t the right job for every nurse.

One Saturday afternoon I convinced Terence to play cards with me in the kitchen. We programmed my communication board to say ‘go fish’ and “you got any…”, then all I had to do is hold up the card I wanted. Terence and I had played the game a lot and figured a single suit of cards for me to use as choice options was the best way to go.

As we played, Ron the handy man came through to fix one of the drawers that had gotten stuck at some point during the week. It held all the specialty utensils for grilling, and with family day coming up, we’d surely need those.

Only partially paying attention to my game, I watched Ron out the corner of the eyes as he banged on the drawer trying to loosen it. Finally, the drawer snapped out and fell to the floor with a crash. Then Ron yelp.

“Oh my God!”

Terence was already on his feet, standing in front of me protectively. “What it is Ron?”

“Look what’s in the back of the drawer.”

Terence patted my shoulder and then stepped toward the drawer. Just then Samone and Larry came rushing in from the hallway, each just starting their evening shift. There it was; even with the sparkly new engagement ring missing, the moon shaped birthmark gave it away.

Terence yelled, “I think it’s Gail’s finger. Gail’s finger is in the back of the drawer.”

Samone covered her mouth and gasped. She blinked a few times and then pulled out her cell phone. “I’m calling the cops. I hope no one here has anything to hide.”

Larry stared daggers into the back of my head, but I didn’t bother turning around to look at him. He knew I’d done it; just like I knew he’d done it.

1306 words – He Knew It; I Knew It © Toinette J. Thomas 2017

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Max Payne #TheToiBoxOfWords #film #review


I decided to take on the challenge of a video game movie adaptation. I wanted to review something a little different and think I found something special, but; does that mean I liked it? Let’s find out.

If anyone is interested in my experience of watching Max Payne, click here to see my notes. Oh, and I think I might start using these notes to make a recap video. I’m working hard to improve my You Tube channel and hope you’ll check out some of the new content.

This review will consist of me asking myself 10 questions and answering them to the best of my ability.


1. What is this film about?

Loosely, and yet still pretty close, based on the video game of the same name, Max Payne is a NYPD detective out for revenge. (Wait, kinda sounds like the premise for a dozen other movies. Did it really need to be based off this game?) Anyway, Payne turns to cold case work so he can keep looking into and digging up leads for his wife and child’s unsolved murder, earning black sheep status at the precinct and on the streets. Then one fateful night, a series of wing tattoos and a new murder brings him closer to finding answers that he’s not ready to deal with.

2. What did I think of the title, poster, and or trailer?

I remember seeing the trailer of this movie, back in the day, when it was first released and thought it didn’t look too bad for a video game movie. (Let’s be honest, they are 50/50 hit or misses.) In any case, I thought the cast sounded pretty cool at the time. Mark Wahlberg (rapper turned actor) and Christopher Bridges aka Ludacris (another rapper turned actor) appearing on screen with Beau Bridges (no relation) seem like a once in a lifetime event. I’m actually impressed with how both of these men have handled their acting careers, not making it a joke but not taking it so series that they make movies that just don’t fit them.

3. What did I think of the main character(s) and how the actors performed them?

I knew very little about the Max Payne game, but it wasn’t completely foreign to me either. I’d seen other people play the game and so had an idea of what to expect. I don’t think this is one of those films where you can really get the character wrong without doing something completely out of character, like making Max a drag queen or making him walk with a limp and speak with a lisp. I think Wahlberg did fine. All the major actors did fine, though there were a few times I had trouble believing Mila was supposed to be so kick-@ss. Oh, and there were a few priceless performances from the supporting and minor characters, but that just added a bit of humor to the overall presentation.

4. What did I think of the direction and cinematography?

This is where I’m sure gamers will come out of the woodworks to torch my house, but I don’t care. I liked the way this movie was filmed. I don’t know if the director or screenwriter is to credit, but I liked the unofficial supernatural elements they added to the fill, even if it does all boil down to “Kids, drugs are bad.” Seriously, check out my notes on watching the movie.
For the most part, the film is dark, in that classic noir style, but the flashbacks seemed to have an amber tone to them. Not sure what filter they used, but it brightened the movie without adding too much realism. On a scale of one to 10, considering when this movie came out, I’d still give the effects about an 8. They aren’t that bad, and for a story like this, they aren’t really overused.

5. What did I think of the soundtrack and score?

I can’t think of anything that really stood out about the soundtrack, but I do remember liking it. I thought it suited the mood of the film. I think I remember some metal songs and some deep instrumentals.

6. What did I like about the story as a whole?

The plot was okay. It wasn’t some ultra-hard or twisted mystery to figure out and the characters weren’t so complex that you could figure out their motives, but it wasn’t bad either. I guess what I liked most was that the story was simple, but not so much so that I became annoyed. This is brain candy.

7. What did I not like about the story?

I thought the government experiment cover up was a bit cliché, but like I said, “brain candy”. Oh, and, who shoots an automatic weapon around blocks of C4?

8. Would I recommend this movie to others and what would I rate this movie?

Yes and no. I have a bunch of friends who can appreciate a good action flick for being just that. They can appreciate that some stories don’t have a lot of depth and that violence is inevitable. If they haven’t seen this yet, I’ll invite them over to watch it. And as video game movies go, this is one of the better ones. For a video game movie, I’d give this a 5; but that’s not my general rating.

On a scale of 1 to 5 movie reels, I give this film 4 reels. What can I say? I appreciate mindless entertainment.

9. Is there anything I would have changed or done differently?

I think I would have done a better job of addressing the drug issue behind all of this. Even the additional scene after the credits, suggesting that there might be a sequel, focuses on Payne’s desire for revenge. Someone should be doing something about that drug problem.

10. Was there anything in this movie that could be related to me or anything I have written?

I like the Valkyrie/demon imagery in this story, though I don’t know how accurate it is. I always thought Valkyries looked like stereotypical angels. In any case, I like how scary they come off and try to capture that kind of fear in my own stories wherever suitable. I do write about angels and demons in my Eternal Curse Series.

Watch, rent, or buy this movie here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#BooktagsBlogHop No. 4: The Woodcutter by Kate Danley #fantasy #YA


The purpose of this blog hop is for readers and writers to share what they are reading, have read, are writing, or have written with others. This is not about promoting free or discounted books though some of those may be featured. This is about book lovers sharing what they love about books. This blog hop is about the Joy of Reading and the Joy of Writing with tags of your choosing and is hosted by me, Toi Thomas, the third Monday of the month. Learn more here.

This month’s optional theme is: New Year, birth, fresh start.

Excerpt from Chapter 78

The Grandmother and Red Riding Hood stopped at the base of a mighty oak tree whose gnarled roots ate the ground and whose grand trunk could only be surrounded if ten tall men stood hand in hand. There, the Grandmother and the child transferred the body to the earth.

They stood respectfully as the Woodcutter knelt at the side of his own being. A phantom tear slid down the Woodcutter’s cheek, and it fell, landing upon the earth.

The Woodcutter buried his face in his sleeves.

But where the tear touched, a small mushroom emerged, a mushroom of red with small dots of white on its cap. It stretched and yawned and shook off the dirt and then shrank back as another tear slid from the Woodcutter and landed wetly upon its head. It shook off the tear like a dog come in from the rain, and where the spray of the second tear landed, a second mushroom emerged, waking and shaking as another tear fell. Around and around the mushrooms grew, until the tears stopped and the Woodcutter looked up.

A circle of mushrooms gazed back at him from all sides, a circle of mushrooms grown into a complete faerie circle.

202 words from: The Wood Cutter © 2010 Kate Danley

My Thoughts

Before I get started with my spiel, let me first apologize. I took a bit of a digital cleanse in the last week or so and let a few things lapse. While I will continue this blog hop regardless of outside participation, I must admit that I didn’t promote this very much this month. I will rectify that for the next post and hopefully come up with a nice list of books to sample.

Now on to the book. I absolutely adored this book the first time a read it, which is probably why I felt the need to read it again. There are so many wonderful qualities to this story- a nice balance of the traditional mixed with twists and upgrades.

In this particular scene, there are several types of awakenings happening and beginning to happen. I won’t go into too much detail about the how and why because I don’t want to spoil it too much. In any case, in keeping with this month’s optional theme, I thought the “birth” or creation of mushroom circle was a perfect fit. I must also admit that when I first read this, the dancing mushroom scene, to the music of the Nutcracker, from Fantasia ran through my mind repeatedly. I felt like a child reading Peter Pan for the first time all over again.

So there, a bit of my perspective and a trip down memory lane. If you like fairytales, mythical lore, and fairy magic, please give the Woodcutter a try. Aside from being a wonderfully told story with amazing world building, it has a subtle and positive message to it.

Find this title at Amazon | Goodreads

What are you currently reading? I’d love to know.
Next blog hop post date will be February 15, 2016.

Be sure to hop around and see what others are reading so you may continue to pile onto your TBR list.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Fang and Claw by Markie Madden @naddya81975 Interview by #thetoiboxofwords #paranormal #crime

Greetings readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors and welcome to The ToiBox of Words. I’m your host Toi Thomas, author of Eternal Curse, and today I’m sharing a special interview with author, Markie Madden, about her fiction book entitled, Fang and Claw. Enjoy!

Where did the idea for Fang and Claw (Undead Unit Book 1) come from?

I was just in that twilight moment between wakefulness and sleep when the idea for the book (and the whole series) came to me. I was watching a Supernatural DVD marathon that night. I had just about gotten fully asleep (difficult enough for me as I’m a chronic insomniac) when suddenly I was wide awake and grabbing for my phone. To use as a light. While I struggled to make notes on a Post-It note. Without my glasses on. LOL

How did the title of this book come about?

No one’s asked me this yet! The title is a spin off of the phrase “fighting tooth and nail”, because my two main characters who are a Vampire and a Werewolf start out hating each other’s guts. Hence, “fighting fang and claw”!

What genre is this book and why did you choose to make it so?

This book is obviously in the crime genre but it fits into paranormal as well. Or supernatural, if you like that better. I think it will appeal to people who like either crime, paranormal, or both. Or just about anyone.

What would you say is the overall message or the theme of this book?

I’ve begun this series with Immortals, various species who are known and accepted by humans. Accepted as much as any minority is, anyway. The Immortals are required to take the Undead Oath which prevents them from harming humans. But they still suffer the same prejudice that many minorities faced, or still face, in society today. I’ve tried to make them as “normal” as I could, in a literary attempt to point out to readers that we’re all “normal”.

Tell me about the experience of writing this book; how long did it take.

I’ve been working on this book for probably 6 or 8 months now, maybe a little more. I’ve slept since then so you have to pardon my memory. Much of law enforcement techniques I didn’t need to research (I spent nearly 14 years of my life working in law enforcement positions), but there were certain elements which I had to look up since I wasn’t familiar with them. At one point I set myself the goal of writing 3,000 words a day and that worked really well.

Tell me about the main storyline within this book.

Lacey is a lieutenant with the Dallas Police, just put in charge of a new unit of Immortals (or Undead) dedicated to solving crimes among other Immortals. She’s a Vampire with a past; her entire family was massacred by a Werewolf pack. Colton is a detective, and he’s been assigned as her partner and second in command. He’s a Wolf, a descendant of the pack that killed Lacey’s family. They have to learn to overcome their prejudices and solve a case that spans decades.

Who is the protagonist of this story?

Both Lacey and Colton would be the main ones. They’re the “good guys”, the ones who are investigating and solving the crime, they protect and serve. Lacey likes fast cars and expensive luxuries. Colton and his wife and 5 pups live in an apartment in a building full of other Werewolves. These two couldn’t be more different from one another. But they both have a strong sense of justice and are tough as nails against those who commit crimes.

Who is the antagonist of this story?

I can’t tell you what species of Immortal he is (spoiler), but he’s based on actual Native American lore and he is just generally nasty and likes to cause trouble. He’s your typical “bad guy”, one who enjoys being bad. He’s responsible for several assaults that span a couple decades, and he’s been just sly enough not to get caught. Until now.

What is the major conflict in this story?

Besides having the mystery to solve, Lacey and Colton have to come to terms with the fact that they’re being partnered together. Lacey is unaware at the beginning that Colton is related to the pack that killed her family. Once this truth comes out, it becomes very difficult for them to work together. They have to learn how to be partners and trust one another with their lives.

Where and when is this story taking place?

This takes place in Dallas, Texas, a little over a hundred years from now. Not so far into the future that things and cities would be unrecognizable to a reader, but enough where I can take just a few liberties.

Who is your favorite character in this book?

Lacey has got to be my favorite. She’s a no-nonsense kind of gal who doesn’t take any s*** off anyone. She’s a little like me: I mentioned I have a law enforcement background. When you’re a woman in a predominately male profession, especially one fraught with danger, you learn how to be a hard butt because that adds a level of protection for you. I got so good at projecting a fierce face that I never had to lay hands on anyone in my 14 years.

Are there elements of your personality or life experiences in this book?

As mentioned above, I have a bit of experience in law enforcement, which also includes some private investigation. While I was never a police officer, I dealt with them regularly and did personal protection details, among other things. So some of that experience has come in handy in writing this book.

What is one thing from this book you wish was real or could happen to you?

I wish I drove the car that Lacey has. It’s an Audi S4 (I have an older model A6 sedan, but the S4 is just plain awesome!) and is the epitome of luxury!

What is something you wish wasn’t real and hope doesn’t happen to you?

Um, I’d tell you but it would be a spoiler. Let me just say that I’m afraid of heights and leave it at that.

Let’s say your book is being turned into a feature-length film; quick- cast the main two characters and pick a theme song or score.

For Lacey, Angelina Jolie hands-down (I liked her as a blond in Salt). Colton is a little harder, because I’d love to cast Sean Connery (maybe when he was younger.) Barring him, I’d have to say Jared Padalecki (assuming he could be tough-he’s already got awkward down pat!)

Do you have any special plans for this book in the near or far future?

I’m already hard at work on the sequel, book 2 of the Undead Unit. It’s called Souls of the Reaper and will be released (I hope) early next year. Plus I’ve got books 3, 4, 5, and 6 in the planning stages. I’m really excited about them too!


Okay readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. To obtain your copy of Fang and Claw, please visit the link provided.

Metamorph Publishing
(Available at & other online retailers)

Also, check out Markie’s Facebook Event for
fun games and prizes related to this release.

This has been a


Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#Question of the Month: a bloghop to think about. No. 3- Would you turn family in to the cops?

A little while ago, Michael D’Agostino, of A Life Examined, brought up the idea of a new blog hop called Question of the Month. He thinks blog readers would like to know a little more about us, the bloggers. So we’re all gathering to show you guys who we are by taking part in the Question of the Month blog hop. On the first Monday of each month, we answer the question that gets posted here.

This month’s question is: “If your parent or child committed a major crime, would you turn them in?”

The first thing I considered when I saw this question was, “What’s the major crime?”

The reason I asked myself this question is because of the current political/racial tension in the U.S. I’m not going to go into a spiel about right and wrong or ask if you care about “black live.” The reason this question popped up is because sometimes things that aren’t crimes now, once were. For example:

-In some states marijuana is now legal.
-Gay marriage is legal.
-And for those of you who pretend not to remember, there was a time when interracial marriage was a crime, and so on…but of course I realize that these aren’t major crimes.

Now, I’m not here to advocate for or against anything, but I wanted to explain why I take justice a lot more serious than I do “crime”. Yes some crimes are clearly wrong, but many others are founded in popular opinion or are a sign of the times.

So to answer the question, if a family member killed someone or stole from someone, yes I would turn them in. There are probably other “crimes” for which I would do the same, but I would evaluate the situation as is arose and not apply a blanket reaction.

Please check out the other participants in this hop and even join in if you’d like.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords