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

Gardens #WEPFF Challenge No. 3 featuring We are Jardin #amwriting #flashfiction

Gardens inspire me in so many ways. I’ve included gardens in my other works so many times including my Eternal Curse Series and other short stories such as Our Place. I actually wrote three different stories in preparation for this challenge, but I couldn’t keep my word count down or limit my story lines to tell the whole story I wanted to tell. Finally, I gave up and decided to simply share part of a story. The sample below is the introduction to a fantasy adventure that still exceeds the word count a bit. Oh well.

~

“Agent Trence Howard to see Professor Jardin,” announced the short round woman with chestnut skin. She pulled from her front blazer pocket a folded booklet of identification and smirked impatiently.

The clerk glared up at her through his glasses and sighed. He reached for the booklet and responded, “So you are. You are Agent Howard, and let’s face it, pretty darn lucky.”

Trence pocketed her identification back into her red blazer and clicked her matching heels together. “Is there going to be a problem here?”

“Oh no; no problem here.”

The clerk stepped away from his desk and pointed down a long hall leading into darkness. Trence nodded her head and then followed behind him quietly. Her red heels had no reason to clink at this time.

“What makes you think I’m so lucky anyway?” The clerk paused a moment to look Trence in the eyes and then turned to continue down the hall.

“You do realize that you’ll be the first to enter the professor’s private quarters? I mean, you must realize there has to be a reason why you had to get a letter from the judge in order to force your way in there.”

“I did what I had to. As long as the professor has nothing to hide, there shouldn’t be any problems.”

This time, the clerk stopped without turning. “You can find it from here. It’s the only door at the end.” Trence sighed and lifted her skirt, letting her heels express her annoyance. After a few steps, the clerk called out. “We all know he has something to hide, but some of us trust he has his reasons for hiding it.” Trence didn’t respond as she marched forward.

The hall seemed to narrow and grow cool. Moisture lingered in the air with a sweet fragrance, like a mist of rose water. Soon the floor seemed to soften. Try as she might, her heels had been quieted by the cushion beneath her. Just ahead the shape of a door could just be made out in the silhouette of light streaming from behind it.

Hands shaking Trence scolded herself, You are an agent of the High Court; nothing will happen to you here without dire consequences. She grasped the handle of the door and took a deep breath as she plunged forward.

Tripping on an odd green wire, Trence fell forward, dropping the booklet she’d placed in her hand as she opened the door. Expecting to hit the floor hard, Trence was surprised to end up in the arms of a tall thin man with a scruffy beard and emerald-green eyes.

“I’m so sorry to barge in like this. I didn’t mean to make such a scene.”

“Well, this is quite a surprise. I assume you are from the High Court. I must say, I was expecting a man.”

“Of course, you were; everyone expects me to be a man. In any case, I’m here to inspect your work in order to find answers concerning your achievements in biochemistry.” Trence straighten herself and dusted off her skirt. The button of her blazer had popped off and it made her feel a bit vulnerable, but she wasn’t going to let the thin man know that.

“Straight down to business, are we? Shouldn’t we at least have introductions?” The tall man bowed and extended his hand. “I’m Professor Jardin.”

Trence patted around in search of her identification, ignoring his extended hand, and then huffed. “I seem to have miss placed my credentials, but I assure you, I am Agent Howard and we should be getting straight down to business. I understand you keep a garden and a laboratory, aside from your exclusive collection of books.”

“You mean my library?”

Trence blinked. “Sure, your library. I assume this is it we are in now. Should I begin by cataloging the books?”

“I don’t know if you should handle the books; they are so rare and delicate. Surely they can’t be of any real importance.”

“Perhaps Professor, but that’s for me to decide. I can at least discover what the books are about and list them alphabetically.” Trence looked beyond the floral-toned book bindings, taking in the smell of fresh moss and a subtle trickle of water. “Is your garden nearby?”

The professor smiled and the corner of his eyes sparkled. Trence shook her head thinking she was seeing a glare, but from where she didn’t know. “Yes, the garden is near. This is such fun. I think you may actually figure it out before long.”

“Figure what out. How exactly is this fun for you, Jardin? Don’t you understand that your life’s work is under investigation?”

“Of course, I understand, but soon you’ll be wondering why, now of all times, I am being investigated.”

“It’s not for me to wonder why. I’m here to collect data for the initial hearings. That’s all. So, now, please where is the garden, where is your lab, and where do you actually work? You must have an office; at least a desk.”

“I have all of those things and more. It’s all here. Look around and open your eyes.”

Trence pursed her lips and pushed air through her nostrils. Of course, the only female agent in the Court gets stuck working the cuckoo case.  “Please just tell me what I want to know so we can move this along.”

Professor Jardin stepped toward Trence and begin to speak when something caught his attention. He shook his head and closed his eyes. “Professor, what are you doing? It seemed like you were going to say something.”

Jardin kept his eyes closed but begin to turn his head from side to side. “Ah, it seems we’ve found your missing credentials and a red button. Are you missing a red button?”

Trence looked around briefly and then stared at the professor with his eyes closed. “Yes, I had a red button.”

Jardin lifted his head and opened his bold emerald eyes. “That’s good because they are right behind you.”

Slowly, Trence began to turn around, clenching her fist and wondering why she was letting this man get to her. Before she completed her turn a wall of vines took her breath away. It wasn’t there a moment ago and yet it was a wall, lush green cords and orange buds, some hanging from the unseen ceiling and others shooting up from the mossy floor. Her credentials and button rested neatly in a nest of leathery leaves emerging from the surrounding foliage.

Without turning back to the professor, Trence eeked out, “Who exactly are we?”

~

1099 words- We are Jardin 2016 Copyright © Toinette J. Thomas

Seeking full critique.

On a separate note, I’m seeking reviewers for an anthology I did not contribute to. See my review here. Click the image below to learn more.
reviewbanner

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

Youthful Frights vs Adult Fears #WEPFF Challenge No. 2 featuring Dolls & Eternal Curse Series #amwriting #amreading #movie

Well, I’d like to start off by saying, Happy Birthday to Me! That’s right. I’m the big 3 5 today and not ashamed one bit. Reaching 35 years of age unscathed, non-committed, non-incarcerated, and non-impoverished is something to be happy and proud about. I am blessed to have lived another year, simply put.

Now let’s talk about childhood fears…

When I was a kid (and let’s be honest, even now sometimes) I collected stuffed animals and toys. I wasn’t much into dolls, but where my sister had Barbie I had G.I. Joe. I did, however, love teddy bears. One year for my sister’s birthday, my parents decided she could have a sleepover and pick out three movies to watch, and one could be something none G or PG as long as they approved it first. I still to this day don’t know how she got this movie passed them, but I think it had something to do with the title.

Now at that time, I was nine years old (turning 10 in four months) and my sister was turning 12. She picked this movie thinking it would be corny and not really scary. Ha. I was the only one out of her bunch of friends to actually finish watching it, which I still regret to this day. I wasn’t even supposed to be at the party, not that I wasn’t invited, but I wasn’t interested in all the girly stuff that happened before the movie watching began. In a rare instance of kindness, back then (she’s lovely now), my sister gathered me from my room to watch the movies because she knew how much I enjoyed films; even at that age I knew more trivia than all the adults around me.

So, what all this boils down to is that after watching the movie, I realized that I needed to find a place to sleep. My room was out of the question. Every toy and doll in that freakish scary movie was in my bedroom along with dozens more. I’m pretty sure I remember waking up in the bathroom tub to the sound of my mom yelling, “What did you do to your sister?”

I’ve watched this movie since and it’s not nearly as scary, but still very creepy … Who makes these movies!

ECGAfront-png

I find dreams to be nerve-wracking sometimes. When it’s a good dream you don’t want to wake up from it and when it’s a bad dream that’s all you want to do. I don’t throw around the word hate a lot, but I hate it when I’m having a bad dream and I can’t wake up from it, even though I know it’s not real. I can’t stand that sense of helplessness, of not being able to do anything about my situation. It’s like being mugged or trapped. That’s my adult fear and I used that idea to write the following passage. Not sure if I quite captured the sense of desperation I wanted.

Looking for general feedback here. Even though this piece has been published, the beauty of self-publishing is that I can update my work anytime I choose. 😉

~

     He looked down toward the ground and saw an attractive young woman carrying a large pail into a barn. Her skin was freckled and pale, and she had rosy cheeks. Her hair was long and straight, and it was black like the night. She seemed so familiar to him, but he didn’t know her. Giovanni watched as the young woman filled feeding troughs with water to be cleaned. As she reached for a scrubbing brush, Giovanni could see that someone or something was following her. He sensed that trouble was on the way. He tried to call out to her, but she could not hear him. His voice made no sound. Giovanni left the tree and swooped down to the ground to achieve a closer look.

     There he saw a creeping perpetrator bouncing from beam to beam in the rafters of the barn. Drool slipped from the monster’s mouth while it hovered over the unknowing young woman. Giovanni tried to fly up to see this fiendish stalker, but he couldn’t lift his feet off the ground, and his wings would not flap. Giovanni knew something bad would happen, he could feel it in his heart, but it seemed he could do nothing to stop it. He did not understand. Why was this happening? How could he appear to be so powerful, be so angelic, and not be able to help someone in need?

     Giovanni refused to give up his pursuit. He pushed his body forward and moved from door to door, and window to window, trying to get in to warn and protect the young woman. Looking through a window, Giovanni finally saw the villain’s full horror. He established a clear vision of the attacker as it leaped down from the ceiling toward the woman. It was the most hideous monster he’d ever seen, much worse than his own reflection.

     A twisted and mangled troll with charcoal for skin on a hairless body stalked about. It had empty holes carved out of its skull where eyes once were. There were two large dull spikes protruding from its hunched back, where it looked as though wings had been violently ripped from its body. Its hands were made of jagged bones held together with rotting ligaments, and its feet crackled as it moved along the floor.

     In the troll’s hands were two long golden rods that whipped back and forth almost like lassos. Each rod was attached to the end of a large iron spike that punched through the shoulders of a young man’s dying body. The rods held up the young man’s body as though he were a puppet being pulled by strings. To the young woman, however, the troll simply appeared as a shadowy figure lingering around the painfully disturbed and ailing young man moving toward her.

     The troll maneuvered the young man’s body around the girl for attack, delivering blow after blow.  The monster had taken over this young man’s body; it was using him as a weapon to attack this poor girl for what seemed to be the sheer enjoyment of it. It laughed a loud cackle as it threw the girl down to the ground, tearing her raggedy dress. Giovanni could see the girl’s anguish and could hear her screams. Throbbing empathetic pain consumed him in every place the girl was struck, but Giovanni could do nothing to stop it.

     Giovanni began to cry out, weeping and sobbing. He tried to look away and he tried to get away, but he couldn’t. That’s when it began to happen. He became consumed with anger and hatred. Giovanni’s body grew hot and began to sizzle. Smoke and steam began to rise up from his body as his wondrous glow began to fade and he became shrouded in darkness. Everything around him began to catch fire as he began morphing into anger. The smell of burning wood and flesh assaulted his tortured senses and Giovanni knew he was changing.

Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel 4th Ed. Copyright © 2015 Toinette Thomas

Since it’s my birthday and it’s the season of spooky, the EC: Giovanni’s Angel ebook will be on sale for 99₵ the next few days. Check it out if interested and be sure to visit other stops on this challenge hop.

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

Spectacular Settings #WEPFF Challenge No. 1 featuring All Souls Trilogy & Eternal Curse Series #amwriting #amreading

Since I’m new to this group and challenge I hope it’s okay to break the rules just a bit. For the first part of this challenge, I’m sharing a bit more than a paragraph and at the end I’ll offer my explanation. A scene with a spectacular setting that takes my breath away from, Shadow of Night: All Souls Trilogy Book 2 by Deborah Harkness.

From Amazon.com; click to shop.

“My attempts to reach the Old Lodge’s future from its past were unsuccessful. I focused on the look and smell of the place and saw the threads that bound Matthew and me to the house- brown and green and gold. But they slipped out of my fingers repeatedly.”

Obviously there is a sense of magic here-
time travel and colored threads connected to
locations future and past. There is also a sense
of searching or discovery.

“I tried for Set-Tours instead. The threads that linked us there were tinged with Matthew’s idiosyncratic blend of red and black shot through with silver. I imagined the house full of familiar faces-Sarah and Em, Ysabeau and Marthe, Marcus and Miriam, Sophie and Nathaniel. But I couldn’t reach that safe port either.”

I see the speaker, a woman, and her companion Matthew,
in a blur of colored threads passing by familiar places
that never quite come into focus. There is a dark element,
but it’s not menacing.

“…My fingers kept returning to the same strand in the warp and weft of time that was not silky and smooth but hard and rough. I inched along its twisting length and discovered that it was not a thread but a root connected to some unseen tree. With that realization I tripped, as over an invisible threshold, and fell into the keeping room of the Bishop House.”

In the midst of green and gold, red and black silky threads,
the speaker finds a brown, rough, and twisted
one that turns out to be a root; anchoring her to a place she
knows, the Bishop house, which already has
an old and rustic comfort to it, even though it’s not described.

There are so many elements at play in this passage, but the setting is key. They way she describes her effort to return to another time sets the tone of the action and events, which in turn sets the mood and atmosphere of her final destination. We don’t know exactly what the Bishop House is just from reading this passage, but we get a sense that it is a place more important and special to these characters than the others already mentioned.

~

For the second part of this challenge, I will share an excerpt from one of my published works which will be re-released soon. I chose this scene for two reasons. I think the setting is crucial to the action of the story and I feel it sets the tone for the overall story/book.  A scene with a hopefully spectacular setting that may take your breath away from, Eternal Curse: Battleground by Toi Thomas.

 

ECB coverI was almost in tears thinking about the first time I held his hand with the full understanding of the differences between boys and girls. I was innocent, but not naïve and very curious. I had just turned fifteen, he was about to turn nineteen, and his grandfather had just died. It seems that tragedy was our matchmaker. After Grandpa Leo’s funeral, he’d wandered off from the reception and everyone was looking for him. I remember finding him in the Secret Cave, an underground catacomb he, Sheldon, and I had found when I was much younger and smaller.

I remembered that Michael and Sheldon had gone off to explore, as boys like to do, and that I tagged along. At that time, Sheldon and Michael were close in age, at least physically, and I was the ten-year-old tag-along little sister. I stumbled into a crevice in the ground, but Michael caught me before I fell in. Even though I was small, Michael wasn’t much bigger than I was, so we both began to slip down into the hole. Sheldon leaped over Michael and pulled him back, bringing me up along the way. Then he jumped down into the hole and shouted back that we’d discovered a hidden cave.

Later we made a rope ladder and tied it down to some nearby trees, to be used as a safe entrance to our new secret hiding place. We would go there to play for hours at a time, and sometimes we’d go so we could hide from the adults whenever we needed to. It was Sheldon who suggested that’s where he’d probably be after Leo’s funeral, but he wasn’t interested in going to look for him. I decided to go into the wilderness on my own to find Michael. For some reason, I knew he needed me, but I didn’t know why. Looking back on it now, I think maybe Sheldon thought the same and that’s why he didn’t want to go.

Eternal Curse: BATTLEGROUND © 2015 Toinette Thomas

Be sure to check out the other entries in this challenge and be dazzled by spectacular settings.

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