Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday’s Serving – Lilith’s Return

Colwyn clenched and unclenched his fists several times, obviously trying to find a way out of the situation.  A way that wouldn’t threaten Lena’s life.  His struggle was so apparent that it brought fresh pain to Alex’s heart.  Losing Lena would destroy him.

Alex cupped his face in her small hands.  “Trust me, my love.”

At last his shoulders sagged in defeat, and he nodded.  “I do.  If anyone can get her out of this, it’s you.”

Colwyn’s strength still failed him.  It became obvious he couldn’t make himself walk out, leaving Lena to her fate.  He hugged both her and Alex hard until Jacob was forced to pull him away.  With his younger brother’s arm around his hunched shoulders, Colwyn joined the exodus of demonkind from the room.

The human members of the Segreto had already dashed out to gather the holy implements needed for the exorcism.  Alone for the moment, Lena glanced at Alex and blew out a breath.  “This is going to hurt like hell.”

Alex swallowed and was forced to remind herself she had no other option.  She couldn’t show a moment of weakness; not to Lilith who would pounce on any sign of wavering, and not to Lena who needed her strength so badly right now.

To her daughter she said, “It probably will hurt.  And it’s going to be a lot more dangerous to you than we let your father know.” 

Now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Welcome to the Playground

Hello. My name is Mommy, the Human Jungle Gym. I am currently being climbed all over by a rambunctious, long-legged, eight-year-old boy. I am coming to you sandwiched between my office chair and an Angry Bird underwear-clad child who has enough energy to power the world. Someone just needs to harness it. I will settle for you putting a leash on him and dragging him off me.

If I was doing anything else besides working at my computer, Kiddo would have no interest in me whatsoever. It is only now, as I try to wring a few words from my somewhat arid brain, that he has decided I am the greatest thing since model railroads. I apparently need to be scaled, kicked, pulled on, and hung from. Forget the Matterhorn, it’s the Mommyhorn the boy must conquer. Oh, and treated to a few noxious scents too, as this child has gas at the moment. Jeez, what has this kid been eating? The local pulp mill?

I’m used to being things besides a human being. I’m a tissue for wiping one’s nose on. I’m a tent pole, over which blankets should be slung so that Kiddo can pretend to camp in the middle of the living room. I’m a towel for him to wipe his eyes dry when his mask slips in the pool. And today, I am monkey bars for the resident monkey boy to play upon. Who knew I possessed so many hand- and footholds?  

You will forgive the shortness of this blog today, as I am constantly having to backspace to correct the terrible typing that occurs when one is being pummeled by her laughing child. He will not rest until I am bruised to a lovely purple hue. I do look nice in purple, but this is a bit much. Until Kiddo discovers something else to play with, I should probably find a good place to hide. Canada looks about right.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday’s Serving – Lilith

            Alex imagined a shadowy female figure tearing first Jacob then Colwyn apart while she stood by, unable to move.  She pictured it clearly, seeing the blood flowing from the brothers’ gaping wounds and Colwyn looked at her with accusing eyes that glazed over.
            Alex shook herself out of the terrible fantasy.  She trembled all over as she rooted through the pockets of the jeans she wore yesterday.  She transferred the items she found from those to the jeans she wore now:  a small gris-gris bag, a vial of holy water, and the rusted nail from Holly Hutchins' coffin.  She held the nail in her palm for a moment and stared at it.
            “What did you know?” she asked the nail.  “What was it that helped you defeat Lilith so quickly?”
            When the nail failed to gain the power of speech and subsequently refused to offer her sage insight from the long-dead Segreto, Alex stuffed the nail in her pocket and came to a decision. 
            She’d go after Lilith without the brothers.  Reaction to so much demon strength might hinder her. 
            “And let’s face it,” Alex said to herself.  “I don’t care to see them killed, demonkind or not.”
            She glanced at the clock in the den before walking out.  Almost one o’clock.  They expected her in an hour.  If she hurried and didn’t get pulled over for speeding, she could get to the house on Henderson Avenue in forty minutes.  By the time they realized she’d gone without them, they’d be too late.                          

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Closed Captioned for the Hearing Impaired

The other day I was stunned to hear my 8-year-old son carrying on from another room. He was shouting, “I love the butts! The butts is awesome! I love the big butts!” 

Of course that sent me running through the house to find him, cursing YouTube all the way. I couldn’t imagine what else would have brought  such a celebration of the derriere on. After all, I have raised my son on the wholesome goodness of heavy metal music, tuning his ear to the angelic sounds of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.

None of your devil music, Sir Mix-A-Lot

 I hit the den, and sure enough, my sweet baby was perusing his tablet, and sure enough, he was on YouTube. However, instead of going wild about junk in the trunk, he was happily looking at radically tricked-out ... buses.  He was loving big buses, not butts. 

It’s not the first time I’ve misheard things. In fact, I do it quite frequently. How my ears twist innocent sentences into hair-raising statements (believing my son had discovered rears, for instance) or into complete inane comments is beyond me. It leads to many a chuckle for my husband. 

The first time Hubs encountered my weird hearing was early into our marriage. One day he turned to me, gifting me with a sappy look that only a man in the first throes of love can manage. In a tone oozing with adoration, he looked deep into my eyes and said with the utmost conviction, “You have the gift of gravy.” 

While a decent cook, I had never made gravy for my guy. And as declarations of love go, it was not exactly the most heartwarming of sentiments. So with the vast verbal skills I possessed at my command, I strove to discover why my guy thought it so important to deliver his confusing statement. 

I said, “Huh?” 

He blinked, sappiness disappearing in an instant in the face of my ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ expression.  He repeated, “I said, you have the gift of great beauty. What did you think I said?” 

Well, that was much nicer. A girl can appreciate her man telling her something like that. 

My disability now discovered, Hubs found it hilarious. And I’m sure you can figure out what I discovered on the next Christmas morn under the tree, carefully wrapped and bedecked with pretty ribbons and bows.

I DO have the gift of gravy!

 So between bizarre proclamations that I am gifted with drippings and worried my son is wandering into bootylicious land, life is filled with auditory misfires. I’m glad to amuse everyone else as I cope with a world gone seemingly mad ... until someone clarifies that it’s only my hearing that’s insane.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday’s Serving – Willow in the Desert


The recon team made good time, and it was still dark on the second night when they caught sight of Gander’s Gulch.  Its surrounding chainlink fence reached high, about twenty feet.  Barbed wire capped it off like a maximum security prison.  The equally high wooden gate wasn’t nearly as sturdy as Freetown’s steel, and it required manual opening and closing.  It was forbidding just the same. 

Everyone knew any locked door could be broken into.  It was a matter of making it not worth the trespasser’s while to do so.

As soon as they were within view of Gander’s Gulch, everyone hunkered down on the hard ground.  Carli said, “Gate’s closed.  That’s a good sign.”

Arner sounded leery.  “Torches are out.  No indication of a guard.”

He was right.  Gander’s Gulch, lacking the power Gordon’s fat-fueled generators gave Freetown, relied on keeping torches lit on the outside of their fence for perimeter security.  Not a single one blazed.

One of Arner’s soldiers, a long man almost as tall as a late Becoming, commented, “Someone’s home.  They’ve got some lights glowing in the distance.”

The group craned their necks to see beyond the first buildings within the town.  Carli was at a disadvantage with her short height, but she thought she discerned a little illumination.

Leo grunted.  “That looks like a hellacious big fire.  At least one of the buildings has gone up, probably more.”

Arner unslung his gun, holding it defensively.  Everyone followed suit.  The sergeant said, “Let’s skirt around, see what the west gate looks like.”

They did so, giving the town a wide berth.  Carli estimated it would take an hour to go all the way around, keeping the amount of distance they were, but no one complained.  When it came to strategy, Arner knew what he was doing.

About a quarter of the way, they heard the first piercing scream.  The group paused.

“That’s definitely not good,” Carli muttered. 

Available from Amazon, Barnes &Noble, and Smashwords. You can get it in paperback too.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Anarchy X

My son makes no secret of his dislikes. In fact, he glories in them. These days, he even expresses dislike of things I know he loves. “No!” and “I don’t like (insert thing I just offered him).” He lives to be contrary these days. I live to put him to bed as early as possible each night. 

The daily list of dislikes starts like any other day.  “Hey Kiddo,” I called with forced good cheer, already knowing how this will turn out. “Would you like to go to the park?” 

“No! I don’t like the park.” 

Five minutes later, he’s dressed and at the door waiting impatiently for me to take him to the park.  And so it goes; hot dogs for lunch, ice cream afterwards for a week’s good behavior, reading a favorite book, playing a game.  He doesn’t like any of it ... until seconds later when he remembers he does like it after all. 

Wrath took an interesting turn this morning, however, when it came to the things Kiddo REALLY doesn’t like. One look at his daily schedule this morning clued me in. 

Kiddo needs a daily schedule because his autistic nature requires routine that he can rely on. I need his schedule because I have no brain cells left to remember what I’m supposed to be doing.  Make no mistake; it’s a huge responsibility to mold Kiddo into a decent piece of future tyranny for society to live in fear of later. I know I’m up for the job as long as I keep everything organized. However, if we left it up to my memory to keep track of everything, he and I would spend the entire day in pajamas, unwashed and unsuitable for eventual anarchy. I think it’s obvious that one attracts more minions when they are well-dressed, charming, and routinely bathed. 

I tape the daily schedule on the side of the refrigerator each night so Kiddo can see what’s coming up when he gets up in the morning. It curbs many a worry for him to know exactly what he has to face in the next few hours. But just because the schedule gives him a roadmap doesn’t mean he’s enthralled with the path I’ve laid out. This is how a life bent on rebellion really begins. 

This morning as I staggered from bedroom to kitchen, blearily looking forward to that first cup of coffee which will wake me up just enough to make a second cup, I saw the schedule wasn’t quite the way I’d left it the night before. My darling ray of revolutionary sunshine had put his mark upon it ... his mark being a big, bold ‘X’ over the activities he had decided to rebel against. 

Breakfast and time to play games on the tablet were intact.  However, Writing Skills Workbook had been X’d out. Ditto for Grammar Worksheet and Math. Big, black marks crossed out anything of educational value. ‘Bath’ had also received the exclusionary treatment. He’d already forgotten the lesson that stinky would-be leaders of mass chaos are actually solitary enactors of trifling irritation. Sigh. 

Yet there was a mote of hope. He had left Pick Up Toys, Brush Teeth, and Go To Bed unmarked. Maybe he thought a tidy house and fresh breath would make up for the rest of his slovenly ways. And he seemed to have recognized eventual evil masterminds do need their rest. 

Or maybe his writing hand simply got tired. 

I didn’t even get a chance to preach the benefits of rising above ignorance and body funk. Kiddo was already defending his choice to obliterate his studies.  “No writing. No math. Just tablet and ice cream.” 

It’s hard to argue against logic like that. Yet as a dutiful mother, I tried. “You have to study writing and math. You have to be smart enough to make lots of money.  That way you can hire lackeys to do the crap work you don’t like.” 

“No! I don’t like it!” 

“I believe that’s what I just said.” 

“Go away, Mommy.” 

Ah, such a little despot already.  At least I know the groundwork has been laid. And his refusal to debate in favor of ordering me into exile was a sound tactic, especially since he’d shrewdly caught me before coffee.  I shrugged and walked off. I needed java before I re-engaged in a battle of wits with my young strategist. 

I realized his rebellion couldn’t go unchallenged. I am priming him for larger battles than the ones fought in the home. Genghis Khan II, Ruler of the House on the Corner, just doesn’t cut it. 

It’s not easy being the mom of our future dystopia, but I believe I set a good example. It took the forceful annexation of Kiddo’s tablet to get him to do his worksheets.  I was happy to show him how it works when one has the undeniable power to seize property from other people. He in turn showed his determination to exact his will by drawing a giant, heavy-handed X over each assigned page. In the end however, he did his lessons and we inched a step closer to the day when he assumes his rightful place.  

Quake, little people.  Today, double-digit subtraction.  Tomorrow, world domination.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday’s Serving – The Willow and the Stone


                What to do about the traitorous Dr. Webb?  The plan had been to scare him into turning against Leo.  If she could deprive Leo of his supporters, he’d have no choice but to turn to her. 
                The doctor was proving as obstinate as Leo.  Should she get him thrown out?  Could she get him thrown out? 
                Many would oppose the loss of the Rock's doctor, Geraldine mused.  If she could cast doubt on his abilities, she could convince the unbelievers that his agenda might be less than benign.  She'd make the argument that if they'd only have faith, the Lord would provide.  Had He not led them to this sanctuary provided by Geraldine herself? 
                Even if some unfortunate circumstance occurred through illness or mishap, far better to die in the bosom of God than to live with the help of Satan's medicine.
                She knew the people to talk to first to spread the word.  Together, they’d show the rest the path of righteousness and win her back control of the Rock.  Those remaining few who might be reluctant to follow her, who’d stand up for Black Elk and Dr. Webb, would be cast out of her Eden and into the darkness as well.  People like that Hollywood tramp Blythe Butler.
                “Hallelujah,” breathed Geraldine. 

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Girding for Battle (or, It’s Time for Summer Vacation)

Yikes.  It’s that time again – the time when teachers cackle joyfully as they send our children back to us parents for 2-1/2 months.  It’s summer vacation.  Moms and dads are shuddering. 

I’m pulling together the summer readiness kit and kidding myself I’ll have a handle on these ‘carefree’ days barreling at me like a runaway locomotive.  Let me have my fantasy that I’m ready for this.  My peace of mind will be over all too soon. 

So what’s in the kit?  Let’s have a look:

1.  Educational workbooks.   

All the experts say that over the summer, children should continue to review the skills they’ve learned throughout the school year.  I have dutifully purchased books designed by the finest educators that will ensure my son will give me a hurt look when I bring them out.  “But it’s vacation! There’s no homework on vacation!”  Sure there is, because I said so.  This is the part where he grumbles and casts threatening expressions worthy of a steroid-crazed defensive back in my direction while I pretend I don’t notice and try to get some writing done. 

Expected duration of this summer activity: one week before the books are cleverly hidden by Kiddo in a place where I can’t find them.

2.  Craft projects. 

I love crafts.  My son sort of loves crafts.  More accurately, he loves tape.  Taping things together is a fetish of his.  We buy Scotch tape by the gross.  Bulk boxes of transparent adhesive are our main reason for having a Sam’s Club membership.  Drawings get taped together into posters the length of football fields, toys that weren’t meant to attach get taped together because Kiddo is creative that way, and tape is crushed into ball shapes because that’s fun to throw around and usually doesn’t result in destruction.  The furniture gets taped, the floors get taped, I get taped, you get taped, we all get taped...there’s tape everywhere in my house.  If you visit us, you will leave our home with nice new sticky soles on your shoes, soles made of tape.  At least you’ll never slip. 

Expected duration of this summer activity: It’s been going on forever, so we’re looking at infinity as far as the tape is concerned.  As far as other crafts, I’ll doggedly insist on doing those until the day I realize I’m gluing popsicle sticks all by myself and Kiddo has been playing video games for the last two hours. 

3.  Board games 

If it’s got dice, Kiddo will like it for just long enough to get halfway through a game.  Then he’s done.  Unless we’re playing Yahtzee.  When it comes to Yahtzee, he’ll like it just long enough to get halfway through the game and then all he’ll want to do is shake the dice nonstop in that loud cup.  If you’ve ever played Yahtzee, you know how earsplitting that becomes after the first round of turns.  Seriously, is there anything louder than those five dice rattling around in that damned cup??? 

Expected duration of this summer activity: Ten minutes and then Mommy has to take an aspirin and lie down.

4. The Beach Bag

Ah, can there be anything more relaxing?  Lying on a chair beneath an umbrella, a cooler full of drinks at your side, a good book, the child building sand castles... 

In a fantasy I had once, maybe.  No, not in this family.  Two seconds after arriving at the beach:  Kiddo is already in the water up to his chest (because he refuses to acknowledge he doesn’t know how to swim yet).  I haven’t even put down the cooler and chairs.  Everything is dumped quickly, so that the child can be fetched and dragged yelling back to our stuff.  Said stuff is now covered in sand because the tote fell over and puked everything out. Now there will be no sand-free towels with which to dry ourselves, and we will carry half the beach home in the SUV.  I will be sunburned because Kiddo thinks running two miles nonstop with me huffing after him and sweating off my sunscreen is great. He will be sunburned because apparently the sunscreen has a liberal amount of holy water in it, making my beloved demon scream and run away before successfully applied.  The book will go unread and perhaps missing.  The cooler will turn out to be empty because Son of Mine has taken out all the water and uncapped every last bottle to take one freaking sip apiece.  Then he'll cast the bottle away, uncapped, so as to water the sand in hopes that a lovely oasis will spring up.  Perhaps it's an effort to attract Arabs with camels to southeast Georgia. By the end of our beach excursion, I will have yelled no less than one hundred times at him to not go so deep into the ocean and panicked half that amount because I’m convinced he’s going to drown.  Good times, good times. 

Duration of this summer activity:  At least once a week all summer because I will continuously develop amnesia and think THIS time it will be fun.

5.  First Aid Supplies 

Lots and lots of first aid supplies.  No need to ask why:  he’s an eight-year-old boy.

6. Alcohol 

Lots and lots of alcohol, swigged liberally after Kiddo’s bedtime. No need to ask why:  I’m the mother of an eight-year-old boy.

7.  Tablet 

This is my son’s favorite thing in the whole world.  If left to his own devices, he would spend every waking minute on the tablet playing games.  This is not good for him to do, but Mommy needs the occasional break.  Of course there will arrive that magic moment when all my good intentions and parenting know-how will crumble to dust.  I will wear down.  I will start the summer allowing an hour a day on the tablet as a reward for not making me tear all of my hair out.  Then I’ll realize how far behind I am with my writing deadlines and let Kiddo have an entire afternoon here and there.  Then I’ll need that whole day when I simply can’t bear to argue.  You see where this is going. 

Duration of this summer activity:  Small amounts to begin with, then by the last three weeks the tablet will appear to be permanently fused to Kiddo’s hands.  He will begin second grade pasty and white, like some forgotten creature from the bowels of the Earth that has never seen the sun. 

When does school start again?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday’s Serving – Lilith’s Return


Alex was as startled by Lena’s sudden outburst as everyone else.  However, she knew in an instant that something had gone terribly wrong with her daughter.  She didn’t hesitate to rush towards the distressed girl.  Before Alex realized on a conscious level what was happening, the alien sneer on Lena’s face stopped her in her tracks. 

Her words dripping with hate, Lena said, “Ridiculous creatures, all of you.  Watered-down demon blood and weak offspring of Adam.  Do you really think you can stand against my might?”

Colwyn and Jacob drew close, their faces confused and worried.  The younger brother said, “Lena?  What—?”

“It’s Lilith,” Alex interrupted him.  Molten rage poured through every vein of her body until she thought she might burst into flames with the force of it.  “Leave my daughter alone, you fucking bitch!” she screamed at the monster hiding inside Lena.

Lilith taunted her from within her precious daughter’s body.  “Or what?  What are you waiting for, Segreto?  You know where I am.  Come and get me!”

Alex carefully stepped closer to Lena/Lilith.  Her fists clenched at her sides, trembling with the need to pound the bitch for daring to touch her child.  “Oh, we’re coming.  You can bet your infernal ass we’re coming.”

She plunged her hand into her collar, pulling out the crucifix so that the gold shined in Lilith’s eyes.  Lena’s body jerked back, her arms rising to shield herself from the sight.  She snarled for an instant, like a rabid animal held at bay.  Then the hateful facade subsided from Lena’s face and she was herself again, falling to her knees at Alex’s feet.

Colwyn shot to his daughter’s side to cradle her shuddering body, wincing as he did so.  However, a thousand Christian relics couldn’t have kept him from Lena.  Alex put away the crucifix before it could harm him. 

As soon as the talisman was hidden behind Alex’s white button-down shirt again, Colwyn stared up at her with mingled fury and horror.  “Has that bitch been in Lena all this time?  Does Lilith know everything we’re planning?”

Alex’s heart thudded painfully.  She looked helplessly at her husband, without any idea of what to say. 

Now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords