Archive for fiction

The D

Posted in Poetry-ish with tags , , , , on 20/04/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

BeFunky_Sarpa_salpa_.jpg

Trumpets

Tra la a tra la

la tra la la a

High on Sarpa Salpa

Having consumed the head

I deploy

Proportionate to the asymmetry

Of a disproportional dimension

In this dishonest dystopia

Of delusional dactyls;

Ha ha Ha ha

Or have the trumpets played

The a al al art al al art a al art piece

this whole time?

I see only dead fish

They go with the flow

Heads off

Tails wagging

Down my throat

Out my eyes

4

8

A highway to Massachusetts

Inside a decomposing delirium

Diffusive in its own diorama;

A dense detonation of death

That demonizes the density

Creating a population of dehumanized

Degenerates digesting disgusting delays

Particles and principles

Of my core

Demolished and decoyed

My brain

Destructive and deranged

My mind

Detained and deaf;

I deduce

Convulsive vomiting

And I’m gone

And I’m End.

 

 

 

The Dorley Cycle VII

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories, The Dorley Cycle with tags , , , , , , on 12/04/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

TO START THE CYCLE :  Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Part V ;  Part VI

THE DORLEY CYCLE

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VII

I knew that Dorley was incorporated somewhere in the 1600’s by some European fisherman and established as a town in the 1800’s, and all that it used to be in its earliest days was probably written down in one of the records in the archive. All the memories of my youth in Dorley are of struggling to spend a summer vacation in a fishy little town with a small harbor that held few solid fishing boats.

Inside the archives room was a metal shelf that ran from one side of the wall to the other and stacked some fifty yellow record boxes labeled with a red marker. There were a dozen brown boxes tucked into the corner of the room.

I knelt bringing my flashlight to those, first starting with their content.  I pushed the lid off of the first one and took out a thin file that bore the police department’s sigil. I went through three or four reports, all recent and all of minor violations from the outside regions. I pulled another box towards me. There was a moist scent soaked into the cardboard, the smell of old age and dark rooms and when I tore the dried glue and pulled the first file in had the same authentic stench of decay plastered onto it. There was a picture clipped to the first page. I brought my light to it, looking at a crime scene photo of a naked girl, arms, legs spread on the beach and a circle drawn around her. My heart sank as I recognized the markings on her body, dark, swollen all over her shriveled skin. They were identical to those of the two teens laid on the beach. I took away the light and stared into the darkness, rectangles and bright spots swimming before my eyes. The 86’ murder had fallen into my hands with a picture of the body of which the local lore spoke to have been missing and never found. I took the photo out and put it in my pocket without a second glance. The page underneath was smoke soaked and the ink was smudged in redoing the bleak writing, but I read the year all right, and the name of the girl – Anne Henderson, 17.  The rest of the file however was empty.

A voice above me hissed like a rattle snake in the quiet and the hiss sneaked to the pit of my stomach where it curled.

“The department archives got flooded couple of days ago, so some of the files were moved in here till’ the leak is fixed.”

I turned my light on Paulie’s face seeing the deep sores on his cheeks and the broken teeth in his limp mouth.

“Security will be here any minute. Got what you was looking for?”

I felt the picture in my pocket and nodded. All I needed was it, a verification that Dorley had secrets and someone was willing to sacrifice lives to keep them.

Outside the gulls were loud in their pathetic attempts to keep off the cold. The night had grown the wicked cold of the wind that came from elsewhere and it kissed my face in its harsh unwelcoming way, like a lover no more.

Whilst I shivered and cursed the change of heart of the weather, Paulie stood proud against the temperature, comforted in its embrace. I guess he was local after all.

“If you ain’t got a place to stay and do your thing while you’re here the place I rent in my room has an empty one just across mine.”

Paulie swallowed a big gulp of his frozen saliva and looked at me with his green eyes half-closed. He looked shit tired.

“I suppose I’m going to stay for a while after all, yeah.”

The building he led me into was one of the more luxurious, and few apartment buildings Dorley had built for the rich tourists that it never had. It looked less shiny today and with its glamour, its clientele had gone to waste.

“Landlord sleeps like a deadman, he’ll do you in the register tomorrow. I gots a spare key here in case someone comes and he ain’t around to serve.”

I was beginning to think Paulie was the Keymaster from Ghostbusters. Heck he even looked a bit like him.

“Paulie, do you know that murder from 86’ that was never solved? The upstate girl on vacation here?”

He gazed at me again with his sea deep eyes.

“I remember it. She was a pretty one, auburn hair and hazel eyes. Never found a body though.”

“Do you remember who led the investigation?”

“Chief of police Frank Wyman. Solid motherfucker.”

“He still around?”

“Chief then, chief now. He’s a righteous man and he’ll do his job.“

I nodded and bid him goodnight.

“It’s very strange how the mermaids got extinct and then the sirens stopped singing. I think scientists would say its total bull, but I go with the Old belief that the two species are very much important to one another, you know for their survival. This one guy in the pub said,” you want mermaid meat you gotta cut the tail with a diamond sharpened blade” and another said “behead the siren if ya want to use the feathers for the hooks.”

His words bubbled up and he laughed with his teeth clasped together. His eyes were mere dark slices that stretched along the sides of his face. I thought again how much I hated the tales and how much those people loved them.

“They will come you know.”, his hiss pierced my ears and itched down my system, putting needles in my guts.

He closed his door and locked it.

I sat on my bed feeling the cold wool cover, not wanting to get under it and shiver through my nightmares. So I left as quiet as possible, patting the inside of my jacket for the Smith & Wesson feeling its weight reassuring. I hoped chief Frank Wyman was a solid motherfucker as Paulie had said.

 

to be continued 4/25/…

Passerby

Posted in Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , on 19/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

My unease mostly comes from the horrid assumption that my right eye fails to see what the corner of it does. That is, when I turn my head I see the ordinary, a simple object, an inanimate figure, but just before that I know what the corner caught and registered – an entirely new image of motions and attempts of greater such, unlikely to the nature of its original character as seen by my full eye. Oh, no I am not mad; I am simply worried that I might be going so.

Today the corner of my eye filtered a different abnormality as the by-street disappeared from my peripheral vision and their substitute rose with tall black rocks that were the foundation of a palace of sorts, but which was in a monotonous decay, crumbling into a blacker mass of liquid denser than water and infested with golden sinking monuments of befallen, ungodly creatures of proportions unknown and terrible to me. The motion of this transcendental spectacle was falling in rhythm with my own motion in the known to me world and I genuinely feared I might find myself prisoner to this abandoned city and far-off world exciting in the corner of my eye.

My eyeball twitched inside its socket, the forgotten palace becoming blurred as tears formatted in the corner of my right eye and dripped down my cheek. A blink and the vision was gone forever, leaving me a stranger to my own world and a permanent mental inhabitant in that other, the kingdom of crumble and decay.

The Dorley Cycle: Prelude

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 15/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

THE DORLEY CYCLE

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Dorley, Massachusetts

2 years later

The tourists took the flyers from their hands reluctantly, many crushing the colorful piece of paper into a ball and shooting it at the bin, and some others threw a glance at the written text “DORLEY – THE BY THE SEA RESORT YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR! COME STAY WITH US AT THE MERMAID GRAND HOTEL!” and again crushed the offer, not needing another advertisement being pushed in their hands.

The summer workers, as their mentors referred to them, kept on their pretense smiles and stomped their weary feet up and down the fully restored pier which the said tourists loved so much, taking selfies and long and dramatized sunset and sunrise photos with the Ferris wheel in the back – Dorley, the resort you had to visit before you die.

Darryl counted the remaining flyers in his stack – he had about thirty left and without giving it much thought he pushed the majority of those in his pants handing the remaining ones out fast.

“I’m all done losers!”

Megan tilted her head at him.

“Cheater. Really Darryl if Benson finds out he’ll be pissed.”

Darryl shrugged.

“It’s a crappy job and you know it. Handing out something no one gives two fucks about and boiling under the sun. I should have been a life guard at the hotel. Give me a pool and drowning chicks to save.”

“More like limb numb grannies.”  Joe laughed as he pushed his hands into his pockets and retreated towards a weak shadow to have a sit.

“You all done?”

Megan and Darryl looked at him suspiciously.

“What can I say, I get the job done, I get to run the Ferris wheel tonight.”

“You little shit.” Darryl punched him in the shoulder and sat next to him. He watched as people paced down the white-painted pier, the waves of the summer sea  brushing against the pillars underneath their feet, making the sound of creaking planks inaudible. It was a beautiful pier for sure and the wheel made a nice touch to it, gathering souvenir shops, sweet corn and all kinds of candy stands around it. The Grand Mermaid Hotel though was where the money came from, and being a valet or a pool boy, or hell any kind of working boy in there made the summer work much more profitable and practical. Darryl however hadn’t made the cut, and was assigned to maintaining the pier. That did not give tips.

The rich hotel was built last year after a few controversies over the ground on which it was supposed to be built. They had to move the old cemetery to make place for the hotel as that point made for the best possible view over the sea from any floor. The road was redone and swerved down to the coastal line and the pier. Darryl traced it up to the hotel which windows reflected the late sun.

“I’m going to have a smoke.” Megan announced and roamed through her purse. Darryl snapped out of his thoughts and jumped to his feet

“Spare one? I forgot mine.”

She nodded and led the way. Joe shook his head and Darryl flipped him a bird.

The safest place to smoke without being scolded were the old fisherman cabins down at the Old Side beach. When the town began its renovation, parts of it were left out after numerous protests from the fisherman society, the old folks born and raised here with beliefs and traditions no law stood up to. It split the town in two, the main area getting its renewal, and what was left becoming a remote fishing harbor maintaining the traditional business and soaking the air with cheap beer and dead fish.  The cabins were deserted now, all rotten wood and broken windows.

“There are some rumors about this place. Sometime back this guy supposedly killed a mermaid and then went seriously mad after hearing a siren sing to him. He drowned himself. Or went to a madhouse.”

Megan lit Darryl’s cigarette and leaned into the sidewall of the cabin. He shifted uncomfortably when she didn’t say anything.

“What are you planning to do after the summer is over?”

She made smoke rings.

“University I suppose. You?”

“I’m saving up money so I can travel a bit before getting into life.”

She laughed and her eyes glimmered.

“Maybe I’ll tag along.”

His jaw dropped. He was a shy guy in front of girls he liked and Megan, he definitely liked. She put her smoke out and moved closer to him.

“Would you like that?”

He nodded.

“Yes, a lot.”

Something made the door of the next cabin slam open and shut. Megan jumped and pushed into Darryl who clumsily grabbed her shoulder for balance.

A single brief gasp tore from her lips as she was taken by surprise from behind and thrown against the side of the cabin, crashing through the wood. Darryl spun around but a strong hand gripped at his throat and began crushing his windpipe. His vision blurred in and out, the figure before him unclear and he felt something sticky and sour penetrate his nostrils. It made him very dizzy and he found he couldn’t move a muscle. But he heard a voice ordering him and he found himself obeying.

Open wide now.”

The grasp eased and his mouth swung open, saliva bubbling up inside and spilling from the corner of his lips down his chin. The attacker’s hands moved to his shoulders to steady him. Something thick and slimy licked at the tip of his tongue and was rapidly and forcefully pushed in his mouth, moving itself down his throat, gagging him. Thorny hooks clung to the sides of his mouth forcing it wider. His eyes whitened as a second parasite invader probed the gaping void of his mouth and nestled itself inside him, sucking at the core of him, making him empty. He could feel such things crawl upon his face and over his eyes and around his ears, little suction disks planting on his skin before he dropped dead.

Megan stumbled to her feet, her wrist aching, blood on her forehead and her eyes darted around before settling on Darryl.  She screamed. For a brief moment she couldn’t breath and her voice died in her throat when she tried to call him, so she ran, tripping, in the opposite direction away from Darryl’s body, before the same sour smell breathed into her face, sticking, and she fell back, the late summer sky blurring crimson red and burning orange.

The Dorley Cycle IV

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 07/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

Part: I ; Part: II ; Part: III

THE DORLEY CYCLE

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IV

Siren shrieks and mermaid cries rampaged through my arousal center deep into the skull and my brain sculpted a nightmare so fucked up I hardly noticed a tackle team of doctors trying to restrain my spasmodic body onto the hospital bed. I heard their voices and amongst them a weaker raspy one, crying and I figured that was me. My voice, the one of a frightened boy, sounded distant and it grew weaker as the injection dug forcefully into my vein pumping a sedative up my system. I dozed off quickly.

I could still taste saltines in my mouth when I woke up and whenever I moved a facial muscle the whole thing hurt. My shoulders and waist were bandaged, but under the bandages there were stitches that itched and hurt when I pulled.

Later on, after many hours, or days, I opened my eyes to see Eli standing at the bottom of my bed. There were policeman asking questions and my face hurt so I told them to fuck off with their enquiries. They said I’ve been attacked, kidnaped with a stolen local fisherman’s boat and thrown into the sea, presumed dead until two days ago when I had washed out. Fuck no.

I averted my eyes and followed the ray of sunlight projecting itself on the pale green wall whenever the curtain moved.  It was a normal motion happening in such a fragile environment for me; the emerging of noises:  the tapping of the shoes outside in the corridor, the sound from the policeman’s dry fingers against the yellow paper of his notepad, the low beeping of the machine.

The police officer gestured with his pen towards me. What had happened?

I killed a mermaid in cold blood and shot my salvation through the head of an ancient siren. I was mad and sick with legends. I wanted sleep.

They issued therapy; traumatic experience causing patient to conceal attackers identity. Was it someone you knew? No. Did you see his/hers/their face? No.

I dreamt of rotting corpses when I thought I was done with it all, and I heard radio stations skip tunes, making way for white noise that transformed with each changed station to a vomiting scream. I started rambling in my wake, speaking of mermaids and how beautiful they were and sirens and how I headshot one with a handmade speargun. I was so terrified I threw a bottle of juice at one of the nurses when she came into the night to check on me.

Eli told the doctors his version of that night, me seeming mad and on the run, asking for his dad’s speargun and they patched a scenario with my ramblings, ending my sorry ass in the madhouse.

Let me tell you, it’s awfully quiet in here at night. Probably because of all the drugs they stuff you up with. At first I kept the pills under my tongue and spat them out right after. But couple of days in here, I started to swallow the suckers. I wasn’t denying being mad. I liked being something that had a certification in Latin, and not the petrified murderer I knew I was.

There’s this small time drug addict slash suicide fail case, in here, and I talk to him when we play chess, partly because no one else can establish a full conversation without freaking me out. I tell him about stories I’ve heard and he tells me about all these satanic rituals he and his buddies were keen on back in his hometown somewhere in Texas.

“We’ve called the Lord Satan man, and he’d come man. Once we gutted a cat and like spread its insides, you know, and this big dog came and ate it. Fuckin’ chewed into it. It was Satan man. He’s a fucking’ evil guy man.”

Really, I’d say, moving my pieces into check. You’ve no idea of evil.

I caught someone singing and my nights were not quiet anymore.

Say, why don’t you just free me, I fear I may be lost,  I won’t do you any harm.. But kiss you and sail home

I felt disoriented and not caring and so, so tired and this song was picking brain cells and eating them up. It was when I asked who was singing that the guard pointed at me with his thick finger. I half smiled and stopped taking the pills again. Now I heard myself sing and that didn’t bother me. It was my song after all, and although it didn’t carry the same weight as when the siren sang it, it made my gears grind in a way stronger than when I brought down my hand on the mermaid. It spoke a purpose to me.

They released me under supervision two weeks later for my uncle’s funeral.  The grave they had dug for him was on the highest side of the cemetery, a nice view of the horizon. Like he’d care. Eli was not talking to me. The kid looked devastated, and I was in cuffs. We were a dysfunctional family. I had messed up and Eli didn’t deserve my attitude and karma. He threw me a glance after his white fist disposed of the dirt onto the casket and stormed past me.

If I was to make this right and help Eli I had to go away for a while. Mermaids and sirens invaded my mind and I knew that if I looked around, poked enough and probed and lifted every little stone in my way, I’d find more of those, real and breathing in the neck of humans. My jaw clenched.

Dorley was just at the beginning of its cycle. There was another wave coming.

The guard never saw me disappear.

To be continued…

The Dorley Cycle III

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 01/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

Part: I and Part: II

THE DORLEY CYCLE

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III

As I walked outside I kept hearing Eli call my name, call me back in, asking what was going on, (was he not hearing the song?) and I thought he’d be waking up his father with all the yelling, or maybe his father was already dead and couldn’t hear a damned thing.

Good, I thought, he’d go crazy if he was to hear this.

There were no words anymore, only a low frequency throb in my ears and my head.

I kept thinking about the old fisherman and how he deafened himself, because the siren silenced her song to him. But now I was sure although he didn’t ever hear her, the memory of the vibrations lived inside him, knocking from inside his head. He didn’t die in peace.

I wouldn’t die in peace.

She wasn’t anywhere to be seen; only her sickening melody hung in the air like some sort of premonition.

I walked aiming at the night, half-mad, half-sober. Her song had me tightly gripped in a haze that tempered with the volume of her voice altering it each time I changed my course, making me sick with nausea.  It corresponded with me in its own way, buzzing low whenever I drifted and booming loud, a thousand small wings flapping altogether in an echoing chamber that was my head whenever I came closer. My knees bumped into something solid in the dark and I found the wooden body of a small boat pushed onto the shore. No doubt my ride.

I left the speargun inside and pushed the vessel into the sea, climbing over inside, dislocating the paddles and smashing them inside the water, sailing onwards.

Soon enough the darkness swam with me and I swam with the voice, desperately clinging to notations. I looked up and saw stars and I no longer knew which was up and which was down, because their reflection was my sky and their true selves were my bottom. I thought the stars were singing; when I looked ahead I thought the gaping void of the night was singing, symphony of the strained. But as the song began to escape my grasp, my hearing of it slowly disappearing into my surrounding, I moaned and I lost my directions, my sense of the present.  It waved such a lonely goodbye, leaving me mentally deaf.

I sat in the darkness, middle of the sea with the twinkling windows of the cabins, dots in my background and I waited for the song to start again, humming it’s melody to my rocking body and my vague mind. The ring in my ears was all that remained. She had taken away every other noise the world had to me, and I realized, never before had I addressed the frightening possibility of not knowing anymore how the water buckling against the boat sounds. I listened, hearing nothing. I listened and I felt myself sob, my stomach clench and feeling my heart give in to fear and paranoia. The boat rocked ever so lightly and I clutched the speargun tightly to my chest, grazing my finger over the trigger.

When the fuck did these old nightmares of mine become real and carnivorous? I wasn’t asking for them, I didn’t need a proof. I needed them to stay here and stay fake.  I laughed. I was waiting with a loaded spear into a fuckin’ handmade gun to shoot it through the head of a siren, and I was liking the idea of that happening. She had robbed me of some imaginary sweet emotion and I…I was…

It wasn’t long before I noticed how dry my throat and my mouth were and how much I longed for water to wash down the dryness. I had slumped down, lying in the boat, and it was nearly the break of dawn, the sky lighter.  My limbs were cold and numb when I urged myself up into a sitting position.

Something disturbed the balance of the boat sinking it lower. It jerked my body, and I looked up to see an enormous figure hovering over me. Large claws had now dug into the edge of the boat, crunching it, peeling it off as it maneuvered to steady itself and I followed up the large, strong bird legs, feathered in brown and black. It was a she, a woman, at least her torso was. Though feathered from her tights up, her breasts were uncovered as were her neck and face. From the elbow down she had no hands. Her skin extended into a ruffled feathered limb that ended with a clawed hawk-like grip. She stepped into the boat and the planks groaned beneath her weight.

She looked at me, mouth agape, her tongue nuzzling her lower lip. She was hungry, wasn’t she?

“You killed my lover. You murdered my soul mate.”  It was all she said, and unlike the little mermaid, this being held grudge and anger in her voice, a voice that kept me concentrated on her words towards me, but isolated me from knowing anything else. The walls of my eardrums bled again. Warmth spread down my neck.  She wasn’t singing for my pleasure but for my torment.  Every word she uttered was clothed in a hushed version of the melody of her song.

Shaken I lifted and pointed the speargun at her chest, putting it right between her breasts.

“Fuck you.”

She pushed it aside, sending it flying from my numb hands into the sea. Her foot came into my face, clawing each sharp nail to skin. She dragged it down peeling off skin from my forehead and cheeks and I screamed in pain, pushing her backwards, feeling the wrath of her battle cry slam me down.  She kicked me in the gut and tossed me off board, and I splashed in the cold water where her song spread like cancer and choked me.

I half expected her to plunge after me and when she did she circled me like a predator. I saw only blood and nothing as she clawed into me pushing me down.  The salt stung on my wounds like a bitch.

“One little mermaid on the shore with a man, one little man with a rock in his hand, one little mermaid with blood in her hair, one little man swimming dead.”

She was cruel, my brain told me, as my lungs began collapsing.  The siren persisted at her torture.

“Look at what you’ve done!”

A corpse floated over me, the damaged head hanging low and the wounds oozing light pink pus. The mermaid’s whitened eyes stared into me, her mouth contorted, and then the crystal bright eyes of the siren stared into me as she clawed herself tighter to my shoulders and pushed me down.

I tossed my head back closing my eyes, letting death and legends kill me, but in the flash of shutting my lids I glimpsed the slender form of the speargun sinking ahead of me.

I stretched my hands looking for a grab. The siren screamed and beated her wings causing typhoons underwater. As she made choice to tear my torso I made one final attempt having the speargun in my hands.

I shot the spear.

Blood encircled me in a burst and I saw her head tilt back her eyes flip and her song cease. She fell into the darkness, an ugly bird in the flight of dead, her face frozen in the grimace of her fury.

I saw her disappear to the bottomless sea, before all faded to black.

To be continued… 

Pink Liebster!

Posted in Non-Fiction with tags , , , , , , , on 11/02/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

Awesome  John Wiswell knocked on my Twitter door with a very pretty pink Liebster award! I really love this blog award – it’s nice to share an appreciative nod with fellow writers and bloggers.

There are some rules to it, and sorry that I’m bending them a bit. I’ve done the full course before and decided this time to swerve around the original rules.  So with more or less said, you’ll have to:
1. Link back to the person who nominated you.
2. Answer 10 questions given to you by the person who nominated you.
3. Pick a few other cool bloggers to nominate.
4. Give them 10 questions to answer and have fun.
5. Make sure the people you nominated know!
Let’s see now what John asked and what I, hopefully entertaining enough, answered.

1. What is the hardest you’ve laughed in the last year?

-  Let’s see. Hmm. You know, I don’t actually remember a specific moment, although you might think laughing hard will definitely require one to remember the moment that sparked the laughter. Maybe I laughed a lot alongside a theatre full of people to Neil Gaiman’s jokes. Maybe I laughed at my mom’s attempts to narrow my chocolate. Maybe I laughed at my five-year old sister running around the apartment not wanting to get dressed. I don’t know. I laughed, that’s all it counts, whether it’s been with new or old friends, with total strangers or with family. There were laughs.

2. What theme do you wish more fiction tackled?

- Maybe I’m at a wrong here, but I haven’t read/ seen much noir fiction. I’d like to see a different perspective on it, an alternate universe, steampunk, cyberpunk kind of noir. I’d like that mixture a lot.

3. What was the last time you envied another writer’s work?

- It’s a daily headache! I barely survive battling in my own world, being constantly drowned by better and bigger and braver ideas, and I’m not a very good swimmer. Page after page, story after story, novel after novel – I’m the female metaphorical impersonation of Abel, though in my case I get murdered by you lovely people and other lovely people in print and hardcover and in digital. And then I revive myself, sometimes lucky to have been motivated and freshened by those who I envy and sometimes I want to be Cain and someone else to be Abel.

 4.What’s the next book you’re planning to read and why?

- If I finish with Scott Lynch ‘s “The Lies of Locke Lamora” before NaNoReMo and “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, it’ll be perhaps “Silmarilion”. Not only that I’ve always wanted to read it, but I just recently reminded myself how fond I am of Tolkien’s universe and what a great reading experience it would be, with the background of Middle-Earth’s wars, the First age and the arise of the darkness and the Elves being badass as always. So there you have it.

5. Does anything in fiction routinely scare you or creep you out? Whether it’s werewolves or doctor visits.

- I’m going to allow myself to give an example here. You know that moment in a novel where what’s happening is so messed up and disgusting, worldwide shocking news material, but it’s written so damn well you just hold your breath and go with it thinking how mad it is and how mad you are for getting a thrill from reading it? That’s routinely creepy for me. Stephen King’s “The Talisman” and the following novel, and Joe Hill’s “N0S4A2” are just recent examples full of gut churning moments like that. I’ve literally averted my eyes from certain paragraphs, because when you get “used” to reading those they become quite visual. I love that scary part as much as I hate it.

 6. If you could spend an afternoon hanging out with any villain, who would it be?

- Let me get my awesome fan list out. (It would be the literature villain’s one, since it’s suitable) Captain Hook? Aye! I’ll pillage and sing and drink on the Jolly Roger, and occasionally we might share a story. Moriarty? Sure thing! (although I think I may be dead before the night ends) But imagine an afternoon of tea and plotting cunning schemes to topple down unlikable governmental figures. I mean, sometimes evil can be cool, if you pay well enough (and if it’s the consulting criminal type, hell, why not?) Smaug? Can I say Smaug? I’ll buy him a pretty golden thingy and persuade him for a flight above Dale and all the way to the Shire. I’m going to stop with those.

7. If you could delete any character from all of fiction, such that no one would remember it had ever existed, what character would it be?

- Wow, that’s cruel isn’t it? Who would have been so annoying, or unimportant, or irritating and flat? “King” Joffrey? Yeah, he falls into those categories, but then again he…*spoiler*. Nevermind.

Perhaps even a character so annoying and impossible to go with has something to him/her that fits the narrative. If not it has to be a really bad book. But just to answer the question, a totally useless character that I’d delete would be Raoul, the Viscount of Chagny in “The Phantom of the Opera”. That would change the novel very much, but then there would be less love story and no one to protect dear little Christine. Ha ha ha.

8.What’s your favorite nickname you’ve ever been given?

- I haven’t been given any :( My dad sometimes calls me mouse or curly, but that’s about it.

9. Do the last ten books you read have anything in common?

- They had the same font. Were about the same size. They smelled the same way. They didn’t have any pictures in them and not once they had the word “love” in them.

10. By a unique snafu of publishing, you are legally obligated to write a crossover between two popular franchises of your choosing. Which two are they?

- A Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Potter *evil grin* I say, a wonderful new rendition of Hunger Games that’ll be. Will Harry, a Westeros bastard born with the sign of magic survive in the battle of the Thrones, when he finds out his unknown father was actually the king in the north? And will Sansa Stark of Ravenclaw in the far land of Hogwarts manage to avenge her mother’s death by the hand of no other than Lord Voldemort Tully? Will the Red Yulle Wedding be a disaster? Will Professor Tyrion of Flitwick prove to be more than just a witty man from a noble class? Will Hermoine Lanister change her destiny of cruelty set by her family and join the crusade of Ron Snow and his brother John of finding the warrior nymph Arya of the Dark Forest near The Wall? Those questions and many more will arise in the new saga!  -  It’s a tempting crossover that one, isn’t it?

So, there they are. Hope I was a tiny bit fun!

Now for the nominees.
Katherine Nabity
Steve Green

Jacki Donnellan

Katherine Hajer

David G Shrock

 

And here are their ten questions:

  1. Who’s your hero?
  2. What gave the beginning of your writing experience?
  3. How do you engage on a story? Do you outline or are you a more of a discovery writer?
  4. In what genre/s do you write and why?
  5. What’s that one line you’re really proud of?
  6. You get to bring to life one character for 24 hours. Which one is that and why?
  7. Do you regret reading a book? Which and why?
  8. Pick a childhood favorite book. Which is it?
  9. How many books do you plan to read in 2014?
  10. You have been given a one way ticket offering to any fictional destination. Which one would you choose?

Have fun!!!

Prometheus

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 25/01/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

Wanted to share this short 160 word fic I wrote for Flash ! Friday ‘s micro contest and which *drum roll* won last week! There’s also a  short interview with me on the blog so if you want be sure to check the link above.  Also thought I’d share the photo prompt.

***

Tiger & Turtle, Duisburg, Germany. Public Domain photo by Chraecker.

Prometheus

The hologram screen surrounding the serpent shaped contraption buzzed lightly as it transmitted a landscape view. Footsteps echoed up and down its metal stairs. Men, women and children frantically searched their ways back and forth walking the narrow rails of the machine.

“This is the work of a brute.” whimpered the creator, as exhausted he sat, marveling in tears his creation.

His “Prometheus” wouldn’t stop. This was the unintended consequence of his frivolous ambitious overreaching. These people, at the end they found themselves starting from the beginning, no memory of minutes ago, no concept of hours gone by. He had created the sort of cycle that destroyed their minds, trapping them in a limbo of repetitiveness in which they existed in their normality just for a split second. To fear.

Soon their system would catch on the anomaly, and they would die maddened and starved becoming mere shells of humans. And he would suffer the helpless observation of that process.

The Bay of Huxum

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , on 18/01/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

The stillness of the water was disturbed, a gentle quake that spawned ripples, which chased away the thin layer of fog nesting on the surface. From beyond the smog a ghostly silhouette emerged, a mass reeking of sea and gunpowder. The ship sliced the waters as it neared the quiet bay; a king amongst pirates and pillagers, “The Greedy Corsair” was preparing to anchor.

From its deck a song erupted. It was a powerful chant that called upon the dead.

Ahoy brothers
Down at the depths
The bottles we sink
We pour for your sake
Drink them me hearties
Yo ho ho
The sea yer grave
But horizon yer birth
Yo ho ho
Raise to sail
Yo ho ho
Raise to drink

The song carried monotone and chilling while the fearsome band of pirates loaded their pistols and gathered their supplies for a journey on the forgotten land of the isle. Ahead lay a jungle of wonders and dangers, and somewhere in its midst an X marked the buried treasure of an extinct world.

“I’ve heard there’s a myth about these parts.” a bearded sailor said, as he was loading his pistol. “Us blackhearted sailors are cursed er’.”

“And cursed we shall walk the shores.”
Captain Alastair Kant stepped on the deck. He was a tall man and his eyes were as damp and gloomy as the sea itself. His skin was tanned and rough and his beard, the color of dried clay.

The crew gave a hearty laugh, but was silenced by the crack of the deck under the heavy frame of their captain.

“S’ppose you tell us why we’re so unwelcomed here, yer old priest.”

The bearded sailor, who was in fact in his foggy past a man of the lord by title mostly, spit aside and looked dead in the eye the cocky boy who was glaring at him with watery eyes and a rotten smile.

“There’s a beast that lives er’, a scaled devil that don’t die by bullets or blade.”

The crew let a hissing laugh.

“Is true! I’ve heard it dozens of times. Is why no one ever comes er’.”

“There was – interrupted the commotion the captain. He paused gaining the attention of all the men on the deck and perhaps of those in the dead depths of the sea- There was a sacred beast once, a dragon named Huxum. The Vietnamese called him Con quỷ đen, the black demon. He was a vicious creature that pillaged the villages and ate the children, so the old settlers decided to elect a warrior to challenge Huxum. An outsider to the people came to their call. He was unspoken in the myth, nameless for he actually committed a sacrilegious act by defying laws spoken by deities. After defeating the dragon its body fell in these waters and the hero was beheaded. The settlers then build a ship from the bones and the scales in hopes to praise it once more and beg for forgiveness. “The sailing demon” they called it.” A plaque  took  them by that nigh,t every man, woman and child and bound their souls to the skeleton ship. So it became quiet here, so quiet you could hear the dragon breathing.

The captain smirked at the silent crew who stared in awe and looked around them, listening to hear the ghostly dragon.
“Story time is over! Move it you good for nothing drunks!

The song was on again, daggers, ropes and pistols all prepared.

But the waters became restless and the ship rocked. It was a steady rocking at first, though nothing came from the water, and as much as the captain stared at the vast openness nothing came. Then a roar erupted. From above, splitting skies and fog, a fearful skeleton ship covered in black scales was descending. “The sailing demon” was flying towards Captain Kant’s crew, and it had Huxun’s burning eyes fixed upon them.  As the crew rushed to load the guns, the ghost ship breathed its fire upon them, from a sharp toothed mouth.

The bay was shaken by a blast that saw the Corsair sink into oblivion, engulfed in ancient flames.
The waters became still again.

Best Reads 2013

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 28/12/2013 by Cindy Vaskova

2013, sadly was a year I didn’t read as much as I wanted to. In fact, I didn’t work around the book number I set in the beginning of the year. Finishing university in a rush, applying for a US visa, summer work in the USA and back home – it was a fine, fun ride. I met Neil Gaiman at his book signing and Scott Snyder and a bunch of awesome comic book artists at Comic Con.

Still, I do have a list. Big thanks to John Wiswell for hosting #bestreads2013 !

Kicking it in with 7 pieces of art in the Graphic novels, Horror, YA, Sci-fi genre. Voila!

Graphic Novels  

Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman

gaiman

What’s not to like about a breath of fresh air when it comes to well-known super heroes? And what’s not to like when Neil Gaiman does it? Beautifully drawn, this graphic novel takes us from modern day America and transports us to 1602, Elizabethan England, where our favorite Marvel heroes find themselves in the birth of an age that brings people with odd abilities into the light. It’s a trilling mystery told in eight issues and it re-introduces characters such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, Nick Fury, Doctor Strange, Dr. Doom, Black Widow, Fantastic Four, Captain America, Dare Devil, Magneto and more. Will you recognize them without their famous attire? Will you spot them in this different spin-off to a famous bunch we love and remember?

I dearly enjoyed the whole story, and how the characters interacted with each other to create this new mystery narrative that evolved into an action sequence, revealing characters by the next page. It’s spoils all the way so I won’t let out much. There’s this twist in the end though… I’ll shush. I highly recommended it: it’s worth the attention and the art will keep you wanting more. Just check it out!

The Nightmare Factory based on the stories of Thomas Ligotti

ligotti

I love Thomas Ligotti and I love graphic novels, so when something like this comes forward I accept it with opened arms. Ligotti is such a masterful storyteller and his works are bizarre! He toys the sub-genre so well, it’s beyond me to say with what insanity and provocation one story begins and with what horror parallel it finishes. He is a contemporary horror writer.

Four stories find themselves in this beautifully delivered anthology, written by Stuart Moore and Joe Harris and each done differently by brilliant artists and colorists. The art is magnificent!

The first story is The Last Feast of Harlequin and it pays tribute to a Lovecraftian tradition of short story telling – the masterfully handled first person witness narrative that chills your bones. We get no name, but we are introduced to an anthropologist obsessed with clowns and their portrayal. This passion of his takes him to the town of Mirocaw where an annual Fools Feast is celebrated. In a celebration ritual on the streets of the town he becomes amused in the strange natures of the celebration itself, and follows a procession believing it to be a traditional ritual, only to find himself questioning his own sanity.

The second story, Dream of a Manikin introduces the possibility of shared dreams. A man psychologist investigates the a patient’s dreams which seem not to be fantasy at all, but rather glimpses of a fully separate life. I dare not go further on, as my next word will fail to prevent a spoiler. And this is a story you’d want to see for yourself.

Third story names itself: Dr. Locrian’s Asylum

Years passed and no one in our town, no one I could name, allotted a single word to that great ruin which marred the evenness of the horizon.”  An asylum and its burial grounds creeps over a town that despises it; it’s an abomination to the people there. So they decide to demolish it, casting away the shadows in the windows. Alas, old Locrian has a secret to tell – the sanitarium must never be disturbed.

Fourth story calls: Teatro Grottesco, is a mind-bending unknown, a form of mise-en-scene of our lives that is cruel and incoherent. It is destructive. It is provocation. It is anxiety. It’s a subconscious trial that results in the death of creativity.

I loved this anthology. It’s done masterfully. And if Ligotti is a new name, it most definitely should become a familiar one. He is too versatile to miss out.

Horror

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

castle

“Poor strangers, they have so much to be afraid of.”

And indeed you should be, for you too are a stranger to the Blackwood sisters! Alas, you are safe, for you are an invisible stranger. I say this book welcomes to a normality that is chilling and to a mystery that is making you nervous, the tea in your hand shaking. Did you put any sugar in it? “Merricat, said Connie, would you like a cup of tea?” When this normality becomes disturbed, infiltrated by an outside force of evil, that destroys all magic totems, all spells and magical words, the oddity increases. This is not a novel about monsters or ghosts. It lacks gore. But it has something much more frightening then those. It messes with your mind, with your own normality and comfort. And as you keep following the narrative masterfully told by Jackson and by Merricat Blackwood, the younger of the two Blackwood sisters. It’s a macabre novel spiced with sinister humor; it abandons time and moves through a distorted pattern of days; it invites you into seclusion.

I read it in one seat or so, and loved every page of it. A classic without doubt! And a chilling one too! If you haven’t you should check it too.

N0s4a2 by Joe Hill

hill

I absolutely love supernatural suspense! I finished “The Talisman” and “The Black House” works of Stephen King and Peter Straub and I wanted more of this breathtaking pace and horrid atmosphere, but somehow different. Then I found N0s4a2 and I was happy again. So you have a 1938 Rolls-Royce Wrath and a man with a very special talent riding in it – he can take children to a very special place called Christmasland. But this man doesn’t drive on state roads, he knows hidden paths, that swirl from here to beyond.

Then we have this little girl that has the nag of finding things previously misplaced. With her bike- one Raleigh Tuff Burner- she goes in and out of a dangerous crumbling bridge that takes her wherever she wants to go, be it across the country or just across a road.

One day the two find each other.

Spoiler ended.

It’s a thrilling adventure, this novel, with its almost 700 pages. It’s a disturbing ride, dark and twisted, that tempers with your Christmasy mood and your trust in strangers. Care to test your fear? Open up the pages. I did. It’s scary.

YA/ Horror

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

gaiman2

I’ve already reviewed this novel, but as best reads 2013 go, this was one of my most enjoyable reads.

Stories shelter us from the darkness, and by the laws of imagination and breathing life into scary things we understand what makes us human, what makes us fear. This novel is a fable, an enigmatic read throwing the reader into a story narrated by a little boy whose grasping the nature of his surroundings and their sudden, terrifying destruction.

It’s a novel about friendship. Though short it carries much love and strength.

YA/Sci-fi/Dystopian

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

cory

I love the hate this novel is receiving. I dig the novel, it’s geeky and rebellious and got me all excited to “ravage” the Internet, anonymously bringing justice amongst my fellow citizens. I played with that thought to the point where I made a blog for university constructed around quotes and inspired by the cyphered anonymity that the novel projects. It’s a fun thing, fooling around. But for me the novel did what it had to; it made me want to stir the boat a bit, and poke where it bled the most. In parallel with student protests in my country, it worked rather well I think.

Back to the novel.

I believe it takes place in 2015 where a geeky, hacker, role-playing 17 year old Marcus aka w1n5ton aka m1k3y finds himself skipping school only to be in the center of a terrorist attack over San Francisco. He and his friends get held up by the DHS and tortured in interrogation on a secluded island prison not far off town. When the DHS decides to release Marcus under supervision he vowels to take them down and end their terror over citizens and his fellow students. By operating a complicated network that invites users only by trusted keys called the Xnet, Marcus and friends combine on making chaos in the plans of the DHS.

Now it’s not 1984, but it’s a pretty nice generation shift, and it has a ton of tech language slipped into the plot, which I found cool and smart. I had fun reading it, and experimenting its ways irl.

Science Fiction/Short story

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison

harlan

Last year I had Harlan Ellison, this year I cannot turn away from something of his. This something I read on the plane flying away from home. I didn’t even know I had it, till…

It’s a postapocalyptic story that takes places 109 years after the total destruction of human kind. A war between China, Russia and the USA spawns post factum the Cold War, and allegedly the three warring nations each create a super- computer to run the war for them. They are referred to as ‘AM” which finds different meanings. One of the computers however becomes self -aware and absorbs the other two computers, carrying on the war and committing mass genocide leaving only four men and one woman. They inahibt a seemingly endless place, the only habitable area left, and each hour AM spends torturing them, killing them from hatred. Alas he has made them immortal, virtually and incapable of taking their own lives. Food is scarce and the group take on a journey to find more, when on the way AM sends them disaster after disaster. It’s a complex story testing human nature under impossible hostile situations. It’s so prolonged and exhausting it has changed the nature of their being, made them senseless and aggressive.

I’ve said before, I absolutely love Harlan Ellison and his works. This short story carries a lot in its scarce length. If you are a fan, or got a hint of wow from the small description above, look up the story – it’s good and disturbing.

Overall, not a bad year!

hocuspocus13

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