Saturday 30 November 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013: The Vault House

Author:                         Ana'Gia Wright
Working Title:              The Vault House
50k Goal Reached:       29 November
Final Word Count:        TBD

Where you can find Ana'Gia: Website/Twitter/Facebook/Blog

 The Vault House

The sign a few miles back read Killany Pointe but it wasn't like the hundreds of others I'd passed on my long and tiresome journey from my home in Canada to a place I hadn't seen in nearly 15 years. Those signs had been green and white, freshly painted and installed by some municipality with connections and resources to make things happen for the dwindling populations of their small towns. The one for Killany Pointe showed years of weather wear and neglect, the paint peeling beneath the force of the wind, clinging to the tattered remains of the splintering wood. After all of these years, and unlike those other signs, something about the placement of the letters still doesn't sit right with me.
I tried not to think about it as I continued my journey to a place I vowed to never return. Yet, something about that sign kept invading my mind. I knew what it was, the space between the "Kill" and the "any" an obvious indication of events long past in this place I once spent my summer vacations. The average passerby of the sign probably overlooked the intentional gap between the words, but I knew the truth, or at least a part of it.
Continuing down the freshly paved road surrounded by fields stretching out beyond the red glow of the horizon, I crossed the newly installed bridge. I crept passed the driveway leading to the home I'd claim as my own once everything was said and done. I hadn’t intended on stopping but like a moth drawn to a flickering flame I found hands turning to the side as I pulled off of the main road.  My gaze locked on the massive structure standing like a tomb off in the distances. During the spring and summer months, the foliage gets so thick that only those who know the house exists ever pay attention to the darkened spot hiding among the trees dotted with new leaves and shrouded by canopy of moss. As fall approaches though, and the limbs give way to the bareness of winter, the place hidden from unsuspecting eyes reveals itself.
I climbed from my vehicle and lean against the roof of the car. The draw of the darkened house in the distance is undeniable. It’s almost as if it’s beaconing me, calling me home after a long trying absence.
"Stay away from that house young one. It is not for you."
The trance of the house broken, I turned to find an older woman perched in a rocking chair on the porch of the house across the street.
"Excuse me?" I reply before checking both directions and darting across the street.
The woman raised her obviously weary body as I approached. I’d been away so long most people this town had forgotten that my Nana had a daughter, much less a granddaughter gut the closer I got the greater the woman’s unease. She stopped at the top stair of the porch to meet this visitor to their humble town only retreating when I’m close enough to see the fear masking her face. When I stop at the bottom stair, the distance between us no longer allowing her mind to convince itself that I wasn’t who she knew I was her mouth dropped open.
"What's wrong with the house?" I asked, keeping the minute distance between us hoping not to scare her any more than she already was.
"You're one of them..." the old woman managed. “Stay away from me... You must leave this place...Now..." Backing away she rushed into the house slamming the front door behind her.
For a moment, I watched the woman watching me through a tiny slit in the curtains to the right of the door. First the sign, now this woman, this transition was getting more interesting and scarier with each breath. Realizing that the woman wasn't coming back out, I retraced my steps, crossing the street to stop at my vehicle.
Again the foreboding structure captured my attention drawing me in with some unspoken chant. The blaring of a horn jerked me from the spell. I jumped pressing my body against the car to keep from being hit by a vehicle speeding down the main road leading into the heart of Killany Pointe. I really need to get moving. With one last glance I climbed into the car, started the engine and pulled out onto the now deserted highway to handle some business before becoming reacquainted with my new home.
The little town of Killany Pointe was much like I remembered it. Open fields still line the newly paved stretch of road from my grandmother's home to within city limits. My Nana had said that recently the town had begun to awakening from centuries of shush and seclusion. A large area of granite stretched from one end of the town to the other and beyond and it brought in big business. If you can call quarry blasting at all hours during the day, bull dozers and dump trucks tramping through this once peaceful oasis big business.
I hurried past the construction entrance of the largest quarry in town and took a left at the first of three traffic lights. The line of shanty town buildings on Main Street comprised of a post office, drug store and grocery store which carried everything from fresh fruit to a hefty stash of old man Wilkerson's moonshine appears deserted though this is the height of after work shopping time. Still I continue down the narrow two lane road with parallel parking spots in front of the sparsely populated buildings making up the court house-jail-city hall complex. 


Friday 29 November 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013: The Vampires Garden

Author:                         Audrey ‘Stormy’ Haney
Working Title:              The Vampires Garden
50k Goal Reached:      23 November
Final Word Count:       50,049

Where you can find Stormy: Website

The Vampires Garden

It was spring in the sleepy village of Ketching, though traces of the harsh winter were still seen. Frost covered the ground, hardened mud still showed where grass once was. Ruts deep as a foot lined the verges where vehicle’s once drove trying to keep off the black ice of the road.

Though still cold at least the wind had dropped and the sun started to shine.
Life started to emerge from the ground. Already the village daffodil bulbs were coming to life. On the village green little green shoots were showing ready to when in bloom spell welcome in large letters. Welcome.
There had been a real annoyance among some of the Parish council leaders about what the daffodils should spell out. Some wanted welcome and others wanted the name of Ketching. In the end a vote was put forward and ‘Welcome’ was voted in.
Rosemary leaned on a table that over looked the green smiling to herself as if she knew a secret joke. She knew the gardener who had planted those bulbs. She knew he had problems with certain council members. Years ago he tried to get planning permission for an annex on his property so his dear old mother could move in. It had of course been turned down. Not keeping in with the village was the reason. Of course this didn’t stop certain council members from getting their own way. For their swimming pools, conservatories, extensions and gyms.
Rosemary Jane Palmer was her name. She lived on the outskirts of the sleepy village of Ketching in the Sussex weald and worked part time in the local pub. The only decent thing left in the area. A local pub, nice people who kept their business to themselves. Sold beer, wine, soft drinks and cheesy chips and didn’t want to go all posh like the other pubs in the area. Or as Mick the landlord said cord on blurgh type of pubs. A big plate with bugger all on it.
Now and then they did a pub quiz and had a local band playing, but in truth the pub did little business, just enough to get by. Mick was kind to Rose. He took her under his wing many years ago after her grandparents on her mother’s side, kicked her out at the age of 15. They had adopted her after her parent’s death. Rose could never understand why they were so horrible to her and when she left and came to the village and never looked back. The only time she heard from that was a very cheap Christmas card once a year. Both Roses parents were killed in the great snow storm of 1982 when they lost control of their car near Ditchling beacon. Slamming through a crash barrier they fell to their death. She didn’t remember much of it. She was only a baby. Mick had heard she slid from her car seat onto the floor and wasn’t hurt in the slightest but that was only a rumour. Though when Rose asked him more about the rumours of how she was found, Mick just patted her on the shoulder and told her not to fret.
She had got a job in Micks pub pretty much straight away and was lucky enough to have a friend living in the area, after spending a great deal of time on her friends couch, she moved in. The house was on the outskirts of the village. Just far enough to ignore the gossip but close enough to a bus stop.
It was a simple country cottage, the sort you would find on an English post card. A low roof indicated small rooms with oak beams. Small windows peeked out between wisteria stems which grew on the front of the house. A small front garden greeted you with a black iron gate taking you up a simple brick path to the front door. And just on the side was an old willow tree. Rose was the gardener and kept it pretty and quaint.

Inside the house seemed small. Two bedrooms and small lounge and a kitchen on the side was enough for them. They didn’t have central heating, not double glazed windows. An old ray burn in the kitchen kept the chill off in the winter.
She enjoyed the arrangement her friend Becca, a city girl at heart but liked the way of rural life gave her. Becca was born lucky or Rose thought so, Becca came into some money via a rich aunt and she had a string of successful ghost novels and now and then did modelling. Becca also had a fascination with dark creatures and was currently looking for a friendly vampire on Facebook.


NaNoWriMo 2013: Nightshade

Author:                       Lidia Adaman-Tremblay
Working Title:            Nightshade
50k Goal Reached:    A few days ago
Final Word Count:     58,630

Where you can find Lidia: Facebook


That’s when I noticed her.  In a town this small, one gets to know everyone, especially on Main Street.  She was a new face, and she did not present a pretty picture.  Young, thin and inadequately dressed for the weather, her face held a haunting desperation, and yet there was something about her that made me take a second look.  She was gone as quickly as she appeared.  I debated going after her, but decided to let it go.  I was sure that I would see her again, and hoped she would find shelter for the night.

In spite of it being early November, the weather did turn snowy by early afternoon.  I knew that customers would be far and few between, so by about three, with all the decorations taken down and packed away, I locked the doors, turned the sign to ‘Closed’, and went back upstairs.  After a hot pot of tea, I decided to do some writing on my own, but instead it turned out to be a day of memories crowding everything else out of my head.  Try as I might to turn these thoughts aside, they overwhelmed me and eventually I gave into them.

At times like these, I always reached for my scrying mirror.  It’s dark surface softened the old look that now stared out at me, so different from what I felt inside.  Lighting a candle and incense, I positioned the mirror just so, where I could see the woman looking back at me.  She smiled her greeting.

“Well, hello there,” she said, “you disappeared so quickly this morning.”

“Yes, I guess I did. Duty called.”

“Right,” the smile was now sardonic, “Of course it did.  So, I take it that this is not an ordinary call?”

“Memories.” I sighed.  “Memories of childhood crowding other things out of my head, so I thought I’d lay them out and we’ll play a game of ‘let’s remember.’”

“Sounds like fun.  You first.”

“For the most part, it’s been a happy childhood…”

She snorted in derision, “More like a schizophrenic one.”

I couldn’t really deny that, and reluctantly nodded in agreement.  “But there were some good times, even you must admit to that.”

“Not that often and never for long, but yes.  What is your favourite memory of that time?”

“My room in that little bungalow,” I responded, “the one where it all started.  And before you say anything, yes, I also must say that it was one of the worse times of my life as well.”

“Okay, let’s go back to the room – primrose yellow walls…”

“The plain little back yard so ordinary by day…”

“But so magical by night!”

I laughed “It was that indeed.  I didn’t really know what I was seeing, only that I saw something amazing.  It was only much later in life that I realized I was watching fairies winking in and out of my sight”

“How about the day your mom and dad finally caught you slipping out the window to sit on the basement slanted door?”  We both laughed.

“Yes, that was quite something.  I had to think fast and tell them that I dropped a book.  It’s a good thing the Moon was full and I actually did drop the book when I heard them come in! I loved doing that, just sitting on that door watching the nature spirits dance.  Strange how even at that time I knew never to talk about these experiences with anyone.”

“You realize all you may have been seeing were fireflies.”
“Shut your mouth, woman!  You know as well as I do that fireflies looked and felt completely different.  Not that I never saw them, of course I did, but…”
“Just teasing you, my dear,” the reflection said gently.  “But I’m curious, what made you trip down memory lane today?”       

I sighed and glanced at the window.  It was dark now, but the newly falling snow lightened the gloom.  “It was something I saw earlier – a young girl passed by the store.  There was something about her that just caught my attention.”       

“Yes, I know.  I was there too.  Young, pale, skinny, huddling in a coat that was more suitable for a cool summer night than this snow we’re having.  Feeling guilty?”

“No, well, maybe just a bit.  I really should have asked her to come in.”

“But you didn’t, and that set you off on this nostalgic trip.  You know you’ll see her again, and soon.”
“Yes, I know that, and I only hope it will be with her alive, not frozen solid under a blanket of this snow.”

“Anything else you want to talk about regarding your childhood?  Resentment of how you were treated, the confusion and panic that would grip you hearing your parents fight?”

This was a serious question, and one that always sent a spasm of fear through me, even after all these long years.  “No, not yet, but soon,” I promised.


She was huddled in the corner where the wind cut the least.  She managed to get a blanket from somewhere to wrap around herself and a woolen hat.  It must have been enough to make her fall asleep.  I stopped the shoveling, and gazed at her, clutching my scarf more closely around my throat.  That movement woke her up.  She looked startled, like a cornered animal.
“It’s much warmer inside,” I said quietly.  “Why don’t you come in and I’ll make us some tea. That would be nice, won’t it?”       

She said nothing, just shrank back against the wall.  Her eyes, I could see now, were dark blue.  They were beautiful, or would have been if it wasn’t for the red-rimmed eye-lids, dry from constant crying.  My heart melted at the sight, but I hardened my voice.  “Come!  You’re keeping this old woman out in the cold, and that’s totally disrespectful.  Let’s go.”

Her gaze dropped and she slowly got up, and followed me into the store.  I motioned to the couch, and got a pillow for her.  “I’ll put some water on for tea, and I know I have some sandwiches here too.”
She tried to be polite, mumbled a faint ‘thank you’, but completely threw away all civility when the food was placed before her.  I nursed a mug of tea as I watched her.  She polished off two full egg-salad sandwiches and a Danish, along with two large mugs of tea, before finally sitting back and looking at me.
“Thank you,” she said more firmly.  “I – I guess I was hungrier than I realized.”
“I’m Beatrix,” I said holding out my hand, “and this is my little establishment, Bea’s Book Nook.  I saw you briefly yesterday, but you disappeared before I could call you.  Looks like you have quite a story behind you already.”
She dropped her gaze and said nothing.  “Not even a name?” I prompted.
“It’s Ronnie, Veronica Hughes,” she mumbled, suddenly yawning widely.
“I think, Ronnie, it’s time for you to have a bit of a nap.  We can talk later, okay?” With the pillow beneath her head, a blanket over her, this little waif slipped off to sleep almost immediately.  The woolen cap slipped off revealing short spiky hair that was a dirty blond – dirty, in bad need of washing, as were the clothes she was wearing and the blanket she brought in.  I quickly threw it out and covered her with one of my own comforters.


Sunday 17 November 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Midway Showcase

We're halfway through NaNoWriMo 2013, so here's a showcase of what our members have been writing about. We asked you to submit the paragraph you're most proud of writing so far:

 Wendy L. Callahan - working title: There's No Place Like Home

"I was always there for you, with you.”  Harmony gestured for her to turn her hand over, and traced her index finger along the lines of Cady’s palm.  “You wanted so much to be like me back then, and it hurt to see you try and think you failed at the same magick I wielded.  You never understood the differences between you and me."

You can find her on: website/Facebook/Twitter 


Morgan Drake Eckstein - Burger Flipping Confessions

The fact that soldiers are government property was driven home to me during army boot camp. One of the guys in my squad broke his arm, and one of the drill sergeants, Master Sergeant Reese yelled at him for breaking government property. I realized at that point that the military is just a form of legalized slavery. Yes, I realize that I must be some type of yellow hearted liberal to think that—that the proper answer is that the people who enlist in the military are patriots with the highest interests of the country foremost in their mind. Perhaps, that is true of the other branches of the service, and perhaps things changed after the fall of the Twin Towers; but in the 1980s, I was a typical example of the type that joined the military—the type that saw putting one’s life on the line for a period of time as a way to escape the poverty of their childhood. Poor uneducated white boys, poor uneducated Hispanic boys, poor uneducated black boys—my entire unit was poor and uneducated, no matter what the color of our skin was. If they would have not joined the military, they would have been working flipping burgers for a living.