Monday, June 30, 2014

Here I am…














Thursday, June 26, 2014

DARKENING STURGEONS (the complete blog serial)

Chapter One                               Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Two                               Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Three                             Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Four                               Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Five                                Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Six                                  Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Seven                              Chapter Twenty
Chapter Eight                               Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Nine                                Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Ten                                 Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Eleven                             Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twelve                             Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Thirteen                           Chapter Twenty-Six


Be well & Freak Out...and thanks for reading,



Friday, June 13, 2014

The Waiting

Sometimes a creative inspiration jolts my mind and words pour out of me, unstoppable as a flood.  Other times, more often than not times, the words are there, aching for release, but cannot yet be set free.  How will I know when the words are ready to be unleashed upon the unsuspecting public?

I sit in the cooking room of my mind, smooth salmon-hued walls surround at all angles.  A massive black pot is before me, bubbling, churning with images and various letters.  Slowly the randomness begins to congeal into a more tangible form.  Images and letters meld into words, sentences and paragraphs.  Even as the story solidifies, it remains pliable so ingredients may be added, subtracted, or folded into each other.

The end result of this boiling and simmering ejects from the pot, maneuvering around the salmon room, bouncing off surrounding walls, searching for an escape hatch.  Finally this concoction zeroes in on me, pouring over my being, daring to drown its creator in a torrent of laughter, tears, horrors, beauty, or whatever comprises the particular story.

When I can no longer resist the story's overwhelming presence is when I know the words are ready.  They flow from me, sometimes as madly as the inspirational jolt, but other times, more often than not times, as gentle as a stream.  So gentle that I occasionally have to give a sturdy push with my mental pole to keep the words moving forward. 


Friday, June 13, 2014


Monday, June 2, 2014

Scar Tissue

    "Working late again tonight, Professor Danton?"
    He turns away from the agitating illumination and locks the laboratory door, hoping the night watchman isn't in a talkative mood.  His frame of mind of late cannot tolerate useless chatter.  Especially after a long day at the university.
    "Still making up for lost time, Frank."
    This simple answer, as the professor quickly discovered, extinguishes prolonged conversation.  People generally become mute when faced with an uncomfortable topic.  Frank, the night watchman, is no exception, waving him off with a 'good-night' and a sympathetic look.


    Once home, the professor visits his private bath to wash his hands, not for the first time today.  His soap-lathered fingers rinse clean, but that does not stop him from another scrubbing.  While drying, he stares deeply into the mirror, the signs of sleep deprivation heavy on his countenance.  Even with such a reflection facing him, he convinces himself, once again, that he is doing the right thing.
    In the candlelit dining room, at the end of the long table, he finds his wife waiting for him.  No matter the hour, she has supper ready and waiting, as if nothing is wrong, as if tragedy never occurred.  The painful irony of this behavior is it emphasizes the tragedy and how wrong it made everything.
    "You mustn’t keep waiting up for me, Elizabeth."
    "We are still a family, Victor, and families dine together."
    Her sweet voice, so beautifully certain and sadly faded, grasps his heart, daring him to confess all.  As much as he longs to tell his beloved wife the truth behind his long hours, he cannot.  Not yet, but his encounter with Frank and now Elizabeth's fragile state convinces Victor that sooner will be better.  Unfolding his napkin, he glances at the empty place setting situated halfway between them and makes a decision.


    Victor Danton walks cautiously among the dimly-lit hallways, leading a shadowed figure hunched over and wrapped in an overcoat.  Not since the first day he brought him here have the hallways of the university felt so endless and treacherous to him.  His dark eyes are alert for the slightest movement, his sharp ears listening for the faintest sound.
    The apparent emptiness of the area could lull him into a false sense of security.  He could allow his mind to wander.  Wander to his wife sitting alone at their long dining room table.  Her dark brown hair loosely swept back, her gentle face full of beauty and sadness, waiting for him to arrive home.  Unsuspecting of his nightly activities, for it is not how her innocent mind works.  Elizabeth Danton is a trusting soul and he has never given her a reason to distrust him, until recently.
    A startling illumination stops him so near the exit that he can nearly touch the door, "Professor Danton?"
    "Good Evening, Frank."
    "Evening, Professor.  Is everything all right here?"
    "Everything is fine, Frank.  I am assisting this student back to his dormitory."  Victor, sensing the night watchman's doubt, leans forward and whispers, "Intoxicated."
    Frank seems to be weighing the situation for an eternity before finally replying.  "I bet it is girl trouble.  You remember how it was at that age."
    "Completely," Victor lies.  Dusty books and intense studying filled his university days.  Elizabeth was thankfully a persistent woman, slowly becoming fully ingrained in his mind and heart.
    "Well, better get him to his room before he's dead to the world.  Need any help, Professor?"
    "Thank you, Frank, but I can manage."
     Victor falls into silence until they are immersed in the safety of night, leaving behind the science building and Frank's inquiring light.  Then, with only the sound of their mingled footsteps and the thudding of his own anxious heart in his ears, he leans close to the hunched figure.  "We shall be home soon, Henry."


    He stands in the cusp of the dining room, silently watching her candlelit stillness.  She is waiting for him, endlessly patient and understanding, seemingly lost and lonely.  This gives him hope that he has chosen the right course of action.  That now is the time to repair the jagged emotional wound from which both are suffering.
    "Elizabeth, I am home."
    "Victor, you are later than usual."
    There is no malice or accusation in her voice, just her innate sweetness and more than a hint of relief for his presence.  He fully enters the dining room, taking note of the empty place setting that has been two months unused.  Two months of silence regarding its emotional meaning, its physical implication, building up to this moment.
    "Why do you stand there, Victor, wavering so?"
    Unaware that he had been lost in thought, he stumbles back into the present situation.  "I brought someone home to dine with us this evening, Elizabeth."
    "Oh?"  While her tone implies questioning, he can see her countenance lighten at the thought.  "Let us not continue our rudeness, Victor.  Please invite our guest in."
    He nods in agreement, turns to the darkened adjacent room and motions for the guest to enter.  Their waking nightmare, their sleepless nights, and all of his furtive comings and goings culminate into this singular moment.  A moment that all involved will remember for as long as life permits.
    From the shadows a young man of approximately 18 years of age emerges.  No longer hunched over or concealed in an overcoat, he stands tall but walks somewhat unsteadily.  His dark brown hair, once full and long, has been cut short out of necessity, revealing a disturbingly large scar across his forehead.
    Victor's anxiously hopeful eyes flicker between the young man and his wife.  Elizabeth had stood immediately upon realization of their mysterious guest, with comprehension slowly dawning.  The wretched past flashes in her expressive eyes and Victor sees it all along with her.
    How they waited until supper was cold, wondering where on earth Henry could be.  How they initially engaged in light musings, imagining a romantic rendezvous, maybe even a secret elopement.  How their world collapsed into a frozen moment of indescribable pain when the local constable arrived at the door with news of their son's death.  How Henry had been out riding with friends and for an unknown reason his horse bucked, throwing him off, trampling him until...
    "This cannot be," she whispers to her husband, not taking her eyes off the young man.
    "Oh, but it can, Elizabeth, due to old knowledge combined with modern science," Victor explains in a matching whisper, watching his wife stepping away from the solidity of the dining room table.
    Elizabeth draws closer, fully examining the features so like her deceased son's.  There is his sturdy, kind face accentuated with full red lips, and punctuated by impossibly deep brown eyes.  She reaches out with one hand, as if to touch the possibility before her, but draws back, uncertainty in her eyes.
    The scarred man looks at Victor, as if seeking permission or assurance.  Victor gives him a silent nod, urging this moment, this reunion, forward.
    Her uncertainty vanishes upon the deep vocal resonance and she engulfs the son she believed lost forever.  Tears overflowing, she whispers sweet maternal promises of never letting him depart again.  Henry initially doesn't respond to this physical and emotional outpouring, only standing with arms rigid at his sides.  Soon, perhaps overwhelmed by his mother's love, he slowly reaches around her immovable frame and embraces in return, as tears begin sliding down his cheeks.
    It takes all of Victor's strength to resist the urge to weep as his expectations are met and exceeded.  The days and weeks of repairing, reanimating, and reeducating his beloved son, hiding him away in a disused cellar at the university, have finally come to fruition.  Thus, removing all doubt and concern over the moral and ethical ramifications of such an endeavor.  He breathes easier, relishing his success in returning life, not only to Henry, but to himself and Elizabeth, as well.  They will be a family once more.
    A sudden and loud crack jolts Victor from his joyous thoughts.  He watches Elizabeth's limp figure slide from their son's strong arms, cascading into a lifeless heap upon the floor.  For a moment he cannot comprehend the horror he has just witnessed, but soon it makes itself abundantly clear and he finds himself on his knees, holding Elizabeth, calling her name to deaf ears.
    "Father, why has Mother stopped moving?"
    Victor does not hear Henry's deep voice, asking in such an innocent tone.  All he hears is the thudding of his breaking heart and his own voice beginning to mumble over and over, "What have you done?"
    "What has happened to Mother?"
    This time his son's voice, accompanied by a firm hand on Victor's shoulder, reaches him, causing a violent spasm throughout his being.  Leaving his dead wife upon the floor, he stands and lunges at his son...his creation...with all the brute force he can muster.  While his fists pound, his mind screams that his actions, no matter how noble, were wrong, and so produced an abomination.
    As his fists are restrained, Victor continues to attack, using his body and legs against what he now sees as a monster before him.  Abruptly, as if weightless, he is hurtling backwards through the air, striking his head upon the dining room table before crumpling onto the floor.  Continuing to breathe, he opens his eyes to a hazy shadow leaning over him, speaking in a pitiful tone.
    "I'm sorry, Father, I'm sorry."
    "What have I done?" Victor barely chokes out, as he becomes faintly aware of a warm dampness pooling around him and the smell of smoke from an overturned candle.  The hazy shadow moves away with fading, unsteady footsteps, while a raging inferno explodes around him, filling his dying eyes with hellish light.

Story and photo: May/June 2014
With a posthumous thank you to Mary Shelley.
In case you missed it, here is a link to a possibly connected piece of supernatural fiction...  A Grave Situation
Be well and Freak Out,