I heard a scream in a dream and it woke me from my slumber. I tried to shout for my son but it only came out a mumble as sleep slowly released me from its dreary grasp. I felt the cold of the night snuggling against my right foot; apparently, I had lost a sock again in my nightly tossing and turning rituals that were supposed to be restful.

Slipping my foot under the blankets that had been shoved to the bottom of the bed I turned on my side and noticed the clock read 4:44 in the morning as my eyes closed. A slowly dissolving impression of the red numbers glowed behind my eyelids as I tried to fall back into sleep.

Teetering on the edge of sleep I felt the blanket pull back from my foot. I was too engrossed in watching phantoms of dream fold in and out of existence before my closed eyes that I brushed it off as a piece of a dream that was taking shape and welcoming me. That’s when I felt the sharp pinch against the bottom of my foot. I sat up in bed instantly awake.

Something thumped against the wooden bedroom floor at the bottom of the bed. I sat listening to the silence of the night for a minute. Slowly I began to hear something breathing, almost wheezing, coming from the darkness in the room. Fearing it was me and I was losing my mind I held my breath, yet the breathing sounds continued.

I reached over to the nightstand and turned on the bedside lamp. Something squealed and I heard something small with claws scurry under the bed. It didn’t quite have the same sounds as a domesticated pet, which wouldn’t have been the case anyway as I didn’t have any in the home since my Labrador Max had passed away months ago. In my mind, I decided that it must be a raccoon or some sort of opossum that somehow found a way inside.

The longer I sat there and let my eyes adjust, the more I began to creep myself out. What if it was rabid? Did I get bit? How the hell do I get out of bed now with it under there? I could hear it under the bed as it moved around. I was still trying to work out if I should jump from the bed like they tell you to do if your car is ever in contact with downed power lines when I heard it ripping into the cloth of the mattress and box springs.

A new sense of danger overtook me as I imagined a rabid raccoon tearing up through the bedding below me and attacking. I hopped out of bed and ran through the open door, slamming it shut behind me and locking the little bastard in my bedroom.

Turning on the hallway light, I found the flashlight in the towel closet and made my way to my son’s room. He was still quietly sleeping, his favorite nightlight spinning on the dresser and throwing lighted animals across the walls and ceiling.

I quietly closed the door behind me and checked his window to make sure it was closed and locked. I dropped softly to a knee and shined the flashlight under the bed only to see an army of creatures hiding under there. Luckily they were just toys and I made a mental note to have him clean his room later today. The closet was also a disaster area of toys and clothing, but there wasn’t anything alive in there. I crept back to his door, slipped out without waking him, and closed his door behind me.

I felt strange wearing only one sock, so I pinched a piece of it between my barefoot and the floor and lifted my foot out of it, which reminded me that I might have been bitten. I leaned against the wall and lifted my right foot to check the underside of it. There were no bite marks and no blood, but I could feel a small cut that hadn’t quite made it all the way through the skin. On my way to the bathroom, I stopped at my own door and put my ear to it to listen. I couldn’t hear anything and after a few seconds made my way to the medicine cabinet and poured some hydrogen peroxide over the bottom of my foot in the bathroom.

As I stood with one foot hanging over the edge of the bathtub to dry I thought about my next course of action. I could call my ex-brother in law who was an exterminator, but it was very early and he was a little strange anyway. Fearing it would turn out to just be a rat or something small and not wanting to have to listen to him inflate his own ego at my expense I decided to take matters into my own hands.

My first thought was the shotgun, but that was in the bedroom with Mickey Mouse the Rabid, plus, I mean, that might be a little bit of overkill. Hard to tell your six-year-old son why you killed one of his favorite cartoon characters with grandpa’s shotgun. What I needed was a long stick and maybe a box. I dried my foot off by stepping on the bathroom mat and made my way down the hall to the kitchen, then to the connected garage.

I grabbed a shovel, hesitated, then put it back and took the rake instead. I didn’t really want to kill it if I didn’t have to. I found an old box with some Christmas lights in it and dumped them out. On my way out I remembered how it had torn into the underside of the mattress and changed out the cardboard box for a large plastic storage bin with a lid.

Making my back inside, I juggled all my equipment to the bedroom door and listened again. Silence had settled over the house. I clamped the flashlight in my teeth, transferred the rake to the hand holding the plastic bin and slowly turned the doorknob. As the door opened, I half expected the rat or raccoon to come charging at me, but nothing came rushing from the darkness beneath the bed. I closed the door behind me as I sat the plastic bin down and popped the lid off. As I started towards the bed I realized just how exposed my bare feet felt and glanced over at my shoes. In my head, I was still weighing the pros and cons of taking the time to put them on when I found myself partly stepping into them. So much for that debate.

The sound of shifting fabric pulled my attention from the black abyss beneath the bed to the top of it. Something slowly stirred the blankets, pulling them towards the center of the mattress. Not understanding what I was seeing I flipped on the light switch next to the door. As the room brightened, a muffled squeal came from the bed. Something yanked harder on the blankets, hard enough that it was followed by the sound of fabric being torn.

“What the fuck?” Slipped out of my mouth before I even realized I had said it.

As soon as I spoke, all movement and sound stopped. I could feel it under there, waiting for me to make the next move. If that was the case, it wouldn’t have to wait long.

I grabbed a handful of blanket and tore it off the bed. In the middle of the bed was a ragged looking hole. I was both confused and a little scared as I stared at it. Something was moving within it, but I couldn’t see what it was. Around the hole were little pieces of frayed fabric from the blankets and the sheets. I looked down at the blanket in my hand and saw large pieces missing from the middle of it.

A shiver of fear raced up my spine. Something in the back of my mind was screaming that this wasn’t safe. Fight or flight was battling for dominance in my head as I stood in shock, waiting for my brain to decide what to do next.

From the hole in the bed came a raspy voice, “Stupid man. Stupid, stupid man,” It was almost a whisper, like someone talking to themselves.

Fear came crashing down around me then and I panicked as I slammed the rake down on the mattress, aiming for the hole with the metal tines. Whatever was in the mattress shrieked and pulled itself further into the hole. I kicked the mattress, trying to slide it off of the box springs and knock the thing loose, but it must have been inside both because the mattress just spun a little on the bed without budging in the middle.

I used the rake and pushed hard against the mattress and again the creature shrieked as I felt the mattress push back. It was definitely inside both the mattress and box springs. Grabbing the mattress in my hands, I lifted it and flipped it off the bed and against the wall as I jumped back and got ready to swing with the rake.

I could see its face then as it hissed at me. It had bloodshot eyes with silver snake like pupils, a nose that was a mix between human looking and a wet pigs snout, its skin hairless but wrinkled and aged. The creature’s ears were large and rounded at the top, yet pointed at the bottom. Atop its head was a sock, my sock. At first, I thought steam was rising from it but then I could smell the stench of something burning, something rotten burning.

The creature pulled back into the box springs and I heard it thump against the bedroom floor. Out of reflex I swung the rake at the bottom of the bed in case it was coming at me, but nothing emerged.

I put my foot against the box springs and pushed with all my strength and the whole bed slid across the floor. Before I had time to ready the rake the creature darted out from under the bed, headed not at me, but towards the door. It had covered itself with some makeshift cloak, torn from the fabric of the blankets.

I changed my grip on the rake and brought it down as hard as I could. The Tines missed the creature but managed to punch through part of the blanket and nail it into the hardwood floor. As the coverings slid off the creature I could see the rest of it then. It stood about a foot tall and had a humanoid body, yet still could run fast on all fours. It did have claws, but also wore some sort of clothing of its own. Ragged, ripped, and maybe decaying looking? It’s hard to say, but I do know it also carried something that looked like a scythe. Again it shrieked as if in pain as smoke started to lift from it.

I tore the rake out of the floor and was prepared to knock the hell out of it when it got to the door and realized it was trapped. Instead of finding itself trapped, it launched itself into he air, grabbed the doorknob and turned as it kicked off the wall and the door opened. I took a swing with the rake but it was already dropping to the ground and I missed.

When it hit the floor, it paused in the hallway and said, “Lincoln.” My heart stopped in my chest when I heard it say my son’s name. Something primal overcame me then and I lost the desire for a weapon, the rake tumbled from my grasps as I reached for it with my hands, fingers ready to dig into its flesh and tear it apart.

“No!” I raged as I dove for it. The creature easily avoided me as I crashed into the wall between it and my son’s room, flailing with my hands to grab a hold of it. It laughed then as it swung the scythe at my arm with such quickness that my reaction only came after it had pulled it back, turned, and was running away.

I grabbed my arm with my hand and felt blood. I watched as the creature stopped at the end of the hallway and turn back towards me. “Lincoln, Lincoln, coming for, stupid man,” it sneered, before disappearing into the dark of the living room.

I slowly got to my feet, grabbed the rake off the bedroom floor and started for the living room when I heard the front door open. As I entered, I flipped the light switch and saw that the front door was standing halfway open. I scanned the room as I made my way towards it but nothing moved or seemed out of place. I shut the door and locked it.

Standing with my back to the door I waited for the creature to jump out from behind something and take off running towards Lincoln’s room. Nothing happened at first, but then I smelled it, that stink of something rotten burning. I knew it was still here! As I raised the rake up, prepared to swing for the fences, the stench got stronger. I looked down and saw the cut in my arm smoking. The pain blossomed then and I bit back a cry as I dropped the rake and gripped tight my arm.

From the dark of the hallway I heard a bedroom door open, I screamed and felt my legs give out, collapsing to the floor as phantoms of red and black danced behind my eyelids. I tried to shout for my son but it only came out a mumble as sleep slowly took me in its dreary grasp.



Holly Rose

Posted: November 20, 2016 in Poetry, Uncategorized
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She stands with a grin of uncertainty
Before a world of negativity
Then she smiles
Inspiring the desire in others
To stand and fight
Against the darkest hours of the night
To have hopes and dreams
Not inspired by fear
To persevere

To persevere
We will
Take this oath, make this stand
To reclaim our once forgotten dreamland
Hand in hand, until goodness grows
We stand with you
Our Holly Rose


Posted: September 12, 2016 in Stories, Uncategorized
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I fell asleep watching the flames, a smile spread across my tired face as I adjusted my pillow and slowly let my eyes close.
I dreamt of her then.

We had become the fire, light and shadow, dancing together. We chased away the demons of one another as we twirled and laughed, as we became escape. We were alive then, in that moment, happy.

I can still smell the lotion that was so feint you could only smell it when you nestled into her neck, I can still feel her hand in mine, the occasional chill when a strand of her hair brushed my cheek, the look in her eyes that said she was in the moment, not thinking about the past or the future, just taking in and experiencing the now.

The flames had long since vanished, only the dull glow of the coals remained as I awoke screaming, hands thrust deep into the coals and ashes, searching for her, for something. Tears ran trails through the soot that covered my face, my breath straining through the smoke.

As I pulled my burning hands from the coals I realized then that the Phoenix had long since departed. As pieces of burning flesh fell to the carpet I knew then that there was nothing left to save, nothing left to hold onto, and no fairytale ending waiting.

I fell asleep watching the flames, a smile spread across my tired face as I adjusted my pillow and slowly let my eyes close.
I dreamt of her then…

The Fayde

Posted: August 21, 2016 in Poetry
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There exists so much more
Behind that sly little smile
The explorer, the conquistador
Of written words, of a certain heart in exile
The audiophile
Who phantoms through the aisle
Turning pages of wizards and legends
As she quietly browses
Through Mogul Diamonds
The voice of a rebel banshee
Who awakens life when she sings
Chasing away completely
Deaths carefully concealed yearnings
As tears shimmer beautifully
In her eyes that sparkle
Like calm pools of ebony
Hands that have known hurt
That has felt their share of tremble
Still swift to subvert
A gentleman or a damsel
In distress or anxious revolt of introvert
Her soft caress calms quick
The dark discomfort
A creative spark that lingers
Lighting the way for castaways
Penned, pinned, perfected by fingers
Dancing delicately to make hideaways
For the world’s outcast creatures
Who are tired and saddened
By the ugliness of societies angry features
A timid beauty that wants to believe
The reflected perfection of beautiful
That both the mirror and we perceive
When she stands before us so hopeful
With downcast eyes that disbelieve
Just how radiant an absolute angel
She is to all that can simply see
Puns tumble from her tongue
Easing a moment of awkwardness
Taking the sting from the stung
With a wink of weirdness
Even the old giggle as the young
Remembering what it was like
To be free and leave behind the high-strung
With a blush, that begs a kiss
Skin that welcomes a caress
The princess of amiss
Carries forth in effortless
Abandon the remiss
Let us tangle in silken sheet bliss
Let the dawn turn to dusk then to dawn
In time limitless
Leaving no need to ever

Time Knows Not

Posted: August 11, 2016 in Poetry
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My heart like a lock still waits to be
Rusted through and broken open
It’s been years now since I’ve seen your smile
Forever since I’ve heard your laughter
Yet here I sit
Waiting for a miracle
Wishing you weren’t still and always
The perfect fit
The only key
And the last wish
From my whispered lips
Each night before I dream

Posted: June 8, 2016 in Poetry
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That’s nice of you to say
But I lost a whole family
In a single sunny day
Nothing left to tether
No purpose left to portray
I lost more than a mother
The day she passed away

I sat on a crooked bar stool, staring at an angel in the mirror behind the bar, and drooling over the thought of her walking by. Just close enough to catch a whiff of her shampoo, or maybe it would be her mom’s conditioner, I didn’t care. I don’t like to objectify women, but man, this girl had everything you could ever hope for. Legs, an ass, I mean everything!
I dropped my eyes to my beer in a moment of weakened confidence, well ok, so I did it to not get caught staring. I don’t wanna be labeled a pervert like that or anything, you know?
Anyhow, I didn’t hear an organ strike up as she stood, and I damn sure didn’t see the shifting light source in the bar as her halo lifted when she walked, but I’ve been telling George for years to get rid of the fucking Christmas lights in the bar. It dulls our defensive senses. That dumbass never listens though, and he wonders why there are so many glory holes in the bathroom stalls.
When she slid onto the barstool next to me, I damn near snapped my spine as I tried to straighten up and not look as pathetic as I was. She smiled shyly at me, so I mumbled, “Hey” as I wiped the sweat from my forehead and slicked back my hair with one hand. I’m a sly mother fucker that way.
“What do you do?” She asked.
“Me? I like to juggle 50 lbs. shake weights.” Well, I was gonna say it, but I may have just giggle farted awkwardly and shrugged, hoping she didn’t hear it.
“For work, I mean.” She clarified.
I casually motioned towards George by desperately flailing my arm in his direction. He poured a cheap shot glass full of some kind of courage and sat it in front of me.
I tossed it back like a pro, not even grimacing that much as I turned the 12 degrees or so that my barstool would allow and smiled, “I’m between jobs right now.”
“Oh, what did you do before?”
“I had a summer internship at the CIA,” I answered.
“Oh wow, what did you do there?” Her painted on eyebrows almost seemed to lift a little out of genuine curiosity.
I felt the muscles in my chest realign themselves into something bordering on impressive when her body language suggested she might be interested, or a prostitute. I didn’t really care which.
I struggled to look sober as I said, “I don’t actually know.”
“Oh, so it’s like classified?”
“No, no, I really don’t know. They paid me to go down to Mexico a couple of times and eat ice cream.”
Her interest dropped like the dentures of a bar fly in a bathroom stall occupied by a rock star.
“I may have killed a man though, I mean it is the CIA, nothing is as it seems.” I tried to gain back her interest.
“I always wondered, what does CIA stand for?”
I spun back around to face the bar as I held up a confident hand towards George and replied, “That’s classified.”