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Tales of the Normal: 31 Days of the Horrific & Mundane, Day 16

Flash fiction project: one dark story per day, all the way through October, each one based on one normal thing gone wrong. More of this year’s stories here.  You can find last year’s stories here, or at Amazon as October Nights.

Normal thing:  Bonfires

BONFIRES

…A bronze plate etched with patterns, the kind of big metal platter that you get at a Turkish restaurant, out in the back yard, a pile of letters on it, a box of matches and a slight breeze.  The letters are from your ex.  He says, “I expect you to burn all my letters out of respect.”  What he really means is: The least you could do is let me express one more act of control over you.  But you’ve always been a bit of a pyromaniac. You watch the letters burn and feel nothing but joy for a moment.  Then you spend years trying to believe you’ve actually escaped.

…A bonfire in the woods by the river when you were counting on solitude in the dark; you’re not supposed to go anywhere alone at night because of the rape scares, but you already know that it’s not strangers who you need to be wary of.  The real predators like to sniff around you first, to make sure you won’t resist.  You circle around the frat boys and they go silent. You might be the cops.  You might be bigfoot.  You have to be one or the other.  They joke about it.

…Out in a field under a harvest moon with a boy, the bonfire of the party an orange glow over the hill, your body burns up, you crave nothing more than to be destroyed, used, hurt, anything—you know no words for lust but those of suffering and punishment.  Unfortunately what is summoned is only wet ashes, still smoldering with annoyance the morning after, and a sharp piece of straw inside your pants that you can’t get out, digging into your leg all during class.  “Where did you go last night?” they ask, “What did you do?”

…He calls after midnight on weekends, and you know he made fun of you behind your back in high school and that he’s drunk now, and you say, “When you get the balls to talk to me when it’s daylight and you’re sober, then we’ll see” and he doesn’t. You learn to get used to this, the overexaggerated fear of a woman’s displeasure, this secret, ongoing mockery.  The rape jokes, the jokes about being pussy-whipped, not even a breath between them.  They’re boys with spears around the ritual fire, chanting that bitch, that bitch, who either did or did not give me what I want.

…You remember: burning trash in a barrel out in the gravel driveway, poking it with sticks, inviting it to burn your arm hair, tossing in leaves, pieces of paper, dead grass, live grass, watching the print on advertisements and Christmas wrapping paper flame up green and blue.  But now you don’t trust candles, you don’t trust incense, you never leave anything, no matter how contained, lit at night.  It’ll be fine.  Will it?  Don’t you know what fire is like? One moment it’s your slave, and the next it burns down barns, fields, haystacks, trees, cattle, cats—the water in the rural firetruck is frozen because it’s February—just because it’s cold doesn’t mean it isn’t dry tinder, ready to burn.

Dark, strange, twisted, and wonderful – #paranormal #horror and #mystery stories from Wonderland Press.

Tales of the Normal: 31 Days of the Horrific & Mundane, Day 15

Flash fiction project: one dark story per day, all the way through October, each one based on one normal thing gone wrong. More of this year’s stories here.  You can find last year’s stories here, or at Amazon as October Nights.

Normal thing:  Alone time

EXTROVERT

She was out in her driveway again, in the dark, at eight o’clock at night.  This being suburbia, and she being the sort of woman she is, it is impossible for her to understand that it is an imposition to be constantly greeted: to leave the house, to return to the house, to get the mail, to drop off the mail, to go for a walk, to return from a walk, to mow the grass, to pick up bits of trash from the front yard, it is like being constantly barked at by the neighborhood dogs, until one is on the lookout, until one of you (if you are with someone) is chosen as the one who has to throw themselves under the bus of making conversation with someone who is both helplessly likable and hopelessly unable to allow herself to say anything other than what she thinks one ought to have said, at length.

Her husband’s friends were over, playing a game together as they once had in college, and she wished to apologize for the irregular number of cars parked in the street, she was lonely, they only wanted to use her as a hostess but not to speak to her, her child had been sent off with its grandparents, and she wanted nothing more than to be alone, alone, alone in the bath with a glass of wine, and she could not.

“Blow them off,” I said.  “Just lock the door and take a bath upstairs, if you would like to be alone.”

She changed the subject to how we never really talk to each other, nobody does, and I think what she meant to say was: I didn’t know it would be like this, I didn’t know that I would have to stay here, with my kid, working from home, cleaning house, not cleaning house, feeling guilty about not cleaning house, wanting to reach out to other people and grab onto them, to put down roots, feeling everyone around me slip through my fingers and not understanding why, why, wanting to belong, I thought it would be different, that I would feel comfortable and safe here, but no matter how safe it is I can only feel that I am in danger, the kind of danger that cannot be spoken of lest it be laughed at, I am constantly followed, I am haunted by another self, a past, a future, a self that somehow, somewhen, chose something that would have allowed me not to be here, now, forever, one day is so much like another, when will this be over, am I doomed.

I went inside the house; I have learned that there are perfectly pleasant people in this world that are bottomless in their hunger for security, and they will, charmingly, swallow one up.

She was not meant to live here, with her fear of being alone.

Dark, strange, twisted, and wonderful – #paranormal #horror and #mystery stories from Wonderland Press.

Tales of the Normal: 31 Days of the Horrific & Mundane, Day 14

Flash fiction project: one dark story per day, all the way through October, each one based on one normal thing gone wrong. More of this year’s stories here.  You can find last year’s stories here, or at Amazon as October Nights.

Normal thing:  Cute journals

THE JOURNAL

Tanya received a journal for her twelfth birthday from her Great-Aunt Vasilisa.  It was an important birthday, her great-aunt told her, in a year you will be a teenager and you will go back to an ordinary sort of life, good or bad or both.  But when you are twelve, it will be the worst year of your life; if it is not the worst year of your life, then you have no soul.  Her mother laughed and said, “I wasn’t miserable until I was sixteen,” and Great-Aunt Vasilisa patted her on the cheek and said, “You were always boy crazy,” and Tanya’s mother fell silent. The cheek that had been patted went a little paler than the other.

“This is a magic journal,” Great-Aunt Vasilisa continued, turning back to you.  “Whatever you write in it, if you write something that is not true inside of it, the ink will disappear.”  Tanya could not have told her great-aunt exactly why that was nonsense, but it was; however, she accepted the journal in all seriousness and promised to write in it every day—or at least she would try, she said with almost a wink, because there was such a terrible amount of lying that she had gotten into the habit of, that the first few weeks might be a struggle.

Great-Aunt Vailisa laughed then, one of her great walloping laughs.  The cover was brightly decorated in the latest fashion, by an artist of that place, and of that time, with brightly colored animals with babyish faces. It hadn’t the slightest bit of magic to it, that was obvious.

Tanya threw the journal away when they moved away from that town, when she was sixteen.  By then Great-Aunt Vasilisa was dead, and Tanya must have purchased a hundred journals, stolen more, been gifted dozens by her family.  But it was always the same.  As quickly as she wrote, her words would vanish.  In college, if she would so much as doodle in the margins of her chemistry notebooks, the entire page’s worth of notes would vanish.  Emails, love letters, Christmas cards: all would go blank.   No one would lend her their books.  She would inevitably have to lose them, for they could not be returned in the blank state that they soon acquired, once she had read them.

It began to comfort her, to be able to write anything down, anything at all, and to watch the words fade away, slowly, inevitably, like the drying of invisible ink.

Truth is beauty, she wrote, and laughed as the words faded.  Love makes the world go ’round.  

Then one day she wrote, “The year I was twelve was the worst year of my life,” and there they stayed, the words, still lingering on the page.

I remember, she thought.  Oh God.  Now I remember.

And then the words came, and would not stop.

Dark, strange, twisted, and wonderful – #paranormal #horror and #mystery stories from Wonderland Press.

Tales of the Normal: 31 Days of the Horrific & Mundane, Day 13

Flash fiction project: one dark story per day, all the way through October, each one based on one normal thing gone wrong. More of this year’s stories here.  You can find last year’s stories here, or at Amazon as October Nights.

Normal thing:  Gift cards

THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS

He had been drifting away from people lately: he had left the country of normal gifts and had traveled to the land of gift cards, a gray sort of half-life in which he could never be sure if he was being given a gift or being bribed not to say that he hadn’t received one.

A personal note: gift cards to bookstores are always considered thoughtful. Ahem.

Dark, strange, twisted, and wonderful – #paranormal #horror and #mystery stories from Wonderland Press.

Tales of the Normal: 31 Days of the Horrific & Mundane, Day 12

Flash fiction project: one dark story per day, all the way through October, each one based on one normal thing gone wrong. More of this year’s stories here.  You can find last year’s stories here, or at Amazon as October Nights.

Normal thing:  Plane tickets

L’APPEL DU VIDE

If you had two free one-way plane tickets to take you out of the country, where would you go? You can almost see them in your hand, two of them, on cardboard stock with a shiny foil strip.  You can just about make out your name on the first one, and you know that when you see the second one, it will have the name you have chosen on it.  And that person, well, they will somehow find it in their hearts—not recommended, picking someone dead, by the way—to go with you, to wherever you pick.

Will you go to Paris?  To Tokyo? To Wellington, New Zealand?  I’m telling you, you can pick anywhere, although if you’re the kind of smartass who says things like “Atlantis” it will be at your own risk.  Your plane will be the one that drops into the ocean and is never found again—and I can guarantee that there aren’t any mermaids down there, waiting to prettily rescue you.  If they are there, and I’m not saying they are, they’re more the kind of mermaid with black slime running over their sides and teeth like a viperfish. The song of the mermaid is what you hear when you’re driving along the coast and you look out across the cliffs to the waves and go, “One jerk of the steering wheel, and all of this could be over.” Although I could see the temptation, if you hated more than you loved, to go simply for the pleasure of dragging someone down with you.  To possess two plane tickets toward both the revelation of mystery, and an inevitable death.

You must be one of the people who goes.  That ticket is already drawn out.

Travel back in time! Travel to the stars! Travel to somewhere that does not exist! These things, also, are not recommended.  In fact it would be better to hand the tickets back, quickly, and forget you ever saw them.

But take the tickets, take them.  Your name and one other.

Anywhere you want to go: and all your troubles will be over.

Anywhere.

Dark, strange, twisted, and wonderful – #paranormal #horror and #mystery stories from Wonderland Press.

 

Tales of the Normal: 31 Days of the Horrific & Mundane, Day 11

Flash fiction project: one dark story per day, all the way through October, each one based on one normal thing gone wrong. More of this year’s stories here.  You can find last year’s stories here, or at Amazon as October Nights.

Normal thing:  Arts and crafts

THE FOURTH WISH

Tamra Triplett was thinking about what would happen to her, when it finally happened, when she finally snapped. Snapped, I tell you, snapped! The frustrations of the world would become too much, she was already on the edge, and she would have to take up arms against it. And she thought, well, I don’t actually give a damn about climbing up to the top of the building and using a rifle to pick people off below me, like ants. I was never one to kick over anthills just for the pleasure of seeing them scatter.

Power? She would have liked the power to make people stop being complete idiots. That would be her secret superpower, if she could have one: the power to make other people realize when they were being hypocrites. Not the power to prove people wrong—that would have been too easy to abuse—but the power to reveal hypocrisy, yes, that would be lovely, she would love to have that. But that was probably the secret, forbidden wish that even the djinn wouldn’t give you: you couldn’t give yourself an infinite number of wishes, you couldn’t wish anyone dead (but ohhh the possibilities that one might have, if one wished to subvert that sort of thing), you couldn’t or shouldn’t wish yourself to become all-powerful or a god or something, and you couldn’t wish people to see their own hypocrisy; those are the four wishes which are forbidden.

To snap or not to snap? She had a pair of miniature scissors on her keychain, folding and razor-sharp, because she had always been raised not to bite off threads. It’ll wreck your teeth. And she did like cutting things, liked it in the thrilled, breathless way that one hears of pyromaniacs liking fire. And once, one magical day, she had been left to clean up after a work function in which name cards had been involved, and she had cut their names up, one by one, as thoroughly as if they were credit cards. But the scissors she had had to use had been rather useless and dull, mashing the paper fibers apart rather than cutting them with a quick, razor slice. They had gone out drinking without her, and all come down with food poisoning. “It was like my guts had been ripped out,” they said.  Good.

Yarn, she thought. Yarn.

I will take a hair—when I intend to snap, that is—and twist it up with some yarn, and then I will knit something that reminds me of them. Arigurimi, that is, those little crocheted stuffed toys. They’re easy enough to make, if you take the time to think through how all the shapes fit together. And then, on that day which will surely come, I will not have to climb all those stairs, which I did once for a fund-raiser, ran up every stair in the building, all the way from the basement to the top, and they mocked me afterwards because my knees hurt for months; I will not have to learn to shoot; I will only have to line them all up and take my best, my loveliest sharpest scissors, and take their wobbly little heads and—

—Cut.

But that won’t work, she told herself, sympathetic magic is just a woman’s fantasy of being able to change the world when there is no power, no justice, no virtue that will do so.

Better get a dab or two—or three, yes three is a good number—of their blood, too.

Dark, strange, twisted, and wonderful – #paranormal #horror and #mystery stories from Wonderland Press.

How to Study Fiction, Part 13: Scenes, Part 5. Endings.

I would like to note that the real reason I have this complicated numbering scheme is so I don’t forget what the heck I’m doing!  This is part of a series on how to study fiction, mainly directed at writers who have read all the beginning writing books and are like, “What now?!?”  The rest of the series is here.  You may also want to check out the series on pacing, here, which I’m eventually going to fold into this series when it turns into a book 🙂

Endings.

There are two types of endings to cover here:

  • The ending of the individual sections of a story.
  • The ending of the story as a whole.

These endings have to accomplish two entirely separate things:

  • Make you want to keep reading (before the end of the story).
  • Feel satisfied by the end of the story (at the end of the story).

There is also a special case, the end of a story that is part of a larger series.  These series can be:

  • Episodic, or more focused on the story in each individual episode,
  • Over-arching, or more focused on an overarching story that spans across episodes,
  • Or a combination of both, with an over-arching story interrupted by standalone episodes, also known as “monster of the week” episodes.

We’ll cover the kinds of considerations you might need to take into account for series, but it will really depend on what you’re trying to do.

Today we’ll cover…

Endings of sections of a story

There are several places that you’ll need to write endings within a story:

  • At the ends of chapters.
  • At the ends of scenes within chapters.
  • At the ends of mini-scenes within scenes within chapters.
  • At the ends of beats within mini-scenes (if any), within scenes, within chapters.

Just as with beginnings, a lot of the wordcount of your story is going to be dedicated to endings, maybe a fourth of it–but it won’t all be at the end of the book.

The ending of most of the sections of your book will perform the following functions:

  • Tell the reader the results of the latest try/fail (see Middles for more information).
  • Tell the reader, if the results of the latest try/fail aren’t going to be told quite yet, that they will be told later.
  • Tell the reader what to expect coming up next, if not already covered.

This sounds kind of dry, but the implications can get exciting:  characters can have literal cliffhangers, black out, have someone sneak up behind them…

The point being, that the endings of every part of your story before the last one should all point toward some event further down the road in your book.  Why do readers keep reading?  Because they want to find out what happens next.  Most of the endings in a book are just exciting or subtle reminders of what will happen next.

Let’s go back to “The Cask of Amontillado.”  Here’s the opening paragraph:

THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitely, settled –but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.

This is a beginning paragraph, so it does count as part of the beginning.  However, because Poe was such a smart guy, the end of the paragraph also has an ending.  Here, he hints that what will come next is a tale of revenge in which the avenger gets away with it.  This is also called foreshadowing.  

If you ended every structural unit of your story with foreshadowing up until the last one, you would not go far wrong.

The second paragraph, if you care to read it for yourself, is much the same way as the first.

Another good example is in The Princess Bride (the film version).  When Vizzini sees that the Man in Black is still climbing up the cliff, he tells Inigo to kill the Man in Black.  The end of that scene is a hint toward what will happen next:  a swordfight.

“He’s got very good arms,” says Fezzik.

“He didn’t fall?  Inconceivable!” says Vizzini, slashing with his dagger.

“You keep using that word,” says Inigo.  “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

They all look down.  The man in black is still climbing.

“My God.  He’s climbing.”

“Whoever he is, he’s obviously seen us with the princess and must therefore die.  You–” Vizzini puts the tip of the dagger on Fezzig’s shirt.  “Carry her.”  To Inigo, he says, “We’ll head straight for the Guilder frontier.  Catch up when he’s dead.  If he falls, fine.  If not, the sword.”  He sheaths his dagger and begins walking away.

“I’m going to do him left-handed,” says Inigo.

“You know what a hurry we’re in!”

“It’s the only way I can be satisfied.  If I use my right, over too quickly.”

“Oh, have it your way.”

And off Vizzini goes.

Something to note:  You don’t have to exactly tell the truth in your foreshadowing.  In fact, the more you tell about what’s going to happen next, the more your audience will expect things to not happen quite as foreshadowed.

If a plan is spelled out during a scene, especially at the end of a scene, you’re almost guaranteed to have something go wrong.

For example, in the above scene of The Princess Bride, it is strongly hinted that Inigo will win the swordfight.  Vizzini spells out the plan:  if the man in black falls, fine; if not, the sword.

However, Inigo loses the swordfight.

It’s perfectly okay for foreshadowing to not be exactly what was foreshadowed.  In fact, this is how you make something both expected and surprising.

The end of the scene in The Princess Bride starts when the characters look over the side of the cliff and see that their latest try (to cut the rope that the Man in Black is climbing, and therefore drop him off the cliffs) has failed.  They are seeing the results of their try/fail.  Then the reader gets a promise of what will come next: a swordfight.

Each “try” in that sequence has its own beginning, middle, and end:

  • They see the ship following them and try to outrun it.  They fail.  The end of that scene leads to the next try/fail, climbing the cliffs:  “Whoever he is, he’s too late! See?  The cliffs of insanity!  Hurry up!  Move the thing!  And that other thing!  Move it!”
  • They arrive at the cliffs of insanity and begin climbing, hoping that the Man in Black will be too weak to follow them.  Haha, no.  The end of that scene leads to the next try/fail, trying to outclimb the man in black: “He’s climbing the rope.  And he’s gaining on us.” “Inconceivable.”
  • They try to arrive at the top of the cliffs before the Man in Black can catch up to them.  (They succeed, but the overall outcome of the scene is in suspense, so there are a bunch of witty lines to show time passing and suspense building.)  The ending lines show that they’re still in suspense about whether they’ll make it or not: “Did I make it clear that your job is at stake?”
  • The arrive at the top of the cliffs and cut the rope, hoping that the Man in Black will fall.  He doesn’t.  “Inconceivable!”

Part of the reason the “Inconceivable!” line is funny is that it’s used for several try/fails, only for the try/fails to reveal that the Man in Black’s success, no matter how inconceivable, is real.

This is just a couple of examples of how endings can be used to draw readers from scene to scene.  Each author seems to have a different way of handling this, ranging from the dramatic to the subtle, the action-based to the emotional-based, and the straight-up truthful to the completely wrong-headed or false.

When an author stops to tell the audience what is about to happen, it doesn’t a) slow the audience down, or b) bore them.

Over and over again throughout The Princess Bride, the action stops to tell the audience what to expect next.  It’s not boring to get a hint about what happens next–it’s exciting.

There’s nothing like the moment when Watson tells Holmes in “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,”

My dear fellow, I would not miss it for anything.

We, as readers, don’t want to, either.

This post is getting long, so I’m going to split it up.  Next time?  The endings of stories!

A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT. TURN TO PAGE 87 TO GO DOWN INTO THE BASEMENT ALONE.  CLICK THE WONDERLAND PRESS NEWSLETTER SIGNUP LINK TO HAVE SOMEONE GO WITH YOU.  CRREEEAAAAAK.

 

 

Tales of the Normal: 31 Days of the Horrific & Mundane, Day 10

Flash fiction project: one dark story per day, all the way through October, each one based on one normal thing gone wrong. More of this year’s stories here.  You can find last year’s stories here, or at Amazon as October Nights.

Normal thing:  Dressing up really fancy for not fancy dinners

TEA PARTY

We didn’t always dress up for the tea parties that we held with our dolls, but when we did, we wore my adult cousins’ prom dresses.  The dolls wore the clothes that you made for them, for the dolls that was, hundreds of hours of fine crochet.  We would drink tea and lemonade and have little cookies and you went to the trouble to buy me a tea set with a teapot with a spout that worked, a real miniature teapot that could fit in the palm of my small, sweaty hand.  I am making this up, by the way; we never had tea parties together, not unless I was two or it was for someone else’s benefit. Instead I remember you brushing my hair and screaming at me for letting me get it tangled one minute, and pleading that it was too pretty to cut the next.  I gave you a tiny, perfect teapot later, so you could have tea parties with your dolls and your granddaughter, whose hair I have also seen you brushing, although because I was there to see you, as you told her that it was right that she suffer in order to become more beautiful, you did not scream.

Dark, strange, twisted, and wonderful – #paranormal #horror and #mystery stories from Wonderland Press.

Tales of the Normal: 31 Days of the Horrific & Mundane, Day 9

Flash fiction project: one dark story per day, all the way through October, each one based on one normal thing gone wrong. More of this year’s stories here.  You can find last year’s stories here, or at Amazon as October Nights.

Normal thing:  Kitchens

SPOTLESS

In the middle of the night I got up and looked into the kitchen, which gleamed at me.  The rows of cabinets spoke of containment and order.  I knew, because I had done the arranging and shelf-lining myself, that the shelves within them were as neat and tidy as their exteriors.  The refrigerator gleamed, its aluminum surface standing stalwart.  The range was as sober as a judge, its black flat-top induction surface showing only the markings of gold rings, to delineate its “burners.”  Sinks, spotless.  Hand towels, tri-folded.  Coffee maker, prepared for the coming dawn.  Floor, clean enough to eat off of.  I walked forward into it, intending to take some neatly-packaged leftovers out of the fridge. Maybe this time, I thought. But of course the cool, dark kitchen twisted around me, and I was standing back at the kitchen door, facing the other direction. I could feel the kitchen’s horror behind me, its sense of violation.  I looked, and saw a handprint evaporating from the edge of the marble island, and a drop of blood on the floor.  I had made it that far, then.

In the daytime I serve the kitchen, and I belong there.  At night, when I am at my hungriest, I am an invader; I am something other.

And someday all that lovely, spic-and-span order that I created earlier in the day will be unable to eject me, and I will consume it all.

Dark, strange, twisted, and wonderful – #paranormal #horror and #mystery stories from Wonderland Press.

Tales of the Normal: 31 Days of the Horrific & Mundane, Day 8

Flash fiction project: one dark story per day, all the way through October, each one based on one normal thing gone wrong. More of this year’s stories here.  You can find last year’s stories here, or at Amazon as October Nights.

Normal thing:  Free Samples

FREE SAMPLE

Death was at the mall passing out free samples of makeup, she said.  Was the makeup poisoned, I asked, did it contain lead? No and no, said Death, it was just different shades of foundation in paper cups, very hypoallergenic.  All right, sorry for the interruption.  But why were you at the mall anyway?  I was bored so I took a part-time job.  Don’t all the souls keep you busy?  Not really, you only get a certain territory to collect in, and if you’re new it isn’t much.  The big profits aren’t even when you collect souls but when you recruit someone else to be a Death, put on the robes.  You aren’t interested, are you?  Maybe after the kids are out of the house, I said, you know how it is, the empty nester syndrome.  Are there Death parties? I asked. Excuse me? said Death.  Like Tupperware parties, or Amway or LuLaRoe? Avon, I said.  Ever heard of Avon?  Oh, like Avon, Death said.  I think I remember that.  My life is kind of hazy.  Didn’t they have those weird perfume bottles?  Classic cars, I think I had a mermaid, I definitely had one of those white cats where the head comes off and there’s the perfume squirter underneath.  I know, I know! I said, I had one of those, too.  Did your mom sell Avon? No, she was one of those suckers who couldn’t say no, though, not even lingerie parties and she thought those were a sin. Those were fun, said Death. Anyway I was passing out free samples of makeup and someone scared the H-E-double hockey sticks out of me.  Oh, wait, I said, I’ve heard this story, the person saw Death and ran off, only you had an appointment with them somewhere else.  Haha, said Death, that would have been ironic, but no, it was me, I saw myself, I was shopping at the mall.  Wow, I said, just wow.  What happened? I’m not sure.  I knew Death had come for me, but which one of me I wasn’t sure.  One of us fell and one of us hit their head and there was blood and can you see my hands shaking?  Oh I feel sick. One of us got up and one of us was lying on the ground, and we were wearing identical outfits and my purse was spilled out on the ground and the sample tray was just everywhere, trails of blood and foundation all over the place from people walking through the mess.  And my question is, how do I know which one I am? Or even if there’s a difference?

Check your wrist, I said. There would have been a dab of makeup there, from you showing people how to match their shade and test to see if they were sensitive.

Just like with perfume.

So this one was inspired by W. Somerset Maugham’s one-paragraph summary, “The Appointment in Samarra.”  And yeah, I know you’re supposed to test foundation on your jawline.

Dark, strange, twisted, and wonderful – #paranormal #horror and #mystery stories from Wonderland Press.

 

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