Category Archives: Sirens Call Publications

The Unused Drabble!

Hi Folks! A rarity for me, but I’m gonna offer you background noise on this post.

For the December 2015 Sirens Call eZine, themed ‘Lost Souls’, Julianne Snow and I did a comparative photo-prompt flash. I wrote two candidates for the eZine, and this one ended up an orphan.

After you check out this little ramble, grab a copy of the eZine to read the two interpretive pieces we included. 

 

LonelyRoad1

Glimmer

It’s dark at night, dark and lonely. Occasionally, I see others; catch a glimpse of their shimmer in the headlights that round the bend. I remember driving around the bend, reaching down to grab the map that slipped from my hand, the sound of the impact, the glass shattering as I was hurled through the windshield. At first, they were kind to me, helped me to understand, but then they seemed to drift away – lost to their own thoughts, their own inner worlds. I suppose that’s what we’re meant to do, lose ourselves.

I wonder if others see my glimmer…

 


The image is not mine, I claim no copyright to it, but the words are – small disclaimer free of charge! ;]
© Copyright Nina D’Arcangela.

 

 

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Leeds

Feet pounding as fast as they can, I tear across the hard-packed ground. Tree branches slap my arms, scrape my face, tangle in my hair; I don’t think I’m gonna make it. I hear it chasing me, not quite on my heels yet, but close enough to make my skin want to crawl clean off my bones. At any moment, I expect to be snatched from the trail by god-knows-what kind of clawed hand. The thing is so near I can smell its stench. It’s enough to make me gag: make my eyes water and my nostrils burn. I set out to find it, to track it – to prove its existence. What a fool. I was never tracking it; it was tracking me the entire time.

If I can make it to the water, everything will be all right – that’s what all the stories say. Make it to that deep blue pool buried in the Pines and for some reason, the creature won’t come any closer.

I can’t be too far from the lake. Christ – I must have trekked thirty miles into the dense Barrens since leaving the road. It’s got to be around here somewhere; I’m right where the locals said the water would be. But there was something not quite right about the way those ‘Pineys’ were smiling…

My foot tangles in an exposed root where the dirt loosens and turns to a softer, sandier mixture. In near panic, I almost go down but somehow manage to keep my feet beneath me. The forest is thinning out quickly; I can see a much brighter patch ahead.

A guttural roar sounds from behind; it’s nearly on top of me. I can feel the air shift to the side as my eye catches sight of something black whipping by just off to the right. I scream – no sound comes out – but I don’t stop moving. Before I know it, the trees clear and I stumble onto a small beach.

I can see the water and whisper a silent prayer of thanks to those hicks who somehow managed to get me here. Flinging myself down at the water’s edge, I finally dare to look behind me. I can’t see it clearly, but I can feel it standing just under the dense canopy of the trees – hiding in the darkness.

Dunking my head into the cool water, I laugh when I realize what I’m holding. The entire time I was running, I was clutching my cell phone, but lost everything else. Can you hear me now? No! More hysterical laughter; the sound desperate even to my own ears. There’s no cell service out here. I can’t believe that in my panic the only thing I managed to save is this useless piece of crap. One last look at it and I hurl it as far as I can across the lake.

Leaning down again, I taste the water. At first barely a sip to make sure it’s safe, then small handfuls to quench my thirst. Making myself stop, I roll over and stare at the sun like it’s my new found savior. The Pines are so dense; this small clearing is a godsend. I can still hear the thing rustling in the trees, but for now, next to the water, I’m safe.

I must have drifted off from exhaustion, maybe simple relief, I don’t know. When I wake, the sun is low and dim shadows have crept half-way across the small beach. I can hear it breathing and pacing in the brush. A spike of adrenaline slashes through me and I dive for the only hope I see; one long bow from a white cedar growing out over the lake. Scrambling to it, I climb as far out as I can, shimmying backward the whole while. From what I know of the Blue Hole, the water is deep as hell. Drowning is no better an option than feeding myself to Mother Leeds’ thirteenth son, and I would prefer to do neither.

As full night falls, I can see its red eyes glaring at me, along with the shadowy impression of a dark, winged figure. Its tail flicking from side to side accompanies the sound of tree branches being torn apart. Bellying down further onto the limb, I try for a little more distance. I know my chances of surviving the night are slim… Still, if I can keep my balance and stay awake, I might just make it until morning.

I hear a faint splash, and a responding roar from the woods – almost a challenge. Terrified to take my eyes off the beast before me, but more afraid of what lurks below, I chance a glance downward. Elongated, translucent hands reaching from the depths are all I see before I’m yanked from my perch, screaming for help that’s never going to come.

***

“Howdy there, Bob, Tomas,” the deputy says as he steps from his vehicle to greet the two men sitting outside the small shack that serves as a convenience store in this area of the Pine Barrens.

“Mornin’ officer,” they reply in kind. “What can we do you for?”

“Well, seems we found a car, one of those German import types, parked a ways down the road in one of the pull-offs. Little yellow thing called a Jetta. You boys know anything about that?”

Looking at each other, Tomas spits and says, “Might be we do. Some young girl in a yeller car stopped in here yesterday asking for directions to the hole. Could be it’s the same car.”

“Tell me you didn’t give them to her, did you?” exasperation plain in the officer’s voice.

“Might be we did. Don’t see why we wouldn’t if she asked,” Bob answers rolling a toothpick between his teeth.

The deputy reaches into his vehicle and grabs the radio handset. “Dispatch, we’re gonna need a tow out on Rt. 532. It’s a yellow Jetta – can’t miss it. Hang on just a sec.” He releases the com button. “Boys, she have anyone else with her?”

“Nope, but she had a crap load ‘a gear in the back seat of that foreign auto-mobile of hers.”

Clicking the mic back on, the deputy relays, “Dispatch, I’m gonna need a team on the ground looking for a backpack, tent, cell phone – any personal items they can find heading from that location toward the hole. Better make it a wide sweep, call all the guys in on this.”

“Copy that, Tim. Do we need a rescue team down there too?” the dispatcher asks with hope and concern in her voice.

Looking over the roof of his car at Bob and Tomas, seeing the grin on both of their faces, he answers, “Negative on the rescue team, just the cleanup crew and the tow.” Getting back in the car and replacing the now silent handset, the deputy tips his hat to the men on the bench as they nod in return. He puts the car in drive, and mutters to himself “Fucking city folk,” as he drives off.

 

© Copyright 2013 Nina D’Arcangela. All Rights Reserved.


Plunging

Plunging, scooping, the sound of dirt sliding off each shovel with a shoosh as its tossed to the side. Another plunge, another scoop, more shoosh – the pile grows larger, the hole surrounding their boots grows deeper, the men grow more weary. The scent of dry dirt giving way to the earthier aroma of moist, dark soil.

Removing his cap and scratching his head, he asks, “‘Ere, guv, don’t you think this looks more than a bit odd?”

The other spits, digs, then replies, “Blood well is, son.”

Digging deeper, the dirt turning firmer, becoming more dense. Each shovel still plunging, a foot braced on the back lending force to the spade as it slides into hardened ground. Loose dirt scooped upon the belly of the trowel tossed above, to the side with a shoosh as it slips off the metal edge – the hole growing with each effort.

Removing his cap and wiping sweat from his brow, he says “Take a butcher’s. Tell me that ain’t too wide.”

The other spits, digs, then replies, “Blood well is, son.”

Tree roots tangle and snag, yet dig further they are told, so they do. No longer plunging, only scraping a hardened surface painted putrid with residue – ground now removed, the scent is strong, almost fetid, a pungent odor.

Removing his cap and squinting in the dim light, he says, “Weird innit? Strange that there ain’t nothin’ but wooden planks, eh, guv?”

The other spits, swings, then replies, “Blood well is, son.”

Hefting the crimson coated shovel over his shoulder, he glances at the body lying near his feet, takes in the breadth of the pit they’ve dug, then turns to the man standing above.

The other spits, stares, then says, “Ain’t fill in’ ‘er in.”

One pistol shot fired. “No, I believe not.”

~~~

This piece of flash fiction was featured in The Sirens Call eZine, issue 05. Given one photograph, both Kalla and I wrote a 300 word flash piece inspired by that image alone. Thanks to my warm blankie for the spit shine!


The Slip

The texture of the brass dials a thing so fetching, feel them spin, with a tick and a click, tightening ever so slightly as the prize is nearing.

Nimble fingers twist knobs , first left, then right, and back yet again. Feeling for the slightest shift, as slowly they spin.

A tick, a click, the slip. The first dial is set. How these tired tips work at gaining entry, their art lost to time, man’s arrogance a false sentry.

These fingers you see, they are for hire, they spin, they click only for the most discriminate buyer. What lies beyond the beauty of this contraption of brass, these fingers care not – their job only to spin, to click, to find the – slip.

Ah, the slipping of the final pin into place, pride to be had for a task well done. These fingers find no pride being named thief, only in the triumph of yet another breach.

Never touching the treasures concealed inside, the gift is in the spinning, the clicking and the glorious sound of the decisive slipping as the lock disengages, and the tomb readies to release.

The thrill done, the game complete, the mastery of infiltrating the impenetrable is what these tired digits did seek. Their desirous splendor being the one called to task, no other hand as capable on the brass.

These fingers, they are old, and worn with time, slowly they reach out and gentle the slide.

A slight pop, the pressure released, the door opens a mere chink, allowing for those who would have the briefest of peeks.

The thrill these old finger have felt now past, gone on this final releasing of brass. This buyer untrue with intentions corrupt, these fingers have felt for the final time the tick, the click, the magnificent slip!

*****

For those of you who don’t know, in each issue of The Sirens Call eZine, we do a Comparative Flash amongst ourselves with fairly strict guidelines. We choose an image, and each of us writes a flash piece of 300 words – no more, no less – that is inspired by the image itself. We don’t discus the topic each has chosen, nor do we reveal our pieces to each other until everyone participating has completed their flash. Here is the image, and my piece that ran in the June issue – Kalla and I went head to head on this one. I hope you enjoy it! I had a ton of fun writing it… and the picture, what is it exactly? You tell me  ;}


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