What Hides in the Darkness

Part 1, part 2, and part 3 if you haven’t read any yet :).

I felt Oswin’s arm grip my waist as we fell into the darkness.   The ground started to close above us, but the creature’s dark laughter echoed around us. The corner of the box was digging into my side and bruised my ribs as we collided onto a hard surface.

Oswin pulled a lighter from his pocket and brought it to life to illuminate the damp cavern surrounding us. I stood up and wiped my slick hands on my jeans. My right side was wet from landing the cave floor.

“I think I know where we can get some help,” he sighed and looked up at me. “We’ll have time to talk about this, but not right now. I have questions for you too – like what’s wrong with you.”

“I know. I shouldn’t have taken it, but…” the look of disbelief on his face stopped me mid-sentence. “But, we can talk about it later.”

We quickly moved toward the absolute darkness and I was glad that the lighter kept it at bay. Shadows flickered in the corners of the cave chambers and occasionally I heard feet scuttling across the cave floors and stalagmites.  When I thought I heard humming behind us, I convinced myself that it was my fear of the darkness that felt like it was going to swallow us.

As we moved into the next chamber and turned the corner, I heard a much heavier set of feet land in the room we had just left and my eyes widened. The lighter flicked off and a hand clamped tightly over my mouth as I was dragged behind a pile of rocks. The heavy footsteps moved into the chamber and the erratic scuttling of the little feet I had heard following us followed.

A peal of high-pitched laughter rebounded through the cave and the humming started up again a few feet in front of where we hid. Oswin’s hand pressed harder against my mouth and he held his breath. The small footsteps stopped and I heard it take in a slow deep breath before beginning to hum again.

A sharp talon scraped across the rock in front of us making me cringe with the abrasive noise. A deep Scandinavian voice spoke in the darkness.

“The tree sings to us, Oswin. We will have it.”

The heavy footsteps began to move farther into the cave and then stopped before slowly moving back in our direction.

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Hello, I know it has been a while, but here is part three of the box.  If you haven’t read the previous stories here is part 1 and part 2.

“Let me in,” he said hoarsely.

I opened the door and Oswin walked in and took the box and the little world into his hands. The look he gave me was cutting and I didn’t know whether he would ever forgive me. He turned the lock until it clicked and said, “We need to leave quickly.”

We walked briskly down the cold corridor – beige walls, white tiles and fluorescent lights gave the hall an even colder, sterile feeling. We hurried in silence past a window and I noticed that the sky had turned to a dark grey and that a heavy fog was descending on the city.

Oswin looked both ways as we exited the building through a side door, we moved into the deserted alley and listened. Neither of us spoke for a long time. The sky continued to darken over us with a particularly heavy feeling hanging over the building we had just left. Two large shapes passed the alley and we heard their gravely voices speaking a language I had never heard. The creature closest to us lifted his snout into the air and began to catch our fresh scents wafting through the sea of other human odors.

The fog hid us and we continued on away from the mysterious beings. It was weighing down so heavy around us that my skin began to dampen as if I were sweating.

“Where are we going?” I broke the silence.

“My car is in the parking lot near the bridge.”

Movement on a street nearby caused us to run to reach his car faster.  Oswin’s car was just coming into sight through the thick moisture in the air. A looming figure stepped between us and the beat-up Buick and I felt the cold numbness of fear spread through my body. I could hear laughter rumbling from it’s chest and saw a wicked grin creep onto it’s wolfish face. It pointed a sharp claw toward the ground and crouched to touch the pavement.

The road cracked rapidly toward us as we ran in the opposite direction but the growing abyss swallowed us and we started to fall.

(to be continued)


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Into the Box

Hello everyone!

If you missed the first post for “The Box” you can click here to get caught up from last week!

I slowly opened the scissors and slid one blade between Oswin’s wrist and the thin leather band that kept the key tied close to him. As I closed the blades around the band, my hand started to shake and the blunt end of one blade tapped against his arm.  I took in a sharp breath and held the arm steady between my knee and my chest.  I readied my left hand to catch the key and I clipped.

The key fell into my waiting hand and I paused – breathing shallowly –  while I waited to see if Oswin had woken up from the accidental bump.

His eyes did not open, so I quickly stood up and, unfortunately, smacked my head so hard on the bottom of my desk that it lifted off the floor.  The vibrations from the impact rattled my teeth.  I cringed as several students in the class stared and then glanced back up at Oswin who I realized had woken up and was staring at me in confusion.

In a fraction of a second, my mind raced through questions and possibilities.  I knew I was being selfish and crazy, but I needed to know what he had been keeping from me and why it was so important.  I panicked and ran.

I tore out of the classroom and down the hall knowing that there would be consequences.  I would have to answer to my professor for disrupting the class, and then there was Oswin whose trust I was betraying.  I heard his pounding footsteps behind me as he called my name and I threw myself into running.  I could feel my legs burning as I turned the corner and locked myself into the single-person faculty restroom.

I took a moment to catch my breath and stood with my back against the wall and my head spinning with adrenaline.  Oswin had caught up to me and began banging on the door.

“Dara, what are you doing?  Open the door and give the box back,” he pleaded.  He was out of breath too and his voice was muffled by the door.  I could tell he was resting his head against it.

“I just need to know,” I bit my lip and looked down at my shoes.

I took the key and blocked out Oswin’s voice as he yelled for me not to open it.  His voice was cracking and guilt was gathering in my chest.  I turned the key and opened the box.

It took me several seconds to register what I saw inside.  Floating in the box, inside of a liquid orb, was an amazing little otherworldly tree growing in a pile of moist soil.  I walked to the door and put my hand on the knob where I imagined Oswin had his resting. I stood so close to the door, I thought I could hear his breathing.

“Oswin, where did you get this?”

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Tipsy Lit Flash Fiction Contest Entry

Dream Catcher

Lo padded slid the window of another bedroom open with the wave of a hand and heaved the bag of nightmares through the opening.  This was her punishment for appearing in town, which was forbidden, and being seen by a man driving a melon truck.  He had crashed and melons had spilled onto the road – almost crushing several pedestrians in an avalanche of fruit.

The people had shrieked and the news had come to cover the “alien story”, but she’d already hidden herself with a snap of her fingers by the time they had arrived and watched as drivers and pedestrians spoke fanatically with the journalists.

It must have been the unhuman tint to her skin or large eyes that had startled them.

She set the bag on the floor and pulled her hair up into a knot.  This child’s dream catcher was closer to his head than the last child and she didn’t want to tickle his face with it.  As she dragged the nightmares across the bedroom floor, it caught on a handle of the dresser and wouldn’t move further into the room.

Sighing, Lo snatched the dream catcher of the wall and set herself to the task of pulling the bad dreams out of it.  Some of them stuck and stretched when she yanked at them and would slap into her hand as they came loose.  Others smelled rotten or would growl as they were tossed into the bag.

Lo finished the catcher, put it back on the bedpost, grabbed the bag and pulled it as hard as she could toward the window.  The tear of fabric rang through the quiet bedroom and Lo turned, horrified, to see the nightmares slithering from the bottom of the bag.

They began to form a colony and, though she tried to hold them in the bag, overwhelmed her.  Her body was thrown against the wall.

“Someone’s in here,” a voice gasped awake in the other room

She heard the voice being quieted and comforted by another.  The newly formed monster was escaping through the window and she chased it, but it was too late.

The evil was released, turning the sky red.  She turned around to look at the child who lay sleeping just in time to see a nightmare rise above him.   It grinned wickedly and took a dive into his mind and he awoke screaming.


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Still With A Hint Of Sparkle

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Sparkling or Still.”

I enjoy a day off that is somewhere between active and completely relaxed.   My average day is packed from top to bottom, so on a day off I feel squished between wanting to squeeze in every activity I like to do and savoring the relaxing activity of absolutely nothing.

On a perfect day off, with no obligations, I would spend the first half of the day doing as many of the things that I like to do as possible.  I would get up early and eat a nice from-scratch breakfast rather than the usual Hot Pocket.  Then I would go on a run with the dogs.  *I’m working on getting a mile each for Bruno and Bean and two miles for Lil since she’s a crazy-pants 😛 *

After the run, I might check all the plants in the garden, pull any vegetables that are ready, pull the weeks, and water them.  Days off are good for working on the things I would like to improve or spending time outside.

I think I would then choose one or more of the following: shopping, doodling, painting, writing, reading, eating out, cooking/baking or napping… there’s really too many things to choose from.  I like to rotate them on Saturday’s so that each one gets a turn.

While I enjoy going on trips and doing exciting things, like para-sailing or riding horses, I feel like I still need a day to recharge after doing activity after exciting activity because I feel tired after being out all day.  So, then I would need two days off :). Or… three days off, that would be even better haha.

So, long story short, I believe in a day off that is still with a little hint of sparkle to liven things up.

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The Seed

The seed waited in the warm pocket of its pod all summer long.  It was comfortably snuggled next to its siblings and, though it enjoyed the community, it longed for the time when it would get to take a great trip across the world.

According to the flower, it had once been a seed that grew into a plant.  The flower had started in a pod, had been saved by hand, and then had been carefully packaged while it waited for the perfect time to be placed in the ground so that it would grow.

One especially warm and cramped day, the seed wished and prayed that it could be free from all the other seeds so that it could start its own journey.  The flower told the seed that it had seen a strange gray creature in the area.  It was with the red creature that typically ran around the yard and made noises at the flying creatures.  When the gardener spoke to these creatures she called them Bean and Lil.

The seed did not know what a Bean or a Lil was, but the flower made it seem as though these things were especially active during the day time.  What would that mean for the seed’s future?

The gardener put green fencing around the flower, but Bean and Lil ran around and around the fencing and soon found an opening to explore the great jungle of red flowers.  They found that the stalks made excellent chew toys and soon they were tearing through the backyard with huge flowered stalks trailing behind them.  It was so exciting to shake the flowers and to hear the wind whistle through the branches as they ran.

The seed’s head rattled as the plant shook and it was knocked loose from the pod and flew through the air.  It suddenly saw all of the things the flower had talked about and realized that this Bean and Lil were humongous, so it hoped that it would be collected soon so that it didn’t get eaten or trampled.

Unfortunately for the seed, it was not collected.  It landed on the ground outside of the garden while the tornado of Lil and Bean blew around it.  It endured the hot summer heat that dried it out and the rain that fell so hard that the seed floated to a new area in the yard.  In the fall and winter it endured the numbing chill all alone while dreaming of a time when it may become a flower. So, it waited for the spring.

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My Best Friend’s Box

Oswin always carried the box in his bag.  When we were not travelling from one place to another, he kept it near him – always within eyesight.

I noticed for the first time at a mutual friends’ party and asked him about it; I thought he was trying to make some kind of philosophical statement.  It seemed like something he would do.

“Nah, it’s just something I picked up recently.”

Then he wouldn’t talk about it any more.  Time went on and the box remained.  I started to wonder what was in it, why he guarded it, and why he never talked about it or opened it.  The idea of the box began to grow in my mind and I began to think about it constantly.  It was like a small rock in my shoe that I couldn’t seem to find and wore a blister it the back of my mind.

Did it include old family photos and he kept it with him to remember someone who had passed?  Were his most treasured possessions inside and, if so, what were they?  Books?  Letters?  Money? – was he hiding his life savings? Or, did he keep some dark secret hidden within a makeshift casket?  Plans to take over the world? A tremendous mountain of debt? Family secrets going generations back?  Was it a box filled with fodder for blackmail?

I waited for moments when he might leave it behind, but there were none.  I asked cautiously to no avail, and then I began to interrogate more eagerly.  That backfired and, angered, he refused to talk to me for several days, waiting until I apologized and promised not to mention it again.

Knowing that it was none of my business and that my nosiness was ridiculous I became frustrated with myself.  But the box was a thorn in my side and my anger with myself turned to Oswin.  I began to make a plan to peek in the box because it wouldn’t really matter… right?  First the key, then the box.

My luck turned a few weeks later.  While sitting in class, I noticed that Oswin had nodded off due to the exhaustion that comes with late-night papers.  His box had fallen slightly out of his backpack and was laying on the floor.

The only thing that made sense was to slide down in my seat so that my head barely looked over the top of the table, and I stretched my leg toward the box.  The tip of my shoe touched the box! I pulled it nearer and then dropped to the floor under my desk, ignoring the glances of the other students around me.  I pulled a pair of scissors from my bag and slid over to Oswin’s seat where I reached up to clip the golden key from his wrist.

Come back next Monday to find out the rest! 😀


Posted in Fiction, Post a Day, Sketchbook, The Box | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Wishing and Hoping

What are you waiting for?

For me, I’ve been waiting for a free moment to do the artistic things that I’m passionate about because I get so caught up in the day to day details.  I get caught in the stay-above-water game and, when I don’t stop myself ,I think I’m a little bit of a workaholic.  I wait to do all my living on Saturday, except I find myself making choices:  do I relax, or spend time with friends, or go out… and the list goes on and on.  Sunday is pre-Monday, so I have to plan for the week since there often isn’t enough time get everything done once the alarm goes off on Monday and the week’s race is on.  So, the waiting starts again.

So, will good things come if I wait?

The truth in the phrase “good things come to those who wait” really depends on what you think waiting means.  I’ve started to re-evaluate the waiting in my life.

I’ve waited because I thought that maybe time would effortlessly rearrange it self for me sometime in the future and I would suddenly be filled with free time despite still having the same number of obligations.  Now. I see that waiting without action is useless.  It is fear disguising itself because, the truth is, I’ve been unsure about myself and nervous to put my voice out there and let people read what I have to write.

But, I can’t wait without trying and still expect to be a successful writer.  There’s a different kind of waiting that is calling my name – the waiting that comes with persistence and practice.  I believe that there are good things to come if I try.


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Eating A Christmas Pie

Pie is a dessert that is reserved mostly for the winter holidays in our household, although I do prefer eating pie to cake. Outside of family functions I almost never make or eat cake, but I do make pie.

Here are some of my favorite recipes:



Ok, so cheesecake maybe isn’t a pie (I think the jury is still out), but it is pie-like and delicious.  I also like key lime pie, but I haven’t tried making it at home yet.

I remember several years ago I was at a Christmas choir concert and during the pot-luck dinner I put an awesome looking piece of cheesecake on my plate and was so excited to eat it.  I remember taking the first bite of creaminess anticipating the sweet, rich smoothness with the honey-cinnamon crunch of the Graham cracker crust.

I took that bite and instead I tasted a shockingly unexpected tart-sour flavor that definitely did not seem right.  Confusion spread across my face along with that pucker you get when you get a mouthful of lime flavor when you were not expecting it.  I didn’t understand what was wrong with that cheesecake and, after questioning my neighbors and finding out that the dessert was actually key lime pie, I actually really enjoyed it.  It was a great key lime pie, but a terrible New York Cheesecake.  The opposite happened at an event a couple of weeks later, although it wasn’t as shocking since I had eaten a cheesecake before and was familiar with the flavor.

Do you prefer cake or pie?  What is your favorite kind of pie? Have you ever mistaken food another kind?


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