Home Sweet Hell – Part 2

Part Two

Mom reaches behind her, taking the black combat boot from my hand. She holds it out like a weapon.

“Stay behind me. We are going out the door.”

As she finishes her sentence a dark mass creeps low across the floor, stops in front of our nearest exit, and faces us. From the stairwell light we can see that it is indeed the wolf. He crouches as if ready to spring.

“What now?”

Mom tells me to let go of her and she charges towards the wolf. It leaps into the air and bares its teeth. Mom slams it with the boot and the thing hits the wall. It slides down and comes right back at her. I’m looking for another weapon but all I have is my other boot.

Behind me is a growl. I turn and see the wolf’s twin, also with bared teeth. This one is fixated on me. Before it can jump, I beat it over the head, over and over.

“Die, die.” I must keep this thing down or I fear it will get back up and attack just like the one who is latched onto my mother’s neck. The steel toe of my boot crashes against metal and there are sparks.

Mom is banging the hell out of her demon with a frying pan. It sounds like we are both punching metal file cabinets. There is a knock at the door and the monsters freeze. Without thinking I am up and flinging the kitchen door wide open to reveal my boyfriend. Mom is right behind me, turning on the kitchen light.

Two wolf statues, bases included, sit where we left them. One standing and one crouched.

“You ladies having a fight in here?”

“More like a war.” Mom is wiping blood from her neck.

“What did you do?” Bobby looks at me in disbelief.

“It’s not what you think. We were attacked.”

Mom grabs a plastic trash bag from under the sink. She drops one wolf into it, then the other.

“We need to destroy these. Now.”

Bobby’s face is solemn. “What do you want me to do?”

“I want to melt these. Do you have any idea of a heat source strong enough to do that?”

“I can build a fire.”

“No, dear. These are cast iron sculptures. I think we need an oven. Maybe a crematorium”.

“Mom, maybe we can just lock them up.”

“That’s a good temporary solution.” My mother hoists the heavy bag over her shoulder and goes outside to her car. We follow.

“The trunk?”

Mom hits the button on her key ring and the trunk pops open. She throws the bag in with a clank and slams the lid shut.

“There.” She wipes her hands together.

“Does somebody want to clue me in?”

Bobby is rubbing my arm.

“Mom bought haunted wolves.”

“Something like that. Let’s go inside.” Mom leads the way and locks the deadbolt behind us.

“You kids stay here.” She goes from room to room, then downstairs and back up until she returns to the kitchen.

“There’s no more.”

“How can you be sure? You thought there was only one before and then there were two. Who is to say if there are more wolves hiding?”

“Only two showed themselves, so there must only be two. Let’s hope for two.”

“The man who sold it to me warned me but I did not pay attention.”

“What did he say?”

“He told me that the wolf was a powerful spirit and to purchase with caution. He said it was special but if I was willing to accept the responsibility he would give me a good deal.”

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Home Sweet Hell – Part 1

Home Sweet Hell

Part One

By T.R. Kisgen

 

Do we choose our demons or do they choose us?

Charlie  is raking his hands through his hair. His brow creases and he demands to know, “How did the wolf get there?”

It would have been heavy to lift. Mom found the wolf statue a couple of weeks ago. The sculpture is a hefty bronze metal casting that sits on a marble base. Mom said it would make a good doorstop for our new entrance.

“I don’t know how it got there. If not you, then I guess Mom moved it.”

Charlie’s hand is shaking, which is a nice touch.

 I play along. “Your fingers are trembling.”

His eyes grow wide and he speaks slowly. “It looked at me.”

I’m expecting to be the butt of a joke any second now.

“Sara, I was watching TV when it turned its head and looked at me.  I got scared and locked myself in the bathroom and didn’t come out till I heard you drive up. And now it’s on top of the fridge.”

We both stare at it. The copper wolf is crouching on all fours and looks like it is howling. It’s jagged fur is textured metal. I’m almost positive Charlie is messing with me.

The phone rings and we both jump.

I race Charlie to the wall phone and pick up on the second ring.

We must be the last family in the world to own a landline telephone. Mom says we need it because people should not rely on battery operated cell phones for complete communication.  She calls every night before leaving work to check on us and let us know she is on her way home.

The sound of Mom’s voice is comforting.

I put my hand over the mouthpiece and whisper to Charlie, “You got the laundry done, right?” Charlie shrugs and I look at the clock.  He might have enough time to get a load going and transfer yesterday’s clothes to the dryer before she gets home.

I tell her “He’s working on it.  We’ll order a pizza.  Thanks… okay… see you soon. Love you, too.”

I hang up the phone and Charlie scrambles to the basement.

He is whistling.  The washer begins filling with water and pipes rattle.

I pick up the phone again and dial for dinner and after four rings, a guy’s voice says “Frankie’s Pizza”.

Under my feet, Charlie screams.  I drop the phone and bolt to the basement.

He is pointing at another wolf statue. Same look, same large size, also posed on a marble base.

“It moved again!”

“Charlie, it’s a second statue. It cannot be the same one that’s upstairs. Unless you brought it down here, it is a different wolf.”

“I am not joking around Sarah. I promise.”

“Come here.” I motion him over and he runs to me. This thing is too big for him to carry past me, unless he planted it earlier.

This seems likely. I look for a playful gleam in his eye but Charlie is clenching his teeth and grips my arm.

He seems genuinely afraid, which is new. Nothing rattles my twin brother.

We hit the stairs. There’s no wall separating the steps from the unfinished laundry area so we will see if the statue suddenly shows life.

At the top step we are relieved to see the first statue is where we left it. Charlie puts his hand to his chest and breathes deep. “Okay, so there’s two. But. I still saw that one move and then it somehow gets in the kitchen. Just because there’s two doesn’t mean -”

“You are scaring me. Just stop.”

Charlie is staring at the bronze creature while I redirect my attention to the dangling phone receiver.

Dialing again, I smack my brother on the back and ask, “Hey, how does pepperoni pizza sound?”

“Okay, sure. I’m going back down.”

Thinking about food helps the night seem almost normal.

________________________________

As promised, Mom’s car pulls into the driveway promptly at seven o’clock.

“Where’s your brother?” Mom must have noticed our old jeep is not in the driveway.

“Charlie said he forgot he had plans and left in a hurry. He didn’t say where he was going.  I figured you knew.”

“How was your day, Babe?” She opens the icebox and pulls out a soda. She plops her purse on the table and sits in the chair across from me.

“Something odd is going on, Mom.”

She takes a sip of her cola. “So what’s the latest drama?”

“Your wolf statues are scaring Charlie.”

“He doesn’t like the doorstop?”

Mom is smiling at me. She is probably happy to have me home on a Friday night. She hits the table and says, “Oh, that’s right.  Charlie is fishing this weekend with Jordan and his uncle.”

Mom has been working two jobs and her memory shows it. Money is tight and we have not heard from Dad since they went to court. Mom refuses to talk bad about him but we all know he has a girlfriend. We just don’t know how long he’s had another woman in his life. He’s hurt all of us but we are starting over, just the three of us.

I look above Mom’s head at the statue.

“Hey Mom”, I tried to sound casual.  “How many wolves did you buy at that garage sale?”

“Just the one.”

“Are you sure?” She follows my eyes to the top of the fridge.

She stands to see what is happening.

“Why did you put my wolf up there? I splurged on that art piece. Put it back by the front door. And be careful, don’t drop it.”

“Mom. I didn’t put it there. We thought you did.”

She notices me biting my nails. “What’s wrong?”

“Well, what if it got there by itself? Also, there is another statue in the basement. If you seriously only bought one wolf you are freaking me out right now.”

“By itself? How would it get there by itself? And what other statue?”

We are standing an inch apart and I’m looking into Mom’s concerned eyes. Still chewing on my fingers, I point with my pinky.

“Charlie thinks the wolf moved. He was watching TV and it looked at him. He ran from it and now it’s up there. Mom. There are two of these things in the house right now.” I could hear my voice become high pitched.

“Okay, let’s go see what this is about. You are getting emotional but I want you to entertain the possibility that your brother is playing a trick on you.”

On the steps, Mom is ahead of me and assures me that she bought a single lovely statue. She says if Charlie is trying to scare his sister, he is succeeding.

Together we face the front loading dryer. My voice is shrieking as I grip my mother’s middle. “There it is.”

“You kids drive me crazy, you know that?”

Mom drags me along as she studies the metal sculpture.  She strokes the rough surface. She touches the marble base.

“What if it’s the same wolf, Mom? What if it keeps moving around the house? You didn’t see how terrified Charlie was. I don’t think it’s one of his pranks.”

She chuckles.

“Listen. Of course it’s a prank. I only bought one of these. At a garage sale down the street. Your brother could have easily gone there and found a second wolf. Also, pay attention. Though very similar this is not the same sculpture. The posture is different. This fellow is standing and the one upstairs is hunched. I do think it’s the same artist, though, because they are the same size and have the same look. The set might be valuable.”

I don’t know what to think. Charlie seemed spooked. He can’t be fooling around this time. He’s not that good of an actor. I mention this to Mom. She sets the sculpture back on the dryer. “This must belong to Charlie.”

Shaking her head, we go back to the kitchen.  My mouth drops. The wolf is gone. All that sits on the fridge is a dusty fake plant. Oh, no. Not wanting to be right, I make excuses. “Maybe it fell off…”

I’m molded to Mom’s backside as we take in the scene. We see a pair of glistening eyes peering at us from the corner of the stove. We hear a low growl and Mom freezes. She whispers, “What in the world? Take off your boot.”

 

HEY READER — Come back next week to find out what happens next!

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I Married My Parents

Short #2 (poem) in 52 week commitment.

I Married My Parents

 

Their golden years had finally come

Their kids were grown (but kinda dumb)

Much in love after all these years

My parents were ready for new frontiers

 

The smartest of three, I was still a bit dense

When it came to men, I had no sense

Married at twenty, back home in two years

Too young to be wise with plenty of tears

 

See, when the baby arrived, my husband regressed

He hated to work, and I was hungry; depressed

My man was a boy and I needed more

I moved back home with dreams of amore

 

My son was amazing but I wasn’t quite done

I found a Moron and thought he was ‘The One’

Married again, seven years this time…

Abuse killed our life before a sure crime

 

Okay on my own, it lasted one summer

But I traveled a lot, which was always a bummer

With TWO tots in hand, I needed assistance

I begged my Parentals to go the distance

 

They gave it all up and agreed to come together

Knowing “for awhile” could be forever

Grandma and Grandpa gave future years

We merged two households and I buried my fears

 

Our family no longer had a father shortage

The kids were happy while I worked for our mortgage

With three parents in their midst, the kids would thrive

With no more sitters, our group came Alive

 

Dad now had a dog, cable, den and garage

My mom cooked the meals which I got to dodge

Grandma taught my girl how to count and to write

She taught both kids piano and was there day and night

 

I used to imagine romance waiting for me

But with the kids grown, now it’s the parents three

My boy’s in college and my girl’s on her way

Fourteen years later, my folks are elderly

 

There’s no words to say “Thanks” for devoting their life

To making sure mine was less full of strife

There’s no way to say “Wow” to all that they lost

When my kids are successful because of that cost

 

 

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Broken Me

 

WEEKLY STORY (FICTION) – WEEK #1

 

 

BROKEN ME

I may have barked at my boss today.

It still surprises me when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The motorcycle crash didn’t take my life as it did my brother’s but it did take my beauty. Now, outside this restroom, is a different world.

In my second week on the job, the ladies tread lightly. I’m the 20 year old temp hired to get this printing press office caught up on their filing. I’ve been asked to box up files from the last three years and organize their crowded storage room. It sounded like easy money when the agent called to offer me the gig. Turns out, the work environment is hostile and I feel it’s because of my looks.

A red wavy line is now my most prominent feature. It starts between my eyebrows and travels down over my lopsided nose, then across my left cheek towards my ear. The skin of my eyelid is not growing back properly,and because I lost several teeth, I now wear dentures. I feel like everyone is staring.

The office manager snickers with the other gals when I walk by. The good looking guy running the biggest press cringes if we make eye contact. It’s awful. Two years ago I could have stolen him away from his wife or girlfriend or whatever.

In my other life, I behaved badly. I’m thinking it was probably because things came easily to me and I did not suffer for my actions. There was always another guy, more money, and more gifts. My brother used to say “pretty girls always get free stuff”. I didn’t know what he was talking about until my “pretty” went away. Now I am learning what it means to shovel snow off my own car, pump my own gas and pay for my own lunch. It sucks.

I didn’t go back to college after the accident. I couldn’t. I would not be treated the same. Unless I can get really good plastic surgery I will not return. I cry myself to sleep most nights, and I don’t know what to do. It feels like I keep waking up in someone else’s body. I want to be beautiful again. I want to smile at people and watch them react with favor.  I want to escape this ugliness and be the real me.

I was in the hospital during Bobby’s funeral so his death seems surreal. I remember squealing brakes all around us on the highway, then him telling me to hold on and then we hit the truck in front of us. I know I grabbed him tight around his middle and buried my head in his back. Mom says it’s my fault that Bobby died on impact and that I broke my legs, my wrist, and my face. She said we could have both been fine if we had only been wearing helmets. She has called me a “narcissistic sociopath”.

She blames me because I begged Bobby to ride without wearing helmets. I wanted the attention that came with my long blonde ponytail. I wore my new Spade sunglasses, a tight white tank top and new Posse jeans. I looked fantastic and got tons of whistles and waves.

My last thought was about me getting hurt and at no time did I try to protect my brother or even consider his safety by wearing a helmet. Mom is right. I was all about myself and probably still am.

Bonnie is the office manager and she is staring at me. I was in a daze and she has no sympathy.

“If this job is too hard for you we can ask for another girl.”

This bitch pisses me off. I stand up straight and start to tell her to F-off but all that comes out is grunting noises. She wrinkles up her nose and asks, “Do you have something to say to me, Miss Holly?”

I need the money and it’s hard to find a job so I have to play nice. I feel myself getting smaller as I whisper “no.”

I hate myself. I am losing myself.

—–

On Fridays people take turns bringing in breakfast. Today I notice Bonnie is smiling and nice to Lisa who brought in homemade brownies rather than store bought donuts. Actually everyone is smiling and friendly.

“Good morning, Holly.” It is the front desk girl, Janice, who has until now never addressed me.

“Have a brownie. They are delicious!” says the hot guy. Things are looking up.

Always watching my figure, I am not tempted by sweets and never drink soda. When I decline, I watch Bonnie’s nose begin to wrinkle so I acquiesce. “Okay, why not?”

I reach for one and notice my scarred wrist and hands and Hot Guy must have, too. He takes two steps back. “Um, I have to get that big Doxir job running.” And he’s gone. I guess he won’t be asking me out anytime soon.

Bonnie must have noticed the cold moment because she is whispering to Janice and looking towards me. Janice closes her eyes, purses her lips and nods with that split second gesture that I’ve used a million times to agree with a snarky comment made at someone’s expense.

I take a bite of the brownie and feel my upper dentures come loose. I excuse myself to run to the restroom. I am not even legally able to drink but I have to worry about my dentures slipping? My life is a joke.

When I open the door I see feet under one of the two stalls and hear sobbing. Who is that? Using deductive reasoning I rule out Bonnie, Janice, and Lisa who are in the office. So who is left? It must be Morgan or Stacey, who are both press operators. Morgan is butch and has a wheeze to her breath. It’s got to be Stacey.

“Hey, Stacey?”

“I’m sorry, I thought I was alone.” Toilet tissue is pulled and torn from roll, and then I hear a honk as she blows her nose. Never having been in a situation like this, I don’t know what to do next.

I’m at the mirror applying denture adhesive when Stacey makes an appearance. She’s not a pretty girl but next to me she looks damn good. Her face is red and her eyes are puffy.  She reaches out and touches my shoulder. “I’m having a hard time. You know how it is.”

I’ve never had real friends but Stacey seems nice and maybe we could be friends? I reach out and touch her shoulder and say, “Yes, I know how it is.”

She starts crying again, then deep sobbing, uncontrollable sobbing and gasping for air and she’s hugging me. What?

Bonnie walks in which sobers Stacey.

“What’s going on in here?”

Stacey straightens up, fixes her hair, and says “Me and the new girl have something in common.”

She winks at my reflection.

We do?

I’m reluctant to leave before finding out what she means, but it feels strange to just stand there.

“My father’s funeral was last week. He crashed his motorcycle. He wasn’t wearing a helmet.”

“Oh, really?”

“You don’t remember me, do you?” Stacey is asking.

“Remember you? Um, no. Should I?”

“We went to high school together. I live two blocks from you. You were mean to me. I was a band geek and you were Prom Queen. We may as well have been on different planets, but I know what happened to you. And now, I can relate to your pain. I’m sorry for your loss.” Tears fell from her eyes and from mine.

Wow. I was mean to this nice person who I don’t even recognize? What kind of horrible person am I?

“Holly, would you like to have lunch together sometime?”

“I would love that”. I may have answered too quickly but it seems to be okay.

“I do want an apology.”

“Of course. I am truly sorry for being mean to you. I am learning that being me was the opposite of nice. I want to change all that.  My whole identity is about my looks. Or was. I don’t know how to be anymore…”

I hear myself ranting and she stops me.

“That’s what friends and therapy are for.” She kisses my cheek and says, “Now is your chance to be a better person. I’ll help you if you want.”

Maybe Stacey is the answer. Maybe she can help me to overcome being a ‘narcissistic sociopath’.  I agree with a serious “Okay.”

Bonnie calls from the stall, “If you go to lunch together, invite me.”

We don’t speak but Stacey and I smile at each other with raised eyebrows and shake our heads. The new me is making a friend.

 

 

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Empty Nest = Freedom to Write

Creative from birth, I write down my thoughts which began with a diary and churned into grade school stories – stacks of them. Continuing through high school I expressed my new sexuality and curiosity about the world through intense private writings. I cranked out more stories and poetry between the ages of 15 and 23 than at any other time of my life.

Through marriage (two) and divorce (twice) and raising children (again, the magic number 2), I worked on a solitary project about an unusual abduction involving the idea of reincarnation. From 1990 until present day I have completed two novels and numerous short stories and endless poetry. I journal EVERY DAY and have mountains of journals that my daughter can publish one day because Hollywood will turn them into a most interesting movie, hilarious family sitcom, or a mini-series that makes viewers question if all of these chapters could happen to just one person in just one lifetime.

Life has been lively – full of financial struggles, heartbreak, but also full of great joys, love and tremendous beauty. With the children grown, it is time to indulge my greatest passion: Storytelling. My characters ring true and my stories make readers break out of their comfort zones to face deep fears and question their own instincts.

Advised at a writer’s conference in LA to NEVER publish any work that may be considered by an agent or publisher, I do not display excerpts from my novels or short stories, but only work that has been judged following a contest or samples that are not intended to be published elsewhere. I hope readers will follow me and enjoy the work I share and hopefully soon I will be promoting my thriller(s).

Stay tuned!Life is never boring around here.

 

 

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Hello world!

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