– I did a guest posting at Stormi Johnson’s blog for her Frightfest 2011. It’s a short (and hopefully entertaining) anecdote about how it’s scary sometimes just being me. Hope you get a chance to check it out (click here).
– Also, I’ve been having a great time with the Coffin Hop Horror Web Tour this past week. Not only tons of contests, but tons of just plain FREE STUFF as well. And let me tell ya, there are some interesting people out there.
For more information and other bloggers participating in the Coffin Hop Horror Web Tour (October 24-31), click here.
– Don’t forget my giveaway! Three winners will be chosen to receive a free e-copy of my book The Imaginings. In order to be eligible, the requirements are simple.
1- Earn 1 entry for commenting on any of my posts. You can find the categories for my posts also in the right hand column. I do tend to ramble, though, so perhaps you want to check the “Free Fiction by Paul.” Since they are all flash pieces, I can guarantee they will be less than 1000 words. Plus, this way you will know whether or not you want a free copy of something I wrote anyway.
Other posts that have been popular for comments (my wife says it’s because they’re lists) have been:
2- You can earn an additional entry by subscribing to my blog via email (in the right hand column). I promise I won’t spam you, and at this point, I only post once a week, so your inbox won’t be that occupied by me. (Current subscribers are also eligible)
3- The winners will be randomly chosen at the end of the hops (midnight on October 31st) and posted the following Friday (November 4th). So be sure to check back.
What else does the future hold?
Next Friday, I will posting Part II of The Golden Parachute: A Serial Short in Two Flashes.
But without further ado…
My original intention with this piece was to submit it for the Vamplit Friday Flash theme of “Costumes,” but I mixed up the dates and themes (“Costumes” was last week) and as I started writing it, I realized that it begged for more than just 1000 words.
Ergo, “A Serial Short in Two Flashes” was born. Also, I’ve decided to submit this piece for an anthology, so I would appreciate your brutal honesty. I will be doing my best to get this into two 1000 word flashes, but the anthology requirements are a minimum of 2500 words, so I would love to know any areas you would like to see fleshed out a little more. (And thanks to Vamplit for still publishing it this week)
And NOW without further ado..
Word Count: 999
Jarom Myers stood shivering in Zuccotti Park while Mary searched out “a decent bathroom.” While he waited, he cursed the power that a woman could have over a good man.
Not that he necessarily considered himself a good man, but he figured if they couldn’t resist the temptation, what chance did he have?
Just like every other pseudo-valiant act Jarom had carried out in his twenty-two years on this earth, it was because of a woman that Jarom now found himself temporarily camped out with hundreds of other protesters just off Wall Street.
The question Jarom contemplated as he finally walked Mary Delaney back to her tent was exactly how temporarily he would be there. It was mid-October. Halloween was three days off, and it was looking like New York was just going to skip Fall and head straight into winter. He had even heard that rain was predicted tonight. The nights under Jarom’s tarp were starting to get friggin’ cold.
It didn’t help that he was still sleeping alone. The air wasn’t the only thing cold recently.
“This thing’s losing momentum,” he said to Mary as they wove through the maze of tarp tents and bundled bodies on the ground. Mary didn’t respond. “How long do you plan on staying?”
“Honestly, I don’t know,” Mary said.
“Well, whatever happens, I know my dad’ll kill me if I’m not back in school Winter Semester.”
“There’s always time for school, Jarom,” Mary said. Her tone was condescending. Good thing she was so pretty. “What we’re doing is bigger than that.”
So far, Jarom thought, we haven’t done anything here. Not by protesting, and not in your tent.
“Yeah, yeah. I know,” he said. “Still, I may head back for a week or so. Get a little sense of the normal, you know?”
“Oh, Jarom, just wait a little longer,” she said. “Don’t you want to see Brent Taninger get taken out in cuffs? Wouldn’t it be great to see just one of them go down? Derek says he heard it could be any day.”
Oh great, Jarom thought. Derek again.
They had arrived at Mary’s tent. She turned and gave him the look that got him to drive her here in the first place. Well, that and her smokin’ hot body. “And don’t you want to stick around with me? Just a few more days. And Halloween should be a lot of fun.” She raised herself on her tip-toes and kissed him on the cheek.
“I’ve been sticking around for you,” Jarom said, “but you keep sending me away.”
“I’ve told you that this isn’t something that’s going to just happen overnight.”
“I thought you were talking about the protests.”
Mary smiled. “Goodnight, Jarom.”
Jarom sighed over-dramatically. “Coffee in the morning?”
“Thanks, sweetie. You know how I like it.”
Mary climbed into her tent, and Jarom left to return to his. Again.
A heavy mist drifted through the park, and the lights surrounding the park blurred into a haze, casting life into indistinct shadows and silhouettes. There was an unusual quiet in the air tonight, broken only by occasional fragments of conversation muffled behind tents and the steady hum of the city.
Halfway back, Jarom ran into Lester Mills stumbling through the maze holding a ratty blanket in one hand and cheap whiskey in the other. Lester was one of the thousands who had been really screwed as a result of Brent Taninger’s corporate decisions. He lost everything he had, including a wife and daughter apparently.
And he took every opportunity to remind Jarom of this fact. “I hear she married some hotshot lawyer,” he slurred as he approached Jarom. “I should kill the bastard.”
Jarom looked for an out. “I think you need to find someplace to sleep it off, Lester.”
“Yeah, maybe,” he said and lolled his head around as if looking for where exactly this might be. The motion made him stagger a little. “Say, kid, you got a buck or two for a guy down on his luck?”
“Sorry, Lester,” Jarom said. Lester staggered just enough to give Jarom the room he needed to slip past. “I’m just a poor college student, you know?”
Jarom left Lester mumbling something about “the family dog.”
When he reached his strung up tarp, he stood for a moment and looked around, hoping for one last possibility, the slim chance of seeing some attractive young lady out looking for a little warmth and companionship. But the colder temperatures and damp air had driven most everyone into sleeping positions for the night.
Jarom sighed and was about to climb under his tarp when movement from a spot of darkness under a tree maybe fifty yards off caught his attention. He could barely make out the silhouette of someone who appeared to be wearing some sort of hooded robe and holding something at their side.
Some sort of walking staff? Jarom wondered. With something on top.
A gust of wind blew through the park, thinning the haze, and in that brief moment, Jarom saw a glint of light off metal at the top of the staff.
That’s no walking stick. That’s a freakin’ scythe.
Then another wall of mist moved in, blurring the figure again.
Costumes hadn’t been unusual in this crowd, but there was something about this one that Jarom didn’t like. Even when the mist had cleared, he hadn’t been able to see the face under the black hood.
“Little early for Halloween isn’t it?” he called out. He meant it as a challenge, but kept his tone light enough to say he was just joking if things threatened to turn physical.
But the guy didn’t say anything. He didn’t move. Jarom didn’t have anything else to say, but he also held his position. After another moment, the figure turned and walked away, fading into the darkness.
After waiting a few minutes to see if the guy would reappear, Jarom climbed under his tarp and went to sleep.
*** End of Part I ***
What do I want from you?
Again, I would hope for your honest feedback on this piece. What parts do you think would benefit from a little more explanation (my wife is going to love this request… most flash fiction makes her crazy because of all the unanswered questions).
Also, if you get the opportunity, click on the Coffin or Halloween Hop images in the right column and check out some of the other participating blogs.
Finally, don’t forget to check back next week for Part II of The Golden Parachute: A Serial Short in Two Flashes
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