Hey, folks, “George” was just published over at Maudlin House. Check it out.
*except it’s “way” not “wat”
But it’s still true.
I started this short story about six years ago and ever since, I have revised and redone it at least ten different times.
…and I’m about to do it again.
It’s one I want to include in my short story collection, and one I’d like to get published beforehand, so I want to make sure it’s totally rad. As I was going back through, it I realized I’m not happy with it. Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading a lot in general lately, or maybe I’ve just grown as a writer since I first started it, but I really think the story is crap as it stands now. Needs work.
Just an update for you…and a motivational quote from Stephen King.
I’ve dropped the ball on updating this. That’s not very professional. Though, I don’t suppose I really want to fake being some stuffy, “professional” writer; I’d rather just be myself. That’s a can of worms.
Despite a multitude of other shite going on, I am amped and thoroughly stoked in the writing department. I edited and revamped The Novel That Will Get Me Published. I am really excited about it. I’m sending it off to a new indie pub that I really like. I’m hoping for good things.
I’ve also begun work on a couple other novels that had been sitting at the wayside. Yeah, boiii. Really excited about that, too.
Also, I’m revisiting my sci-fi short story collection. I’ve decided to drop a couple of stories from it. I’m not happy with them and I’d rather not force the whole thing. I want to be pleased and ready with the collection. So, if that means I have to wait a little longer until I write a few better stories, let it be so.
Still waiting to hear back from some mags regarding prose I sent off. I suppose if I haven’t heard by now…. HA.
And, uh, I’ll try to get back into the swing of things here. Though I’m not promising anything this month because it’s the NCAA tourney and well, March Madness… you know.
I thought I’d share one of the short stories I’m working on. It’s a mystery/thriller. Spooky.
Let me know what you think!
Great Aunt Margaret
“It’s watching me,” Eliza declared. She scrunched up her nose and tilted her head.
“She is not,” her father said. He straightened the frame and descended the ladder. “There, that looks good.”
They each took a step back and gazed at the portrait now hanging above the fireplace. The lady pictured sat in a chair, arms folded gently across her lap. She looked directly at the painter—at the viewer—with a distinctive expression, as if she was trying to convey a thought with her eyes alone. A rusted metal placard sat at the bottom of the frame. Its faded type read “Great Aunt Margaret” but the artist and date were indistinguishable.
“It gives me the creeps, Roger.”
He pushed her shoulder. “It’s a woman, you know…and the name is Dad.”
“Well she gives me the creeps.”
He gave her a disapproving look. “You had better get used to it. It’s going to be here for a while.”
Eliza moved left and right, testing to see if the eyes in the painting would follow her movements. “Is this creepy picture really all you got?”
Her father nodded at the painting. “Yeeeep.”
“Well I, for one, am not going to be alone in the same room with that thing.”
She spun on her heel and hurried out of the room.
He stared at the painting for another few seconds before turning away. He paused at the light switch. He could’ve sworn he caught movement out of the corner of his eye.
“Now she’s got me doing it,” he mumbled. He shut off the light.
* * *
I got the idea for this story from a prompt. Now I’m going to offer it up to you! Here it is:
- The person in a painting you recently acquired suddenly disappears from view.
That Leftover Taste in Your Mouth
“Well, I’m leaving you now.”
The comment was so unabashedly inserted into the atmosphere that I spat out my coffee.
I brushed spilt java off the front of my shirt. It wasn’t a complete waste; the coffee was leftover from the evening before. It was bitter and burned.
I turned to my wife. “You what?”
She stood by the kitchen door, two suitcases at her feet and a frown on her face.
“I’m leaving you, Jack,” she repeated. She exhaled annoyance and brushed brown hair from her face. “It’s over.”
I stood up so quickly, I knocked over the chair. “What? What are you talking about?”
She rolled her eyes to the ceiling. “You ever get it when you’re constantly fighting with yourself? Like, you are watching a movie of your life and desperately screaming at the screen, hoping a situation changes, but it won’t because it’s a movie?”
I stared blankly. Toast crumbs stuck to the corners of my mouth.
She shifted her weight. “Well, I’m doing something about this movie. I’m changing the direction.”
“But, I don’t understand! What brought this on?”
“Brought it on? Nothing brought it on. It’s not as if I suddenly got sick. This has been brewing below the surface for a while, Jack.”
I desperately looked around the kitchen, as if I hoped the appliances would come to my aid.
“Well, why haven’t you mentioned anything before?”
She sighed. “It wouldn’t have mattered.”
“It would have mattered to me!” I exclaimed.
She leaned over to pick up the suitcases. “I knew you’d make a scene,” she mumbled.
“Me? But why are you leaving? At least tell me why! Let’s talk about this,” I spluttered, flailing my arms.
“There’s nothing to talk about. I just don’t think the magic is there anymore.”
“You want magic? I’ll become a magician!”
“Jack,” she said sternly, “there’s nothing to be done. I’ve made up my mind.”
“Goodbye, Jack.” She turned on her heel and left.
The screen door slammed back into place. Her car roared to life and then faded.
I stared at the spot she was in and then to the plant on the windowsill. I couldn’t tell what it was any longer; its leaves had long since browned and shriveled. Linda had given up on it. I had continued to water it even though it seemed fruitless. Now, a small green bud poked through the dirt.
I gazed into the backyard. The taste of burnt coffee lingered on my tongue.